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Mike Sigman
09-24-2006, 08:40 PM
Are these men practicing Aikido?What is Aikido? Define it. If you can't, you'll see why I was vague.

Mike

dps
09-24-2006, 09:39 PM
What is Aikido? Define it. Mike
From "The Aikido FAQ"

"Whenever I move, that's Aikido."
O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from Jujitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.

Upon closer examination, practitioners will find from Aikido what they are looking for, whether it is applicable self-defense technique, spiritual enlightenment, physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasized the moral and spiritual aspects of this art, placing great weight on the development of harmony and peace. "The Way of Harmony of the Spirit" is one way that "Aikido" may be translated into English. This is still true of Aikido today, although different styles emphasize the more spiritual aspects to greater or lesser degrees. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.


If you can't, you'll see why I was vague.Mike
I did, why were you vague?


Mike Sigman wrote:
I know a lot of men that simply want to do a martial art for the martial art and "harmony" has got little to do with it,Mike
Are these men practicing Aikido?
Is there another martial art that emphisises harmony?

Mike Sigman
09-24-2006, 10:34 PM
From "The Aikido FAQ" I see your grasp of the subject, David. Why go to summer camp and learn "kokyu" from Ushiro Sensei when you can simply look it up on a FAQ, I wonder? ;)

Mike Sigman

eyrie
09-24-2006, 10:41 PM
What about hapkido? Same Chinese characters....

hapkidoike
09-24-2006, 10:52 PM
From "The Aikido FAQ"

"Whenever I move, that's Aikido."
O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from Jujitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.

Upon closer examination, practitioners will find from Aikido what they are looking for, whether it is applicable self-defense technique, spiritual enlightenment, physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasized the moral and spiritual aspects of this art, placing great weight on the development of harmony and peace. "The Way of Harmony of the Spirit" is one way that "Aikido" may be translated into English. This is still true of Aikido today, although different styles emphasize the more spiritual aspects to greater or lesser degrees. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.



I did, why were you vague?


Mike Sigman wrote:

Are these men practicing Aikido?
Is there another martial art that emphasizes harmony?

What one usually means when asking for a definition is a set of necessary and sufficient conditions. It may be necessary that the art be Japanese and have been founded by one Morihei Ueshiba. It may be necessary that such an art have been derived from Kenjutsu and jujitsu, but I do not think that it is sufficient or necessary to say that it emphasis es harmony. This is epically due to the fact that so many disagree about what this truly means. Maybe some or most practitioners of the art do, but given that some do not, it cannot be a sufficient condition. And what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for a word like harmony? The problem here is that agreement on what aikido is is dependent on what our idea of what harmony is. Remember that words are merely conventions, they do not say anything about the nature of a thing.
And about other martial arts emphasizing harmony, again that is going to depend on how we define harmony. If someone is trying to shoot me or somebody else, I would say that it would be harmonious (given that this person is threatening the lives of myself or others) for me to draw my .357 on his dome and spatter cherry pie against the wall, due to the fact that he has disrupted the social order and has to be corrected. Others would not.
Are there men who are practicing aikido who are not concerned with others (by others I mean their instructors and fellow students) idea about the philosophical implications of aikido and how that squares with "harmony"? Surely there are. I don't really care about the philosophical ideas behind the art. I got a degree in philosophy, and I for one am tired of normative ethics. If we do have to make it square with some idea of harmony, I say we put the harm back into harmony. :D

dps
09-24-2006, 10:58 PM
If someone is trying to shoot me or somebody else, I would say that it would be harmonious (given that this person is threatening the lives of myself or others) for me to draw my .357 on his dome and spatter cherry pie against the wall, due to the fact that he has disrupted the social order and has to be corrected. As good a definition for harmony as any other.

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-24-2006, 10:59 PM
"Ai-ki-dou" is pronounced "gou-ki-dou" in Chinese, and probably in Korean, helping to distinguish it from "hapkido" in the latter. The pronounciation "gou" is the chinese reading, while "ai" is the japanese. Of course, "gou" appears a lot in japanese compounds too.

hapkidoike
09-24-2006, 11:29 PM
As good a definition for harmony as any other.
Dude, give me a break, this may be an example of harmonious action or something like it but as a defintion it is severly lacking. I really dont think it is possible to give an account of necessary and suffcient condions for harmony. But Skaggs, give er your best shot. The other reason (aside from the idea of talking about normative ethics) I get so turned off by talking about this idea about harmony is for this exact reason. It is elusive, and like my man Wittgenstein said "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent" Tractatus: Logico Philosophicus.

dps
09-24-2006, 11:36 PM
but I do not think that it is sufficient or necessary to say that it emphasis es harmony. Then what do you think the Ai in Aikido means?

