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Jim Sorrentino
04-24-2006, 12:17 PM
Greetings All,

Here is an open invitation to Dan Harden:

Mr. Harden, we have ever met, nor have I ever seen you on film. However, I've read many of your posts on AikiWeb, Aikido Journal, e-budo, and SwordForums. When it comes to aikido, your posts all seem to have a similar theme and tone. The theme is the ineffectiveness of most, if not all, aikidoka (but not aikido itself). The tone is one of provocative derision. A good example is in your post # 36 in this thread where you say, "I would guess that most folks -the vast majority perhaps- haven't a clue about what their Aikido has been trying to teach them in regards to body skills. At its root it can be practically unstoppable. If you knew what you were doing."

This most recent discussion of challenges to instructors is typical. Also typical is your unwillingness to discuss your background. Back near the beginning of this thread, one of the posters asked you about your aikido training, and why you stopped. You have yet to answer this question. I (and anyone else who uses a search engine) can surmise that you study (and teach) Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-Ryu and Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu. So why not just say so, name your teachers, and state your level of experience?

A while back on Aikido Journal, you and Mike Sigman had a long discussion (in response to one of Ellis Amdur's blogs) about the internal training that aikido either offers, or fails to deliver. If I remember correctly, you claimed to be able to do the "jo trick", which I understood to be Morihei Ueshiba's demonstration in which he held out a jo while several people pushed on it, directing their force perpendicularly to the length of the jo. After holding the jo in place for several moments, O-Sensei then "removed" it, resulting in the unbalancing of the pushers. Can you do that? If so, have you been able to teach anyone else to do it?

Also in post #36, you said, "A judoka throwing you should feel like he is trying to throw a statue. A jujutsu going for a double or single leg should be drilled into the ground. Your throws should not be throws that express anything but formless projections. Your strikes should be devastating with the ground and your center alive in your hands. I've not met the man who has fought me who has not been convinced otherwise. And I stopped training in Aikido long ago, before making Shodan. That being said, I would simply stand in front of anyone you care to pick in Aikido, of any rank, and I will do Aikido waza and I will not be thrown or locked."

I propose that we arrange for you to teach a seminar at my dojo in Arlington, Virginia. Like all seminars that I host, it would be open to aikidoka (and practitioners of other aiki-based arts) of all ranks and levels of experience, regardless of organization or affiliation. In the interests of safe and vigorous training, I would limit the number of participants to 80 (60 if we're going to do a lot of weapons work).

If you successfully teach the participants how to do what you say you can do (as well as the jo trick, if that is part of your repertoire), then my dojo will reimburse your expenses and pay you a reasonable honorarium, which you and I will agree on in advance. But if you don't succeed, then we won't.

By the way, I have never invited anyone to teach at my dojo sight unseen.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

Kevin Leavitt
04-24-2006, 01:05 PM
I will vouch for Jimmy Sorentino's honesty and sincerity of this offer. I'd think you'll find a mature, seasoned, and very open minded group of people that would be there.

Dennis Hooker
04-24-2006, 01:24 PM
I will vouch for Jimmy Sorentino's honesty and sincerity of this offer. I'd think you'll find a mature, seasoned, and very open minded group of people that would be there.


Mr. Sorentino is a gentleman and I believe this offer is honest and sincere. Sorentino Sensei is well respected and is quit capable.

Jim Sorrentino
04-24-2006, 01:27 PM
Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the endorsement! If this happens, I hope you'll be able to make the scene.

I can't seem to edit my own post. The first line should say, "Mr. Harden, we have never met ..."

Jim

Jim Sorrentino
04-24-2006, 01:29 PM
Hi Hooker-sensei,

Thanks for the endorsement!

Jim

Kevin Leavitt
04-24-2006, 01:34 PM
I would definitely try to make it! I will probably be in the area at least once or twice this summer. I am heading to Atlanta next week, hoping that I will have an afternoon off to train with Jon Reading down at Emory U some!

It gets old trying to stay connected to aikido sitting here flapping my gums on aikiweb :)

Dennis Hooker
04-24-2006, 02:35 PM
Dennis, if this "seminar" happens, let's get a front row seat. I'm sure it'll be interesting. ;)


I will buy the popcorn and cokes and bring my "Oh WOW Did You See That Pennant " Iím getting old (hell I done got old) and the truly awesome moments are getting fewer and further between

Neil Mick
04-24-2006, 04:05 PM
I propose that we arrange for you to teach a seminar at my dojo in Arlington, Virginia. Like all seminars that I host, it would be open to aikidoka (and practitioners of other aiki-based arts) of all ranks and levels of experience, regardless of organization or affiliation. In the interests of safe and vigorous training, I would limit the number of participants to 80 (60 if we're going to do a lot of weapons work).

If you successfully teach the participants how to do what you say you can do (as well as the jo trick, if that is part of your repertoire), then my dojo will reimburse your expenses and pay you a reasonable honorarium, which you and I will agree on in advance. But if you don't succeed, then we won't.

By the way, I have never invited anyone to teach at my dojo sight unseen.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

Nice. And I also add my name to the list of people who vouchsafe Jim's sincerity, merit, and acumen as a martial artist (not to mention, kudos for his careful reading of Dan's claims).

I would definitely try to make it! I will probably be in the area at least once or twice this summer.

Yeah, me too, were such a boast true. If I were you tho, I wouldn't be saving your pennies for the seminar, just yet. I suspect that Jim's unmasked a fellow long on claim, and short on action. No doubt Dan's new demo-DVD of the "ancient jo trick" is tucked right next to his ownership papers for that hot New Orleans swampland he wants to sell. :freaky:

Talk is cheap. But who knows? I'll be happy to post some humble pie right here on aikiweb, when I see the upcoming seminar announcement listed.

I just won't be holding my breath. :dead:

DH
04-24-2006, 04:21 PM
Jim
Short note I am getting ready for a meeting
Please call me Dan.
Write me here in P.M. If you would like to get together- thats fine with me. Put up or shut up is a fair game. But it will be here. I have enough time getting permission (Husband and family man) for all the things I travel to do as it is. FWIW my guys are very friendly and open. If you would like to bring a couple of guys that's fine as well. It will give me an exuse to finish the Dojo and paint the walls!!.
I am not interested in a seminar with large numbers- I have no need.I've turned down 7 offers for seminars this year alone. Sorry, could care less. But come here, we can have fun, I will willingly show certain things to get people started on body skills including the jo trick-you do realize it is not a fighting skill -yes? just a use of ground and body. And if people want to roll and have fun thats fine as well. Please come with a healthy attitude and some 5 oz gloves if you own them.

So, lets discuss a get together and what you would like to accomplish. And hopefully I can put a smile on your face. Particularly since you seem to have taken offense- I would never dream of taking any money. I teach for free. If you like what you saw and did- take me out to dinner. I would be willing to bet -you will no doubt- make a friend.

Separate topic. You used the term "derision" for various observations I have regarding Aikido- or Aikidoka. I think Observation is more accurate The statement you used wherein I said many if not most do not understand the body skill potential inherent in their art? I believe is true. I have been on the mats with too many who had no idea what I was doing or talking about and how they should move to accomplish the same things. They had not connection or sturcture either-they were stiff. The one thing you missed was how many others in softer arts think the same as well. Much of what you heard Mike and I debating on Ellis's blog has been discussed behind the scenes with several people. Again Sadly the ability to use your body to root (Mikes trade term "Ground path") as well as several other things involving the breath and power generation and ways to make your hands heavy and connected to your body. You will find that referenced in what I have written as well.

Last. The fighting or challenge aspects-I agree with Dennis. If you don't do it or have not done it-then you don't know it. It's why I am a fan of Judo, MMA and BJJ. Anyone need only ask the hundreds who train and those who cross-train to hear very similar refrains.
While I make no apologies for what I have observed- I have no wish to offend. So lets keep it small. Am I assuming it is friendly? Doesn't have to be- but it would be a different venue.

Cheers
Dan

DH
04-24-2006, 04:38 PM
Jim
Just thought I'd ask. Mind If I invite some local CMA guys as well. You may enjoy feeling "others" who do the same thing. They can't handle the same fighting skills with kicks and strikes -but they are efficient enough in body skills that no one you bring will probably be able to toss em. It might be a more enlightening and refreshing time to have me show some things -I have never trained CMA- and then have them do it as well. They are well balanced (pun intended) and great folks as well.

Dan

Michael O'Brien
04-24-2006, 06:41 PM
I am not interested in a seminar with large numbers- I have no need.I've turned down 7 offers for seminars this year alone. Sorry, could care less.

Dan,
This seminar sparked a large amount of interest I'm sure with many of us and I am sorry to hear you won't be accepting the offer extended. VA I could easily make from Nashville, Tn but Mass. is a little further to try and make it.

Also regarding your "no need/care less" for large seminars, please remember it isn't about "you" but about your willingness to share your knowledge with others. Like I said, as I'm sure others on here feel as well, I'll most likely never have the opportunity to train in your dojo and learn from your knowledge. However, if you made it to VA, GA, one of the Carolinas, or any other place within a 5-7 hour drive of Nashville then I would have the pleasure of meeting you and spending 2-3 days learning what you have to offer.

On a side note I'll quote Jim below:
Also typical is your unwillingness to discuss your background. Back near the beginning of this thread, one of the posters asked you about your aikido training, and why you stopped. You have yet to answer this question. I (and anyone else who uses a search engine) can surmise that you study (and teach) Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-Ryu and Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu. So why not just say so, name your teachers, and state your level of experience?
It was noticable again in your reply to Jim that you failed to provide any information on your training and background. Why?

DH
04-24-2006, 06:58 PM
Michael
No one is allowed to teach TSKSR in the U.S but Relnick Sensei. I have specifically disavowed any teaching of that art. The rest You can discuss with me privately.
I do not teach any of the tradional arts I have studied. I went MMA back in the late eighties-maybe always was.

Don't be put off by my lack of interest in seminars-my guys are always trying to grow the dojo and I resist as well. I am fairly well versed at marketing, presentation and business and when I play with someone in a martial sense I am almost always asked to teach. Just happened to me again with some CMA guys-some of whom were teachers. I don't care about teaching......at all. I want bodies to practice on, to improve my skills. So, I don't advertise I train in the country, my own guys want to bring other people, I say "No" (most of the time).
That may give you some idea of the mindset.
In fact when I looked up Jim Sorrentino in my correspondence I just realized that Ellis Amdur had asked me to go there with him this winter...behind the scenes, and I didn't go then either.

Same guy, same invite, no thanks, nothing personal, just not me.
What I don't understand is that if this stuff were in AIkido in any appreciable way- as they say- what do they wan't with me? There should be many places to find it............right? Or it is as I claim- rare to non-existant anymore. Then at the end of the day-I was correct. I've only seen these skills in two schools of Daito ryu and in CMA. Rob Jon says his teacher found parts of it in Koryu. The little I have seen-so far- in CMA- is no great shakes over what I already do -but there are some greats out there I am told. I will be feeling them this year, and looking forward to more new information.
Overall though I think I will revisit my tone. I haven't changed my mind about these arts-not in the least bit. but I don't want to be rude. The one guy got under my skin. Oh well I'm human


Your advice for me to want to share I agree with and understand. But I have had trouble with small groups of my own men over the years from 1 year to twelve years with me. You have to train this solo at home and continually throughout the day and the drills are painful. Few walk the walk. How on earth would I do that multiplied by the hundreds. Why? Yuk!
Cheers
Dan

Jim Sorrentino
04-25-2006, 08:14 AM
Dear Dan,

That was a nice tenkan, although a disappointing response.

I also have a family and a career outside the dojo, so I am quite aware of what it means to have a busy schedule. Let's pick a date from mid-May to mid-November, except for holiday weekends. Here are the dates that I am NOT available: May 26 - 28 (Memorial Day); June 5 - 9; June 16 - 18; July 1 - 7; July 27 - 30; September 1 - 3 (Labor Day); September 22 - 24; September 29 - October 1; October 6 - 8 (Columbus Day); November 10 - 12 (Armistice Day). You may notice that August is wide-open. I would like enough lead time to publicize the seminar, so that interested aikidoka (and others) may attend.

Washington is a very family-friendly town. Depending on the number and age of your children, as well as the inclination of your other half, it might be enjoyable for them to accompany you.

I really don't care how many seminars you've turned down.

If you want to limit the size to less than 80, we can discuss it. My dojo needs to be able to cover the cost of your food, lodging and transportation --- assuming that you deliver on what you say you can do and teach. If you want to waive an honorarium, that is your decision.

I appreciate your invitation to meet you at your dojo, but I think the burden is on you to step up to the plate first. After all, you're the one who has posted so prolifically over the years.

In post #100, you said, "But come here, we can have fun, I will willingly show certain things to get people started on body skills including the jo trick-you do realize it is not a fighting skill -yes? just a use of ground and body." Yes, I realize that, and I'd like to learn it anyway. By the way, I hope you realize that's a condescending question. You indicated that you were interested in changing your tone, but you missed an opportunity to do so here.

You also said in that post, "You used the term "derision" for various observations I have regarding Aikido- or Aikidoka. I think Observation is more accurate." No, it's not. If you were making an observation, you would use neutral language, and you would be specific about what you observed, where, when, and with whom.

You assume correctly that my invitation was, and is, friendly. You have stated that you have developed certain abilities and skills, and that you are able to teach them. I'd like to learn them, and I will provide the venue. But I don't know why you (indirectly) asked this question --- more condescension, perhaps? In my experience, truly unfriendly "challengers" don't give advance public notice of their intentions. There is a vast difference between a duel and an ambush.

As for your request in post #101 to include people trained in Chinese martial arts (CMA), I'd be willing to include them if they can vouch for their ability to take ukemi. After all, if one of the aikidoka at the seminar IS able to make a technique work against resistance, I would like to have some confidence that the resisting person, no matter what his or her martial arts background, will be able to handle the results.

I would like to clear up something you said in post # 103: "In fact when I looked up Jim Sorrentino in my correspondence I just realized that Ellis Amdur had asked me to go there with him this winter...behind the scenes, and I didn't go then either. Same guy, same invite, no thanks, nothing personal, just not me." That's NOT accurate. My dojo, along with the Itten Dojo of Harrisburg, PA, and the Toman Dojo of Olney, MD, organized a seminar in January 2006 to be taught by Ellis Amdur. I told Ellis to let you know that if you wanted to attend, you would be welcome --- as a participant, not an instructor. I took this step because the Toman Dojo is run by students of Frederick Lovret, whom you have criticized both vigorously and publically. As the seminar organizer, I wanted to ensure that all participants would work together in a friendly manner, which (in your case) would have been more likely if you came as Ellis' guest. So it is not accurate to say, "Same guy, same invite."

You asked in post #103, "What I don't understand is that if this stuff were in AIkido in any appreciable way- as they say- what do they want with me?" Well, you claim to be able to do "this stuff", you clearly want to let people in the aikido world know that, and you do so in a fairly articulate way. So you should not be surprised when someone calls on you to deliver. Finally, you said in that post, "You have to train this solo at home and continually throughout the day and the drills are painful. Few walk the walk." Come on down, and I will present you with a reasonable number of people who are quite willing to walk the walk --- if you can in fact do and teach what you say. It is time to put up.

Sincerely,

Jim

DH
04-25-2006, 08:27 AM
Mark

I understand. On one level I respect the traditional arts-even adore them. I do not want to see them changed , morphed modified whatever. But on the other hand I adore the exploration of the human potential in conflict; gun-combatives, knife, sticks and MMA.

So, in the larger picture, or scope, there is as means to train to change our bodies, to become relaxed fighters, truly fluid and yet powerful. Hitting with hand, elbow, knee or even chest wall with whole body power, while absorbing and re-directing strikes our bodies without pain. Once learned to pursue it in a true pro-active/re-active format. I believe it is in that arena one gains a more relaxed intense focus that is maintained in conflict. Against this training- most traditions falter and fail. An Internal Artist with MMA fight training is a very potent man to face. I would further that by stating this type of training imparts a mindset that is more akin to the mythos of the Arts; Fudo Myo and the pursuit of fudoshin, and the fluidity and grace-and tactical veracity of Suigetsu.
There are men of all walks who pursue pieces. Fighting-with muscle, Throwing using the body without correct use of body structure, Theorizing center while being easily pushed

Anyway…..It is for that reason that I stated that MMA, Judo or jujutsu are better equipped to stand, neutralize and attacker and handle them with out undo harm over most people who train in a single form. They have more active force-on-force training.

While this isn’t directly related it is the core of what I am speaking about. I posted something similar on E-budo to help settle a disagreement about internal skills ad its ability to allow true body unity and center. It was the core of Ueshibas training.

“For a simple test for comparisons...Ground rules: No fighting techniques, no feints, no Waza of any kind.

Can you do this?
Stand in a room and not use any waza, not use your hands, or any offensive techniques and then.....
1. Have a 220 pound man push your chest with one hand in an attempt to push you over.
2. Then two hands as hard as he can
3. Then have him pile drive into you
4. Then casually.. pull you and push you around while you stand there without moving your feet Over time increasinf the severity.
Then
5. Have him push you slowly and -without you moving- you breathe and he starts to collapse downward
6. Do the above with a stick in your hands while he pushes you with the stick and with you not moving much at all.
7. Place your hands on his chest and not move you shoulders or body in any discernable way and send them 3-6' with your hands.

If you can do that.... . Then I really don't care what you "call" it, you're worth talking too, as you are doing internal skills. In my mind at least, no debate, and a common ground. And If you cannot.....
Then be honest with yourselves and pleased..that there is something out there you don't know.
Now I would add to that that there are men In DR and in CMA who know these things but are not really interested in fighting skills. Fair enough. But there are also men who are and some of those are very serious and pursue the use of these skills in fighting. I believe it is the best training for the body in the world.

Unlike some people I still believe in the fundamental honesty of those on these boards. I don’t think many of us openly lie or bluff. It appears many attempt to communicate and even when disagreeing do so with a measure of aplomb. Anyone of us have what?...20-50 people we know who read here? I have probably a couple of hundred who know me personally. From JMA, MMA, and now CMA (some very nice people). For that reason I am ever mindful of what I say. I was in an Aikido Dojo a few week ago and the People do read this boards don’t they?
Anyway Dennis echoed my point well. Unless you go out and do-you don’t know and only dream. Or you take the opting-out approach-which is perfectly fine. Pursue it for an art and not be concerned.
Without the understanding of that separation there is no way to find agreement.

Cheers
Dan

DH
04-25-2006, 09:00 AM
Jim

If you want to get together that’s fine.
Now I am left to ask why? Do you wish to learn these skills or not? The “idea” of forcing me to do something in a format I am uninterested in is rather ridiculous. It is obvious by your tone that it is “marginally” friendly, as you seem to take objection to just about every statement I make. This calling me out is rather adolescent. Are you marginaly interested in my voluntary involvement or coerced particapation? Which guy do you want to meet?
As for proving? I am uninterested in proving anything to you or anyone else-I don’t need to. My sense of credibility is not something that is measured here . You can come here,and I will do what I do. The fact that I accepted and will show you some things is more than enough and the proof is in the pudding.
As for condescension –if it is there I don’t see it. It is more the observational.
If the structure and ability isn’t there. And you are stating you don’t know these things......... then there is an ability of internal skills and body use that is superior to what you know and what you learned in Aikido.
And that........was and is my point. FWIW I didn’t feel I was being “talked down to” when I was shown it or other Koryu. I simply didn’t know it-what I was shown was superior. No problem.
As for fighting aspects, strieks, chokes, ground, and use of a fluid structure if you don't know that or train it all the time-then you don't know that either. And that..........was my other point.
Moreover if you dont train the former(whole body power, structure) then you obviously don't know how to use it in the later.
It seems you agree to this lack of knowledge. Which was my point to begin with. It is for most part absent in Aikido.
Again I am uninteresting teaching 80 people the truest and last vestiges of the best these arts have to offer in a half assed manner. If you really want to learn then you can come and train and then sweat like the rest
I take it that the reason you don’t want to arrange thing in P.M. is that there is a tacit “challenge” to all this? If that is the case I am surely not interested. It’s great stuff. If you want to sweat lets talk. That is an acceptance of your proposal-on my terms. How much do you hope to accomplish in two days
Years from now…you go be the teacher in a gym full of people and have fun.
If you want to ask me- at least be concerned with what I have to say.

Cheers-I hope
Dan

Mark Freeman
04-25-2006, 09:31 AM
ďFor a simple test for comparisons...Ground rules: No fighting techniques, no feints, no Waza of any kind.

Can you do this?
Stand in a room and not use any waza, not use your hands, or any offensive techniques and then.....
1. Have a 220 pound man push your chest with one hand in an attempt to push you over.
2. Then two hands as hard as he can
3. Then have him pile drive into you
4. Then casually.. pull you and push you around while you stand there without moving your feet Over time increasinf the severity.
Then
5. Have him push you slowly and -without you moving- you breathe and he starts to collapse downward
6. Do the above with a stick in your hands while he pushes you with the stick and with you not moving much at all.
7. Place your hands on his chest and not move you shoulders or body in any discernable way and send them 3-6' with your hands.

If you can do that.... . Then I really don't care what you "call" it, you're worth talking too, as you are doing internal skills. In my mind at least, no debate, and a common ground. And If you cannot.....
Then be honest with yourselves and pleased..that there is
something out there you don't know.


Dan
I'm worth talking to, as these things can be done by me and many others who practice with my teacher, I'm not sure why there has to be a stipulation that you cannot move though ( why not? ). And why only 1 man why not a whole bunch of them?
I have seen my teacher demonstrate with a large man pushing on his chest while he is sitting on a chair balanced on the rear two legs, demonstration ends when the 'uke' is thrown. I personally can do this but not as well as him (yet).
These are for us, ki development exercises, there are many many seemingly 'not possible' tests of 'strength' that are exercises in mind and body co-ordination. They are as far as I'm concerned no big deal, they are a way to practice co-ordination.
I respect the fact that some people want to become 'ultimate fighters' and I appreciate the fun that can be had doing that.
You only know the aikido you have seen and the aikidoka you have sparred with.
The 'type' of aikido that I am persuing may not mix well with the martial challenges that you are fond of. I want to explore how far I can go with the 'ki' side of aikido. To do this all 'strength' based technique has to be replace by leading of mind/ki. Of course I need a decent ukemi to do this, and in my experience the less physical I get the easier it is to deal with the 'resistors'.
So if I can get a well trained 'serious' aikidoka to attack with speed and sincerity, ultimately I want to dispatch him without effort, if I can do it with minimal or no touch, very good, if I slip and use force, not so good.
This is where the fun is for me, exploring how far I can go in a particular direction. Those that practice aikido with force and resistance, will not find this easy. And may even think that what I say/do is not valid. I personally am not really interested. As you say Dan there is (maybe) more out there than you know.

I have no idea how good I would be in a 'real' fight ( sparring with another martial artist doesn't count ), and to be perfectly honest I don't really care. I know how easy it is to deal with the big stong 'beginners' that I get come to me. So I am obviously better equipped now than I was when I started aikido. But having only been in 1 physical fight in the last 50 ( I was 15 )years, why should I worry about something that may or may not happen in the next 50??
As I mentioned before, If you train to fight, you need to fight to test yourself and to validate yourself, what is the point otherwise?

Personally I train to increase my mind/body/spirit co-ordination so that I can live life more fully each day that I wake up.

Good luck to all you 'fighters' out there 'respect'. But some of us have a different perspective on it all, there is too much lovelyness in the world just waiting to be experienced, to be bothered with fighting 'contest' / win / lose. :D

Cheers,

Mark

Stephen Kotev
04-25-2006, 10:48 AM
Dan,

I share with you the following comments in the spirit of respect and open communication.

I have been reading your posts since 2002. First on Aikido Journal and now on Aiki Web and E Budo. I appreciate what you have to say and find your posts challenging and informative.

In the four plus years that I have been reading your posts I have seen a consistent theme develop recently. You make statements that draw attention and then choose to withdraw once you have everyone's attention. This most recently happened on Aikido Journal Blog related to Ellis's "A riddle and a Mission" post (the posts I am now referring to have all been deleted.) One of the posters asked you to actually provide specifics and you responded that to answer that question would violate your oath to Daito Ryu. Why tease us with the information only to say we cannot access it? To tell us otherwise appears as derision or arrogance.

