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Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 12:33 AM
Robert John wrote:

it's funny that while I'd never really done grappling work extensively before, I was able to roll into the local gracie academy here in Tokyo and roll on par with some of the blue belts. (Something I've mentioned in other posts). The skills that Mike, Dan etc have been talking about directly apply to the ground as well
And its a good thing too, otherwise I probably would've had my ass choked out in under 30 seconds if I didn't have a smattering of these skills

How long have you been studying aikido?

I find it interesting that you use as a gauge of your abilities a Japanese BJJ Blue Belt student. The average BJJ Blue belt has been studying off the street about 1 to 1.5 years in the art.

I have no issue with the transference of skill, in fact I received my BJJ Blue belt with about 6 months or training, my first stripe after about 1 solid year of training. I attribute it to my aikido background.

But what does that say about my 8 plus years of aikido skills and so-called internal training as it applies to ground grappling and fully resistive training? (I don't just ground grapple in BJJ/MMA). It is important, but in reality, it was not all that big of a deal.

Point is, these guys (blue belts) don't worry about "internal" training and "Jo tricks" and yet we have people with years of experience that use the average American BJJ student as a gauge for their ability in internal training!

This logic is what has me confused about the value of the "Jo trick" when we are talking physcial martial ability. I am not talking about theoretical understanding or mental, spiritual aspects...simply physical abilities in actual application.

Mike Sigman
05-18-2006, 06:32 AM
Robert,I'll ask you what I have asked Dan H. and others: put a video on YouTube of Akuzawa doing the jo trick (and you, if you can do it), and post the link here. Otherwise, it's just talk. Jim, I thought about posting one after you and I exchanged emails the other day, but unless we do as Wendy Rowe suggested and indicate who is pushing the jo at what angle and at how much force, we won't know a lot. If someone DOES do that, then the cry will come, "Why can't they withstand the push of 3 NFL linebackers (which of course O-Sensei never did, that we have records of). It gets down to Tohei withstanding a forearm push while standing on one leg. He's making a point about how he deliberately sources the ground in an angle from his foot.... but there will be people who focus on the "trick" and want to drive a '55 Chevy Pickup into his forearm sneer at him if he can't withstand that..... I.e., some people will deliberately work all day to miss an obvious point without realizing exactly who it is they're making look like an idiot. ;)

Last night as I was going to sleep I was thinking about submitting a still photo of me doing the jo trick, but with my partner pushing the jo while standing on the wall next to me.... I thought a little PhotoShop might be fun. But then I fell asleep.

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-18-2006, 06:37 AM
This logic is what has me confused about the value of the "Jo trick" when we are talking physcial martial ability. I am not talking about theoretical understanding or mental, spiritual aspects...simply physical abilities in actual application. Kevin, normally with Chinese martial artists who have developed this kind of training, the essential trick is that they stand there, make a fist, and stick their arm straight out in front of them and the ask someone to try to knock their arm up, down, or sideways. Seriously... you can't move some of these guys. What is the value of this martially, since it's the same thing as the jo trick, except Ueshiba basically just embellished the trick? It shows a strong mofo, Kevin.... someone with a strength that can be used martially that most people don't have. What else can I tell you? It's like the way some fighters demonstrate various other tricks to show that they're strong. Someday we'll meet and over the beers that you buy me, I will give you my thoughts on the subject. ;)

Regards,

MIke

DH
05-18-2006, 07:25 AM
Kevin

I think you will find Rob was using his example of rolling with them as his experimenting with these skills in the ground game. Perhaps the fact that he doesn't have a jujutsu background and he could walk in and play by just using his body skill training was his point, which he has been up front about before. Not that he was a better fighter...he is experimenting and learning. It will be fun to see him 5 years from now if he keeps it up. Training in internal skills, and training in fighting.
See ...there it is again. That inescapable point that keeps rearing it practical head; Skills only...not a measure of fighting ability per se...but can be used in a fighting sense. Can't make someone a fighter, but will improve fighting. Oops....logic alert. Mundane practicality.

And his teacher doing the jo trick with his pinky...do you think he is trying to say he can beat people up with his pinky? I mean is that what you think his point is? What my point is? How many times did I say "Most guys I know will hit me over the head with the stick and walk away." Its just an exercise to demonstrate to YOURSELF where you are progressing with your...........body skills.

Seems to me someone talks about the "practical" potentials of these skills..and everyone goes off to la la land, wait.... lets explore that;
In this thread we have talked about shoveling, pitching hay, wearing armor, pushing cattle in a stall, all manner of practical uses for using your whole body and NOT just your arms and shoulders or just driving with flexed ass, hips, or legs. And as a reply we hear; "Ki"... and "magic nonsense", hippy ki crap, with no practical use etc etc.

Next up I discuss how the connections in the body make a more powerful punch or low line kick, throw resistance, lock resistence, better strength on the ground with a path from the knees to hand or chest, or for a better or more usable strength that is relaxed and better able to read an opponent in a grappling sense. Basically a better strength to knock someone out, choke em out, resist being thrown, throwing, or being unlockable your self.
then get as a reply;
"What good is it in a fight?"

Over and over I have stressed that these skills are a practical means to increase strength or work load. From everyday balance to better shoveling and hauling. Tossing a bale or tossing johnny more efficiently. In short what I am, and have been discussing is practical body mechanics. Relagating the discussion to etherial "ki" debates has been your bent-not mine bud.

If you have learned how to stack someone or to smash them or to post you have learned principles of mechanics and how they effect two bodies in conflict. Likewise, internal skills are principles that will make your body more efficient to handle load stress or deliver power.

Some may be better then others at fighting, others better at internal skills but can't deliver in a fight as well, they are tow different topics that can interelate very well. But they don't have to
They can just make a better laborer. Which is probably where they were first discovered
Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 07:59 AM
Guys I am all over it when you are talking theorectical and training. Where I start having issues is when you cross over to "reality"

Point in case, Mike's explaination above on the Un-bendable arm. Strong in which way? Again, no issue demonstrating the strength of alignment, concentration etc...from a static view point.

Can I move one of those guys...absolutely...no problem...I will move any one of them. Strength is realitive to the defined parameters and the situation at hand.

Can I move one of them within the restrictions of the exercise...probably not.

However once you cross over from the theorectical to reality, well all bets are off.

If I pick up a baseball bat....or bring out Chuck Liddell, or a weapon...well we just changed the parameters and I'd say they would probably fail to demonstrate much of anything at all.

It is all a matter of perspective.

It is not a big deal really, unless you are talking about transferring this stuff to a real situtation (however you define real)...then we have varying degrees of success and transferability of skills.

As in the other thread dealing with Matt Thornton, I think this is his point basically when he addresses martial arts and the issues he has with it. I have the same issues.

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 08:00 AM
Once again, I am not saying this stuff as no application in training. Just not a direct transferrence to effectiveness necessarily. I think Robert John demonstrates this in his example.

Mike Sigman
05-18-2006, 08:49 AM
Once again, I am not saying this stuff as no application in training. Just not a direct transferrence to effectiveness necessarily. I think Robert John demonstrates this in his example.Kevin... if I took your attitude, I'd say that weight training and getting strong has no proven benefit in a fight. Case in point, I grab a guy that works out in the gym and I put him in the ring with Chuck Liddell. Liddell kicks his butt. Kevin says, "See, weight training doesn't work when you put it to the test". I give up, Kevin. You don't grasp the concept and I'm not anxious enough to explain it 30 times. ;) As a matter of fact, Kevin, since Chuck Liddell can kick YOUR butt, why do you even do martial arts????.... it obviously doesn't work for you. But hey..... since Chuck Liddell can kick Osama's butt, let's send him a message that says the jig is up. :)

Regards,

Mike

Mark Freeman
05-18-2006, 08:55 AM
But hey..... since Chuck Liddell can kick Osama's butt, let's send him a message that says the jig is up. :)



And the address is ???? ;)

Jim Sorrentino
05-18-2006, 09:06 AM
Mike,Jim, I thought about posting one after you and I exchanged emails the other day, but unless we do as Wendy Rowe suggested and indicate who is pushing the jo at what angle and at how much force, we won't know a lot. If someone DOES do that, then the cry will come, "Why can't they withstand the push of 3 NFL linebackers (which of course O-Sensei never did, that we have records of). It gets down to Tohei withstanding a forearm push while standing on one leg. He's making a point about how he deliberately sources the ground in an angle from his foot.... but there will be people who focus on the "trick" and want to drive a '55 Chevy Pickup into his forearm sneer at him if he can't withstand that..... I.e., some people will deliberately work all day to miss an obvious point without realizing exactly who it is they're making look like an idiot. ;)I agree --- but, a little video is better than nothing, which is what we have right now. I found the previous videos of Akuzawa that Rob posted pretty interesting. The video of Chen Xiao Wang doing fa jin is interesting, and worth watching. And when someone claims repeatedly, in several different forums, that he can do something... well, I'd like to see it.

Jim

Mike Sigman
05-18-2006, 09:17 AM
The video of Chen Xiao Wang doing fa jin is interesting, and worth watching. And when someone claims repeatedly, in several different forums, that he can do something... well, I'd like to see it.I agree with you, Jim. There's a CXW workshop on the weekend of July 21-23. What you need to do go, put up with the basic stuff he's forced to review over and over again because there are always beginners at the workshops and then politely slip in a "excuse me, but could you show me some stuff, etc.?". http://www.chenxiaowang.com In the "workshops" section.
I think if you play your cards right, you'll actually see what is meant by a lot of the conversation you've heard. And BTW.... that fajin video was taken this January... he's 60 years old.

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-18-2006, 09:50 AM
However once you cross over from the theorectical to reality, well all bets are off.

If I pick up a baseball bat....or bring out Chuck Liddell, or a weapon...well we just changed the parameters and I'd say they would probably fail to demonstrate much of anything at all.
Kevin, you're just too short-sighted. The world is NOT just some MMA contest. What about the "real world" outside of Chuck Liddell's limited usefulness. Does he have power skills that are this useful??????

http://www.neijia.com/fajinUseful.mpe

Regards,

Mike ;)

Ellis Amdur
05-18-2006, 10:12 AM
There is an account of Greece's greatest boxer, in the old days of the Olympiad. He was undefeated without ever striking a blow. Supposedly, he stuck his two arms straight out, and kept moving into his opponent's space - and they would punch and punch and all they would hit was his arms - hour after hour, until they collapsed with exhaustion. (sounds pretty boring to watch). I can't remember the reference - it was in a 50 year old book on feats of strength throughout world history at the gym I work out.

Best

Michael Douglas
05-18-2006, 02:24 PM
Ellis, that sounds like fiction,
modern fiction,
but it sounds great.
Such a technique would not work at all in giving him victory in pankration or whatever, which is why I douby its antiquity.
Probably some academic misunderstanding and mistranslating practical stuff, which happens a lot anyway.
If you could find the reference that would be something fun to investigate ...

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 02:40 PM
I will have to catch up on the video later when I can get on my wife's computer.

I completely understand the world is not a MMA contest...trust me on that one please.

I think you really are missing my point. When you cross over to reality or fighting, I am talking strictly the physciality of fighting..not the full spectrum of all that entails conflict...simply someone wanting to kill you, or you are a police officer arresting someone...well I get very pragmatic about things.

I can say the same thing about push hands. The world is not one big push hand contest!

again, I think we simply differ about the realitive value of these things as it applies to the reality of fighting.

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 02:44 PM
Ellis, sounds like a submission wrestling match I had with a German Olympic caliber Judoka. He grabbed my GI and stiff armed me, locked my collar down and pushed me around the mat for 6 minutes, until I got frustrated and tried something and he Ippon'd me and won.

Not much of a submission fight, he won with fighting his judo strategy.

I have since learned how to defeat his Judo! I don't play his game any longer!

Rules matter a great deal in contest that is for sure! They can change everything!

statisticool
05-18-2006, 03:24 PM
Seriously... you can't move some of these guys. What is the value of this martially, since it's the same thing as the jo trick, except Ueshiba basically just embellished the trick? It shows a strong mofo, Kevin.... someone with a strength that can be used martially that most people don't have.


I think Kevin's, and others', point is that "can" is the key word here.

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 03:33 PM
Sort of Justin...simply that I have never seen any of these guys enter and respectable fully resistive event and demonstrate that it contributes in some statisitically significant manner. (like that...statistics :))

I am not saying that there are not some benefits, just not enough to make it of any great significance in engagements or acts of combat, battles, or fights.

Once we get back to talking DO...I am all good to go again!

Upyu
05-18-2006, 03:50 PM
Robert,I'll ask you what I have asked Dan H. and others: put a video on YouTube of Akuzawa doing the jo trick (and you, if you can do it), and post the link here. Otherwise, it's just talk.

Jim Sorrentino

I'll see if I can't get video of it at the next seminar.
I assume you've already seen the other videos of him on youtube :p

All these tricks do is demonstrate a principal, nothing more. Making it easy for the external viewer to see what's going on is an "art" in itself :D

I do have another video up which might be more interesting for those who know what they're looking at.
It's a vid of Ark "resisting" a push by two people(although he's not really resisting), while he stands feet parrallel, knees locked, hands extended.
The direction he's being pushed in "should" physically be the direction he's weakest in, but he doesn't get pushed over(Remember, he's got his knees locked, feet shoulder width, and parrellel).
Anyways if people are interested, I'll see if I can't edit out the boring bits and post it.

Upyu
05-18-2006, 04:01 PM
Once again, I am not saying this stuff as no application in training. Just not a direct transferrence to effectiveness necessarily. I think Robert John demonstrates this in his example.

Actually I found a pretty direct transferrence to effectiveness when I choked out some ex-marine (about 190-95 lb) who has about 2.5 years of ground experience. By all rights I should have been choked out. But somehow it was really easy to get his back on the ground and snap that RNC on him. ;)

What's funny is that (and I commented on this before), with all my standup training, I thought I would be uncomfortable on the ground. Surprise surprise, I wasn't, in fact I was immediatley comfortable on the ground. On top of which most of the ground moves made sense, if you applied internal physical principals to them (tho I still find a lot of the BJJ moves overly complex...)

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 04:03 PM
Mike Sigman wrote:

Kevin... if I took your attitude, I'd say that weight training and getting strong has no proven benefit in a fight. Case in point, I grab a guy that works out in the gym and I put him in the ring with Chuck Liddell. Liddell kicks his butt. Kevin says, "See, weight training doesn't work when you put it to the test". I give up, Kevin. You don't grasp the concept and I'm not anxious enough to explain it 30 times. As a matter of fact, Kevin, since Chuck Liddell can kick YOUR butt, why do you even do martial arts????.... it obviously doesn't work for you. But hey..... since Chuck Liddell can kick Osama's butt, let's send him a message that says the jig is up

Not good logic.

Since Chuck Liddell can kick my ass and I value the type of training that he does as being pretty close to the real deal, then I would do whatever Chuck Liddell says to do, and study with those that are like minded and like skilled.

Chuck Liddell lifts weights, runs, and does other training things. He is a good role model to follow. If he told me to go study tai chi with "such-and-such" tai chi master as that will give you an edge in being a better physical fighter...then I'd do it.

Unfortunately, I have not found anyone that can and has demonstrated the ability to hold there own in a field of resistive fighting to make that recommendation so I have not found it to be of value. Again, the day they do, then I will be all over it.

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 04:15 PM
BJJ Overly complex?

It is all about learning to move in relation to what the other person is doing. Much like push hands! :) Cept you are on the ground or in a clinch typcially against someone that is really fighting back with everything.

It does look like a series of very complex moves when you first engage it. What I found though is that it really is about the appropriate response to a input from your opponent through proper alignment, positioning of your center etc.

I rarely think about "moves" or "technique" To me, it is much like aikido except it is at a different range. Probably why you found you did so well with it.

Your experience parallels mine. I choked a few guys out with little or no experience in it. To be honest, the first time I experienced it, I choked the guy out and dismissed it as being something worth studying since it seemed so easy with only my aikido background. A few months later, I was taken to school by a few other guys that were a little better. Opened my eyes!

If you label what we do in aikido as typically being internal...I would agree with you, they are very applicable..just a different range and set of conditions that you need to further refine to be proficient at that range.

Conceptually I don't separate internal and external or objectify the whole ki process..it all simply rolls into proper body mechanics and principle of dynamic movement...they are universal and learned from repetition...doing the same correct thing over and over and over until you finally figure it out.

Upyu
05-18-2006, 04:59 PM
BJJ Overly complex?

It does look like a series of very complex moves when you first engage it. What I found though is that it really is about the appropriate response to a input from your opponent through proper alignment, positioning of your center etc.


Actually I was referring to the moves that they teach the beginners here. I was getting the same results with simpler moves, but I do agree with you that its mainly an exercise in what you described. And as such its a chance to play in the "sandbox" and test out new body skills.



Conceptually I don't separate internal and external or objectify the whole ki process..it all simply rolls into proper body mechanics and principle of dynamic movement...they are universal and learned from repetition...doing the same correct thing over and over and over until you finally figure it out.

I don't either, but I think the main part where we differ is in the approach to training. If you focus too much on dynamic movement, it becomes hard to understand how to move correctly, much less strengthen the connections that need to be strengthened etc.
The arena of dynamic movmenent is really a playbox for me, nothing else. A necessary one to be sure.
But the real meat of the training tends to be in the solo exercises.

Like you said though, if you can't bring them to bear in a dynamic situation, its worthless.

Ark will probably be doing another seminar sometime nextyear in Holland. I'd recommend you look us up. He most definitely uses this stuff in a free form format ;)

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 06:14 PM
Robert, thanks for the info on Ark...I will have to see if I can make it.

Solo exercises. You know I used to do alot of these. Still do on occassion, but these days I am not feeling the value as much as working with a partner. I'd choose working with a partner any day over solo exercises.

I do work on ashi taisho a fair amount. In fact, It takes me about an hour to mop the dojo floor and I do this as a training exercise using correct transferrence of weight and posture.

again, these days, I am not feeling the value of it as it relates to much of anything. I'd rather practice these things with a person...i.e. push hands style.

Our beginners in BJJ we teach basic guard stressing posture, we have some drills, but mainly we work on proper body posture and position working on correct alignment and weight distribution in the various dominate positions. It is more about feel than anything else. it is tempting to get focused on technique...but I find this also true in aikido.

Upyu
05-18-2006, 07:45 PM
Kevin, out of curiosity tho, what kind of solo work did you use to do?
Are you talking footwork type stuff, bokken swinging done for movement etc etc?

Or more basic stuff like Shiko stamping, spear thrusting etc (those're just examples) to buildup and strengthen the necessary connections in the body?

Upyu
05-18-2006, 08:36 PM
Alright some video for those that have time to kill :)

http://www.badongo.com/vid/120586

It's a vid taken earlier last year of the push demo I elaborated on earlier.
The small guy pushing him(miyagawa), while not big, is pretty strong for his size, not to mention someone who made it to the Kyokushin Finals here in japan (Did kyokushin for about 8 years).

Physically Ark should be weakest heel to toe, but he's still able to manipulate Miyagawa and toss him around a bit, while staying planted, with knees locked.
It's not a pretty demo, no one goes flying through windows, but if you know what you're looking at, you'll realize how hard it is to do. Actually if you have any doubts try and do it yourself :)

PS
He does the same thing to people that weigh about 200 lb, and ironically it gets easier with people that're more "built".
I''ll post video of that when we take it, especially since we have a new muscle head in the class :D

Mike Sigman
05-18-2006, 08:56 PM
Since Chuck Liddell can kick my ass and I value the type of training that he does as being pretty close to the real deal, then I would do whatever Chuck Liddell says to do, and study with those that are like minded and like skilled. Well, that must mean you value the opinions of a lot of people in this world, then, if you're just going by who can kick your ass.

Kidding, Kevin... just kidding. I've never passed up a good one-liner. ;) Unfortunately, I have not found anyone that can and has demonstrated the ability to hold there own in a field of resistive fighting to make that recommendation so I have not found it to be of value. Again, the day they do, then I will be all over it. Can anyone point me to that old post where I mentioned the 60 year-old Baji guy who just for the fun of it took a light-hearted challenged from a young european MMA guy with something of a rep? In case you didn't read that URL that I pointed to at the time, Kevin, the Baji guy ducked the initial move by the MMA guy, followed him back and hit him with the well-known Baji body/shoulder-check (which is sort of like a Lincoln Town-Car hitting you)... the MMA guy went down and got up very slowly, bleeding from the nose and maybe the ears... I forget. To generate that kind of hit, they use some of the body skills that are also used in the ki-tests, etc., Kevin. But hey... at this point in time, the funnest thing to do is to hope that you continue to blow it off and never take the time to go look. :freaky: :D :D :D

Regards.

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-18-2006, 09:00 PM
Alright some video for those that have time to kill :)

http://www.badongo.com/vid/120586 Nice root and jin. ;) Give him my regards.

Mike

Brett Charvat
05-19-2006, 12:11 AM
After reading through this entire thread (and others like it on other sites), I have a question for anyone who might know the answer. However, I'd like to stress heavily that it is a QUESTION only, and I am not trying to infer that I have any knowledge or experience with this subject matter (because I assuredly do not). So please keep that in mind. It's a question from an interested but inexperienced person seeking a bit of clarification, nothing more. Here goes:

I notice in the video that Mr. John posted of Akuzawa Sensei that the point of contact between the pusher and the pushee (in this case, the palms of the hands) was constantly in motion. I've noticed similar things about the various push-hands video clips that I've seen. Is this a requisite to using this internal power, or is it merely for demonstration/training purposes? If Akuzawa Sensei was standing in the same position shown in the video but with a pusher pushing on his sternum or his pelvis while Akuzawa Sensei held his arms at his sides or behind his back, would he still remain that solid? How about the other guys who do this type of training that have been mentioned on this thread? I'm wondering about the amount of articulation between the pusher's body and that of the pushee, and whether (or not) an increase in articulation improves the ability to remain so solid. Again, please do not misunderstand me. I am not calling anyone's skill into question; merely asking a question that's been on my mind lately.

Upyu
05-19-2006, 12:32 AM
I notice in the video that Mr. John posted of Akuzawa Sensei that the point of contact between the pusher and the pushee (in this case, the palms of the hands) was constantly in motion. I've noticed similar things about the various push-hands video clips that I've seen. Is this a requisite to using this internal power, or is it merely for demonstration/training purposes?

Fair question. And to answer it, yes it would be harder for him if you pushed into the Kua/pelvic area. But I've done it, (tried to pull him into guard, by digging my foot into the pelvic area) and it failed spectacularly on my end. It was like pushing into a springy lead wall (i already used the rubber analogy , trying to keep things fresh lol)

The articulation of the limbs is simply a result since he has to redirect the changing forces into his body.

You're not the first one to bring this up though.
It was something that was brought up at the seminar in Paris as well, and one person there kept on saying "see see, he's changing the vectors! etc."
Totally missing the point of course. The movement in the hand isn't done to "reduce" the load, but rather the opposite. It's done to remain connected to the guy (since he's moving around), who then eventually gets tossed out.

Try it yourself and see what happens ;)

PS
One thing I stressed was that he kept his knees locked
This increases the difficulty factor by a large amount.
A lot of similar demos often include guys with bent knees, relaxed posture, and feet not parrallel. Which is much easier.
Basically this kind of demo shows a much more "purer" aspect of what it means to stand, sans other internal mechanics being put into the equation.

Kevin Leavitt
05-19-2006, 01:14 AM
Good stuff Mike, yea you are correct. To discuss further by me without checking it out is me continuing to be stubborn. Somehow people keep dragging me back in...damn! Must be using that internal chi to affect me some how :)

Rob,

Footwork, handwork,posture, breathing, balance...trying to connect all these things ...kinda bua gua style. Nothing balistic in nature. Used to do alot of makawara back in the day for the hip, hand, breathing connection...but gave that up. Sometimes jo and bokken stuff.

Lately though lots of ground solo work. Standing up in base, shrimping, rolls, set out drills...more capreiora like (although, if you looked at it you'd laugh as it is NOT capreior) simply transferring weight around various balance points on the ground.

Nothing like what you describe though.

Upyu
05-19-2006, 01:41 AM
Good stuff Mike, yea you are correct. To discuss further by me without checking it out is me continuing to be stubborn. Somehow people keep dragging me back in...damn! Must be using that internal chi to affect me some how :)

Rob,

Footwork, handwork,posture, breathing, balance...trying to connect all these things ...kinda bua gua style. Nothing balistic in nature. Used to do alot of makawara back in the day for the hip, hand, breathing connection...but gave that up. Sometimes jo and bokken stuff.

Lately though lots of ground solo work. Standing up in base, shrimping, rolls, set out drills...more capreiora like (although, if you looked at it you'd laugh as it is NOT capreior) simply transferring weight around various balance points on the ground.


Sounds like we might have common ground in terms of the aim that we pursue the solo exercises with. It'll be interesting if we can meetup at some point ;)

As far as exercises looking weird, that's a given. Half the time when I'm bustin my ass on exercises connecting the upper and lower body, people give me weird looks in the park. Looks like I'm sweatin' to the Sun god or sumtn lolz :D

Mike Sigman
05-19-2006, 08:13 AM
I notice in the video that Mr. John posted of Akuzawa Sensei that the point of contact between the pusher and the pushee (in this case, the palms of the hands) was constantly in motion. I've noticed similar things about the various push-hands video clips that I've seen. Is this a requisite to using this internal power, or is it merely for demonstration/training purposes? If Akuzawa Sensei was standing in the same position shown in the video but with a pusher pushing on his sternum or his pelvis while Akuzawa Sensei held his arms at his sides or behind his back, would he still remain that solid? I don't necessarily train like this per se, Brett, although occasionally I've done it for fun or as a variation, just for something to do.

The basic principle is practicing manipulating the ground-path against an opponent, keeping him always pushing against the ground and, in the best case scenario, letting him help push himself away because you maneuver the ground (either mentally or physically) so that it is somewhat below the line of his push.... any push by him at that point is automatically a push by him against the ground and pushes him away. Here's a diagram of the 2 main scenarios:

http://www.neijia.com/GettingUnder.jpg

Tohei uses that same principle in very many of the "ki tests" that he shows:
http://www.neijia.com/Tohei-2.jpg
He always keeps his opponent's force turned into the ground path so the ground is doing the work.

If you think about it for a second, the way this stuff is standardly practiced is simply in Kokyu-ho:

http://www.neijia.com/KokyuHoVectors.jpg

In Ark's case, he opts to move and recover whenever he feels he may be in an unteneble position. Another option (the one I prefer since it makes it harder to do and therefore a good option) is to not move my hands and to simply see how rapidly I can train my mind/body responses to react to changing forces:

http://www.neijia.com/ArkPush-2a.jpg
http://www.neijia.com/ArkPush-3a.jpg

Note that in the ArkPush-3a that he moved his hand so they were almost exactly in line between his point of stability and power (his hara) and the exact direction in which he wanted to push, the very direction in which Uke's push would most add to the "push away".

In terms of someone pushing directly against your chest. Try it yourself. Don't lean into the push (i.e., if Uke were to suddenly remove his hand, would you fall over? Tsk Tsk). Don't put one foot/leg behind you as a "brace" (learn to develop this skill/path, not just some one-directional brace). Pretend his hand against your sternum is really your shoulder and that his shoulder is really your hand.

Martially, what use is this? If I can mentally place the ground **OR ANOTHER FORCE VECTOR** so that it combines with Uke's original force, I can manipulate him using his own forces. For want of a better term, let's call that "Aiki" and see if we can figure any martial usages for it. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Jim Sorrentino
05-19-2006, 08:33 AM
Robert,I assume you've already seen the other videos of him on youtube :p Yes, I did. Very interesting. I especially liked his kicks to the legs.

I do have another video up which might be more interesting for those who know what they're looking at.
It's a vid of Ark "resisting" a push by two people(although he's not really resisting), while he stands feet parrallel, knees locked, hands extended.
The direction he's being pushed in "should" physically be the direction he's weakest in, but he doesn't get pushed over(Remember, he's got his knees locked, feet shoulder width, and parrellel).
Anyways if people are interested, I'll see if I can't edit out the boring bits and post it.Would you please post this on YouTube? I'm not able to access the Badongo site from work. Thanks!

Jim

Brad Darr
05-19-2006, 09:05 AM
Mike,
Curious about your last post I searched in the forums under the word baji. I found the link and read the story. I was amazed at first but at the bottom of the story written in 2004, there is a footnote from last June that says that the article was all fake and none of it actually occured. Here is your original link copied,
http://crane.50megs.com/index6ze.htm
Read it for yourself but it basically states that the article was written by this guy Zhu.
Check it out.

All the best
Brad

senshincenter
05-19-2006, 09:17 AM
Reading the thread, I do not see the two main views on opposite sides here - not really. I think this is Kevin's point - something he's said many times. If anything, I would say the discussion is really a matter of balance. On that note, no one cannot deny the significance of kokyu development, and I do not think anyone is. On the other hand, it is in my opinion equally important to note all the other factors that go into martial applications (be that sport or street). From this second perspective, I think there is a point to Kevin's examples and I do not necessarily feel “lost knowledge,” “inferior training,” etc., answer it. However, this is not to say that such things are not related to the loss of kokyu development techniques/practices.

In other words, in some martial traditions, even in Aikido, there are martial tactics that function as designed (i.e. effectively) that either makes no use of kokyu or only negligible use. These tactics are age-old, and for reasons related to economics and advances in technology, etc., they have come to prominence in our modern era (for better or for worse). What I feel is important to remember is that such tactics are not new, and that though such tactics found assistance in economics and/or technological advances, etc., such tactics are not by default “inferior” and/or present today solely because of a loss of knowledge. There is an effectiveness to them and they have their place – especially when facing superior kokyu development – and this effectiveness also has a lot to do with why they are still around and now dominant in terms of popular understanding and application.

That said, if Aikido is shy of what it should and could be (at a general level), it is because of ignorance regarding both of these types of tactics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aovZKxdnpJM

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4754358887413654428

Mike Sigman
05-19-2006, 09:22 AM
there is a footnote from last June that says that the article was all fake and none of it actually occured. Oh well, I was victimized too. It sounded pretty good, but it read, to my eyes, a little too glorious and pompous, so there ya go.

I read another story somewhere, also about a Baji practitioner, but my problem is that I read these things and they get lost in the blur. If I find something more credible, I'll try to post it. The point I was trying to make to Kevin is that the world didn't suddenly discover very powerful fighting in the last 20 years... it's been around a while. What happens to most of us in the West is that we've been going through this cycle of martial arts, starting with "Judo is invincible", to "karate", to "kung fu", to "BJJ", etc., and at each stage we think we've hit on the ulimate martial art. Some of the stuff from the Tang and Ming Dynasties was a full-time devotion to tremendous strength, grappling, strikes, tearing flesh from bones, etc., and I just somehow don't think that MMA can really claim to be the top martial art the world has ever developed. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-19-2006, 09:34 AM
....In other words, in some martial traditions, even in Aikido, there are martial tactics that function as designed (i.e. effectively) that either makes no use of kokyu or only negligible use. Can you name a physical tactic or technique that makes no use of kokyu power in Aikido?

Incidentally, in terms of the Akebono clips, I think it's sad to see an old, out of shape western boxer trying to make a few bucks by fighting a kangaroo or entering a MMA contest or working in a carnival as a barker. I don't particularly enjoy seeing way-past-their-prime fighters entering fights they were never trained for (Akebono with boxing gloves?????) and then getting humiliated when they run out of steam, etc.

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
05-19-2006, 10:27 AM
I'm not sure he was humiliated when he ran out of steam...count the leg kicks in the first vid. I've seen lesser men downed in one round by two or three of those. The fight would have been shorter if the kickboxer simply did those kicks, and not any other kicks or knees. Especially the silly jumping ones...

And fighting a Gracie is fighting a Gracie...no matter how you slice it. Tough game.

Best,
Ron (none of this invalidates your points about kokyu or jin...)

DH
05-19-2006, 11:26 AM
David Valadez writes
Reading the thread, I do not see the two main views on opposite sides here - not really. I think this is Kevin's point - something he's said many times. If anything, I would say the discussion is really a matter of balance.

My only argument with Kevin is that I have been saying this same thing from waaay back in thread.
Its a question of balance between the two; Internal training and then martial skills. I even cited MMA as the method I use to test them in. Then Rob joined in to say the same thing as well.
So, over and over I've made the same point, that they most certainly enhance martial valididty in the real world. NOT, dare I repeat? NOT just as an exercise. I will leave out personal anectdotes. No sense in repeating the plethera of openings that these skills can create in a MMA format, for throws or reversals or the power for close-in strikes and kicks. Done it, do it, trained men to do it for years. I'm just not going to repeat it any more.


On that note, no one cannot deny the significance of kokyu development, and I do not think anyone is.

If you say so.......Many here are in fact specifically denying the significance for any real world application. It is my view that they are doing so because they do not know them to any depth. Anything else defies logic. You cannot know them-in any real measurable sense -and then not recognize the value. You simply wouldn't.

In other words, in some martial traditions, even in Aikido, there are martial tactics that function as designed (i.e. effectively) that either makes no use of kokyu or only negligible use.

Where we would dissagree I think is that most of the external arts have more in their arsenal for fighting: Kicks, myriad strikes, knees, elbows, chokes, throws using the legs more offensively (and defensively) and more extensive ground skills.
Since most Aikido, is bereft of those things It is my -unpopular- view that it is not as effective as it can be as a fighting art.
That said I think Kokyu skills and every single internal skill being discussed here ....is..... the basis of all Aikido.
In that sense I have agrued FOR aikido as well. That many pieces are in fact THERE and could be enhanced if they were explored. I have had the few Aikidoka I have showed some things too agree.
But even Rob and Ark I have had epople say the exerciese were too hard and they didnlt do the solo work. A couple of them wrote me and said the same thing. We can see the power there but the exercises are painfull and to demanding so I am only incorporating a few things. And so it goes......


These tactics are age-old, and for reasons related to economics and advances in technology, etc., they have come to prominence in our modern era (for better or for worse). What I feel is important to remember is that such tactics are not new, and that though such tactics found assistance in economics and/or technological advances, etc., such tactics are not by default "inferior" and/or present today solely because of a loss of knowledge. There is an effectiveness to them and they have their place -- especially when facing superior kokyu development -- and this effectiveness also has a lot to do with why they are still around and now dominant in terms of popular understanding and application.

