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kokyu
07-08-2006, 10:31 PM
I recently purchased Sensei Phong's excellent 'Advanced Aikido (http://http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804837856/sr=8-2/qid=1152419214/ref=sr_1_2/002-9043157-4591261?ie=UTF8) '. On page 54 of the book, Sensei Phong states "The more advanced the student, the more he or she will begin to move his or weight internally rather than externally. There will be very little noticeable movement as the weight and momentum move from the center in a circular motion that is so small (yet powerful) that it is unperceived. Only years of conscious practice will facilitate this type of action".

I heard something similar on a recent trip to Abe Sensei's dojo in Osaka. We were practicing a very difficult exercise (to me anyway) where uke would grab tori in a vice-like morotedori. Tori was supposed to move very subtly (something which I had diffficult grasping) and then project uke downwards into the mat. I suspect the exercise follows the 'conscious practice' described above.

I would like to develop the 'internal weight movement' mentioned above, but am not sure how to go about it... I'm guessing this involves 'conscious practice', but what type of 'conscious practice'?

Thanks in advance :)

eyrie
07-09-2006, 07:49 AM
It's more to do with lines and angles, in particular, *triangulation* of the person's center of balance and drawing it outside of their physical limits of maintaining their own balance. If you shift your body into a position where you can triangulate uke's limit of sttructural integrity, you can draw them into the throw. Nothing to do with "internal weight movement"... that's something else entirely.

SeiserL
07-09-2006, 09:29 AM
IMHO, visualize a water filled sphere at your center internally resting between your hip bones. Begin moving the water around the sphere in different directions with relatively large movements. Over time, make the movement smaller and smaller.

dps
07-09-2006, 09:40 AM
".... he or she will begin to move his or weight internally rather than externally."
Lynn,
Is the internal the flexing and relaxing of muscles in preparing to move. For example; if my intention is to take a step forward with my right foot, I need to setup the move by flexing some muscles and relaxing others?

Kevin Leavitt
07-09-2006, 10:55 AM
David, I'd say that has something to do with it.

dps
07-09-2006, 11:00 AM
David, I'd say that has something to do with it.

So by preparing to take the step but not actually taking the step could you say that I internally took the step?

Using Lynn's visualization you could move the water by flexing and relaxing the muscles surrounding the sphere?

Mark Freeman
07-09-2006, 11:13 AM
For me, what is being talked about is not so much about 'muscle' movement but 'mind' movement. The movement is generated internally through the mind/body, the mind generates the feeling within the body, and the movement eminates outward from there. Very difficult to describe on paper, difficult to understand and to 'do' without a great deal of conscious practice, as mentioned in Phong's writings.

Practice, practice and yet more practice ;)

regards,

Mark

dps
07-09-2006, 11:21 AM
What I am feeling when I do exercises like Lynn's example is the tightening and relaxing of opposing muscles and thus a shift of weight say from one leg to another.

SeiserL
07-09-2006, 02:12 PM
Move both the mind and the body as one beat, nothing sequentially preparatory.

DevinHammer
07-09-2006, 11:06 PM
All good points above, but I would say that the KEY phrase from your quote from Sensei Phong (and yes, I have the book) is "The more advanced the student...". To me that means that you shouldn't worry about trying to specifically and consciously develop that skill - it will come with earnest training and time.

kokyu
07-10-2006, 02:02 AM
Very difficult to describe on paper, difficult to understand and to 'do' without a great deal of conscious practice, as mentioned in Phong's writings.

Practice, practice and yet more practice ;)

regards,

Mark

So, what type of conscious practice would you recommend? Thanks :)

Mark Freeman
07-10-2006, 04:46 AM
So, what type of conscious practice would you recommend? Thanks :)

Well, for me, half of every session at the dojo consists of 'ki development exercises', these basically are designed to co-ordinate mind and body. They are a very conscious practice, the priciple of every exercise is found in the aikido we do, but are not aikido 'techniques' in themselves. So this is one way of doing it, not the only one I would imagine, I don't know, as I've only been party to this one approach. However it has given me a decent understanding of what Phong means.

regards,

Mark

kokyu
07-10-2006, 09:06 PM
Lynn and Mark, thanks for your explanations :p

Nothing to do with "internal weight movement"... that's something else entirely.

So how would you interpret 'internal weight movement'?

NagaBaba
07-10-2006, 09:45 PM
I would like to develop the 'internal weight movement' mentioned above, but am not sure how to go about it... I'm guessing this involves 'conscious practice', but what type of 'conscious practice'?

Thanks in advance :)
You can't develop 'advanced' skills doing immediately small or ‘advanced’ movements. It is very popular illusion in new age aikido circles – ‘we will start at the point where O sensei finished. Why reinvent wheel once again?’

First you must do large, very physical movements many years, to be able to ‘read’ dynamically attack in movement in its environment without using conscious effort of your brain. It includes stuff eyrie was talking about but also much more. There are no shortcuts.

Do as sword maker does when he starts to make a sword – he doesn’t start by polishing raw piece of steel. Foget useless books.

dps
07-10-2006, 09:53 PM
You can't develop 'advanced' skills doing immediately small or ‘advanced' movements. It is very popular illusion in new age aikido circles -- ‘we will start at the point where O sensei finished. Why reinvent wheel once again?'

First you must do large, very physical movements many years, to be able to ‘read' dynamically attack in movement in its environment without using conscious effort of your brain. It includes stuff eyrie was talking about but also much more. There are no shortcuts.

Do as sword maker does when he starts to make a sword -- he doesn't start by polishing raw piece of steel. Foget useless books.

Gee I think I agree with you.

ian
07-11-2006, 03:40 AM
Its the same in Nei Gung (look on amazon). Basically a series of exercises, but as you improve the twisting motions become smaller until your body hardly moves at all ! (I think something to do with yin/yang theory in that the internal movement has to replace the external movement as you improve). However the smaller motions are done because you can feel that the same can be achieved with smaller motion, not because you just do smaller motions.

As far as practise goes, I think it has to do with efficiency. Basically beginners aren't advanced students and should continue to have larger movements. I think lots of sword cutting can help develop the efficiency, as well as awareness of how the centre and hips move and the connection between centre and hand in directing force. But don't ask me too much - after 15 years my movements are still large! I do think visualisation can often help (i.e. Lynns suggestion).