You seem very comfortable telling us what we are missing yet when we ask to be shown you tell us "there is nothing to see here, I just want to be left alone." You seem comfortable telling us what we are missing, now when Jimmy Sorrentino offers you a chance to SHOW us what we are missing. Mr. Sorrentino's offer is genuine. Both Chuck Clark and Dennis Hooker vouch for it.

I was at the seminar that Ellis presented at Toman Dojo. Before I came to the Aikido Journal bulletin board, I never heard of Ellis. Now I have the pleasure of training with him when he offers seminars. Ellis was willing to SHOW us what we were missing, or willing to offer us a venue to prove or disprove the quality of our Aikido training. I see Jimmy's offer in a similar light. If you believe that it is worth your time to formulate posts for this bulletin board for over four years why would you not be willing to extend that offer to those you choose to communicate with in person?

This bulletin board is an Aikido bulletin board. Primarily Aikidoka from around the nation and the globe read these forums.

You have our attention, we are ready to learn, why not accept the offer?

Regards,
Stephen Kotev

Chuck Clark
04-25-2006, 11:36 AM
Hi Stephen,

Just a small note of clarification... You have been on the mat with me and so you should understand how important I think it is to be clear. I don't know Mr. Sorrentino other than reading his posts here. So, I can't vouch for his offer... however, I do know Dennis Hooker. Since Dennis Hooker Sensei vouches for this offer, I'll stand with Dennis and support this adventure.

Take care,

Stephen Kotev
04-25-2006, 11:49 AM
Hi Stephen,

Just a small note of clarification... You have been on the mat with me and so you should understand how important I think it is to be clear. I don't know Mr. Sorrentino other than reading his posts here. So, I can't vouch for his offer... however, I do know Dennis Hooker. Since Dennis Hooker Sensei vouches for this offer, I'll stand with Dennis and support this adventure.

Take care,

Chuck,

Thank you for the clarification. You are absolutely correct.

IF it does eventually happen I would enjoy seeing you and Dennis at the edge of the mat in your "front row seats."

Heck even if it does not happen it would be good to see either of you. Are there any plans for any joint seminars with Dennis and Ellis in the future? I could not make the last one but I would love to be able to catch the next one.

All the Best,
Stephen

Neil Mick
04-25-2006, 12:10 PM
Jim

Do you wish to learn these skills or not? The "idea" of forcing me to do something in a format I am uninterested in is rather ridiculous.

Sorry, Dan, but this is the nature of a challenge...a challenge, apparently, that you have carried on for years, online. You seem happy to hold forth on the questionable martial value of Aikido: yet when called on to prove your claims in a respectable Aikido dojo: you wimp out.

Yeah, I said "wimp out." Imagine, if someone challenged O Sensei with such a boast. "Aikido is great for some things, but ineffective as a martial art. Why, I can do that trick with the jo, myself." O Sensei then offers a venue for the "great" decrier to demonstrate his "skill:" but he demurs, stating that "he doesn't have the time," or that he'd "rather do it at his dojo." I imagine that O Sensei would laugh at this fair-weather-dojo MA whose technique only seems to work at venues of HIS choosing. :rolleyes:

It's easy to talk the talk: talk is cheap. But, can you walk the walk? Apparently not.

I am uninterested in proving anything to you or anyone else-I don't need to. My sense of credibility is not something that is measured here.

Of COURSE you don't...why, we should simply take you at your word, because you're a good guy, and we should trust EVERYTHING we read on the internet...right? :rolleyes:

You can come here,and I will do what I do. The fact that I accepted and will show you some things is more than enough and the proof is in the pudding.

No, it's only proof that you will take an extra step toward fulfilling the challenge. You have a long way to go before "proving" yourself. You have simply demurred and thrown up roadblocks.

As for condescension --if it is there I don't see it. It is more the observational.

Here, (with all due respect to Jim, as it was addressing him),,,lemme make it simple, for ya:

Condescension (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=condescension)
The act of condescending or an instance of it.
Patronizingly superior behavior or attitude.

Observation (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=observation)
: the noting of a fact or occurrence (as in nature) often involving the measurement of some magnitude with suitable instruments <temperature observations>; also : a record so obtained
2 : close watch or examination (as to monitor or diagnose a condition) <postoperative observation> <psychiatric observation>

Now, I am sure that you still do not see the difference: so I've bolded the key-words (Patronizingly superior, in case you missed it).

Communications 101... Now, how does someone know that one is condescending, when he thinks that he's merely observing? Usually, when others give him feedback, telling him his remark is patronizing. So, allow me to add my voice to the chorus--yeah, Dan: your remarks here HAVE been patronizing, and condescending.

was my point to begin with. It is for most part absent in Aikido.
Again I am uninteresting teaching 80 people the truest and last vestiges of the best these arts have to offer in a half assed manner. If you really want to learn then you can come and train and then sweat like the rest

What we'd REALLY like, Dan: is to see some stepping up to the plate. What we seem to be getting, instead, is a demurral that sounds more and more like a wimpout. :dead:

Dennis Hooker
04-25-2006, 12:18 PM
Chuck,

Are there any plans for any joint seminars with Dennis and Ellis in the future? I could not make the last one but I would love to be able to catch the next one.

All the Best,
Stephen


We do not have plans but if Chuck and Ellis are willing and someone wants to take the lead on doing something I will offer the Shindai Dojo location for a weekend in the winter of this year. Believe me you donít want to be here in the summer. I donít know about everyone else but I had a great time last time.

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2006, 12:46 PM
Man this is some exciting and awesome stuff!

Dan, I am really nobody in the world of aikido...but I have known Jimmy Sorentino for probably about the past 8 years or so. I know the rest of the instructors such as Hooker Sensei by reputation through the ASU organization. I also know the dojo very well!

I can certainly appreciate your concern about Jimmy's very direct "to the core" dialoque, but if you know Jimmy it is anything but sincere without ego and without anomosity. It is simply a challenge.

If you can deliver I guarantee that the two of you would be best friends for the rest of your life! I cannot believe you would not want to jump at the opportunity to make a new friend and think of all the students and fellow instructors that would openly embrace you and what you have to offer! Not to mention a free trip to our nations captial!

I am not kidding...these guys are the real deal! They are in aikido for the right reasons!

As I think about it, I would be very excited about how things would spread rapidly. You see Jimmy is a senior student of Saotome Sensei. With Jimmy's enthusiasm for what you can teach and all the dojo students that are now better enlightened.....you would be able to influence 1000s of students in the ASU organization!

I am not being sarcastic! This is the honest truth!

I live in Germany, but if I could not attend, but you did the seminar and Jimmy said to me, "man you should have been there!" I will find the time to train with you some how! That is how important this is to many of us!

Chuck Clark
04-25-2006, 01:31 PM
Dennis,

I haven't spoken with Ellis about this matter in awhile, but I'm certainly willing if we can fit it in my schedule this year and for sure we could plan for next year. I absolutely had a great time and learned a bunch. Ernie Cates Sensei has since spent time in my dojo and it's great to be reconnected with him. If there are enough folks interested in spending a weekend on the mat with us I would definitely be up for another go.

Best regards,

DH
04-25-2006, 03:35 PM
Hi steve
Got the P.M.

You wrote
You seem very comfortable telling us what we are missing yet when we ask to be shown you tell us "there is nothing to see here, I just want to be left alone." You seem comfortable telling us what we are missing, now when Jimmy Sorrentino offers you a chance to SHOW us what we are missing. Mr. Sorrentino's offer is genuine.

I did accept the offer. Just not the details. Am I required to do it in a manner you few approve of? In fact if it is to be constructive I think I would insist that if it is to be repeated it be continued with some regularity. You cannot learn this stuff in weeked it takes time. A lot of time. MY TIME. for free. After the initial testing nonsense is cleared up the folks can get down to work so I am not wasting MY time and theirs.
So, since I said they can come- where am I denying anything?

I'd rather teach a few to be truly good-then, many to be half baked. Where does the offer have to be to train someone in two days?
I'll teach someone here (which is more conveniant for ME) and film it. They can go back and teach or write to satisfy the doubters.
It appears you have soemone else who know the ki "tricks" as well. Tricks are what they are-though the foundational basis can be used for fighting as they are based on sound mechanics.
Steve Come up and train.
Cheers
Dan
P.S. I am off- line till late wed.
I train tonight and have a presentation tomm night. Don't want folks to think I left.

DH
04-25-2006, 03:42 PM
Kevin
Ellis is a friend of Mine I will ask him about Jim,but it really doesn't change anything.
Assume for a minute I do know exactly what I am doing:
1. There is nothing anyone is offering me worth having to go train 80 people.
2. I don't need money.
3. I don't care about fame.
4. I have my own business and family.
So I accepting Jims dubious challenge in manner that benifits me and him. Gees....whats the big deal.

The initial offer would have spoken volumes if it were jst Jim and a few folks. I wouldn't attempt 20 you wont learn anything of value. Small is better.
cheers and I appreciate the effort
Dan

Gotta run I'll read the replies tomm night. We'll make something happen.

Mike Sigman
04-25-2006, 04:32 PM
[I]"For a simple test for comparisons...Ground rules: No fighting techniques, no feints, no Waza of any kind.

Can you do this?
Stand in a room and not use any waza, not use your hands, or any offensive techniques and then.....
1. Have a 220 pound man push your chest with one hand in an attempt to push you over.
2. Then two hands as hard as he can
3. Then have him pile drive into you
4. Then casually.. pull you and push you around while you stand there without moving your feet Over time increasinf the severity.
Then
5. Have him push you slowly and -without you moving- you breathe and he starts to collapse downward
6. Do the above with a stick in your hands while he pushes you with the stick and with you not moving much at all.
7. Place your hands on his chest and not move you shoulders or body in any discernable way and send them 3-6' with your hands.

If you can do that.... . Then I really don't care what you "call" it, you're worth talking too, as you are doing internal skills.
Er, Dan.... didn't we discuss this in relation to whether this "220 pound man" was a student of yours or not? The sort of thing you're describing happening would involve either a cooperative "stooge" (which are in many martial arts of all styles) or someone with less than moderate skills. Why not qualify it like that, just to keep it on the up and up?

Yes, some of the skills you're talking about are original and vital components of Aikido (I'm not willing to say "all" the stuff you talk about is important or that I agree with it), but instead of telling everyone how important those skills are, I think you should accept Sorentino's offer to share some your information. Frankly, I'm surprised that you didn't immediately take him up on his courteous and well-worded offer.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2006, 04:44 PM
Dan,

What exactly would I be learning. I looked back through several of the post, and I have to admit I am kinda confused really. I don't follow e-budo or any other sites that are inferred.

In what context would this be taught?

Fully resistive/uncooperative opponent?

Scenario based?

At combat speed?

Or strictly principle oriented where I gotta position myself the way you tell me to stand and move at the speed, distance, and timing, and degree of control that you dictate?

What is meant by "internal"? etc.

It might be a good idea for us to define exactly what it is we are talking about.

At this point I only know Jimmy and his character, so if he says it is worthwile, it is worthwile to pursue.

However, if you cannot make it down there. I do know of some qualified guys that might be able to come up your way...but I think it is fair to eveyone that we adequately define what it is that we would be coming to.

It certainly would not be to debunk you! But you have to understand, that many of us have been to seminars and things were certain things were professed and the conditions and parameters were so controlled and restrictive that essentially what we recieved was a "dog and pony show" that gave everyone a "warm and fuzzy" that did not know what is going on.

I tend not to have patience to those that cannot demonstrate the competence to throw me or take my center, play with my ki, deal with my attacks...telling me things like "well your KI is not receptive", or "your not ready for the internal arts yet", or "you don't understand what we are doing", "your attacks are wrong" etc., "that is not correct".

I started aikido about 10 years ago at the advice of my karate/aikijistu sensei who strongly encouraged me to attend Saotome Sensei's dojo in Takoma Park MD.

I went to that school. Skeptical and really unclear as to why I was there. I challenged several of his senior students by not really being very cooperative and easy on them. Most were good sports about it...but in the end, they turned me over to Saotome sensei one day who was able to demonstrate quiet competently that I was out of my league.

I was then referred to Bob Galeone , one of his senior students who has/had a good reputation for being fairly tactical in application of aikido. Then on to Jimmy who studied with both Bob and Saotome sensei.

None of these guys required me to change what I did or the conditions I'd present to them to recieve their instruction, they were patient, honest, sincere, and showed me through both example and competence what I needed to do in order to improve internally and tactically in the art of aikido. All the while dealing with the situations I presented.

Never once have I ever been told, my KI is not receptive, I am attacking wrong, I am missing the point of the lesson, or any other excuse for failing to have a response for dealing with things...no matter how difficult of a situation or challenge I posed. They simply showed me how what I was doing would or could be dealt with.

In fact when I was home in August, I trained with Mike Lasky Sensei for a few rounds of randori. My training centers around BJJ these days, so at his level and experience I pulled no punches and did what came to mind when taking ukemi. So, i'd go down, grab his gi, go to a clinch, do most of the things that I'd do to anyone in my BJJ/MMA classes. He soundly handled the situation and I was quite impressed and suprised.

I guess my point is this. I would expect nothing different or less from you if you have truely mastered the things that you would teach.

I just need to have a good understanding of what the parameters and concepts are!

Neil Mick
04-25-2006, 05:31 PM
Am I required to do it in a manner you few approve of? In fact if it is to be constructive I think I would insist that if it is to be repeated it be continued with some regularity. You cannot learn this stuff in weeked it takes time.

Not, what "we few" approve of: it's what ETIQUETTE requires.

Symbolic gesture, esp in MA, is very important, as you no doubt, well know. If I walk into a strange dojo and the Sensei requires that I remove my black belt: he isn't just asking me to remove an article of clothing...he is saying that my training before my visit is valueless, and has no merit in his dojo.

By the same token, you aren't just coming to a dojo to demonstrate your claims in a "manner we few approve:" it's about follow-through. Jim laid down the gauntlet: and now you seem curiously hesitant to take a few days out to prove your words in an Aikido-dojo setting.

It's more than just the trip: it's the subtext, underneath your actions. Can you demonstrate what you say, in an Aikido format?

If you aren't just blowing hot air: this shouldn't be a problem.

I'll teach someone here (which is more conveniant for ME) and film it.

But see, this isn't about your "convenience:" this is about demonstrating what you say you can do...putting your money where your mouth is.

So far, from where I sit: your insistence on venue seems rather artificial, and suggests that your claims are merely situational, and therefore hollow...not to mention rather blatantly ignoring the basic tenets of etiquette.

DH
04-25-2006, 11:35 PM
Dan,

What exactly would I be learning. I looked back through several of the post, and I have to admit I am kinda confused really. I don't follow e-budo or any other sites that are inferred.
In what context would this be taught?
Fully resistive/uncooperative opponent?
Scenario based?
At combat speed?
Or strictly principle oriented where I gotta position myself the way you tell me to stand and move at the speed, distance, and timing, and degree of control that you dictate?

What is meant by "internal"? etc.

It might be a good idea for us to define exactly what it is we are talking about.

Hi Kevin
Interesting experiences you outlined. People set up qualifiers at your get togethers? Then complain if you don't fall down? I understand your stated impatience with those who cannot move you. I feel the same for those who are unable to adequately handle themselves and call themselves martial "artists."
Perhaps we can come to a mutual satisfaction.
Were you to ask? There would be no qualifiers of any kind. I also read with humor your experiences with "your uncooperatve Ki." I am as unconcerned with the state of anyones cooperation as you can imagine. I only hope and trust you understand what level I am talking here. Something more on the lines of very relaxed 200+ lb. MMA fighters. I am sure we can find a way for everyones Ki to cooperate.
We come, put on the gloves -we fight. Period. I am uninterested in someone’s cooperation in that venue. In the process I usually find time to talk (in a mount or choke) and explain some thing I am actively doing at the time to neutralize them and in general we mix it up, get a little brusied and bloodied but have fun..

That said. Were you to ask for something else...like training and testing? Then the rest...all the rest, is training! Safe, sane, and rather fun. We laugh allot.
Unless you are different- the guys who have walked through the door are pushed, pulled, set up in locks and I measure how they resist while using their whole body. To date I have not met anyone but three CMA guys who had much ability in internal skills.
Than we typically have a few guys of mine do the same thing letting a guest feel them. Then we set about putting them through exercises to re-learn how to use their bodies; to relax, find their feet, the ground, their legs, hips, sacrum, waist, spine and arms. Other than them being usually pleased with how they start to feel different not a lot gets really accomplished in a day. Next I usually go to some lock testing -showing them how to stand and then to cancel out a lock attempt. Then if folks are interested we put on gloves and do strike drills on a heavy bag. I use these to show them how they can hit with real power instead of isolated shoulder, lats, and hip snap. Most guys get some measurable results in true power generation before a weekend is out. Next how to connect and throw doing the same exercises with the body.
Next day or trip out we go to ground and show various mounts, guards, switch-ups etc. while using the ground and whole body, connected movement from your knees and hands, or from your back with an active diaphragm.
Since we have trained with Aikidoka we can use standard Aikido techniques to demonstrate neutralizing, Various Aikido waza, while enhancing everything they do-starting with Irimi and kokyu throws using the body in a powerful manner. Throughout this I usually have a few guys attack and then refuse to take ukemi for anything and just stand there absorbing and redirecting everything used against them. When asked we use what we do as an attack and see what happens.

You asked about the previous examples I laid out.
The examples I set out for internal training we do with the guy pushing first using muscle power. It is the lowest level and what most will encounter. There is whole, other set for use with both using relaxed movement. Think of it as using muscle to push, then using muscle to try to throw-the guy who is actively training is staying relaxed and absorbing misdirecting etc. while not moving his feet, or moving them just a bit. Same thing with the jo. They push-you stand there with the jo extended. Not much value in and of itself. It’s more of a focused test of what you’re doing to receive and neutralize their power and then to generate it. Other training involves a lot of body exercises and repetitive body training to connect your body. Primary goals being to produce a heavy body feel, relaxed fluidity in groundwork, heavy hands in short strikes and fluidity in fighting. Some things we do with kicks and strikes to use a connected body to kick into a heavy bag.
Final goal being relaxed all out fight with strikes, kicks and take downs well in line with anything you would do in BJJ.
Sorry if this is boring you asked what to expect. Training is training. The jo trick, as are some standing tests are tests only and we do them regularly. I also use a long 15 pole for certain training drills.
We can separate out body skill training from MMA for those uninterested. I would have to think about how that would be managed in a mixed group.

Anyway. I will make some times available if people want to come out. I will only do this in small groups who can actually learn and take home things to work on. I am averse to doing it on a one time basis though. The only real chance to get anywhere is to repetitively train.

Dan

Neil Mick
04-26-2006, 01:25 AM
[i]
I feel the same for those who are unable to adequately handle themselves and call themselves martial "artists."

I will make some times available if people want to come out.

I will only do this in small groups who can actually learn and take home things to work on. I am averse to doing it on a one time basis though.

Dan

Talking...not much walking... :dead:

DH
04-26-2006, 05:48 AM
Neil

Why don't you arrange to come out! We can set a time. I think I might enjoy meeting you and showing you what we do. In fact I will offer some personal hands on right at the start.

Dan

Dennis Hooker
04-26-2006, 06:39 AM
It seems this has degenerated into a name calling and confrontational thread and that is disappointing. I believe Jimís offer was a genuine request to see Dan demonstrate his abilities as advertised on several lists over the years. Of course there is some skepticism as is natural. I have it on good and trusted authority that Dan is quite capable. To what extent can he actually demonstrate and teach the things I donít know and will not know until I see or feel him do them? That is the question of inquiring minds. His words have crossed thousands of eyes and caused inquiry to sprout in hundreds of minds. Jim has offered a venue that would allow several people to satisfy their curiosity at once, which seems to make since. Could we please remain civil during the remainder of this discourse.

DH
04-26-2006, 07:05 AM
It seems this has degenerated into a name calling and confrontational thread and that is disappointing. I believe Jim's offer was a genuine request to see Dan demonstrate his abilities as advertised on several lists over the years. Of course there is some skepticism as is natural. I have it on good and trusted authority that Dan is quite capable. To what extent can he actually demonstrate and teach the things I don't know and will not know until I see or feel him do them? That is the question of inquiring minds. His words have crossed thousands of eyes and caused inquiry to sprout in hundreds of minds. Jim has offered a venue that would allow several people to satisfy their curiosity at once, which seems to make since. Could we please remain civil during the remainder of this discourse.

Dennis

That's an interesting observation. You think that many people are truly interested in this type of work? I don't mean blathering on the net. or attending some one-time seminar to satisfy curiosity but sustainted involvement? Really? I think most would freak-out, others would like it but say no way I am doing that every week, and still others would never go home and spend hours doing physical exercises fro structure and connection.
If it were true that there are people interested in more that curiosity-seems I would have found similar folks here-who could actually learn. While I have lessened the intensity- so folks don't get hurt as much anymore- my own register is up to the mid hundreds of folks who don't last. I think most want some aspects of what we do to tune them but they don't want to do the intensive solo work (homework) I insist on for the body skills.
BTW-I hope and trust your sources also tell you I am a sweet engaging guy off the mats. :D I just love the physical chess of it all. takes away the business tensions so I can get zoned.
Anyway, I always question the curiousity factor and have likened it to a car wreck. Nosey people wanting to peek in ..not that I would ever want to train them. I don't think they get why I could care less in satisfying a demand for curiosity resolution. I do what I do. I don't need anyone to approve or validate it-they do.
But your words-echo my own guys who keep wanting to invite people in. You've been teaching for while-doesn't it get too be as pain to see..more newbies when you are trying to bring a group along at a pace with set goals. Its like....Ok stop. It divides my focus. So I am very wary of when new guys can start. Seminars yuk! Do you like them?
FWIW. and not directed at you-The question of whether or not I can teach what I do is in the mnds and hands of the guys who have trained with me for years-their sweat and progress is true enough and well earned. The guys here don't know there are guys here who know me personally-so I let their taunts and insults usually just slide. I am pretty blunt-so I allow for some frustrations.

Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
04-26-2006, 07:18 AM
We should all remain open minded and willing to learn from others. I do not believe we have to put someone, or some thing down to make ourselves look better. Having interacted with several followers of the art that claims to be the foundation of Aikido I could formulate many negative comments based on my limited experience. This would serve no purpose as far as I can see. I do know that if a few years ago Mikhail Ryabko or Vladimir Vasiliev would have been predisposed to be on this discussion site and talked about what they could do I would have been among the skeptics. Latter I would have been proven to be wrong.

DH
04-26-2006, 07:28 AM
Interesting corollary. I have friend who teaches Systema under them. Me and one of my students were with him at home and were shocked at many similarities. Some in the hyper-fluidity and the mechanics of certain strikes and body moves, training to absorb kicks and punches-not quite the way the do, flowing and tactile training etc. We use different means to connect the body to strike with heavy hands and legs though. However, I have found more similarites in the hard-rubber feel of just two CMA teachers I have felt.
It left a certain mutual friend and researcher we both know to speculate over many drinks about a link between Internal training from China-to Hokkaido, Chine to Russia for certain similarities in how to use the body.

Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
04-26-2006, 07:39 AM
Dan
Yes I do get tired of traveling around teaching. I have cut by half my schedule. It is tiring to keep correcting the same mistakes in the same people for years. But how else will they learn if I turn my back to them. I believe they try to understand and they do try to retain it. Should I leave it to others who would be glad to step in? It is not about money either. The last seminar I taught I lost over $600 on the overall with time off work. I am truly interested in helping others learn if they truly want to give the time and effort toward that goal. I personally would feel guilty keeping the knowledge I have been allowed to gain over 45 years of training to my self. So I am personally driven to share it. I can no more understand you reluctance than you can understand my keenness in such matters. So I guess we just need to acknowledge the differences and if so disposed accept them.

Best wishes

Dennis

Chuck Clark
04-26-2006, 08:51 AM
I personally would feel guilty keeping the knowledge I have been allowed to gain over 45 years of training to my self. So I am personally driven to share it. I can no more understand you reluctance than you can understand my keenness in such matters. So I guess we just need to acknowledge the differences and if so disposed accept them. Dennis

Well said Dennis. I agree with you (and sometimes wish I didn't feel the drive to share with truly interested people), but it is our nature and that's all there is to that. Wouldn't it be a dull world if we were all alike! There sure isn't anything involved here yet that's worth going to war about. An invitation has been made and it looks as though it won't be accepted, so what... Dan certainly has the freedom to decline and set his own invitation on his terms in front of everyone. Now we can get on with practice. Ain't life grand!