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/aikido

" The word "aikido" is made up of three Japanese characters: AI - harmony,..."

hapkidoike
09-25-2006, 12:25 AM
Then what do you think the Ai in Aikido means?

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/aikido

" The word "aikido" is made up of three Japanese characters: AI - harmony,..."
Skaggs:
Sorry about the jacked up spelling job.
Maybe it is the case that ai translates to harmony, either directly or indirectly, I dont know for I don't speak Japanese. What I do know is that noone in the aikido world has ever given me a clear definition of the word harmony, insofar as it relates to some philosophical underpinnings that are supposed to exist within the 'aikido framework'. Who's idea of harmony do we use? We cant use Usheiba's he is dead, therefore we cannot interrogate him about it. Given that there are going to be as many different ideas of what harmony is "supposed" to mean as there are aikidoka I do not think this is an appropriate way to try to "define" aikido as such.
Good Day
Bettis

dps
09-25-2006, 12:45 AM
Not knowing something is often more comfortable than knowing it.
Have a nice day. :)

Alfonso
09-25-2006, 03:02 PM
I think that this idea that Aikido is defined by the kanji that is used to spell it is a bit weird.

I mean if someone asks you what is boxing, would you go about boxes and gramatical rules and so on?

gdandscompserv
09-25-2006, 03:23 PM
Aikido is this martial art that I learned from Iwao Yamaguchi Sensei. I continue to practice it and refine it to the best of my ability. I am unable to express it in words. I find myself applying it's principles in everyday life however. For example, this morning, I was a bit slow in arising upon hearing the alarm. I later thought about this and determined that if I approached waking up with the same true intent that I tell my students to attack me with, it would be a more pleasant experience. :D

Mike Sigman
09-25-2006, 04:50 PM
"Ai-ki-dou" is pronounced "gou-ki-dou" in Chinese, and probably in Korean, helping to distinguish it from "hapkido" in the latter. The pronounciation "gou" is the chinese reading, while "ai" is the japanese. Of course, "gou" appears a lot in japanese compounds too.Hmmmmmm, Gernot. I thought it was Ho-qi-dao, more or less, in Chinese... *if* they had a term like that. ;)

Mike

Tim Fong
09-25-2006, 05:23 PM
In Mandarin it comes out as "He Qi Dao". In discussions with Korean nationals (in Mandarin...long story) we would always differentiate btw "Hanguo de He Qi Dao" and "Riben de He Qi Dao" , i.e "korean aikido" and "japanese aikido."

As to "what is" 合气道",I'd say, it's manipulating the feeling of pressure (i.e. ki) in your body, so that it pervades every joint. Then, on contact with your opponent, you "harmonize" by keeping your pressure, which means that as you make a structure to structure connection (say a wrist grab) your structure displaces that of your opponents, assuming you have a stronger structure than they do, or you find the weakest link in their structure and break them down in that direction.

Now can I do this yet? No. Only in a limited direction. But check back with me in a few years and hopefully the answer will be yes.

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-25-2006, 08:38 PM
Hmmmmmm, Gernot. I thought it was Ho-qi-dao, more or less, in Chinese... *if* they had a term like that. ;)
Mike You're probably right Mike! I only know from Chinese people here in Japan that don't recognize "aikido" but they know that "gou" is the Japanese version of their "Ho" so they go "ah, goukidou, yes, yes, yes...." :D

Mike Sigman
09-25-2006, 08:47 PM
You're probably right Mike! I only know from Chinese people here in Japan that don't recognize "aikido" but they know that "gou" is the Japanese version of their "Ho" so they go "ah, goukidou, yes, yes, yes...." :DTim's right on the spelling as "He" in Pinyin... I deliberately fudged it to an "o" because the "e" has an almost "o" sound (to us westerners). He's right; I'm wrong.

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-25-2006, 10:33 PM
Thanks Tim for that explanation of the pronounciation.

Tim Fong
09-25-2006, 10:39 PM
No prob =)

Gwion
09-26-2006, 02:33 AM
Aikido is the Way of Harmony
the Art of Peace

the way of one who loves and respects all creation.


pretty simple to define if you ask me.

why make it complicated?

hapkidoike
09-26-2006, 09:17 PM
Aikido is the Way of Harmony
the Art of Peace

the way of one who loves and respects all creation.


pretty simple to define if you ask me.

why make it complicated?
Are you saying that if my instructor wakes up tomorrow and decides he does not have "respect for all creation" then what he is doing is not aikido, and that someone who has never seen the inside of a dojo or ever heard the word aikido is doing it if (and only if) they "love and respect all creation"? Can you not see why this is deficient?