P.S. I'm still waiting for that book on order from amazon :(

Can anyone tell me where to get a copy more rapidly? (please e-mail)

Thanks,
Ian

ian
07-11-2006, 03:48 AM
Do as sword maker does when he starts to make a sword -- he doesn't start by polishing raw piece of steel.

P.S. I like this analogy. I am starting to think that aikidoka should all go through a 'hard' stage before going to a more subtle stage, if only to realise that the subtle stage is actually more effective. Ueshiba was no big girls blouse before refining his aikido.

kokyu
07-11-2006, 06:19 AM
But don't ask me too much - after 15 years my movements are still large! I do think visualisation can often help (i.e. Lynns suggestion).

P.S. I'm still waiting for that book on order from amazon :(

Can anyone tell me where to get a copy more rapidly? (please e-mail)

Thanks,
Ian

Ian, thanks for the helpful comments. I haven't reached the 15 year mark yet (but I will).

Actually, I got my copy from the local bookstore... Because I don't have an Amazon for my country, it's often cheaper to wait for books to hit the shelves, rather than paying for the shipping charges.

kokyu
07-11-2006, 06:23 AM
You can't develop 'advanced' skills doing immediately small or ‘advanced' movements. It is very popular illusion in new age aikido circles -- ‘we will start at the point where O sensei finished. Why reinvent wheel once again?'

First you must do large, very physical movements many years, to be able to ‘read' dynamically attack in movement in its environment without using conscious effort of your brain. It includes stuff eyrie was talking about but also much more. There are no shortcuts.

Do as sword maker does when he starts to make a sword -- he doesn't start by polishing raw piece of steel. Foget useless books.

Ok... I guess you are saying that it will come naturally... but am I on the right road? And would you mind explaining that part about "also much more"?" Thanks :p

David Yap
07-11-2006, 11:13 AM
So, what type of conscious practice would you recommend? Thanks :)

How about Tai-no-henko exercise to begin with?

It meets Ignatius' specs: "It's more to do with lines and angles, in particular, *triangulation* of the person's center of balance and drawing it outside of their physical limits of maintaining their own balance. If you shift your body into a position where you can triangulate uke's limit of structural integrity, you can draw them into the throw".

You can begin with a 180 degree pivot and then proceed to smaller angles as you get comfortable.

I also agree with Dr. Seiser that it is a mind body co-ordination thing. In the exercise you described in Abe sensei's dojo, rather than focus on the uke's vise-like grab, you can think of picking up a coin from the floor with the hand that was grabbed. But if you understand angles and triangulations your path would be shorter - knowing the principles of basic techniques then you have less "fancy" techniques to concern with. After all, it is a matter of practice makes perfect.

Just my two sen.

Best training

David Y

kokyu
07-11-2006, 07:47 PM
Thanks David :D

David Yap
07-12-2006, 05:51 AM
Thanks David :D
You are most welcomed.

By the way, have you figured it out how to cause your uke to raise up in the suwariwaza kokyu-ho exercise? I was told by one of my teachers that prior to WWII, kokyu (or kokyu-ho) was a secret technique only taught by O Sensei to a selected few. Those who were taught were sworn to secrecy.

Was that you in a photo at the AAF Bangkok last year taking ukemi for your teacher? Saw it on the Y dojo website.

Hope to c u on the mats one day.

David Y

kokyu
07-12-2006, 06:25 AM
You are most welcomed.

By the way, have you figured it out how to cause your uke to raise up in the suwariwaza kokyu-ho exercise? I was told by one of my teachers that prior to WWII, kokyu (or kokyu-ho) was a secret technique only taught by O Sensei to a selected few. Those who were taught were sworn to secrecy.

Was that you in a photo at the AAF Bangkok last year taking ukemi for your teacher? Saw it on the Y dojo website.

Hope to c u on the mats one day.

David Y

David, what I do in suwariwaza kokyu-ho causes uke to rise up... whether I'm doing it correctly... that's a different story ;)

Yes, that was me in the photo... ahhhh... I thought I could remain anonymous :rolleyes:

Hope to c u on the mats one day as well...

David Yap
07-12-2006, 07:58 AM
David, what I do in suwariwaza kokyu-ho causes uke to rise up... whether I'm doing it correctly... that's a different story ;)
As long as you can do it with minimal effort (not forcing the technique) then you are on the right path ;)

You must be one of the newly promoted shodans. Congrats. I have a back injury and had to skip Horii shihan seminar. Too bad, would have been glad to share the mats with you. Another time, perhaps :D

C U

David Y

kokyu
07-12-2006, 08:31 AM
You must be one of the newly promoted shodans. Congrats. I have a back injury and had to skip Horii shihan seminar. Too bad, would have been glad to share the mats with you. Another time, perhaps :D
David Y

Sorry David, I am not one of the newly promoted shodans... However, I will be at the other seminar on Saturday :p

From your comments, the probability of meeting on the mat seems higher than I previously thought :)

Mato-san
07-12-2006, 09:50 AM
I posted big aikido vs small aikido and many ppl got me wrong. Small is the short cut and makes nice defence in a phone booth, but lets say the attack is huge, then the aikido is huge and very powerful. IMO why not learn both big and small, small has beauty and big has beauty too, dnoe correctly.In the street you might be faced with both big or small attacks.

Ron Tisdale
07-12-2006, 09:57 AM
Have you ever tried small waza with big attacks? The effect can be quite startling.

Best,
Ron

Amir Krause
07-12-2006, 10:11 AM
I posted big aikido vs small aikido and many ppl got me wrong. Small is the short cut and makes nice defence in a phone booth, but lets say the attack is huge, then the aikido is huge and very powerful. IMO why not learn both big and small, small has beauty and big has beauty too, dnoe correctly.In the street you might be faced with both big or small attacks.
Sometimes, a large attack would require you to use larger movements. But in most cases, the small can remain small, and yet achieve as much as much larger movements.