Thats been the thrust of much of my argument. I think they were/are more highly developed in China, they are old, and they are most certainly on the wain.
I have argued that;
1. Most in Aikido would LOVE them not despise them and could make good use of them.
2. That they are in the hands of some in Aikido who did not share too much...like everywhere else.
3. That Ueshiba got it from Takeda and didn't pass it on too many in the system

That said, if Aikido is shy of what it should and could be (at a general level), it is because of ignorance regarding both of these types of tactics.

Hmm.....I have been saying this for years. It most certainly can use a greater emphasis on these skills....

As for old skills- I am finding with my new CMA friends that these skills were withheld from many there as well. I picked up many things from two styles of DR. But am very much enjoying learning new skills from CMA as well, to place in to what I do in MMA. With no Chinese or Japanese prejudice or "BTDT." Or "I already knew that" Egocentric nonsense that leaves people bitter.
Internal skills are internal skills. Where you picked them up is secondary (as long as we give proper credit) to your personal growth. People just need to find teachers, or those who know some things who are willing to teach. Which is not an easy task.

Cheers
Dan

senshincenter
05-19-2006, 12:30 PM
Hi Dan,

My apologies then if it looked liked I was countering your position - it was not my intention. I see, as you say, I'm saying only what you already said/we are saying the same thing.

Hi Mike,

I would have to say that Akebono was far from tired-out in the Gracie match. There, he just got beat in my opinion. Perhaps there was some exhaustion in the other video - but a knock out is often just a knock out (perhaps this is Ron's point). True, it's not Akebono's sport, but equally true, BJJ worked in text book fashion there (in the Gracie match). This was my point, that this stuff is not ineffective or inferior in and of itself or because it does not develop or require kokyu - that such tactics have their place along other fighting tactics and skills.

Akebono is interesting here for two reasons in my opinion: 1) He's been trained in drills similar to what Akuzawa was demonstrating in the videos linked thus far; 2) He's one huge person - a person whose mass and weight alone can mimic superior kokyu skills (whether he had them or not). How did Gracie deal with it? He got the Omoplata. But how did he get that? Answer: He led Akebono into his guard. On a smaller opponent, if you are good from your back, you can initiate the guard, even grab your opponent into the guard, etc. However, on someone Akebono's size - no can do. What does Gracie do - how did he set up the guard? He led Akebono into it. In a way, he took him down without taking him down. This is a very important tactic to know and be skilled at - especially when fighting against such mass, strength, weight, and/or kokyu - as I'm sure you know. Aikido too holds this tactic as valuable - and for the same reasons/in the same cases. This tactic is not very reliant on kokyu development and/or the architectural elements of kokyu (e.g. ground paths) - in my opinion. In a way, every kihon waza of today's (mainstream) Aikido arsenal can be done both via things like ground paths and via things like leading. I think one can see this being demonstrated by Osensei in the old tapes - even the one where he's a vital stud at the Asahi Shinbun demonstration. He uses both tactics interchangeably and his selection has to do with how much energy/mass his uke is bringing to the attack. Again, with Ron, I do not think this is countering anything you've said regarding the authenticity and significance of cultivating kokyu skills.

Mike Sigman
05-19-2006, 12:39 PM
I'm sorry I even acknowledged the Akebono tangent. This forum, like so many others, goes off the point rather quickly.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Upyu
05-19-2006, 06:32 PM
Akebono is interesting here for two reasons in my opinion: 1) He's been trained in drills similar to what Akuzawa was demonstrating in the videos linked thus far; 2) He's one huge person - a person whose mass and weight alone can mimic superior kokyu skills (whether he had them or not).

About your two points
1) He may have trained in them, but he obviously doesn't have connection. (You can tell by looking at him) Which means he never got the deeper aspects of the exercises. IE He's not a very good example anyways

2) He's huge, but that doesn't simulate superior kokyu skills at all. Even ark has said before that if you train properly, then someone that tends to charge in like Akebono did only makes it easier. Someone that's trained in Kokyu skills would make it much much much harder, having the notion of "stillness in motion/motion in stillness" and all that junk. Basically means they never overcommit.

As for Akebono wearing boxing gloves, for this to be a fair fight they should have at least allowed him to do Hari-te, since that's how Sumo wrestlers train to strike. (They dont train to use their body like a boxer, so having them strike like one is just ludicrious)

Interesting story, when Akebono fought Musashi, and they allowed him to strike this way, Musashi got put in an extremely tough spot. Nearly got knocked out, as I recall (though the hit was a foul).
While this was only K-1 and hence standup, the difference in his performance was substantial.

Anyways, I'm wondering why they always get the second rate guys to fight in these things. Im thinking things wouldn't go so well for the MMA guys if they went up against someone with an actual head on his shoulders, like Chiyonofuji.
Besides which, most of the last generation of wrestlers pretty much agree that this current crop is "crap". They rely too much on strength and weight (hint hint).

Brett Charvat
05-19-2006, 07:31 PM
"In terms of someone pushing directly against your chest. Try it yourself. Don't lean into the push (i.e., if Uke were to suddenly remove his hand, would you fall over? Tsk Tsk). Don't put one foot/leg behind you as a "brace" (learn to develop this skill/path, not just some one-directional brace). Pretend his hand against your sternum is really your shoulder and that his shoulder is really your hand."

--Mr. Sigman, I'm very happy to hear you say that. That's precisely what I've been doing lately after each training session. Here's hoping!

senshincenter
05-19-2006, 07:58 PM
Hi Robert,

I'd have to say that Akebono's skills at establishing a ground path are quite high (assuming you meant "connection with the ground" when you said "connection") - I don't think a big man can move as fast as he does without that skill (regardless of how much power he's obviously able to generate). I don't think it is accurate to say he doesn't have a deep understanding. A man his size, especially at that point in his career, cannot move like he does without a solid understanding of the elements being discussed here. To the point, if you look in the Bojansky fight, Akebono has no problem holding his balance and/or sending the guy backwards with blows as if he's nothing - this he's doing as he's advancing in/forward. He's not one time off balance, nor is he ever in a positive bracing angle, and he never fell to the ground once in that match. I'd have to disagree that he is just some huge guy charging in off balance - which makes it easier for the properly trained to secure a ground path against, etc. Against someone else who does not have Gracie's skill, like a Bojansky, anyone else that does not have that skill, Akebono would have just slammed right through them - not fall. In fact, in the Bojansky fight, the tide only turned when some exhaustion set in and Akebono's strategy became yin in nature - as his body stayed more still, less advancing. When his body stayed more still, you see the strikes of Bojansky finding their own tactical environment. All of Bojansky's strikes find their target in the third round, with the last kick gaining the knock out. Before that, when Akebono is still advancing forward, Bojansky's kick boxing foot maneuvers and his strikes have him being the one off balance - not Akebono.

It was clearly Gracie's skill that led Akebono into that guard and down onto the mat. It was a perfectly executed lead - something Gracie did twice in fact - and I imagine that not many folks could have done that. Additionally, it was executed so perfectly that any and all strikes, legal or otherwise, that Akebono might have wanted to throw were totally unavailable (i.e. not tactically viable). Had he thrown any of them he would have simply fallen into the lead more quickly and more deeply. Akebono did the next best thing he could have done: follow the lead and hold the dominant position of being on top. It's not ideal, especially against Gracie, but trying to strike once the lead was executed would have only opened him up more immediately for a lock or for his back to be taken. That was definitely high level skill on Gracie's part and not poor level skill on Akebono's part (past his prime or not). If there are folks out there that can establish a ground path against such a mass coming forward (coming forward in that way), and I have to say here that I'm skeptical of such skills existing in someone Akuzawa's size (since all ground paths have mechanical limitations), I would still slot such a tactic as a poor choice of options. Gracie in my opinion played that scenario perfectly with opting to lead Akebono into the guard. It is where he shines and he effortlys got Akebono to play his game. As I said, we see this tactical choice being played over and over in Osensei's Aikido as well - he doesn't just do the one. Aikido has both leads/absorbtions and ground paths/releases-redirections - one needs to know both in my opinion (even if it is just to do one). I'm sure you know: It's yin and yang, and there's always a little yang in yin and yin in yang.

My opinion,
d

Upyu
05-19-2006, 08:21 PM
I'd have to say that Akebono's skills at establishing a ground path are quite high (assuming you meant "connection with the ground" when you said "connection") - I don't think a big man can move as fast as he does without that skill (regardless of how much power he's obviously able to generate). I don't think it is accurate to say he doesn't have a deep understanding. A man his size, especially at that point in his career, cannot move like he does without a solid understanding of the elements being discussed here.

Heh, sorry about that, not to sound like I'm back pedaling, but I should've clarified that I didn't mean Akebono has zero knowledge of those elements. But looking at his movement he's not as connected as he could be, nor does he move nearly as well as he could (though I admit weight is a huge factor in this case, I think it works against him).

You bring up a good point though, that Bojansky was the one mostly off balance during the entire match. The fact that Akebono couldn't take advantage of that means he stinks as a fighter, and I think points to the fact that his understanding of what he has is...well, rather low.

Which is why I said, seeing someone like Chiyonofuji going at it might be more interesting.

By the by, Ark hasn't insinuated that establishing a ground path against someone like Akebono would be a good idea. It's a bad idea(lol). But the skill you get from this kind of training, also means you should be able to change directions almost abnormally fast (to onlookers).

But looking at it from the flip side,
Like Dan, and you said, this could be looked at as an example of someone that has a little "something", but still getting his ass kicked by the better fighter that has no understanding of this stuff.

I still say this guy is a poor example tho (and not because he lost) :)

tedehara
05-19-2006, 09:47 PM
Ted, I disagree pretty strongly with what you're saying.

First of all, what is being called "internal" body mechanics is pretty widely known in Asia. In the Chinese Army, they train these sorts of things routinely using breathing exercises and related techniques. So the application for the military is pretty widely known and accepted over there. Over here, the background information is quite sparse. So sparse that Kevin can't envision anything other than what he's familiar with, so he's basically in the mode of "I've never had any experience with it, you can't be talking about something I don't know about, so therefore you must be talking about something I know of". ;^)

In Chinese martial arts tournaments there are, as I've mentioned before, a number of defined and associated phenomena with "qi" and "internal" development:
(1.) The skin becomes resistant to puncturing and tearing.
(2.) The body becomes able to absorb heavy blows.
(3.) strength is increased due to the development of fascia-related structures in the body.
(4.) Strength is increased due to the ability to manipulate paths with the body/mind.
(5.) Measureable electro-magnetic field around the body is increased.
(6.) There seems to be an immune-system function tied into the fascia-structure strengthening.

Those factors pretty well define what "internal strength" does. The practice of these things goes back well before the systematic study of "science" as we know it, so the training factors and body involvement gets mired in the pre-science terminology of ki/qi, but the phenomena are there and are measureable. None of it is mysterious when adequately defined and explained. Tohei's "ki tests", if you'll compare are bound up in the descriptions I gave above. Think of it as a nifty way to improve strength and health without doing excessive cardio or spending so much time at Gold's Gym. ;)

Regards,

Mike
I've seen a person bend back a spear by pushing only their throat against the spear tip. I've seen others hit so hard with sticks and boards that the wood breaks, but they walk off apparently unharmed. However these are only my isolated observations. This phenomena mean nothing until a disciplined, scienctific study is done. Hopefully, more than one study is done, so the results can be compared.

I tend to agree with you on what may be happening. But while you say "what is happening", I chose to say "what may be happening". A good reason for this is firewalking.

Years ago, walking on hot embers was only done among aboriginal groups. Yet when a scientific study was done, it was determined that there wasn't anything harmful and anyone who could walk normally, could firewalk. Now firewalking is an event used in various motivational seminars.

You can never predict the results until after you've taken a close look at things.

Mike Sigman
05-19-2006, 10:11 PM
I tend to agree with you on what may be happening. But while you say "what is happening", I chose to say "what may be happening". A good reason for this is firewalking.

Years ago, walking on hot embers was only done among aboriginal groups. Yet when a scientific study was done, it was determined that there wasn't anything harmful and anyone who could walk normally, could firewalk. Now firewalking is an event used in various motivational seminars.

You can never predict the results until after you've taken a close look at things. I don't know what it is you're trying to say in response to the fact that the Chinese Army does fairly codified qi/ki training things, Ted. If you disagree with my position about what is happening, why not posit something substantive as an alternative? I know you disagreed in the past with the putative idea of "paths", but that would still be a good place to start looking at the physics of what is happening. If it has a physical effect, we can track it, Ted. The only no-no is breaking the principle of the conservation of energy... injecting an unknown and unaccounted-for energy simply won't work as an explanation. ;)

Regards,

Mike

statisticool
05-20-2006, 06:40 AM
Where have paths been tracked?

Michael Douglas
05-20-2006, 07:27 AM
Ted said ; "I've seen a person bend back a spear by pushing only their throat against the spear tip. I've seen others hit so hard with sticks and boards that the wood breaks, but they walk off apparently unharmed."
I've seen the spear bending thing, just a trick which requires a special prop, hence stage magic.
Try that with a real spear intended for war (for example Japanese Yari or British lance) and the throat is pierced, causing terrible injury or death. Just a silly trick, like paving slab sledgehammer stuff.

Resisting the pain and damage of sticks and boards enough to appear unhurt and unharmed takes great training and is bloomin impressive. My hat's off to the hard men who can do that! Different kettle of fish and has great relevance to fighting.

I wish the stage tricks weren't lumped in with the tough stuff so often.

Mike Sigman
05-20-2006, 09:08 AM
That's precisely what I've been doing lately after each training session. That's great, Brett! I sort of look at 3 stages of development:
(1.) Unaware that there is something functional about "ground path", "Ki", etc.

(2.) Able to do static examples or limited-incident examples of from a few to a number of uses of ground-path, weight path, etc.

***Then the near insurmountable Hurdle between 2 and 3***

(3.) Able to move at all times accessing the ground, the weight, and the "ki"/fascia development...... levels and types of usages all go upward from here.


To me, step #2 is getting your foot in the door... but most people never go beyond this because to move with this type of strength means to actually change your primary mode of movement to this lower-accessed power. #3 is the real "start", IMO. Try a number of slow, slow evaluations of things like the Aiki-taiso to try to keep it so that a partner would feel the pure ground or the pure weight at every increment of your motion if they directly resisted your movement (lightly, ver lightly, as in a testing mode). And you need to be pretty relaxed at all times, too. ;)

FWIW

Mike

DH
05-20-2006, 06:04 PM
From Aikido Journal Front page
Recommended reading: "O-Sensei's Fame Spreads" by Kazuhiko Ikeda: Posted on May 20th, 2006

"At that time, many practitioners of different martial arts pitted their strength against Ueshiba one by one, but no one was able to defeat him. Each was dispatched in turn with a Daito-ryu joint twisting technique. Word spread immediately in Kyoto and Osaka that a terribly strong martial artist was to be found at the Omoto Headquarters. He was repeatedly challenged to matches, but, of course, no one could defeat him."

A Unified Field Theory — Aiki and Weapons — Divertimento: Moderato Risoluto Posted by Ellis Amdur on May 19th, 2006
PART VII — Ante-Bellum: Bo & Jo
There are three aspects to staff arts.
1) Staff taking, staff throwing and illustrations of principles with the staff (the “jo trick,” for example). These are all Daito-ryu practices.
2) The solo jo form
3) Kumibo and kumijo forms — two person kata
Interesting articles- all worth the readers consideration.

That Takeda was by all accounts-even those who openly did not like the man-to be the finest Martial artist they had seen or felt, and that Ueshiba was seen by many to be unbeatable..the question remains; “Just what, were they doing?”

For those who may not have read or heard of these things before:

The bodies ability to connect to itself and use the ground can allow a person to send power through themselve like a current or wave. The evidence of those who do some of these things to various degrees are everywhere in the Asian arts. You will see it in Two forms of Daito ryu; Kodokai and Sagawa dojo, in Shioda, In Aikido, and in various Chineses arts. You will even find breath work and certain body training in systema.
At the start of the 20th century you had Judo's own "Aiki judo" man- Mifune.
Then you have the references to this stuff in E.J.Harrisons book. And for those whom I upset with my unthrowable comments- read Harrisons description of the Aikijujutsu men he met who when using this "power" as he called it, could not be thrown or pushed. This including a sixth dan judo man from the old days at the kodokan. Harrison’s book was published after the war but actually written much earlier. There you have a tough Judoka witnessing things he didn't think possible.
Then we have Don Draeger and Jon Blumming encountering Wang Shu chin. Don being picked up and thrown across the room without his feet touching and bluming getting wrecked while punching wang. Then Wang doing Sumo style slams on the houses post and beam framework and both that famous karate guy and Robert Smith witnessing and writing about it.

So......we have written accounts from English speaking authors, and Japanese authors, going back to the early twentieth century claiming to have seen, or felt the same thing we are claiming here.
In every sense, Nothing new. The same training they used still available to connect the body and to increase the use of power or strength and not muscle.Old knowledge, being passed by.
Oh well.

Dan

Kodo Horikawa (Daito ryu Kodokai) doing Jo manipulation as part of many jo exercises to demonstrate kokyu and connection. The fellow at the other end of the jo is Okomot sensei Of the Roppokai. He is still alive to ask about aspects of DR Jo training in the day, and about trying to hold the other end. There is a photo of him with two guys pushing as well. The idea is to stop the push, control the pusher, then manipulate the connection.

DH
05-20-2006, 06:24 PM
I'm off to Wisconsin on business and won't be back till Wed. On the outside chance of a reply, I don't want anyone to think me rude for not responding.
Have fun campers.

Dan

tedehara
05-21-2006, 11:28 AM
I don't know what it is you're trying to say in response to the fact that the Chinese Army does fairly codified qi/ki training things, Ted. If you disagree with my position about what is happening, why not posit something substantive as an alternative? I know you disagreed in the past with the putative idea of "paths", but that would still be a good place to start looking at the physics of what is happening. If it has a physical effect, we can track it, Ted. The only no-no is breaking the principle of the conservation of energy... injecting an unknown and unaccounted-for energy simply won't work as an explanation. ;)

Regards,

MikeI've mentioned this before but only in passing. This is all psychological, or more accurately applied psychology. There have been no objective detection of energy pathways that approximate the meridians used in traditional chinese medicine (TCM).

Energy levels within the human body has shown to be relatively weak compared to mechanical or natural sources. It is unlikely that an individual can utilize these levels to overtly affect the world. Various people have tried to promote systems similar to Prana/Chi/Qi/Ki in the west, but they were constantly rejected because of the lack of objective findings.

The people who practice these internal arts are amazingly average. There doesn't seem to be any physical differences between an internal arts master and the ordinary joe. However if the potential of the internal arts were only available to few, why would most people want to study it?

Internal training is not really training; it is untraining. How many times have you messed up a technique because your consciousness got in the way? You're trying to develop pure movement that comes from mind/body coordination without any interpretation by individual consciousness.

Perhaps the real question is not how Morihei Ueshiba was able to do his ki demonstration with the jo, but why everyone else can't do. it.

Mike Sigman
05-21-2006, 11:48 AM
I've mentioned this before but only in passing. This is all psychological, or more accurately applied psychology. There have been no objective detection of energy pathways that approximate the meridians used in traditional chinese medicine (TCM).

Energy levels within the human body has shown to be relatively weak compared to mechanical or natural sources. It is unlikely that an individual can utilize these levels to overtly affect the world. Various people have tried to promote systems similar to Prana/Chi/Qi/Ki in the west, but they were constantly rejected because of the lack of objective findings. I was talking about force paths, Ted, so "energy pathways" is another discussion entirely (although there is some recent research showing that many 'acupuncture points' are related to overlapping fascial layers, if you're interested in that sort of thing). I'm saing that in any "ki test", if someone applies a force and and the testee is able to 'resist' that force, the phenomenon can immediately be described by static analysis of the forces involved. So despite anyone's personal "take" on whether it is psychology, the "Ki of the Universe", the relation of the "One Point" to "All Things", or whatever, we can begin any meaningful discussion and analysis just by looking at the forces involved, wouldn't you agree? Or do you think that "ki" phenomena defy analysis? The people who practice these internal arts are amazingly average. There doesn't seem to be any physical differences between an internal arts master and the ordinary joe. However if the potential of the internal arts were only available to few, why would most people want to study it? I dunno, Ted.... the difference between Andres Segovia and the ordinary joe didn't seem like much, but Segovia could play a mean guitar. Who'd a thunk it? What could be the difference between Segovia and ordinary people? Could it be that he trained assiduously at playing the guitar? I.e., knowing how to do these things and training them is the key element, IMO. Unless you're ascribing obtaining "ki powers" to something like the Holy Ghost entering your body? Internal training is not really training; it is untraining. How many times have you messed up a technique because your consciousness got in the way? You're trying to develop pure movement that comes from mind/body coordination without any interpretation by individual consciousness. OK.... to me you're saying that the reason Segovia was so good at the guitar was that he was so relaxed when playing. I could agree with that, but I'd have to point out that first he had to learn to play the guitar. Same way with ki-skills and doing fune-kogi-undo and other Aiki-Taiso, Ted.... if all it was had to do with "getting your consciousness out of the way", it would be pointless to practice anything to do with Aikido.
Perhaps the real question is not how Morihei Ueshiba was able to do his ki demonstration with the jo, but why everyone else can't do. it. Maybe other people (a.) don't know how to train "ki", (b.) don't work out daily like Ueshiba did (he didn't just go unconscious and gain his skills), and (c.) they don't practice, practice, practice????

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-21-2006, 12:35 PM
whoaaa! Go away for three days and look what happens! :)

Water is getting too deep for me right now! Justing letting you know I am following along for now!

tedehara
05-21-2006, 01:33 PM
I was talking about force paths, Ted, so "energy pathways" is another discussion entirely (although there is some recent research showing that many 'acupuncture points' are related to overlapping fascial layers, if you're interested in that sort of thing). I'm saing that in any "ki test", if someone applies a force and and the testee is able to 'resist' that force, the phenomenon can immediately be described by static analysis of the forces involved. So despite anyone's personal "take" on whether it is psychology, the "Ki of the Universe", the relation of the "One Point" to "All Things", or whatever, we can begin any meaningful discussion and analysis just by looking at the forces involved, wouldn't you agree? Or do you think that "ki" phenomena defy analysis? I dunno, Ted.... the difference between Andres Segovia and the ordinary joe didn't seem like much, but Segovia could play a mean guitar. Who'd a thunk it? What could be the difference between Segovia and ordinary people? Could it be that he trained assiduously at playing the guitar? I.e., knowing how to do these things and training them is the key element, IMO. Unless you're ascribing obtaining "ki powers" to something like the Holy Ghost entering your body? OK.... to me you're saying that the reason Segovia was so good at the guitar was that he was so relaxed when playing. I could agree with that, but I'd have to point out that first he had to learn to play the guitar. Same way with ki-skills and doing fune-kogi-undo and other Aiki-Taiso, Ted.... if all it was had to do with "getting your consciousness out of the way", it would be pointless to practice anything to do with Aikido. Maybe other people (a.) don't know how to train "ki", (b.) don't work out daily like Ueshiba did (he didn't just go unconscious and gain his skills), and (c.) they don't practice, practice, practice????

Regards,

Mike
Unless you can set-up a complex instrumentation that can measure forces within a body, I think any discussion on pathways of energy vectors is futile. I can say that if uke grabs your wrist and pushes, you're suppose to think of the energy as going straight down from the point of contact to the center of the earth, according to the Ki Society. Notice they no longer recommend thinking the force as disappearing into the one point/centre, or towards the body at all. That is because they observed people receiving the power by using that imagery.

I think your discussion of Koichi Tohei's use of energy pathways as interesting, but diametrically opposed to what K. Tohei is trying to do. He is not a big theorist and has mostly adapted his theories from his teachers - M. Ueshiba, T. Nakamura and T. Ogura. He is a teacher who is trying to get correct results from his students.

I don't think there is any one individual who completely understands the modern car. Fuel injection alone, uses chip technology and demands knowledge of electrical engineering. Yet there are millions of cars in the world today along with their drivers. Fortunately, knowing how to drive does not necessitate complete knowledge of the vehicle.

K. Tohei is like a driving instructor. He doesn't need to teach electrical engineering to have the student put in the key and start the ignition. His instruction is mostly concrete, simple and direct.

There is a Japanese word "geta" which has no English equivalent. It means taking theoretical knowledge and bringing it down into daily practice. That is the area that K. Tohei excels in, IMHO.

To continue the auto analogy, your internal arts master is like a pro race driver in a stock car while your average joe/jane is an ordinary driver in a regular car. On the highway, there would be no large difference between drivers, but on a NASCAR track the difference would be huge. Although they could be driving identical cars, it is their training that makes the difference.

Similarly, the internal martial artist is not physically different than anyone else, but their mind is different because of their training. Because their mind is different, they can use their body differently. Now we all know there are personal limits to training the human body, but what are the limits to training the mind?

Mike Sigman
05-21-2006, 01:45 PM
Cutting to the Chase:
Unless you can set-up a complex instrumentation that can measure forces within a body, I think any discussion on pathways of energy vectors is futile. I can say that if uke grabs your wrist and pushes, you're suppose to think of the energy as going straight down from the point of contact to the center of the earth, according to the Ki Society. It's easier than that, Ted. You grab my wrist. Assuming you apply a force in some direction, we can both quickly agree exactly which direction your force is moving.... no sweat. You must be getting a purchase on the floor, the walls, or someplace because if you didn't have any purchase you'd move away just by the impetus of your own force. So let's say you're pushing off the floor in some direction as the basis for the force you're applying to my wrist. We can determine that pretty quickly, also. My response and my purchase to the floor can be determined to a reasonable level pretty quickly, also. We can fairly easily draw a general force-diagram with beginning, ending, and resultant paths. We'll just rough it out, but it'll be close enough.

Then, if you can't move me or bend my elbow or whatever, we can determine roughly how much forces are involved and decide whether they are some mysterious force from the universe unknown or whether we can begin to pinpoint how this force is being generated. I'll be more than happy to do it with you, Ted. And you can use your no-mind or whatever to conjure up your forces and I'll use my fairly pragmatic approach. I'll bet we could come to some sort of agreement or consensus that can easily be described using the known terminology of western science and technologies.

Regards,

Mike

Talon
05-21-2006, 01:53 PM
I'm sorry but this is way beyond me. A physical force in one direction (a force with a vector) is a force in that direction. I really don't see how someone who is receiving that force just imagine that its in a different direction (towards the ground for instance) and actually do anything. If I'm pushing, running, waking south and run into you how can you redirect my motion to north for instance just by thinking about it. This is a phenomenon that makes absoultely no logical sense to me. Again this makes sense to me only if the person doing the pushing is brainwashed or hypnotized by the person who is redirecting it. Therfore the person pushing, is really not pushing in the direction they think they are, just thinking or believing that he/she is pushing and there is no physial force at all.

If you push against something in some direction, the object has to push back with the same force and opposite firection to keep from moving. If I push on something and it pushed back at a different direction, there will be movement either I will push it over to the way I'm pushing or it will push me over to the way its pushing, but typiclaly it will be a combination of the two and we both will move in a combined direction of the two forces/directions. Does that make sense?

senshincenter
05-21-2006, 05:04 PM
True, but a force in a given direction can always be altered. This is at the bottom of all Aikido waza - at both the gross (i.e. architectural) and subtle (i.e. kokyu) levels. In short, we change the direction of a force in Aikido all of the time - no matter what our skill level. We do not have to keep a force on its given vector and treat it thusly or not at all.

I think a tendency for some folks is to think too abstractly - even on the side of folks that are attempting to think scientifically. When this happens, a person tends to think only in terms of one or two levers and/or only one or two vectors - both of which are supposed to capture the totality of what uke and nage are doing. This will always lead one astray - all the while making everything look sound in terms of reason. Rather, I think one has to think more concretely - in particular, I think one has to think anatomically. This will allow one to note that because of the structure of the human body one is obviously talking about many levers and many vectors whenever one is attempting to delineate either a pushing or pulling energy - even when that energy is transversing across only one plane. In this case, a push toward the body, which is itself made up of many levers and vectors, can be aimed or absorbed downwardly because the body being pushed has many levers at its disposal, levers that can work at an anatomical level to redirect force (e.g. a push or a pull) one way over another - each lever doing a bit of the task of redirecting, etc. There are many examples of this in both the natural (e.g. a river in a rocky canyon) and cultural world (e.g. pinball). Additionally, one has to remember that the initial push or pull, being itself made up of many levers and vectors, exists because of the original relationship it has or is trying to have with the levers and vectors found in the object/body it is pushing. This means, that as the body of the pushed is being reorganized to redirect the original pushing energy downward, the pushing energy is subsequently losing its structural integrity as it is having to relate to changing/adapting levers and vectors - levers and vectors that now do not so easily allow the original push to be defined as a "push." In other words, in a codependent system (e.g. the human body, the physical universe), once you change one factor, you change the whole. As you reorganize your own body for redirecting a force, you simultaneously reorganize that force. Tactically, this most often means, "you get stronger, they get weaker."

In my opinion, joining with others here, it is not the case that one imagines and then "presto," a force is redirected. This is not a matter of "think about it and then it will come." However, at the level of practice, (what I will call) the micro-management of all of the body's relevant levers are often more easily processed for redirecting a force via tools like the imagination (thought imagery, etc.) than they are via tools like intellectually grounded diagrams. In my experience, this is because many of the levers involved are often not under our conscious control (for many folks) and also because many of the levers involved are very subject to psychological (i.e. mental, emotional, spiritual) influences. Nevertheless, the fact that we can use our imagination and/or various types of thought imagery does not mean that the use of such levers is para-normal and/or beyond scientific truth - that it is not open to intellectually grounded diagrams. Additionally, the fact that we all have an imagination does not mean that we can all "just imagine" our way into the correct anatomical positioning for redirecting energy one way over another.

Mike Sigman
05-21-2006, 05:14 PM
True, but a force in a given direction can always be altered. I agree with Paul... you cannot "redirect" or "alter" a force going in one direction to another. Uke's force is uke's force... although there are ways to manage his force.

I think Ted was perhaps suggesting a visualization that helps trigger your own body into correctly *handling* an incoming force in a passive manner, not actively leveraging or whatever the incoming force. If Uke presents a force with a horizontal and vertical component you have to be able to deal with those components... they don't go away. I.e., you may *think* you have taken his incoming mainly-horizontal force and "converted" it into a vertical force going to the center of the earth, but trust me, you'd better have a good coefficient of friction at the sole of your foot.

Granted, there are some tricks of kokyu manipulation, but frankly I get tired of saying the same things over and over, so I'll relent this time. ;^)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

senshincenter
05-21-2006, 05:58 PM
Is deflection not possible then? For me it is, and "deflection" would mean that we can redirect or alter a given force. That is where I was coming from.

Maybe you can explain the difference you are wishing to make between what I said and what you said throughout the thread, e.g. "So the *trick* is that Tohei redirects forces and that can be taught fairly quickly, in a rudimentay fashion to most beginners."

Mike Sigman
05-21-2006, 06:12 PM
Maybe you can explain the difference you are wishing to make between what I said and what you said throughout the thread, e.g. "So the *trick* is that Tohei redirects forces and that can be taught fairly quickly, in a rudimentay fashion to most beginners."Tohei redirects his own forces or sources them from where he wants and directs them where he wants.... but he is dealing with his own mind/body ability to manipulate forces, not manipulating Uke's force.

Regards,

Mike

senshincenter
05-21-2006, 06:22 PM
Thanks Mike for the reply.

mathewjgano
05-21-2006, 06:55 PM
...but he is dealing with his own mind/body ability to manipulate forces, not manipulating Uke's force.

Are you talking about absorbing uke's force into the body of nage? The term "manipulate" which can mean simply "affect change" would seem to work in describing any willfull directing of uke's efforts (a change in vector is a change in force, since "force" is a vector quantity...as I recall anyway...physics class was a while ago).
Take care,
Matt

Mike Sigman
05-21-2006, 08:16 PM
Are you talking about absorbing uke's force into the body of nage? The term "manipulate" which can mean simply "affect change" would seem to work in describing any willfull directing of uke's efforts (a change in vector is a change in force, since "force" is a vector quantity...as I recall anyway...physics class was a while ago).Hmmmmm. I'm trying to think of a simple (but limited; not complete) example to given an idea. OK, think of this. Uke is attacking with his fist straight out what he thinks is a 4'x8' sheet of plywood (representing Nage, in this limited example) directly facing Uke so that he is coming straight in the plywood. But let's say that the plywood, even though it looks square-on to Uke, is actually tilted with the bottom of the plywood somewhat closer to Uke than the top. The fist hits and Uke is bounced back and upward to a large part due to his own forces. We could angle the plywood (but Uke can only see the plywood as facing directly at him) downward and Uke's own force will help knock him downward. We could tilt the plywood to the side, etc.

In the examples, Uke's force is what it is, but Nage's force is other than what it appears. So Uke's force is not changed, it is added to ("aiki"). This is what Shioda, Sunadomari, and others do when they are showing what they consider the heart of "Aiki". One technique is all techniques.

My 2 cents.

Mike

senshincenter
05-21-2006, 08:31 PM
Mike,

This sounds a lot like deflection to me. I'm assuming you want to make a distinction here (for good reason I'm guessing), so I'm wondering why you would say that uke's force has remained the same (i.e. "you cannot 'redirect' or 'alter' a force going in one direction to another") when it fact it has been deflected, manipulated, and redirected (i.e. back and upward from straight forward).

Right now, it seems that you are saying it can be redirected and/or altered, etc., but that from uke's subjective point of view it is not. As you can imagine, I was not trying to speak about uke's subjective point of view, since I didn't think that Paul was either. I was trying to speak from the point of view of uke's force being, for example, bounced back and upward (i.e. altered).

If you get a chance, and wouldn't mind too much, perhaps you can point out why it is not in one's interest (in terms of understanding) to say that uke's force can be altered but that it is in one's interest to say that uke's force can be bounced back and upward. I'm imagining your experience with teaching this stuff has led you one way and not another and that this is behind your misgivings concerning the words "alter" and/or "redirect."