I have met Dan and can attest that he is "a sweet and engaging guy" that is also blunt and straight to the point. He has been in my dojo and has an open invitation to come back anytime.

Regards to all,

Jim Sorrentino
04-26-2006, 09:41 AM
Dear Dan,

You said in post #122, "I did accept the offer. Just not the details." That's not accurate. For the sake of convenience, here is my offer again, as I stated in post #88:

"I propose that we arrange for you to teach a seminar at my dojo in Arlington, Virginia. Like all seminars that I host, it would be open to aikidoka (and practitioners of other aiki-based arts) of all ranks and levels of experience, regardless of organization or affiliation. In the interests of safe and vigorous training, I would limit the number of participants to 80 (60 if we're going to do a lot of weapons work).

If you successfully teach the participants how to do what you say you can do (as well as the jo trick, if that is part of your repertoire), then my dojo will reimburse your expenses and pay you a reasonable honorarium, which you and I will agree on in advance. But if you don't succeed, then we won't."

In post #100, you replied, "If you would like to get together- thats fine with me. Put up or shut up is a fair game. But it will be here. I have enough time getting permission (Husband and family man) for all the things I travel to do as it is. FWIW my guys are very friendly and open. If you would like to bring a couple of guys that's fine as well." This is what the lawyers among us (and I am one) would call a COUNTER-OFFER. It is NOT an ACCEPTANCE. You're a professional, so it would be condescending of me to explain further.

Please note that I said I would LIMIT the number of participants to 80, not that I would REQUIRE 80 people to attend. I would be happy to set a lower limit, so long as the dojo can collect enough to pay the bet if you win, and that there are enough spaces for interested people to attend. My experience with seminars is that far more people say they will attend, than actually show up, and I plan for that.

I am not a fan of big seminars either. I would like plenty of opportunities for the instructor to put his or her hands on me and all the other participants. I attended an excellent seminar with Seishiro Endo-sensei at Robert House's dojo a few weeks ago in Commerce, Georgia. There were about 50 people there. Endo-sensei worked with EVERYONE many times throughout the four classes --- it was inspirational, to say the least.

But Dan, you have been writing on the various martial arts websites for years. You have managed to draw a lot of attention. If you accept my offer and visit my dojo, I am pretty sure that a fair number of people will want to attend, especially if there is enough lead time for people to make travel plans. That's why I did not propose a small get-together. And because you are so visible on the web, and because of the context of this thread, that is why I am keeping my exchanges with you public. We can save the private messaging for mundane details of the seminar, like travel, food, and lodging.

Also, in post #122, you said, "You cannot learn this stuff in weeked it takes time [sic]. A lot of time. MY TIME. for free. After the initial testing nonsense is cleared up the folks can get down to work so I am not wasting MY time and theirs." Again, just to be clear, it was you who stated in several of your posts (most recently, #123) that you do not charge for your instruction, so I don't see the point of this comment, at least with respect to money.

As far as it taking time to learn, I'm sure you're right! But you have also said that most of the work is done in solo practice (post #103: "You have to train this solo at home and continually throughout the day and the drills are painful. Few walk the walk."). I am very interested in learning that solo practice, and so I would like it to be part of the seminar material. I studied Uechi-ryu karatedo actively from 1977 to around 1991 (before aikido ate my life), so I am familiar with the demands and rewards of solo training. Like you, I do not teach martial arts for a living. I have a career and a family, so anything I can learn that would augment my study of aikido, that I can practice outside the dojo, on my own, would be very valuable to me.

I freely admit that I don't know how to do the jo trick. I'd like to learn that as well, so I would want that to be part of the seminar. It seems that at the very least, it would be good mind-body training. At best, I would love to have an aikido dojo full of students who could replicate some of Morihei Ueshiba's seemingly superhuman feats, just for the fun of it.

As for the curriculum for rest of the weekend, let's go back to your post #36: "A judoka throwing you should feel like he is trying to throw a statue. A jujutsu going for a double or single leg should be drilled into the ground. Your throws should not be throws that express anything but formless projections. Your strikes should be devastating with the ground and your center alive in your hands." That seems to me to provide plenty of stuff to practice.

Finally, in post #112, you questioned my friendly intentions several times. Again, let me emphasize that I am INVITING you, sight unseen, to teach at my dojo. The seminar would be open to all aikidoka and practitioners of aiki arts. If you can do and teach what you say you can, my dojo will cover your expenses and pay you an honorarium that we will agree on in advance. I don't think I can get much friendlier than that, even though I told you (in post #109) that it is time for you to put up.

Sincerely,

Jim

M. McPherson
04-26-2006, 11:57 AM
Mr. Sorrentino,

I think your offer of your dojo was both fair and generous, but it seems apparent that Mr. Harden has no interest in either traveling to Virginia, or in teaching a (potentially large...and by that I get the feeling he means more than twenty folks) seminar style one-off session to aiki art practitioners exclusively. So why beat a dead horse by re-stating your offer? If you're honestly interested in whether or not he has the goods to back up what you and others see as passive aggressive internet bluster, why not take him up on his counter offer? If you're willing to pay him an honorarium, why not put the money into traveling to New England, bring some people with you? He even offered to let you film it. In fact, limit the risk financially by making him a stop on an aiki dojo tour of lovely New England, or see if there are any gasshuku/seminars going on up there that you'd like to attend. If he doesn't have the skills he advertises, then at least you got some keiko in at some dojo along the way (hey, make it during fall foliage, and double your money).
As sincere as your offer was, it was still a challenge of the put-up or shut-up variety. And why not, if you're incensed about something, and sincerely want to put yourself out there to see if someone's all that they say they are. But as an earlier poster raised the relevence of etiquette ("protocol" might have been a more accurate term), isn't it tradition that the challenger present his terms on the turf of the challenged, disgrace him in his own house, that sort of thing? Obviously I'm being facetious here, but if you don't want to let this lie (which I'm assuming from your repeated offer), then why not take advantage of the opportunity to determine Mr. Harden's abilities in whatever way possible? Maybe make a new friend, who knows?
Personally, I think it would be great if he took you up on your offer. I'm with Mssrs. Hooker and Clark that it would probably be a lot of fun, pretty informative, and you'd probably all enjoy a beer afterwards. I'm willing to bet that it would just as worthwhile and informative if you were to make the trip north, too.

Sincerely,
Murray McPherson

Neil Mick
04-26-2006, 11:58 AM
Neil

Why don't you arrange to come out! We can set a time. I think I might enjoy meeting you and showing you what we do. In fact I will offer some personal hands on right at the start.

Dan

Thank you for the offer, Dan. I appreciate the gesture. However, while I believe that your skill and martial technique is something from which I can learn a thing or two: I feel that this sort of offer should be guided under the tenets of etiquette. It just wouldn't feel right to go to your dojo to watch you make good on your claims.

However, I would look forward to meeting you while you taught the seminar at Jim's dojo. Should you decide to accept, please drop me a line and let me know.

Neil Mick
04-26-2006, 12:02 PM
Obviously I'm being facetious here, but if you don't want to let this lie (which I'm assuming from your repeated offer), then why not take advantage of the opportunity to determine Mr. Harden's abilities in whatever way possible?


because,
"All budo begins and ends with rei"

Josh Reyer
04-26-2006, 12:50 PM
No one who doubted Morihei Ueshiba ever demanded he come to their dojo. They either went to his dojo, or a place where he was demonstrating. I mean, heck, that's the etiquette of dojo-yaburi; you go to the other dojo! Nor did anyone who wanted to learn from him demand that he come to their dojo; they went to his.

Dan Harden's tendency to be blunt, criticizing, eager to share in the discussion but reticent in giving information has certainly frustrated me on three different boards. And yet, that's my problem, not his. Sure, tone can always be adjusted, but at the same time it can also be ignored. It is not at all incumbent upon Mr. Harden to travel to someone else's dojo and back up his words. He's done the utmost he's obligated to do by opening his dojo to anyone who wants to test him.

I think Mr. Sorrentino's offer was magnanimous, and graciously offered. I think Mr. Harden's response was equally so. I hope that someday the people in this thread can get together.

M. McPherson
04-26-2006, 12:56 PM
Mr. Reyer,

Now *that's* the post I wanted to write. Well said.

Sincerely,
Murray McPherson

Kevin Leavitt
04-26-2006, 02:10 PM
Thanks for taking the time to reply Dan. I appreciate you outlining things. I would definitely be interested in attending such a training event. Sounds like it would take several days though to really grasp the depth of what you are talking about.

Sounds like what you propose would be interesting to connect with my aikido and BJJ backgrounds, as I am always interested in applying proper body alignment, principles, breathing etc to full speed, hard training.

Unfortunately I don't see me coming to Mass anytime in the near future, if I do, I will certainly let you know. It would be nice if we could somehow work it out where you could get with a few guys we all know and trust and work with them. It would go a long way in helping us with our confidence in what you preach and profess.

I certainly understand that it is a committment both in time and money from someone to go to one place or the other.

Good luck in your pursuits and training.

Jim Sorrentino
04-26-2006, 02:19 PM
Hello Josh,

No one who doubted Morihei Ueshiba ever demanded he come to their dojo. They either went to his dojo, or a place where he was demonstrating. I mean, heck, that's the etiquette of dojo-yaburi; you go to the other dojo! Nor did anyone who wanted to learn from him demand that he come to their dojo; they went to his.
I hate to resort to a cliche, but "the internet changes everything." Unlike Dan, Ueshiba did not spend years broadcasting his own skill and criticizing others over a world-wide network.

Also, Ueshiba demonstrated and taught around Japan. As far as I know, Dan does not do anything similar in the US --- so my invitation stands.

Jim

Michael O'Brien
04-26-2006, 05:38 PM
If it were true that there are people interested in more that curiosity-seems I would have found similar folks here-who could actually learn. While I have lessened the intensity- so folks don't get hurt as much anymore- my own register is up to the mid hundreds of folks who don't last. I think most want some aspects of what we do to tune them but they don't want to do the intensive solo work (homework) I insist on for the body skills.

Dan,
Another to consider if you are sincere in your interest in spreading what you are teaching is that a larger seminar could prove to be more beneficial. By your own statement above the majority drop out quickly.

So if 3 out of 4 drop out by bringing in 4 people to do a "demo/seminar" you'll lose 3. If you extended that seminar to the 80 Jim suggested then that is 20 people that will take your information back to VA, GA, TN, TX, etc.

Hopefully this will work out as it could shape up to be an interesting, informative, and fun weekend.

Nick P.
04-26-2006, 08:56 PM
Someone, or several someones, have seen fit to rank this thread 1 out of 5 stars. Quelle surprise.

DH
04-27-2006, 06:45 AM
Thanks for taking the time to reply Dan. I appreciate you outlining things. I would definitely be interested in attending such a training event. Sounds like it would take several days though to really grasp the depth of what you are talking about.

Sounds like what you propose would be interesting to connect with my aikido and BJJ backgrounds, as I am always interested in applying proper body alignment, principles, breathing etc to full speed, hard training.

Unfortunately I don't see me coming to Mass anytime in the near future, if I do, I will certainly let you know. It would be nice if we could somehow work it out where you could get with a few guys we all know and trust and work with them. It would go a long way in helping us with our confidence in what you preach and profess.

I certainly understand that it is a committment both in time and money from someone to go to one place or the other.

Good luck in your pursuits and training.

Kevin

Well, a couple of day may give you a taste for what you can perhaps do with it, and to pull out what you may want to work in YOUR aikido or BJJ. But to think you are going to get ANY depth in two days will be misleading. Its taken me decades and about 12-15 years in specific internal training.
Pulling out parts and pieces
I have a guy who is going through the prequalifying rotine for UFC who is sarting to train now, he doesn't have time to do everything he should do, so he pulling out things he needs for now. He wants to train in week long block in the future. As with Jim, I said "No thanks." He's all muscle, it's going to take years to break that down re-wire it. I don't have the time for that unless it is on my schedule. I told him he has to decide.
I'm glad you commented more on the real training and not the ki tricks. As I said before, the ki tricks are tricks, and tricks are for....Some of the ki tricks I can put my hands on you, line you up and get some results in the first day. But then men fall apart when they go home or practice the wrong thing. The jo trick is done by several guys in CMA they would probably laugh hearing its the "pinnacle" of someones measure or ideal. There are far more "real" golas to be after. Pushing, in the dojo is fine but get to be a whole new world when being kicked and punched and having your legs swept. So after the eye candy of being wowed upon learning adn realizing they can indeed do these things, it is the real truth of WILL they do these training exercises at home to develope real skill in action.
It really is all about sweat- and like golf-a personal truth. You are doing it or not.
Almost everyday I train on a 100lb heavy bag. After hitting and kicking- standard fair yes-but not when you are training to hit and kick the way we do. Next up is sumo strikes, next power release into the bag. One of the drills is to stand there with it pushed out at a steep angle away from the chain. I hold it up with my arms and continuing to monitor NOT to be using them but use the legs, and hips to move it.
Then I move it around with my back to it- out to my arms (like me being a cross) over and over, rolling across my back out to my finger tips back to the other arm to the finger tips all while maintaining a sound structure and letting the ground come up and out across my body lines and not flexing or using the shoulders. When it reaches each finger group you pause really concentrate to let the shoulders go and use the ground.
That I do for about an hour ,then I do Wepaon work for a koryu I train in. I have the strange feeling most everyone else who trains with me is home watching the T.V.
And so it goes.

cheers
Dan

DH
04-27-2006, 06:54 AM
Dan,
Another to consider if you are sincere in your interest in spreading what you are teaching is that a larger seminar could prove to be more beneficial. By your own statement above the majority drop out quickly.

So if 3 out of 4 drop out by bringing in 4 people to do a "demo/seminar" you'll lose 3. If you extended that seminar to the 80 Jim suggested then that is 20 people that will take your information back to VA, GA, TN, TX, etc.

Hopefully this will work out as it could shape up to be an interesting, informative, and fun weekend.

Mr. OBrian

I never said anything about spreading anything to anyone. Nor spreading me....to the thread-bare line.
Maybe when I retire or something. But I did, for the first time, offer to let someone come.
I am continually training, experimenting, failing at some experiments, re-training, and trying to get better. Add to that a separate Koryu art I am involved in- an fairly well suck at- and trying to learn, add to that the new CMA people I am playing with add to that trying to teach the guys I got, add to that my family, my son wanting me to teach him to forge, add to that my business.

Enough for me.
Cheers
Dan

DH
04-27-2006, 07:09 AM
Dennis and Chuck

Thanks guys for the kind words. I hope ya two hooligans realize I am not looking down on teaching or those who are drawn to share. Instead I look "up" to it or them. Its just not me. Quite frankly I don't know how you do it. I think if men like it-they are drawn to it and have the jiuce for it. I am drawn inward and my "juice" is to continually push me and to keep learning.

I am having a blast with the new CMA gys I have met. They can't believe that many /most JMA people don't know these internal skills. On the other hand as for fighting, I havent seen much from them yet, they have me teaching them, how to use what they already know to fight with. But at least its starting from the right body mechanics. I have ti make the rounds with them this year with their masters to feel them.

As for a mindset.
Draeger shared, but did not teach per se. He died quietly. Buried in a quiet fashion. No Fuss. He spent his life learning.
Not that I am able in any way to compare my life-and I am not. But that is more to what I aspire to.
Were he ensconsed (or chained as I usually feel) behind a computer -drafting like I am-would he "talk" in his boredom like I do? I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't.
Anyway..blah blah blah. again... thanks for kind words. I hope to get to Arizona again this year Chuck.

Cheers
Dan

Stephen Kotev
04-27-2006, 09:06 AM
Dan,

Thank you for the invitation to visit. I would enjoy that very much.

I respect that it is your decision to accept or decline Jim Sorrentino's offer. I am in no way attempting to persuade you to change your mind. I am just interested in better understanding your perspective.

On this bulletin board you strongly supported accepting challenges as a part of authentic martial study. I don't see Jimmy's offer as different, he is offering sight unseen to the opportunity to share what you know with an audience that you choose to communicate with on a regular basis. Often Aikidoka are derided for not accepting challenges or even feeling it is necessary to test their skills outside of their comfort zone. As you know not everyone fits this category, hence there are some of us who are willing to accept challenges when presented.

Remember Mark Tennenhouse from Aikido Journal?

He made some impressive statements about his skills and abilities and the poor quality of Aikido training. He got the attention of several Aikidoka and raised the ire of several others. (I say the follow statements in the nicest possible way so don't get me wrong) Tennenhouse's arguments and accusations were not that different from some of your statements. He asked us how we would respond to double leg takedowns and other standard attacks from MMA. He made statements that were seen as challenging in the best case and insulting in the worst. He was savvy enough of a writer to get our attention but after a while folks grew tired of his electronic challenges and asked him to "put up or shut up." He accepted Stan's offer to present at the Aiki Expo. We know how that resulted.

Honestly I am unsure of your intentions are. Why tell us that we are wrong and lost only to say you have nothing to teach and no time to do so?

One of the greatest benefits about these bulletin boards is the opportunity to expand your knowledge and create new professional and personal relationships. As I said before, I had not heard of Ellis till I came to the Aikido Journal Site. I did not know who Chuck Clark was nor Dennis Hooker. I have now had the pleasure of either personally training with them or training at their Dojo. I have to agree with Jimmy "the internet changes everything." Ellis does seminars; both Chuck and Dennis have public dojo. Ellis has published books and DVD's; Chuck is working on a book (I am looking forward to its publication if you are reading this Chuck.)

If we want we can find them.

You on the other hand are quite a mystery. You are one of the only regular posters who have in depth knowledge and skill in Daito Ryu. That alone makes you very valuable to Aikidoka. On top of that is your koryu and MMA studies which add to the value of your comments.

The part that is personally frustrating to me is I don't understand the context of your comments. Some of us have been reading your stuff for years. Some of us have been luckly enough to meet you now others wish to as well. We know that to truly understand we must feel it for ourselves.

You must understand that your comments are read by thousands! People genuinely care about their Art and are committed to its success. You tell us that we need to look to Takeda for guidance. Takeda has long passed. Whom do we look to now?

What I enjoy most about Ellis is that he shares his passion with us. Most of us would openly admit we are hobbyists and not "warriors" or professional martial artists. We have jobs, families, obligations; we either don't have the time or choose not to completely immerse ourselves in our Art. Ellis is willing to share with us the results of his studies that we would never even attempt to begin. We can't leave our jobs and go to Japan for over a decade. We may want to but we can't. But Ellis gives us a portal to that world and points us in the right direction. I feel that is a valuable and honorable service.

I think you may have the same intention in your posts but I can't tell for sure. If it is not; what is your intention?

All the Best,
Stephen

Kevin Leavitt
04-27-2006, 11:56 AM
Dan wrote:

I have a guy who is going through the prequalifying rotine for UFC who is sarting to train now, he doesn't have time to do everything he should do, so he pulling out things he needs for now. He wants to train in week long block in the future. As with Jim, I said "No thanks." He's all muscle, it's going to take years to break that down re-wire it. I don't have the time for that unless it is on my schedule. I told him he has to decide.

Who are you working with on the prequalifying for UFC?

Also when you say "Jim" are you referring to "Jimmy" Sorentino? If so, I have worked with Jimmy and I disagree with the "all muscle". How do you draw that conclusion if you have never worked with him?

I work or have worked with four "UFC" level/NHB fighters that have worked with me on anything but internal. They certainly understand the dynamics of correct body posture, alignment, etc...really the same stuff we work on in aikido. The don't really seem to be concerned with the stuff you are. Maybe they are missing out, I don't know. I guess we will see. I also don't mind naming them. Steve Van Fleet, incidently is a tai chi guy and flows wonderfully, however he puts a distinction on tai chi training and MMA training. Rudolfo Amaro, my current BJJ/Vale Tudo instructor out of Milan Italy again, we work on MMA stuff. Romero "Jacare" Calvacanti, 6th Dan from Rolls Gracie. Again, we work very traditional stuff from BJJ and Vale Tudo. His student, Roberto Traven also a 3rd Dan BJJ who fought in UFC. Again, same stuff. I will see Jacare and Roberto next week when I train with them in Atlanta.

I am curious to who you are training for the UFC and it will be interesting to see how well they do! Do you think that what they learn from you will prepare them or give them an edge. How will we know?

Dan, I don't know you or your training...but you seem to be making assumptions about "Jim" without foundation.,

And you also refer to a fighter you are training without giving a name. It is getting confusing to me trying to understand where you are coming from.

Adman
04-27-2006, 12:11 PM
Also when you say "Jim" are you referring to "Jimmy" Sorentino? If so, I have worked with Jimmy and I disagree with the "all muscle". How do you draw that conclusion if you have never worked with him?Kevin, I don't believe he was making the "all muscle" comment about Jim. I believe Dan was referring to the other guy's particular training request, by saying "No thanks," as he did to Jim's invitation.

Kevin Leavitt
04-27-2006, 12:48 PM
Oh okay, I guess I made an assumption.

Dan, I just re-read your post. I didn't get it, the guy "Jim" you refer to, you said, that it was him you said "no thanks to". This is the guy that is training to be in UFC? If so, I can understand why you'd say that if you say that. Looks like I misunderstood your post. Sorry.

DH
04-27-2006, 07:57 PM
Oh okay, I guess I made an assumption.

Dan, I just re-read your post. I didn't get it, the guy "Jim" you refer to, you said, that it was him you said "no thanks to". This is the guy that is training to be in UFC? If so, I can understand why you'd say that if you say that. Looks like I misunderstood your post. Sorry.

No Problem. But I am not training him. I tooled him becuase he asked me too. I'll ask him if he minds me mentioning his name. I don't have the requirements clear- he is doing something in Rhode Island for a pre-qualifier or some such thing. I told him I would let him train -only- if he committed to do it, and I don't want him using my name or bringing a bunch of guys.
Glad to hear you're cross training.
Have you used pure recognizable, aikido technique -start to finish-to defeat the MMA or BJJ guys?


As for internal
I don't think you're going to find it in these guys. There are very few that experimenting with it.
Practicing internal skills is one thing
Learning to fight with real skill another
Training to fight with internal skills is something different.
Everything from where you would sit in a gaurd, where your hips and head would be in relation to your hands. How to wash a guys body lines with ground to keep from riding him and offering feedback for a reversal. Its a real chess game.
Cheers
Dan

Stephen Kotev
04-28-2006, 07:09 AM
Are you ducking my questions Dan? :D

Regards,
Stephen

Jim Sorrentino
04-28-2006, 09:01 AM
Dan,

From post # 148:As for a mindset.
Draeger shared, but did not teach per se. He died quietly. Buried in a quiet fashion. No Fuss. He spent his life learning.
Not that I am able in any way to compare my life-and I am not. But that is more to what I aspire to.To paraphase Senator Lloyd Bentsen, I did not know Donn Draeger. I never met Donn Draeger. I just read some of his books. And Dan, even in your aspirations, you are no Donn Draeger.

It is amusing to speculate about what Mr. Draeger might have done in this situation. WWDDD, as it were. Although he did not have the benefit of the internet, Mr. Draeger was a widely-published and respected author and practitioner. More important, he traveled extensively in order to pursue his research. He was not a frog in a well. If asked, I bet he would have put up.

Stephen, it looks like you should not expect any answers from Dan --- at least not in an open forum. He never did state why he stopped studying aikido, or even whose student he was. If we read carefully, we know (from his over 850 posts on e-budo and his over 80 posts here) that he currently studies Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu under Phil Relnick-sensei. At some point, he studied Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu under Roy Goldberg-sensei of the Kodokai. Dan is also a swordsmith. Additionally, he spends a lot of time doing computer-assisted drafting. More information than that, I don't think we are likely to get without Dan's cooperation --- and he has made it clear that he is not interested in an open discussion, any more than he is interested in demonstrating and teaching under conditions that are not completely under his control.

Kevin, thanks again for your support! Please do keep pressing Dan on specifics (like who he is training for the UFC). Dan seems to want to impress you (perhaps because of your military, BJJ, and MMA experience). At least he answers your questions directly and promptly.