Joe Bowen
09-27-2006, 02:54 AM
"Ai-ki-dou" is pronounced "gou-ki-dou" in Chinese, and probably in Korean, helping to distinguish it from "hapkido" in the latter. The pronounciation "gou" is the chinese reading, while "ai" is the japanese. Of course, "gou" appears a lot in japanese compounds too.

The korean pronounciation of :ai: :ki: :do: is hap ki do. The hanja is the same for both which has caused some problems for the Korea Aikido Federation when spelling out its name in the Hanja. It's identical to the Korea Hapkido Federation!

By the way, if you looked up this character :ai: in a chinese dictionary you'd find that it does not translate as harmony.... :freaky:
The chinese definition if I remember correctly as I did this a long time ago, is more akin to integration rather than harmonization. And basically, the character is generally not used by the chinese to indicate harmony as I've been told by a few native Chinese speakers, "we wouldn't even think of using that character for "harmony", we'd use this other one", but I can't remember which one they said.
I actually like the term integration, but the idea of harmony I believe suites the philosophy and thinking about the era Aikido was introduced to the west (60's & 70's) it was probably not a literal translation effort... ;)

eyrie
09-27-2006, 07:10 AM
和 = harmony
合 = combine, unite, join; gather

Robert Rumpf
09-27-2006, 07:32 AM
Here's one that I've come up with that I've been thinking about...
Aikido is what happens when one of us takes ukemi.

Rob

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-27-2006, 08:49 AM
和 = harmony
合 = combine, unite, join; gather

Hi I.T.,
Aikido is wagou, exactly those two characters, according to Abe sensei. He then goes on to explain this in terms much like O'Sensei did, in a calligraphic phrase about using one's total power and putting that to use in accordance with the sum of external forces.

David Orange
09-27-2006, 11:27 AM
As to "what is" 合气道",I'd say, it's manipulating the feeling of pressure (i.e. ki) in your body, so that it pervades every joint. Then, on contact with your opponent, you "harmonize" by keeping your pressure, which means that as you make a structure to structure connection (say a wrist grab) your structure displaces that of your opponents, assuming you have a stronger structure than they do, or you find the weakest link in their structure and break them down in that direction.

But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword? And how does it explain aikinage?

Tim Fong
09-27-2006, 01:43 PM
David: I don't know, I don't do any work with shinken. All my weapons work is single stick or knife, and I think that a two handed weapon might work differently. With single stick vs. single stick, if I move with "pressure" on the block/strike I've had my practice partners say, they feel it reverberate through their hand. I'm still figuring it out.

Ignatius: Okay. Join/combine/in accord with, you're right that's a better definition.

For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"

David Orange
09-27-2006, 02:49 PM
David: I don't know, I don't do any work with shinken. All my weapons work is single stick or knife, and I think that a two handed weapon might work differently.

Well, I mean the basic idea of aiki, at a distance, especially as in kenjutsu, where kuzushi is induced through movement with little or no contact, which is also what I was referring to with aikinage, or timing throws.

[qote=Tim Fong]For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"[/QUOTE]

The "harmony" aspect of the kanji for "ai" is seen on a number of levels. First is the three-part "triangle" at the top, which has to be balanced in form, and that sits atop the four-part "square" which has to be balanced in form. And the two parts have to balance one another. And this is a harmony of the parts. What is "harmony," after all, but balance of complementary parts?

The idea of "blending" is there, but "harmony" is not a bad correlate for "blending" and the "balance" it implies. For instance, "gouri" (balance principle) means "rationality," carrying some of the Greek connotations of "ratio" and "harmony" in balance. It means to think things through rationally. Its opposite is "muri" or "no reason," which implies senseless, irrational, unreasonable.

Best wishes,

David

David Orange
09-27-2006, 04:10 PM
Tim Fong wrote:
As to "what is" 合气道",I'd say, it's manipulating the feeling of pressure (i.e. ki) in your body, so that it pervades every joint. Then, on contact with your opponent, you "harmonize" by keeping your pressure, which means that as you make a structure to structure connection (say a wrist grab) your structure displaces that of your opponents, assuming you have a stronger structure than they do, or you find the weakest link in their structure and break them down in that direction.

But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword?

Really, the more appropriate question would be:

How does that relate to when you are unarmed and the attacker has a sword? Then the prime thing is to avoid the attack. How does the internal pressure idea facilitate avoidance of the sword strike?

David

Upyu
09-27-2006, 04:49 PM
I think Tim is correct, but ultimately application will depend on how the person trains.

Here's my take it:

The manipulation of internall pressures/tensions allow Kuzushi on contact and is VERY effective when using sword. I found that out the quick way by testing some stuff out with my friend whose done Iai/Kendo for 7+ years now.