Thanks in advance,
dmv

Mike Sigman
05-21-2006, 09:12 PM
This sounds a lot like deflection to me. I'm assuming you want to make a distinction here (for good reason I'm guessing), so I'm wondering why you would say that uke's force has remained the same (i.e. "you cannot 'redirect' or 'alter' a force going in one direction to another") when it fact it has been deflected, manipulated, and redirected (i.e. back and upward from straight forward). There's a distinction in physics, David. I cannot "alter" the incoming force itself; it is what it is. I can do vector addition to the force to change the resultant ("deflection" would be one of those ways of addition), but I cannot alter his original force (like making it into a vertical force when it was a horizontal force). All I can do is add or subtract. It seems like a convoluted distinction, but you have to be accurate when you describe forces. The forces Uke gives are the forces he gives; I "aiki" by adding to his forces, not by "changing" them... because they are what they are.Right now, it seems that you are saying it can be redirected and/or altered, etc., but that from uke's subjective point of view it is not. As you can imagine, I was not trying to speak about uke's subjective point of view, since I didn't think that Paul was either. I was trying to speak from the point of view of uke's force being, for example, bounced back and upward (i.e. altered). We're getting mired in semantics, David. If you understand how to manipulation of your own forces is done, this would be a good time to drop the semantics and contribute in that way. ;) If you get a chance, and wouldn't mind too much, perhaps you can point out why it is not in one's interest (in terms of understanding) to say that uke's force can be altered but that it is in one's interest to say that uke's force can be bounced back and upward. I'm imagining your experience with teaching this stuff has led you one way and not another and that this is behind your misgivings concerning the words "alter" and/or "redirect." You cannot "alter" Uke's force because it is what it is; you can only do vector addition to it. That's all I mean. The three-dimensional components of the original force do not disappear. ;)

Maybe this video clip I showed before will help in the visualization. Uke pushes; Nage adds to the push in a simple way and has the "internal strength" to add a bit more oomph to it. In no way is Uke's force from Uke "altered"... it is responded to with vector addition because Nage has the ability to generate forces in the direction he chooses from the part of the body he chooses. I hope that makes it clear what I meant, despite the semantics.

Regards,

Mike

Upyu
05-21-2006, 10:21 PM
All I can do is add or subtract.

I forget where I heard it, but some tatsujin at one time or another said, "everyone thinks this is about using more power, more energy etc etc. It doesn't work that way. On contact ,you simply subtract 100%<absorb the oncoming energy> then apply 20% of your own, but in a concentrated,coordinated manner."
The stuff he was talking about wasn't applying to external vector/deflection either, but rather the force vectors created "inside" your body (naibu no ugoki内部の動き).

senshincenter
05-21-2006, 10:35 PM
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply. This makes sense - as does your call for accuracy in terms of terminology. I suppose that I was using the word "alter" in a less than scientific manner then (and perhaps, unknowingly, too ambiguously) - trying to refer to what you are calling "vector addition." I see your point but I would still tend to equate "vector addition" with the common sense term, "redirect."

again, thanks,
d

Talon
05-22-2006, 12:30 AM
Today I showed a couple of my engineer buddies a couple tricks. One being the unbendable arm the second being the unliftable body. Anyone can do them. I asked them to grab me by my forearms, stiffened up, thought of being light, and they lifted me no problem. I then repeated the same thing but relaxed and though that I was rooted to the ground and they could not lift me. You should have seen their faces. I got them to try it too and it worked the same way for them when being the person being lifted. Being the analytical people that they are, they had an answer why it works. They said that although they were totally unaware that the mind can work in this way and were totally blown away, it was pretty simple why they could not lift me. They said that when I stiffened up and though up I allowed my center of gravity (CG) to be lifted striaght up. When they tried again with me relaxed my body naturally started shifting the CG forward or back making it impossible for them to balance me and apply an upward force of enough significance that they could lift me. This makes a lot of sence to me and to them. As I said it opened their minds a lot about what is possible and how the human brain can naturally allow the appropriate mussles to do the proper thing and proper shifting.

We then started to discuss the Jo-trick and how that could be done. Unfortunately with our understanding of physics, the only thing we came up with is that its impossible to do. If you hold the jo out 4 feet and have a guy apply 100lb force to the end of the jo, horizontally. The Uke's wrist must withstand 400 ft/lb of torque acting on it. If the wrist is locked and for the sake of argument locked in place about a foot from the Uke's CG the torque on the CG is about 500 ft/lbs. That is a maximum torque of a V10 Dodge Viper engine. How exactly can a human body counteract a torque like that. As I said before, I must see it and feel it to believe it.

For the ones that claim they can do the Jo trick, will you be at any seminars near Alberta, Canada in the near future? i will surely take a drive to wherever you are just to experience this unmovable jo...

MM
05-22-2006, 06:18 AM
We then started to discuss the Jo-trick and how that could be done. Unfortunately with our understanding of physics, the only thing we came up with is that its impossible to do. If you hold the jo out 4 feet and have a guy apply 100lb force to the end of the jo, horizontally. The Uke's wrist must withstand 400 ft/lb of torque acting on it. If the wrist is locked and for the sake of argument locked in place about a foot from the Uke's CG the torque on the CG is about 500 ft/lbs. That is a maximum torque of a V10 Dodge Viper engine. How exactly can a human body counteract a torque like that. As I said before, I must see it and feel it to believe it.


Let's apply a test to your basic force and vector physics. The test is a basic hand shake.

Find someone proficient in Aikido who is small and not muscular. Then find an uke who is very muscular with great hand strength. Have them shake hands and let uke apply an iron grip until tori taps from discomfort and/or pain. So, the full force of uke's hand directly applies to tori's hand and tori feels it.

Now, for the test. Go back to the handshake, but this time, as uke squeezes, let tori shift his/her weight through the handshake and through uke's center. Load weight onto uke (or however you describe it). Do this in a relaxed, slight manner. Now, uke can squeeze all he/she wants and nothing happens to tori's hand. I've had weight lifters try this on me and their face actually turns red from their attempts to squeeze my hand. Uke feels as if they are squeezing with 110% of their muscles. Tori feels nothing. Why? Because the force of their strength is neutralized, redirected, altered, whatever you want to call it. You can physically see it happen because uke's shoulders will rise upwards.

It's a silly little thing to do and can be taught to anyone. What it teaches you, though, is that things aren't always as perceived. Uke believes that he/she is using 100% of their strength and force. If you ask them afterwards (but before you explain), they will tell you that they were squeezing with everything they had. But, in reality, you've changed the dynamics such that they aren't utilizing their full force.

I don't do the "jo trick" and haven't ever tried. But, maybe the above example can help you understand that there are *rarely* any situations that involve just basic force and vector physics in relation to Aikido and humans. :) So, your analyzation of the jo and 400-500 ft/lb of torque isn't applicable.

Hope that helps,
Mark

Mike Sigman
05-22-2006, 11:23 AM
Really good points, Mark, and perceptive.

I agree that I don't like Paul's analysis, but that's mainly because even with the jo being held obviously low by Ueshiba, Paul attributes a "horizontal force" and even with Uke obviously doing a great deal of faking, Paul says "100 pounds". I think Paul may be long on math skills and short on observational skills. ;) C'mon, Paul. For some reason there is a tendency in everyone "analysing the jo trick" to attribute extreme values to force, torque, etc., instead of of more moderate values. Get up against a wall sometime, hold a set of bathroom scales to your chest and watch as your partner tries to apply 100 pounds of force.

Mark, what you pointed out was good and it's a central element of the start to jin/kokyu manipulation. However, because of the odd position Ueshiba is in with the jo, it's very hard for him to do more than a very elementary attempt at manipulating Uke's push. So the focus on withstanding torque is fairly important here.... Ueshiba is showing how strong his ki/qi "sheeting" is, as far as I see it.

Regards,

Mike

Talon
05-22-2006, 11:28 AM
I have never tried the hand shake example that you mentioned above and don't know anyone that has. Perhaps I can try it, but I'd like a little better description of what I should be concentrating on and doing. In any event, we are both basically saying the same thing I guess. I have been saying this in my pervious posts. The Uke maybe feels and believes that they are pushing on the jo, but they really arent. If they were, there is too much of a mechanical advantage for the tori to overcome. This goes back to my theory that this trick is done by the tori somehow brainwashing or hypnotizing the uke in believeing that they are pushing real hard when they are really not. Please let me know if I'm full of it...

Talon
05-22-2006, 11:32 AM
Mike, when I said that assumed 100lb of force I wasnt refferring to that particular video clip of Ueshiba and 1 uke. He has performed the same trick with two and three ukes in the past. I don't believe 100 lb of force is so huge if one, two or three ukes were really trying to push on the jo. Now if we start assuming that there is some faking going on, then why even discuss this trick. If the uke fakes it then anyone can do it and there is no point in this discussion.

I hear from people on this forum (Dan for instance) that they can do the Jo trick while the ukes are sincerely pushing. If thats the case I want to know how. If they say, well the fake it. Then I say ok thats the answer that I can understand and believe.

senshincenter
05-22-2006, 11:46 AM
I think early on it was suggested that the trick was an exaggeration (see post #9) of sorts. Mike is here saying "obviously faking." Etc. Additionally, we have a quote from one of the pushers of said demonstration (i.e. same trick, with osensei, different folks pushing, different time, different location) outright saying that he was not in reality pushing all that hard - and that that had a lot to do with the trick "working" (i.e. working as it appeared).

I think of brainwashing as something else. I do not think that the skill here is of folks being led to believe they are pushing when in fact they are not - though there is obviously some redirection, etc., going on. This is not a trick of that kind of subconscious deception. If it was, said pusher would not have said what he was saying. Rather, in his statement, he is fully aware that he is not pushing all that hard, and even that he was appearing to push harder than he was. Sometimes exaggeration is just that - exaggeration. The exaggeration, in this case, in my opinion, comes from a cultural component (i.e. the pressure to make one's teacher/founder look "good" during demonstrations). This is in fact how the above mentioned pusher explains his level of exaggeration.

Mike Sigman
05-22-2006, 11:48 AM
Mike, when I said that assumed 100lb of force I wasnt refferring to that particular video clip of Ueshiba and 1 uke. He has performed the same trick with two and three ukes in the past. I don't believe 100 lb of force is so huge if one, two or three ukes were really trying to push on the jo. Now if we start assuming that there is some faking going on, then why even discuss this trick. If the uke fakes it then anyone can do it and there is no point in this discussion. That is the point I have tried to make numerous times to people who call for a video clip of someone "doing the jo trick". Since Ueshiba cannot maintain the jo truly in any example that I have seen then the jo-trick is not really viable. It makes a good point... but he never quite pulls it off. Yet people still "want to see it". There is some sort of disconnect going on. I hear from people on this forum (Dan for instance) that they can do the Jo trick while the ukes are sincerely pushing. If thats the case I want to know how. If they say, well the fake it. Then I say ok thats the answer that I can understand and believe. OK, I make the public bet right here that I, by myself, can easily move anyone trying to do the "jo trick" against my push. In fact, I can move anyone with a good root just letting me push against their chest. Probably, I can do it with just 2 fingers. But I know what I'm doing, so I can futz with 'em. Regardless, I'm still enough of a thinker to be able to see the value in why a good root, a solid path to the ground (for hitting or rooting) are valuable, particularly for women and smaller-framed individuals. These things can have great value and they are what give arts like Aikido, etc., the edge, IF people know how to use them.

My 2 cents.

Mike

MM
05-22-2006, 11:50 AM
Really good points, Mark, and perceptive.


Thanks Mike, but the credit goes to one of my sensei who taught me. :)


Mark, what you pointed out was good and it's a central element of the start to jin/kokyu manipulation. However, because of the odd position Ueshiba is in with the jo, it's very hard for him to do more than a very elementary attempt at manipulating Uke's push. So the focus on withstanding torque is fairly important here.... Ueshiba is showing how strong his ki/qi "sheeting" is, as far as I see it.

Regards,
Mike

Haven't done the "jo trick", so I only have theories. What if Ueshiba is using two sets of "internal" practices with the jo? What if he's using the handshake example stuff to alleviate the force from the uke(s), while also grounding himself firmly to set up a vector to keep the jo in place (otherwise the jo probably would move somewhat in some direction). Yin and Yang? One to keep the jo in place and one to "neutralize" the force from ukes? Maybe I'll play around with that sometime. :)

Mark

Talon
05-22-2006, 12:19 PM
Great discussion guys. I can live with what you guys are saying. The Jo tirck in my mind, therefore is not possible to do the way some led us to believe that it was being done.

Mike Sigman
05-22-2006, 12:44 PM
Great discussion guys. I can live with what you guys are saying. The Jo tirck in my mind, therefore is not possible to do the way some led us to believe that it was being done.Wait.... I agree that the jo-trick, LIKE A LOT OF AIKIDO THROWS AT A LOT OF DOJO'S, was over-acted and uke(s) were too cooperative. But don't throw the baby out with the bath-water. There's some real truth that is important in the demonstration rather than a casual dismissal of "Oh, it wasn't real".

Regards,

Mike

statisticool
05-22-2006, 08:59 PM
As far as force vectors, etc., they're not really a big deal, or anything new, so I'm not sure why all the hype.

A book I have from 1960 called 'The Secrets of Judo', has examples of such vectors.

Mike Sigman
05-22-2006, 09:08 PM
As far as force vectors, etc., they're not really a big deal, or anything new, so I'm not sure why all the hype.

A book I have from 1960 called 'The Secrets of Judo', has examples of such vectors.Well great, Justin!!! Instead of just throwing in sporadic negative and dampening posts, then now you can explain to us how force-vectors are manipulated and used... without moving... in "aiki". You wanted to be noticed and now you're noticed. The podium is all yours. Who's your teacher, BTW?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Gary David
05-22-2006, 09:26 PM
Mike
Just some adds here, when I was taught to use the jo by my original instructor (Harry Ishisaka) back in the 70's he added rotational force around the center axis of the jo when grabbed causing the person grabbing to spend some effort in dealing with that as well as the movement along the axis. The grabbing person never seem to realize this is happening. Another friend of mind who worked at the "jo trick" some back in those days also said that for it to work you needed to get those pushing to push back along the center line of the jo rather than across the center line. He felt you needed to accomplish this without the pushers knowing that they were pushing down the axis rather than across it. Never played with the jo trick myself.

Gary Welborn

statisticool
05-23-2006, 04:13 AM
You wanted to be noticed and now you're noticed. The podium is all yours. Who's your teacher, BTW?


I just pointed out the book.

Read it if you'd like.

Cheers.

Upyu
05-23-2006, 05:50 AM
As far as force vectors, etc., they're not really a big deal, or anything new, so I'm not sure why all the hype.


Force vectors aren't a big deal by themselves. But "how" you generate them is. It's kinda surprising how many people out there "think" they're using their whole body to generate the "force", when in reality they aren't. That's really what's at the heart of the matter. ;)

Gernot Hassenpflug
05-23-2006, 10:52 AM
Force vectors aren't a big deal by themselves. But "how" you generate them is. It's kinda surprising how many people out there "think" they're using their whole body to generate the "force", when in reality they aren't. That's really what's at the heart of the matter. ;)
Hi Rob, yes, doing the various simple exercises (like Shiko, now!) gives me much greater understanding of what is going on in my body than before. A lot of that realization comes from the increased and maintained tension for exercise-sake. I note that although all of this is real and good for improvement, in no way is it real ki and real aiki strength yet. It is far too easy to deceive oneself into thinking something is the real thing when it is only a precursor or a side-effect... the ideas of force manipulation naturally lead to ideas of levers and muscle pairs and so on, which should not be confused with the much more sophisticated methods that are available through different mental metaphors. The strengthening that results from any particular method or idea of training is good though, as an additive to the list of power-producing components we have available.

Cheers, Gernot

Gernot Hassenpflug
05-23-2006, 11:14 AM
I agree with Paul... you cannot "redirect" or "alter" a force going in one direction to another. Uke's force is uke's force... although there are ways to manage his force.

/../ If Uke presents a force with a horizontal and vertical component you have to be able to deal with those components... they don't go away. I.e., you may *think* you have taken his incoming mainly-horizontal force and "converted" it into a vertical force going to the center of the earth, but trust me, you'd better have a good coefficient of friction at the sole of your foot.

Hi Mike, we can decompose any force into 3 perpendicular components aligned with gravity and in the plane perpendicular to gravity (horizontal plane). Any other coordinate system too, of course. So let us ignore the component of uke's force in line with gravity, because we assume he cannot crumple our supporting structure in that direction - if he can, we have bigger problems :-)

So we are left with the horizontal plane component. We assume this vector is directed at our center, for argument's sake (no matter at what height). Then there are basically two counter-forces that necessarily exist: one is a perpendicular force (vertical) that keeps us upright against the force, and the second is a parallel (horizontal) force at ground level that keeps us from sliding away.

Now those basic forces do not have to appear in a line like that, but can be broken down mupltiple times into subcomponents which when drawn as subvectors appear as a complex curve going through the body, up/down,back/front, left/right.

The way the forces are broken down into subcomponents must be related to a) the available transmitters in any region, b) the mind control deciding to use a certain set of these. But looked at abstractly, the vectors can appear to move straight from ground to center to the extremities, for instance. Even more abstractly, they will move straight from the ground to the extremity, not even needing to go through the center -- the center is also a didactic tool, no?

Cheers, Gernot

Mike Sigman
05-23-2006, 11:36 AM
So we are left with the horizontal plane component. We assume this vector is directed at our center, for argument's sake (no matter at what height). Then there are basically two counter-forces that necessarily exist: one is a perpendicular force (vertical) that keeps us upright against the force, and the second is a parallel (horizontal) force at ground level that keeps us from sliding away. Well, I would resist trying to put the forces TOO simply, but generally, without cavilling, I don't have a problem with what you're saying. Now those basic forces do not have to appear in a line like that, but can be broken down mupltiple times into subcomponents which when drawn as subvectors appear as a complex curve going through the body, up/down,back/front, left/right.

The way the forces are broken down into subcomponents must be related to a) the available transmitters in any region, b) the mind control deciding to use a certain set of these. But looked at abstractly, the vectors can appear to move straight from ground to center to the extremities, for instance. Even more abstractly, they will move straight from the ground to the extremity, not even needing to go through the center -- the center is also a didactic tool, no?The "center" can be thought of as more of an explicative than a didactic, but regardless, it shouldn't be much of an issue. It should be noted though that we can generate force vectors from the ground that do NOT have to go through the center, BTW.

In a way, a lot of these kokyu/jin/vector problems can be simplified by doing a static analysis and tossing out the forces of balance, etc., which are not illustrative of the forces focused between Uke and Nage. Usually, I can use only 2 arrows/vectors in a diagram, sometimes showing both the side-view and the overhead view to make things clearer, to explain what happens when Uke attacks with a force and Nage responds with a deliberate manipulation of forces. So all the planar considerations and other extraneous factors can be avoided by the use of straightforward illustrations that just deal with "incoming force" and "manipulated response" and "resultant conclusion of the forces".

Regards,

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
05-23-2006, 11:52 AM
/../ The "center" can be thought of as more of an explicative than a didactic, but regardless, it shouldn't be much of an issue. It should be noted though that we can generate force vectors from the ground that do NOT have to go through the center, BTW.

Hi Mike, maybe my brain is shutting down because its almost 3AM here, but what do you mean? :-) Here is what I envisage from what you wrote: any force that travels from the ground to below the center, leaving out the question of balance relying on the rest of the body actually being there, such as any push made by straightening components below the center rather than bending them (which would use the center sinking with gravity as power generator). So if uke is touching below your center, you can do this. I guess I did not follow...!

In a way, a lot of these kokyu/jin/vector problems can be simplified by doing a static analysis and tossing out the forces of balance, etc., which are not illustrative of the forces focused between Uke and Nage.

Aha, that makes sense to me as "step 2" in what Rob quoted earlier about first subtracting 100% of uke's force and then applying 20% of one's own in a concentrated fashion. In my current practice, I spend so much time and effort on getting "step 1" though, in order that the result is amenable to a static analysis at all :-)

Regards, Gernot

Mike Sigman
05-23-2006, 12:05 PM
(About not having to have a force go through the hara)Hi Mike, maybe my brain is shutting down because its almost 3AM here, but what do you mean? :-) Hi Gernot:

Well, look again at the Yiquan guy doing a clear example of a ground-path force from the ground and out his thigh/quadriceps when Uke pushes on the thigh. That should give you an idea of that whereof I speak. ;) Aha, that makes sense to me as "step 2" in what Rob quoted earlier about first subtracting 100% of uke's force and then applying 20% of one's own in a concentrated fashion. In my current practice, I spend so much time and effort on getting "step 1" though, in order that the result is amenable to a static analysis at all :-) First people have to learn to "ground" an incoming force. Then they can learn to manipulate; manipulation can get very complex and interesting. I think my order of learning would be:
(1.) learning to take forces to the ground and to generate forces straight from the ground (and weight).

(2.) learning how to move the body using forces from the ground and the weight.

(3.) learning the cute ways to manipulate the forces with the mind.

(4.) Strengthening the forces so that they become more than just playthings and cute "demo's".

Regards,

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
05-23-2006, 12:13 PM
Hi Gernot:
First people have to learn to "ground" an incoming force. Then they can learn to manipulate; manipulation can get very complex and interesting. I think my order of learning would be /../

Thanks Mike, and I am quite happy to proof-read the rest of your book also :-) Good night from this end, Gernot

tedehara
05-26-2006, 02:32 AM
Cutting to the Chase:
It's easier than that, Ted. You grab my wrist. Assuming you apply a force in some direction, we can both quickly agree exactly which direction your force is moving.... no sweat. You must be getting a purchase on the floor, the walls, or someplace because if you didn't have any purchase you'd move away just by the impetus of your own force. So let's say you're pushing off the floor in some direction as the basis for the force you're applying to my wrist. We can determine that pretty quickly, also. My response and my purchase to the floor can be determined to a reasonable level pretty quickly, also. We can fairly easily draw a general force-diagram with beginning, ending, and resultant paths. We'll just rough it out, but it'll be close enough.

Then, if you can't move me or bend my elbow or whatever, we can determine roughly how much forces are involved and decide whether they are some mysterious force from the universe unknown or whether we can begin to pinpoint how this force is being generated. I'll be more than happy to do it with you, Ted. And you can use your no-mind or whatever to conjure up your forces and I'll use my fairly pragmatic approach. I'll bet we could come to some sort of agreement or consensus that can easily be described using the known terminology of western science and technologies.

Regards,

Mike
I'm sure we could come up with a descriptive depiction of how the force is transfered through the body to the floor. Yet this is not even 1/10th of what is really happening. Demonstrations like this aren't really showing anything physical, but they are showing how an individual can control their own mind to have their body do things that aren't normally done. It is the mind that leads the body.

The demonstrator is more physically stable than the normal person. Yet trucks and bullets will not bounce off him. Stuff an elevator full of internal martial artists and have them do "unliftable body". Then press the button marked "3" and you can all exit on the third floor, just as if they were normal folks.

Like the zen adage of the finger pointing to the moon, the pointing finger is not important. It is only a guide to lead the student to look at the moon. These physical demonstrations are not really significant. The state of the demonstrator's mind is what should be examined.

These demonstrations are not done passively. It is like the advice: Meditate as if your hair were on fire! The physical component may appear passive, but the subjective psychology is very active. In the end, it is not about force vectors or manipulating some mysterious energy. It is about using your mind and body. It is about being human.

Mike Sigman
05-26-2006, 05:52 AM
I'm sure we could come up with a descriptive depiction of how the force is transfered through the body to the floor. Yet this is not even 1/10th of what is really happening. Demonstrations like this aren't really showing anything physical, but they are showing how an individual can control their own mind to have their body do things that aren't normally done. It is the mind that leads the body.I understand what you're saying, Ted, but while there is a part of me that agrees there are 'unusual' phenomena sometimes involved, ultimately none of it is incommunicable... at least in a general descriptive sense.

What I've tried to tell you is that if you will at least get your foot (or mind) in the door with a general analysis, you'd be surprised at how far you can go in understanding these things. Yesterday, during my practice, I swept forces around my body in a circle with just my mind controlling what I was doing. Sounds mysterious. Most people don't know what I mean by that and without training, very few people could do it. It could be a source of pride and mystery... except, unfortunately, my mind is too clinical and analytical and I have yet to convince myself that anything I can do is beyond the abilities of a lot of other people. And nothing that I can do is beyond the capacity of some good solid analysis. My suggestion is that instead of resisting analysis like it is the "Dark Side of the Force", you should try it. My perception is that I have always learned so much more by analyzing what is going on.

A teacher of mine pointed out that "these things are very deep". What he meant is that at each step where you "understand" and you've got a good grip of the skills involved, suddenly another layer opens up. And all of these skills form a logic... they're not haphazard occurrences. The beauty of the logic and how it fits into the Chinese Yin-Yang cosmology (which the Japanese also used) really bothers me sometimes because it is so complete. I can see why there was a quasi-religious reverence for the "harmony" of the logic and actions of the universe.

Another important point is that there is sort of an unspoken IQ test from many teachers to their students. Somewhat along the lines of "steal this technique..... if you can figure it out". I've had things showed to me *once* with the comment, "understand?". I.e., it was up to me to understand how something worked, but it's an understanding that has more than just a "feeling" to it... there is an understanding of the body mechanics. If you deny there are body mechanics to these things, then you are limiting yourself and refusing to open the door that leads you further.

Pick some ki demonstration sometime and let's see how far we can analyze it. Sure, the "mind" is involved... but the mind is involved in everything we do. It's a thicket of choices of what to do, what not to do, what factors are valid, which ones are needless distractions, etc. You have to be able to pick the right way, yourself.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die". -- 'Roy Blatty' in "Bladerunner"

DH
05-26-2006, 06:54 AM
Mr. Ehara

One thing you said and I found worthy of note is- "The mind moves the body." This is a foundational truth that clarifies things on many levels.

Some who still do not understand the discussion equate the relevance of internal training to "demonstrations." One of the arguments is that internal training is exemplified as exercises without validity in rapid interchange. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Since the mind does move the body in many things it is worthy of note. It is also worthy of note that your body does many things on its own through reflex, sometimes with nerve signals transfer firing one to another and not reaching the brain. But that for another day. With the Mind/body model I find no difference in control/timing or reaction timing between the two. Just the choice of what TO...do.

External
How does a boxer strike? Happenstance? Hardly.
Just what is it, in his past, that causes him to launch the way he does? How is it that he can do so in rapid response to another’s efforts, seemingly without thought? He does so through training on a bag to learn to hit. Training that includes ways to align his body in certain ways for balance and power delivery. While these methods are different than an internal strike-they are trained methods and alignment none-the-less. Without that training, the boxer suffers.
Why is it, that we have boxers of the same size and one has heavier hands and greater knockout power than the other?

The mind leads the body through conditioning for specific skill sets. A sprawl for an example to a leg takedown and knee to the head. How could it happen so quickly? Did the mind stop...consider the input, think about alternatives and then move slowly? No. Through conditioned response to repetitive training the body acts almost instantaneously. That your quads, and lats fire and your biceps flex to hold someone back is a given. That you change them and your balance to drive is a mind controlled bodily reaction.


Internal training

Why is it that you believe the body cannot be trained to do the same thing with conditioning in the internal method? If someone trains everyday to connect their body they therefore move naturally without much added thought. The structure is there. In the case of response in a free moving engagement-that person can and will move as freely and naturally as any other. As with the boxing example above an internal striker will also train on a bag, to align his body, and learn to retain balance. He will also be faced with a blending of both internal and external means. an advantage over external only. But in the end the "conditioning" is no different in that it is a learned framework and response for your body.
That they may choose to place their attention differently by using their bodies in a fashion they have trained to use it in- places the “idea” of that capability as a model in the same vein as any other art or sport.

Using your model- should we therefore say that no Aikidoka will respond naturally to stimulus in method he has trained in? That a judoka will, for some reason fall apart and not be able to think or move reflexively and in a manner befitting his training in an engagement? That argument has no merit. Neither does one that states that a person who trained internal skills is inept or unable to use them spontaneously and reflexively in a similar engagement. That they are relegated to demonstrations.

I don’t mean to split hairs, I just find the comment illogical.
One of my teachers had a saying "You do something one thousand times you begin to understand it in your mind. Ten thousand times and your body knows it without thought."
Thus it becomes more naturally the way you move and react.

Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
05-26-2006, 07:11 AM
Hi Mike,
Nice quote. Excellent movie. Liked the post.

Best,
Ron

Dennis Hooker
05-26-2006, 08:04 AM
[QUOTE=Dan Harden]Mr. Ehara

"One thing you said and I found worthy of note is- "The mind moves the body." This is a foundational truth that clarifies things on many levels.
From Dan
Some who still do not understand the discussion equate the relevance of internal training to "demonstrations." One of the arguments is that internal training is exemplified as exercises without validity in rapid interchange. Nothing could be further from the truth."

When we are taught there are ways to do things that defy our beliefs we are sometimes skeptical and others are sometimes just bewildered. To walk when you are not supposed to, to breathe a new way, to lift your arms to comb your hair when that task is normally beyond your capabilities. To simply be alive and doing things that are supposed to be impossible for you to do. Everyday thing, nothing spectacular. Things like holding a spoon without a strap on your hand and keeping your eyes open without magnets. Things like making love to your wife, you know just everyday stuff. This is where I found the internal training of immense help. Myasthenia Gravis had wasted me away, muscles like jello and weaker that a kitten. Then came a man into my life that changed everything. Through this knowledge he gave me my life back. Oh ya western medicine did a part but it failed in so many ways for years. He gave me so much more than just knowledge of martial arts.

My experience was literally life an death. Demonstrations were of no use to me at all.

Kevin Leavitt
05-26-2006, 01:22 PM
Ted Ehara wrote:

In the end, it is not about force vectors or manipulating some mysterious energy. It is about using your mind and body. It is about being human.

I agree. I think you summed up how I feel about this whole issue in your post....thanks Ted.

Mike Sigman
05-26-2006, 09:46 PM
I agree. I think you summed up how I feel about this whole issue in your post....thanks Ted. I dunno... somehow I don't agree that a vague assertion about "mind and body" (EVERYTHING is mind and body, for goodness' sake) and someone else saying "you summed up how I feel" is a meaningful contribution to the discussion. I *know* how to do these fairly straightforward demonstrations and I can explain them while I'm doing them; I can even diagram them. Would it be possible for someone to at least make a definitive statement if they're going to offer an assertion?

For instance, Kevin, you've offered your "feeling" or opinion that these things are simply extensions of normal athletic skill. I've asked you several times to explain, using example of 'normal athletic skills', how certain demonstrations work. The only repsonse seems to be that you agree with Ted that "mind and body" are involved. Ted supposedly has had lengthy exposure to these phenomena, yet I have never been able to get him to even admit that incremental analysis of simple forces must apply (or if he thinks something other than normal forces apply, he won't state what). We seem to be at a standstill... well, maybe a closed loop. Qi/ki phenomena are NOT anything we want them to be or feel them to be... they're known and codified phenomena. "Feeling" has nothing to do with *what* they are. ;)

No wonder people don't like these discussion on so many different forums. :freaky:

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
05-27-2006, 06:33 AM
Watch any basketball game, soccer game, or any athletic event where the competitors are at the top of their game. It's all there....I don't know any other way to describe it. You can't tell me that after several thousand years of human beings standing up and walking on two legs that we haven't figured out kinesiolgy fairly well?

Sure there is always something to learn and improvements...that is why we see world records continually broken.

I figured out alot of this intuitively when I was 17 years old, pole vaulting in high school as far as the mind body thing. I just didn't know to call it KI!

Was I perfect...no...did I have a pretty good understanding of it...implicitly...yes I think I did....at least as far as the parameters and conditions as it applied to pole vaulting.

What other examples can I give?

DH
05-27-2006, 06:48 AM
Figured it all out when you were 17 ?

So stand arms length from a heavy bag hold it with your straight arrms. Push it and walk with it till it is at a 45 deg angle to the floor. Stand there and do not move for about ten minutes.
Tell me which body part ...hurts.

Next without moving anything visibly. cast it out say...3' from you.
No arm movement no scapula movement. just what looks like shudder.
Next go back to the begining. Stand at arms length. Do not move. make a percussive, pennatrating hit on the bag with your fist at arms length. A no inch punch.

what is doing these things.

I must be slow. Its taken me half a life a time and I sincerely hope I've so much more to learn
Gotta go run.I bettcha I do that very...differently then you do as well.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 07:33 AM
I figured out alot of this intuitively when I was 17 years old, pole vaulting in high school as far as the mind body thing. I just didn't know to call it KI!

Was I perfect...no...did I have a pretty good understanding of it...implicitly...yes I think I did....at least as far as the parameters and conditions as it applied to pole vaulting.

What other examples can I give?How about one of the well-known ki demonstrations, Kevin? I could pole vault when I was 15-16. I'm fairly coordinated and have done competitive sports since I was a kid. I had to have someone show me how to do these things and I had to train in specific ways to make it stronger. It's not any obvious extension of good athletic ability.... I say that backed up by the fact that I can demonstrate these things and explain them. So write some explanation of ki tricks, etc., to show us that you're not again just giving us your *opinion* while you can't really do them.

In essence, you're saying "here's my definition of Ki", but at the same time you've indicated over and over again that you don't understand these things well enough to simply say how they're done. Do you see the problem? If I told you I understood "enfilade fire" but had to hem and haw and say it was an extension of "pistol shooting", I might convince myself and a lot of people on this list that I had a viable understanding of enfillade fire, but you'd know right away, even if I kept insisting on my position, that I didn't know what I was talking about. Right? ;^)

Regards,

Mike

DH
05-27-2006, 07:59 AM
An idea of breath work and some of the ways it can effect the mind/body

http://www.leteverybreath.com/


Dan

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 08:36 AM
An idea of breath work and some of the ways it can effect the mind/body

http://www.leteverybreath.com/Since just yesterday I was thinking about this and now you've reminded me, let me toss in my opinion. I'm sure the Systema book on breathwork is fine, but a quick look through the "excerpts", etc., leaves me pretty much with the certainty that that "breathwork" in Systema is not related to the "breathwork" that Ueshiba did in Aikido. It is truly an interesting phenomenon to see how Systema has been sold as a potential adjunct to Aikido by people who really don't seem to understand much about the basics of Aikido, ki/kokyu movement and conditioning, etc. My personal suggestion is that people who are trying to get more complete Aikido that is effective..... go after what was in Aikido to fill your gaps, don't start chasing butterflies in Systema, Wing Chun, Taiji, Bagua, Karate, etc.

