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AikiWeb System
06-04-2006, 12:30 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of June 4, 2006:

Which quality would you rather see in your own aikido?

I don't do aikido
Strong
Soft


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=327).

Mark Uttech
06-04-2006, 03:33 AM
I looked at it this way: strong interest, strong practice, strong technique, etc. Substituting any of those examples with 'soft' somehow doesn't sound like anything at all.

Amir Krause
06-04-2006, 04:01 AM
These are not opposites. The soft is a means to generate strength.


Amir

Pauliina Lievonen
06-04-2006, 05:53 AM
Another impossible poll! :D I'd very much prefer both! Though I'm afraid the way I practice "soft" is what I'll end up with...

kvaak
Pauliina

Richard Langridge
06-04-2006, 06:09 AM
Perhaps for no good reason, I associate "strong" with good technique. But hey, i'm a newbie.

Mary Eastland
06-04-2006, 06:49 AM
Soft is strong so I said soft. ;o)
Mary

Takumi
06-04-2006, 06:52 AM
I agree with Mary.. Soft is strong.. "Minimum effort, Maximum Effect" -Shuji Maruyama

-Dylan

Robyn Johnson
06-04-2006, 11:09 AM
I want my techniques to be effective and able to adjust to any type of uke. I don't know if that would be strong or soft. When I think "strong", I think rough or forcing the technique (even if that's not the case). I think I'll vote "soft" as others previously posted that "soft can be or is strong".

Robyn :confused:

Pauliina Lievonen
06-04-2006, 11:15 AM
Maybe... my personal experience is that soft alone isn't all that strong. I'm quite soft, and it generally works well, even with partners who are attacking fairly strongly, but there's also a clear point where my softness will just collapse under the pressure so to say, if the pressure is high enough.

In daily life this works very well for me, i generally feel very free and comfortable in my own body, which is a wonderful feeling. But for dealing with physical attacks above a certain level of intensity it doesn't always work.

Hmm. I just realized that I might be thinking about softness in a different context than you guys. If were talking about how soft or strong a technique feels to uke...well I still wouldn't know what to answer. The best techniques I've felt didn't feel either soft nor strong. I couldn't feel them at all. :)

kvaak
Pauliina

Karen Wolek
06-04-2006, 02:04 PM
At this point in my aikido journey, I voted for "strong." Maybe later on, I'll change my mind. But right now, I am working on strong. :)

mathewjgano
06-04-2006, 05:14 PM
To me "soft" implied efficiency, whereas "strong" implied muscle-based, so i picked soft. Both can be powerful, but I'd rather be soft and powerfull. I save "strong" for sports and weight training...per my definition of the term anyway.

Jorge Garcia
06-04-2006, 05:23 PM
For me, strong means correct Aikido or correct form so I picked strong.

Aikiscott
06-04-2006, 05:23 PM
I personally would like to have seen Balanced as a fourth option.

You can't have one without the other, though sometimes people mistake soft for passive which results in luke warm technique. I do believe you can practice soft technique & retain martial effectiveness but I have personaly found going through the fires of strong hard training helps you develop effective soft technique. But of course this is just my experiance.

aikidoc
06-04-2006, 09:43 PM
Relaxed: to be relaxed is both to be soft and strong.

kocakb
06-04-2006, 11:24 PM
I could not pick any...I want it soft to be seen, effective strong. Soft, smooth and circular in movement and strong to be martial.

Nick Simpson
06-05-2006, 04:07 AM
Sexyness.

Steve Mullen
06-05-2006, 05:15 AM
seconded

Mark Freeman
06-05-2006, 10:24 AM
Sexyness.

The 'soft' option is not much use to you then Nick is it? ;)

Erick Mead
06-05-2006, 09:32 PM
Sexyness. The 'soft' option is not much use to you then Nick is it? ;) Hey, Nick -- I thought the White Rose was the symbol of purity and virtue. Not like that Devonshire Lancastrian trash. :D

(says the Scotch-Irish instigator waiting eagerly for the brawl to begin.)

The English are just like the Irish. The only thing they like doing more than fighting other people is fighting each other. ;)

Cordially,
Erick Mead

aikigirl10
06-05-2006, 09:47 PM
It all depends on the context that strong and soft are used in. If strong is used as in "using strength to apply technique" then no i dont want "strong" aikido. However if strong means "agressive, stable, forward, etc." then yes i want strong aikido. There are so many ways to interpret these types of polls.

Shannon Frye
06-05-2006, 10:04 PM
I chose soft. I've got other arts that can express my "strong" game. I know what I can do with muscle and brute force.... I admire aikido for it's effectiveness and emphasis on NOT using muscle strength and brute force.

Qatana
06-06-2006, 09:14 AM
I want my uke to feel like they have been gently picked up and cuddled to the mat, if they feel anything at all.
I want to be soft & fluffy, dammit!

billybob
06-07-2006, 11:43 AM
I voted soft.

Softness becomes strength as i gently pay attention to my body, then to uke's. I learn how to be strong because I let myself be.

I agree with above poster - my best techniques neither person felt, nor remembered what happened.

dave

Ron Tisdale
06-07-2006, 11:55 AM
Neither. I'd rather feel well connected. Then my body can do whatever is called for (soft, strong, whatever).

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
06-07-2006, 03:05 PM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of June 4, 2006:

Which quality would you rather see in your own aikido?

I don't do aikido
Strong
Soft


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=327).