Sword vs. No sword means you have to move with "setsuna." That requires you having the "connected" body, and being able to manipulate the pressures in the body in one "feel". This allows extra leeway for timing since you apply kuzushi to the person simply by touching him.
(To the other guy it just looks like you raised your arm straight up, but somehow his blade is still deflected, and he's way off balance)
To answer David's question, use of the internal pressures allow you to make slight minute adjustments in your own body simply, almost indicernable to the outside viewer, but with the result being that you still take the guys center on contact and hence his sword as well. (All the while not "resisting" against the line of attack)

Granted, that's a simplistic explanation.

It still helps to be grounded in the ideas of "men kara sen, sen kara ten" or rather "area to line, line to point" concepts, which lead into go no sen, sen no sen, connection differences between hai men (back/yang side), zen men (front/yin side) and all that jibe.

David Orange
09-27-2006, 10:04 PM
Sword vs. No sword...requires you having the "connected" body, and...you apply kuzushi to the person simply by touching him.

But what do you do about the sword?

(To the other guy it just looks like you raised your arm straight up, but somehow his blade is still deflected, and he's way off balance)

Yes. What is the 'somehow'? How do you avoid being hit by the sword?

...use of the internal pressures allow you to make slight minute adjustments in your own body simply, almost indicernable to the outside viewer, but with the result being that you still take the guys center on contact and hence his sword as well. (All the while not "resisting" against the line of attack)
Granted, that's a simplistic explanation.

I don't find it very clear. What does it take to avoid the sword?

And what is it that differentiates aikido from judo, jujutsu or sumo? You've said that the internal pressure ideas come from sumo in large part (as does much of Japanese martial art). So what you and Tim have described could speak as well for jujutsu and judo. In fact, it seems to describe those arts better than it does aikido.

How do you differentiate? What's the difference in the arts? Mike Sigman likes to point to the "sudden" development of Tenryu to mastery of aikido, but that overlooks literal decades of training in sumo. So it wasn't really very quick development at all. But what was the difference in what he had been doing and in what he learned from Morihei Ueshiba?

I think it's related to cutting with the sword and avoiding the sword. Ueshiba once said that the essence of aikido is "thrusting with the Japanese sword."

So how do you recognize aikido as opposed to sumo or jujutsu?

David

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-27-2006, 11:32 PM
For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"
Beats me. I guess the usual thing: today it's called "machine translation" :-)

David Orange
09-28-2006, 09:38 AM
So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"

Regardless of how you technically translate "ai" in "aikido," there's no question that Morihei Ueshiba spent a lot of time promoting the idea that aikido is an art of love and harmony of the universe. I think that's how it gets translated as "Way of Harmony."

And not only Ueshiba, but apparently people like Sagawa were promoting this idea. I got this quote from a post on e-budo. Supposedly, Sagawa had a scroll in his dojo reading:

""The Martial Art of Aiki is Synonymous with the Way of Human Cultivation & Development"

Aiki is the harmonization of ki.
The entire universe sustains itself perfectly through harmonization. This harmony is aiki.
[Aiki] creates harmony without producing negative feelings or conflict because the ki of aiki is natural.
The harmony created by aiki must be a fundamental part of the foundation of human society.
This is known as the Global Harmony of Aiki (Aiki no Daienwa).
One should use the principle of aiki to harmonize with and de-escalate those threatening violence, and in the case where an enemy has already initiated an attack, rely completely on the principle of aiki to blend with or redirect their attack, which in turn produces a state of harmony.
We must seriously study (shugyo) the kihon (basics) - as well as the taijutsu (jujutsu), tachi no jutsu (swordsmanship), sojutsu (spearmanship), and bojutsu (staff techniques) - as passed down within the methods of aiki through its founder, Prince Shinra Saburo Minamoto Yoshimitsu, then strive to reach the Way found in the martial art of aiki (aiki no budo), which is synonymous with the Way of human cultivation and development (ningen shuyo). "

Of course, his would have been in Japanese and I have never seen it, but it does seem he was making the point that the essence of aiki is harmony of the universe.

Mike Sigman
09-28-2006, 09:57 AM
Regardless of how you technically translate "ai" in "aikido," there's no question that Morihei Ueshiba spent a lot of time promoting the idea that aikido is an art of love and harmony of the universe. I think that's how it gets translated as "Way of Harmony."

And not only Ueshiba, but apparently people like Sagawa were promoting this idea. I got this quote from a post on e-budo. Supposedly, Sagawa had a scroll in his dojo reading:[snip] David, there is a whole "way of life" reflected in that writing that says a very common thing within Asian (particularly Chinese) culture. There is an Order to the universe and the ideal is to do things such that the laws of the universe are met with a harmony, not a conflict. I.e., the idea of "harmony with the universe" is not a behavioural admonition in itself, but part of a general idea of doing everything in accord with "Nature" and without conflict. If you have a martial art that specifically says you do things in "harmony", etc., you are setting yourself up as "doing the correct thing in our traditional philosophy"; i.e., you are justifying what you do as being only correct.