Dan, the offer is still open for you to put up. I would never tell you (or anyone in this forum) to shut up. That would be rude. But I don't know why I, or any other user of this forum, should pay attention to what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Jim

Kevin Leavitt
04-28-2006, 10:41 AM
Dan,

I do use technics that would purely be identifiable to an aikidoka watching as aikido. Kotegaeshi is the most popular, when the rules I am fighting under allow for wrist locks. (submission rules allow sometimes, not BJJ). Just the other day a wrapped a guys hand up in nikkyo when he extended his arm and grabbed my gi. Used my best sawariwaza posture to finish him off. It is rare though and it usually occurs on wrestlers and new guys that do not understand to keep their hands and arms close in and not cross their center line.

Dan wrote:
Training to fight with internal skills is something different.
Everything from where you would sit in a gaurd, where your hips and head would be in relation to your hands. How to wash a guys body lines with ground to keep from riding him and offering feedback for a reversal.

Can you explain further Please? I guess I really don't understand the concept of "internal skills". Proper and efficient use of your body and universal principles of dynamic movement dictate that those persons with the better technique will do better as a fighter all other aspects of physics eliminated or equal (size, speed).

An example is kokyu. We practices it in kokyu tanden ho, I do kokyu all the time in the cllinch, guard etc. Also when you are doing a triangle choke in order to get it on right, you have to move off the center line redirecting your opponents weight off your center which essentially is an irimi, the posting of you foot on the hip and moving of your hips with leg around the head is tenkan. Same exact principles that I have learned in aikido are "blending, harmonizing, KI, redirecting energy...all that good stuff.

Anyone I have ever sparred or fought in grappling that is proficient at greco-roman, blue belt or higher in BJJ, or what not...all too me seem to grasp the concepts that I learned in aikido. The difference is to them it is instinctive and intuitive. Instrinsic knowledge...not extrinsic. they don't focus externally on the internal stuff they intuitively do! :)

If I had to simpilfiy things to an allegory..i'd say that aikidoka and those that identify with the concept I don't understand: "Internal" are somewhat "principle/theory" like in a liberal arts undergrad program. (University of VA) They practice to understand the principles and foundations. Many BJJ and SU type students would be considered in "technical college" (VA Tech). They focus more on applied theory or technical skills.

In the end, they both end up in the same place. The tech school grad is more easily employed out of the gate because he has relevant/immediate skills. The university student builds a foundation that leads to further knowledge and applied skills.

Some go on to grad school get PhDs and do great things within the institutional environment. THey can tell you how to make a million dollars by quoting economic theory...but they have never actually done it themselves, nor probably could if you asked them too!

Both ends of the stick (arts like aikido and BJJ) are really the same. So, that is why I am having a hard time with the concept of "internal" it seems to convey something and you directly say many are lacking it...but what are they lacking?

Are they unhappy people? Are they not "complete" and what do you define as "complete" if so?

How does sitting in the guard from an "internal" perspective differ from how some one sits in the guard, from what....i guess the opposite of internal would be external...so yes, ..how does it differ from sitting in the guard externally?

To me the newbs I train that don't understand proper movement in the guard just sit there and get passed. Those that understand it more such as myself, off balance, irimi, do the stuff you do in push hands and all that...however to me it is just doing the technic "more correctly" than the guy who does not do it properly and who does not have "good technique". It is that simple to me!

Is there something missing? If I do not identify with this concept of "internal" what am I "missing"?

I am trying to understand this concept for my own personal growth. Thanks for you time and good discussion.

Neil Mick
04-28-2006, 12:38 PM
Dan, the offer is still open for you to put up. I would never tell you (or anyone in this forum) to shut up. That would be rude. But I don't know why I, or any other user of this forum, should pay attention to what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Jim

Yes, I second that sentiment. "Walking the walk" is not just a glib challenge...it concretely shows that you are comfortable backing up your words in any setting.

Dan apparently seems quite comfortable spending hours online criticizing Aikidoka on public fora: it seems strange and convenient that he somehow "lacks the time" to spend a few days making good on his claims.

As far as his counter-offer to demonstrate on HIS turf: well, that's a nice first step, but that's all it is, in the end. Dan cannot/will not demonstrate his claims in a Aikido dojo: and that says it all.

Underneath the etiquette-issue is the issue of safety. I'd feel a lot more confident and secure coming to Jim's dojo, than I would going off to someone with whom I have no experience or understanding of their MA. If the tables were reversed...if, say, Jim, made some claim about the inferiority of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu with respect to Aikido: I would happily accompany Jim to Dan's dojo, to prove his words. It would seem disrespectful for Jim to insist that he "has no time," or "it's not worth it to only teach a weekend seminar."

Etiquette and respect are more than simple gestures to demonstrate your good intentions. Etiquette can also mean the difference btw a safe, fun, learning experience; and an injury arising out of a serious misunderstanding.

So, yes, Dan has every right to express his feelings online, about the inadequacy of Aikido. But in the end, barring an actual demonstration...I agree: they're just words.

Kevin Leavitt
04-28-2006, 05:43 PM
Neil,

There is nothing wrong with having opinions or criticisms about aikido or aikidoka. Frankly I really share many of the same criticisms and opinions that Dan shares. Our good buddy Michael Neal, you, I and others have had many discussions over the past few years on these topics!

For example, I think aikido very prone to having people we affectionately refer to as "aikibunnies" those that are not "real martial artist", ones that simply want to attend more classes than I, get in the "in click", socialize, and feel like they are somehow "special", go to all the seminars, yet somehow we look at them and just know that they don't "get it".

You know, I bet all sensei and shihan out there, also are concerned with this.

I also think aikido is inadequate as a methodology to prepare myself for the things that are important to me. i.e "real fights", or MMA.

Have I really said anything that anyone could have issue with? Also, you probably have most people out there going...okay, yeah so what?

That is not what Jim is getting at I believe.

What is at issue is what is added to those types of things. These two examples are commonly used to stir up emotion and negative feelings in people. They make a spring board.

What is added to them is rhetoric along the lines of this: "Aikido is inadequate for teaching the what it was designed to teach", O'Sensei got it, but darn...no one else does in the the "west", that is, except for guys like me, that have uncovered the secrets through Chinese martial arts. inferences are skillfully cleverly made over the course of years, threads, and boards . "I am an expert and understand the secrets of the what aikido was designed to teach." implications are made, maybe NOT in the same thread, but they are there that "most" of your teachers simply cannot do these things that I can do, and they really don't "get it".

This is a huge difference from criticizing a few conditions or situations that come with the territory in aikido, such as "we have students that simply "don't get it". Really what is being said is categorically "no one gets it, but I do, and I get it sooo well, that you are probably wasting your time doing things that your teacher is teaching incorrectly and doesn't understand".

It may be the case. Who knows. But, when you say or imply those things, you are putting yourself on the line for some huge expectations from people.

I am not necessarily saying that this is what Dan has said, frankly I have not read through e-budo, or any of the other post. I am simply stating what I percieve is the issue.

DH
04-28-2006, 05:49 PM
Jim

Enough already. I told you I am uninterested in teaching a seminar. I offered to have you come if you are interested in training-now you are just going off into the bad place. I am not “hiding” I am right here. I would welcome you. You want so desperately to learn the jo trick? Or to prove me wrong in a fighting theme or to really-on the inside- hope that you can so you don't have to listen to it anymore? If its that bad stop reading.
So, I make comments about Aikido you don’t like, get over it or get up here. Your beginning to look like the guy with issues. You are no longer even hinting at friendship-you're angry..
So, come up, I'll let you push and shove on a Jo till you get tired. Then teach you how to to do it. You can go home and show whomever you like.
Then we can do what I think you are really interested in, in an up-close and personal hands on. I'll demonstrate on you for a short time, then a few men, if I feel like it. I've not dissapointed to date-that I'm aware of. But you are rapidily making me re-think dinner.

Oh by the way. On the whole MMA are learned quicker and are more readily usable for fighting then Aikido. So is Judo. And..Aikido would do lot better for itself if it went back and re-learned and re-introduced the internal aspects.
There, I said it again.
Go take some blood pressure pills. :D

Cheers
Dan

DH
04-28-2006, 06:08 PM
Kevin
I read your post and actually I have had these conversations IN..Aikido Dojo with teachers who moan about the same stuff. One who is reading here.
If it is indeed other issues about Aikido:
On the whole-not teaching what Ueshiba did or meant
Or what was lost
Some of the abuses of teachers who don't get it and wreck people. Then you had best include Stan Pranin who recorded most of it, a host of others who said it
Ueshibas own complaints to the same refrain.He did say "this is not my Aikido."
Add a bunch of Aikido Shihan and others in the art
Kondo, Ellis- a personal friend of mine..., Mike S.( whom I don't know), but who makes the comment about what is missing "In the west" in many places -even just today.......the list is long.

I can stand on my own legs, but it is rather funny having dinner with an aikido friend and hearing him bitch- then reading this great umbridge to what is readily agreed upon by most rational experienced guys who love and cross train and still do Aikido.

Cheers anyway
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
04-28-2006, 06:10 PM
Dan,

I feel like i am beating a dead horse. Hopefully I am not costing you your dinner! :) I could really careless about the whole challenge thing.

Could you explain in very, very simple terms how/what in your opinion is missing in AIkido as for as the internal aspects? Also how might one proceed to re-learn/introduce these aspects back into the art?

If the internal aspects are missing, what is the fallout because of it? Does it make ineffective in some way? What criteria are you basing it on? all that good stuff.

What is alot better?

You have explained the JO test and what that test in another thread, bu that type of thing in and of itself would not be sufficient criteria I think to say that aikido is deficient and would do a lot better for itself.

You have opinions and conclusions about what it is missing. I would love you to clarify them here if you would!

Thanks in advance!

Kevin Leavitt
04-28-2006, 06:11 PM
oh...can we move this to another thread....it has migrated severly!

DH
04-28-2006, 06:23 PM
How about the jo thread?

Dan

Neil Mick
04-28-2006, 10:09 PM
Neil,

There is nothing wrong with having opinions or criticisms about aikido or aikidoka. Frankly I really share many of the same criticisms and opinions that Dan shares. Our good buddy Michael Neal, you, I and others have had many discussions over the past few years on these topics!

The point is, Dan has been making his criticisms known over a long period of time, repeatedly, and often. When someone finally calls him on this and asks him to back up his words in front of a group of Aikidoka in an Aikido dojo: he balks. His excuses? Too busy; wife wouldn't approve; etc.

In essence, these all sound like excuses. He wants to critique Aikido, fine...be my guest. But, its his excuses for not attending the seminar with which I take umbrage, not his problems with Aikido.

You know, I bet all sensei and shihan out there, also are concerned with this.

And you'd lose that bet, in a New York minute. Shihan's, like most people, are concerned with a lot of different things..."aikido-bunnies," I imagine, rank very low on the "Concerned" list.

I also think aikido is inadequate as a methodology to prepare myself for the things that are important to me. i.e "real fights", or MMA.

Fine. But if I were to ask you to back up your contentions with action at my dojo: you might properly surmise that an answer like "I'm too busy;" "I don't like to travel;" or even "come to MY dojo, and THEN I'll show you;" would be receieved with a measure of dubiousness, as to your claims.

This is a huge difference from criticizing a few conditions or situations that come with the territory in aikido, such as "we have students that simply "don't get it". Really what is being said is categorically "no one gets it, but I do, and I get it sooo well, that you are probably wasting your time doing things that your teacher is teaching incorrectly and doesn't understand".

True, at least in part.

It may be the case. Who knows. But, when you say or imply those things, you are putting yourself on the line for some huge expectations from people.

Yes...such as, adhering to basic dojo etiquette. You make a claim: you might be called on, to prove it. And, "I don't feel like coming to your dojo" proves nothing, except your reticence to make good on your words. Please.

And apparently, the "jo trick" only seems to work in Dan's dojo. Why wouldn't he jump to make good on his word and settle the whole thing, when all he has to do is make a pleasant, all-expense-paid trip to Virginia?

DH
04-28-2006, 11:32 PM
The point is, Dan has been making his criticisms known over a long period of time, repeatedly, and often. When someone finally calls him on this and asks him to back up his words in front of a group of Aikidoka in an Aikido dojo: he balks. His excuses? Too busy; wife wouldn't approve; etc.

In essence, these all sound like excuses. He wants to critique Aikido, fine...be my guest. But, its his excuses for not attending the seminar with which I take umbrage, not his problems with Aikido.

And apparently, the "jo trick" only seems to work in Dan's dojo. Why wouldn't he jump to make good on his word and settle the whole thing, when all he has to do is make a pleasant, all-expense-paid trip to Virginia?

Neil
Who are you that I would bother to cross the street to prove a single thing too? So, a few disgruntled people here got their feelings hurt. Hopefully most are intrigued enough to seek the instruction where they may.
For you- anytime you wish to visit let me know. No need to be friendly-I won't be. The fact that you or anyone else needs to travel this far to experience such a simple thing as the jo trick- speaks volumes of both the state of "Aikido in the west"- as Mike puts it, and your own personal skill level, not to mention the many other things that are above it.
In one fell swoop you reveal the level of that you wish to defend. And of what I have been saying all along-
That you need teachers in the art to learn these skills.
For -your- impertinence..........may these skills ever allude you.

Dan
P.S. Almost single handedly you afirm why I would not waste my time

Neil Mick
04-29-2006, 12:37 AM
Oho, the mighty Harden from on High finally deigns to respond to my posts (after about 3 being directly addressed, to him)...? Odd that you finally respond to a post not even addressed to you. But, I am sure that Dan Sensei has much to teach we Aikido-morons about technique, and respect, right?

Let's see...

Neil
Who are you that I would bother to cross the street to prove a single thing too?

If you were the guy yelling silly claims about Aikidoists: yeah, I'd expect you to cross the street to prove your point. Otherwise, you're just another source of noise, in the Big City. :p

So, a few disgruntled people here got their feelings hurt. Hopefully mq ost are intrigued enough to seek the instruction where they may.

Etiquette. It's not just a good idea. IT'S THE LAW! :dead:

But, seriously, Dan--you're right, I am no one. I am just a stupid MA who cannot seem to get even the simplest of O Sensei's "tricks." You, OTOH, seem to know it all. You have said so, and so it must be. Now, why shouldn't silly ole' me just drop everything, ignore the plethora of seminars offered by Aikido Sensei's in my area (like the one occurring at my dojo in 2 weeks, taught by 3 Rokudan's), and just rush over to see the AMAZING DAN HARDEN DO HIS JO-TRICK! (oh, and listen to him spend long hours disparaging other MA's in person, no doubt,,,oh joy).

You see, Dan: aside from your pronouncements and a few good words by people whose reputations I've encountered (but never met)...I know jack about you. I don't even know the first thing about the MA you practice.

But had you accepted Jim's offer: well...that would have told me much, about you.

Your refusal told me almost as much...but enough to know that, no thanks...I think I'll pass on your less than generously worded invitation.

For you- anytime you wish to visit let me know. No need to be friendly-I won't be.

Let's see...hmm,,,an invitation to buy planefare to MA to visit some yahoo who makes vague claims about his "skill," and now makes somewhat less-than-vague personal threats, online?

Noo...(*looks in mirror*)...I don't THINK I look like a macho-idiot, ruled by his testosterone...but I suppose that looks can be deceiving... :hypno:

The fact that you or anyone else needs to travel this far to experience such a simple thing as the jo trick- speaks volumes of both the state of "Aikido in the west"- as Mike puts it, and your own personal skill level, not to mention the many other things that are above it.

Yet another psychic MA who can not only out-do O Sensei: BUT, he seems to be able to know my "personal skill level," WITHOUT ever having MET ME!!!! WOW! :eek:

In one fell swoop you reveal the level of that you wish to defend.

yadda yadda yadda. :rolleyes:

And of what I have been saying all along-
That you need teachers in the art to learn these skills.

Oh, you have spoken volumes to me, about the importance of etiquette, Sensei. I thank you most sincerely for the lesson.

For -your- impertinence..........may these skills ever allude you.

Dan

I wish you all the best in life, hope, and luck. :straightf

P.S. Almost single handedly you afirm why I would not waste my time

Yes, Sensei: I am sure. So many worthless Martial Artists out there...what's a demigod to do?? :crazy:

But in all your vaunted wisdom: you missed an important detail:

In one fell swoop you reveal the level of that you wish to defend.

In a word or two, Dan: you. just. don't. get. it. You don't get what it is I am "defending." In post after post, I was stressing that you not taking Jim up on his offer, is outside the basic elements of etiquette.

I know squat about you, and now that you cannot even seem to respond to the simplest tenets of a martial challenge: now why should I trust that you'd keep it friendly? Or, failing friendly: how about fair? Triple-team while the visiting Aikidoist has his back turned, anyone? Perhaps a quick history-lesson about what it means to be a REAL American, in the parking lot (and yes, Dan: I remember our brief, but less-than-sanguine exchanges on AJ).

Or even funnier, I get to your dojo: and you turn out to be a pimply 14-yr-old, pretending to be someone else?

I dunno, because I know NOTHING about you.

Simply put, Sensei: I was "defending" etiquette, NOT Aikido. A pity you fail to understand the point.

Neil Mick
04-29-2006, 01:10 AM
P.S. I couldn't care less, about learning the "jo-trick." What I would have liked to learn was the grace and skill of a MA who has something to teach Aikidoists, about Aikido.

I suppose I shall have to wait, on that one...

Kevin Leavitt
04-29-2006, 02:11 AM
There are lots of things I can profess to know and feel I can adequately demonstrate, AND I also would say to an invitation to show them....Sorry I don't have time, or don't feel like it. That is his perogative. I simply think it is too bad that he won't come down.

Neil Mick
04-29-2006, 02:40 AM
That is his perogative.

Undoubtedly.

Ron Tisdale
05-01-2006, 09:58 AM
WOW. Just got back from a trip, and spent the morning catching up on email and reading this thread (well, most of it).

Know Jimmy Sorentino, like the man, think his offer was great, and wish Dan could accept. I'd be there with bells on.

Don't know Dan personally, seen his posts a lot, and guess what? A LOT of what he says does make since if you walk that path. And you know what? He almost NEVER invites folk to come to train with him. Now, he's made that invitation publicly...openly.

It would be great if he could come to Jimmy's dojo. Don't look like it will happen. So, Dan...what do I need to do to get in on this? I'll come to your place, I just need to arrange some time off and travel. If I can bring a sleeping bag and bunk in the dojo, rather than get a hotel, that would be fine. If others can come, and they want to share hotel, that would be fine too. I appreciate the offer you've made, and am willing to learn. And to do the homework as well.

I have met some of the folks on this thread, and they know me. I'm not interested in "fighting" anyone...too old and complacent. But I am interested in learning body skill to apply in my practice. That is what I do...I train. Come on...that is what most of us do. Few, if any, fight. So let's drop the challenge nature of the topic...and get it out of this thread. Let's see how many can get together to learn about the internal skills we hear so much about.

I called an Iwama dojo while I was in Paris. I asked through my girlfriend if I could come and train. The instructor was welcoming, gracious, made me feel like a friend. I had a great time, learned a lot, and everyone went away happy. Why does this stuff have to be accrimonious? I can't even count the number of places I've been. Not once have I come away regretting the decision.

Best to all,
Ron

MM
05-01-2006, 11:26 AM
It's taken a little while and some diligent reading, but I'm gaining some perspective.

Let me put it this way. My world is small when you start talking about good budo and who's doing it. And I don't know a lot of the senior people all that well, but they tend to congregate together.

As an example, I've been part of the Jiyushinkai (and hope to be back soon) but Chuck Clark probably doesn't remember me. I've been to a couple of his seminars long ago. Among some of the great things I learned was that the Jiyushinkai is good budo and they are associated with people doing good budo.

So, if I see someone I've never met and don't know about, I can get somewhat of a perspective on their training by how it relates to those I have trained with.

In this regard, I have never met Dennis Hooker or Dan Harden. I've only met Jim Sorrentino once (briefly) at the Ellis Amdur seminar.

However, when I see something like post #116 by Chuck Clark, I can put that in perspective and say that Jim Sorrentino is probably doing good budo. The Amdur seminar just gave more weight to that hypothesis. If I ever found myself in their geographical area, I would know to look them up for training. The same working theory of mine goes for Dennis Hooker. I'd be lucky to train with him.

Then, I read post #135. Anyone who has an open invitation to come back to Chuck Clark's dojo has to be someone doing good things. Although Dan was already on my list of people to meet and/or train with, this thread just added more weight and reinforced what was there. I just wish I had the money to get up there for a week or two.

This thread has been interesting. I look back at posts #94 & 96 and wonder if those two really aren't just having a good old chuckle. I mean, they know the participants and probably know that if Jim and Dan got together, it'd most likely end up with them (Jim & Dan) bringing this good ole budo family closer together through shugyo.

Well, to wind this long post up, Clark and Hooker sensei, it's always a pleasure reading your posts. With some hard work, some luck, and a lot of perserverance, I'm hoping to attend your seminars/training events. And I'll definitely keep my eyes and ears open for another joint seminar of yours.

Dan, I hope to one day get a chance to train with you. Jim, I hope I can make more of your seminars. The Amdur one was great!

Mark

Jim Sorrentino
05-01-2006, 11:35 AM
Mark and Ron,

Thanks for the compliments! Please check the Aikido of Northern VA dojo website (www.aikido-nova.org) for future seminar announcements.

See you on the mat!

Jim

Josh Reyer
05-01-2006, 12:23 PM
Neil, I can appreciate your frustration with Dan. And if you want to make a big deal about him not accepting Jim Sorrentino's offer, because you don't believe his reasons, that's cool. But could you drop the whole etiquette thing? It just doesn't hold water. Etiquette has always been that if you want to challenge a guy, if you want a guy to prove something, then you go to him.

General Makoto Miura, Russo-Japanese war hero and one-time student of Sokaku Takeda, thought that Ueshiba was an ungrateful student puffing up his own claims and abilities. He challenged Ueshiba. He went to the Kobukan.

When Jigoro Kano, one of the most respected men in martial arts and education, heard of Morihei Ueshiba's aikijutsu, he went to the Mejiro dojo for a demonstration. And when he was satisfied with what he saw, and wanted some of his own students to learn from Ueshiba, he sent them to the Kobukan.

That is the etiquette. If you want someone to put up or shut up, you go to them. Harden has given you the opportunity. It's up to you to take it, or not. If you choose not to, that's your problem, not his.

Neil Mick
05-01-2006, 01:47 PM
If you want someone to put up or shut up, you go to them. Harden has given you the opportunity. It's up to you to take it, or not. If you choose not to, that's your problem, not his.

I don't want to beat a dead horse even dead-er, so I will make this brief.

Joshua-san, I fear you are mistaken, about who is being challenged. The original challenges, apparently, were made by Dan, in reference to Aikidoists in general, on the internet, over a period of years.

In post #88, Jim Sorrentino made an open invitation to Dan to back up his words, with action. Dan gave a counter-offer, and the rest, as they say, is history.

And as far as the whole "etiquette" thing is concerned: AFAIC, I made my point. No real need to pursue this tack of argument further, IMO.

DH
05-01-2006, 01:59 PM
WOW. Just got back from a trip, and spent the morning catching up on email and reading this thread (well, most of it).

Know Jimmy Sorentino, like the man, think his offer was great, and wish Dan could accept. I'd be there with bells on.

Don't know Dan personally, seen his posts a lot, and guess what? A LOT of what he says does make since if you walk that path. And you know what? He almost NEVER invites folk to come to train with him. Now, he's made that invitation publicly...openly.

snip o< ........ I appreciate the offer you've made, and am willing to learn. And to do the homework as well.

I have met some of the folks on this thread, and they know me. I'm not interested in "fighting" anyone...too old and complacent. But I am interested in learning body skill to apply in my practice. That is what I do...I train. Come on...that is what most of us do. Few, if any, fight. So let's drop the challenge nature of the topic...and get it out of this thread. Let's see how many can get together to learn about the internal skills we hear so much about.

Why does this stuff have to be accrimonious? I can't even count the number of places I've been. Not once have I come away regretting the decision.

Best to all,
Ron

Gees Ron....blah blah blah eh?
Can you believe this stuff? Two or three making a big deal. I can't get some of the guys who train with me to go home and do solo work. "It hurts." Its too time consuming." "My wife thinks I look weird doing them."
That it Tillsdale!! I am dropping a challenge. I bet you that you don't follow through with a years solo training either. Ya can't lie-I'll know next time I see/ touch you.