Of course, for those that look into all martial sources of potential interest without thinking "this is Aikido", I'll bet it's a good book. Heck, I might even buy one and a couple of muscle t-shirts and a "Systema Watch" (made in Russia), and so on.... ;)

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-27-2006, 09:08 AM
enfilade fire....that is a term I have not heard in a long time.

Anyway, that is a technique that is easily definable and conceptual in nature...much like ikkyo.

Now if we started talking about the importance of the stance, the mind connection of the various leaders that is important about synchronizing fires, how you watch your enemy responding appropriately to his "energy"...then we might be in esoteric land. IMO.

You guys really have it in for me apparently!

My position equates to that of a "c" student who intuitively goes out an makes a million bucks as a businessman without really understanding economic theory. To be successful in the implementation of his skills, it is not imperitive that he understand the theory behind it.

A college professor may be able to talk about how the "C" student goes out and makes makes it based on supply/demand curves and statistical analysis and all that good stuff, but alas he may not be able to actually go out and do it.

My point is only that it is not necessary to understand these things and not isolate them only to be able to intuitively do them. More power to those that want to intellectually dissect "how" it happens...we need those people as well I suppose.

Again, I am interested in working with people that can not only demonstrate their ability to articulate and do a few isolated demonstrations of theory...but people that can actually apply it under a multiple parameter situation...responding appropriately to the situation that is presented.

I think it is rare that you can find such individuals.

Might be that you are one of those individuals...I don't know as I have never worked with you Mike. Maybe someday I will have the priviledge...I hear many good things about you from people I have worked with.

I certainly am not one of those people that can do all these things! I am frankly of average talent. I hope no one has thought otherwise!

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 09:43 AM
enfilade fire....that is a term I have not heard in a long time.

Anyway, that is a technique that is easily definable and conceptual in nature...much like ikkyo. Well, my point is that these ki/kokyu coordinations and training are also "easily definable and conceptual in nature", just like enfilade fire, so it's pretty ease to spot people who are just bs'ing around the terms without knowing what the terms mean. You get my point. My position equates to that of a "c" student who intuitively goes out an makes a million bucks as a businessman without really understanding economic theory. To be successful in the implementation of his skills, it is not imperitive that he understand the theory behind it.

A college professor may be able to talk about how the "C" student goes out and makes makes it based on supply/demand curves and statistical analysis and all that good stuff, but alas he may not be able to actually go out and do it. Sure, I see your point. And if you're in some branch of business or economics, it's a very valid point. But what happens here is that these ways of movement are, as the classical traditions have pointed out many times, "not intuitive and they must be learned". It's a different way of moving, Kevin. Just on a basic level, take the diagrams where I showed how the force goes **straight** from the tanden to the point of application. Easy to do in a static situation. Learning to move full-time like that is a long and deliberate journey. Ask Tohei why he spent so many years studying these things that Ueshiba wouldn't show him.My point is only that it is not necessary to understand these things and not isolate them only to be able to intuitively do them. And I disagree completely. "These things are not intuitive but must be learned". Sure, there's a few tiny things that overlap, but the entire study... no way that it will ever happen accidentally or intuitively. It was some sort of discovery a long time ago, probably in India, and it's been considered important and it's been refined for some thousands of years.

As I've said a number of times, I missed it, too. Only when I had met a Sandan in Aikido at a party in Miami did I feel something radically different. Ultimately I have to look back at my judo, karate, Aikido, early Taiji/Xingyi/Bagua, etc., and say, "I did 'em wrong because I wasn't aware of this crucial foundational factor". So I'm not saying "Neener, neener, neener" at anyone... I'm pointing out something that I wish someone had pointed out to me sooner.

Insofar as the people and teachers who want to shrug it off, I am stunned by the logic. All the words and admonitions are there in the classical writings, including Ueshiba's. The demo's are there. The explanations and discussions are becoming more widespread, so what's going to happen within the next 10-20 years is inevitable. Denying these things is only a tenable position for a short time. The worst thing is for the students who have teachers that are looking for some way to avoid these things. Is that fair to the students?

So some way these things have got to come out... and discussions and show-and-tells, etc., are the best way to go about it. Although even with those, there are people who I meet sometimes who have either no skills or very rudimentary skills and after diplomatically moving them up a little bit (it's difficult to change fixed habits quickly), they'll say, "Oh, I was already doing all that stuff... couldn't you tell?" ;)

But it's all fun to watch.

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-27-2006, 10:14 AM
Mike wrote:

As I've said a number of times, I missed it, too. Only when I had met a Sandan in Aikido at a party in Miami did I feel something radically different. Ultimately I have to look back at my judo, karate, Aikido, early Taiji/Xingyi/Bagua, etc., and say, "I did 'em wrong because I wasn't aware of this crucial foundational factor". So I'm not saying "Neener, neener, neener" at anyone... I'm pointing out something that I wish someone had pointed out to me soone


So, again, as I have said too...I am willing and open to what you are talking about, and will try and seek it out. Thanks again.

George S. Ledyard
05-27-2006, 10:34 AM
It is truly an interesting phenomenon to see how Systema has been sold as a potential adjunct to Aikido by people who really don't seem to understand much about the basics of Aikido, ki/kokyu movement and conditioning, etc.

I will TOTALLY disagree here. I have trained a number of times with the systema guys, we had a club operating out of my dojo which has now become an independent school next door to me. Valdimir was hosted by NW Systema just two weekends ago. The breath work in systema is quite extensive and ties into everything they do (the book does not go very deeply into the theory and practice of breath control as they do it; it's just an intro). Their methods are far more sytematic and comprehensive than anything I have seen in Aikido being taught generally.

Mike, you seem to contradict yourself substantially here. You are not an active Aikido practitioner yet you are on the Aikido forums advising all of us that we don't understand internal energy or kokyu. To the extent that you do, you learned it, not from Aikido but from your training in other arts. Then you tell people not to look outside of their Aikido for this information. As you have so rightly pointed out, not very many people within Aikido have this knowledge. So it's difficult, if not impossible, to get it from normal Aikido channels.

Anyway, as someone with a fair bit of Aikido experience, I can't recommend training with the systema guys enough. It can help open broad new vistas for folks stuckk in their training.

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 10:41 AM
So, again, as I have said too...I am willing and open to what you are talking about, and will try and seek it out. I should be clear that I honestly feel you *are* open about these things, Kevin. And there are a lot of people like you. And there are always some real "researchers" in the martial arts who actively and honestly keep looking every day. That's what can be so good about the martial arts... it has some very sincere perennial beginners in it who also have pretty good skills.

What I was noting was that a lot of the problem comes from people who are "established" and who therefore feel that they know enough to control the dialogue and the "what's what" in martial arts. Sure, most of these people are "good people" and people who would make excellent personal friends... but they have this status and position that they want to defend. If they don't know something that, as in this strange case of the ki/kokyu training and conditioning, is somehow foundational in an art they're supposed to be expert in, they will not question themselves or their own abilities, particularly as long as they have "peers" who also don't really know. Look at how many people take O-Sensei doing ki-demonstrations or fajin and blow it off as "not important" or "parlour tricks".... yet they can't do these parlour tricks. Doesn't that raise a red flag?

And look at what happens on a lot of the martial arts forums. There are some forums where discussions of Ki/Qi things is relegated to some punishment area of the board or is forbidden!!!!!! What does that say about the owner or the moderators of that list? Look at some of the posts on E-Budo where it's obvious that the list-owner, Georgy Kohler, is clueless about these things, moderators like Mark Feigenbaum and some of the others are similarly clueless, but since they are in charge (it IS their forum, after all), they will actually block discussions they don't agree with about Ki/Kokyu matters. Or take a worse example. There's an Uechi Ryu forum in which a "sensei" who happens to be trained in biomedical matters has short-stopped discussions about areas of ki/kokyu training because he knows everything and simply won't go there. None of these people are particularly ill-intentioned or "bad people", but they have basically said that knowledge stops with what they know. I happen to have an interest in Uechi Ryu (since I took it at one time) and it has been extremely interesting to watch how no progress has been made in ten years due to the fact that the higher-ups already know everything.

In Aikido, as I mentioned in a previous post, there has been this sort of weird statement by some people that is along the lines of "Well, OK, we can't really fight too well with Aikido, so let's get whatever we think is missing from Systema or Wing Chun or MMA or etc.". Really weird. Maybe it's just that there's parts of Aikido that they don't know???? The thought is rejected out of hand.

One of the best things that I think has happened to Aikido in a long time is that someone from outside like Ushiro Sensei showed up at Aiki Expo last year and gave some demonstrations of kokyu power. I wasn't there, but they sounded legitimate. It was legitimate enought that some Japanese Sensei have invited him to their dojo's. Those Sensei are not sitting on their credentials and short-stopping information ... they're actively getting it for their students. The people who actively do those things and the people with open minds... I'm all for them. The people who are "experts" and who block information... who needs 'em?.... they ultimately damage martial arts and sincere beginners.

My 2 cents. (steps off soapbox)


Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-27-2006, 10:55 AM
On Uechi Ryu. Funny you should mention it. My former aikido instructor, Bob Galeone...who was also Jimmy Sorrentino's. Was a Uechi Ryu guy, as well as aikido, I believe now he is pretty heavy into Bua Gua with Alan Pittman.

He seemed to be putting it all together...I learned alot from him, but never really got alot of what he was trying to teach...I could tell by his frustration at times with me.

I did Uechi with him for a shortwhile, and carried a few things away from it. From what I could tell...it was a very good art for learning these things.

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 10:56 AM
I will TOTALLY disagree here. I have trained a number of times with the systema guys, we had a club operating out of my dojo which has now become an independent school next door to me. Valdimir was hosted by NW Systema just two weekends ago. The breath work in systema is quite extensive and ties into everything they do (the book does not go very deeply into the theory and practice of breath control as they do it; it's just an intro). Their methods are far more sytematic and comprehensive than anything I have seen in Aikido being taught generally. OK, good discussion. So their breathwork ties in with everything that THEY do. Does it tie in with Shingon breathing work? Does it use what was allegorically referred to by the Japanese, O-Sensei, the Chinese, etc., as "The Ki of Heaven" and the "Ki of Earth"? If so, could you expand on the relationship through that Aikido-related approach? If not, could you explain why you think their training ties in with the Ki/Kokyu things?
Mike, you seem to contradict yourself substantially here. You are not an active Aikido practitioner yet you are on the Aikido forums advising all of us that we don't understand internal energy or kokyu. This sets up an "Us versus Me" relationship, George, while noting that I am an "outsider". Rhetorically, it's a way of discrediting someone in a debate. I know you didn't mean to do that, but I thought I'd point it out. Is it possible that we can discuss this without slipping in personal references to bend the debate? ;) To the extent that you do, you learned it, not from Aikido but from your training in other arts. Then you tell people not to look outside of their Aikido for this information. As you have so rightly pointed out, not very many people within Aikido have this knowledge. So it's difficult, if not impossible, to get it from normal Aikido channels. Well, wait a sec... you're warping what I said. I've seen convincing demonstrations in any number of martial arts in relation to the ki/kokyu things and if you said, for instance, that you were learning ki or breathing, etc., from Ushiro Sensei or from some Yiquan guy or from some acknowledged expert in some art that DOES use these things, I wouldn't say a word. The assertion is that Systema contains these things. So far, and I've looked quite a bit, I haven't seen anything that indicates Systema has these same things. So if you're saying that Systema DOES have these sorts of things and you are asserting that, how about helping with some of these example-analyses we're doing on some of the ki demonstrations in this thread. I have no idea what your expertise is in these things and this would be a good thread to join into if you have such expertise. And I mean that in the friendliest and most neutral of ways, George. Anyway, as someone with a fair bit of Aikido experience, I can't recommend training with the systema guys enough. It can help open broad new vistas for folks stuckk in their training. OK, you're using your experience as a qualifier. How about showing your actual expertise in the Ki and Kokyu things with some analytical discussions about Ki/kokyu things on this thread? As it is, the conversation has gone straight back to argument by assertion.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 11:18 AM
On Uechi Ryu. Funny you should mention it. My former aikido instructor, Bob Galeone...who was also Jimmy Sorrentino's. Was a Uechi Ryu guy, as well as aikido, I believe now he is pretty heavy into Bua Gua with Alan Pittman.

He seemed to be putting it all together...I learned alot from him, but never really got alot of what he was trying to teach...I could tell by his frustration at times with me.

I did Uechi with him for a shortwhile, and carried a few things away from it. From what I could tell...it was a very good art for learning these things.I would not recommend Uechi Ryu as a good art to learn the ki/kokyu things. As a general rule, most Uechi people that I've seen (and I've seen a lot of them and I've had numbers of them come to workshops) are so muscle and shoulder oriented that I'd prefer to not mix the discussions. I also think (i.e., it's a personal opinion) that Uechi Ryu has currently devolved so much from its Chinese forebears that there's too much of a chasm developed. I'll be glad to debate it, but not on this thread.

If we ever get into a real meat-and-potatoes discussion on these things, it boils down to the question of doing these things with muscle and without muscle and what that does as one's age increases. But we're not at that discussion yet. Not on this forum, anyway.

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-27-2006, 01:12 PM
funny you should mention age....I just watched the video from my last submission fight two weeks ago. 41 year old man with a few years experience versus the 21 year old newb with speed, strength and agility. I won the fight, but, my God! I did not realize how slow I was moving. It took me 20 minutes to wear him down and beat him!

I was never in fear of losing the fight...but I could not beat him at his game...speed, agility, and strength. I had to relax, feel him out, be patient, and look for the openings. Thus...alot of the fight is not very exciting...it consist of me laying on my back in half guard, or in the turtle...waiting for him to move and make a mistake.

Yea...made me think about getting older and having to rely more on efficiency of movment, correct technique, and reading his balance, center etc.

George S. Ledyard
05-27-2006, 01:41 PM
OK, good discussion. So their breathwork ties in with everything that THEY do. Does it tie in with Shingon breathing work? Does it use what was allegorically referred to by the Japanese, O-Sensei, the Chinese, etc., as "The Ki of Heaven" and the "Ki of Earth"? If so, could you expand on the relationship through that Aikido-related approach? If not, could you explain why you think their training ties in with the Ki/Kokyu things? This sets up an "Us versus Me" relationship, George, while noting that I am an "outsider". Rhetorically, it's a way of discrediting someone in a debate. I know you didn't mean to do that, but I thought I'd point it out. Is it possible that we can discuss this without slipping in personal references to bend the debate? ;) Well, wait a sec... you're warping what I said. I've seen convincing demonstrations in any number of martial arts in relation to the ki/kokyu things and if you said, for instance, that you were learning ki or breathing, etc., from Ushiro Sensei or from some Yiquan guy or from some acknowledged expert in some art that DOES use these things, I wouldn't say a word. The assertion is that Systema contains these things. So far, and I've looked quite a bit, I haven't seen anything that indicates Systema has these same things. So if you're saying that Systema DOES have these sorts of things and you are asserting that, how about helping with some of these example-analyses we're doing on some of the ki demonstrations in this thread. I have no idea what your expertise is in these things and this would be a good thread to join into if you have such expertise. And I mean that in the friendliest and most neutral of ways, George. OK, you're using your experience as a qualifier. How about showing your actual expertise in the Ki and Kokyu things with some analytical discussions about Ki/kokyu things on this thread? As it is, the conversation has gone straight back to argument by assertion.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman


Mike,
The reason I don't participate in these discussions as they proceed is that I don't have any experience in what you are talking about. My point was that very few people in Aikido have much experience in what you are talking about. To the extent that I understand any of these things it is something I have learned through my own practice and I wouldn't even know where to start talking about it because I have no reference point for establishing a common terminology.

Is systema breathing work the same as Shingon breathing work? I have absolutely no clue. And I bet there aren't three people in the country who could tell you. Since it is a Russian martial art, they have a completly different theoretical framework for talking about what they do. So I would, in fact, be unable to tell you if it uses the Ki of Heaven or the Ki of Earth. I certainly don't know and i don't think you do either if you haven't trained directly under Vlad or Ryabko or one of their seniors teachers. They for sure don't talk about it that way.

You notice that none of the senior Aikido folks who are on the forums participate in this discussion. It's because they don't know this stuff, which you have pointed out repeatedly. I know a very small number of Aikido people who have had much training in this area. For myself I look at the end result of whatever training someone does. Is their technique relaxed, does it neutralize attempts to outpower it, can they generate power without seeming to expend much effort? If so I am interested.

I am not interested in whether systema breathing is the same breathing which O-sensei or generations of anicient Chinese practitioners used, except that it is of interest historically. From a training standpoint I am interested only in what will help me make my Aikido better. I am aware that breath training is something I need to pursue to take my Aikido to another level. That's why I read what you write and that's why I have trained with the systema folks.

The focus on developing breath control is central to systema practice from the very beginning of ones training. If one looks at the end result of the training in the form of Michael Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev and even their senior students one can see a group of folks whose understanding of the energetics in the human body far exceeds what I am used to seeing in Aikido. Having some ability to do what they do would certainly improve my Aikido. So that's what I care about.

Just from a practical standpoint I think that cultural differences between systems have more to do with theoretical terminology than actual differences. The human body is the human body. If one group in one culture and another in a different culture both spend hundreds of years focusing on understanding a particular aspect of how human bodies work, like breathing, I strongly suspect that they will end up with common understanding but with different terminology for it.

Anyway, it is quite possible that what the systema guys do is different than what you are describing. I simply don't know. But the point of my post was to counter what I understood your assertion to be that it wouldn't be worth ones while to look to systema for training which would help develop internal power for use in Aikido. I do not believe that to be true. However, what that "internal power" might be could certainly be different than what you have described in your posts. Our areas of expertise are different. I have thirty years of daily Aikido experience which you don't have, you have some vast amount of experience in Chinese internal arts which I don't have. I suspect that my direct experience of systema in terms of training with the two senior Russian teachers is greater than yours and I do have almost daily interaction with serious systema instructors (since their school is on the other side of the wall from mine). So basically, not much discussion is possible for us. So, generally I just follow your posts with interest.

The readers that know me and my Aikido can decide for themselves if they wish to take my advice and check out systema, at least the senior teachers. It has helped me immensely and I have done only a very little. I will say that, the systema folks I have encountered, and I don't mean just Vlad and his teacher but Vlad's senior students as well, are operating on a level of sophistication that one would see except at the very top most levels in Aikido, and not in many there.

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 02:49 PM
The reason I don't participate in these discussions as they proceed is that I don't have any experience in what you are talking about. My point was that very few people in Aikido have much experience in what you are talking about. To the extent that I understand any of these things it is something I have learned through my own practice and I wouldn't even know where to start talking about it because I have no reference point for establishing a common terminology. Well, but we should be able to find a common terminology very quickly and without any worries about "Shingon" or "ki" or "mind-body", etc. The way we describe and "test" these things is via forces. How are the forces being handled. Even the most mystical believer or the most learned academician reading the thread has to describe simple forces at one time or another. "From the center", "put the weight here", "send force from the ground", etc., ... all these things are descriptions of forces. The common admonition is to "not let the ki rise" and to "move from the center"... this is a description of forces, sources, origins, and directions. If someone is experienced in "moving from the center" and really knows how to do it in an expert manner, they should be able to answer a direct question and the terminology worked out ("what do you mean by such and such") as you go along.

If you notice many different posts on the threads, you'll see an attempt over and over again to shift to arguments (in a debate sense) of vagaries, assertions, beliefs, appeals to authority, etc., but few direct answers or comments that have to do with forces. It is extremely interesting to watch the substitution of opinions for factual discussions. Look how many direct questions are simply avoided. Is systema breathing work the same as Shingon breathing work? I have absolutely no clue. And I bet there aren't three people in the country who could tell you. Since it is a Russian martial art, they have a completly different theoretical framework for talking about what they do. OK, there's another assertion. If you're familiar enough with Aikido and Systema, you should be able to have a general idea about similarities and overlaps. When I read the various Systema things and Pavel Tsatsouline's books, I look for commonalities, etc. I have seen none so far. Based on what I know about the general training of ki conditioning, etc., a system in which the general principles are the same throughout the Chinese and Japanese martial arts, I would take the position fairly comfortably that while Systema is probably a good system in itself, it does not use the basic training methods of ki/kokyu things. You notice that none of the senior Aikido folks who are on the forums participate in this discussion. It's because they don't know this stuff, which you have pointed out repeatedly. Sure. And I encourage them to either learn it because the like the ideas or because it's cool, or just because they'd like to kick my butt. ;) I've been a student of "teachers", George. I know many other people that have been students, as well. There is a responsibility that comes when someone hangs out a shingle as a teacher, IMO. If I was a teacher with students, I would feel obligated to learn everything I could about the subject.... and assuming the other people feel the same way I do and that other people just have a basic love of the martial arts, I chatter away, trying to be accurate and truthful. The real problem for me may be that I am not dependent on martial arts in any way for a livelihood and I couldn't care scratch about rank or status. If you ever visit the QiJing list, you'll find no mention of anyone's rank, whether they are a "teacher" or not, their "school", or anything else... only pure issues are discussed. That's the mindset I prefer. :) Just from a practical standpoint I think that cultural differences between systems have more to do with theoretical terminology than actual differences. The human body is the human body. If one group in one culture and another in a different culture both spend hundreds of years focusing on understanding a particular aspect of how human bodies work, like breathing, I strongly suspect that they will end up with common understanding but with different terminology for it. I disagree. The assumption is that people are working on the same thing if they are working on "breathing". That's not true. There are a number of things that can be done with "breathing" training. O-Sensei was doing the one that involves pressures and tensions in relation to kokyu/jin forces. Just because Systema does specialized breathing doesn't mean it's the same thing. I did "specialized breathing" when I swam cometitively but it's not the same thing as this. Anyway, it is quite possible that what the systema guys do is different than what you are describing. I simply don't know. But the point of my post was to counter what I understood your assertion to be that it wouldn't be worth ones while to look to systema for training which would help develop internal power for use in Aikido. I do not believe that to be true. However, what that "internal power" might be could certainly be different than what you have described in your posts. Our areas of expertise are different. I have thirty years of daily Aikido experience which you don't have, you have some vast amount of experience in Chinese internal arts which I don't have. I suspect that my direct experience of systema in terms of training with the two senior Russian teachers is greater than yours and I do have almost daily interaction with serious systema instructors (since their school is on the other side of the wall from mine). So basically, not much discussion is possible for us. So, generally I just follow your posts with interest. OK, fair enough. But the point is that my 7-8 years of experience in Aikido and its methods, etc., allows me to cross-analyse from Chinese martial arts in a ho-hum-nothing-new-here way that the ki and kokyu-power exhibitions in Aikido are the same qi and jin exhibitions of the same things in Chinese martial arts. There's not a third way that coincidentally does the same things. I can describe what is happening because I know what is happening.... in a way, that's my "credentials" to ante into the game. If Systema is giving you insights and it's the same thing, then we can have an easy and comfortable conversation about what is actually happening. That's what I'm inviting you to do. Notice how Rob John and I have very different backgrounds and terminology... yet we have conversations with each other where we know pretty exactly and immediately what each other is saying. If the subject is understood, the terminology simply isn't that important... it can be worked out. The readers that know me and my Aikido can decide for themselves if they wish to take my advice and check out systema, at least the senior teachers. It has helped me immensely and I have done only a very little. I will say that, the systema folks I have encountered, and I don't mean just Vlad and his teacher but Vlad's senior students as well, are operating on a level of sophistication that one would see except at the very top most levels in Aikido, and not in many there. Fair enough. But if you're in a position to recommend that, couldn't you at least give us the benefit of a couple of simple examples in "moving from the center" in Aikido? Forget the "jo trick". How about, for instance, where Shioda throws Uke by letting Uke grab his gi lapels... how would that simple example work? Or take breathwork... what would you say that Ueshiba is doing in Shingon when he raises his arms up in a circle and brings them down... what can he train by doing that? I.e., I'm feeling for the connection to how Systema is helpful to an Aikidoist by starting with what a prime Aikidoist did. And of course, I'm somewhat pulling your leg, but that's just me. ;)

Regards,

Mike

George S. Ledyard
05-27-2006, 03:09 PM
How about, for instance, where Shioda throws Uke by letting Uke grab his gi lapels... how would that simple example work? Or take breathwork... what would you say that Ueshiba is doing in Shingon when he raises his arms up in a circle and brings them down... what can he train by doing that? I.e., I'm feeling for the connection to how Systema is helpful to an Aikidoist by starting with what a prime Aikidoist did. And of course, I'm somewhat pulling your leg, but that's just me. ;)

Regards,

Mike
Shioda's "lapel throw" involved running a spiral movement with both shoulders that allowed him to rest his entire body weight on the partner's structure. Then he moved his hara foward via weight shifting as done in the "rowing exercise" and pulsed the shoulders thereby projecting the partner back. Part of the kokyu involved would be what some people would call "timing" relating to how he would draw the attacker in before he moved forward to pulse. Ushiro Sensei's talk about where to place one's "attention" also plays a big part. If you don't understand that, you simply collide when attempting this.

As for O-Sensei's arm movement I wouldn't have enough understanding of ki to talk about it that way. But all misogi spiral movement is designed to effect the Mind as well and spirals are the way in which we keep the Mind moving, never letting it stop or attach. Anyway, I'll keep reading the posts but I take my training wher I find it. Hopefully, one of these days I'll get a chance to hit one of your workshops.

As for the idea of teacher responsibility, I couldn't agree more.But there are a number of areas on my list of things to address in my training. Since I am not independently wealthy I teach so that I can spend more time on my art than thoise folks who have demending careers. But having a school and teaching so that I can support my training takes a huge amount of my time so these issues get addressed over a period of years. When I win the lottery, things will be different.

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 03:37 PM
Shioda's "lapel throw" involved running a spiral movement with both shoulders that allowed him to rest his entire body weight on the partner's structure. Then he moved his hara foward via weight shifting as done in the "rowing exercise" and pulsed the shoulders thereby projecting the partner back. Part of the kokyu involved would be what some people would call "timing" relating to how he would draw the attacker in before he moved forward to pulse. Ushiro Sensei's talk about where to place one's "attention" also plays a big part. If you don't understand that, you simply collide when attempting this. OK, so you and I have somewhat different understandings about exactly what is involved. But at least we communicated. It's a start. The more we communicate, both ways, the more ideas are exchange; progress is made. I enjoy it and I learn, too. :) As for O-Sensei's arm movement I wouldn't have enough understanding of ki to talk about it that way. But all misogi spiral movement is designed to effect the Mind as well and spirals are the way in which we keep the Mind moving, never letting it stop or attach. Anyway, I'll keep reading the posts but I take my training wher I find it. Hopefully, one of these days I'll get a chance to hit one of your workshops. Fair enough. Although in regard to workshops, I try not to do many since I like my free time so much. But we'll meet someday. As for the idea of teacher responsibility, I couldn't agree more.But there are a number of areas on my list of things to address in my training. Since I am not independently wealthy I teach so that I can spend more time on my art than thoise folks who have demending careers. But having a school and teaching so that I can support my training takes a huge amount of my time so these issues get addressed over a period of years. When I win the lottery, things will be different.OK. I don't have a big bone to pick with teachers, since I'm a realist. But teachers need to keep learning, at the very least, IMO.

The last Aikido teacher I had actually knew some basic elements of pure kokyu-power. But they were his closely guarded badges of authority, not something that he had ever developed into full-blown usage. And he was "smoothe" in his techniques. He had more years of experience than you do and more rank and he was a direct and long-term student (in the dojo) of one of Ueshiba's uchi-deshi . Now that I understand what's involved with all the ki and kokyu stuff and how the power is made, manipulated, etc., I'd be hard pressed to say that his years of experience made him an expert in Aikido, frankly. But that's another debate for another time. "Years of experience" is not directly relevant for anything except as an appeal to authority, in other words. ;)

All the Best.

Mike

Upyu
05-27-2006, 07:54 PM
Since George is at a loss I'll jump in:

My own personal bent is that Systema does have overlap with Aikido/IMAs (having participated for over a year over here in tokyo), and you won't see it in the videos, since most of it is covered in the "basic" exercises.

The big problem is that a lot of the Systema people (that I've encountered) tend to get too much into the "relaxed movement", use breathing for "relaxing" etc, when its been continually stressed as a training tool to develop certain feelings which you can then strengthen into fullblown skills.

I'll see if I can outline some of exercises I experienced and where they overlap:

Squats:
Completely underrated and not done enough. Most people relax in this too much.
It develops the sensation of the "straight" spine and teaches the correct frame work for "standing", as well as folding the kua/pelvic bone joing while holding it open and sinking straight down.
The equivalent to maintaining the straight point from the tail bone to the Bai Hui.

Pushups:
The breathwork is used to relax at first to remove undue tension, but for those that're already past that stage, it's used to increase the pressure inside the person (a la hen/ha sounds) and observe the effects on the body.
*Btw this doesn't train the "drop" or "rise" that you normally see associated with breathing exercises. It's a different use of the same effects wrought on the human body.

Also the straight spine is worked here, and how the legs can be recruited to help support the body rather than using the scaps/shoulder/arms to lift the body up.

Tick Tock Robot:
I think there's better ways of achieving the goals of this exercise, but for what its worth its an observation of the spinal column and the three "axis" that govern the body. Helps you seperate and build intention in the three axis and start to understand the ideas of weight shift etc.

Absorbing punches:
Using breathwork to increase the pressure created from the breath to create a "shield" around the body. As the punches get deeper you observe how the punch destroys your structure, and consequently you strive to "correct" it. The equivalent of driving the intent "inside" rather than "outside." (I'd say that's a fundamental difference between so called internal and external)

Emitting Strikes:
They don't use fajin, or breathwork really to do punches (as far as I recall), but that doesn't mean the bodyskills garnered from the basic exercises of pushups and squats don't affect them. In fact both Vlad and Michaeil ('never remeber how to spell his name^^;) have mentioned at one point or another, that the "secret" is in the pushups and squats, and the related breathwork. I'd tend to agree knowing what I know now.
The direct overlap is the use of equal pressure across the entire arm (using visualizations of your arms being to heavy weightchains, with cannon balls at the end) and then using the straight spine to deliver them (via the figure eight pattern you have running inside you). I'd say Vlad probably uses compression of the spine as well, but doesn't talk about it.

It's a different "mechansim" for delivering the strike in that it relies on the figure eight pattern internally, and it uses "pathways" developed through the breathing in the basic exercises (a la pushups/squats etc), but it doesn't use the "explosive" force that you see in sometimes in other IMA.

As for Pavel, I think he's a totally different animal that's more or less his own thing and specializes in strength training (good strength training as far as that goes tho).
He trained the Spetznaz, but from what I understand there's a fair amount of divisions within the Spetznaz, so not everyone recieves the same training. IE not everyone in spetznaz did systema ( and it was experiemental from what I understand)

Just my two cents

Anyone else feel like jumping in and making other observations where IMA and Systema overlap/don't overlap? :D

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 08:06 PM
Hmmmmmm. Rob, do you mean that these Systema exercises are explicitly meant to do what you're suggesting or that they *could* be used to do those things?

Regardless, I'll buy the book and take a look at it, just in case. Pavel has some things in some of his books that are "special breathing exercises", but they're not related to Ki training.

Jin... you didn't mention jin in Systema. Any thoughts?

Regards,

Mike

Upyu
05-27-2006, 08:21 PM
Hmmmmmm. Rob, do you mean that these Systema exercises are explicitly meant to do what you're suggesting or that they *could* be used to do those things?

Regardless, I'll buy the book and take a look at it, just in case. Pavel has some things in some of his books that are "special breathing exercises", but they're not related to Ki training.

Jin... you didn't mention jin in Systema. Any thoughts?

Regards,

Mike

I think they're explicitly meant to do them, but they're not openly taught. Again they do that asian thing of "feel it, and if you're smart enough you'll get it".

As for Jin, I think it's there, but not used to the extent that you see in the chinese styles.
The slow "push" work that they do to study the mechnism of striking is a dead giveaway I feel, but that most people end up fixating on either the "relaxing" getting rid of "tension" etc etc or vectors/techniques of striking (something you see in Vlads striking dvd).

PS
None of this stuff is in the Book, it's garbage if you ask me.
And the DVDs focus too much on technique/flowery crap that everyone wants to see. (The dude has to make money somehow right? lol)
The only place you'd be able to get a feel for yourself as to whether they have it is hookup with an experienced systema instructor. (And I think its important that the instructor have a rep, since the gradient of skill in Systema is just all over the place. The ideal of course would be vlad or Mika himself)

Mike Sigman
05-27-2006, 08:29 PM
I think they're explicitly meant to do them, but they're not openly taught. Again they do that asian thing of "feel it, and if you're smart enough you'll get it". Maybe, maybe not. But I'm happy to take a look again. I've watched a couple of vids of them and watched how they move. They're powerful and maybe there's some "suit" (I wouldn't say "yes" or "no"), but the completeness with the jin that they'd need to copy Ueshiba's stuff, I'd say no, IMO. As for Jin, I think it's there, but not used to the extent that you see in the chinese styles.
The slow "push" work that they do to study the mechnism of striking is a dead giveaway I feel, but that most people end up fixating on either the "relaxing" getting rid of "tension" etc etc or vectors/techniques of striking (something you see in Vlads striking dvd). In the Chinese/Japanese view though, the qi and jin would be one amalgamated whole. Systema may be helpful for martial training, just as MMA or Wing Chun, etc., but in terms of the "aiki" thing, I'd say probably not. But this is just a theoretical discussion. When I've read the book I'll give my impression somewhere. Thanks for the input. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Upyu
05-27-2006, 08:35 PM
They're powerful and maybe there's some "suit" (I wouldn't say "yes" or "no"), but the completeness with the jin that they'd need to copy Ueshiba's stuff, I'd say no, IMO.