You should move in the "natural" way (which is where the kokyu/ki/jin idea comes in). This is where you'll see the justification for cultivating your ki and jin powers... you can spot it usually in the term "cultivation". Doing qi etc., exercises is considered to be a bona fide and important part of the whole "self cultivation" thing.

My point being that a universal cosmological concept that generally drives Asian philosophy, in important segments, should not be construed as being in congruence with the "peace, love, and harmony" in the PepsiCola Song. It's a specific idea and usually you'll find the ki/kokyu things in there and, voila', those same ki/kokyu things are the basis of Ueshiba's art, Sagawa's art, and so on. If you look in O-Sensei's douka, he repeatedly uses the ancient terms and admonitions and points to them as being the heart of Aikido, thus justifying his art as indeed a superior art, blessed by the gods, etc.

FWIW

Mike

MM
09-28-2006, 10:28 AM
But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword? And how does it explain aikinage?

Hi David,
If you are referring to the "aiki" in aikido as coming from kenjutsu ... I don't know that it did. It's something that I think people are researching and finding that maybe there wasn't a whole lot of kenjutsu in aikido's history. Dunno. Better people than me are talking about it on E-Budo.

Mark

MM
09-28-2006, 10:34 AM
David: I don't know, I don't do any work with shinken. All my weapons work is single stick or knife, and I think that a two handed weapon might work differently. With single stick vs. single stick, if I move with "pressure" on the block/strike I've had my practice partners say, they feel it reverberate through their hand. I'm still figuring it out.

Ignatius: Okay. Join/combine/in accord with, you're right that's a better definition.

For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"

What kind of stick work are you doing? (I just started kali)

As for people translating ... people have been mis-translating Japanese words/phrases for a long time. I've seen people talk about Aikido being love and peace and using their own definition of "love" and "peace". Whether it is right or wrong isn't the point, but rather the point is if they are doing that without researching or investing the time to get a basis for their ideas/translations/words. Then it might become a matter of right or wrong for that person's usage. Someone else might use the same words and mean something different.

Mark

Tim Fong
09-28-2006, 12:09 PM
Mark,
I practice Serrada Escrima.

David,

Notice that the quote you posted places "kihon" before "taijutsu." I am telling you straight up that the conditioning exercises (or as Akuzawa calls it, tanren) create the "core" of the technique. My guess is this is what the rest of your quote is talking about.

David Orange
09-28-2006, 01:22 PM
..."kihon" before "taijutsu."...the conditioning exercises (or as Akuzawa calls it, tanren) create the "core" of the technique.

Yes, tanren is the "core" of all the Japanese martial arts. But there is also something centrally unique to each of them, as to how they variously use that core to achieve their own peculiar affects. What is the difference, then, in aikido and sumo or jujutsu, judo, etc.?

Mark mentioned that there is some discussion about whether aiki is based on kenjutsu, but I don't take that too problematically. The old "aiki no in-yo ho" go way, way back and were a consideration for sword fighters. How much of that actually carried through to Takeda's daito ryu may be in question, but avoidance of the sword has always been a major concern for aiki arts. Avoidance and taking. And Mochizuki Sensei went into a lot of detail about how various movements were taken directly from sword movements and how various techniques were based directly on sword techniques. He even had a kata called Ken Tai Iichi no Kata (forms of sword and body are one) to show the direct correlation. It is a point of consideration that his sword forms were all rooted in katori shinto ryu, while Ueshiba's and DTR's generally were based on Ona Ha Itto Ryu, but in his way of teaching the aiki-kenjutsu/taijutsu connection was central.

So my question remains, what, exactly, differentiates aikido from sumo/jujutsu/judo, since all are based on tanren, and how does the internal pressure model explain non-contact aiki?

David

David Orange
09-28-2006, 02:50 PM
David, there is a whole "way of life" reflected in that writing that says a very common thing within Asian (particularly Chinese) culture. There is an Order to the universe and the ideal is to do things such that the laws of the universe are met with a harmony, not a conflict.

Well, that is the core of my thinking and acting. And I don't see any need to differentiate that "universal ki" from martial arts technique. as Liang Shou Yu described it as a single continuum in "Emei Baguazhang." The universal ki is the same ki used in fighting techniques. You first connect yourself to the world and the universe through your body, then through your family. Then you act in ways that protect both. And while even the attacker has "value" in a harmonious view of the world, we value our own lives and the safety of our family and nation above those of people who would attack us. So, harmony or not, the methods must be overwhelming for an attacker.