Amir

David Yap
07-12-2006, 12:51 PM
Sorry David, I am not one of the newly promoted shodans... However, I will be at the other seminar on Saturday :p :)
You will get there eventually :)

From your comments, the probability of meeting on the mat seems higher than I previously thought :)
Putting aside the politics amongst our teachers, the probability would be much higher :D :D

I got to meet Y's infamous Mr. Ong Eu Soon at a Horii shihan seminar couple of years ago - great character/uke :rolleyes: Learnt great stuff from him - non-technique related though :o :crazy:

Hope you will enjoy the other seminar this Sat...

kokyu
07-12-2006, 07:18 PM
I posted big aikido vs small aikido and many ppl got me wrong. Small is the short cut and makes nice defence in a phone booth, but lets say the attack is huge, then the aikido is huge and very powerful. IMO why not learn both big and small, small has beauty and big has beauty too, dnoe correctly.In the street you might be faced with both big or small attacks.

In terms of movement size for techniques, I've read that it's better to start with big movements... somehow, someday, the movements become naturally smaller and smaller, but no less powerful... although you do have a point about practicing both ways :)

eyrie
07-13-2006, 03:21 AM
Ack! *cough (BS) cough *... That's a load of tripe. Stop believing that rubbish! Personally, I don't see the point in spending years programming the mind-body connection to doing one thing, and then changing it later on. It's not like a software upgrade.... ever upgraded say... Windoze? Ya know what I'm talking about!

Keep the movements small to begin with, and gradually add the "big feeling".

kokyu
07-13-2006, 04:04 AM
Keep the movements small to begin with, and gradually add the "big feeling".

Interesting... what does everyone else think?

The answers will probably affect my approach to training for the next year :)

As the Japanese would say, "Yoroshiku onegaishimasu"

Dazzler
07-13-2006, 04:29 AM
I think its easier to teach with big movements since students can see whats happening,

At the same time I wouldn't want to hold students back by making them do big moments when smaller will suffice.

I also think you shouldn't take too much notice of what is said on bulletin boards by complete strangers - there are more than enough partners on the mat to influence your practice. Take the questions from this board and get your seniors to work through the answers over time.

D

Mark Freeman
07-13-2006, 05:15 AM
My take on it is this:

in the early stages big movement is taught, for the purpose of understanding the principles of aiki, the body learns the relaxed movement, and this trains the mind to think 'big'. Later when the movement is 'embodied', smaller movements can be made with the body, while the mind continues the think 'big'. This is a never ending practice. ;)

regards,

Mark

David Yap
07-13-2006, 06:26 AM
Interesting... what does everyone else think?

I agree with Ignatius.

Soon Kian,
Perhaps, after my back injury gets better, we can get together on the mats to explore what've been discussed here. We (the students) normally have a forum-on-the-mat thing (sort of like a focus group) to share our knowledge. Most of us in the group have had trained with various instructors/shihans in our aikido paths both locally and abroad. Some of us even have 2 or more disciplines in other MA. No ego talks (brandness aikido without the politics) but good beers after the training/forum.

What say you?

Cheers

David Y

SeiserL
07-13-2006, 08:19 AM
IMHO, I believe in both. I think big movements are easier to see, understand, and perform in the beginning of Aikido. Later. I like them as small as possible.

I do agree in not training something you later want to change, but I see big-to-small and external-to-internal as on the same spectrum or learning curve. The technique is the same, but the refining is a continual process.

LOL, If my Sensei kept everything small while demonstrating, I don't think I would have see a thing.

shaken
07-13-2006, 11:23 PM
Alotof good informative info especially from Mark. On other sites there has been differed opinions on Prof. Wally Jay's Small Circle Theory. He didn't reinvent this principle but just wanted to share a little info on " keeping it small."
Yea, it's good to practice say wrist throws with a bigger circle ( mainly for uki safety ) but in realtity, in the Bugei Arts- it's small.
In fact, a study of most do/jutsu arts will give examples of various size movements- each one interpretated by one's study and Sensei.
I'm just joining the talk here and sharing/getting knowledge from all and I seek obtaining much from all.
A quick example that I learned many years ago in the art of Tanto Jutsu- and with practice you'll see why- are principles of using a blade that can deliver much damage with minimal small circular movements. The same principles applied in Atemi-Waza are the same- if trained properly.
Hope to get some more good advice from everyone.

Bill Shovan

eyrie
07-14-2006, 05:06 AM
IMHO, I believe in both. I think big movements are easier to see, understand, and perform in the beginning of Aikido. Later. I like them as small as possible.

True. But one needs to understand the difference of exaggerating movement for demonstration purposes and not mistaking it for actual movement. ;)


LOL, If my Sensei kept everything small while demonstrating, I don't think I would have see a thing.

That's (an integral) part of the training isn't it? A test of observational skills.... ;)

Mike Sigman
07-14-2006, 10:21 AM
My take on it is this:

in the early stages big movement is taught, for the purpose of understanding the principles of aiki, the body learns the relaxed movement, and this trains the mind to think 'big'. Later when the movement is 'embodied', smaller movements can be made with the body, while the mind continues the think 'big'. This is a never ending practice. ;) Hi Mark:

I don't disagree with what you said, in any respect, but in many ways the "big movement to small movement after you have practiced a lot" is true of many things... it's true of so many things, that one would wonder why you see the comments about "movement in stillness" all over Chinese and Japanese martial arts. My comment would be that there's a little bit more to it than that. If you learn to manipulate the forces and you learn to tension and release the fascia-structures in the body like "the string of a bow", you can do fairly strong/impressive techniques with little or no visible motion. Impressive enough that the discussions about "stillness in motion", etc., become important enough to mention.

My 2 cents.

Mike

George S. Ledyard
07-14-2006, 10:58 AM
It is my own belief that the point of the larger movements of Aikido is twofold. First, you are training the body to respond expansively to conflict. Second, the connection between the sword and empty hand movement is readily experienced through large movement. It is not so apparent when the movements get smaller.

One of the principles I use when instructing is that a "large movement doesn't beat a small movement". Since time and space are connected concepts and size is another way of talking about space, a larger movement simply takes too long when used against a compact. This is where Aikido folks generally run into trouble when they try to do applied technique. Most martial arts folks simply do not attack with the large movements we use to train our basics. It's not that what we do doesn't work, it's just that we need t practive against more conventional attacks to learn how to apply the principles we have been studying.