Ah yea, I'd agree with you there. It's not a direct copy, and Id say its a different use of the same "base". And by base I don't mean useage of Jin, but rather those components that make up "Jin" etc.

Hehe anytime, you know how much I hate BS :D

tedehara
05-28-2006, 01:29 AM
We don't have to be so formal. Just call me "Ted".

Of course I believe an exact observation of forces should be done. I've often used the Ki Society's Four Basic Principles to analyze certain aikido techniques and situations. I think a pathways analysis should be a scientific observation using various instrumentation and analysis, if you really hope to find anything of lasting value.

However there is a specific reason why I'm shying away from any analysis. The Ki Society gives rank in ki development. For the lower tests, you can always do something to pass. Follow one of the Four Basic Principles, extend your ki out, etc. There is always something to do.

For the higher ranked ki development tests, you only told to ignore the tester. This may sound simple, but is very hard since the higher level tests have the person extending ki towards you. If your ego gets in the way of the test, they'll just push you over.

So there is a transition between the lower and higher rank tests. Analysis might work very well in the basic tests, for they are a state of doing. The more advanced tests are a state of being where analysis needs to be transcended.

You can also see this state of doing/being when Ki Society HQ. supplemented the basic principle "Extend Ki." with the addition of "Ki is Extended." Extend Ki. sounds like you need to do something, when actually you don't. Your natural state was already having ki extended. Therefore they had to add the supplement Ki is Extended. to show this was really a state of being.

This touches on what Dan and Dennis were discussing. This is no longer part of your life. It is your life.

Mike Sigman
05-28-2006, 07:58 AM
Of course I believe an exact observation of forces should be done. I've often used the Ki Society's Four Basic Principles to analyze certain aikido techniques and situations. I think a pathways analysis should be a scientific observation using various instrumentation and analysis, if you really hope to find anything of lasting value. I'm unclear how something as vague as the "Four Basic Principles" (which must be interpretted themselves) can be used to analyse anything, Ted. However there is a specific reason why I'm shying away from any analysis. The Ki Society gives rank in ki development. For the lower tests, you can always do something to pass. Follow one of the Four Basic Principles, extend your ki out, etc. There is always something to do.

For the higher ranked ki development tests, you only told to ignore the tester. This may sound simple, but is very hard since the higher level tests have the person extending ki towards you. If your ego gets in the way of the test, they'll just push you over. OK, but I know plenty of people that know exactly what they're doing and they can pay attention to the tester or ignore him and still not be pushed over. It's a matter of whether you "turn on" your skill or not. So logically, if the psychological aspect of "ignoring your tester" isn't needed by a lot of people, then it's probably just some sort of unnecessary step, Ted. I'd suggest that if someone knows how to do these things and has practiced them to the point of expertness, then the skills are there at will. You can also see this state of doing/being when Ki Society HQ. supplemented the basic principle "Extend Ki." with the addition of "Ki is Extended." Extend Ki. sounds like you need to do something, when actually you don't. Your natural state was already having ki extended. Therefore they had to add the supplement Ki is Extended. to show this was really a state of being.It sounds a lot like you're interprettying a religious tract, Ted. If "extending ki is natural", no one would have to go to Ki Society meetings and learn the Gospel. ;) It's a practiced skill. Think of this for a second.... Ki skills are widely known across a large number of martial arts in Asia and they have been known for thousands of years. Why is it suddenly that it takes this belief and adherence to psychology to learn them? It didn't before and it doesn't now.

And from the length of time and amount of success of Ki-Society members, I'd suggest that there is an easier way. If you can do these things, really do them, you don't need to put yourself into some psychological state... just do it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

tedehara
05-28-2006, 10:17 AM
... If "extending ki is natural", no one would have to go to Ki Society meetings and learn the Gospel. ;)That's right. That is why some people can practice aikido and "get it" within a relatively short time. Others will spend years and still have to muscle their way through techniques.
It's a practiced skill. Think of this for a second.... Ki skills are widely known across a large number of martial arts in Asia and they have been known for thousands of years. Why is it suddenly that it takes this belief and adherence to psychology to learn them? It didn't before and it doesn't now.It starts out as a practiced skill, but as you advance it's incorporated into your life until you're doing it 24X7. That's why a psychological investigation would prove more fruitful than the mystic teachings that have been used to pass on this tradition.
And from the length of time and amount of success of Ki-Society members, I'd suggest that there is an easier way. If you can do these things, really do them, you don't need to put yourself into some psychological state... just do it.

Regards,

Mike SigmanIf you're going to do anything, you need to be in some psychological state. Even the state of No Mind (mu-shin) is still a state.

Mike Sigman
05-28-2006, 10:26 AM
That's right. That is why some people can practice aikido and "get it" within a relatively short time.Well, unless they're dealing with a supernatural force (and even the effects of that can be analysed, Ted), the people that "get it" should be able to explain what they're doing. If you push a coffee-cup away from you with "ki" and compare it to pushing it away with normal muscular strength, it can be described. Others will spend years and still have to muscle their way through techniques. Yeah, well, I would ascribe that to poor teaching, to be honest. I've spent a lot of years watching how long it takes to teach an untrained beginner a number of the "ki tests" in order to see how long it takes. It's minutes and hours, Ted. Granted, it takes longer to make these things automatic and conditioned responsed, but that's to be expected. It starts out as a practiced skill, but as you advance it's incorporated into your life until you're doing it 24X7. That's why a psychological investigation would prove more fruitful than the mystic teachings that have been used to pass on this tradition.
If you're going to do anything, you need to be in some psychological state. Even the state of No Mind (mu-shin) is still a state. Yeah, but every skill is like that, Ted. Even teaching a neophyte boxer to punch correctly, even during a real fight, takes time and experience until that becomes his natural punch. Never mind "no mind". ;)

Regards,

Mike

Michael Mackenzie
05-28-2006, 11:28 AM
I'd like to pursue the systema piece of this thread a little further…

I had the opportunity to train with Vladimir in 2004-2005 for about six months. I think he's a great guy who is extremely proficient at what he does. I would also agree with Rob John that Pavel is a different critter. Actually, he showed up to train with Vladimir and Mikhail at this year's Expo and was surprised to see how different…

That being said I would say the breathing principles systema uses are different than IMA. In my experience, systema breathing has more to do with the practices one would find in the asana and pranayama of something like viniyoga and some of the harder forms of pencack silat and CMA. They are more breath "packing" exercises. There is an emphasis on long retentions of the breath as well as on the inhalation, utilizing little of the exhalation to "do the work."

I would also agree with Rob that Vladimir and Mikhail take a somewhat more "experiential" approach to learning and they're explanations can be pretty catch-as-catch can. This does not work for everyone. Especially given the sheer # of exercises and drills in systema. TBH I've only seen a small percentage of Vlad's guys "get it." The rest are there for exercises and a sense of belonging. However, this is true of ALL martial arts, or any endeavor for that matter.

I'd also like to venture an informed guess on where some of the systema breathwork comes from. I do agree there are some historical antecedents in Russian physical/martial culture and the Hesychastic use of the Jesus Prayer. However one cannot help but look at the more recent influence of pre WWII judo, pencack silat via the Dutch, CMA, notably Hung Gar, the synthesized Russian Military Arts of SAMBO, SAMOZ etc. and the teachings of AA Kadochnikov, who was featured predominantly in the early systema videos that are no longer available.

Systema is a rapidly evolving martial art developed by Mikhail Ryabko from a variety of sources. I think the training is great if that's what you are into. Ultimately success in any endeavor is based on finding a good teacher, enjoying what you're doing, thinking critically and putting in the requisite practice.

FWIW

Mike

George S. Ledyard
05-28-2006, 12:53 PM
Emitting Strikes:
They don't use fajin, or breath work really to do punches (as far as I recall), but that doesn't mean the bodyskills garnered from the basic exercises of pushups and squats don't affect them. In fact both Vlad and Michaeil ('never remember how to spell his name^^;) have mentioned at one point or another, that the "secret" is in the pushups and squats, and the related breath work. I'd tend to agree knowing what I know now.
The direct overlap is the use of equal pressure across the entire arm (using visualizations of your arms being to heavy weightchains, with cannon balls at the end) and then using the straight spine to deliver them (via the figure eight pattern you have running inside you). I'd say Vlad probably uses compression of the spine as well, but doesn't talk about it.

It's a different "mechansim" for delivering the strike in that it relies on the figure eight pattern internally, and it uses "pathways" developed through the breathing in the basic exercises (a la pushups/squats etc), but it doesn't use the "explosive" force that you see in sometimes in other IMA.


Excellent description (in a nutshell). I agree, it's my understanding as well, that one really can't separate the breath control development from the squats, sit-ups, and pushups. I absolutely agree that these are crucial to how they wish to train the body. I've been told by some of their senior instructors that this is one of the problems in that many folks who have joined up and are doing Systema out there in the hinterlands have taken a pick and choose approach to the training. There are quite q few who don't get and don't do these physical exercises and focus just on the movement. This goes completely against what Michael, Vlad and the other seniors say.

As for the striking... it is my understanding that the breathing is crucial for that as well but, as you noted, perhaps in a different way than in a Chinese internal art. The level of relaxation required to strike properly is fascinating in itself. One of my students is seriously pursuing Systema and has gotten to the point at which he is getting some extra input from Vlad when they are at seminars. This guy is one of the loosest, most flexible people I have known. At the dojo we called him "Gumby". This has been increased with his Systema work.

At a seminar recently he was practicing strikes with a partner who was practicing receiving and dissipating the energy of the strikes. Vlad was all over my student for too much tension... My students said Vlad spotted areas of tension of which he was completely unaware. Vlad proceeded to strike my student all over the arm and shoulder area which he was using for the strike. When he was done, my student told me that his whole right side was hanging down a couple inches lower than his left. He then did another strike which basically buckled the guy he was working with it was so powerful. My student said that it had felt "effortless", as if he had done almost nothing. That was the one that Vlad said was correct. So from the standpoint of getting to the point at which one could do such a strike the breathing is central to removing the tension which prevents one from doing so. I don't know to what extent it has to do with generating power at the time of the strike itself, I'll have to ask my friends.

Their strikes are one area that I am quite interested in for my own Aikido, since the spiral, figure eight movement you aptly described is completely compatible with Aikido movement principles. I had been telling Gleason Sensei about their striking and at the last Expo he somewhat reluctantly went to Vlad's class and he experienced it directly. He told me later that Vlad had hit him with a strike that looked like nothing and it had hit him harder than the hardest Karate punch he'd ever been hit with.

Anyway, a very interesting thing about their striking is that the mental aspect is so important. They practice having zero "intention" in their striking. As I understand it, the very desire to inflict injury and be powerful creates tension that actually reduces the effectiveness of the blow. So when they strike, they strive for a completely neutral intention. I am sure that the breathing is, once again, central to developing this attitude. Also, the conditioning aspect of the pushups, sit-ups, and squats is also central here in that they teach how to maintain relaxation of the body and mind even when the physical structure is load bearing.

Thanks for your addition; it seems as if you have some good background which allows you to bridge that gap in descriptive terminology between Mike S and myself.

Mike Sigman
05-28-2006, 01:29 PM
Thanks for your addition; it seems as if you have some good background which allows you to bridge that gap in descriptive terminology between Mike S and myself.Well, to be accurate, George, I think that we're mainly feeling for some relational dialogue. I understood the general thrust of what Rob was trying to say, but if you notice, he was careful to indicate "internal martial arts", not Aikido. So at best I got the idea of what Rob's impression was about Systema *perhaps* having a relationship to internal martial arts, but he gave no indication that there was a solid relationship to Aikido.

The anecdotal perceptions you just mentioned are fine as part of a discussion, but there's not much I can use firmly. One of the problems I have is that in too many of the Systema vids that I've seen the students are far too dramatic and cooperative in the same way that some Taiji, Aikido, you-name-it, students are. I've had a number of people who've had personal experience confirm that this appears to be the case too often. So let me be ambivalent and polite and just say "maybe, but so far I have seen nothing definitive"... which was more or less my first statement. ;)

All the Best.

Mike

Upyu
05-28-2006, 04:43 PM
Vlad was all over my student for too much tension... My students said Vlad spotted areas of tension of which he was completely unaware.

Lol, nice :D I've heard that from several people that've worked with vlad here in tokyo. Another annecdote I've heard, and which fits in nicely from what I've learned is that, it's not so much about relaxing, but knowing which parts to tense, what KIND of tension (or in other words the quality) to use, and when to use it, within the body which is key.
Problem is, so many people have too much excess tension that Vlad starts out with basically getting people to "get rid" of as much as possible.


He told me later that Vlad had hit him with a strike that looked like nothing and it had hit him harder than the hardest Karate punch he'd ever been hit with.


Most Karate punches are surface anyways. It impacts the surface, and then quickly dissipates. That being said, the shock is still enough to break things if you get the angle and timing right :crazy:
The main difference is that the "other" kind of strikes attack your "core", or the supporting "structure" , taking away your base.


They practice having zero "intention" in their striking. As I understand it, the very desire to inflict injury and be powerful creates tension that actually reduces the effectiveness of the blow.
Again, this ties in partly with what Ueshiba was talking about in so far as being "one" with nature, in harmony etc etc and driving the intent inwards.
(Mike I'm excluding the Ki from heaven, Ki from earth bit here)
Driving the intent "inwards" means you simply seek to "maintain" certain physical and mental properties within yourself, and as a result your opponent/partner is downed. Painfully. Or not painfully, depending on how you execute :)
Sagawa used to talk about this, and often said "you can't show any intent to attack, everything has to remain exactly 'as is'".
(Take a look at his pics sometime, they look almost fake in their execution )


Also, the conditioning aspect of the pushups, sit-ups, and squats is also central here in that they teach how to maintain relaxation of the body and mind even when the physical structure is load bearing.


Kind of, but I think the conditioning is a side effect, and not something that needs attention. What's more important is feeling exactly how you keep proper posture as naturally as possible, as the load increases in your physical structure. Then you take the same "Physical" sensations and put them in other movement.
This goes with any other kind of "tanren" movement, whether its from Shingon, Shiko stamp, spear thrusting, or whatever. All the exercises feed off of each other.


Thanks for your addition; it seems as if you have some good background which allows you to bridge that gap in descriptive terminology between Mike S and myself.

Np, I'm still just a beginner tho :)
I'm glad you could make headway out of my spur of the moment post. :)

George S. Ledyard
05-28-2006, 04:57 PM
Well, to be accurate, George, I think that we're mainly feeling for some relational dialogue. I understood the general thrust of what Rob was trying to say, but if you notice, he was careful to indicate "internal martial arts", not Aikido. So at best I got the idea of what Rob's impression was about Systema *perhaps* having a relationship to internal martial arts, but he gave no indication that there was a solid relationship to Aikido.

The anecdotal perceptions you just mentioned are fine as part of a discussion, but there's not much I can use firmly. One of the problems I have is that in too many of the Systema vids that I've seen the students are far too dramatic and cooperative in the same way that some Taiji, Aikido, you-name-it, students are. I've had a number of people who've had personal experience confirm that this appears to be the case too often. So let me be ambivalent and polite and just say "maybe, but so far I have seen nothing definitive"... which was more or less my first statement. ;)

All the Best.

Mike

I guess that it's the issue of making a statement about whether something is or is not part of or relqated to Aikido is where I have the problem. It is my belief that it is difficult if not impossible to actually point at anything and say "that is Aikdo" except in the most surcae sort of way.

I write something about this on the Aikido Journal site:
Article (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=259#comments)

Most of us never trained with the Founder. The lucky ones trained with someone who did, most haevn't been able to do that. So we look for information wherever we can get it based on who and what seems most likely to get us to where we think we would like to be. That idea changes all the time as we know more. So talking about whether something is in Aikido or nor is difficult. Talking about whether it is in or could be in what I am trying to do in Aikido is more manageable.

Mike Sigman
05-28-2006, 06:15 PM
I guess that it's the issue of making a statement about whether something is or is not part of or relqated to Aikido is where I have the problem. It is my belief that it is difficult if not impossible to actually point at anything and say "that is Aikdo" except in the most surcae sort of way.

I write something about this on the Aikido Journal site:
Article (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=259#comments)

Most of us never trained with the Founder. The lucky ones trained with someone who did, most haevn't been able to do that. So we look for information wherever we can get it based on who and what seems most likely to get us to where we think we would like to be. That idea changes all the time as we know more. So talking about whether something is in Aikido or nor is difficult. Talking about whether it is in or could be in what I am trying to do in Aikido is more manageable.I understand what you're saying, George, but I don't really think it's a matter of "there is no way to define Aikido". Even the legendary Taiji can be defined in fairly distinct terms of what it is and what it isn't. The idea of "the Tao that can be spoken is not the True Tao" is a bogus one when applied to various martial arts... they are reasonably defined, while the real Tao may indeed be something that can't be put into words well.

An outsider from Aikido (which I'm not, BTW) looking at the art can say a number of things definitively because Aikido is not unique in a number of the things it does. The throws, joint-locks, ways of taking falls, etc., etc., are not unique items. For instance, Irimi-nage is a well-known and commonly used throw in many Asian martial arts, although many people in Aikido who don't have a lot of exposure to other arts are probably quite unaware of this. Nikkyo is a common joint lock. And so on.

While a lot of people who have been insulated in Aikido or Japanese culture have obviously been blissfully unaware of it, Ueshiba used and demonstrated such an obvious relationship to known ki/qi development and usages derived from China that it would be naive to say something like "I don't know that so it must not be true." I.e., the confirmation of that statement is pretty easy to find, for anyone willing to look. The same words and terms, the same cosmology, the same demonstrations, etc., etc... they're there. Recognizing the obvious things, the obvious well-known throws, locks, ki-demonstrations, standard allegories for ki skills, etc., etc., is so easy I have no problem imagining a lot of people I know wondering why it should be much of a discussion. Simply put, I think your contention "it is difficult if not impossible to actually point at anything and say 'that is Aikdo' " is wrong. If you want to argue that the deep, high-end essence, the "spiritual understanding", yada, yada, is just impossible to quantify, I'll simply avoid that part of it (I don't think it's a true statement, but I don't feel it's important enough to debate) and say, "yeah, but if you think these other things that are 'in Aikido' aren't that obvious, then we have a serious disagreement." ;)


All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Nick Pagnucco
05-29-2006, 10:40 AM
One of the themes in this thread (and a few other places) seems to be that something was 'lost' from o-sensei to his students, something important. The thing that makes me scratch my head about that is how total a statement it is; none of his students, not even people like Saito, Shioda, or Tohei, were able to reproduce what Ueshiba was able to do in its full form.

Was O-sensei just not interested in passing down his art in a complete way, even to his son? Did he put it all out there 'in plain sight' (to steal a phrase from mr. amdur) with no one noticing? What am I missing?

Thats one of the things that always urks me about these discussions; the central problem of a lack of 'something' being transferred.

George S. Ledyard
05-29-2006, 11:42 AM
One of the themes in this thread (and a few other places) seems to be that something was 'lost' from o-sensei to his students, something important. The thing that makes me scratch my head about that is how total a statement it is; none of his students, not even people like Saito, Shioda, or Tohei, were able to reproduce what Ueshiba was able to do in its full form.

Was O-sensei just not interested in passing down his art in a complete way, even to his son? Did he put it all out there 'in plain sight' (to steal a phrase from mr. amdur) with no one noticing? What am I missing?

Thats one of the things that always urks me about these discussions; the central problem of a lack of 'something' being transferred.

First, O-Sensei did not, especially in his later years, teach technique at all. Even in his earlier years when he was teaching the thirties deshi I don't believe that he was as systematic about he was passing on as the Daito Ryu style is in its progression.

Anyway, the whole thing is like a detective process. We know O-sensei could do certain remarkable things as could his teacher, Takeda Sensei. The deshi all agree that they only got a portion of what O-sensei was doing. Despite some of them being fairly remarkable themselves, they still didn't measure up to the Founder.

So what did O-Sensei have that the students didn't? Or if there were students who did get more of "it" than others, what was the "it"? Another question of interest is did Tkeda sensei do a better job of passing "it" along than O-sensei did? Are there more people in Daito Ryu who attained something like the level of their teacher or was it pretty much the same as in Aikido where no one seems to have reached the level of the teacher.

If there were / are people who did get as good as Takeda Sensei in Daito Ryu, what elements of their training accounted for this and why did they drop out of Aikido? If no students have gotten as good as these early teachers, what did these guys do that produced this incredible skill that we have not included in contemporary training.

The problem here is that it is difficult to get answers to these questions. Mike sees all sorts of connections to Chinese internal arts. That may be but since one does not generally see that in contemporary Aikido training, it stays unclear how one would incorporate that into Aikido unless one does Chinese internal arts as well. I'm not saying that this isn't an excellent idea, I'm just saying that it is still unclear how Takeda and Ueshiba got it.

People like Dan Hardin seem to have a better idea of what there is in Daito Ryu that produces this level of skill but unfortunately they won't talk about higher level technical issues to non-practitioners. So that's a dead end in terms of finding out what was there that isn't any more.

This is an issue for us because there are really almost no people floating around who have extenisve experience in all of these different areas... To my knowledge there are no Shihan level Aikido people who also have a deep knowledge of Daito Ryu. Of the major teachers of Aikido I do not know of any who have extensive backgrounds in Chinese internal arts. The converse is true as well...
The folks I know who were Aikido people who left to do Daito Ryu were not very advanced in their Aikido when they left. There are a few people like Mike Sigman, Ellis Amdur, Bob Galleone, etc who had a substantial background in Aikido who now have a substantial background in Chinese internal arts... This is probably the best place to get some idea of what might have been left out and how we might re-introduce these elements into our training (since the Daito Ryu folks aren't talking).

It's just a difficult proposition. The standard training methodology is different so it takes some doing to try to change it. Despite the stylistic differences, most Aikido is done relatively the same in terms of how we train. One can go from dojo to dojo and not have any problem participating. To place an emphasis on developing internal power using Chinese methods would entail some substantial refocusing. So I remain unclear about how the process of re-discovering what was lost and re-introducing it to our training should proceed in a way that the larger mass of Aikido practitioners would benefit.

This is a difficult area. I am an Aikido teacher. Aikido is my main focus and my great love. I am interested in elements from other arts that would make my Aikido better but generally these elements are part of the higher level teachings in these other arts. Most teachers are not interested (and justifiably so) in dishing out the goods to anyone who isn't making the full committment to study of their art. So you find very few people who end up at the highest level in non-closely related arts. At some point they end up having to choose and run with one or the other.

statisticool
05-29-2006, 12:10 PM
From what I've read over the years I've observed a positive correlation between people talking the loudest about things being lost, and these same people claiming they really know what it is all about. They can never quite coherently explain how it was lost for everyone except them, or for all 'Westerners' except them, for some reason. ;)

One can think of some possibilities why things Ueshiba did are not done by others. For one, he was very skilled. Unique skill, by definition, is not repeatable by others. This is not a very satisfying answer though.

Second, it could be that these various feats of timing, position, body mechanics, and strength, were not emphasized by Ueshiba as being essential to aikido and were not emphasized in his cirriculum. This is also not very satisfying.

Lastly, people could be misunderstanding what a videoclip or a photo shows, as articles like this (http://ejmas.com/pt/ptart_garrelts_0303.html) point out. And, the article explains, one can duplicate this feat if one understands the parameters differently. This is also not very satisfying.

What is satisfying, I hear, is training in what was clearly emphasized. :)

Kevin Leavitt
05-29-2006, 12:30 PM
Toward the end of Bob Galeone's tenure as a Instructor in our dojo in Alexandria...we spent a fair amount of time doing things in aikido that were very similar to things I have done in taiji or bua gua. We would spend almost an entire class on foot work, transitioning weight, breathing, and turning...all as a part of say iriminage or Ikkyo. I learned alot about connecting things during this time!

Bob didn't really seem to make a distinction between Uechi Ryu, Aikido, or Bua Gua, or kali...he simply applied the same principles to whatever "kata" we happened to be doing for whatever style we aerer doing.

For what it is worth.

Mike Sigman
05-29-2006, 12:39 PM
Mike sees all sorts of connections to Chinese internal arts. That may be but since one does not generally see that in contemporary Aikido training, it stays unclear how one would incorporate that into Aikido unless one does Chinese internal arts as well. (snipsky) To place an emphasis on developing internal power using Chinese methods would entail some substantial refocusing. Hi George:

Good points. At a certain point in time, the enormity of the Chinese information within Japanese martial arts becomes so obvious that it's not worth much of a discussion. Ellis and a number of others with extensive backgrounds in Japanese martial arts have told me that I'm preaching to the choir... the only people who don't understand the magnitude of the Chinese involvement are ones who haven't taken the time to look. However, the signs are all over the place, so it doesn't take much looking.

I went into Aikido trying to track down an unusual form of strength that I had felt in a visiting Sandan from Hombu Dojo (at a drunken party in Miami, many years ago). I've pretty much focused on finding out how these things work and I haven't been particularly concerned with martial style or country-of-origin, so I can probably add a little bit to what you're saying.

First of all, the whole ki/kokyu or qi/jin thing is now (or was originally), to my chagrin, obviously in every Asian martial art that I've ever encountered. Those body training skills are not style specific. I.e., you don't have to take karate or a Chinese martial art to learn them. You could do what Tohei did, which was the equivalent of taking a good-level of qigong studies and then turning around and putting it in your Aikido.

In other words, this is not something that is karate or Chinese martial arts or kalaripayattu or whatever.... it's a kind of core physical skill/training that is apart from being any particular style. Where people get fooled is in the fact that the basic principles can be studied using various different "favorite way to develop it" and that gives outside observers the impression that there are different things different arts are doing. In fact, they're just doing variations of a few core basics and the extensions of those basics.

One of the interesting things I've noted is that these things are still in Aikido, but the people that have them, like Tohei, Abe Sensei, and others, don't give out the information all that much. They don't even give it out that freely to their own students... a student is expected to work for it. The information is there, in other words, it's just darned hard to get, as it's always been.

Another thing is that it's not that easy to get it fully. It's pretty easy to get a few rudiments and impress the peanut gallery, but to get it at the level O-Sensei seems to have gotten it takes a long and extensive amount of practice. The people who think that they can go to a couple of workshops and they've "got it"... it'll never work like that. It's a never-ending process.

This reminds me of that piece of a video clip we were talking about on the Aikido Journal forum... when O-Sensei was doing the Fune-kogi undo and he suddenly starts adding power-releases to it, he cuts his eyes at Terry Dobson to see if Dobson got it, I think. Dobson apparently didn't. On various film-clips and in a number of martial situations I can recall seeing or being part of, a lot of these things are briefly shown... so it's not hidden as much as all that. On the other hand, the same experiences have shown me that aside from the occasional hints, little explicit direction is ever given except for a chosen few.

I used to say what I thought were pithy comments like "you really have to know these qi/ki things if you do Taiji, Aikido, etc., because the core art is built around how those skills work; you don't really have to know them if you do something like Hun Gar, Choy Li Fut, Karate, etc.". I was wrong. I can get away with a statement like that to fellow amateurs, but in reality, if someone *really* knows karate, Choy Li Fut, etc., they use the ki/qi skills very deeply and only the superficial practitioners think they can get away with just physical conditioning, techniques, and a gift of gab/buzzwords. I say that to reinforce the point that these physical/mental skills are very important.. they're not just some side issue.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-29-2006, 12:43 PM
From what I've read over the years I've observed a positive correlation between people talking the loudest about things being lost, and these same people claiming they really know what it is all about. I must have missed it... has someone posted a thread claiming these skills are "lost"? Could you point out the thread please? I hope this wasn't just another of your negative, nothing-to-contribute-but-a-wet-towel posts. If you could give us the cite, please.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

senshincenter
05-29-2006, 12:50 PM
I believe Justin's "lost" means "not found in the masses and/or not easily found by the masses." I read him as referring to rarity and not to extinction.

Nick Pagnucco
05-29-2006, 01:08 PM
I believe Justin's "lost" means "not found in the masses and/or not easily found by the masses." I read him as referring to rarity and not to extinction.

Justin was replying to my post, and I used 'lost' to mean what you just said.

As for his comment about satisfaction lies in training, I basically agree with that, so long as training involves an active mind as well as body. The only hope for avoiding false confidence in what you know is to have your mind actively engaged. This forum in general (not just this thread) helps me keep thinking about aikido, which has essentially a dialectic relationship with my actual training.

Mike Sigman
05-29-2006, 01:21 PM
Justin was replying to my post, and I used 'lost' to mean what you just said.Here's what Justin said:

From what I've read over the years I've observed a positive correlation between people talking the loudest about things being lost, and these same people claiming they really know what it is all about. They can never quite coherently explain how it was lost for everyone except them, or for all 'Westerners' except them, for some reason.

Nick, you didn't mention anything other than a "theme". Justin is taking a swipe at someone who purportedly said things were "lost" and then "these same people claiming they really know what it is all about". I asked him for a cite, assuming he's not just being a snipe.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
05-29-2006, 01:34 PM
He is kinda doing the same thing on Bullshido as well. He doesn't really have much background other than what he has "read" on the internet from what I can tell. I smell someone simply trying to "stir the pot".

Frankly all this is too complicated and intense to have someone do a "drive by" on it for me. I hope I have you pegged wrong Justin, and you are being sincere...because most of us here are serious about what we are training for.

statisticool
05-29-2006, 01:45 PM
The issue has already been explained.
(and by using the word 'lost' that Nicholas used in his post, I didn't mean to imply that Nicholas was "talking loudly" or making any claims at all - sorry if it came across like that!)

If one reads this entire thread and does not find many examples of claims that Westerners (especially) are missing things, I'd have to ask if they are reading the same thread.

I can only say that I've not read emphasis in any of the Ueshiba's (and other top masters) writings about jo tricks, so I can only conclude that they were not stressed as important.


Until evidence shows otherwise,
Justin

statisticool
05-29-2006, 01:48 PM
He is kinda doing the same thing on Bullshido as well. He doesn't really have much background other than what he has "read" on the internet from what I can tell. I smell someone simply trying to "stir the pot".


The same thing was tried on Bullshido by referring to me being over here (to the same effect- me saying "and...?"). I guess some people dislike opinions that conflict with theirs? I think I've managed to avoid talking about specific personalities pretty well and tried to stay on the actual issues, and I don't plan to deviate from that.

If one disagrees with an point/opinion they are welcome to say so. Me not helping an old lady across the street in 1995 has no bearing on if Ueshiba emphasized jo tricks either. But I think next time I read a movie review I'm going to dismiss it outright because the review has never made a movie him/herself. ;)

Kevin Leavitt
05-29-2006, 01:50 PM
Justin wrote:

I can only say that I've not read emphasis in any of the Ueshiba's (and other top masters) writings about jo tricks, so I can only conclude that they were not stressed as important.


Tohei thought they were important.

Mike Sigman
05-29-2006, 03:21 PM
He is kinda doing the same thing on Bullshido as well. He doesn't really have much background other than what he has "read" on the internet from what I can tell. I smell someone simply trying to "stir the pot".

Frankly all this is too complicated and intense to have someone do a "drive by" on it for me. I hope I have you pegged wrong Justin, and you are being sincere...because most of us here are serious about what we are training for.Seriously, I don't think anyone takes Justin for anything other than he is... "drive-by" is pretty accurate. Look at his previous posts in this thread alone. But just the same, he arrives at a good time to make a point about another aspect of this whole issue on the mechanics, the "secrets", and so forth.

There is a lot of emphasis in traditional martial arts on character and attitude. No teacher feels obligated to show hard-won information to losers with attitudes. Can you imagine someone with an attitude getting Ueshiba to show "the Secret of the Jo Trick", for instance? ;)

Abe Sensei knows how to do a lot of the ki training things, but he's pretty sparing in showing them explicitly, as I understand some of Gernot's remarks. This is common behaviour. There's also an element of "I showed you x-percentage of it; you figure out the rest or you're not worthy of knowing it".

But all of that contributes to the overall comments that George Ledyard was making. By assumption, to capture some elements of the ki-related training, George indicates that standard approach of sincere devotion to some other art, etc., because he understands the drill. In a lot of ways, I've always been somewhat against that approach. My interest is purely in the mechanics and how-to's of those skills... that's my focus, not some martial art. My reasoning is that the truly interesting thing about Asian martial arts are these kinds of training techniques. Self-defense I could already do a long time ago.

And while I enjoy talking about these things (you'd be surprised how many helpful pointers I glean just in all these dialogues with people) and I enjoy meeting a lot of fine people who are in the martial arts, I would have to put the character issue as part of the mechanics things... I wouldn't show some jerk how to do anything either. I don't want some "jerk" to know how to do things that might put him in a position of power of some nice-guy neophyte in the future. I.e., if you really care about good martial arts, you do your best to help the "good" people and stymie the losers, the ego-centric, etc.

If you notice from Dan Harden's posts and from Rob John's (I can think of others, but I have to draw from the ones this forum is familiar with), there's always the undercurrent issue of trying to be nice and say "there's something here" and yet have to put up with what often amounts to affronts. I think Dan spoke several times, in essence, of having tried to say something to people in various martial arts that "there is something missing", but only getting red-assed for his efforts. ;)

So yeah.... attitude is important. I think if you watch for the ideal attitude among the people that "got it", they worked hard, thought hard, asked intelligent questions, and remained emotionally neutral. And sure, there's bogus people with bogus claims... some are easy to spot, but often it's a matter of asking the right questions until they're unmasked. Sniping just wastes everyone's time, of course.

FWIW

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-29-2006, 03:32 PM
Mike Wrote:

think Dan spoke several times, in essence, of having tried to say something to people in various martial arts that "there is something missing", but only getting red-assed for his efforts.

It is tough to have invested years of effort, blood, sweat, and tears into your training...only to have someone come along and say this! RIght or Wrong.

I am really trying hard in my martial career to avoid having this happen to me. Part of the risk is that I have become a "jack of all trades" and a "master of none" at this point. I am hoping one day when I retire...that I will be able to assimilate much of my experiences and be happy and content!

If I get that far...that would be nice...but how would I know that I am not deluded???