You should move in the "natural" way (which is where the kokyu/ki/jin idea comes in). This is where you'll see the justification for cultivating your ki and jin powers... you can spot it usually in the term "cultivation". Doing qi etc., exercises is considered to be a bona fide and important part of the whole "self cultivation" thing.

That, too, is in accord with my idea that we cultivate what is correct in our inborn nature. We cultivate human ki and mind to refine it to its most greatest natural potential. Proper cultivation of ki creates a flexible, strong and supple body, a relaxed and perceptive mind and an instantly responsive awareness, all useful for every aspect of daily life as well as self-defense and other feats of derring do.

...a universal cosmological concept that generally drives Asian philosophy, in important segments, should not be construed as being in congruence with the "peace, love, and harmony" in the PepsiCola Song.

I've never subscribed to the idea of doing that though it is clear that many people have construed it that way. Still, I think that Ueshiba went farther in developing it that way than his predecessors. While Sagawa may have said that aiki is harmonization of the universe, I don't think he went as far as Ueshiba in insisting that our techniques also protect the attacker. I think that in DTR it is presumed that an attacker will be lucky to walk away unbroken.

I do agree that many aikido practitioners have taken Ueshiba's "no enemy/loving protection for all things" statements to mean that we have to avoid injuring the attacker at all costs, even to the point of leaving ourselves and our families in danger and I don't think he meant that. He also did not mean to practice in any weak way or to remain weak, but I think that in practice it is necessary to work in such a way that we don't injure our training partners.

And I don't think Ueshiba intended ukes to develop as dive monkeys in randori. I don't know where that came in, but Mochizuki Sensei never tolerated it. For him, aikido was always a means of self development through hard training in serious self-defense methods and you had to work hard to stay in his dojo. He thought that a lot of Tohei's stuff was "hypnotism" and he only taught reliable physical methods. No hocus-pocus.

David

HL1978
09-28-2006, 03:14 PM
I think Tim is correct, but ultimately application will depend on how the person trains.

Here's my take it:

The manipulation of internall pressures/tensions allow Kuzushi on contact and is VERY effective when using sword. I found that out the quick way by testing some stuff out with my friend whose done Iai/Kendo for 7+ years now.


I'd like to find some other people who practice kendo in such a fashion, while iaido trains in this way in a very minor fashion. There are plenty of waza, but most of the teachings seem to be based around movement of the arms/wrists and not the body behind it.

My posts to kendo forums about such things are met by confusion, which may be because of modern kendo's sport focus. If I test in the future, it will be interesting to see the judges reaction :D

I'm going to be training kendo from now on with these things in mind, even if I am less "aggressive" in my kendo.

mathewjgano
09-28-2006, 03:20 PM
So my question remains, what, exactly, differentiates aikido from sumo/jujutsu/judo, since all are based on tanren, and how does the internal pressure model explain non-contact aiki?
David
Sorry for jumping in here when I just have a beginner's understanding of things. It seems to me what distinguishes these and other arts from each other cannot be described in terms of principles, because each art, generally speaking, seeks to integrate every applicable principle. The difference, as I see it, rests in the differing emphases of the various arts...and that usually includes things like lineage, personality, tradition, etc. Watching a Judo video of Mifune-san I kept thinking, "that's just like 'aikido'." After seeing it I can't help but think the main difference between many arts is in who determined their names as well as other superficial details.
As for "what is Aikido" my answer is that pure aikido is the cultivation of "win-win" situations. To refine what a "win-win" situation is seems impossible to me since one has to define what is "good". It's like the folk tale of the farmer...his horse runs away; his neighbors say "what bad luck!" He says "good, bad, who knows." Later it comes back but with several wyld stallions (thank you Bill and Ted). "Oh what good luck" his neighbors say. Later his son breaks his leg trying to tame one of the new horses. "What bad luck!" Yet the broken leg prevents the military from conscripting his son and sending him to war..."how good!"... You can see where the story might go from there; the point of which is that we never fully know the ramifications of any given action until further along down the road, and even then we don't always (if we ever) know.
:confused: I suddenly feel compelled to delete this post of mine, but maybe one of you folks will be able to lend me better information...
Take care,
Matthew

HL1978
09-28-2006, 03:46 PM
But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword? And how does it explain aikinage?


Actually that is a fundamental concept in kendo. Via both shinai to shinai contact and taiatari, you feel your opponents intent, that is when they are going to attack and you use that to maintain center (in a manner similar to feeling one recieves when performing push hands). This is best done through the support structure of the body rather than relying on the muscles of the arms to keep the sword rigid, as your opponent can use that focus against you as you can generate move power to move your opponents shinai or simply strike via the weight of the body than just the muscle/weight of the arm. This results in your oppoents shinai moving out of the way so that a proper point can be scored, or in unbalancing your opponent so that a point can be scored because you have taken advantage of where your opponents sword and or body was weak.