Your right in that I don't invite. I could care less. But you? Ya miscreant. Even though I have turned you down in the past I can make an exception. But don't come all this way and not want to learn how to apply some of these things in a fighting format. My guys are hilarious and completely safe. We...as in you and I.. don't have to fight but we can do some drills for application of the solo work in a fighting form. Then give you drills to take home.

Lets forget this "lets see how many we can get" stuff you mentioned. I'm still not interested in numbers. You and maybe just a few guys is enough for my barn. Let the other guys satisfy their curiosity elsewhere. We'll train and learn. How about you agree to come up a couple times a year, if you like what you see and feel. Then you can go back, play teacher and be a big shot! While I keep getting better than you! I promise to listen while you complain about absentee students, rent, dues, and no time for you to train. :freaky: Just kidding.........Chuck don't throw rocks at me.
Send me a P.M and well exchange numbers and info. Now I have to figure out how to fit it in.

cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
05-01-2006, 02:12 PM
Hey Dan,

;) Your house, your rules. Always worked before! ;) PM already sent. Give me good stuff and I'll do my best. Drills are fine, and a little rough house too. We all gotta go to work again, sometime, but there's gotta be room for fun too.

I won't be worrying about teaching...I'm not really good enough at anything to teach!

Best,
R

Neil Mick
05-01-2006, 02:13 PM
That it Tillsdale!! I am dropping a challenge. I bet you that you don't follow through with a years solo training either. Ya can't lie-I'll know next time I see touch you.

cheers
Dan

It would be interesting to read of Ron's feedback, if he takes Dan up on his offer. I'd like to know what comes of such an exchange.

Someone pls drop me a PM or post it here, with feedback, OK?

Ron Tisdale
05-01-2006, 02:16 PM
Neil, the nature of the offer is such that you don't turn it down...it doesn't get made often or easily.

I'm pretty open about my experiences at different places...if the host is ok with it. If not, then you won't see me talking about it on the web. Pretty simple really. Like most things in life, don't over complicate it.

Best,
Ron

DH
05-01-2006, 02:18 PM
Well I don't do knife or any striking before I have to do presentations myself. I look bad enough already-can't imagine standing up in front of a planning board with a black eye or bruised knuckles. :confused:

Chill out, and look forward to it. You know that wierd nervous feel? Forget it. You'll have a blast, and make friends.

Cheers
Dan

Neil Mick
05-01-2006, 02:20 PM
I'm pretty open about my experiences at different places...if the host is ok with it. If not, then you won't see me talking about it on the web.

Best,
Ron

Umm...of course. I'm not asking you to be disrespectful or give away MA secrets, or anything. :confused:

Merely curious. I've always appreciated your posts (even read a bit of your blog); and I'd have liked to hear your feedback. :straightf

Ron Tisdale
05-01-2006, 02:27 PM
I've liked your stuff too. MA secrets? Sweat. Not a secret (at least not anymore!). 'Course, there's sweat that produces results, and then the other kind. With me...mostly the other kind. but I keep coming back anyway. Hope the blog is entertaining!

B,
R

DH
05-01-2006, 02:28 PM
It would be interesting to read of Ron's feedback, if he takes Dan up on his offer. I'd like to know what comes of such an exchange.

Someone pls drop me a PM or post it here, with feedback, OK?

Not a chance.
I have a standard long non-disclosure form and liability waiver. I'll make Ron sign- in writing, with witnesses- that he can disclose any negatives he wishes to say of any kind. But other than me personally -not to talk about any positives in the training on the net in any details....Zip.
I am completely uninterested in the advertizing. And yes, before you spout off with more of your negative commentary and baiting. I am that confident.

It is my view that the internal skills are the best and last bastion of the arts. Further that they be given to select people and not cast to the winds. Moreover, the training to use them in fighting is rare. It is just not being done by many men.
I claim no expertise. But to the best I am able to control it -the skills that I do know and practice-you will never learn from me, nor anyone affilliated with me.
Dan

Josh Reyer
05-01-2006, 04:09 PM
Joshua-san, I fear you are mistaken, about who is being challenged. The original challenges, apparently, were made by Dan, in reference to Aikidoists in general, on the internet, over a period of years.

Sorry, references to "Aikidoists in general" don't count.

Neil Mick
05-01-2006, 06:28 PM
Sorry, references to "Aikidoists in general" don't count.

With all due respect...we can agree, to disagree. A general call to challenge, is still a challenge.

Kevin Leavitt
05-02-2006, 08:14 AM
If Ron Does go up there. I'd be real interested in what criteria is used to define "success". The problem with conveying or not conveying these internal skills can be a source of debate.

On one hand I see Dan's issue that a litmous test of a few days is inadequate to transmit such training.

On the other hand, a good teacher and martial artist should be able to demonstrate ability and proficiency at the drop of a hat. That is, within the parameters of his teaching or methodology.

I suspect that if this is not adequately defined up front and clearly understood, you will have two individuals in disagreement once all is said and done.

Ron might say, "yea I learned a few things", but no big deal. Or this guy is a complete quack.

Dan might say, "well I can't teach this in a few days". or Ron was not receptive or not advanced enough to get it.

Both might be right, or both might be wrong. It is all based on perception.

I would think though that one that has carried himself as a "master" of a particular field would be able to demonstrate a fairly high degree of proficiency at the task at hand. It is one thing to understand a "few things" quite another to demonstrate a deep understanding a breadth of experience to adapt to all kinds of students.

My gut tells me it would be Dan's responsibility to "teach" or communicate to Ron. Failure to do so would not be Ron's problem, but Dan's.

Again, though we first need to establish the endstate or criteria. Also, more than one person would need to participate to keep it from being a "one sided" issue.

That said, not really sure what this is accomplishing. Hence the comments from Izumi and Clark.

It is entertaining as I stay in my hotel this week though!

Mike Sigman
05-02-2006, 08:42 AM
If Ron Does go up there. I'd be real interested in what criteria is used to define "success". The problem with conveying or not conveying these internal skills can be a source of debate.

On one hand I see Dan's issue that a litmous test of a few days is inadequate to transmit such training.

On the other hand, a good teacher and martial artist should be able to demonstrate ability and proficiency at the drop of a hat. That is, within the parameters of his teaching or methodology.

[snip]

Again, though we first need to establish the endstate or criteria. Also, more than one person would need to participate to keep it from being a "one sided" issue. Just to throw in my 2 cents on the criteria I would look for in challenges related to these kinds of challenges (about someone claiming to have knowledge/skills about "internal" aspects).

Most of what Tohei shows are in the forces category of "ki power". The jo-trick, taking a push to the forearm, etc., are static demonstrations of forces in the mind-body area. Kevin's basic argument is that just because someone can do static tricks doesn't mean that they can use it in a fight to do anything. I tend to agree. I think that if you can teach someone to do a few static tricks, that's OK, because it at least shows that they're getting started. The next step (criterion) would be to be able to move with these kinds of forces in a rudimentary way. Where the split off comes, in my opinion, is being able to move with these kinds of forces all the time, but using the middle as the source of movement and not the shoulders. Almost invariably, that is the difference between someone with some "bits and pieces" and someone who is definately on the road to excellence.

And that doesn't even get us started on the development of the ki/fascial structure through breathing, etc., in the body.

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
05-02-2006, 08:57 AM
Hmm, well, for me at least, this is not an opportunity to go somewhere, come back here and report

"Yea, Dan has the goods"
or
"Yea, these are tough guys, but I didn't get the "internal" stuff"
or
"I went up and tossed these guys."

I don't approach my visits to various dojo that way. If I did, I probably wouldn't be welcome too many places. Start from there, and you set yourself up to find negative things. When I go places, I go to learn as much as I can about what they do. Not to pass judgment...to learn. That means acknowledging that I don't know what they do to begin with, and being open to putting aside what I do know about my own training. Shoshin. I can make some judgments about what I think I pick up afterward. But those are tempered by the fact that a visit or two doesn't show you the entire puzzle of what an instructor is trying to accomplish.

The internal aspects of training are another complication. But from what I have been able to pick up over the years, the people who are good at it have very specific physical things that you work on. I have outlined some of these things in the posts with Rob John and Mike Sigman. So I will look to see if I need to throw that stuff out, or if it works as a base and I can grow from there. I will be specifically looking for exercises I can take home to increase the conditioning of the pathways and the mental control of them. I will also be looking for any tips on relaxation I can get, being rather stiff myself.

The main thing here for me, is to get the adversarial nature of this discussion purged. I've tried to be very clear about this...this is not adversarial to me. No need for that crap.

Best,
Ron

Budd
05-02-2006, 09:05 AM
If you want someone to come play with an open mind, I'd put that Ron Tisdale fellow at or near the top of the list. He's a good egg and an ex-wrestler (two excellent character traits) and I like him very much!

(Now, if only he'd come visit and play at our dojo more . . .hint, hint)

Kevin Leavitt
05-02-2006, 09:15 AM
Thanks Mike. You very succinctly summed up all my "issues" in the past week!

The question now is what would we see/experience from meeting with Dan?

1. A few static tricks.
2. being able to move in a rudimentary way.
3. Being able to demonstrate at full force, full spectrum dynamic.

Dan, where do you feel you fall in on this "scale".

Ron,

I agree and it appears your attitude and maturity is correct. I don't see this so much as a challenge but as an education process to expand our knowledge of how to improve. I for one, am not parochial when it comes to aikido and while I find it to be a wonderful methodolgy, I think there are other ways to train that are better.

You know i'd love to see a seminar like aiki-expo that brought together buys from different perspectives using aikido as the base common methodology. I mean we have good BJJ/MMA grapplers out there. Some CMA guys, and the like that could constructively help all of us figure out how to look at things differently. Never know what might come out of it!

I am not talking about how to do ikkyu on a guy that wants to clinch you either....not technique oriented, but principle oriented. i.e how to incorporate different methodologies into the base of aikido. I'd be more up for that than a "challenge".

Kevin Leavitt
05-02-2006, 09:24 AM
The equivilant to this in the MMA world is called a "throwdown". For those of you that don't know, throwdowns aren't challenge matches, but a chance to put your "stuff" on the line and see how it stacks up against others that don't necessarily share the same paradiqm or perspective as you.

It is done in a cooperative, egoless, way. The end result is a confirmation of your skills/principles or it don't work and you go back to the drawing board and re-adapt.

I like it as it keeps you from getting complacent and you must deal with the realities of others. I have found throwdowns to be a tremendous tool in helping me figure things out. It really helps make your martial art your own.

The one drawback to this however, is this: If you get too focused on doing things this way all the time, you may not do well at your base art...say aikido. You still need to listen to your Sensei and instructors and continue to do what they tell you to do for the most part as you may not have the skills or experience to totally grasp what is happening in the given circumstance you are presented with at the throwdown.

I think this is what Mike, Dan, and I are concerned with.

Throwdowns aren't really good for beginners, or those necessarily interested at being good technically good at aikido the way you do it in your organization.

It takes a certain mentality, and certain base skill level, and a maturity to be able to emotionally deal with the fact that you may walk away confused!

What do you guys think?

M. McPherson
05-02-2006, 09:48 AM
The main thing here for me, is to get the adversarial nature of this discussion purged. I've tried to be very clear about this...this is not adversarial to me. No need for that crap.

Best,
Ron


There you go, Ron, bringing yet another thread back to some semblance of civility, maturity, and restraint. The nerve...
Anyhow, have a great trip up to Massachusetts - it sounds like it will be a great learning experience.

Best regards,
Murray McPherson

Mike Sigman
05-02-2006, 09:59 AM
The question now is what would we see/experience from meeting with Dan?

1. A few static tricks.
2. being able to move in a rudimentary way.
3. Being able to demonstrate at full force, full spectrum dynamic.

Dan, where do you feel you fall in on this "scale". Well, I would modify that:

Foot in the door for the first time:

1. A few static tricks.
2. being able to move in a rudimentary way.

Being on the road to real results:

3. Able to demonstrate from weak, gradually getting stronger, full-blown movement with ki/kokyu-power.
4.Being able to demonstrate at full force, full spectrum dynamic. You know i'd love to see a seminar like aiki-expo that brought together buys from different perspectives using aikido as the base common methodology. [snip]I am not talking about how to do ikkyu on a guy that wants to clinch you either....not technique oriented, but principle oriented. i.e how to incorporate different methodologies into the base of aikido. I'd be more up for that than a "challenge".Here I'd agree that it would take more than a quick visit or workshop to really get started. It's like trying to teach someone to play the guitar at a 2-hour seminar at Aiki-Expo... an almost impossible task. ;)

Mike

Ron Tisdale
05-02-2006, 10:04 AM
The equivilant to this in the MMA world is called a "throwdown". For those of you that don't know, throwdowns aren't challenge matches, but a chance to put your "stuff" on the line and see how it stacks up against others that don't necessarily share the same paradiqm or perspective as you.

Well, that is even beyond what I am looking for. In a throwdown, rolling is the main course. Working on what you apply in that venue, what works, what doesn't, how to improve what you have and learn new things. In my mind, the exchange we are discussing is about specific methods of training very specific skills. I'm not looking to find out what I do that already works. I'm looking to learn new things, or better ways of doing things I perhaps already have some clue about. Different focus, maybe not by much, but different all the same. Mike has talked a lot about the "been there done that" crowd. In my mind, that attitude stops a lot of learning. I don't want to be flippant, but I've had that attitude, and done that scene. :) Time to do something else...and learn.

Best,
Ron (thanks for the compliments guys...Murray, miss you at the dojo, stop in some time! Bud, got the latest newsletter, but I haven't checked the schedule yet. We'll see if I can make it up sometime in the summer!)

Ron Tisdale
05-02-2006, 10:09 AM
Hi Mike,

I think that's why Dan wants to see some commitment. Without it, it's really a waste of his time. If I'm lucky, I'll have something of a base for him to work with. If he's lucky, I'll stick with the material and show some progress.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-02-2006, 10:15 AM
The question now is what would we see/experience from meeting with Dan?

1. A few static tricks.
2. being able to move in a rudimentary way.
3. Being able to demonstrate at full force, full spectrum dynamic.

Dan, where do you feel you fall in on this "scale".

Hi Kevin. I think Dan has posted enough about where *he* thinks he falls on this scale. In my mind, if you want to know the truth of things like that, you pack an open mind and a bag, and do the work. This doesn't have to be hard...lots of folk did it in Paris with Ark (unfortunately, before I got there), people did it with Ueshiba, Ueshiba did it with Takeda, etc. etc. etc.

I'm going to sign off on this thread unless something specific comes up that need replying to...it's all been said.

B,
R

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
05-02-2006, 11:31 AM
All good comments. If you guys care, I am feeling much better about things....so I have that going for me! :)

Feelings are important you know!

Ron, yeah I kinda agree about the throwdown. it is technical based and probably difficult on a principle oriented base to do much in a few hours. However, it is a good place to try out the pratical application of your theory/prinicple and it goes along way to breaking down the paradiqm and exposing your mind to other things.

Yeah...I am done with this worn out horse too!

Cheers!

Mark Freeman
05-02-2006, 12:13 PM
Hi Michael, you wrote:The one time was actually personally amusing because I personally defused it with what I can only describe as a Stupid Ki Trick that still amazes me that it works. Even though I've done it three times and it's worked all three times, it just seems like it's too easy and shouldn't work.

I really enjoyed your post, and as a collector of 'stupid ki tricks', would you let me know what it was that you did? my curiosity just wouldn't let me not ask the question ;)

regards,
Mark

Talon
05-02-2006, 12:21 PM
Hi Michael, you wrote:

I really enjoyed your post, and as a collector of 'stupid ki tricks', would you let me know what it was that you did? my curiosity just wouldn't let me not ask the question ;)

regards,
Mark

I would like to know too.. Please post some details.

mriehle
05-02-2006, 01:43 PM
Hi Michael, you wrote:

I really enjoyed your post, and as a collector of 'stupid ki tricks', would you let me know what it was that you did? my curiosity just wouldn't let me not ask the question ;)

regards,
Mark

I wondered if someone would ask. :)

It's so simple, so obvious. Yet, if done sincerely I've never seen it not work. I learned it from Denis Burke of Andover Aikido (http://www.andoveraikido.co.uk/).

Basically, someone is getting in your face, being confrontational. Turn in and stand next to him in a spirit of comradery and cooperation. You are now facing the same direction as he is. The trick is to completely commit to being "on his side". Now you can come to a reasonable understanding of how the situation should go.

I'm not sure that description is really adequate, but I think it's as close as you'll get in this kind of a discussion.

Like I said, even though I've done it on three separate occasions, it still amazes me how well it works. I'm sure there's someone out there it won't work with, but I've yet to run into that person. Moreover, the position you put yourself in requires a special effort on their part to pursue an attack at that point. Bonus! :D

I think, as well, that if you are "faking it", it will fail. Just turning in for the more advantageous(?) physical position will result in escalation rather than resolution, I suspect.

DH
05-02-2006, 03:53 PM
Guys
I have to go train. I will write later tonight about goals.

I am quite sure Ron will have his hands full with connection exercises. bag work, body drills, static and dynamic work, body punching and absorbing with me and my guys, and a mind full of things to play with. And I will offer him as much hands-on and rolling with me as he wishes.

Then.........I'm not a big drinker, so It will be dinner good conversation and much laughter.

I was thinking of throw-down with the previous tone of the thread and would gladly oblige. But Ron actually wants to learn something. How very "Ron-like" of him. Therefore, its going to be lots of fun. Several lurkers who know me are actually pleased I am finally opening up little.

Ron, once again you are spot on. I -am- hoping for some sense of commitment out of this revery. Otherwise it is just more Budo curiosity and a waste. No one is going to re-wire in a weekend.

Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
05-03-2006, 07:19 AM
Well I don't do knife or any striking before I have to do presentations myself. I look bad enough already-can't imagine standing up in front of a planning board with a black eye or bruised knuckles. :confused:


Cheers
Dan

Hay Dan, I could tell you just how it feels. Over the years I have done just that in front of planning boards and city and county commissions. They can't quit grasp the concept of why. At least those of them that were never my students. Quite a few were or still are.

Dennis Hooker
Manager of Technical Services
METROPLAN ORLANDO
WWW.METROPLANORLANDO.COM

Mike Sigman
05-03-2006, 07:31 AM
I am quite sure Ron will have his hands full with connection exercises. bag work, body drills, static and dynamic work, body punching and absorbing with me and my guys, and a mind full of things to play with. And I will offer him as much hands-on and rolling with me as he wishes.Y'know, it dawns on me that we could slip in a challenge of sorts here. Ron could go visit Dan and learn for X-number of days, whatever. Then I could meet with some volunteer of reasonably near ability to Ron for the same amount of time. Then Ron and the volunteer could arrange to get together and have a show-and-tell. Might encourage Dan to do his best. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Mark Freeman
05-03-2006, 10:29 AM
Better get down to the gauntlet shop, they're nearly sold out ;)

Mike Sigman
05-03-2006, 12:24 PM
Still, these are all just words. The attitude is what really matters. Getting yourself down into that correct attitude is the key, IME, to all the Stupid Ki Tricks. I personally have never seen these bits on psychology ever commonly used as examples of ki or qi. Tohei has introduced a quasi-religion based on some of the exotic-appearing material in the physical ki, but that sort of thing is not considered mainstream. I.e., there seems to be an injection of psychology for "ki trick" that I completely disagree with. I'm sure if you get on my side, you'll see what I mean. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

mriehle
05-03-2006, 01:46 PM
I.e., there seems to be an injection of psychology for "ki trick" that I completely disagree with. I'm sure if you get on my side, you'll see what I mean. ;)


As it happens, I agree on some level. But I can't argue with results.

So...

It finally dawned on me that there is an element of psychology to ki. At the most basic level it's what I characterize as "tricking your own mind into doing the right thing". So many of these "tricks" are about being in the right physical and mental state. Sometimes it's harder to get yourself out of your own head and allow yourself to do it right.

So we use visualizations to make us forget to get in our own way.

Once I'd made this mental leap, a lot of ki exercises that were completely beyond me suddenly became easy. No deep mystery involved, it's just getting out of your own way. In this I think the whole "ki as religion" thing is actually counterproductive.

The "turning in" trick is far more than psychology. This much I'm sure of. It's really amazing how it changes everyone in the room. The person being aggressive will actually hear you differently.

I do believe that people can "feel" ki coming from another person and will react to it, often without realizing what they are reacting to or even that they are reacting. I don't see this as some mystic energy wafting off our bodies ala "The Force", but I do see it as a real phenomenon. I have all kinds of ideas on what's actually going on there, most of which are probably completely wrong (so I won't share them), but they work for me.

Okay, so maybe I don't agree completely. I think ki is a very complex interaction between the people involved. There's a lot more than physics there. I wouldn't call it hypnosis, but I've noticed simply changing the way I present my ki can change the way people around me behave. This means - to me - the psychology is part of the equation.

And, in an attempt to bring this back on topic:

I wonder if some of the reason why blatant challenges are rare anymore has something to do with this. I can often walk into a MA school and tell just who I'm dealing with without speaking a word with them. I'm definitely not a guru with all-seeing mystical powers, so if I can do this, I'd expect someone who's at a higher level than I am would be able to as well.

What, then, would be gained by a challenge that you know you would win (I think it's safe to assume that most people wouldn't make a challenge they know they would lose)? Especially if the students in the class are actually learning something worthwhile even though the instructor may not be as good as you (presumably) are.

The only time I could see this as worthwhile would be if I walked in, found an absolute charlatan who was obviously ripping off his students. Even then, this might not be the best way to deal with it.

DH
05-03-2006, 04:34 PM
Hay Dan, I could tell you just how it feels. Over the years I have done just that in front of planning boards and city and county commissions. They can't quit grasp the concept of why. At least those of them that were never my students. Quite a few were or still are.

Dennis Hooker
Manager of Technical Services
METROPLAN ORLANDO
WWW.METROPLANORLANDO.COM

Hey Bud

Well I'll give ya what you can get by with your natural Southern charm.
I'm a damn Yankee trying to represent developers projects. You know....... Condo's, factories, Churches, Banks, Car dealerships All the stuff abbuters just love to welcome into their neighborhoods. I remember one meeting for a chemical plant that that had 4 of the top ten carcinogens....was almost a workout making it to the door
So, being thought of as a bad guy already- It doesn't help me to walk in looking like one. :D

Cheers
Dan

DH
05-03-2006, 05:45 PM
As it happens, I agree on some level. But I can't argue with results.

So...

It finally dawned on me that there is an element of psychology to ki. At the most basic level it's what I characterize as "tricking your own mind into doing the right thing". So many of these "tricks" are about being in the right physical and mental state. Sometimes it's harder to get yourself out of your own head and allow yourself to do it right.

So we use visualizations to make us forget to get in our own way.

Once I'd made this mental leap, a lot of ki exercises that were completely beyond me suddenly became easy. No deep mystery involved, it's just getting out of your own way. In this I think the whole "ki as religion" thing is actually counterproductive.

The "turning in" trick is far more than psychology. This much I'm sure of. It's really amazing how it changes everyone in the room. The person being aggressive will actually hear you differently.

I do believe that people can "feel" ki coming from another person and will react to it, often without realizing what they are reacting to or even that they are reacting. I don't see this as some mystic energy wafting off our bodies ala "The Force", but I do see it as a real phenomenon. I have all kinds of ideas on what's actually going on there, most of which are probably completely wrong (so I won't share them), but they work for me.

Okay, so maybe I don't agree completely. I think ki is a very complex interaction between the people involved. There's a lot more than physics there. I wouldn't call it hypnosis, but I've noticed simply changing the way I present my ki can change the way people around me behave. This means - to me - the psychology is part of the equation.

And, in an attempt to bring this back on topic:

I wonder if some of the reason why blatant challenges are rare anymore has something to do with this. I can often walk into a MA school and tell just who I'm dealing with without speaking a word with them. I'm definitely not a guru with all-seeing mystical powers, so if I can do this, I'd expect someone who's at a higher level than I am would be able to as well.

What, then, would be gained by a challenge that you know you would win (I think it's safe to assume that most people wouldn't make a challenge they know they would lose)? Especially if the students in the class are actually learning something worthwhile even though the instructor may not be as good as you (presumably) are.

The only time I could see this as worthwhile would be if I walked in, found an absolute charlatan who was obviously ripping off his students. Even then, this might not be the best way to deal with it.