This is a misconstructed question. Soft is the only effective way to be strong if one is talking about aiki. I could know a guy out and be as quite relaxed. People who have conventional udeas of strength are usually just tight.Anyone close to as strong will nuetralize them.

NagaBaba
06-07-2006, 03:12 PM
You can't have effective softeness without being strong.
So of course STRONG.

billybob
06-07-2006, 03:38 PM
This is a misconstructed question. Soft is the only effective way to be strong if one is talking about aiki. I could know a guy out and be as quite relaxed. People who have conventional udeas of strength are usually just tight.Anyone close to as strong will nuetralize them. - G. Ledyard Sensei.

Sensei!! I must praise Jun for his poorly constructed question. For not only has he encouraged you to give this excellent and informative bit of information, but also to be concise!!!!!

( I live on the coast opposite yours and sincerely pray you forget this by the next time I see you )

:)

david

Mark Freeman
06-08-2006, 05:32 AM
Hey, Nick -- I thought the White Rose was the symbol of purity and virtue.

Not in Nick's mucky hands it isn't :D

The English are just like the Irish. The only thing they like doing more than fighting other people is fighting each other.

And the problem is....? ;)

regards

Mark
p.s. I voted 'soft' to the paradoxical question

Erick Mead
06-08-2006, 10:26 AM
The English are just like the Irish. The only thing they like doing more than fighting other people is fighting each other. And the problem is....? ;)
The ... French?

:D

Mark Freeman
06-08-2006, 11:36 AM
The ... French?

:D

LOL touche Erick :D

George S. Ledyard
06-08-2006, 05:58 PM
You can't have effective softeness without being strong.
So of course STRONG.
This depends on what you are calling strong. The ability to lift heavy weights or bench press large amounts, no that is not necessary. Having good core strength is necessary. Having very good connective tissue strength is necessary. But what many people think of as "being strong" is not necessary.

Mark Freeman
06-08-2006, 06:56 PM
This depends on what you are calling strong. The ability to lift heavy weights or bench press large amounts, no that is not necessary. Having good core strength is necessary. Having very good connective tissue strength is necessary. But what many people think of as "being strong" is not necessary.

George,

there seems to be a common thread running though some of the sections here. :) But then that isn't too surprising. If you don't have good core / connective tissue strength, you can't make use of the power inherent in softness/aiki.

These threads weave an interesting tapestry of the aikido world as it is ( at least for us here on the forums ) today. Some of the core priciples of aikido are simple, but understanding is hard won, constant practice in aiki priciples are the way to get further up the mountain.

regards,

Mark

George S. Ledyard
06-08-2006, 09:11 PM
George,

there seems to be a common thread running though some of the sections here. :) But then that isn't too surprising. If you don't have good core / connective tissue strength, you can't make use of the power inherent in softness/aiki.

These threads weave an interesting tapestry of the aikido world as it is ( at least for us here on the forums ) today. Some of the core priciples of aikido are simple, but understanding is hard won, constant practice in aiki priciples are the way to get further up the mountain.

regards,

Mark
Some of the very softest people you'd ever want to train with would be the Systema folks. They do constant conditioning designed to build that core strength. Slow, ultra slow pushups, situps, and squats while doing every breath pattern one could imagine. The focus is on strength in the connective tissue not bulking up. They are extremely flxible but hard as rocks at the same time.

I have heard a number of senior Aikido teachers say that lifting weights, for example, is not good for Aikido. Since there is actually a very wide range of waht constitutes "lifting weights" I am assuming that they primarily mean heavy lifting for bulking up rather than core strength resistance training.

Erick Mead
06-09-2006, 09:47 AM
Some of the very softest people you'd ever want to train with would be the Systema folks. They do constant conditioning designed to build that core strength. Slow, ultra slow pushups, situps, and squats while doing every breath pattern one could imagine. The focus is on strength in the connective tissue not bulking up. They are extremely flxible but hard as rocks at the same time.

I have heard a number of senior Aikido teachers say that lifting weights, for example, is not good for Aikido. Since there is actually a very wide range of waht constitutes "lifting weights" I am assuming that they primarily mean heavy lifting for bulking up rather than core strength resistance training. I once read a physical description of a particular Marine D.I. in a book (the title of which escapes me at the moment). Most of the description brought to mind the likeness of Lee Ermey in my mind ( the quintessential cultivator of the D.I. image), but it finished with something like this:

"He was trim, tight, and could cut you in half like a snapped tension wire."

I find this image of power very suggestive for aikido, its quiet but devastating potential, unleashing a nearly unstoppable power by releasing its tension, rather than applying additive force.

BTW, if you doubt the reality of the last phrase in the quoted description, go study carrier trapwire accidents. It will make you shudder.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

billybob
06-09-2006, 10:36 AM
Soft strength is poorly understood.

"Hit him, if he isn't open." --- seems to be the 'hard', or 'martial' answer.

Wrong!! Any position taken by the opponent has its inherent weakness. We have
only to exploit this. It is NOT a deep secret, it is a simple truth. In many ways the
women I train with are superior in that they are fine with humbly taking the openings
offered them by uke, and don't try to dominate, decide ahead of time, or force anything.

They are where uke's strength is not.

Complicating this, or getting caught up in the 'trappings' of social interaction and human hierarchy I liken to what a Navy instructor called 'The Math Teacher Ego'. Math is easy, math is fun - unless the teacher just wants to show you how smart they are, and not share their knowledge with you.

Applying our own greatest strength against the opponent's greatest weakness is as simple as you allow it to be.

fwiw

David