The concept of seme covers this, and infact you need not make contact with your opponent to have the same effect upon them.

Kent Enfield
09-28-2006, 07:13 PM
There are plenty of waza, but most of the teachings seem to be based around movement of the arms/wrists and not the body behind it.Not in any kendo I've seen.

It's all about the lower body. Yes, moving your wrists and arms is important, but that's because they're links between your feet and the sword. Comments along the lines of "you need to strike with your koshi" or "fight with your feet, not with your sword" are very common.

Do low level people (in kendo, that's sandan and below) do this very well? Of course not. But having everythinig work together, "ki ken tai itchi" as we say, is probably the most fundamental principal of kendo. That's why so much time is spent on things like coordinating the timing of the foot and the cut.

Ki-ken-tai-itchi isn't just for strikes, either. It applies to even the smallest of movements during seme-ai. Now those movements are small at the tip of the sword, so they end up being absolutely tiny in the core of the body, but they're still (supposed to be) there. But that's the kind of stuff that distinguishes kodansha from the rest of us.

Kent Enfield
09-28-2006, 07:20 PM
To keep my comments more on topic, I suppose I should point out that I agree with HL 1978: aiki is present, and important, in higher level kendo. It's just a bit hidden from view because:

1) Kendo has its own terminology to describe such things.

2) It's high level stuff, so it doesn't get talked about much, at least not with us low level people.

3) It's used offensively, so it looks quite a bit different than it does in aikido.

HL1978
09-28-2006, 07:41 PM
Not in any kendo I've seen.

It's all about the lower body. Yes, moving your wrists and arms is important, but that's because they're links between your feet and the sword. Comments along the lines of "you need to strike with your koshi" or "fight with your feet, not with your sword" are very common.

Do low level people (in kendo, that's sandan and below) do this very well? Of course not. But having everythinig work together, "ki ken tai itchi" as we say, is probably the most fundamental principal of kendo. That's why so much time is spent on things like coordinating the timing of the foot and the cut.

Ki-ken-tai-itchi isn't just for strikes, either. It applies to even the smallest of movements during seme-ai. Now those movements are small at the tip of the sword, so they end up being absolutely tiny in the core of the body, but they're still (supposed to be) there. But that's the kind of stuff that distinguishes kodansha from the rest of us.


I would argue that it isn't just the lower body, though certainly the importance of the rear leg and left arm should not be neglected.

Instead I would argue that it is the entirety of the body which should be considered when striking/recieving/feeling out ones opponent, however, since no one longer cuts through their opponnent in kendo, there is less emphasis on this weight transfer, though it is more likely to be found in iaido practice or in practice cutting.

Taiatari striking (for non kendo people, think of a hockey/lacrosse body check) is a perfect example of where maintaining the connections of the body would be extremely usefull, that is in driving your opponent back. Until recently, I thought I was delivering my entire body weight forwards (despite being tall and having a center of gravity disadvantage) by focusing on pushing off my legs harder. Turns out I was wrong here.

Wtih a bit more focus on aikido with regards to this position, upon making contact, you feel out your opponent to find when they are weak and you can either propell them backwards and strike or propel yourself back and then strike an open target.

I agree, this sort of thing isn't discussed much at all, though I think it would be advantageous to everyone if it was. Im pretty much in agreement with the rest of what you wrote.

Upyu
09-28-2006, 07:52 PM
Ki-ken-tai-itchi isn't just for strikes, either. It applies to even the smallest of movements during seme-ai. Now those movements are small at the tip of the sword, so they end up being absolutely tiny in the core of the body, but they're still (supposed to be) there. But that's the kind of stuff that distinguishes kodansha from the rest of us.

K-K-T-I applies to everything.
And I think the most fundamental mistake that's being propagated is that they allow the low level kids to think that its simply "timing" all that stuff together.
Kendo as a whole has lost any way to train the KKTI skill (which is the same skill Mike sigman has been talking about, the same skill that Takeda Soukaku, Ueshiba, Sagawa etc used), except maybe through Iai. And its a long ass process at best. There's faster and better ways, even within the context of tradition japanese training methods.

Erick Mead
09-29-2006, 09:55 AM
To keep my comments more on topic, I suppose I should point out that I agree with HL 1978: aiki is present, and important, in higher level kendo. It's just a bit hidden from view because:

1) Kendo has its own terminology to describe such things.