It is a tough road to travel!

Mike Sigman
05-29-2006, 03:49 PM
It is tough to have invested years of effort, blood, sweat, and tears into your training...only to have someone come along and say this! RIght or Wrong. True. I see both sides of it, though. Remember that my interest/curiosity was about the mechanics of something truly odd that I felt.... *after* I had already had a goodly amount of experience in competition judo, karate, and many physical disagreements in many settings. So I tend to come from "clinical curiosity", not from any martial style or martial status where I would be defensive. If someone says, "I know something you don't know", my immediate reaction is to say "yeah, what?". If you see what I'm saying. Additionally, there's this "Dumb Ole Asian" thing I've talked about before. Here we are saying that they have these brilliant martial arts styles, but the ki stuff they were talking about, ALL of them, was just bunkum. Or maybe we're arrogant and wrong, eh??? So I look or ask questions until I'm dead sure... I don't take offense very easily. I am really trying hard in my martial career to avoid having this happen to me. Part of the risk is that I have become a "jack of all trades" and a "master of none" at this point. I am hoping one day when I retire...that I will be able to assimilate much of my experiences and be happy and content! Good. Each to his own. Me... I look at this interest in the body mechanics and ki-related stuff as being an honest investment that will pay off in my old age. The strength of just muscles and youth will fade... this kind of stuff (for obvious reasons, once you get into it) pays off with strength and quality of life in old age. And that's a common perspective all throughout Asia. If I get that far...that would be nice...but how would I know that I am not deluded??? If you can't show it or use it realistically, it ain't real. Notice how I always try to avoid saying "it works in a fight"? That's because I don't have any hangups about fights and I've been in a lot of them, so the testosterone stuff doesn't mean a lot to me. If this stuff is realistic and it will realistically benefit the 105-pound young lady that consistently attends class but who doesn't have that male hang up about "fightin", I don't want to dissuade her by all this talk about "it's gotta work in the ring". If that's all it was good for, I'd say it, but these kinds of strengths are really good for just daily usage around the house and work. So, yeah, it's gotta work, but I don't say, "It's gotta kick butt in a fight". ;)

FWIW

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-29-2006, 04:35 PM
Mike Wrote:

If you can't show it or use it realistically, it ain't real. Notice how I always try to avoid saying "it works in a fight"? That's because I don't have any hangups about fights and I've been in a lot of them, so the testosterone stuff doesn't mean a lot to me. If this stuff is realistic and it will realistically benefit the 105-pound young lady that

I am over it too. RIght now though, my main focus is training soldiers for very specific conditions...so naturally my mind, thoughts, and perspective will tend to center around practical applications.

The interesting thing is that we ((Modern Army Combatives) is really geared toward teaching principles of proper movement and muscle memory vice "step 1,2, 3...Kiah!". However, our focus tends to be very narrow, specific, and physical in nature. A good base to build upon.

It does favor the physicality, full speed, and resistance though...which will build skill quickly in young soldiers.

What I am findng here lately though is that I cannot "hang" anylonger in the speed, endurance, and agility categories with these younger guys.

So, yes, there will need to be "something else" if I stay with it....there is an old saying about old warriors.....something about they "never die.....they just fade away!"

Anyway, continues to be a great discussion.

DH
05-29-2006, 06:37 PM
I just got back...Wow. Been busy here.

Just to respond to my name being brought up twice.

George

Daito ryu and Ueshiba
As you know and have mentioned; Ueshiba is a Daito ryu man. Folks can say what they like. But it is what it is. The aikido seen today, came later as a product mostly of others. The paperwork and interviews are all there. The body connection and structure of Ueshiba, even many of the demonstrations, including the Jo work, is shared by his teacher, contemporaries and seniors; Takeda, Sagawa, and Kodo. With these men and Ueshiba- you see body skills. Serious body training.
One only need look at the breadth of Aikido as an art today, the players –father to son-to later students and then draw a corollary to Daito ryu to see what is equally telling- that even in Daito ryu, as with Aikido, it missed most players. And there are those in Daito ryu today who openly dismiss these skills as unimportant and are public about that view.
With my new CMA friends I am discovering it is not widely trained there either.


Replication
It is worthy of note that Takeda did NOT leave many who displayed these skills.
I will leave it up to the pundits to wonder why.
What makes a Sagawa?
A Kodo?
A Ueshiba?
Why did most miss it?
But equally interesting is why was Takeda capable of leaving us Sagawa? Kodo? And Ueshiba?

On the whole this type of training is just not for most people. One needs to allow for talent, and obsessive solo work, then constant, never ending….failure. Anyone in this for an ego boost or fast results will quickly leave. In fact I think it is the pervading reason for the lost skill idea people are talking about. It isn’t “lost” but it is so far flung and rare it might as well be. Even then there are pieces here, some knowledge there. And not all of it may be in one pair of hands. With that you have to be open minded and look. One piece of advice. Never…..ever…..lie to those so gracious to share information. Never kid yourself and be so prideful as to say “I already knew that.” That leaves folks bitter. And overall give credit where credit is due. Once that is in place you can make friends and explore together

Some general thoughts
IMO The immediate connection is Daito ryu and not China. Now, that said, the overall "real".....connection –is- China. I think it is inescapable. Folks can argue all the day long about where it is a better fit. Mikes argument for learning Kokyu/jin /ki –for-Aikido and not in other places has some merit. I learned most from Daito ryu and other things now from CMA. But I work jujutsu. So as I continue to explore and learn I think in those terms or themes.

I am saddened that folks have missed out. But finding teachers for these skills is very hard. Even when you do, most don’t show. I have seen men train for twelve years and not be shown things others were shown privately after a few. It is a difficult road of talent, obsessive training and tangible results. Teachers do guard inner things.

Fighting, tricks, and demonstrations
The fight connection and Internal skills keeps coming up. That they have merit, significantly so, in fighting is without question in my mind. But if we are seriously trying to talk as like minded friends we need to acknowledge the effort put forth in thousands of words by myself and others for these skills being of use for day to day strengths, health benefits and an overall better way to move I gave up trying, but come on you guys, how many times do we have to say the same thing?
In martial arts use any measurable scale of interest you may have. These skills can and are useful to that degree “you” use to gauge your current interest. You don’t have to join me on the heavy bag or on the floor. Who cares? You can do what “you” do. And just do it better.
In the end, it just may be a better way to move. The smaller guys I have taught these things too love the fact that it makes them –in effect- stronger in feel and heavier to move. And various aspects of being able or prepared-heck even fighting acumen-.go far beyond the narrow confines of a ring venue.

Last, I am grateful that someone noticed I am almost always nice.

Cheers
Dan

DH
05-29-2006, 07:04 PM
Mike Wrote:
It is tough to have invested years of effort, blood, sweat, and tears into your training...only to have someone come along and say this! (somethings missing) RIght or Wrong.

I am really trying hard in my martial career to avoid having this happen to me. Part of the risk is that I have become a "jack of all trades" and a "master of none" at this point. I am hoping one day when I retire...that I will be able to assimilate much of my experiences and be happy and content!

If I get that far...that would be nice...but how would I know that I am not deluded???

It is a tough road to travel!

Here's the thing though Kevin. What you just said is exactly what I walked into as well. I just never attached ego -or myself- to it. I have a saying. “I don’t care who’s right or wrong. I care what is right or wrong.
Lets just say I was very jaded about Martial arts in general, and teachers who either sucked or had "personal issues." Not many guys were going to impress me much past 5 min.

I saw and felt something that I could not explain-not more pretzel logic stuff. Real body skill and power. And I watched as guys shrugged, could not see any use or reason to spend so much time on it and went…..for more techniques.
I have now met other people who like Mike, Rob, Ark, and me cared less about what we "thought" we knew and were smart enough to say.."Will you show me how to do that please?"

As for hanging with the younger guys?
This helps! Even when you lose they’re gonna tell you what a handful you were. And no one will want to get hit or kicked by you more than once.
After that it’s a better way to be young or old and to work.


Cheers
Dan

Upyu
05-29-2006, 07:37 PM
To place an emphasis on developing internal power using Chinese methods would entail some substantial refocusing. So I remain unclear about how the process of re-discovering what was lost and re-introducing it to our training should proceed in a way that the larger mass of Aikido practitioners would benefit.



Just a quick comment,
I don't think it necessary to use Chinese methods to develop the body skills. I think there's a general lack of knowledge in traditional japanese methods of solo training.

In fact the ways you can train are numerous, even within a Jp only cultural context...Shiko, Spear training, Sumo exercises, understanding how to actually train with sword, other various body aligment exercises within jp styles etc.

At the bare minimum, if this were addressed, I think you'd see a jump in skill in those people that are willing to put the time and effort into this kind of repeitious training. (I will say it's hardly boring tho, once you get into the groove of things).

Really though, most "masters" were innovative in their exercises, and created their own custom made curriculum for themselves, once they understood exactly how they needed to train their bodies. This goes for Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba etc etc. Really I think that's what set them apart from everyone else.

Quoting Sagawa
(I am NOT a sagawa nutrider, I don't even do Daitoryu, lol, and I think the guy was a cocky SOB, but he is so quotable it's hard to resist :D )

"All you people, you try so desperately to learn from me, want me to teach you everything, while I've been innovating on my own for the past 20 years. Use your goddamn heads for once!
That's why you'll never be as good as me. " :uch:

Mike Sigman
05-29-2006, 08:22 PM
Just a quick comment,
I don't think it necessary to use Chinese methods to develop the body skills. I think there's a general lack of knowledge in traditional japanese methods of solo training. Once again, that's exactly what I believe. Interestingly enough, most of what I know comes from Chinese sources, but not all. If I hadn't clearly felt a Japanese Aikidoist use this form of strength, I would never have even started chasing this monster. And the interesting part is that I started visiting various Japanese foums last year and even though there was no coherent source of information, I found lots of interesting bits and pieces that added quite a bit to my overall perspective on these things. The ki-related training and strength phenomena all follow the same immutable principles.... Chinese or Japanese or Indonesian or Indian, etc., has got nothing to do with anything.

My 2 cents.

Mike

statisticool
05-29-2006, 08:53 PM
Seriously, I don't think anyone takes Justin for anything other than he is... "drive-by" is pretty accurate. Look at his previous posts in this thread alone. But just the same, he arrives at a good time to make a point about another aspect of this whole issue on the mechanics, the "secrets", and so forth.


Speaking of previous posts, a wise sage, on this very thread, said


This sets up an "Us versus Me" relationship, George, while noting that I am an "outsider". Rhetorically, it's a way of discrediting someone in a debate. I know you didn't mean to do that, but I thought I'd point it out. Is it possible that we can discuss this without slipping in personal references to bend the debate?


;)

Did you read that judo book from the 60s that talks about forces yet?

Upyu
05-29-2006, 08:58 PM
Speaking of previous posts, a wise sage, on this very thread, said



;)

Did you read that judo book from the 60s that talks about forces yet?

I think Mike already mentioned something to the effect that it was present in the old school of judo. :)

PS, From what I've read from the reviews on amazon, I don't think its talking about the same kind of vectors we've been discussing here. But if a copy ever comes my way I'll check it out.

DH
05-29-2006, 09:05 PM
I think Mike already mentioned something to the effect that it was present in the old school of judo. :)

PS, From what I've read from the reviews on amazon, I don't think its talking about the same kind of vectors we've been discussing here. But if a copy ever comes my way I'll check it out.


Actually I think that was me Quoting E.J. Harrisons work. That book was written in the thirties but published after the war.
If you read it it also includes him visiting an Aikijujutsu guy and ....pushing on him, then pulling, trying to choke him and having it nuetralized without the fellow moving. Then E.J. being shoved off with a finger. Surprise surprise.

I also encouraged folks to re-read the interview with Tenryu and Ueshiba training. Tenryu describes being forced to "push" Ueshiba all the time.
Then for them to ask:
Why were they doing this type of training?
Why would anyone?
What's to be gained, what is being shown or taught?

I also have a quote from the nineteenth century from Apache indian wrestlers talking about a mysterious power a man can train in. This power has no name but when a man uses it he cannot be thrown.
And so it goes...........
cheers
Dan

DH
05-29-2006, 09:21 PM
Just a quick comment,
I don't think it necessary to use Chinese methods to develop the body skills. I think there's a general lack of knowledge in traditional japanese methods of solo training.

In fact the ways you can train are numerous, even within a Jp only cultural context...Shiko, Spear training, Sumo exercises, understanding how to actually train with sword, other various body aligment exercises within jp styles etc.
:uch:

In a room full of Koryu practioners, the teacher asked the collected group handling long weapons "How many solo train?" Only three raised their hands (including him)

First thing I learned in Daito ryu?
Solo work. A connection exercise. I thought he was lying to me when he said "You'll never learn this here. Go home and do this." A year later when My buddy and I could pretty much stop folks in their tracks did light dawn on my thick skull that there was something going on -strengthening and connecting the lines -in me.

One need only re-read your quote from Sagawa to have it burn inside. "How do you expect?..............yadda yadda.

Dan

statisticool
05-29-2006, 09:25 PM
PS, From what I've read from the reviews on amazon, I don't think its talking about the same kind of vectors we've been discussing here.


I'm only familiar with the mechanical notion of vectors and describing them using math.

Upyu
05-29-2006, 10:45 PM
I'm only familiar with the mechanical notion of vectors and describing them using math.

Thinly veiled sarcasm aside, let's just say for a moment that the diagrams mentioned in the book are the same we were talking about. But if you don't know "how" to create those vectors of force, then the diagrams are of little use to you.

A better way to describe it is that the "quality" of the vectors is different.

Taking the simple example of two people:

Person A doesn't have this "skill"
Person B has this "skill"

Tell both to push Person C over, and their interpretation on how to generate the resultant force forward will vary dramatically.

Person A will probably try and push the ground with his feet, while putting power into the back, committing all the force "towards" Person C. If you were to take Person C away at any time, Person A would lose balance and fall over.

Person B pushes in a different way. He extends out, but doesn't push the ground with his feet. Even as he "extends" his arms to push Person C, he counteracts this by "pulling" back to the center.
At any time if you were to take Person C away, Person B would NOT fall over. Yet Person C is still off balanced/pushed back.

This is an extremely simple example, but illustrates that even though you could "diagram" the same force, the quality and feel of both forces would be totally different.
The key difference for now, is that in one, the pusher commits his "weight" to the person, while the other does not, but still unbalances/pushes Person C. Easier said than done actually ;)

It's what was being demo'd in the pushout vid that I posted earlier in the thread. :D

mathewjgano
05-30-2006, 03:36 AM
"Even as he "extends" his arms to push Person C, he counteracts this by "pulling" back to the center.
At any time if you were to take Person C away, Person B would NOT fall over."

Pulling what back to the center? The arms?
When you say B is not pushing against the ground, do you mean B isn't pushing as hard? It seems one must still extend through their feet and into the ground, so it sounds to me like you're describing a center with virtical spine as opposed to the guy who leans into his push. Aikido terminology, if I understand you correctly, has a distinction between "pushing" and "entering" which describes the difference you seem to be describing. To enter, as i understand it, one must keep the spine more or less above the center and the center more or less between the feet, or you start to topple over. Am I making sense? I'm not quite sure I'm describing it perfectly, but that feeling of keeping weight under you (the feeling of a stable center) is what keeps one from falling when uke withdraws suddenly.

mathewjgano
05-30-2006, 04:08 AM
"A better way to describe it is that the "quality" of the vectors is different."

Without knowing the diagram in question of course it's hard for me to try and enter this conversation, so please forgive my likely sloppy attempt, but when i think of vectors and the human body i think of the basic mechanics of posture (eg-bone structure and the ranges of motion for the various segments of that whole, and, hopefully, how they apply together to provide a net force for some point at which connection is made to outside objects). Hara gets designated as a point from which, more or less, vectors radiate outward, following the greatest natural forces of the body.
So when my arm extends outward, I think of the vector of some point in my fist, for example. This vector has only two possible qualities: direction and force, as i recall. Speed, for example, is not a vector quantity. So the net force of that vector can be added to by other points of the body, all of which are connected to each other in one way or another, through efficient movements (forces not subtracting from each other). The difficulty in achieving the greatest possible net force is that the human body is so blessed articulatable, making it easy to bleed off force in directions which do not help that "fist-point" directions of force, or which conflicts with it. In balance, the net center of balance must remain within the base or it will always topple over (provided one isn't leaning against some helpfull person or thing). So for me, it seems more helpfull to describe the various vectors of the body and how they contribute to the net vector, than simply saying special "quality" of vector. It sounds like you're describing an ability more than a vector to me, though i admit being quite fully ignorant when it comes to generating powerfull forces.
Sincerely,
Matt
ps- sorry if I got incogent...I need to brush up on my physics

Dennis Hooker
05-30-2006, 07:05 AM
And then there are people that can do things most of us can't regardless of vectors and such. I once seen a rather normal looking man roll up an iron skillet like a newspaper and bend steel wrenches with his hand. No tricks they were real. He clamed it was science but it damn sure looked like superhuman strength to me. I did not have the scientific skill to unbend them. To talk about it and understand the science of it is one thing. To do it is another.

Ian Thake
05-30-2006, 07:08 AM
Actually I think that was me Quoting E.J. Harrisons work. That book was written in the thirties but published after the war.
If you read it it also includes him visiting an Aikijujutsu guy and ....pushing on him, then pulling, trying to choke him and having it nuetralized without the fellow moving. Then E.J. being shoved off with a finger. Surprise surprise.

I came across the Harrison book ("The Fighting Spirit of Japan: The Esoteric Study of the Martial Arts") by accident, some 15 years or so ago, before I had any kind of context to put the aikijutsu description into. (Not that lurking on internet forums has provided much more of a context since :rolleyes: )

I remember being quite suprised to discover that I actually believed Harrison's account - the way his character comes across in his writing, you really can't imagine he'd lie about something that sounds so unlikely!

Jim Sorrentino
05-30-2006, 07:32 AM
Hi George,This is an issue for us because there are really almost no people floating around who have extenisve experience in all of these different areas... To my knowledge there are no Shihan level Aikido people who also have a deep knowledge of Daito Ryu. Of the major teachers of Aikido I do not know of any who have extensive backgrounds in Chinese internal arts. The converse is true as well...
The folks I know who were Aikido people who left to do Daito Ryu were not very advanced in their Aikido when they left. There are a few people like Mike Sigman, Ellis Amdur, Bob Galleone, etc who had a substantial background in Aikido who now have a substantial background in Chinese internal arts... This is probably the best place to get some idea of what might have been left out and how we might re-introduce these elements into our training (since the Daito Ryu folks aren't talking).This is not quite right. Some of the Daito Ryu folks are just talking. Others, like Kondo, Okamoto, and Roy Goldberg, are doing open seminars. As the saying goes, talk is cheap. Or as my Italian grandfather used to say, "The mouth is a wonderful instrument. It is the only tool which grows sharper through constant use."

Jim

Upyu
05-30-2006, 07:33 AM
Mathew:
The elements you described are foundational to it, and a key part. There's more to it of course, but I was only giving an extremely simple example. Keeping the weight "underside" is a pretty good description.
I'd go so far to say that you can have a tilted spine, so long as its straight, and you keep the weight underside of you.
What all the solo exercises that were described do first and foremost is strengthen those connections that allow you to keep your weight underside, and then increase the maximum extent to which you can hold structure without it collapsing. IE without you commiting weight and losing your balance.

Youre on a good roll tho I think.
You do any solo exercises to strengthen those concepts you talked about? (Just curious) :)

mathewjgano
05-30-2006, 07:50 AM
Youre on a good roll tho I think.
You do any solo exercises to strengthen those concepts you talked about? (Just curious) :)
Thank you. I do the tori fune and furi tama exercises, as well as a sort of free-form movement where I essentially focus on different parts of my body and get a sense for strengths and weaknesses. Basically just moving and paying attention as best I can.

statisticool
05-30-2006, 08:01 AM
And then there are people that can do things most of us can't regardless of vectors and such. I once seen a rather normal looking man roll up an iron skillet like a newspaper and bend steel wrenches with his hand. No tricks they were real. He clamed it was science but it damn sure looked like superhuman strength to me. I did not have the scientific skill to unbend them. To talk about it and understand the science of it is one thing. To do it is another.

After drinking a beer I bend the bottlecap in half with my thumb and finger.

I practice it a lot. :)

Mike Sigman
05-30-2006, 08:02 AM
Taking the simple example of two people:

Person A doesn't have this "skill"
Person B has this "skill"

Tell both to push Person C over, and their interpretation on how to generate the resultant force forward will vary dramatically.

Person A will probably try and push the ground with his feet, while putting power into the back, committing all the force "towards" Person C. If you were to take Person C away at any time, Person A would lose balance and fall over.

Person B pushes in a different way. He extends out, but doesn't push the ground with his feet. Even as he "extends" his arms to push Person C, he counteracts this by "pulling" back to the center.
At any time if you were to take Person C away, Person B would NOT fall over. Yet Person C is still off balanced/pushed back.
Well, to be fair to Matt, Rob, I can't make heads or tails out of that description because I know that a casual reader sees it as you saying you don't push from the ground and you move your body away from Uke... so where does the push-power come from? ;)

We should take some very simple example and analyze it. I'll be happy to post diagrams for people, but I'll be out of touch for a while during the day and may not be able to post them until this evening.

One of the problems that is going to start to creep in is the different ways that power can be manipulated with the middle, pressure, the back, the tensioned core, off the floor, and so on. That can massively complicate a discussion. For instance, from my perspective there is an enormous difference between "using the hips" and "using the hara"; they are not interchangeable. There are also several ways to "use the hips", some more powerful than others. I think I'm getting around to suggesting that any explanations that people write should be very simple and clear (think of the average reader, for instance, that didn't study force vectors in school... try to explain things so they'd also understand).

Regardless, a discussion of forces sometimes gets out of hand, but invariably it sheds new light for some people.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

DH
05-30-2006, 08:46 AM
Talk -can be- cheap. Apparently so cheap as to be worthless-in that it completely escapes some people and is not worth the time to write. On the other hand it can invaluable. I guess it just depends who we spend our time with.

I am once again surprised at the tone or suggestion tendered. That some would suppose folks openly teach details in seminars to strangers. Astounded even. I have been to those offered by many of the seniors in Aikido-the top people in the country at the time, and those in Daito ryu, and those in Koryu...many times.
I have never seen the good stuff taught in detail -to a stranger- in an open room......ever.


Italian grandfathers aside. "I am thankful that my body skills are getting "sharper" with use.

Dan

Mike Sigman
05-30-2006, 09:11 AM
I am once again surprised at the tone or suggestion tendered. That some would suppose folks openly teach details in seminars to strangers. Astounded even. I have been to those offered by many of the seniors in Aikido-the top people in the country at the time, and those in Daito ryu, and those in Koryu...many times.
I have never seen the good stuff taught in detail -to a stranger- in an open room......ever. I think Jim is voicing scepticism and frankly, I think he's right to do so, Dan. Everyone, if you look at their "credentials" they publish, their claims of what they can do, yada, yada, would appear to know everything. But obviously they don't, as many of us have experienced over the years... so talk is cheap.

I did a workshop in Pacific Grove, years ago, and I had agreed to let a Chinese yiquan teacher just sit and watch. About half-way through the first day, he got up and went into the house attached to the dojo and, according to a person in the house, began screaming in outrage, "Mike Sigman is showing them everything!". I wasn't... I didn't know everything then and I don't know everything now. I'm an amateur, but I showed what I could show, based on where they are.

This "tradition" of doling stuff out slowly gets pretty absurd when it is the "expected" form of behaviour. One of the real downsides of the true experts slowly doling out information is that a lot of people who really don't know much can use that tradition as a guise to stretch out what little they know and pretend that it's just the tip of the iceberg of their true knowledge.

I say lay it out on the table, Dan, if you know anything. Forget the "koryu" and "tradition" stuff.... you don't think most of this martial-arts "hash" being taught everywhere is really any sort of "koryu", do you? What's this about you collecting information from other sources and adding it to what you know... is that part of the legitimate stuff that you are sworn not to show, too? C'mon... some of this stuff gets a little whacky. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
05-30-2006, 09:33 AM
A lot of it get's whacky...come'on, you've got a bunch of people who dress funny and strike wierd poses doling out information for money. ;)

But at it's heart, you also have the relationships between students and teachers. Some students are really attentive, and do the work, others not so much. Same for the teachers. And before we fault the teachers who "have the goods" we're speaking of too much for doling this stuff out, you have to ask how the the old proverb about "casting pearls before swine" applies.

It may be true that a lot of this is hard to get even if shown directly, but at the same time, there are people who said "if someone see's this once, they can steal the technique", or words to that effect. So they would show the waza once, and move on. I've been taught that if I hear my teacher say something once, don't expect to hear it repeated. Listen up the first time 'round.

I've lost track of what I'm trying to say...

Best,
Ron

DH
05-30-2006, 09:35 AM
Not really that whacky Mike

It all depends on our word. I understand your point and where it gets frustrating or even laughable if you prefer. But if we give our word to someone-it's done.
Example: Rob has shared some Yagyu Training methods with me that I am enjoying. But there are those in Yagyu that would have had restrictions on showing the very same things. Ark got them- so he can show- where others might not be able to even discuss it. Does that make sense? Not that you have to agree.

As for mixing? It is why I used the example of being appreciative of where we get information, not lying and claiming we already knew it and just in general thanking people who will share-even behind closed doors and out of ear shot. But that also means not betraying commitments-behind closed doors and out of ear shot. I can use things for MMA and body skills that are cross spectrum and non art-specific but I would never............ever...teach or show them in their art-specific form. Others I would not show at all under any terms to anyone. There are folks reading this who know exactly what I am talking about.

On the other hand I have seen too many guy waste time on students who are half assed or won't train. So who can blame them for holding back.

The real dilema of Koryu is whether part of the preservation of the things we are talking about came from holding back from dillution of the less talented-also prevented great strides that could have occurred had they been shown or made available to others with greater skills and vision whoever that may be.

You have more freedom. Enjoy it. But judging from your writing I would never expect you to violate a trust or go back on your word.

Cheers
Dan

Mark Freeman
05-30-2006, 09:40 AM
Hi all,

this thread has taken on a life of its own!

It is interesting to read the 'mechanical' descriptions of the ki/internal exercises under discussion. I for one, am lost when reading some of them, and if I didn't already practice them I'm not sure that they would help me 'get' them. Intellectual understanding is one thing, being able to do something is a different matter.
I accept that there are physical explanations to all of these 'tricks' but it seems there are few exponents of the 'mind's' side in the equation.
Of course correct alignment of the skeleton is crucial, as is movement from the centre. This allows for the most efficient and effective use of the body. These basic skills are easy for some and difficult for others.
With an exercise like 'unraisable body' all the mechanical explanation in the world would not help me 'get' this, I learnt it through being taught different ways of thinking. Human beings are dynamic creatures we are moved by our will, our bodies carry out our intentions. When being lifted as in the unraisable body exercise, the lifters mind is going up, my mind is also 'up' and therefore in agreement not conflict, and surprisingly 'unliftable' This goes against 'logic' and I have no idea how a 'mechanic' would vector the whole process. This can be learned by a beginner in a few minutes, but to be able to keep this state under pressure is going to take much practice, as Dan and Mike have both written about
When taken a step further, this exercise can be progressed as follows, when the lifter goes to lift they tend to naturally dip down befor they go up under the arms to attempt to raise the body of the 'stander', if at this precise moment and the trick is in the timing, the stander 'agrees' with this 'down' by thinking 'down' himself, the lifter is put at a great disadvantage, they can't seem to generate any upward power.
This is of course an exercise, I can do it as can many others, If you haven't done it before and you try it and it doesn't work for you, don't come back to me saying it's rubbish, it's just that you don't know how to do it. ;)
The mind leads the body, this is ultimately the reason that 'effortless' aikido is possible, this is greatly helped by practice in these ki/internal skills. I'm sure that 'good' aikido happens without explicit training in ki developement. The best way to get these skills if you want them is to train with a teacher who has mastered them him/herself. I don't know in the larger scheme of things how many teachers are in this category. I was just lucky that I happened to practice with someone who can do and teach a multitude of the types of 'exercise' under discussion.

Just a few thoughts

regards
Mark

George S. Ledyard
05-30-2006, 09:52 AM
Hi George,This is not quite right. Some of the Daito Ryu folks are just talking. Others, like Kondo, Okamoto, and Roy Goldberg, are doing open seminars. As the saying goes, talk is cheap. Or as my Italian grandfather used to say, "The mouth is a wonderful instrument. It is the only tool which grows sharper through constant use."

Jim
I don't know Roy Goldberg but it is generally the case that the other folks don't dish out the higher level stuff at open seminars. I heard from one person at the Expo that this was a source of frustration for Kondo Sensei because everyone was oohing and ahhing over some other teachers who were not operating under such constraints doing things he was perfectly capable of doing but couldn't show people outside the art.

It's a bit difficult to get at this stuff. It's not that you can't see it around you... I mean, Saotome Sensei clearly had some take on it. He is 135 lbs and I am 300 lbs and he handles me effortlessly. But he learned this stuff largely intuitively and doesn't have a very developed verbal way of explaining it. I have noticed that since he got a chance to meet Ushiro Sensei, he is making an effort to do more systematic explanation of the principles involved.

That was one thing I really liked about Kuroda Sensei at the Expos... he didn't even teach waza; he just taught body mechanics. All sorts of things became clear to me after that experience. I'm perfectly capable of working through my technqiue and applying the principles once I understand them.

Mike Sigman
05-30-2006, 09:55 AM
Example: Rob has shared some Yagyu Training methods with me that I am enjoying. But there are those in Yagyu that would have had restrictions on showing the very same things. Ark got them- so he can show- where others might not be able to even discuss it. Does that make sense? Not that you have to agree. Rob doesn't tell all that he knows. I don't either (I'm careful with the real pearls, Ron). But when we're discussing these obvious basic building-block levels, not something sophisticated, the idea of "secrets" gets a little absurd. On the other hand I have seen too many guy waste time on students who are half assed or won't train. So who can blame them for holding back. That's true... notice my caveat about showing what they're ready for. The bigger hindrance I run into is people who already know everything, in their own minds. It's a waste of time to show them anything. Ever watch me deliberately piss someone off to the extent I know they would never lower themselves to coming to a workshop? I do it on purpose. ;) But judging from your writing I would never expect you to violate a trust or go back on your word. That's just because I'm anal-retentive, Dan... I was toilet-trained at gunpoint. ;)


Mike

Mike Sigman
05-30-2006, 10:06 AM
I accept that there are physical explanations to all of these 'tricks' but it seems there are few exponents of the 'mind's' side in the equation.
Of course correct alignment of the skeleton is crucial, as is movement from the centre. This allows for the most efficient and effective use of the body. These basic skills are easy for some and difficult for others. Mark, good alignment is a plus, for several reasons not just the transmission of the force, but it's not critical. If you really have good mind/body skills, the particular alignment is not that critical. But we're nowhere near that sort of discussion on this forum, as far as I see.With an exercise like 'unraisable body' all the mechanical explanation in the world would not help me 'get' this, I learnt it through being taught different ways of thinking. I can explain it pretty clearly, Mark, but it would mean introducing factors we're not discussing in the thread and which take some practice to understand. I.e., what I'm saying is that any feat which has physically demonstrable effects can be analysed physically. Human beings are dynamic creatures we are moved by our will, our bodies carry out our intentions. When being lifted as in the unraisable body exercise, the lifters mind is going up, my mind is also 'up' and therefore in agreement not conflict, and surprisingly 'unliftable' This goes against 'logic' and I have no idea how a 'mechanic' would vector the whole process. This can be learned by a beginner in a few minutes, but to be able to keep this state under pressure is going to take much practice, as Dan and Mike have both written about
When taken a step further, this exercise can be progressed as follows, when the lifter goes to lift they tend to naturally dip down befor they go up under the arms to attempt to raise the body of the 'stander', if at this precise moment and the trick is in the timing, the stander 'agrees' with this 'down' by thinking 'down' himself, the lifter is put at a great disadvantage, they can't seem to generate any upward power.
This is of course an exercise, I can do it as can many others, If you haven't done it before and you try it and it doesn't work for you, don't come back to me saying it's rubbish, it's just that you don't know how to do it. ;)
The mind leads the body, this is ultimately the reason that 'effortless' aikido is possible, this is greatly helped by practice in these ki/internal skills. I'm sure that 'good' aikido happens without explicit training in ki developement. The best way to get these skills if you want them is to train with a teacher who has mastered them him/herself. I don't know in the larger scheme of things how many teachers are in this category. I was just lucky that I happened to practice with someone who can do and teach a multitude of the types of 'exercise' under discussion. I see your perspective, Mark, and my position is that there are much clearer ways to describe and analyse what you've just talked about. IMO, if you really understand what is going on, then you can apply the principles like an engineer does, to relevant situations. If you just know what to do in certain situations, it's more of a "technician's" approach. What do you think physically happens to your body when you do the "unraisable" trick. Where, for instance, is the force coming from? How does it get to the lifters' hands? And so on?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

statisticool
05-30-2006, 11:33 AM
Some important vectors The Secrets of Judo (1960) diagrams:

gravity
back foot pushing down
reaction from foot pushing down
body moving forward
a limb going out (for example, a punch)
force which the muscles of the abdomen exert

statisticool
05-30-2006, 01:10 PM
Re: jo tricks, check out

http://www.conjuror.com/archives/elec_girl/elec_grl.html

There are some interesting stuff about body tricks, and sticks (pool cue, cane) are involved.

This is from the late 1890s.