Wow,
Psychology and thinking to affect the attitude of a room and make Ki Tricks work. Can you tell me things you would with your mind that is not normally done with a mind in order to "Make" Ki flow happen? And can you can explain just what you are getting out of the way of in you?
I would agree about walking in and knowing quickly. In fact, let me put my hands on someone and I'll know right then. Period.

In short if you don't know what you are doing to get out fo your way? Then what did you change with your mind? What then.is replicable?

How does that withstand someone who knows what he is doing everytime and actively trains to control himself and you?
Cheers
Dan

mriehle
05-03-2006, 06:06 PM
Wow,
Psychology and thinking to affect the attitude of a room and make Ki Tricks work. Can you tell me things you would with your mind that is not normally done with a mind in order to "Make" Ki flow happen? And can you can explain just what you are getting out of the way of in you?
I would agree about walking in and knowing quickly. In fact, let me put my hands on someone and I'll know right then. Period.

In short if you don't know what you are doing to get out fo your way? Then what did you change with your mind? What then.is replicable?

How does that withstand someone who knows what he is doing everytime and actively trains to control himself and you?
Cheers
Dan

Sorry, I'm trying to parse a question out of this and all I can find is intentional baiting. Baiting which, BTW, is off topic...

...again.

Did you have something to ask, or something to say?

Or maybe you really are interested in what I mean by "getting out of your own way"?

An illustration from my own training, maybe. Unbendable arm is nearly effortless when you "just do it". But when we first start to attempt the exercise, most of us try to "do" something. Which pretty much guarantees we fail. But using one of the classic visualizations (water or light flowing, iron rod, whatever) we get our own ego to let go and let our bodies (and minds) do what they actually already know how to do. Eventually we must abandon the visualization and "just do it", but the visualization helps to get our ego out of the way. 'Sat help?

As far as attitude changing ki, if you haven't experienced this and haven't seen how a room full of people can be influenced by a subtle change, well...sorry. I have.

I probably shouldn't go here, but...

...did you get why I call these "Stupid Ki Tricks" at all?

Most of them, by all reasonable logic, shouldn't work. But I've seen them work over and over again. What's more, just going through the motions doesn't do it. The feeling is exactly the same as when you are doing any other ki test.

And I guess there's no hope of this ever getting back on topic.

Mike Sigman
05-03-2006, 06:47 PM
...did you get why I call these "Stupid Ki Tricks" at all?

Most of them, by all reasonable logic, shouldn't work. Actually, the reason the physical ki-tricks work is highly logical, just like a magic trick, once it's explained to you and you're shown how to do it. Just "letting yourself go" won't do it, not if you're ever going to use these skills in a martial art. And if you really have the abilities to do these things, you know what you're doing and why you're doing it.

I remember being in a small discussion group with a bunch of teachers of the Asian persuasion (I was the only native westerner there). The question came up by one guy that I've never forgotten. He wanted to know why westerners have such strange ideas about ki and how things work.... and he came out with the statement, "All the good teachers are like technical instructors and most of the westerners seem to be like art students". There is a logic to fullblown ki and how it works.... someone that really knows it can explain it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

DH
05-03-2006, 07:49 PM
Sorry, I'm trying to parse a question out of this and all I can find is intentional baiting. Baiting which, BTW, is off topic...

...again.

Did you have something to ask, or something to say?

Or maybe you really are interested in what I mean by "getting out of your own way"?

An illustration from my own training, maybe. Unbendable arm is nearly effortless when you "just do it". But when we first start to attempt the exercise, most of us try to "do" something. Which pretty much guarantees we fail. But using one of the classic visualizations (water or light flowing, iron rod, whatever) we get our own ego to let go and let our bodies (and minds) do what they actually already know how to do. Eventually we must abandon the visualization and "just do it", but the visualization helps to get our ego out of the way. 'Sat help?

As far as attitude changing ki, if you haven't experienced this and haven't seen how a room full of people can be influenced by a subtle change, well...sorry. I have.

I probably shouldn't go here, but...

...did you get why I call these "Stupid Ki Tricks" at all?

Most of them, by all reasonable logic, shouldn't work. But I've seen them work over and over again. What's more, just going through the motions doesn't do it. The feeling is exactly the same as when you are doing any other ki test.

And I guess there's no hope of this ever getting back on topic.

Michael
You said you didn't "see" or had to parse out a question. There were several.

I asked:
1.Can you tell me things you would with your mind that is not normally done with a mind in order to "Make" Ki flow happen?

2. Can you can explain just what you are getting out of the way of in you?

snip...........

3. If you don't know what you are doing to get out of your way? Then what did you change with your mind? What then.is replicable? By the way, I think this is key.

4. How does that withstand someone who knows what he is doing everytime and actively trains to control himself and you?

I’m not baiting you as in a disingenuous game. I disagree with the tenants of what you’re saying and asking you if you could define it further.
I have listened for twenty five years as teachers said to “just let go and relax.” That was hogwash. The ones who made me work-fixed me and well ...made me work. Just relaxing will not work to affect much of anything, particularly physical responses under pressure. Real body skills and connection are arrived at by actual work..defined, explained, and taught- hard work. Not techniques that require someone to hit you in a way or you move in a way to lock them hooha. It’s not the pretzel-logic game, or any other martial dance.

But these tricks- though they may be- are expressing real and valid skills. Not…tricks of distraction and misdirection and other things relagated to fighting. Skills that are replicable under stress in a durable in a prolonged engagement. Hell catch me on a different day and I am showing Masons and landscape kids how to shovel with much less effort. Why? Internal skills.…I show THEM some things to do and wham…they can, to a degree do it.
So they are explainable and the guys do them...I don't say. "Hold the shovel BE the shovel.and get out of the way."

You mentioned the unbendable arm.
It’s a perfect example where guys can get limited results from Aikido. Then you can show them a definable, explicable way, to do the same trick with very specific things to think about and trust me. They never go back.
If you push or pull me to throw, I know what I do automatically on the inside. It is by many definitions excellent Ki. In fact two of your own called it that. I said “No it isn’t. Its my legs, hips, and spine.

So, since you stated some specifics and I cannot see that working… I asked how you can not do something you don’t know your doing ..to not do it…. by getting out of the way? I mean-you did say it.
But listen, I am disagreeing, even saying I think you’re wrong on this. But I am asking truthfully just what it is you are not doing to get out of your own way.



Cheers
Dan

DH
05-04-2006, 07:39 AM
I just read Rons review of training in Paris. He mentioned something which got my attention. That hitting would not be tolerated and safety is paramount (he was talking about weapons there). It brings up an old issue with me in regards to body skills and fight training. I wonder at what point safety- compromises real progress. Where does gradually increasing levels of danger-both real or percieved become a welcomed tool for growth.

We train to hit and get hit and absorb the pain. It is my belief that training this way not only toughens the body it toughens the spirit/mind. The control of intent and the ability to remain focused, maintain structure while taking punishment changes people. I have seen it happen. We do certain mind/ focus drills that get rather intense. I have watched experience MA men -who never really went at it- get so fustrated they stop, as if a re-set button gets pushed as their ability to remain "in the game" collapses.

How could someone believe or hope to persevere against agressive, staccato, broken-rythm attacks, unless one trains to do so? Truly.. it is all about personal levels and intensity that each of us chooses to deal with. Not many are going to choose an MMA type or BJJ type training. Thats fine. Many don't care too. Nothing is requiring that there be a standard across the many arts. But at what point does each person allow for the imaginary to meet the reality at a level or levels that continually challenges their complacency?

Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 08:10 AM
We train to hit and get hit and absorb the pain. It is my belief that training this way not only toughens the body it toughens the spirit/mind. The control of intent and the ability to remain focused, maintain structure while taking punishment changes people. I have seen it happen. We do certain mind/ focus drills that get rather intense.
Cheers
Dan

Dan, as a young man I trained in a form of Karate that required hitting and getting hit with power. Sometimes after class I may piss blood for a week. I am convinced that that is one of the reasons my kidneys are in such trouble now. Oh the things we did to our bodies when we were young and bulletproof. Once I had heart surgery after a full palm strike to the chest. I gave as good as I got and we too knew the tricks. We believed we were training for war. We were simply distorting our bodies. I knew a sensei once that said ďif you did not receive an injury once or twice a year requiring medical attention you were not training hard enoughĒ. All can say today is evaluate why you train and then train accordingly. I am not a big fan of pain for painís sake. We get enough of that in life.

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 08:17 AM
Dan, as a young man I trained in a form of Karate that required hitting and getting hit with power. Sometimes after class I may piss blood for a week. I am convinced that that is one of the reasons my kidneys are in such trouble now. Oh the things we did to our bodies when we were young and bulletproof. Once I had heart surgery after a full palm strike to the chest. I gave as good as I got and we too knew the tricks. We believed we were training for war. We were simply distorting our bodies. I knew a sensei once that said "if you did not receive an injury once or twice a year requiring medical attention you were not training hard enough". All can say today is evaluate why you train and then train accordingly. I am not a big fan of pain for pain's sake. We get enough of that in life. Ouch. That's what all the ki-breathing is for, for god's sake. It not only increases your strength, it "wraps" the body organs. Training with pain and blunt blows is considered extremely primitive.

There's a monograph by Donn Draeger in which he mentions he and Japanese martial teachers watching some of the visiting Chinese take enormous body punishment. Draeger asserted that the Japanese didn't know how to train that. Personally, I think some of the Japanese DID know how to train it; they just didn't show Draeger. ;)

Regards,

Mike

DH
05-04-2006, 08:36 AM
Yeah But I agree with that Dennis.
Its not what I am talking about. I am more in line with making my body ...healthily.... resistent to blows. Not "taking" punishment, preventing it by controling my body.
The breath is key to ki.
I have had guys wail on my stomach, chest, legs and arms for years now. I'm fine.I dance and move with the youngins.

I'm not into causing pain for pain sake either. I think its counter productive and smacks of abuse, worse to see young people played that way with no means for safe growth.

Cheers
Dan

DH
05-04-2006, 08:41 AM
Ouch. That's what all the ki-breathing is for, for god's sake. It not only increases your strength, it "wraps" the body organs. Training with pain and blunt blows is considered extremely primitive.

There's a monograph by Donn Draeger in which he mentions he and Japanese martial teachers watching some of the visiting Chinese take enormous body punishment. Draeger asserted that the Japanese didn't know how to train that. Personally, I think some of the Japanese DID know how to train it; they just didn't show Draeger. ;)

Regards,

Mike

I'd be careful of discussing just what and who Draeger knew, Mike. Just a heads up. That is a very deep lake to wade into. He was converscent in CMA and with top players. I think it more than fair to say the Japanese didn't know it. While it's not an absolute, if very, very, few did- it makes the statement in a cultural reference pretty sound.

Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 08:46 AM
Ouch. That's what all the ki-breathing is for, for god's sake. It not only increases your strength, it "wraps" the body organs. Training with pain and blunt blows is considered extremely primitive.

Regards,

Mike

Mike I truly do not wish to appear rude but have you experiences this for yourself? I don;t know you and you may well possess these skills. Have you let a well trained karate man deliver a blow to see if you could take it and keep fighting? Or is this speculation developed in the Aikido dojo? Have you ever gone full out with a competent and skilled person from another martial art who don't really care about your concepts? Wrapping the internal organs in Ki is a mighty flowery concept but if you get hit by the right person the wrapping is likely to come undone. I have not trained in any of the "harder arts" in 30 years. Aikido took over and for good reason. Self preservation, I am over 60 now and I don't intend to get hit again.

In Japan a fellow was giving a public demo and thought he had the wrapping thing down cold. He ask an Aikido Shihan to strike him. The Shihan did and the fellow almost died. A lot of people still hate the Shihan for striking so hard. I believe we should strive for these lofty goals and I'm not sure I would recommend testing the theory for real unless you believe you will need those skills to survive.

I have seen Master Chan here in Orlando do things I believe undoable. So I know what can be done even if I can't do them. I believe he to be one of the uncommon ones.

Ron Tisdale
05-04-2006, 08:58 AM
Hi Dan,

Yes, I was mentioning that primarily in a weapons context, especially as to the incident I mentioned that I witnessed early on. I'd say striking someone full force with the jo by accident shows a lack of control, and a tendancy toward abuse if it happens repeatedly. Separate issue from what you mention I think.

And what you mention is a valid point. How do you train the skills you speak of...except by actually at some point taking the hits...taking the throws...and learning how to absorb (transmute?) that power? Hopefully I'll have more of a clue after we spend some time together. While the training in the review I wrote was excellent in terms of aikido...and expressing some facets of kokyu ryoku...I do indeed agree that there and in aikido in general the training you specifically mention is somewhat lacking. Or I'm just not getting all of the points behind the training (quite possible at my level).

Best,
Ron

DH
05-04-2006, 09:04 AM
Dennis
But you don't haul off and just wack someone. You bring them through. Even in the course of a year my guys start to ignore my body strikes on them and they just keep coming at me. They have enough breath control and body alignment to ward it and absorb it. There is no short term or long term damage-well there are minor accidents but only a sit out and come back.
BTW I'm 50 and other than an occasional trip to the chiropractor I am fit and trim. No long term damage on me.

I don't know Mike. I have trained with men who know him and have trained with him and they say he is solid in what he knows but isn't fighter per se. I will offer that what he is saying here is sound. That said, I am a fighter and yes, I have been hit by all kinds of guys. But look, MIke Rob or me mentioning it is not bravado. Its testing, training, experimenting, testing, and improving. And the skills are old, old, and known. For measurable skills you use it through all levels gradually improving. Any good Boxer does body conditioning as well.

Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 09:12 AM
Mike I truly do not wish to appear rude but have you experiences this for yourself? I don;t know you and you may well possess these skills. Have you let a well trained karate man deliver a blow to see if you could take it and keep fighting? Or is this speculation developed in the Aikido dojo? Have you ever gone full out with a competent and skilled person from another martial art who don't really care about your concepts? Wrapping the internal organs in Ki is a mighty flowery concept but if you get hit by the right person the wrapping is likely to come undone. I have not trained in any of the "harder arts" in 30 years. Aikido took over and for good reason. Self preservation, I am over 60 now and I don't intend to get hit again. Hi Dennis:

I can understand why you might ask that question, but let me just assure you that I have adequate experience to say I'm qualified to speak. I really have a personal aversion to posts that might appear to be bragging about my background or what I can do. That's for other people.

Let me repeat an anecdote I've told before on this forum. One of my teachers, after being asked a question at a dinner party, took one of the unused chopsticks, placed the pointy end against his throat (between the adam's apple and the hollow) and placed the blunt end (horizontally) against the brick wall that was behind his chair. So he only had a few inches he could move. He suddenly pulsed straight forward and the chopstick splintered into bamboo fibers. When someone asked him how he'd done it, he replied, "Some people would call it qi, but really it just shows that the human body can be conditioned more than most people realize".

I'm talking about a type of conditioning, Dennis. And you can do that sort of conditioning to the organs through breathing, etc., exercises. That's all I'm saying. To take blows without doing that sort of stuff is considered primitive. I have seen Master Chan here in Orlando do things I believe undoable. So I know what can be done even if I can't do them. I believe he to be one of the uncommon ones. I don't know who "Master Chan" is. If you mean Chan Poi, though, he's just middle of the road at best, compared to what's out there.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Rocky Izumi
05-04-2006, 09:15 AM
To paraphrase one of my Shihans: "Strong Ki by itself is useless against really good technique."

Try breaking a real rock with only Ki and no real technique. You need some Ki development but you also need a lot of good technique. Otherwise, you will only break it with luck. We, like professional golfers and other pro athletes, practice to sustain consistency in our actions. If you break a rock with your strike once, you should be able to break a similar rock each and every time since you have the consistency. If you rely on Ki and luck in getting the right technique, you will probably be inconsistent and not be able to break the rock each and every time.

It is strange to me how people try and separate Ki and Ki practice from other things. You need Ki flow to do anything. In just learning good striking technique, you need to have good Ki. That is why good technique by itself will always win over someone just using strong Ki by itself. Strong Technique = (Body activity + Ki flow) * Practice for Consistency and Development versus Strong Ki Concept = (Ki flow) * Practice for Consistency and Development. Of course, that means Practice without Body activity or Ki flow (Kuchiwaza) comes up with a goose egg or dry fart (a whole lot of noise with little to show for it).

I'm full of strong coffee (building my Ki) and am shaking and blathering. I better sign off and get back to work before I sound even stupider.

Rock

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 09:15 AM
Dennis
Any good Boxer does body conditioning as well.

Cheers
Dan


Sure enough Dan, and that what is "was" all about for us and we conditioned well.

Now days I don't let them hit me. They may think they are hitting me but the energy is going somewhere other than into my body and usually it drops them to the floor. I see that Mike also does not study Aikido. That was an assumption I wrongly made. I never intend to stand in one place and stop anyone when it is so much easer to simply move to right place and let them stop themselves.

Take care
Dennis

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 09:16 AM
I don't know Mike. I have trained with men who know him and have trained with him and they say he is solid in what he knows but isn't fighter per se. Dan, why don't you restrict your bullshit to the brags about yourself? People say all kinds of things about me from "he's not a fighter" to "he's so violent they should lock him up". You're just a gossip-monger who likes to talk too much.

Mike

Mark Uttech
05-04-2006, 09:19 AM
This thread belongs in Bullshido. com

Ron Tisdale
05-04-2006, 09:21 AM
Don't worry Mark, I think it's headed there promptly...

;)

Take it all with a grain of salt (in the wound).

B,
R

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 09:21 AM
To paraphrase one of my Shihans: "Strong Ki by itself is useless against really good technique."

Try breaking a real rock with only Ki and no real technique. You need some Ki development but you also need a lot of good technique. Otherwise, you will only break it with luck. We, like professional golfers and other pro athletes, practice to sustain consistency in our actions. If you break a rock with your strike once, you should be able to break a similar rock each and every time since you have the consistency. If you rely on Ki and luck in getting the right technique, you will probably be inconsistent and not be able to break the rock each and every time. I agree with that, insofar as that particular facet of ki is concerned.

Regards,

Mike

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 09:24 AM
Hi Dennis:

I . I don't know who "Master Chan" is. If you mean Chan Poi, though, he's just middle of the road at best, compared to what's out there.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Well Mike that is who I am talking about and if you consider him middle of the road all can say is damn!

Dennis

DH
05-04-2006, 09:32 AM
Sure enough Dan, and that what is "was" all about for us and we conditioned well.

Now days I don't let them hit me. They may think they are hitting me but the energy is going somewhere other than into my body and usually it drops them to the floor. I see that Mike also does not study Aikido. That was an assumption I wrongly made. I never intend to stand in one place and stop anyone when it is so much easer to simply move to right place and let them stop themselves.

Take care
Dennis

Thats the idea for "using" it and we agree. I was reffering to training it but yet remaining safe as you bring them along. Its a fine line between accepting an exchange and banging and rolling VS crossing the line, and with most guys it is easily understood. I suspect its always been that way.

Cheers
Dan

Erick Mead
05-04-2006, 09:33 AM
Have you ever gone full out with a competent and skilled person from another martial art who don't really care about your concepts? Wrapping the internal organs in Ki is a mighty flowery concept but if you get hit by the right person the wrapping is likely to come undone. I have not trained in any of the "harder arts" in 30 years. Aikido took over and for good reason. Self preservation, I am over 60 now and I don't intend to get hit again. As long as Hooker Sensei doesn't hit ME -- :) -- I'll have the presumption to chime in behind him on this one, since I majored in it. Some people can do things like this, but it is not in the least bit easy -- or fun -- to accomplish.

The Chinese systems of Gong-fu, exemplified in the Shaolin disciplines (still extant) are no great mystery in how they teach such techniques (if you call them that), but simply practical, and brutally applied knowledge, learned in exceedingly rigorous, and merciless training.

Ch'i/qi/ki is the Chinese material metaphor for energy transfer, potential and otherwise, which physics would describe in parametric variable terms -- and disregarding the precise states of energy -- with a vector field potential. That doesn' t really matter, except to point out that both modern physics and traditional Chinese empirical knowledge are capable fo talking about the same thing -- just with different boxes and labels.

Some Chinese texts (of which I have only read translated excerpts, but even so) for training in this kind of Ch'i manipulation, do not describe this happening because of superior mental focus, access to higher powers or enlightened moral fiber.

It is forcibly trained into monks who starting from the age of about eight, whose bodies are literally, beaten, molded and shaped into a body that is physically much tougher and reactive to applied force than is the case for an untrained, unmodified physiology. It is physiology as much as it is psychology and kinesiology.

If you are strong enough -- in the right way -- and trained -- in the right way -- in how to absorb the force of landing, you can jump off the top of a six foot ladder (or higher) without injury. If you are a mighty bear of a man and untrained in how to absorb the shock of impact in your own legs and body to decelarate in a tightly controlled manner on contact with the ground, you will likely break a leg. It is just like sutemi. A newbie can break a short rib -- Oh SOOO easily.

There are some good films on the present day Shaolin training that give some hints of the rigor of the system, a good example being a swung two-by-four equivalent strike to the midriff). Basically, after being beaten time and again without relent they learn to absorb some of the the force of a blow by reacting with the body to distribute the energy of the impact over the widest (and deepest) possible area. There is just no way to learn this except by getting hit and hammered a good ten-thousand plus times at progressively greater energy. Fun, fun ....

It is not magic. If you have the desire to do this you can do so at your leisure. Home Depot has a running special on two-by-fours.

I just prefer not to get hit. Especially by Hooker Sensei :D

Now --- Nikkyo anyone?

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 09:37 AM
Well Mike that is who I am talking about and if you consider him middle of the road all can say is damn!Ask him why he packed his bags and left Boston sometime.

I think he's pretty talented and a neat old guy, Dennis.... so don't get me wrong. However, I've seen a lot of professional Chinese martial artists and while Chan Poi spent longer training skills than most of us westerners did, he's not top echelon.

FWIW

Mike

Jim Sorrentino
05-04-2006, 09:40 AM
Ron,How do you train the skills you speak of...except by actually at some point taking the hits...taking the throws...and learning how to absorb (transmute?) that power? In Uechi-ryu karatedo, part of the training included arm-rubbing, arm-pounding, and leg-pounding. Two practitioners would stand in san-chin, the basic stance of Uechi-ryu (from the kata of the same name). In arm-rubbing, the practitioners would stand adjacently to each other. In arm-pounding and leg-pounding, the practitioners face each other directly. Whether rubbing or striking, the goal was to build up the ability to give and receive. My teacher, Bob Galeone, was quick to point out that if you bruised too early or too severely, you would not be able to train for a while. The point was to find and steadily increase one's limits.

Also, when practicing the san-chin kata in class, the teacher would test the student's form by kicking, pressing, punching, and slapping various parts of the student's body, while the student maintained the stance. Again, the goal was to expand one's limits. A beginner would receive a much gentler test than an experienced student. Blood in the urine was a sign of injury, and like any other injury, the student was expected to take care of it and advise the instructor accordingly.

I spent most of the summer of 1981 in Okinawa training at the dojo of Kanei Uechi-sensei, as well as a smaller dojo run by Ken Nakamatsu-sensei. I was a shodan in Uechi-ryu at that time. What impressed me most about these training methods, as well the striking practice on traditional makiwara, was the emphasis on regular and moderate practice.

The traditional Okinawan makiwara is a long board, preferably a 4x4 shaved down to a 1x4, with the thick end planted in a hole filled with gravel. The thin end is wrapped with straw or an old obi. At a dojo opening, I saw one instructor, R. Tomoyose-sensei, strike a makiwara relatively slowly with a one-knuckle punch, and bend it back significantly. None of the other yudansha were able to bend it nearly as much. Tomoyose-sensei was a noted calligrapher, and I was able to examine his hands pretty closely. They were strong, but showed no signs of scarring or deformity. And I have a sample of calligraphy that he did the summer I visited --- it's quite precisely brushed. Tomoyose-sensei insisted that there was no secret to his power. It was simply the result of daily practice, which he did in such a way that he could make steady progress. "Secrets?!?" he said to me one day, as we were driving to Naha, "I have no secrets. I wish I did! But it's just practice, every day."

Jim

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 09:42 AM
The Chinese systems of Gong-fu, exemplified in the Shaolin disciplines (still extant) are no great mystery in how they teach such techniques (if you call them that), but simply practical, and brutally applied knowledge, learned in exceedingly rigorous, and merciless training.