Mark Freeman
07-14-2006, 11:11 AM
Hi Mark:

I don't disagree with what you said, in any respect,

Hi Mike

I can safely assume that you agree with me then? ;)

As I ended my post with "this is a never ending practice" I see the big to small as part of the roughly linear progress in understanding and using co-ordinated mind/body movement. My goal is less effort more effect, this I seem to be achieving through consistent practice of my teachers way.

My view is that the mind plays as big a part in aikido as the body. Co-ordination is not exclusive to aikido, and my experience is that aikido can only be done properly with mind and body co-ordinated. A rough approximation can be done without, but it depends on the relative co-ordination of the attaker.

I agree that 'there is more to it', it's what keeps me keen and dedicated. I want to 'know' what it is for myself.

Shame I could not make it to your UK seminar, I had an annual teachers course that fell on the same weekend. Maybe next time.

regards,

Mark

kokyu
07-17-2006, 08:15 AM
One of the principles I use when instructing is that a "large movement doesn't beat a small movement". Since time and space are connected concepts and size is another way of talking about space, a larger movement simply takes too long when used against a compact. This is where Aikido folks generally run into trouble when they try to do applied technique. Most martial arts folks simply do not attack with the large movements we use to train our basics. It's not that what we do doesn't work, it's just that we need t practive against more conventional attacks to learn how to apply the principles we have been studying.

I absolutely agree. I think we can see this sort of thing even in the irimi tenkan exercise. When the Sensei counts 1,2 (irimi, tenkan) slowly, it's possible to irimi a fair distance and make a big sweeping tenkan. As the Sensei speeds up the count, the irimi becomes less deep and the tenkan becomes a smaller and smaller circle. Thus, it all depends on the time (and space) that one has to respond in.

I was training yesterday against an uke with very fast tsuki... no time for big movements here :)
Unless... of course... I was reacting too slowly :D

David Yap
08-02-2006, 05:22 AM
Quote Master Wang Xiangzhai on Dachengquan (aka Yiquan):
Self-defense - This combat. You should know that big movement is not as good as small movement, small movement is not as good as non-movement. In non-movement continuous movement is born. Movement which has visible form is expression of lack of proper force. The so called movement in non-movement is a movement as if without movement. Movement and non-movement are rooted in each other. The wonder of using it is based on using mind, mental induction, elastic use of the work of joints, stretching and contracting, firm support, the force of a screw, twisting around axis, moving the center of weight in stable way, using elastic power of breath. When someone can use it, he has basis for combat.

This sounds very abstractive. But there are many things which are difficult to explain using words. If someone practices diligently, he will easily achieve understanding. Distinguishing between big or small movement depends on mastering the basics - achieving practical perception of all kinds of force. When you master basics of using force of whole body, the movement can be big or small, it doesn't matter if movement is big or small. But if basics is not mastered, everything is wrong. The same with so called using force or not using force. People are usually unable to use force without disturbing flow of blood. Such force is stiff, not harmonious, it is not good for health. When you are able to get force without disturbing flow of blood, without excessive effort there appears force when you need to use it, this is natural force.

This is as if seeking miraculous but real things starting from empty ideas. It is difficult to express it with words. Summarizing, dachengquan is not based on beauty of external form, but on using mind. In short, if there is form, it is something not ripe yet. Only when the technique reaches level of doing it unconciously, the miraculous appears. This is what I'm talking about.

Sounds like and is applicable to aikido at the higher levels. Anyone here who practices internal CMA system (particularly Yiquan) to improve his/her aikido care to comment?

I've start with the "zhan zhuang" (pole holding) exercise and I find that my arms are more whippy :D

Best training

David Y

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 08:19 AM
Quote Master Wang Xiangzhai on Dachengquan (aka Yiquan):Self-defense - This combat. You should know that big movement is not as good as small movement, small movement is not as good as non-movement. In non-movement continuous movement is born. Movement which has visible form is expression of lack of proper force. The so called movement in non-movement is a movement as if without movement. Movement and non-movement are rooted in each other. The wonder of using it is based on using mind, mental induction, elastic use of the work of joints, stretching and contracting, firm support, the force of a screw, twisting around axis, moving the center of weight in stable way, using elastic power of breath. When someone can use it, he has basis for combat.

[[snip]] Summarizing, dachengquan is not based on beauty of external form, but on using mind. In short, if there is form, it is something not ripe yet. Only when the technique reaches level of doing it unconciously, the miraculous appears. This is what I'm talking about.


Sounds like and is applicable to aikido at the higher levels. Anyone here who practices internal CMA system (particularly Yiquan) to improve his/her aikido care to comment?

In my opinion, it's a pretty good summation, in that first part, of what the key body mechanics behind "small movements" really means. Unfortunately, it describes a process that happens over time and also which involves learning a few other skills to augment the procedure. The type of training that Rob John has learned via Akuzawa directly attacks *some* aspects of the training that Wang Xiang Zhai is talking about. It has to be noted that Yiquan (DaChengQuan) is in some ways a shortcut system, so it doesn't reveal the full extent of whatever Wang Xiang Zhai personally knew/practiced, so that's a factor when considering some of these revelations from Yiquan. ;)

The greater point is that this whole idea of stillness in movement is in all the Asian martial arts, to some degree, and is certainly found in Japanese martial arts. Aikido done correctly would not need much input from currently available Chinese martial arts or other Japanese martial arts. What may have happened (my guess at the moment) is that O-Sensei restricted the "upper level" information and the worldwide Aikido organization grew quickly, leaving too few people who actually knew and leaving too many "teachers" who didn't know such information existed. Whether enough teachers make any whole-hearted attempt to recover this aspect of Aikido is something which is very interesting to watch! :)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Lee Salzman
08-02-2006, 08:56 AM
Sounds like and is applicable to aikido at the higher levels. Anyone here who practices internal CMA system (particularly Yiquan) to improve his/her aikido care to comment?


The deeper I am getting into yiquan the more it is seeming like it is a totally different way of doing things than what might be useful for "internal" aikido. To do it as a supplement to aikido might be an injustice to yiquan.

The very basic standing has you learning to truly relax at a particular stopped point of movement, but that's only the beginning.