Upyu
05-30-2006, 02:47 PM
Some important vectors The Secrets of Judo (1960) diagrams:

gravity
back foot pushing down
reaction from foot pushing down
body moving forward
a limb going out (for example, a punch)
force which the muscles of the abdomen exert

"Back foot pushing down" -> "Reaction from foot pushing down" tells me that this is exactly "not" the kind of movement that I was describing earlier ;)
Besides which it telegraphs too much. :D

Murakumo Dojo
05-30-2006, 03:13 PM
Uh, I've read through many of the entries on this thread. It attracted my attention because one of my sensei performed the exhibition, and taught me how to do it. He was not as good as Osensei appears to be in the films, and I am not as good as my teacher. Mostly that's due to the fact that I don't really practice it. It's value mostly resides in the exhibition itself, and I would rather spend my time developing abilities that are more universal to my stuff. Although, as has been noted there are some kinesthetic skills that can be acquired.
It is quite simple in nature to perform & develop. Nage holds the jo at the ends, and uke grabs the jo just to the inside of nage's two grips. Nage then releases one hand, pivots off the line, and as the body turns the hand naturally rotates by leverage. Uke's hands are then rotated in such a fashion the the weakness of the grip causes the tension in the rest of the body to be diverted into the ground. Being that the body is so tense the concious mind can't get the message that it's been redirected...it just feels the tension. As Aikidoka your all a bit more kinesthetically sensitive (hopfully), and if you pay attention you may notice this as uke. the only "ki" application in this has to do with regular mechanics & psychology, nothing special. The awareness gained from this demystification exercise is more valuable to the sincere Aikidoka than the application itself. However, in order to attract the more endarkened of humans these kind of vaudville stunts have some temporal value.

Mike Sigman
05-30-2006, 03:28 PM
It is quite simple in nature to perform & develop. Nage holds the jo at the ends, and uke grabs the jo just to the inside of nage's two grips. Nage then releases one hand, pivots off the line, and as the body turns the hand naturally rotates by leverage. Uke's hands are then rotated in such a fashion the the weakness of the grip causes the tension in the rest of the body to be diverted into the ground. Being that the body is so tense the concious mind can't get the message that it's been redirected...it just feels the tension. As Aikidoka your all a bit more kinesthetically sensitive (hopfully), and if you pay attention you may notice this as uke. the only "ki" application in this has to do with regular mechanics & psychology, nothing special. The awareness gained from this demystification exercise is more valuable to the sincere Aikidoka than the application itself. However, in order to attract the more endarkened of humans these kind of vaudville stunts have some temporal value.I must have missed it.... where did O-Sensei do all this when he did the jo-trick? I like the part about Aikidoists being "a bit more kinesthetically sensitive".... does that mean "willing to shill for sensei"? ;)

Japes aside, I disagree with your analysis, Todd, and frankly I don't think Ueshiba was quite that heavily into psychological tricks that didn't have much martial application. I've mentioned before that the jo-trick is really just a horizontal version (more or less) of the vertical trick that Tohei does when he resists the incoming push to his forearm by a partner... do you think that's also a demonstration that depends on Uke's psychology?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Upyu
05-30-2006, 06:10 PM
Re: jo tricks, check out

http://www.conjuror.com/archives/elec_girl/elec_grl.html

There are some interesting stuff about body tricks, and sticks (pool cue, cane) are involved.

This is from the late 1890s.

Justin:
Maybe you should quote the guy who originally posted that link on bullshido since he had a pretty good idea of what was going on in that exercise ;)

Besides which introducing the stick in that context that makes it too easy, and isn't any good as a training tool. :D

statisticool
05-30-2006, 06:35 PM
Maybe you should quote the guy who originally posted that link on bullshido since he had a pretty good idea of what was going on in that exercise ;)


Where was the link posted on Bullshido? I'd like to read that discussion.

The page just came up in the first so many hits of a Google search.

Mike Sigman
05-30-2006, 06:38 PM
Maybe you should quote the guy who originally posted that link on bullshido since he had a pretty good idea of what was going on in that exercise ;) Not to mention that article about the Magnetic Girl has been discussed on Aikido forums before.... I posted it recently on one of these threads, myself.... and it's a mainstay of some of the Taiji sites.

;)

Mike

statisticool
05-30-2006, 06:41 PM
Not to mention that article about the Magnetic Girl has been discussed on Aikido forums before.... I posted it recently on one of these threads, myself.... and it's a mainstay of some of the Taiji sites.


All of that applies to the topic of 'jo tricks' too. ;)

Upyu
05-30-2006, 07:22 PM
Where was the link posted on Bullshido? I'd like to read that discussion.

The page just came up in the first so many hits of a Google search.

My apologies then :)

Link is here:
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=26158&page=27&highlight=akuzawa

They're discussing the clip I posted of Ark demonstrating what it means to "stand"

Then Ddlr posted a link to the same page you mentioned here:

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=26158&page=28&highlight=akuzawa



Not to mention that article about the Magnetic Girl has been discussed on Aikido forums before.... I posted it recently on one of these threads, myself.... and it's a mainstay of some of the Taiji sites.


Doh, guess I shouldn't be too surprised tho ^^; Its not a bad article all in all

Mark Freeman
05-31-2006, 04:03 AM
Mark, good alignment is a plus, for several reasons not just the transmission of the force, but it's not critical. If you really have good mind/body skills, the particular alignment is not that critical. But we're nowhere near that sort of discussion on this forum, as far as I see.

I'm a bit confused here Mike, how far out are we? and why?

I can explain it pretty clearly, Mark, but it would mean introducing factors we're not discussing in the thread and which take some practice to understand. I.e., what I'm saying is that any feat which has physically demonstrable effects can be analysed physically.

I'm guenuinely interested on your take on this Mike, I agree that analysis is is possible and desirable in all 'feats', I just don't agree that it's all explanations are necessarily 'mechanical'.

What do you think physically happens to your body when you do the "unraisable" trick. Where, for instance, is the force coming from? How does it get to the lifters' hands? And so on?

Nothing happens to my body, I know the weight and mass remain constant. Personally I'm not too worried about the 'explanation' I'm iterested in the application. I know that whether I am practicing the role of lifter or lifted, my mind/body co-ordination is what is important. The role of the mind cannot be discounted from these discussions or for that matter any meaningfull analysis.

Cheers
Mark

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 06:58 AM
I'm a bit confused here Mike, how far out are we? and why? Well, at the moment we're speaking about general and basic things. The comment I've made several times that this starts out simple and gets fairly complex is true. At the moment I think everyone is positively (for the most part) establishing a foothold in these types of discussions, but the general experience level is fairly low (as it is in most martial arts). The trick is to try and discuss/show/argue/analyse etc., in order to get things up to a better level. We're just nibbling the fringes right now, so we're still pretty far out. ;) I'm guenuinely interested on your take on this Mike, I agree that analysis is is possible and desirable in all 'feats', I just don't agree that it's all explanations are necessarily 'mechanical'. Well, I think you're highlighting a problem. Tohei's 'acquisitions' of these skills for the general ki-society members is very vague. That's why there's such slow progress in ki-society skills, IMO. The vague visualizations are one way to acquire control over these body skills, but there are others... different approaches to allow near-voluntary control over normally-autonomic functions. Since your approach has a lot to do with "mind", that's what you think in terms of. I'm asking you to analyse what really happens in order to broaden your insight into what is happening besides the visualizations. :) Nothing happens to my body, I know the weight and mass remain constant. Personally I'm not too worried about the 'explanation' I'm iterested in the application. I know that whether I am practicing the role of lifter or lifted, my mind/body co-ordination is what is important. The role of the mind cannot be discounted from these discussions or for that matter any meaningfull analysis.
Sure something happens... you just need to analyse what it is, O Ye of Too Much Faith. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mark Freeman
05-31-2006, 08:24 AM
Well, at the moment we're speaking about general and basic things. The comment I've made several times that this starts out simple and gets fairly complex is true. At the moment I think everyone is positively (for the most part) establishing a foothold in these types of discussions, but the general experience level is fairly low (as it is in most martial arts). The trick is to try and discuss/show/argue/analyse etc., in order to get things up to a better level. We're just nibbling the fringes right now, so we're still pretty far out. ;)

In my experience of teaching these 'skills' my take on it is, that the 'difficulty' is in that what the student is being asked to do is so 'simple'. Children often pick up on some of the 'visualisations' easily, while adults tend to consciously try and analyse what they are being asked to do, therefore not doing what the've been instructed to do which is to just 'do' not 'think' about doing. :( ;)
Well, I think you're highlighting a problem. Tohei's 'acquisitions' of these skills for the general ki-society members is very vague. That's why there's such slow progress in ki-society skills, IMO. The vague visualizations are one way to acquire control over these body skills, but there are others... different approaches to allow near-voluntary control over normally-autonomic functions. Since your approach has a lot to do with "mind", that's what you think in terms of. I'm asking you to analyse what really happens in order to broaden your insight into what is happening besides the visualizations.

My teacher spent 10 with Tohei in his long and illustrious aikido career, and gained much from the experience. Many of his old students did not follow him at this time as they did not want to 'go back to learning' as they already felt they 'had' aikido, they still practice the same as they always have.
The vague visualisations that you say Tohei used I'm not aware of as my own teacher broke away from the Ki Society to teach his own 'translated into modern english' aikido. His visualisations are not vague at all. They are precise and in my experience very effective. So yes you are right I do think in terms of mind as that is my own learned understanding.
As to what really happens, again, I'm not sure how neccessary it is.
Car designers will know exactly how a car works, but that doesn't make them good drivers. ;)
Having said that, I am comfortable enough in my understanding to be able to teach what I can do to others, and we enjoy ourselves and have a good laugh about things in the process.

The more we drill down to the fine detail the easier it is to loose sight of the big picture. ;)

For me when the mind and body are co-ordinated, ( and we use the 4 for co-ordinating mind and body rules that the Ki Society do with a 'variation' on the 'weight underside' ) then all the 'tricks/feats' are possible. With practice it is easier to maintain co-ordination across a greater range of pressure.

Sure something happens... you just need to analyse what it is, O Ye of Too Much Faith.

Not something I've ever been accused of before :D

Cheers

Mark

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 08:35 AM
In my experience of teaching these 'skills' my take on it is, that the 'difficulty' is in that what the student is being asked to do is so 'simple'. Children often pick up on some of the 'visualisations' easily, while adults tend to consciously try and analyse what they are being asked to do, therefore not doing what the've been instructed to do which is to just 'do' not 'think' about doing. :( ;) In my experience I can lead a group of adults (say 18-65 years of age) in a logical, linear progression of stepped skills to the point where they can do most "ki tests" in a couple of hours. Granted, doing them and conditioning the body so they can do them automatically and strongly would require them to practice over weeks/months, but I'm saying that there is no real "difficulty" when these things are presented in a stepped and logical format. And frankly I consider most of these things just the "foot in the door", not the endgame, at all. ;) As to what really happens, again, I'm not sure how neccessary it is.
Car designers will know exactly how a car works, but that doesn't make them good drivers. ;) And "good drivers" aren't in the same category as "professional drivers", who I assure you know exactly how a car works. :p

All the Best.

Mike

tedehara
05-31-2006, 08:41 AM
Actually I think that was me Quoting E.J. Harrisons work. That book was written in the thirties but published after the war.
If you read it it also includes him visiting an Aikijujutsu guy and ....pushing on him, then pulling, trying to choke him and having it nuetralized without the fellow moving. Then E.J. being shoved off with a finger. Surprise surprise...

cheers
DanAt the end of his work, Harrison describes two hypnotic healing incidents. The first is using hypnosis to effect a cure. The second is using hypnosis to end pain and induce illusion to a dying child's last moments.

However he did not name the healers "hypnotists". He called them "ki masters". This is likely a direct translation from the Japanese. A good form of early documentation which indicates this topic belongs in psychology.

Mark Freeman
05-31-2006, 08:44 AM
And "good drivers" aren't in the same category as "professional drivers", who I assure you know exactly how a car works. :p

True to a point, they have a good idea of how the car functions but still do not understand it on the same level as the engineers. More important is their ability to read the environment ahead and take appropriate action! :p

Cheers

Mark

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 09:31 AM
True to a point, they have a good idea of how the car functions but still do not understand it on the same level as the engineers. More important is their ability to read the environment ahead and take appropriate action! :p Let's not drive this analogy into the ground! ;) I'm just saying it's better to get there with a map than to rely on your "feelings", Mark. ;)

Mike

Jim Sorrentino
05-31-2006, 09:47 AM
George,I don't know Roy Goldberg but it is generally the case that the other folks don't dish out the higher level stuff at open seminars. I heard from one person at the Expo that this was a source of frustration for Kondo Sensei because everyone was oohing and ahhing over some other teachers who were not operating under such constraints doing things he was perfectly capable of doing but couldn't show people outside the art.I was not at the Expo, and I have never seen Kondo-sensei in person. But it seems to me that if you attend an event such as the Expo as a featured teacher and demonstrator, you should expect that the participants will want to see what you can do. If you have taken an oath not to demonstrate certain "secrets", then the proper response when you observe others outside your system demonstrating them is not frustration, but satisfaction; you get to keep your oath. Further, it seems to me that if you have taken an oath not to reveal a secret, it is not really keeping that oath to walk into a crowded room (such as this forum) and announce, "I have a secret!"

Also, it seems to me that the participants on this thread who claim to be able to do the "jo trick" all agree that it is not "higher-level stuff". Apparently O-sensei did not regard it as a "secret" either, as he let himself be filmed demonstrating it on at least two occasions.

As Mike Sigman noted, I am skeptical --- especially in Internet discussions. I note that, years ago, when Fredrick Lovret's students and followers posted on forums such as e-budo, they met a similarly skeptical response. Eventually that skepticism led several of those people to pursue koryu arts with teachers such as Meik Skoss-sensei, whose lineage is unquestionable. Thus the skeptical response had good results --- which probably would not have happened otherwise.

Jim Sorrentino

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 09:55 AM
At the end of his work, Harrison describes two hypnotic healing incidents. The first is using hypnosis to effect a cure. The second is using hypnosis to end pain and induce illusion to a dying child's last moments.

However he did not name the healers "hypnotists". He called them "ki masters". This is likely a direct translation from the Japanese. A good form of early documentation which indicates this topic belongs in psychology.Well, the "ki" phenomena cover what we would consider several different phenomena rolled into one, Ted. I.e., "ki" is a vague term without any one-to-one direct translation. There actually is an issue of suggestion in the complete set of ki-related phenomena, but that's not the part of the issue that's being discussed in the jo-trick and the other direct physical effects. "Hypnosis" may not be quite the correct term, BTW, but you're still going off on a side issue. Let me see if I can briefly do a thumbnail overview of the whole effect (naturally, I can't be complete in just a thumbnail) and then see if we can agree to stick to the physical effects with objective criteria, leaving out the subjective parts, as best as possible.

In the full-blown ki-related phenomena there is a combination of "mind-body" in roughly 2 major issues that comprise the body's ki powers/skills/abilities:

(1.) Force manipulation sourcing either the ground or the weight for the force origins and manipulating the directions of the forces by "willing" them where you want them. The utilization of the 2 major force sources (which are using ground as a source or gravity as a source, ultimately implying the "ki of earth" and the "ki of heaven" in the way the body is trained) is more efficient and therefore adds to the overall strength available.

(2.) Fascia related training that supplements natural strength, but which has a number of side issues:
(a.) The skin becomes more resistant to cuts, punctures, etc.
(b.) The body "covering" makes the body more resistant to blows.
(c.) The internal organs' coverings and support (from connective tissue) becomes stronger; the organs are exercised through the training regimens.
(d.) The "magnetic feeling" the body, via the fascia, can produce is increased. This ability to produce electro-magnetic fields had been tested and it's real. But there is something about this electro-magnetic field that has to do with our suggestibility... a topic that hasn't been explored very well, although it is accepted that suggestion and reality are easily confused with these sensations. There is an idea that if your personal "field" is strengthened through practice, you can somewhat affect the "field" of another person, at least in terms of what they subjectively feel. The idea of the "field" is very ancient and is the source of the idea of "aura's" (some people appear to be able to perceive other peoples' magnetic fields to some extent). A lot of the curative, analgesic, hypnotic effects, illusions, "prescience", and similar phenomena are relegated to the general idea of "ki" because of these vague and general ideas built around the electro-magnetic field that appears to be a fascia-related phenomenon. ("Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis" by James L. Oschman purports to cover this topic and western studies to some degree).

The fascia-related training is the part done with breathing exercises, stretches, etc., but it is usually combined with the forces part in an inextricable way for the full meaning of "ki".

Anyway, that's a thumbnail, Ted.... you're into just the electro-magnetic-field part of it and that's just a facet of the picture; unfortunately, it's the subjective facet.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 10:34 AM
Oops, I should have mentioned that the acupuncture idea is a combination of the "electro-magnetic field" effect and the way the layers of fascia in the body are supposed to be related to each other, the way the layers start and end, including the organs they wrap, etc. Generally speaking. I don't claim any expertise in the "electromagnetic field"/acupuncture part... just a superficial understanding of the relationships. The functional parts about the strengths, training, etc., is more where I'm focused, so allow me some slack on the other parts. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mark Freeman
05-31-2006, 11:18 AM
Let's not drive this analogy into the ground! ;) I'm just saying it's better to get there with a map than to rely on your "feelings", Mark. ;)

Mike

What, you've never heard of the art of intuitive direction finding! ;)

Cheers,

Mark

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 11:24 AM
What, you've never heard of the art of intuitive direction finding! Sure.... we call it "Shin Shin Toitsu". ;^)

Mike

George S. Ledyard
05-31-2006, 12:23 PM
Also, it seems to me that the participants on this thread who claim to be able to do the "jo trick" all agree that it is not "higher-level stuff". Apparently O-sensei did not regard it as a "secret" either, as he let himself be filmed demonstrating it on at least two occasions.

I think this is THE crux of the discussion in a certain sense. The folks who can do it and understand it do not consider it to be "higher-level". In terms of what they know or what their style has to offer.

But if we look at the general group of, say, folks running Aikido dojos, you would find not many people who understand it or can do it. So at a certain point ones terminology becomes a bit misleading...

Are we talking about something which already high level folks would call "higher level" or are we talking about what the average instructor level practitioner thinks of as high level?

This points to a serious problem if we can believe the folks posting here. Dan Hardin would maintain that this isn't a higher level skill and that he can do it, and more siginificantly can teach it. Mike Sigman seems to be saying the same thing. Yet, most people teaching Aikido would be fairly ignorant of the principles involved.

Anyway, when we get to the point at which the general community of instructors doesn't know something, I guess we are ipso facto, at the point where it gets described as "higher level", at least for that community.

So then the real question is, if these are not considered "higher level" by certain groups outside of Aikido, but they seem to be generally absent within the Aikido community, then why are these things being lost and how do we re-introduce them? Understand, I am not just talking about the so-called "jo trick" but rather the underlying skills that would allow one to have the kind of effortless power which Takeda and Ueshiba seemed to have.

Is the Aikido community, in general, even ready to admit this is an issue and look for a solution? I would say probably not. This type of skill was posessed by people who trained very hard, in intimate traiing situations, with very high level teachers. Most Aikido practitioners cannnot / will not match those circumstances. I think that, rather than say to themselves that their Aikido will inevitably come up short, they will simply discount the importance of these elements.

I think this is especially true as, once again, in general, I don't think that very many of the senior instructors are emphasising these elements nor are they encouraging people to feel that they are important. This could be true becuse they themselves don't really understand these principles (Mike and Dan would, I believe take this position), or they have only taught these things to their most senior students, leaving everyone else in the dark, or as seems to be the case, the Aikido being modelled by the home Aikikai headquarters is devoid of these factors so associated instructors around the world do not structure their teaching this way.

In the case of my own teacher, Saotome Sensei, he can do just amazing Aikido. But he simply does not teach what he knows in any kind of step by step organized fashion. To the extent that I have figured out what he is doing it has been a combination of my own long term association with him and a variety of outside instruction from other teachers that has allowed me to get a handle on what he is doing. Most folks have none of these factors operating in their training.

It isn't just in this area that Aikido as it exists is losing touch with what was once there. The spiritual foundations of O-Sensei's Aikido are not being passed on in any large scale way, even though Aikido practice seems to be growing. In the end we have something which bears little or no resemblence to what the Founder had in mind when he created this practice.

Ron Tisdale
05-31-2006, 12:31 PM
Very interesting post George. I'm going to have to think about that for a bit...

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
05-31-2006, 12:46 PM
Wow George!

So what do we do?

My experiences and suspicions parallel yours.

When I moved to DC I was told to go study with Saotome Sensei. I went to the dojo...of course he was in FL by then and Shihan. So I studied for a few months being my typcial frustrated self. One day early in the morning when I was hanging out with Saotome sensei when he was "home", I got up the courage to ask him some very direct and intense situational questions along the lines of "prove it"..of course I was very diplomatic and polite about it and it was done in a way that he was not offended in the least. He proceeded to convince me of the power and skillfullness that he possessed! Wow!

It was the sole reason I have stayed with Aikido and ASU.

Of course, I was then relegated to the "masses" :)

I am not sure based on our society of how you train as hard, serious, or intently as you say we should in order to understand it! I tried to do this in DC area with various students, but we simply could not line up our schedules or devote the time necessary!

I think it takes a unique situation and a unique instructor that has the time in order for these things to happen! I still have hope, but the economics and the other priorities we all have in our lives seem to be the big issue.

Kevin Leavitt
05-31-2006, 12:51 PM
On another thought George...

so what happens if aikido continues on it's present path and guys like Mike Sigman and Dan Harden do indeed figure this stuff out and can develop a system and learn how to assimilate it into what aikido should be?

Politically and egoistically, it by all likelyhood would not be acknowledged by Aikikai...so then what?

psst...guys..over here...come train with these guys...they figured it out.

Do we then end up with systema or a situation like "real aikido"? or Brazil-ai-ki-do? :)

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 12:53 PM
(About the so-called "jo-trick") I think this is THE crux of the discussion in a certain sense. The folks who can do it and understand it do not consider it to be "higher-level". In terms of what they know or what their style has to offer. Just to be clear about the "jo-trick" and "high-level". Think of this, as an example: Tohei assumes a good, relaxed stance, weight on back leg, and has an uke push on his forearm and Tohei lets his back leg accept the load-bearing responsibility (sinks his ki). That's pretty basic, although it is a different thing from the stalwart hero that stops the same push with a "strong stance and a strong shoulder muscle". Next, Tohei accepts the same push while standing on one leg. Sure, that's higher-level, in a sense, but it's still the same basic principle, albeit a little bit on the showoff side. Lastly, Tohei stands on one leg and has 3 uke's in a line push on him... let's say the combined force is higher so technically it's a more difficult trick so arguably it could be said to be "higher level", even though the principle is not really "higher level". If you see what I mean. Basically, Ueshiba did a similar show-off extension of the basic principle.... showed he could do the basic principle but also that his personal skill/strength was even higher than the normal display of the basic trick. I.e., what he was showing was indeed unusual, as a variety of the trick, but it was not a new or different principle. What I saw was that his "connection" ability was pretty high, even for someone doing a basic principle. But remember that he never really pulled it off without an assist from his uke's, without giving way, etc.Anyway, when we get to the point at which the general community of instructors doesn't know something, I guess we are ipso facto, at the point where it gets described as "higher level", at least for that community.

So then the real question is, if these are not considered "higher level" by certain groups outside of Aikido, but they seem to be generally absent within the Aikido community, then why are these things being lost and how do we re-introduce them? Understand, I am not just talking about the so-called "jo trick" but rather the underlying skills that would allow one to have the kind of effortless power which Takeda and Ueshiba seemed to have. That's a very clear and succinct statement of the problem as I see it, too. Is the Aikido community, in general, even ready to admit this is an issue and look for a solution? I would say probably not. This type of skill was posessed by people who trained very hard, in intimate traiing situations, with very high level teachers. Most Aikido practitioners cannnot / will not match those circumstances. I think that, rather than say to themselves that their Aikido will inevitably come up short, they will simply discount the importance of these elements. Again, that's pretty true. However, at some point in time any teacher or student who can think ahead sees that this stuff is becoming more and more unavoidable. To ignore it and pretend it's not happening is to risk being marginalized at some point in the future. Or worse.

On the plus side, this stuff is just starting to get a foothold in the West, so the trick is to get moving as quickly as possible. We can only win what we can win. I spent too many years trying to chase this stuff down, so luckily I didn't have any dreams of becoming a world-class martial artist... it's too late. It's going to be the next generation (more Rob John's generation) that gets a real shot at it, but this generation has got to make its own effort in order to maintain its credibility It isn't just in this area that Aikido as it exists is losing touch with what was once there. The spiritual foundations of O-Sensei's Aikido are not being passed on in any large scale way, even though Aikido practice seems to be growing. In the end we have something which bears little or no resemblence to what the Founder had in mind when he created this practice. I agree, George. Well put.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 01:01 PM
so what happens if aikido continues on it's present path and guys like Mike Sigman and Dan Harden do indeed figure this stuff out and can develop a system and learn how to assimilate it into what aikido should be?

Politically and egoistically, it by all likelyhood would not be acknowledged by Aikikai...so then what?

psst...guys..over here...come train with these guys...they figured it out.

Do we then end up with systema or a situation like "real aikido"? or Brazil-ai-ki-do? :)I guess my problem with that scenario is that I don't see how it changes the *philosophy* or approach of individual Aikido practitioners or groups. In a way, although this stuff is critical and takes a while to fully develop, it can still be looked at as a way to condition and train the body that is somewhat aside from the strategy and tactics of Aikido. In other words, even if, for instance, 3 teachers, one from Aikikai, one from Tomiki, one from Yoshinkan each learned these body techniques on the outside (just like Tohei, Abe, and others did), they would go back and apply it to the style and approach of the Aikido they do. Sure it would change a lot of the body strength and movement things (when done/practiced correctly), but superficially an outside observer probably couldn't spot any real difference in appearance or philosophy. If you think about it, the real problem is that this stuff is difficult to see in skilled practitioners, even though the effect can be great.

My 2 cents.

Mike

Nick Pagnucco
05-31-2006, 01:39 PM
I guess my problem with that scenario is that I don't see how it changes the *philosophy* or approach of individual Aikido practitioners or groups. In a way, although this stuff is critical and takes a while to fully develop, it can still be looked at as a way to condition and train the body that is somewhat aside from the strategy and tactics of Aikido. In other words, even if, for instance, 3 teachers, one from Aikikai, one from Tomiki, one from Yoshinkan each learned these body techniques on the outside (just like Tohei, Abe, and others did), they would go back and apply it to the style and approach of the Aikido they do. Sure it would change a lot of the body strength and movement things (when done/practiced correctly), but superficially an outside observer probably couldn't spot any real difference in appearance or philosophy. If you think about it, the real problem is that this stuff is difficult to see in skilled practitioners, even though the effect can be great.

My 2 cents.

Mike


Could you explain that a bit more? I think I understand what you mean, but I want to make sure. If I understand, you're saying that there is almost 3 distinct issues:

1) The 'lost' technology of conditioning that trains one's ki & kokyu in O-sensei's aikido.

2) We would need in aikido new pedagogical techniques to prevent their 'loss' again

3) How we make specific and clear statements about how ki & kokyu 'power' the techniques and strategies implemented by aikido?


I'm trying to rephrase this stuff in language I can understand, as a mid-kyu who doesn't know anything about ki but has taken too many organizational sociology courses to be healthy ;)

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 02:03 PM
I'm over my head in this thread, but a question I have is how much effort should be spent of trying to reconstruct what aikido 'used to have' versus actively borrowing 'fixes' from other martial arts? Are we trying to 'recapture' something, or are we trying to progress aikido to new territory?Well, it's a system of movement and body training that is based on immutable principles, Nick. Tohei had to go outside and learn how to do these things. Abe Sensei had to go outside and learn what he knows about them from yet another source. And so on. So Ueshiba, Tohei, and Abe (there are others, but this is enough to make the point) each learned somewhat different approaches, each with somewhat different "completeness", let's say. Does it change the essence of the Aikido they're doing? No.

On the other hand, someone can take an incomplete understanding of the basic principles of movement and strength-training and if their misunderstanding is great enough, then their core usage of these skills will be just as bad as using "normal muscle" is now. I.e., the position I'd take is that if someone really understands these things, it shouldn't affect the core "Aikido". On the other hand, just because someone knows how to do some of the ki and kokyu things does NOT mean that their Aikido is necessarily good, either.

I think the old saying, with an Aikido bent, would be: "Aikido without internal strength parameters is no good; Internal strength knowledge without real knowledge of Aikido is no good, either".

FWIW

Mike

Nick Pagnucco
05-31-2006, 02:44 PM
Well, it's a system of movement and body training that is based on immutable principles, Nick. Tohei had to go outside and learn how to do these things. Abe Sensei had to go outside and learn what he knows about them from yet another source. And so on. So Ueshiba, Tohei, and Abe (there are others, but this is enough to make the point) each learned somewhat different approaches, each with somewhat different "completeness", let's say. Does it change the essence of the Aikido they're doing? No.

But from what little I know about qigongs and training (and its very, very little), there seem to be different types of training that focus on different things. IIRC, Gozo Shioda saying that it doesn't do any good in aikido to focus on hardening a limb or a hand for aikido. Therefore, it wouldn't be the most useful set of ki-related phenomenon for an aikidoka to train for.

I realize thats a pretty blunt example, but its something I'm getting stuck on. Perhaps its my lack of knowledge making me look at the wrong problems, but I would think that different training programs could potentially focus on different things. You touch on that when you mention different kinds of completeness, but I would imagine that some kinds of completeness are better by some criteria than others, even if the same basic principles are always the foundation, right?

Mike Sigman
05-31-2006, 03:30 PM
But from what little I know about qigongs and training (and its very, very little), there seem to be different types of training that focus on different things. IIRC, Gozo Shioda saying that it doesn't do any good in aikido to focus on hardening a limb or a hand for aikido. Therefore, it wouldn't be the most useful set of ki-related phenomenon for an aikidoka to train for.

I realize thats a pretty blunt example, but its something I'm getting stuck on. Perhaps its my lack of knowledge making me look at the wrong problems, but I would think that different training programs could potentially focus on different things. You touch on that when you mention different kinds of completeness, but I would imagine that some kinds of completeness are better by some criteria than others, even if the same basic principles are always the foundation, right?That's pretty accurate, Nick. Let's say again that there are essentially 2 major components of the ki-related training:

(1.) The forces and their manipulation skills, which can go from fairly simple to impressively refined.

(2.) The ki/fascia training, which starts with breathing exercises aimed at developing the body "fascia" components, but which can extend into some interesting offshoots that have to do with health, conditioning against cuts and blows, increasing the bone density, the "electro-magnetic field" stuff, etc.

So yes, you can focus on making yourself resistant to blows, if you want to devote the time, but I agree that people should try to stick to the most useful goals and not get involved in tangents, particularly if they have limited time.

The movement and breathing stuff will give the power, health, and bits of the other things, so why stray from the essentials before they're well learned? Incidentally, the ability to withstand blows and punctures with this kind of training was something that some of the elements in the "Boxer Rebellion" attempted to improve to the point of being able to stop bullets. Alas, reality ruled the day. ;)

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that every bona fide ki-phenomena skill is going to be an offshoot or a combination of those 2 classes I mentioned above.... so what you think of as "many different things in Qigongs" will in reality only be offshoots of those 2 basic things.

FWIW

Mike

Nick Pagnucco
06-01-2006, 11:02 AM
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that every bona fide ki-phenomena skill is going to be an offshoot or a combination of those 2 classes I mentioned above.... so what you think of as "many different things in Qigongs" will in reality only be offshoots of those 2 basic things.

Ok, so, what you're saying, if I understand you correctly, is to look for martial qigongs that deal with force manipulation, as they have the potential of improving one's aikido. In an ideal world, how much should one look for things that relate to the hara / dantien, in your view (or other neija-related stuff)?

Mike Sigman
06-01-2006, 01:42 PM
On another thought George...

so what happens if aikido continues on it's present path and guys like Mike Sigman and Dan Harden do indeed figure this stuff out and can develop a system and learn how to assimilate it into what aikido should be?

Politically and egoistically, it by all likelyhood would not be acknowledged by Aikikai...so then what?

psst...guys..over here...come train with these guys...they figured it out.

Do we then end up with systema or a situation like "real aikido"? or Brazil-ai-ki-do? :)I was thinking about this question this morning and it's really a good one.

First of all, based on what he's said, I doubt very much that what Dan and I do is similar at all except that there is a sharing of the "groundpath" concept at some level. The next question would be what Dan and I do that is similar to or the same as what O-Sensei did. At the last Aiki Expo, Ushiro Sensei showed some elements of the usage of kokyu-power (the "groundpath" stuff, essentially) .... he may not have used it exactly in the same way that O-Sensei did, either, even though he used the basic concept.

The question really begins to focus, in my opinion, on exactly what O-Sensei did, for a start, and then take a look at the variations.

For instance, I could give my opinion about what skills I have been able to see which O-Sensei had, but I'd have to note upfront that in my opinion not all the high-level Aikido uchi-deshi's had exactly the same skills or used the same skills in exactly the same ways. I was looking at a portion of Mitsunari Kanai's "Technical Aikido" video (I would recommend it) and I realized that he had a slightly different understanding and usage of how to use power than what I see Ueshiba doing. There's a portion of releasing power that is markedly different in one way.... but in terms of applying the essence of power in throws, I don't think that it would functionally make much difference.

But still, that leads me back to Kevin's very valid question... at what point in time do the variations of this sort of power get into something else? It's a good question and something that needs to be borne in mind.

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
06-01-2006, 01:50 PM
Mike, my main concern is that if the main body of aikido fails to respond appropriately or to provide an adequate conduit for learning. At some point it would seem that the disinfranchised, might say..."well we tried....but those aikido guys just won't get with it!".

I think it is quite possible to have a synthesis of knowledge gained from other sources that would become it's own identification.

That is not to say that what they would be doing would necessarily be "new", only innovative as whoever did it, put it back together in a method that allowed them to transmit.

I don't know the aikikai body very well, but I am sure if it were somebody that did not come up through the ranks and pay their dues that they may find a cold shoulder due to politics...which are mainly an extension of ego!

Mike Sigman
06-01-2006, 02:12 PM
Mike, my main concern is that if the main body of aikido fails to respond appropriately or to provide an adequate conduit for learning. At some point it would seem that the disinfranchised, might say..."well we tried....but those aikido guys just won't get with it!".

I think it is quite possible to have a synthesis of knowledge gained from other sources that would become it's own identification.

That is not to say that what they would be doing would necessarily be "new", only innovative as whoever did it, put it back together in a method that allowed them to transmit.