Ch'i/qi/ki is the Chinese material metaphor for energy transfer, potential and otherwise, which physics would describe in parametric variable terms -- All I can hope is that you're careful to say these are your opinions and don't reflect the knowledge of your teacher, Erick. ;) Because right now you're posting the name of a school while you're showing to a number of readers on the forum that you don't know what you're talking about. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
05-04-2006, 09:51 AM
Nice post Jim. Part of my problem is not enough daily training. That's on me....

Best,
Ron (I've seen clips of that Uechi ryu training...)

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 09:52 AM
In arm-pounding and leg-pounding, the practitioners face each other directly. Whether rubbing or striking, the goal was to build up the ability to give and receive. My teacher, Bob Galeone, was quick to point out that if you bruised too early or too severely, you would not be able to train for a while. The point was to find and steadily increase one's limits. Kotei kitai. I did this on Okinawa when I studied there, but.... (read on)
The traditional Okinawan makiwara is a long board, preferably a 4x4 shaved down to a 1x4, with the thick end planted in a hole filled with gravel. The thin end is wrapped with straw or an old obi. At a dojo opening, I saw one instructor, R. Tomoyose-sensei, strike a makiwara relatively slowly with a one-knuckle punch, and bend it back significantly. None of the other yudansha were able to bend it nearly as much. Tomoyose-sensei was a noted calligrapher, and I was able to examine his hands pretty closely. They were strong, but showed no signs of scarring or deformity. And I have a sample of calligraphy that he did the summer I visited --- it's quite precisely brushed. Tomoyose-sensei insisted that there was no secret to his power. It was simply the result of daily practice, which he did in such a way that he could make steady progress. "Secrets?!?" he said to me one day, as we were driving to Naha, "I have no secrets. I wish I did! But it's just practice, every day." I watched my instructor, Seiyu Shinjo, hit a makiwara one night (it was before practice and I was there hitting the makiwara... I used to practice many hours a day when I had time)... he bent it WAY back and just stood there holding it. That's the power we're referring to a "kokyu power", BTW.

George Mattson, the American proponent of Uechi Ryu, says Kanei Uechi (I think I've got the right Uechi, but I don't want to dig up my notes, so it might be Kambun Uechi) said that if you do Sanchin correctly, you don't need to toughen up on a makiwara. I understand what that means, now. I didn't then. That's part of the training I'm talking about. And it's part of a way of training the same stuff that Ueshiba did.

Regards,

Mike

M. McPherson
05-04-2006, 10:09 AM
George Mattson, the American proponent of Uechi Ryu, says Kanei Uechi (I think I've got the right Uechi, but I don't want to dig up my notes, so it might be Kambun Uechi) said that if you do Sanchin correctly, you don't need to toughen up on a makiwara.

I wouldn't worry about your notes: if Kanei said it, odds are that Kanbun gave it to him. As well, regarding the "conditioning," it's kotekitai for the arms, and ashikitai when referring to the legs. These terms might now differ between the various factions, but pre-schism (in the 'late 80's) these were the terms that many of the Okinawans used (Takara, Tomoyose, et alia).

mriehle
05-04-2006, 10:45 AM
Actually, the reason the physical ki-tricks work is highly logical, just like a magic trick, once it's explained to you and you're shown how to do it. Just "letting yourself go" won't do it, not if you're ever going to use these skills in a martial art. And if you really have the abilities to do these things, you know what you're doing and why you're doing it.


This is absolutely true. But, while I agree with this statement I reserve the right to maintain my sense of wonder at how easy it is. It seems like it should be hard, then isn't. I just think that's way cool.

As for "letting yourself go", I have to say this is one of those things where words are guaranteed to give the wrong impression. There are definite, physical actions which a person must do in order to get these "tricks" to work. Some of them are obvious and easy to convey when teaching. Some of them are less obvious and sometimes require a little subterfuge to get people to do them.

So the visualizations aren't just about "letting go" and relaxing. They're also about getting you to do the right thing physically, sometimes in spite of yourself. If it were just about relaxing, you could use any old visualization at all. IME, you can give a person three different visualizations and - at most - two of them will work. Usually only one of them will.

The trick, as a teacher, is to then get them to notice what they are doing and learn to do that without the visualizations. IME, the visualizations eventually become a handicap. It's hard to stop and think about light flowing through your arm in a randori with four determined uke's trying to take you to the mat. :D


I remember being in a small discussion group with a bunch of teachers of the Asian persuasion (I was the only native westerner there). The question came up by one guy that I've never forgotten. He wanted to know why westerners have such strange ideas about ki and how things work.... and he came out with the statement, "All the good teachers are like technical instructors and most of the westerners seem to be like art students". There is a logic to fullblown ki and how it works.... someone that really knows it can explain it.


You know, I'd have to say that's a fair criticism on some level.

Although I also have to point out that ki - and a lot of other aspects of MA training - are essentially non-verbal in their transmission. I don't remember where I first heard it, but I remember someone saying, "If you understand the explanation, you don't need it". I think that's a fair statement about a lot of our training.

But, that's what the exercises are for. The stuff that can't be explained can, I think, be shown and practiced. To use an analogy (which is surprisingly accurate, IME) from another discipline I participate in: running scales is boring, but you can't really understand how to play music until you do it for a while. People can explain in detail all kinds of stuff about harmony, etc., but until you actually hear it in a context where you can relate it to what you are doing it won't be meaningful to you.

One thing, though. I don't recall if it was you or Dan that made the point about needing a teacher to provide feedback, but that's a point I agree with wholeheartedly. There's a lot of this stuff where you can get the idea you're doing it right, then discover you aren't. Someone who has some idea of how to tell can often point out the small mistakes and make a huge difference in your training.

Rocky Izumi
05-04-2006, 10:49 AM
Hey, keep going guys, this is getting interesting and worthwhile listening in on. You might want to throw in some reference to Aikido or a line describing the implications for Aikido for those who will get upset about moving away from the topic.

Rock

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 10:55 AM
One thing, though. I don't recall if it was you or Dan that made the point about needing a teacher to provide feedback, but that's a point I agree with wholeheartedly. There's a lot of this stuff where you can get the idea you're doing it right, then discover you aren't. Someone who has some idea of how to tell can often point out the small mistakes and make a huge difference in your training. Yeah, but you need the *right* teacher, not just a teacher who says he knows it. On these forums I think a teacher who "knows how to do these things" should be able to post enough basic how-to's to satisfy the claims that he does know. That's why I've unsuccessfully tried for months to get Dan to explain some of the basic concepts, as a for instance.

"Ground-path" is cool, but most people can do that to some varying degree within less than an hour. "Undbendable arm" is a tricky example, because I've seen about 5 different ways to do it which will work but which avoid the ki idea. But I'm optimistic. I think things are changing for the better and I honestly feel pretty good about it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 10:59 AM
This is a good topic and perhaps should be split off onto another thread.

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 11:00 AM
Hey, keep going guys, this is getting interesting and worthwhile listening in on. You might want to throw in some reference to Aikido or a line describing the implications for Aikido for those who will get upset about moving away from the topic. I'm kind up in the air for the moment, Rocky. Even though some of this stuff sounds off-topic, it's not really, once someone understands that a lot of these skills are used in most Asian martial arts. The problem is really that a lot of Aikidoists aren't even aware of the basic skills, much less the broader topic of how the skills intertwine in Asian martial arts. The real show-stopper that has me paused are these recent revelations by Ellis Amdur and others that O-Sensei was filmed etc., doing actual power releases. Anyone who really understands these skills will know immediately that the inescapable conclusion is that Ueshiba had knowledge of FAR more of the ki-training things than we ever realized before. Frankly, it's sort of brought me to a standstill for a few days.

Regards,

Mike

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 11:13 AM
On these forums I think a teacher who "knows how to do these things" should be able to post enough basic how-to's to satisfy the claims that he does know. Regards,

Mike Sigman

The problem as I see it Mike is that too many people talk a good game. If you give all the written instruction then that is all some folks want. Cyber Masters abound here in this web world. I have seen to many dojo where talk is the prime art. And damn if some of those folks can't put me to shame with the ability to talk the talk. I wish I had the gift of gab some of these people have. Also when you give so much away some people start to believe they have gained the knowledge on their own, through their own effort. However they have barley began their trip of Shu Ha Ri and because they have mental knowledge of the mechanics of the technique they believe they understand it. When they find out they are wrong is sometimes devastating to them. Some things are best given one on one.


Dennis

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 11:20 AM
The problem as I see it Mike is that too many people talk a good game. If you give all the written instruction then that is all some folks want. Cyber Masters abound here in this web world. I have seen to many dojo where talk is the prime art. And damn if some of those folks can't put me to shame with the ability to talk the talk. I wish I had the gift of gab some of these people have. Also when you give so much away some people start to believe they have gained the knowledge on their own, through their own effort. However they have barley began their trip of Shu Ha Ri and because they have mental knowledge of the mechanics of the technique they believe they understand it. When they find out they are wrong is sometimes devastating to them. Some things are best given one on one. I agree with you, Dennis. I like to go check people out and I have a reputation for doing it. But reading what people post on the internet at least gives me an idea of whether someone is worthwhile to visit or talk to. It's fairly easy to tell by what people say and what they don't say ... at least the general parameters of where they are. That's my only comment on that.

Insofar as people learning anything valuable from what is posted, I have seen too many times that it simply doesn't work. At best, posting things on the internet can give some people the general idea of which direction to go (which is a real boon, considering the amount of bogus info out there).

Regards,

Mike Sigman

mriehle
05-04-2006, 11:27 AM
That's why I've unsuccessfully tried for months to get Dan to explain some of the basic concepts, as a for instance. Yes, well... :rolleyes:

"Ground-path" is cool, but most people can do that to some varying degree within less than an hour. "Undbendable arm" is a tricky example, because I've seen about 5 different ways to do it which will work but which avoid the ki idea. But I'm optimistic. I think things are changing for the better and I honestly feel pretty good about it.

I don't recognize the name of the first exercise. Maybe I know it by a different name?

I used to have kind of an attitude about unbendable arm. "Parlor trick" was the word I used. I could do it, I could teach it, but I didn't regard it as important. Then I discovered two things about it:

1) Being able to do this one exercise could change a persons entire approach to Aikido. Suddenly there was ki in their Aikido in a way that there wasn't before.

2) Yep, there are ways to do this exercise that don't involve ki in the sense we usually talk about it. This was important because being able to recognize them allowed me to, um, "correct" some problems. Sometimes the correction involved asking someone not to come back to my dojo, but mostly it was changing the angle I came at it from for them. In one amusing case it was recognizing the effect the persons profession (carpenter) was having on his understanding of the exercise (In his case, no visualizations were necessary, ki was automatic once he understood what we were trying to accomplish :) )

At some point I realized that I could look across a room and "see" a persons ki. That was interesting because I quickly realized I wasn't seeing purple auras or any other mystic phenomena, I just could see that the ki was there, where it was going and what it's "attitude" was. I've spent a fair amount of time since then working out exactly what I'm looking at when I do that. There are definitely physical clues, some of which are obvious if you know what to look for, some more subtle, but still clearly visible.

That realization, though, explained a lot about why tricks like the "turning in" thing work. I'm aware of it when I "see" ki because of my training, but other people are perceiving the same things and responding to it. It really isn't magic or even new-age cosmic muffin stuff. It isn't really even special. I didn't learn how to do it, I just learned to be aware that I was doing it. Although it does beg the question when you are talking about psychology and ki whether there is ki in psychology or psychology in ki or both.

Jim Sorrentino
05-04-2006, 11:35 AM
Mike and Murray,

I'm glad to run into a couple of other Uechi-ryu folks here! I met Shinjo Seiyu-sensei and his son, Kiyohide-sensei, while I was in Okinawa. Both were 100 miles of bad road.

I was fortunate to be pretty involved with aikido under Saotome-sensei by the time the Uechi-ryu political splits occurred.

Murray, I agree with you about the source of the makiwara quote. IMO, Kanei-sensei played a similar role in Uechi-ryu to that of the Ueshiba Kisshomaru-sensei in aikido --- which is a good thing for us, since both gentlemen made their fathers' arts more available to the world.

Ron, you're welcome! I'm glad it was useful.

Jim

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 11:39 AM
[:

1) Being able to do this one exercise could change a persons entire approach to Aikido. Suddenly there was ki in their Aikido in a way that there wasn't before.


People blow this off as nothing and that bothers me a little. I worked with a guy in North Florida and I taught him this "trick". He was not into Aikido at all. He had a head on collision with a brick wall at 60 mph in a 64 Camano. The car was a twisted hunk of metal and Nick says the only thing that saved his life was the unbendable arm ("trick") I showed him. He was not wearing a seatbelt and he said all he could do was relax and extend the energy. The steering wheel was bent on both sides to the steering column. He suffered a broken leg.

Or it could have been those beers!


I am writing way to much so I will stop now.

Dennis Hooker

Mark Freeman
05-04-2006, 11:41 AM
Michael,
enjoyed the post, mainly because I understand the language you are using and surmise that we have had similar training experiences. I do however think that you may want to shore up the sand bags and hunker down as I sense some incoming flack ;)

1) Being able to do this one exercise could change a persons entire approach to Aikido. Suddenly there was ki in their Aikido in a way that there wasn't before.

Personally I don't know how it is possible to do 'good' aikido without the state that unbendable arm trains.

cheers,
Mark

M. McPherson
05-04-2006, 12:06 PM
Mike and Murray,

I'm glad to run into a couple of other Uechi-ryu folks here! I met Shinjo Seiyu-sensei and his son, Kiyohide-sensei, while I was in Okinawa. Both were 100 miles of bad road.

I was fortunate to be pretty involved with aikido under Saotome-sensei by the time the Uechi-ryu political splits occurred.

Murray, I agree with you about the source of the makiwara quote. IMO, Kanei-sensei played a similar role in Uechi-ryu to that of the Ueshiba Kisshomaru-sensei in aikido --- which is a good thing for us, since both gentlemen made their fathers' arts more available to the world.

Ron, you're welcome! I'm glad it was useful.

Jim

Mr. Sorrentino,

Thank you for that observation about the similarity to Ueshiba Kisshomaru Sensei. I'm not a budo scholar, and don't know enough about succession and transmission pre-Meiji jidai Japan and/or the Ryukyu islands, but I'm pretty fascinated by the spread of gendai arts after the second world war, and how many of them seem to mirror the others in terms of growth and dissemination (I.e., a single, gifted, charismatic figure distills a prior art to a subjective essence, teaches a small but growing number of students this interpretation, students squabble and add their own further subjective interpretations after the old man kicks, art is imported abroad, factionalization occurs).
Okay, sorry to contribute yet again to more thread drift. Back to challenged instructors...
By the way, I have never had the privilege of meeting Galeone Sensei, but have heard amazing things about him - you're very lucky to have trained under him, Mr. Sorrentino.

Sincerely,
Murray McPherson

mriehle
05-04-2006, 12:16 PM
I do however think that you may want to shore up the sand bags and hunker down as I sense some incoming flack

Oh, probably. But some flack is water off a duck's back.

Personally I don't know how it is possible to do 'good' aikido without the state that unbendable arm trains.

It isn't. That was part of why I suddenly became a fan of an exercise I had always considered a mere parlor trick. :D

mriehle
05-04-2006, 12:23 PM
People blow this off as nothing and that bothers me a little.

I know of one fairly prominent Aikido instructor who dismisses it - and the idea of ki, for that matter - altogether in one of his books.

He had a head on collision with a brick wall at 60 mph in a 64 Camano.

Wow. If that's the way the story actually happened (the possibility that my chain is being yanked has occured to me) it's impressive.

I think I'd still recommend wearing seatbelts, though.

Or, maybe not colliding with walls.

Jim Sorrentino
05-04-2006, 01:01 PM
Murray,

Thank you for that observation about the similarity to Ueshiba Kisshomaru Sensei. [snip]
By the way, I have never had the privilege of meeting Galeone Sensei, but have heard amazing things about him - you're very lucky to have trained under him, Mr. Sorrentino.You're welcome! Please call me Jim.

Bob Galeone is amazing, and I do consider myself lucky to have studied with him. If you come to the DC area, please let me know, and I will see that you meet him. He has been known to teach at my dojo from time to time.

Jim

M. McPherson
05-04-2006, 01:23 PM
Jim,

Thank you for the very kind offer. It would be humbling, but assuredly educational to meet Galeone Sensei. As well, I would certainly look forward to meeting you. My thanks again.

Sincerely,
Murray

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 01:34 PM
I worked with a guy in North Florida and I taught him this "trick". He was not into Aikido at all. He had a head on collision with a brick wall at 60 mph in a 64 Camano. The car was a twisted hunk of metal and Nick says the only thing that saved his life was the unbendable arm ("trick") I showed him. He was not wearing a seatbelt and he said all he could do was relax and extend the energy. The steering wheel was bent on both sides to the steering column. He suffered a broken leg. Ack.... the engineer in me makes me do it, Dennis. Every bit of energy that goes into bending a car up in a wreck results in forces not being applied to the car's occupant. That's why Mercedes-Benz started the whole "crumple-zone" concept and which other manufacturers adopted for today's standards. But you knew that. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Erick Mead
05-04-2006, 02:41 PM
All I can hope is that you're careful to say these are your opinions and don't reflect the knowledge of your teacher, Erick. ;) Because right now you're posting the name of a school while you're showing to a number of readers on the forum that you don't know what you're talking about. ;)
Well, I hardly mind publishing my affiliation. Come visit anytime. My opinions are my own. My aikido I owe to every one who ever taught me since 1985. And the truth is the truth regardless of one's opinion about it, and is worthy of prudent engagement, discussion and debate rather than curt dismissal by assumption without proof of superior knowledge. Since Hooker Sensei was my first teacher in Aikido, I defer to any criticism he may make of me. For you -- I require proof of bona fides.
(See url: http://www.taichiunion.com/magazine/sigman.html) Wang Xiang Zhai, the founder of I-Chuan, was also well known for talking in terms of force vectors and so forth in exactly the same way, saying that most people are distracted by all the talk about Qi and nine thises and five thats and he went right to it. So I'm not setting a precedent, I'm following a precedent: it's an unusual one but the results that are gained from it are fairly obvious to anybody who has taken a look at it like that. So, basically -- you agree with what I said regarding the non-mystical nature of this knowledge and that its is achieved only by dint of hard physical training in it -- you do not make any direct factual rebuttal on a material statement I made -- and then, nicely, :) you add the ad hominem insult :) Am I keeping up -- so far?? I may have a hard time understanding -- so please type slowly. Since this is a "challenge" thread --

Do you contend the age of training commencement is wrong?
七歲 練武 八歲練工
"age seven train for fighting; age eight train for skill"

Is it your position that training regimens such I described ( not atypical of "iron body"or "iron shirt" training) are absent from the history of Chinese Gong-fu or the Xiao-lin? Visualization of imagery to aid in structrual and dynamic flow is a good thing, but getting hit is the only way to test the effectiveness of the mobilizing of those internal resoruces from the internal training. Classical Chinese arts are nothing if not empirical in their methods, if not in their theory. Please say so, if you intend it, and why you maintain that.

Do you know what vector potential is, or why it has significance in empirical physics, specifically, field laws, and how Chinese notions of "etheric qi" (as you have called it) may similarly be related to "ground strength" qi or "leg strength" qi or"peng" or what ever other descriptive you choose to apply? Do you understand how the Late Sung and Ming NeoConfucian synthesis, that gave us coherent, integrated systems like Taiji, tracked the Neoplatonism that was rediscovered in the Enlightenment and underlies modern empirical physics? Do you acknowledge the nature of field forces and experimental verification of their vector potential operating outside of the field itself as a material condition (Aharonov-Bohm effect), and the parallels to the Chinese qigong system and specifically the operation of "etheric qi?"

Reducing observations to certain essentials to aid in clarity for unfamiliar audiences is a wonderful thing. But Chinese classical scholars were not reductionists. It adds nothing to the valid complexity of their observations just to reduce it for simplicity's sake out of context, without regard to a faithful translating of the higly intercoinnected corpus the of Chinese knowledge into a modern reductionist idiom. As an engineer, you should know that simplification can be disastrous, or at least highly misleading, at the wrong stage of analysis.

What relevance the three Dantien and the "the nine vessels" or "wrapping the bowels in qi" may have to the practice of either Taijijuan or aikido in today's terminology does not mean that they had nothing important to say, or that their intellectual descendants necessarily express it any better or more comprehensively, or are deserving of no due respect. It certainly does not do to similarly asume that the points made by one you do not know can be dismissed with even less respect.

Or we could just talk about aikido for a change ...

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Dennis Hooker
05-04-2006, 02:53 PM
Ack.... the engineer in me makes me do it, Dennis. Every bit of energy that goes into bending a car up in a wreck results in forces not being applied to the car's occupant. That's why Mercedes-Benz started the whole "crumple-zone" concept and which other manufacturers adopted for today's standards. But you knew that. ;)

Regards,

Mike


Mike a 64 Camaro is a hell of long way from a Mercedes. Basically a hunk of metal with a very big engine. I have been in Transportation Planning and accident analysis since 1979. I am currently the transportation planner for Central Florida. I'm sure we could argue over the safety qualities of that car.

Dennis

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 04:09 PM
Mike a 64 Camaro is a hell of long way from a Mercedes. Basically a hunk of metal with a very big engine. I have been in Transportation Planning and accident analysis since 1979. I am currently the transportation planner for Central Florida. I'm sure we could argue over the safety qualities of that car. Dennis, if you read what I said, I did not attribute a 64 Camaro with being a Mercedes nor did I suggest it had a crumple-zone. You indicated that the car was a "twisted hunk of metal" and that the steering column collapsed, twisted, etc. My comment was that all this physical distortion used up a lot of kinetic energy. Period.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 04:22 PM
So, basically -- you agree with what I said regarding the non-mystical nature of this knowledge and that its is achieved only by dint of hard physical training in it -- you do not make any direct factual rebuttal on a material statement I made -- and then, nicely, :) Erick, here's what you wrote, regardless of how you "agree with me", yada, yada:

The Chinese systems of Gong-fu, exemplified in the Shaolin disciplines (still extant) are no great mystery in how they teach such techniques (if you call them that), but simply practical, and brutally applied knowledge, learned in exceedingly rigorous, and merciless training.

Ch'i/qi/ki is the Chinese material metaphor for energy transfer, potential and otherwise, which physics would describe in parametric variable terms --

Qi/ki skills conditioning is a broad-spectrum issue and a lot of it is done in very refined and soft practice, despite your assertion that it is "simply practical, and brutally applied knowledge, learned in exceedingly rigorous, and merciless training". And qi/ki is, as I've stated in a number of posts and other publications, a conglomerate term, not, as you assert, the Chinese material metaphor for energy transfer, potential and otherwise, which physics would describe in parametric variable terms . Besides not understanding what qi/ki is, you're mixing the idea of "jin" with "qi" anyway, despite your attempts to confuse the issue.

Those are your two telling statements above about qi. Defend those, don't try to drag not-quite-to-the-point quotes from me into this, please.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

statisticool
05-04-2006, 04:41 PM
Can you post a video of a Chinese master using jin, and one using qi, and then one not using either of the two, so one can see the differences?

Rocky Izumi
05-04-2006, 08:01 PM
I'm kind up in the air for the moment, Rocky. Even though some of this stuff sounds off-topic, it's not really, once someone understands that a lot of these skills are used in most Asian martial arts.

Didn't mean to make it sound like I thought you were off-topic. Just joking around about people complaining about something interesting taking a slight detour. Forgot me emoticon. :sorry:

It interests me to hear about what people think about these topics based on their background and am interested in the language that people use to describe these interesting semi-on-topic stuff. I know that we often have trouble communicating because several people use different language to describe the same thing. I want to learn what language other people use to discuss these things. The only way I am going to learn your language is by hearing you more. It is kind of like a male trying to understand what a female is actually saying. The only way to do so it to listen more and listen more carefully.

One of the problems I have had is understanding how people use the word Ki. As pointed out, the Chinese have tended to take a more analytical approach to Ki and have more words to describe different aspects of Qi. It seems we Japanese tend to take a more wholistic approach in the language and do not break it down so much. Rather, we tend to take a "just do it" or "just use it" approach where we don't like to talk too much about it but use Ki in its many facets. You might notice that most Japanese instructors don't like to get too involved in discussions about Ki nor in the analysis of Ki. However, Ki becomes the part of the language and different words which contain the root character are numerous.