You then have to learn to coordinate all the muscles of the body along with the mind's intent to use them to make that "proper force". Improper force is if you were to just take your arm/fist, and clench it as tight as possible. The force goes nowhere, everything is fighting against itself, and if this clenching is everywhere then it may spread to the diaphragm too.

However, if you hold a palm out, and then press your fist/arm against your palm as hard as you can, the palm not letting your other arm move at all, you can generate the same amount of force, but now it has direction. If you suddenly pull your palm away, your fist will fly forward.

You're doing this in yiquan standing exercises, but by using the agonist-antagonist muscles (but without consciously doing so), and using every joint you can voluntarily control at once. You are then coordinating this with your "intent" to move in a certain direction, by pretending to move something in the distance, so that when your mind thinks "forward", eventually everything in your body can just go "forward" with as much force as you desire, without hesitation. All the while not letting it constrict the diaphragm or allowing anything else to clench without direction either. This gets practiced in all directions, twisting, shrinking, expanding, etc.

This is an exploration of the body's capability for generating force/movement at a particular example stopped point in movement ("non-movement"). To me, this just seems like something that is applicable to all athletics, not really aikido specifically, so YMMV.

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 10:15 AM
The deeper I am getting into yiquan the more it is seeming like it is a totally different way of doing things than what might be useful for "internal" aikido. To do it as a supplement to aikido might be an injustice to yiquan. Well, my opinion is that there are some somewhat different usages of the core principles in training and application, but the core principles are still the same. Someone understanding that and not just training rotely should be able to use Yiquan training to improve his Aikido, IMO.

Regards,

Mike

Lee Salzman
08-02-2006, 11:41 AM
Well, my opinion is that there are some somewhat different usages of the core principles in training and application, but the core principles are still the same. Someone understanding that and not just training rotely should be able to use Yiquan training to improve his Aikido, IMO.

Regards,

Mike

I guess what I'm trying to get at is yiquan is science, and aikido is art. In yiquan, you're analyzing not only what your body is doing, but how you're training into the body what you want it to do, based on some very objective goals. Yiquan is very much larger than the study of how you might apply what you've cultivated to aikido, and the philosophy of it much more progressive and empirical. To apply it to aikido, the end result would be more of "yiquan expressed in aikido shape" rather than "aikido supplemented by yiquan", not only in techniques, but in the method of practice itself. That, and studying yiquan can take a lot more time and energy than aikido, so balancing the two I have found difficult, at least for myself, to the point where I am no longer even going to try.

Aikido: intuit the mechanics from repetitive practice of form.
Yiquan: understand the mechanics from the beginning, then train them into the body directly, so that no form is ever necessary.

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 11:58 AM
I guess what I'm trying to get at is yiquan is science, and aikido is art. In yiquan, you're analyzing not only what your body is doing, but how you're training into the body what you want it to do, based on some very objective goals. I dunno. I think there's a perfectly valid argument that Ueshiba could have taught "as a science" how to build up "internal" power. I just don't see how either style is more of an "art" or a "science" than the other, frankly. But each to his own view. ;)

Regards,

Mike

George S. Ledyard
08-02-2006, 12:21 PM
I guess what I'm trying to get at is yiquan is science, and aikido is art. In yiquan, you're analyzing not only what your body is doing, but how you're training into the body what you want it to do, based on some very objective goals.

I guess I am with Mike here... The principles which govern Aikido can be taught and taught in a fairly systematic manner. This includes the principles of internal power which Mike talks about and it includes a number of other areas which, in my opinion are generally not well taught in most Aikido.

Aikido can't become an art until you have established mastery of the science.

Chuck Clark
08-02-2006, 12:41 PM
Well said George. I agree. Many of us spin our wheels for too long by trying to imitate the art (and the artists...) without going though the science and forging practice of principle.

Lee Salzman
08-02-2006, 01:06 PM
I guess I am with Mike here... The principles which govern Aikido can be taught and taught in a fairly systematic manner. This includes the principles of internal power which Mike talks about and it includes a number of other areas which, in my opinion are generally not well taught in most Aikido.

Aikido can't become an art until you have established mastery of the science.

George, when you make the DVD, I'll buy it. ;)

As someone low down on the aikido totem pole, all I can say is its frustrating feeling like I spend so much time guessing what all the mechanics of it are, that I never get to a point where I'm sure what I'm evening practicing.

Contrast this with something like yiquan, where the whole mission of the discipline is not world peace or true budo, but the most expedient and concrete means of transmitting concepts to students. Any concepts that don't serve to explain a phenomenon are simply dumped. It is a neutral discipline whose goal is as much propagation and evolution of itself as cultivation of its practitioners.

If I had access to that kind of aikido, I'd be a happy man.

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 01:18 PM
As someone low down on the aikido totem pole, all I can say is its frustrating feeling like I spend so much time guessing what all the mechanics of it are, that I never get to a point where I'm sure what I'm evening practicing.

Contrast this with something like yiquan, where the whole mission of the discipline is not world peace or true budo, but the most expedient and concrete means of transmitting concepts to students. Not to rain on your parade, Lee, but I've met a number of western Yiquan practitioners who, although they thought they'd been shown 'the good stuff', really didn't have skills that were very effective. So perhaps there's always a little of that "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" stuff that is not necessarily true.

Granted, the idea of Yiquan was to take the primary body skills that were often "secret" and teach them "openly", but in practice I find that it's simply not so... there's a LOT of stuff apparently not shown to westerners and Chinese; same old story. Also, in reality, Yiquan has never proven to be anything special as a martial art in China, even though it's got a certain almost trendy following in the West. I've heard of too many times where challenges by Yiquan people didn't work out... there's more to fighting than just having unusual body power.

I'm all for body skills, but I think that they can be taught as well in an Aikido format as they can in many other martial formats. I.e., I'm not much into "styles" of martial arts because it appears that almost every Asian martial art is built around these anciently revered body skills. As these body skills become more known, THEN it'll be fun to see the style wars, I think. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
08-02-2006, 04:38 PM
George, when you make the DVD, I'll buy it. ;)

As someone low down on the aikido totem pole, all I can say is its frustrating feeling like I spend so much time guessing what all the mechanics of it are, that I never get to a point where I'm sure what I'm evening practicing.