I don't know the aikikai body very well, but I am sure if it were somebody that did not come up through the ranks and pay their dues that they may find a cold shoulder due to politics...which are mainly an extension of ego!Well, sure there's a lot of politics, ego, status, whatever... that's just human nature. I wish I could say that I've never engaged in that sort of thing, but at some point we all do. Let's just recognize it and put it to the side.

Ultimately, the real problem is the one that I pointed out... this stuff is inexorably getting loose and spreading and anyone who wants to block things out because of politics or ego is simply cutting their own throat. Sooner or later they will be discredited if they choose the route of denial.

The staggering thing to me is that this is turning out to have affected a lot of martial arts, not just Aikido. I.e., a LOT of people missed these things or only caught bits and pieces. Me, too. I did it. I heard "move from the hara" and thought I had the concept, but I simply missed how complex the whole idea was. I heard "do breathing exercises", so I sat seiza, closed my eyes and did some "meditative breathing", listening to faint bells chime, etc.... totally missing (well, to be fair there was no info, just some "teacher" telling me this was the de rigeur thing to do) that "breathing exercises" are some functional method of strengthening the body but you have to be shown how to do it. I heard "extend ki" and did all sorts of mental games and pretend stuff, just like everyone else. If I wasn't such a clinically-minded person and hadn't actually *felt* something from a skilled Japanese dan, I'd have been right pounding any upstart who told me I didn't know all the stuff right up side the head. ;)

George is asking the right question... how can things be changed? At the moment, I'd bet that most people don't really see a compelling reason why things need to be changed or, if they do need to be changed, how much they need to be changed. Maybe we should have a meeting sometime and thrash it out, explain, demo, whatever. In a sense, even if Aikido is somewhat factionalized, it's still more coherent than most of the other Asian-derived martial arts that are represented in the West, so Aikido actually has the best chance, in my opinion, of doing something substantive ("IF something substantive needs to be done", some will be thinking.) ;)

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
06-01-2006, 02:17 PM
Mike wrote:

George is asking the right question... how can things be changed? At the moment, I'd bet that most people don't really see a compelling reason why things need to be changed or, if they do need to be changed, how much they need to be changed. Maybe we should have a meeting sometime and thrash it out, explain, demo, whatever. In a sense, even if Aikido is somewhat factionalized, it's still more coherent than most of the other Asian-derived martial arts that are represented in the West, so Aikido actually has the best chance, in my opinion, of doing something substantive ("IF something substantive needs to be done", some will be thinking.)

I agree wholeheartedly. While I may not agree on the realitive importance of some of the things you discuss, or the etiology of some of this...I do agree with this, and think this is an important thing to look at and explore if you want to grow. Also agree with your comments about aikido in general.

Now, if I could find the time to come back to the states and spend sometime with you to gain a better understanding. Either that or seek out the guy you reccomend when he comes to europe. Either way, you have convinced me this is an area I need to gain more knowledge in before I can have a "opinon".

Thanks for the continued discussion.

Ron Tisdale
06-01-2006, 02:18 PM
From what Mike has said about being able to do these things without it necessarily being visible, and my own minimal experience in the area, I'd have to say that as long as you can exhibit the outer form of a given style, family, organization, whatever...no one is going to kick you out for also having the skills under discussion. I personally would not leave my current organization...just do the solo training needed to build the skills, and invest the outer form with the inner skills.

Just my idea, anyway...

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
06-01-2006, 02:32 PM
Now, if I could find the time to come back to the states and spend sometime with you to gain a better understanding. That reminds me... I'll be in London the first weekend of July, if you're close by, and I'll be in Berlin on October 21-22.... I could maybe even have some free time around then, but I haven't sorted out my plans that far ahead.

But an important thing to remember is that while we can say "ki-related body skills" pretty quickly, it's not something that can be fully discussed in person in just a very short time because the logic and changes in body-motion have to be gone through a step at a time.

Regards,

Mike

Nick Pagnucco
06-01-2006, 02:32 PM
From what Mike has said about being able to do these things without it necessarily being visible, and my own minimal experience in the area, I'd have to say that as long as you can exhibit the outer form of a given style, family, organization, whatever...no one is going to kick you out for also having the skills under discussion. I personally would not leave my current organization...just do the solo training needed to build the skills, and invest the outer form with the inner skills.

Just my idea, anyway...

Best,
Ron

It seems like there'd be two levels in this discussion of what'd need to change. One level would be what an individual would be allowed to do, as you mentioned in your post. I'd imagine most aikido organizations would be pretty agnostic about that, as I'd imagine it would be seen as something akin to cross-training or conditioning or something. Where the individual may get into trouble is if he or she started loudly saying having these skills is required for 'good' aikido. So, on this level, an individual could right now be permitted to go and get this training, if one could find it, by whatever aikido organization in question. From what I can tell, etc.

This brings us to the second issue of changing things: creating an organization that encourages that students in aikido know they should train these skills, know how, and and expected to. This would be a bit trickier to do, and it'd have to involve some interesting organizational changes to several things, I'd imagine.

The bridge between these two levels is looking at what individual instructors do. Its where individuals would most likely become more visible for their respective organizations, as how they teach, and what they think the requirements are for tests, etc. interact with the institutionalized practices.

Mike Sigman
06-01-2006, 02:37 PM
From what Mike has said about being able to do these things without it necessarily being visible, and my own minimal experience in the area, I'd have to say that as long as you can exhibit the outer form of a given style, family, organization, whatever...no one is going to kick you out for also having the skills under discussion. I personally would not leave my current organization...just do the solo training needed to build the skills, and invest the outer form with the inner skills.

Just my idea, anyway... The first time I learned some of the Chen-style Taijiquan, I had been doing Yang-style for a fairly long time. The guy who was going to teach me asked to see my Yang-style and when I was done, he told me through a translator that I obviously had worked very long and hard on my Yang style. He agreed to teach me, but he made it a condition that I not practice my Yang-style anymore. I agreed, but it was only some years later that I understood why. Even though my Yang-style was awesomely smoothe and beautiful, etc., it was with the wrong movement principles. All the "techniques" I could do were effective and strong... but they were with the wrong movement principles. Ultimately I've had to go back to scratch several times to re-work the way I move.... there's no way to just "slip it into the already good stuff I'm doing". I say that with only good intentions... it cost me a lot of time and effort not to understand that at one time. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
06-01-2006, 03:03 PM
Well, while I understand what you're saying, and would agree to some extent, I do believe Gozo Shioda when he said that training in the basics of yoshinkan was training in kokyu ryoku. **If** that is true, then I shouldn't find **too** much trouble using this new method of moving in that framework.

That's a big if...but for now, it's the best thing I've got going, so I'll plug through it. I'm willing for it to take time...I'm willing to go back to practicing the basics, I'm willing to do the waza and basics slowly.

Best,
Ron

Robert Rumpf
06-01-2006, 03:48 PM
Mike, my main concern is that if the main body of aikido fails to respond appropriately or to provide an adequate conduit for learning. At some point it would seem that the disinfranchised, might say..."well we tried....but those aikido guys just won't get with it!".

Not trying to make a major political statement, but hasn't that (in a sense) already happened with Tohei's split from the Aikikai? I haven't read up on this that much, but it seems to me that on the surface, some of the context from which this split arose was a difference in training emphasis with respect to these types of skills.

We can all come to our own conclusions about whether or not the Ki Society has succeeded in terms of building these skills or not on the whole in their practitioners, and whether or not "mainline" Aikikai Aikido has also built these skills or lost them..

Personally, I don't have enough information to comment on the Ki Society people, but it does seem like almost all of the Aikikai people I have met at a semi-serious level of practice and above don't possess these skills, or believe they are relevant in a martial sense.

The only person I've seen who actually was able to successfully demonstrate and explain to me in a clear way any of this Ki stuff, and its applications to Aikido practice, was Oba-sensei, in Tsukuba, of the Ki-society dojo there.

Perhaps I was fooled by my youthful inexperience, or perhaps I just didn't have the appropriate tools to attack. Still, he could make Ki Aikido work well, in spite of my extreme skepticism, with no discernible effort. It actually looked like the Ki-exercises, too, believe it or not - but with the content included. When I have seen those exercises done in other places, they are often just pantomime.

Unfortunately, in spite of his repeated and valiant attempts to try to teach me (and I've seen that he can teach these skills, due to his students), I learned nothing from him beyond the fact that it was possible to do Aikido using those Ki-exercise based techniques without discernible effort if you knew what you were doing.

Why didn't I learn this material from Oba-sensei? I think I was too far along the wrong movement path.. (something Mike talks about). I also spent too little time with him to actually learn these new movement patterns and to absorb what he was teaching. I'm also stubborn and a poor student.

My hope is that eventually, I will converge back on where he is at, given that I know that it is possible, and given that I am continually trying to remove unnecessary force from my techniques.

However, I am skeptical that I can make certain leaps without specialized training in this area. Perhaps I should be doing solo practice of these Ki exercises, or seeking this training elsewhere or in Chinese styles of whatever.

Frankly, I'm not sure that I have the dedication to try to learn this material since it is something that would probably conflict with what I do in Aikido class for some time, and more importantly, I hate solo practice. :) I also like what I am learning, and my instructors, classmates, etc.

I know that when I went to see Saotome sensei teach at a seminar recently, he taught a lot of breathing techniques. Does this lead to some ability to do Ki-related stuff if you do it right? Noone I know trains this way, so its hard to say. He teaches it, but yet noone learns. How is this different than most things that are taught?

There are some exceptions to this lack of emphasis on Ki training and more subtle technique: I saw Kevin Choate working on some of this stuff at a seminar a few years back in a basic way, and Gleason talks about it in ways that I can't understand very well, but that makes it seem as though he is trying to reach (or already has reached) this type of understanding. Its hard for me to say given my general ignorance without longer exposure.

Perhaps those ki aikido skills are the ones that Mike and Dan are referring to - I've only been occasionally reading this thread.. I'm not sure whether or not Dan or Mike know this stuff or can do what Oba-sensei can do (or if they can do something different) - they certainly talk as though they do know it, but anyone can talk...

I do know this though - I haven't seen anyone in the Aikikai in America do what Oba-sensei can do... Noone I've seen here has that movement type. That probably means that we are missing something. I guess its up to us to decide how important that is for our individual practice.

Rob

Mike Sigman
06-01-2006, 05:00 PM
...(snipsky)...Frankly, I'm not sure that I have the dedication to try to learn this material since it is something that would probably conflict with what I do in Aikido class for some time, and more importantly, I hate solo practice. :) I also like what I am learning, and my instructors, classmates, etc.
(snip)
I do know this though - I haven't seen anyone in the Aikikai in America do what Oba-sensei can do... Noone I've seen here has that movement type. That probably means that we are missing something. I guess its up to us to decide how important that is for our individual practice.Hi Rob:

I think that's actually a pretty honest and clear representation of the general trend of thought (if you'll pardon my taking the paragraphs and isolating them). If someone's classmates and peers don't know this stuff and they're more or less socially happy, what's the point in shouldering the extra load? It's human nature, in a way. Only a few people are ever really going to dig deeply and peer pressure, etc., will keep the others in check. If we think about it a moment, Tohei and a few others went outside O-Sensei's dojo to get something they weren't getting in the dojo, but most of the others did not have the motivation to do this. So in a way, it's the same situation. But you summed it up nicely. ;)

Regards,

Mike

eyrie
06-01-2006, 06:11 PM
Even though my Yang-style was awesomely smoothe and beautiful, etc., it was with the wrong movement principles.

What would make for interesting discussion is what were the movement principles and why it was wrong... ;)

Mark Freeman
06-01-2006, 06:49 PM
I'd like to throw my 2 cents worth into the mix.

I have only trained in ki aikido, so this is all I know. I am only aware of other types of aikido through watching and listening with an open mind and curiosity. I have not engaged in cross training in other styles as it is not what my teacher encourages and I am happy to respect that. I accept and respect the different types of aikido and that the variety is a strength not a weakness.

Just about all of our lessons are in two parts, first a ki development lesson, then a short break ( we are english we have tea ;) ), then a lesson of ki aikido.

Ki development exercises do not give anyone any special powers, they are just exercises in mind and body co ordination. Through practice they promote a mind/body state that is required to practice ki aikido. The aikido lesson is seen as a ki developement exercises on the move. I guess that the Ki Society folk work in roughly the same way, I would appreciate confirmation or otherwise from any Ki Society people who may be following this thread.

It seems the majority on this thread/site do not specifically train in this way. Hence some of the scepticism and curiosity.

I am aware that in some quarters ki aikido is seen as 'not real aikido'
as it is 'not effective' of 'not martial/just art'. This attitude can be can be seen in a recent article:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=2030

I will play it safe politically at this point and not pass direct comment on what I think of the article. I would be interested in any of your opinions on the piece.

The future of aikido would be well spent if we looked at what each has to offer. I fully appreciate the scale of the spectrum of akido from very hard to very soft.
My own teacher learnt first a very strong positive style then later under Tohei ki aikido. Although he now teaches ki aikido exclusively, his akido has moved from one to another in one continuous ever developing line.

The skills that are being discussed are freely ( well a small mat fee aside ) available at some dojo's. You just have to want to go to one.
I read with some interest that some of this stuff is 'guarded' or passed on like some secret. There is nothing mysterious about it. If you practice certain exercises, you improve your being in certain ways, this goes for all arts or diciplines.

I can understand the reluctance of some to move and practice a new style when they may have to 'start from scratch' so to speak. The exercises are just the same old ikkyo, nikkyo so they would know the shapes etc but the ki development is inherent in all of them.

At some point in my aikido career I would like to practice with some of you guys from all your different styles. Only then will I know how you all do 'your' aikido. I'm sure I can only improve by broadening my practice. I am however committed to my teacher and the aikido I get from him, he is after all 'awesome' :D I know that given my physical location I am very lucky to have such a teacher. And if any of you ever get to practice with me, thats probably as close as you will get to his aikido. I aim not to let him down ;)

My little outpouring is probably due to the puffed up feeling that I have from reading and responding to Jun's post to generate some more contributing members to aikiweb. I've paid up and got my gold star. So if any one wants to take issue with any portion of my post I might just have to pull rank and point you in the direction of my gold five pointed badge :D

Come on guy's put your hands in your pockets and pay Jun some mat fees! :)

regards,

Mark

Kevin Leavitt
06-02-2006, 12:39 AM
Mike wrote:

That reminds me... I'll be in London the first weekend of July, if you're close by, and I'll be in Berlin on October 21-22.... I could maybe even have some free time around then, but I haven't sorted out my plans that far ahead.

Berlin..mmmm. I am about 4 or 5 hours south of Berliln. My wife and I have been looking for an excuse to visit Berlin. Although I am not sure if it would be productive giving the time constraints etc as I recognize that it takes time (hours, days, weeks, months) to work through much of these concepts.

Kevin Leavitt
06-02-2006, 12:47 AM
Robert Rumpf wrote:

I know that when I went to see Saotome sensei teach at a seminar recently, he taught a lot of breathing techniques. Does this lead to some ability to do Ki-related stuff if you do it right? Noone I know trains this way, so its hard to say. He teaches it, but yet noone learns. How is this different than most things that are taught?


It is an interesting problem I think. One someone like George Ledyard or Jimmy Sorrentino would be more qualified to address...

However, this is how I see things.

It is not that Saotome sensei doesn't understand these things...the problem is the dynamic in the U.S and ASU I believe.

He is a Shihan...a teacher of teachers. I would train at the 6am class in Takoma years ago. There was a core group of about 15 of us that would train hard before work. Awesome class! Anyway, we'd find out a "rumor" that Saotome might teach the morning class...then people would come out of the woodwork and you could barely get on the mat!

It use to frustrate me because that was "my time" with the "regulars" and I wanted to have the "face time" in that environment..have the time to spend one on one without all the "drive by opportunist". Anyway, it would be a good class, but you never had time to develop the one on one needed to do much of these stuff because you have to teach to the mid point of the class.

Anyway, with the poliferation of aikido, ASU now has alot of teachers that are good like Jimmy, George etc....but I think much of it boils down to time, level of ability, and devotion of the students. In a normal aikido class you have to teach to the midpoint of the class...so you can't ever get to where you want to go it seems.

I think this is where the whole sempai, kohai, "special student" thing must come into play. There are a few select people that become worth your while that really want to learn and really have the ability for transmission.

I don't think it is necessarily intentional....just the way it works with the dynamic of people.

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 08:02 AM
The skills that are being discussed are freely ( well a small mat fee aside ) available at some dojo's. You just have to want to go to one.
I read with some interest that some of this stuff is 'guarded' or passed on like some secret. There is nothing mysterious about it. If you practice certain exercises, you improve your being in certain ways, this goes for all arts or diciplines.It's not a case as simple as "he can do it" and "he can't do it", Mark. There are most people that can't use these skills. There are some people who have a few bits and pieces (naturally, they think they have it all, in too many cases). There are some people with some portion of the spectrum of knowledge, but who don't teach what they know freely, etc.

Frankly, I think your perception that some dojo's are teaching all the things we're talking about is wrong. Of course, I'm always willing to go look.... but I would be surprised (pleasantly) if I found a dojo that used anything more than a few bits and pieces but where people still use their shoulders for most movement. That's my honest opinion. Of course, I realize that a lot of people with a few bits and pieces aren't going to change their own perceptions about the extent of what they know, but the problem with not commenting about it is that they'll continue on with surety, teaching beginners the "real stuff", which is usually quite wrong.

I just had this discussion the other night with some people who are having great difficulty changing to center-controlled movement and power and they all said their main problem was their *habits* of doing it wrong for years before. That's often the reason why I prefer to work with neophytes than with "experienced" people, to be honest. It's a tough row to hoe.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
06-02-2006, 08:13 AM
It's a tough row to hoe.

Cough...heh, that's why they call it BUDO. ;)

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 08:30 AM
Cough...heh, that's why they call it BUDO. ;)
Not to be persnickety, Ron, but generally speaking the ki/kokyu *powers*, abilities, skills, etc., are not really the Bu... they're the quasi-religious (in O-Sensei's and a lot of traditional beliefs) body skills that are the core of the true Bu. Notice that even though Tohei rejected the Shinto-religious connotations that O-Sensei perceived, he himself lapsed into quasi-religious maunderings about cosmology/religion himself. It's better, IMO, to think of these skills as being within the category of "martial qigongs"... not quite the martial stuff itself. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mark Freeman
06-02-2006, 08:32 AM
Frankly, I think your perception that some dojo's are teaching all the things we're talking about is wrong. Of course, I'm always willing to go look.... but I would be surprised (pleasantly) if I found a dojo that used anything more than a few bits and pieces but where people still use their shoulders for most movement. That's my honest opinion. Of course, I realize that a lot of people with a few bits and pieces aren't going to change their own perceptions about the extent of what they know, but the problem with not commenting about it is that they'll continue on with surety, teaching beginners the "real stuff", which is usually quite wrong.

I only say what I say from my own personal experience, and as I said I have no experience outside my own teachers aikido. I have lost count of the number of ki exercises that I have been shown, so not just the occasional one ore two. So I may be wrong in supposing that 'all' the things we are talking about are being taught, but the huge variety of exercises we do must cover most of them.
A few bits and pieces are not what I know, my practice is full of them all the time as mentioned above. I can't comment on other teachers and their skills or 'lack of'. The federation I practice with has dojo's all over the UK and branches in about 6 or 7 different countries, so there are 'some' dojo's practicing 'many' of the skills being talked about.
That doesn't mean that all the teachers have mastered the skills equally, I practice with some who are a similar grade to me and they seem to 'have not fully grasped' the concepts that have been talked about here. But there are plenty that have. :)

Thanks Mike, for your response and for keeping this discussion lively and challenging. As George mentioned in an earlier post, this is an important issue in the aikido world, and one that cannot be just brushed under the tatami.

Regards,

Mark

MM
06-02-2006, 08:35 AM
Well, while I understand what you're saying, and would agree to some extent, I do believe Gozo Shioda when he said that training in the basics of yoshinkan was training in kokyu ryoku. **If** that is true, then I shouldn't find **too** much trouble using this new method of moving in that framework.

That's a big if...but for now, it's the best thing I've got going, so I'll plug through it. I'm willing for it to take time...I'm willing to go back to practicing the basics, I'm willing to do the waza and basics slowly.

Best,
Ron

Hi Ron!
In my current training environment, this hits close to home for me. If you are training in the basics of yoshinkan, then you are training in kokyu ryoku. I can understand that. But, the problem arises in the "training" in the basics. We don't have Shioda around anymore to correct us if we're not "training" in the basics the correct way. How do we know if we're going at it the right way?

Thanks,
Mark

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 08:42 AM
A few bits and pieces are not what I know, my practice is full of them all the time as mentioned above. I can't comment on other teachers and their skills or 'lack of'. The federation I practice with has dojo's all over the UK and branches in about 6 or 7 different countries, so there are 'some' dojo's practicing 'many' of the skills being talked about.Well maybe so, Mark. I would enjoy being caught underestimating something for once instead of overestimating. ;) But take the discussion on Aikido Journal, as an example. It appears, belatedly, like we missed O-Sensei's ability to store and release power (Ellis Amdur picked up on it first, to give him his due). Would you say that you understand how to store and release power, also?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
06-02-2006, 08:53 AM
Agreed. What I was referring to, was the difficulty in integrating it into your BU. It is, as you have said, difficult, even under the best of circumstances, which not all of us have. In my opinion, persevering even in the face of that difficulty, is as much BU and Do as anything else. Even understanding that we're not talking about fighting here.

Best,
Ron (fall 7 times, rise 8)

Not to be persnickety, Ron, but generally speaking the ki/kokyu *powers*, abilities, skills, etc., are not really the Bu... they're the quasi-religious (in O-Sensei's and a lot of traditional beliefs) body skills that are the core of the true Bu. Notice that even though Tohei rejected the Shinto-religious connotations that O-Sensei perceived, he himself lapsed into quasi-religious maunderings about cosmology/religion himself. It's better, IMO, to think of these skills as being within the category of "martial qigongs"... not quite the martial stuff itself. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
06-02-2006, 09:23 AM
Hi Ron!
In my current training environment, this hits close to home for me. If you are training in the basics of yoshinkan, then you are training in kokyu ryoku. I can understand that. But, the problem arises in the "training" in the basics. We don't have Shioda around anymore to correct us if we're not "training" in the basics the correct way. How do we know if we're going at it the right way?

Thanks,
Mark
Hi Mark,
Well, I'm using a many pronged approach.

1) I try to get out to see what else is going on, and if I'm making progess in different environments with this material. That's why I went to see Abe Sensei, why I paid close attention to what Inoue Sensei was doing when he was here, why I train with the local AKI group when I can.

2) I find uke that can out muscle me. People who are heavier, stronger, and preferrably just as well trained. Then I check to see how much shoulder and arm muscle I put into my waza when I train with them.

3) I try to REALLY LISTEN HARD when my instructor tells me something or shows me something directly. I know it's a gamble until I've really felt the full scope of what Mike and Dan describe, but I do believe, based on what my body feels from my instructor's waza, that he does do at least a portion of these things. And he has said things to me that so far, line up with the picture I have now of some of these skills.

4) In all my training, yoga, solo, basic movements, basic movements with partner, basic waza, etc., I'm really working hard to get the power from the front of my shoulders out of the waza entirely. I've found that that shifts the power for the waza to the center of the shoulder blades and the hips / koshi / tan tien areas.

It's not easy...Along with all of this I'm also trying to teach my body how to work hard in a relaxed state. For me, that is SOOOO hard.

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
06-02-2006, 09:44 AM
I like the way you are training Ron...that too is how I am trying to train. Most people would not recognize what I am doing as aikido...I tend to think of my training more as BUDO right now, I use traditional training aikido as well, but I think there are other things that you can do to augment as you say.

Michael Mackenzie
06-02-2006, 09:57 AM
It's better, IMO, to think of these skills as being within the category of "martial qigongs"... not quite the martial stuff itself.

Doesn't all this stuff fall within the realm of jibenggong, or "foundation exercises"?

I've recently left aikido to focus soley on xingyi - yiquan. The emphasis here seems to be first and always on jibengong, with the "martial aspect" coming in second.

In yiquan this translates to a ton of standing and basic shili and mocabu. In xingyi this also translates to a ton of standing and getting very intimate with piquan. :)

I haven't done serious applications in months but it has become quite evident that a lot of what I was doing prior was in a completely different realm than what I'm doing now...

FWIW

Mike

Nick Pagnucco
06-02-2006, 10:40 AM
In yiquan this translates to a ton of standing and basic shili and mocabu. In xingyi this also translates to a ton of standing and getting very intimate with piquan. :)


Might I inquire what 'n tarnation chili, mocabu, and piquan are? :confused: ;)

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 10:40 AM
Doesn't all this stuff fall within the realm of jibenggong, or "foundation exercises"? Well, I see what you're saying, but it's a semantics debate in a way. You learn the foundation movements correctly (hopefully) doing the jinbengong, but if you still do them to exercise your "ki", the same jingengong would be considered a form of qigong. So the Aiki-Taiso, for instance, could rightfully be called jingengong (IF they're done with ki-parameters backing all the movments) or qigongs. Hmmmm, if someone is doing a jo kata and knows how to keep the ki/kokyu power backing every single increment of the movement, then the kata itself could be considered a qigong. Whatever.... just do it. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Michael Mackenzie
06-02-2006, 10:49 AM
Might I inquire what 'n tarnation chili, mocabu, and piquan are? :confused: ;)

Sorry,

Shili are slow "arm" movements that utilise the whole body. Mocabu is "footwork" that also uses the whole body and may also utilise the "arm" movements from shili. Piquan is the first fist of xingyi. One learns this usually after learning standing and some other foundation exercises. However, using Mike's example, it is also in itself foundation training.

Best,

Mike

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 11:00 AM
Shili are slow "arm" movements that utilise the whole body. Mocabu is "footwork" that also uses the whole body and may also utilise the "arm" movements from shili. Piquan is the first fist of xingyi. One learns this usually after learning standing and some other foundation exercises. However, using Mike's example, it is also in itself foundation training.Hi Mike:

Remember last year when I asked if any of the "name" Aikido teachers who were deshi of Ueshiba taught any "standing" exercises? It turns out that some of them actually do (we'll leave aside the qustion of whether the actual stuff you're supposed to do in the standings is taught). So for all practical purposes, Aikido practice can include standing post exercises (zhan zhuang), practice movement using the jin/kokyu power at all times (shi li and mocabu are the same as what Aiki Taiso are meant to do), and now, it seems that even power releases can be done using fune-kogi undo and suburi.

Differences? I don't see any differences; I see commonalities (well.... I see commonalities that should be there, but all too often aren't, so that needs to be fixed). ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mark Freeman
06-02-2006, 11:07 AM
Well maybe so, Mark. I would enjoy being caught underestimating something for once instead of overestimating. ;) But take the discussion on Aikido Journal, as an example. It appears, belatedly, like we missed O-Sensei's ability to store and release power (Ellis Amdur picked up on it first, to give him his due). Would you say that you understand how to store and release power, also?

I was going to direct you to a video clip posted another thread (post 938 Aikido doesnt work etc ) where O Sensei was giving a demonstration pre war, but unfortunately it has been removed from the site as it says it was being used without the permission of AJ so I assume it is there somewhere. Very near the end of the 9 minute demo, O Sensei is seen repelling a two handed frontal attack with what looks to me like a release of power, the uke just seems to 'bounce off backwards. If this is what you mean by the store and release of power and do I understand how to, then a qualified 'yes' but in comparison to Ueshiba I have a long way to go :D My teacher can which is why I think I am fortunate to study with him.
He once performed a kokyudosa with me as uke where he managed to flip me over into a forward breakfall from seiza, I had no idea how or what happened I just remember getting up with a big smile on my face. If that isn't a release of power I don't know what is :D

We are all probably a little guilty of overestimation, the only people who really know what our aikido is like are the people who actually come into contact with us. Talk is easy, doing is less so. ;)

Cheers,

Mark

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 11:19 AM
Very near the end of the 9 minute demo, O Sensei is seen repelling a two handed frontal attack with what looks to me like a release of power, the uke just seems to 'bounce off backwards. If this is what you mean by the store and release of power and do I understand how to, Hi Mark:

No, that would just be a use of kokyu-power in that example. I was talking about something else. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
06-02-2006, 11:24 AM
Hmmmm, if someone is doing a jo kata and knows how to keep the ki/kokyu power backing every single increment of the movement, then the kata itself could be considered a qigong. Whatever.... just do it.

Well, **ideally** **all** of aikido, waza, solo movements, etc, should be training of the sort you mention to some extent I suppose. I think that is one of the things the practice was supposed to provide. How often it does that today is another question.

He once performed a kokyudosa with me as uke where he managed to flip me over into a forward breakfall from seiza, I had no idea how or what happened I just remember getting up with a big smile on my face. If that isn't a release of power I don't know what is

I've had the exact same experience from a particular senior at the Doshinkan, the same one who focused on breathing exercises during a warm up session where the breath powered the movement. He has done these types of power releases on me a few times. WOW.

Best,
Ron

Mark Freeman
06-02-2006, 11:25 AM
No, that would just be a use of kokyu-power in that example. I was talking about something else. ;)


then until I understand what you mean, I need to revise my answer to maybe or perhaps no ;)

Cheers

Mark

Mark Freeman
06-02-2006, 11:27 AM
I've had the exact same experience from a particular senior at the Doshinkan, the same one who focused on breathing exercises during a warm up session where the breath powered the movement. He has done these types of power releases on me a few times. WOW.

it's not something you forget in a hurry is it Ron? :D

cheers

Mark

Michael Mackenzie
06-02-2006, 11:31 AM
So for all practical purposes, Aikido practice can include standing post exercises (zhan zhuang), practice movement using the jin/kokyu power at all times (shi li and mocabu are the same as what Aiki Taiso are meant to do), and now, it seems that even power releases can be done using fune-kogi undo and suburi.

Differences? I don't see any differences; I see commonalities (well.... I see commonalities that should be there, but all too often aren't, so that needs to be fixed).

Hi Mike,

That is super-groovy!! Unfortunately most aikido consists of going to an aikido class and doing set techniques for an hour and a half, while people pretend to be Japanese and tell you your not doing nikkyo right. Aiki taiso and fune-kogi undo in their minds are remarkably fast militaristic warm-ups. How many have even swung a sword?

Sorry, I'm feeling a bit petulant today...I understand this is common in most CMA classes too (barring speaking Japanese and the have another name for nikkyo, small capture anyone?!)

I guess this again speaks to the level of instruction that is widely available, how few experts their are in "any" field and how hard fought it is to get this information.

PS what kind of "aiki" zhang zhuang did you come across in your research?

Best,

Mike

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 11:44 AM
Hi Mike,

That is super-groovy!! Unfortunately most aikido consists of going to an aikido class and doing set techniques for an hour and a half, while people pretend to be Japanese and tell you your not doing nikkyo right. Aiki taiso and fune-kogi undo in their minds are remarkably fast militaristic warm-ups. How many have even swung a sword?

Sorry, I'm feeling a bit petulant today...I understand this is common in most CMA classes too (barring speaking Japanese and the have another name for nikkyo, small capture anyone?!) It's widespread... don't think it's just common to Aikido, Mike. I remember making a remark at a martial arts tournament that had "kata" in it (both Chinese and Japanese) and someone asked me to judge, but I declined... I didn't see anyone who even had the rudiments of basic jin in their movements and I would have felt like a wielder of agricultural implements (a hoe-er) if I'd dropped into the "way they looked" sort of stuff. Although later I wished I'd just done it and held up signs that said "Nice Shoes" or "Nice Uniform". Oh well. ;) PS what kind of "aiki" zhang zhuang did you come across in your research? I just had confirmation from a number of different sources that yes, standing postures were indeed used by various of the old instructors. The "kind" varied, but that doesn't tell me a lot. Since you can't see where the stresses and intent are directed, it's impossible to know for sure what a particular standing posture is training unless the person doing it tells you where their intent is.

All the Best.

Mike

Michael Mackenzie
06-02-2006, 12:00 PM
I just had confirmation from a number of different sources that yes, standing postures were indeed used by various of the old instructors. The "kind" varied, but that doesn't tell me a lot. Since you can't see where the stresses and intent are directed, it's impossible to know for sure what a particular standing posture is training unless the person doing it tells you where their intent is

Agreed and yet...

I'd be interested to hear who they were, where the postures were derived from and where they fit in the training syllabus.

Call me curious ;)

Mike

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 12:24 PM
If you are training in the basics of yoshinkan, then you are training in kokyu ryoku. I can understand that. But, the problem arises in the "training" in the basics. We don't have Shioda around anymore to correct us if we're not "training" in the basics the correct way. How do we know if we're going at it the right way? Well, one way is to compare the results, although different people read their results different ways. Even though he's got a few mat-monkies here and there, this is a good little bit on Shioda Kancho:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?search=yoshinkan&v=1sCevYMrZtY

Ron Tisdale
06-02-2006, 12:28 PM
umph....what mature content could possibly be in that link?

B,
R (just dying to see it now...but not enough to sign up)

Mike Sigman
06-02-2006, 12:51 PM
umph....what mature content could possibly be in that link?

B,
R (just dying to see it now...but not enough to sign up)

Er, Ron.... the trick is to have a freemail account somewhere and dummy the rest. ;)

Mike

MM
06-02-2006, 12:57 PM
umph....what mature content could possibly be in that link?

B,
R (just dying to see it now...but not enough to sign up)

Wow. No, let me rephrase that. WOW. I've never seen some of that footage with Shioda. There's no mature content at all. Why it's labelled as such, I don't know. But you really should watch it, Ron. Or maybe you've seen it already. It's a short video on Shioda's life and some of his demonstrations, including one for Kennedy.

Mark

wendyrowe
06-02-2006, 01:07 PM
umph....what mature content could possibly be in that link?
Violence, of course. (Whoops, that's the other thread!)

Ron Tisdale
06-02-2006, 01:10 PM
yep, seen it now. I hadn't seen that section of the Kennedy demonstration where he has the security guy flopping like a fish! A lot of the other clips I've either seen all or part of. And yeah, wow. Good stuff.

Best,
Ron