It is not only in Oriental arts which contain the concept of Ki. Unfortunately, in English, it seems to use many different words for the concept and those words may mean something else as well. For instance, spirit, intent, extension, commitment, concentration, heat, stubbornness, bio-electrics, super-human, ghosts, crazy, insane, berserker, thinking the arrow of bullet to the target, etc., etc., etc.. I find English so difficult that way.

Rock
:hypno:

Mike Sigman
05-04-2006, 08:23 PM
One of the problems I have had is understanding how people use the word Ki. As pointed out, the Chinese have tended to take a more analytical approach to Ki and have more words to describe different aspects of Qi. It seems we Japanese tend to take a more wholistic approach in the language and do not break it down so much. Rather, we tend to take a "just do it" or "just use it" approach where we don't like to talk too much about it but use Ki in its many facets. You might notice that most Japanese instructors don't like to get too involved in discussions about Ki nor in the analysis of Ki. However, Ki becomes the part of the language and different words which contain the root character are numerous.

It is not only in Oriental arts which contain the concept of Ki. Unfortunately, in English, it seems to use many different words for the concept and those words may mean something else as well. For instance, spirit, intent, extension, commitment, concentration, heat, stubbornness, bio-electrics, super-human, ghosts, crazy, insane, berserker, thinking the arrow of bullet to the target, etc., etc., etc.. I find English so difficult that way. Hi Rocky:

In a way, I think there may have been some loss of definition of "Ki" when it transferred to Japan. I think it is a much more vague concept. And the Chinese language, no matter how vague and esoteric people think it is, can be extremely analytic. The nuances and subtleties of "qi" and its compoundings with meanings are just as common in Chinese as they are in Japanese. That has to do with the early language and understanding being built around an explicative concept of a force which, unfortunately, turned out not to be true, in the advent of western science.

However, the concept if qi/ki in a focused body-sense is the same in Chinese and Japanese. There are controls of force directions and there is a method of connecting and conditioning the body to act as a unit. This basic skill permeates the Asian martial arts and provides unusual strength, strength that can be mixed with an opponent's strength ("aiki"), resistance to blows and skin punctures, and has some effect on the health of people. Oh... and it somehow affects the electromagnetic field around people, but I consider that something of a side-effect (it's actually been measured a lot recently, interestingly enough).

So when I talk about Ki, that's the general area I'm speaking of. My comments have a lot to do with the fact that different variations of these core phenomena, although sometimes appearing a little different, are pretty much the same in all the Asian martial arts.

Here's a video of someone using "ki" skills that while looking mysterious, are the same skills that Ueshiba used and demonstrated in his Aikido:

http://media.putfile.com/yiquan-push

Regards,

Mike

statisticool
05-04-2006, 10:00 PM
http://media.putfile.com/yiquan-push


I'm wondering how someone viewing this knows it is qi and not regular old pushes and pulls or acting (although, acting without the arm flailing) ?

Erick Mead
05-04-2006, 11:07 PM
Erick, here's what you wrote, regardless of how you "agree with me", yada, yada:
The Chinese systems of Gong-fu, exemplified in the Shaolin disciplines (still extant) are no great mystery in how they teach such techniques (if you call them that), but simply practical, and brutally applied knowledge, learned in exceedingly rigorous, and merciless training.
Qi/ki skills conditioning is a broad-spectrum issue and a lot of it is done in very refined and soft practice, despite your assertion that it is"simply practical, and brutally applied knowledge, learned in exceedingly rigorous, and merciless training". I do not doubt their effectiveness in other settings and for other purposes. Your point was about "wrapping internal organs in qi" for protection when being struck. I said Shaolin training in gong-fu was thus brutal in its effectiveness and I had seen evidence of that -- not qi techniques in the broad sense.

My point was in adding to Hooker Sensei's doubt of the effectiveness of what you describe, simply becauue I doubt either of us (and I know for myself) has ever seen it work for that purpose. He knows, better than most how efective it is in other settings You have not refuted that, nor offered any evidence to the contrary.

Add inflation fallacy and false premise to ad hominem attack.

And qi/ki is, as I've stated in a number of posts and other publications, a conglomerate term, not, as you assert, the Chinese material metaphor for energy transfer, potential and otherwise, which physics would describe in parametric variable terms . Besides not understanding what qi/ki is, you're mixing the idea of "jin" with "qi" anyway, despite your attempts to confuse the issue.
勁 jin just means "strength" and exoteric strength practice requires flow of qi/ki just as does practice in esoteric power. Add false distinction fallacy. What does conglomerate mean, and how does this statement conflict or refute my assertion that qi is a useful metaphor for energy transfer ? Add the fallacy of non-sequitur. Those are your two telling statements above about qi. The first statement was about Shaolin, not qi and you have yet to offer anything to refute the second statement (plain vanilla though it is) that qi is a descriptive theory of energy transfer. Not predictive, because predictive theories are only privileged in Western science, but not necessarily in other traditions. Western science is determined, open and heuristic, Chinese traditional knowledge is closed, contingent, and applied knowledge. It is a form of knowledge, like history, and is historical in its process of development. If you mean to say that historical knowledge is not valuable then we have nothing useful to discuss.

I suggested that for those who want to analyze Chinese qi concepts in Western terms they can be translated in context (linguistically and culturally), isolate applicable elements or schemas of elements in parametric terms and then suitable predictive statements can be framed from traditional Chinese concepts. What this gains you, I don't know, as it is entirely possible to understand the Chinese traditional learning in context and apply it without reference to scientific principle of falsifiability.

Defend those, don't try to drag not-quite-to-the-point quotes from me into this, please.Apparently, when I discuss vector potential and field properties it is fair game, but when you discuss vector mechanics it is not relevant. Add positional fallacy.
So far I have not yet percieved any attack within range; when I do, I'll be sure to muster some defense.
Still wondering where the aikido went ...

Cordially,
Erick Mead

happysod
05-05-2006, 02:38 AM
Have to add to the thread drift... very interested in the comparison between learning to use ki with learning music, one which I've read before, but does this analogy hold with regard to aptitude? For example, do you get people who are "ki-deaf" so just can't even begin to understand?

Also has anyone seen any correlation between those who can "get it" and those who resist learning its power? Does being a nice gullible teen with dragon ball fantasies help (yes I'm deliberately being annoying) or is it only for the scarred warriors who have passed beyond the mere physical need to prove themselves - which seems to be the two groups most often used to defend/attack internal training.

Mark Freeman
05-05-2006, 03:55 AM
Have to add to the thread drift... very interested in the comparison between learning to use ki with learning music, one which I've read before, but does this analogy hold with regard to aptitude? For example, do you get people who are "ki-deaf" so just can't even begin to understand?

Also has anyone seen any correlation between those who can "get it" and those who resist learning its power? Does being a nice gullible teen with dragon ball fantasies help (yes I'm deliberately being annoying) or is it only for the scarred warriors who have passed beyond the mere physical need to prove themselves - which seems to be the two groups most often used to defend/attack internal training.

A singing teacher friend of mine believes that everyone can sing and by inference there is no 'tone deafness'. However it may take alot of work to get rid of all the 'stuff' that is in the way of the voice emerging un-sullied.
This may well be true of the ki understanding. For some it is definitely easier than others. Years of accumulated 'knowledge/experience' sometimes have to be unpacked and shipped out before clear unsullied 'doing' can take place.
Everyone can benefit from 'ki development' exercises, they do not have to be connected to a 'martial' environment in any way. If you are in a martial environment and you do not understand or practice this type of "internal" exercise it's like trying to play in a jazz band with only 3 chords!

Good to see you on the forum Ian, the pixies have been asking after you :p ( for others reading... don't ask :D )

regards

Mark

DH
05-05-2006, 06:45 AM
I'm wondering how someone viewing this knows it is qi and not regular old pushes and pulls or acting (although, acting without the arm flailing) ?

Justin
Find people who can show you and go train. There is a host of people here who say its in Aikido and they do this work so ask them if they can do that and go find out. It is fairly easy to end any and all debate in person.
For guys who specifically train these skills, when you meet them-you push and you pull, then try to throw. You get pushed you get pulled and are then tested to be thrown. Then in about an hour or so you will be doing things that you see in that video-to an extent. The hip push, leg push or pull, then arms etc.
It's not a big deal.........yet it's a very big deal.
Its easy to get started....the difficulty is to progress and not stop.
More difficult still to have guys punching and kicking you and trying to take you down and maintining a relaxed focus. On the ground in the mount or gaurd, you use the ground and a body connection the same way, but from different contact points. But that's fighting.

For a first minute hands-on and questioning, I ask that no techniques be used in defense or offense. Anyone worth their weight has a host of technical skills to prevent attacks. So for more of a controlled study, I ask that they put that on hold. I make it non-adversarial and relaxed with your only defense to a push or pull happening on the inside. Starting with finding your feet, then hips, spine, and letting your shoulders go. Then some fun and playfull ways to connect their hands to their bodies, then painful and intense mind/ focus ways to move your body.
Most anyone knows that the ideal goal is that "The hands don't move without the center / the center doesn't move without the hands." So, they should be connected right?. So far most I have met were surprised at how much more THEY could be doing.

For anyone who has delusions, internal movement does not teach you how to fight-think of it as a better way to be a laborer. It just happens to be the best way to use your body TOO fight, if and when you do something or train to learn how to fight.

Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
05-05-2006, 07:49 AM
My point was in adding to Hooker Sensei's doubt of the effectiveness of what you describe, simply becauue I doubt either of us (and I know for myself) has ever seen it work for that purpose. He knows, better than most how efective it is in other settings You have not refuted that, nor offered any evidence to the contrary. I think you should allow Hooker Sensei to make his own arguments, Erick. You're not helping him at all with your perspectives, IMO. 勁 jin just means "strength" and exoteric strength practice requires flow of qi/ki just as does practice in esoteric power. No, in a martial usage, jin does not just mean "strength". Try this for a good starter on what the concept means:

http://www.taiji-qigong.de/info/articles/jumin_transljin_en.php

"Jin", BTW, is the core concept of what Kokyu-ryoku is.

Mainly all I was doing was pointing out that your offhand assertions about qi/ki, etc., were just wrong, in the hope of not letting the discussion get diluted with incorrect facts. I think that part is done.

Insofar as "wrapping with qi", why not go read my exact words so that you understand precisely what I said and read my anecdote about the chopstick so that you'll understand I'm talking about a method of conditioning the body when I'm talking about "qi/ki".

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-05-2006, 07:56 AM
Have to add to the thread drift... very interested in the comparison between learning to use ki with learning music, one which I've read before, but does this analogy hold with regard to aptitude? For example, do you get people who are "ki-deaf" so just can't even begin to understand?

Also has anyone seen any correlation between those who can "get it" and those who resist learning its power? This is a subject that came up on another list recently. I used to hear "anyone can learn such-and-such martial art", but I don't think that's really true. There is an element of being able to watch a technique, etc., and be able to figure it out. I've been shown a few things where a very qualified teacher suddenly showed me something once or twice after saying, "Watch." When he was done he would look at me and say, "Understand?". It's a common way of doing things and it puts a definite IQ and ability-to-reason threshold right to the forefront. In one of the cases, I knew I was being shown something very important, but I didn't know what it was, so I just said, "No, not yet. I will work on it". And that seemed to be the right answer. One day two years later, I suddenly had an epiphany and started working on that item. I'm just slow-witted. ;)

FWIW

Mike

statisticool
05-05-2006, 05:08 PM
Find people who can show you and go train. There is a host of people here who say its in Aikido and they do this work so ask them if they can do that and go find out. It is fairly easy to end any and all debate in person.


I did with one taiji guy, but it felt like a regular ol' push to me.

Maybe my qi wasn't in tune with his qi?

eyrie
05-05-2006, 05:25 PM
...think of it as a better way to be a laborer.

Which is the true meaning of gongfu 功夫...
i.e. a laborer 夫 who does gong 工 (work) assisted by li 力 (power).
:D

Erick Mead
05-05-2006, 11:41 PM
I think you should allow Hooker Sensei to make his own arguments, Erick. You're not helping him at all with your perspectives, IMO.
He doesn't need my help. And as I said, my opinions are my own.
No, in a martial usage, jin does not just mean "strength". The site was only more obscuring of the distinction in connotaton (not denotation) you are addressing. Li 力means strength but is "power" in the physical sense, the capacity to do work = force x distance / time. "Jin" 勁 is strength with a connotation of toughness it is also pronounced "jing" = "sturdy") Toughness is the ability to absorb work without catastrophic breaking. Jin, just like toughness does not necessarily mean rigidity, kevlar exceeds steel in tensile toughness, but not in other measures of strength. Jin 勁 is just the uke side of strength compared with the active strength principle of Li 力. In-Yo
...your offhand assertions about qi/ki, etc., were just wrong, in the hope of not letting the discussion get diluted with incorrect facts. I think that part is done.
Done, yep. sorry to have troubled, sahib -- except that you never pointed out any actual error. Agree with you on the relation between jin and kokyu ryoku, though.

Glad you liked the big blocks too.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Michael Douglas
05-08-2006, 02:30 PM
Erick, please try not to use snide putdowns and convoluted guff on what is otherwise a nice interesting thread.

Janet Rosen
05-08-2006, 02:54 PM
oh jeez....dan as in yrs ago on aikido-l, coining the term "to dan"? well if cady is still training w/ you, say "hi" from me.
and just as then, i cannot understand why you want to have these conversations if all you can contribute is "observation' that cannot be put into any shared prospective. if you are not interested in sharing IRL, why bother?

statisticool
05-08-2006, 04:08 PM
For anyone who has delusions, internal movement does not teach you how to fight-think of it as a better way to be a laborer.


How is that different from external movement?

Xamien
07-22-2006, 09:43 AM
I know this has been a long running discussion and thread here, so please please forgive me if I'm coming into this too late.

Dan, I would not say that I don't care whether or not you can demonstrate your skills. I wouldn't say that I -do- care. It's simply a subject that has no real personal effect on me (Barring we meet and train together, or something like that. I'd love to learn more of Daito-Ryu. My time with the friend who taught me was precious and short.)
Something that does affect me (albeit indirectly) is your interactions with people on the board here. You've stated time and time again that you wish to be left alone but your continuing statements of your skill does not convey your wish to be reclusive and indeed, contradicts it. It's been my experience that when we share our experiences with a common interest with other people, that it means more to share what you have done, rather than what you can do. Whether or not someone chooses to believe you at that point is purely their business and responsibility to themselves. Your social responsibility in that case (should you choose to accept it), is to choose wisely how to react to someone's disbelief or belief. As you've alluded to, it's one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk. If you don't feel comfortable (or whatever reasons there may be) with going to see other people to share your experience, it seems to prudent to let the issue stand as one that the discussors merely disagree on and refrain from bringing up again.
And just in case: No, this isn't a fancy way of saying "put up or shut up". That, to me, is an extreme and is rude. I'm picking the middle ground on this.

To further the discussion, though, would you be willing to film some of your skills with people that others could vouch for? That seems like an agreeable compromise to me.

statisticool
07-22-2006, 10:42 AM
"Jin" 勁 is strength with a connotation of toughness it is also pronounced "jing" = "sturdy"


Pardon my stupidness, but Isn't jin pronounced like rhyming with 'tin', rather than with 'sing' ?

Jim Sorrentino
10-03-2006, 03:02 PM
Greetings All,

I had an interesting experience last weekend that has led me to resurrect this thread: I attended one day of a two-day seminar on Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu with Roy Goldberg-sensei. Goldberg-sensei is a 6th dan and a member/representative of the Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu Kodo Kai. The seminar was hosted by the Kim Studio, a tae kwon do school founded in 1964 by Ki Whang Kim (see http://www.kim-studio.com/). The studio has hosted Goldberg-sensei many times, and on one occasion, has hosted Goldberg-sensei's teacher, Kiyama-sensei.

The day I attended, practice ran from 12:00 to 4:00, with a short break around 2:00. There were about 30 participants, ranging from tae kwon do beginners to seasoned jujutsuka from Virginia, New York, an Massachusetts. Tim Anderson and Steve Kotev also attended, so I wasn't the only aikidoka there. Goldberg-sensei brought one of his students, Gino, who took most of the ukemi.

The practice environment was somewhat challenging. The mat was the roll-up wrestling kind, and it covered only about a quarter of the well-polished wooden floor. There would not be a lot of rolling and falling that day. Everyone worked together well, and trained with attention, intensity, and appropriate care for their training partners.

Goldberg-sensei focused on breaking balance at the moment of contact, mostly in response to katate-dori. He also did a few techniques from kata-dori and kosa-dori, as well as mune-tsuki and ushiro-katate-dori.

I took ukemi for him several times over the day. He is an excellent technician, with clear and powerful movement. His balance-breaking skills were first-rate. Just as important, he was thoroughly attentive to all the participants, no matter how inexperienced, and he was a gentleman. In fact, he began the seminar by introducing his student Gino, thanking him for coming, and presenting him with a hand-made knife by Bud Nealy. It was quite moving to see his care and concern for his student.

During the course of the afternoon, someone (not me) asked Goldberg-sensei about Dan Harden. Goldberg-sensei's first response was. "If you come to tomorrow's session, you will have spent as many hours on the mat with me as Dan has." And he recommended that when Dan posts on aikido Internet forums, we should ask Dan: 1) what is his rank in Daito Ryu? 2) who gave him that rank? and 3) what is his present relationship to the Kodokai? Dan, if you're out there, I'm asking.

We hope to host Goldberg-sensei in the DC-MD-VA are in 2007. He is an accessible and generous teacher. If you have a chance to train with him, you should do so!

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

Kevin Leavitt
10-04-2006, 01:01 PM
getting a little grey in your beard there Jimmy! :)

Ron Tisdale
10-04-2006, 01:10 PM
And he recommended that when Dan posts on aikido Internet forums, we should ask Dan: 1) what is his rank in Daito Ryu? 2) who gave him that rank? and 3) what is his present relationship to the Kodokai? Dan, if you're out there, I'm asking.

Hmmm...as a qualifier of his words? Context? Or as an absolute qualifier to even enter the conversation? There is a thread out there somewhere about asking peoples "qualifications to post". It was good reading...

Best,
Ron (I haven't been able to go see Dan due to an injury...but I expect I'll be back on the mat sooner or later, and will get up there. I probably won't ask about his rank...I'll just see what he has to show on the mat)

Jim Sorrentino
10-04-2006, 02:00 PM
Hi Kevin, Hi Ron,

Since the gist of many of Dan's posts seems to be that DRAJJ has what aikido lacks, it seems fair to ask Dan his DRAJJ rank and experience --- especially since he does not seem willing (these days, anyway) to meet with aikidoka outside his own backyard.

Mike Sigman drove five hours to Glenwood Springs to watch Ushiro-sensei's class and meet with George Ledyard and several other aikidoka. Dan, on the other hand, is not willing to do to anything like that. So why should aikidoka take him seriously?

Yes, my beard has a bit more grey in it --- and my daughter is only 3 1/2!

I look forward to seeing both of you on the mat eventually!

Jim

gdandscompserv
10-04-2006, 03:20 PM
getting a little grey in your beard there Jimmy! :)
Most of the really good aikidoka are grey. :cool:

Ron Tisdale
10-06-2006, 07:55 AM
Or bald.... :(

Best, Ron (ok, ok, so I'm not particularly good either...)

MM
10-06-2006, 08:29 AM
Hmmm ... if it just takes grey and bald ... heck, I'm over halfway there! Got the bald down and starting on the grey. Can I just sit back and wait to be a good aikidoka now? ;)

Mike Sigman
10-06-2006, 09:03 AM
Hmmm...as a qualifier of his words? Context? Or as an absolute qualifier to even enter the conversation? There is a thread out there somewhere about asking peoples "qualifications to post". It was good reading...
The bit about limited exposure to Daito Ryu piques my curiosity, mainly for the reason that Dan has indicated that he has "secrets" that can't be revealed without breaking some form of oath or whatever to the Ryu. If the D.R. affiliation is tenuous, there goes the whole need for "secrecy" that has been one of the purported hold-ups for so long. What gives, Dan?

FWIW

Mike

ChrisMoses
10-06-2006, 09:14 AM
Or bald.... :(

Best, Ron (ok, ok, so I'm not particularly good either...)

I'm not going bald, my hair's just migrating south. :drool:

Michael Neal
11-30-2006, 02:10 PM
I would be willing to wager that Dan is scared of Jim Sorrentino, and he should be :)

Mike Sigman
11-30-2006, 02:26 PM
I would be willing to wager that Dan is scared of Jim Sorrentino, and he should be :)Dan said he could whup your butt, Michael. :p


Hey! Isn't this the kind of useless little-boy stuff we did in grammar school???? ;)

Mike

Cady Goldfield
11-30-2006, 03:10 PM
Hey! Isn't this the kind of useless little-boy stuff we did in grammar school???? ;)

Mike

What you're posting now? Absolutely. ;)

James Davis
11-30-2006, 03:56 PM
Dan said he could whup your butt, Michael. :p


Hey! Isn't this the kind of useless little-boy stuff we did in grammar school???? ;)

Mike
Dan's probably pretty tough, but I'm not gonna give him my lunch money. :)

Cady Goldfield
11-30-2006, 03:58 PM
Dan's a total sweetie, and he'd probably BUY you lunch. And, you'd have a blast training with him. :)

James Davis
12-01-2006, 10:01 AM
Dan's a total sweetie, and he'd probably BUY you lunch. And, you'd have a blast training with him. :)
I'm sure I would. :) From what I've read, Dan seems pretty knowledgeable and pretty passionate about what he does.

Actually, I'd settle for a chance at a road trip to train with just about anybody new right now! I'm looking at going to a seminar in a couple months if the circumstances allow it; Wish me luck! :D

Michael Neal
12-01-2006, 01:38 PM
oops

tomreynolds99
02-26-2010, 03:37 PM
Hello everyone. I am not well known in this forum, nor do I really expect to be. I started practicing Aikido in 1992 while in Law School in Boston at New England Aikikai with Mitsunari Kanai. This is where I met Dan Harden. It seemed as though we became friends immediately as I think that we both knew that we were kindred spirits.

Having known Dan now for some 18 years and having trained with him early on in our friendship, I belive that I have a particular insight into the man. I consider Dan a dear friend although we have been in and out of touch during those 18 years. I know that many of you do not know Dan but I can personally attest to the fact that he is a gentleman, he is trustworthy, he is a man of honor and integrity, he is in my opinion a very humble man, and a very generous man who gives of himself and his time freely for the betterment of his students expecting nothing in return except your hard work and attentiveness to what he has to offer.

I just had lunch with Dan today and prior to doing so, I googled him on the web just to see what was going on in his life at this moment. I came upon this string of posts in AikiWeb, and quite honestly, I found the tone to be somewhat dissapointing, confrontational, and bitter. It did not seem to be consistent with what my personal interaction with Aikidoka had been over the years and it made me sad to see the (in my humble opinion) egos and passive agressive behavior flare up in these posts.

I bellieve that Dan has nothing to prove, either to himself or to anyone else, consequently, he feels no pressing need to put himself on display. He would rather do what he loves best -- to teach a small hand chosen group of students with which he feels a special connection, without asking for anything in return but one's enthusiastic participation in what he has to offer.

So, in closing, I wish you all peace and harmony in your lives and in your Aikido, and hope that you can make some space for that same peace and harmony in which to hold others.

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita,
Tom Reynolds

DH
02-26-2010, 04:29 PM
Hello Tom
I appreciate the sentiment, but one thing I should have discussed with you today was that this is all wrapped up and long over with. As I predicted would happen when this all began; Roy has apologized, Jim has apologized, and I am just continuing to do what I did before. I never really needed to defend myself.
Anyway, it's all water under the bridge. Everyone who mattered to me, already knew the truth, everyone else who was interested- for one reason or another- found out the truth in due time. It was best to be a gentleman and simply wait.
Our understanding-is in our own hands; teachers and students alike. Our own hard work should speak loud and clear. It's transparent, there's really nothing anyone can add or take away from you...in person.

Great seeing you again and catching up on the old days. Hope to see you on the mat soon.
Cheers
Dan

akiy
02-26-2010, 09:25 PM
I think enough has been said on this topic. Thread closed.

-- Jun