Contrast this with something like yiquan, where the whole mission of the discipline is not world peace or true budo, but the most expedient and concrete means of transmitting concepts to students. Any concepts that don't serve to explain a phenomenon are simply dumped. It is a neutral discipline whose goal is as much propagation and evolution of itself as cultivation of its practitioners.

If I had access to that kind of aikido, I'd be a happy man.

Current Attempts (http://www.aikieast.com/Videos%20for%20Sale.htm)

I will be doing a video in the Fall which will focus primarily on the various principles governing "entries". Should be out before Xmas.

Nick Pagnucco
08-02-2006, 05:14 PM
I'm all for body skills, but I think that they can be taught as well in an Aikido format as they can in many other martial formats. I.e., I'm not much into "styles" of martial arts because it appears that almost every Asian martial art is built around these anciently revered body skills. As these body skills become more known, THEN it'll be fun to see the style wars, I think. ;)

I would imagine, however, that some martial arts would emphasize certain elements over others. If that is true, then some martial arts may be a bit more 'related' (for lack of a better word I can think of) than others.

Maybe this isn't a fair question, what martial arts seem more 'related' to aikido, in your view? (aside from Daito-Ryu, of course)

My question is fueled by the perhaps incorrect assumption that the more the approach toward body skills overlap, the more potential benefit from cross-training there would be.

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 07:51 PM
Maybe this isn't a fair question, what martial arts seem more 'related' to aikido, in your view? (aside from Daito-Ryu, of course) I tend to look at martial arts as being composed of 2 general area:

1. Conditioning

2. Strategies and tactics (maybe you could simplify this by saying just "techniques", but that's not wholly true).


The first thing I think many westerners misunderstand is in the idea that different martial arts have different conditioning. Like there is maybe "hard Japanese", "hard Chinese", "Soft Japanese", "Soft Chinese", "medium hard Japanese", "internal Japanese", and so on. This is not really true. It's more accurate to understand that pretty much all the Asian martial arts use the ki and kokyu conditioning, even though some use it more sophisticatedly, some use a bit more muscle with it, etc. Once you understand that viewpoint and are able to spot and discard all the spurious m.a. practitioners who are really just using normal strength, shoulders, etc., you've come a long way. That's the key to understanding "conditioning" and realizing why a karateka like Ushiro Sensei actually has something valuable to contribute to Aikido, even thought the tactics and strategies and techniques of karate are often quite dissimilar.

Another misunderstanding is about the idea of "blending". A lot of people think that the idea of "blending, neutralizing, application", etc., is unique to Aikido. Or it's unique to Daito Ryu. Or it's unique to Taiji. It turns out that this particular idea is common to a lot of Asian martial arts. It's the idea of being "harmonious, rathern than conflicting" that is said in so many similar ways in so many arts. It is the natural arrangement that is signified by the Yin-Yang diagram... and how many Asian arts dissociate themselves from the Yin-Yang cosmology? None.

Xingyi, that art that so many of us thought was the ultimate King Kong art, uses blending extensively. So does Bagua. Much of Shaolin-style m.a.'s uses it, too. So many of our little conceits about the specialness of our arts evaporates as our perspective and exposure increase. Aikido is a unique martial art with distinguishing characteristics... but at the same time it is not "unique" in the sense that it doesn't share a lot of characteristics with many other arts in Asia.

So when you ask someone like me what arts seem similar to Aikido, I think many of the so-called "ju" (soft; using ki) arts are like Aikido, in that sense, to answer your question. Chinese shuai jiao is very similar in many aspects. However, the real problem for me is trying to think of an art that is radically dissimilar to Aikido. I just see too many similarities in the Asian arts that use the ki/kokyu skills to be able to think of differences; I see similarities. Sorry. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Young
08-02-2006, 08:30 PM
That's the key to understanding "conditioning" and realizing why a karateka like Ushiro Sensei actually has something valuable to contribute to Aikido, even thought the tactics and strategies and techniques of karate are often quite dissimilar.

Hi Mr. Sigman,

So I take it that you liked what you saw from Ushiro Sensei? I have been following most of the discussions you are usually involved in here on Aikiweb, and was very interested in hearing your take on Ushiro Sensei. You don't seem to be shy about your opinions :D so I am looking forward to more of what you think Ushiro Sensei is doing.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on him a few times during the week. What happened at his classes and the way he felt has really changed some of my perspectives regarding my training in Aikido. Stuff I thought I had a handle on (at least intellectually, though not in actual practice yet) is not at all what I thought was going on. The internal building of "kokyu" stuff now fascinates me more than ever, and I can see what you are talking about when you speak of the "deficiencies" of most Aikido training. There is a whole lot of internal stuff that is simply not being passed down in most places that is essential to understanding what we should be doing. In place of it a big emphasis on outward technique and movement is being stressed.

I'm still at a loss to understand what exactly I need to be doing to build internal "power/kokyu/strength", but I definitely can see that there is a whole other level to what I should start concentrating my studies on.

Nick Pagnucco
08-02-2006, 08:45 PM
So when you ask someone like me what arts seem similar to Aikido, I think many of the so-called "ju" (soft; using ki) arts are like Aikido, in that sense, to answer your question. Chinese shuai jiao is very similar in many aspects. However, the real problem for me is trying to think of an art that is radically dissimilar to Aikido. I just see too many similarities in the Asian arts that use the ki/kokyu skills to be able to think of differences; I see similarities. Sorry. ;)


Yeah... I've started realizing in the last year how un-unique aikido is in many allegedly unique ways. A martial art that attempts to use pure muscle, stay directly in the path of an incoming attack, and tries to directly resist an opponent's inertia... well... I dont think thats much of a martial art, now is it? ;)

I now know I probably will never know what makes aikido aikido until I start practicing another art to a degree.

In either case, thanks for the answer. At the very least, I have a better idea why it was the wrong question in the first place

David Yap
08-02-2006, 09:05 PM
Hi Mike,
What may have happened (my guess at the moment) is that O-Sensei restricted the "upper level" information and the worldwide Aikido organization grew quickly, leaving too few people who actually knew and leaving too many "teachers" who didn't know such information existed. Whether enough teachers make any whole-hearted attempt to recover this aspect of Aikido is something which is very interesting to watch! :)

To prove your guess, can we not compare the various lines of Sokaku Takeda's DRAJJ? I am sure some of these lines have evolved from ST just as M Ueshiba's aikido has. O Sensei was considered to be one of his best students (but not necessary the best of the best) and assuming that everyone of them has had learnt the same from ST, wouldn't some of these "high level" information be retained in some of these lines?

Any DRAJJ practitioners here care to share this with us?

Best training

David Y

PS - Thanks for the other great posts here.

David Yap
08-02-2006, 09:42 PM
Hi Lee,
The deeper I am getting into yiquan the more it is seeming like it is a totally different way of doing things than what might be useful for "internal" aikido. To do it as a supplement to aikido might be an injustice to yiquan.Versus..
This is an exploration of the body's capability for generating force/movement at a particular example stopped point in movement ("non-movement"). To me, this just seems like something that is applicable to all athletics, not really aikido specifically, so YMMV.=confused :(

For most of us (apologies for assuming), at a higher level of training it is the ki/kokyu aspect of the art that we hope to master. Science helps when the Art (or the teachers) no longer show.

However, if you hold a palm out, and then press your fist/arm against your palm as hard as you can, the palm not letting your other arm move at all, you can generate the same amount of force, but now it has direction. If you suddenly pull your palm away, your fist will fly forward.I have seen some Kyokushin guys breaking baseball bats with their fists using this concept - awesome power. Mas Oyama and most of his senior shihan also practiced Taikiken (aka Dachengquan/Yiquan). Injustice to Yichuan? :D BTW, Mas Oyama had studied DRAJJ too.

The wonder of x-training..

Regards

David Y

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 10:04 PM
So I take it that you liked what you saw from Ushiro Sensei? I have been following most of the discussions you are usually involved in here on Aikiweb, and was very interested in hearing your take on Ushiro Sensei. You don't seem to be shy about your opinions :D so I am looking forward to more of what you think Ushiro Sensei is doing. Hi Michael:

I think Ushiro Sensei was doing just what I've described for the past year and a half. As I said, I'm positive that some of this stuff is getting a push; people should thank Ikeda Sensei for stepping up and making an issue of it... Ikeda's got a LOT of brass for doing that and he deserves a lot of respect for making it an issue. The question is whether many of the westerners will take the time to go after the golden ring after it's been pointed out to them so plainly.

Sorry about the shyness. I'm trying to get over it. ;)
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on him a few times during the week. What happened at his classes and the way he felt has really changed some of my perspectives regarding my training in Aikido. Stuff I thought I had a handle on (at least intellectually, though not in actual practice yet) is not at all what I thought was going on. The internal building of "kokyu" stuff now fascinates me more than ever, and I can see what you are talking about when you speak of the "deficiencies" of most Aikido training. There is a whole lot of internal stuff that is simply not being passed down in most places that is essential to understanding what we should be doing. In place of it a big emphasis on outward technique and movement is being stressed. Good; kudos to you. You need to realize the not everyone else is going to see it or be motivated enough to chase it down. Think of Ueshiba's post-war Uchi-deshi's.... some (like Tohei, Abe, and others) chased it down; others were content where they were. I'm still at a loss to understand what exactly I need to be doing to build internal "power/kokyu/strength", but I definitely can see that there is a whole other level to what I should start concentrating my studies on.This is my comment about Ushiro's teaching. While it was good and well-intentioned and *way* beyond anything I've ever heard of a traditional Japanese teacher doing, it's still not explicative enough (IMO) so that people actually get it, even at the basic level.

So my questions have been things like "what to do about it", "should anything really be done at all or should Aikido just accept the fact that a few people in Aikido have it and the rest will never be shown", and so on. I think it's a good discussion. Adding to the fun of the discussion is that a large number of the Aikido community don't really understand what this stuff is and therefore can't see that there's a problem to do with the stuff they don't know about. :) It's an interesting predicament, indeed, ain't it?

In terms of *how* to start doing it, I showed a reasonable thumbnail sketch of *my opinion* of a viable approach to George Ledyard and Rich Moore. They may or may not agree with my approach as viable, but the idea of discussing, show-and-tell, etc., is probably the first important step (after deciding whether it's important enough to do something about or not).

I would be glad to try to tell you how to start in what I think is an effective way, but honestly... it really needs a hands-on to start, get a common vocabulary, etc.

All the Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 10:06 PM
To prove your guess, can we not compare the various lines of Sokaku Takeda's DRAJJ? I am sure some of these lines have evolved from ST just as M Ueshiba's aikido has. O Sensei was considered to be one of his best students (but not necessary the best of the best) and assuming that everyone of them has had learnt the same from ST, wouldn't some of these "high level" information be retained in some of these lines? I think some of it IS retained. It's just not freely shown. Ellis Amdur has pointed that out in some posts of his, BTW.

Regards,

Mike

Lee Salzman
08-02-2006, 10:16 PM
=confused :(

Me too, and that's the point. What I am learning in yiquan seems related to some of the stuff that might be useful for aikido, but not necessarily what one would apply to aikido. I'm pretty much learning how to generate a lot of force and how to transition it with relaxation. While I'm sure you could use that in aikido, I'm not sure it's what I was looking for when I started learning yiquan or what Mike is really talking about.

Mike Sigman
08-03-2006, 07:28 AM
Me too, and that's the point. What I am learning in yiquan seems related to some of the stuff that might be useful for aikido, but not necessarily what one would apply to aikido. I'm pretty much learning how to generate a lot of force and how to transition it with relaxation. While I'm sure you could use that in aikido, I'm not sure it's what I was looking for when I started learning yiquan or what Mike is really talking about.Lee, without seeing what you're doing and without knowing what your perception of "Aikido" is (it varies from person to person, as you can spot by reading this list), I'm not sure what to tell you.

The "internal strength" stuff has some fixed categories. For simplicity, let's just say we're looking at the kokyu and ki stuff. Yiquan is kokyu and ki stuff. Ushiro's karate is kokyu and ki stuff (even though it looks to some people like he's doing something entirely different). I.e., you can learn kokyu and ki stuff from someone really knowledgeable in Yiquan, karate, Aikido, and a number of other arts. *HOW* you use that kokyu and ki stuff depends on the art and how well you conform to that usage in the art.

"Sanchin" was Ushiro's preferred vehicle to teach kokyu and ki things. "Standing exercises" in Yiquan is the basis for starting internal strength-ki-and-kokyu... then they move on to moving with that power in Shr li, Mocabu, and Fa li. But at heart, it's all the same stuff.

Granted, in Aikido you have to have a teacher who knows how to do these things and there is a dearth of English-speaking teachers out there, but it's beginning to happen. Heck, you may wind up being on that wave of upcoming teachers who will teach this stuff to the next generation.... certainly it's unavoidably coming and no one will survive trying pretend that they don't need to know that stuff. So be positive... you're on the right track. ;)

Regards,

Mike

SeiserL
08-03-2006, 07:45 AM
IMHO, (and I am sure Phong Sensei would agree), that first training is about the science or craft of technical profieciency, without foundation there really is no art.

Also, since Phong Sensei has rank in several other arts, he would not say that Aikido is exclusive in its concepts, principles, strategies, or even application. Yet it appears to be his favorite.

It may be more about the packaging. Too often we sort fro differences instead of similiarities or sameness. IMHO, both are important.

I have personally trained with Ushiro Sensei at all three Aiki-Expos. Always excellent instruction, insight, and inspiration. We got into a flowing/rolling hands moment and he was always grounded, in front of me, and I didn't feel him move. Most excellent.

Agreed, Ikeda Sensei is always excellent and is well worth attendence at his seminar. I have attended many over the years. He does show, explain, and give exercise in the "how" of the art.

Large movements or small movements, the principles can remain constant, the application depends on the context.

Mike Sigman
08-04-2006, 08:11 AM
IMHO, (and I am sure Phong Sensei would agree), that first training is about the science or craft of technical profieciency, without foundation there really is no art. Hi Lynn:

It would help the discussion a lot of you were able to give us some specifics of the body mechanics Phong Sensei uses. As it is, he could be using "body mechanics" but they may be body mechanics unrelated to the more or less common discussion.

I wish you had been at the summer camp. As George mentioned, I can tell pretty much by a touch who is doing what within their body and it would have been interesting to see what sort of body mechanics you're using. Then I could judge your remarks more accurately. And overriding all other thoughts when I say things like this is the constant awareness that it is easy to mislead people so that they go through their whole Aikido, Taiji, Xingyi, karate, whatever, career learning the wrong body mechanics ... therefore not getting the full return for their time and other investments. It's one of the reasons I ask such serious (sometimes blunt) questions to someone who publicly advertises that he is a "teacher"... if he/she advertises that he/she knows enough to teach, then public questions should be expected, to some extent.

In terms of being a student who is led for years down a road that is not really quite the correct road... it happens a lot. I happen to have seen a lot of people after the realization hits them that the teacher they gave so much to didn't really know what he was doing (even though he thought he did). Often it's that concern for the students (because I've been one and I've been on the receiving end of some real time-wasters who were playing a role as best they could but it was no where near good enough) that is always just below the surface of my mind. I have personally trained with Ushiro Sensei at all three Aiki-Expos. Always excellent instruction, insight, and inspiration. We got into a flowing/rolling hands moment and he was always grounded, in front of me, and I didn't feel him move. Most excellent. Fine.... but the question about Ushiro is not whether he knew kokyu... he does, as even a casual observer can see... or whether he's "grounded" (if he can use kokyu, of course he's grounded). The question is within a discussion about whether the manner in which he teaches will convey do-able and useable kokyu/ki skills to most of the Aikido students. If not, why? And so on. A discussion like that, full of specifics instead of vagaries, is bound to be helpful. Wouldn't you agree? Agreed, Ikeda Sensei is always excellent and is well worth attendence at his seminar. I have attended many over the years. He does show, explain, and give exercise in the "how" of the art. Well, bear in mind that I met Ikeda many years ago in the early 1980's and I've seen him a number of times during that interim. Ushiro made the scene at the Aiki Expo last year and Ikeda was very interested in what Ushiro was teaching and later invited Ushiro to teach in Boulder and then at this summer camp.

Two things very unusual have been happening and they have my interest. First of all, Ushiro Sensei, regardless of exactly how he teaches it or how fully he teaches it, is doing something in the same league as Akuzawa Sensei is doing.... he's actually teaching people kokyu things instead of just vaguely and cryptically referring to them. The other thing, and almost a bigger thing, is that Ikeda Sensei is basically saying "hey, I don't really know how to do that to that level and I want to learn and I want my students to learn". There should be some sort of national award to Ikeda for doing that. He has stood up in a way that makes me look at him and think that even though I think he's a great guy, I seriously understimated him, all these years.

But think about it. It's such a big deal that a Japanese-trained sensei is doing something unheard of about it. In the Aikido community I get the feeling that a *few* people are paying close attention and get the hint; most others are making vague acknowledgements and trying to indicate that they too already know this stuff, yada, yada, yada. Fine, if that's their personal attitude.... but thinking back to the students that I tend to focus on, how many students have been taught stuff that lacked the ki/kokyu skills and what does that do for them and for Aikido? There are a lot of things worth thinking about (and I'm not singling you out, Lynn... I'm more musing out loud). Large movements or small movements, the principles can remain constant,,,, OK, but what are the "principles"? If I have my arms in front of me like I'm holding a sack of groceries in shape, but with no weight in them..... what are the "principles" that I would use to lift them so the arms come up to shoulder height? What are the specific mechanics?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

kokyu
08-06-2006, 05:58 AM
I can tell pretty much by a touch who is doing what within their body and it would have been interesting to see what sort of body mechanics you're using.


That's interesting. I definitely don't have that level of sensitivity, but would you mind explaining what you sense/feel with that touch?

Mike Sigman
08-06-2006, 07:45 AM
That's interesting. I definitely don't have that level of sensitivity, but would you mind explaining what you sense/feel with that touch?I feel whether someone's power is based on use of the ground or local muscle, I feel where areas are tense in the body, I can tell their general tonus. I can feel their nearest "empty spots" where they have no balance. It's part of "listening jin", but that in itself is an offshoot of the basic jin/kokyu development. There is only one jin. ;)

Regards,

Mike