2) It's high level stuff, so it doesn't get talked about much, at least not with us low level people. Good to know that commonality is not entirely lost.
3) It's used offensively, so it looks quite a bit different than it does in aikido. We need to practice some bokken irimi awase sometime. I just may be able to disabuse you of this notion of inoffensiveness in aiki sword movements. :D I know I was.

Ittai ka, (loosely translated:: "union of body" in a transitional sense) is the basis of taitari as I understand it. In bokken irimi awase exercises ittai ka is easier to achieve by means of an aiki approach than many kendo people may assume. Most of the time the irimi entry develops into a modified ikkyo that avoids the attempt at tsuka zeriai -- with a hip turn and by maintaining the swords in juji (crossed) as you turn inside.

Another meaning of "ittai ka" is "What the ...?" or "what on earth?", which is an excellent description of uchitachi's reaction when it is properly performed.

Quite often I end up very close to koshinage, and almost inevitably with a good a kokyu projection at the taitari/ittai-ka connection -- might be a tad uncomfortable in bogu, but, ah well...

Erick Mead
09-29-2006, 01:07 PM
Yes, tanren is the "core" of all the Japanese martial arts. But there is also something centrally unique to each of them, as to how they variously use that core to achieve their own peculiar affects. What is the difference, then, in aikido and sumo or jujutsu, judo, etc.? ... So my question remains, what, exactly, differentiates aikido from sumo/jujutsu/judo, since all are based on tanren, and how does the internal pressure model explain non-contact aiki? First, non-contact aiki against an untrained opponent looks A LOT like full contact atemi. So much so, in fact, that it is.

"No touch" throws are, to my mind, distguishable only by uke's awareness of his own imminent peril. The techniques move into the same space regardless, the only question is whether uke is there at the time or not. It does not matter, either way. If he continues to belabor his hostility unawares, then all the imminent contingency is removed by his own ignorance and it becomes "suffered peril." QED.

As to distinguishing sumo, jujutsu, and aikido, I would, say that in practice they often look similar in result, but their principles in achieving that result are very different. All of them involve tanren to temper and strengthen the maintenance of and manipulation of dynamic balance. Their respective focus on the means used to display these effects are quite divergent, however.

I have made a serious attempt in the past few years to more rigorously grasp the physical mechanisms and modes of action underlying aiki. In in doing so, I have some better grasp on how it differs from other arts in some profound ways. Its manner of work, even where the ultimate result achieved is remarkable similar in form or appearance, is very differnt in both concept and action.

In doing so, I have also become critically aware of how little the physical mechnisms of human three diminsional balance are understood by scientists and scholars. There is much we now know NOT to be true, but much that still defies our closest approximate explanations.

Sumo principle is summed up for me in that deep kibadachi, leg lift and stomp that the sumo boys do at the beginning of each match. Sumo, as evidenced by the typical physique, is about manipulation of critically grounded inertia. Not to make light, but sumo uses ( to astonishing effect) the same physical principle as walking a refrigerator on its corners. Which, (to make light) is to all appearances, a regular aspect of stable training anyway, and to equally astonishing effect, I might add. ;-/}

Judo/jujutsu seems to me more intrerested in the manipulation of force couple principles -- the rotary push-pull combinations that isolate and manipulate planar momentum ( i.e --directly altering angular velocity) at critical junctures, in combination with eccentric shifts of existing rotation in the plane for the same purpose.

Aikido is much more about manipulations of constant acceleration potential moment (gravity), in conjunction with intermittent induced moments (attacks and techniques) to reorient the system of moments in its entirety, three dimensionally -- as opposed to adding to or diminishing from angular momentum (velocity) in what ever reference plane has been established by an attacking motion.

I have had some recurrent debates with Mike about this view of altering attacking dynamics in all three dimensions simultaneously versus the linear "six direction" "static spring" reaction model. It is not clear to me if this is the root or related to the "internal pressures" spoken of by others here. I do not find this "static spring" model very useful in my thinking. It certainly departs from what is known about the human balance and stability system.

Muscles of the legs do not seem act as static springs, but as active inputs according to some other mode of control. See: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1456051
Leg muscles act paradoxically to the static spring model of ankle/ ground torque even for quiet standing. See : http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1456057

These studies primarily rely on the the plantar/ankle torque or center of pressure measuremtn, based on the simple (unsgemented) inverted pendulum model (wobbling pole). They focus on the plantar ankle ground troque as the measure of the support mechanism of simple balance.

Beyond that, and quite surprisingly, the mechanism and control modes of human balance remain remarkably poorly understood, although the vestibular and visual systems have been shown to have much less to do with it than is generally thought. . See http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/319/7220/1300 ; And : http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1129077

A potentially more useful model may be a chaotic or stochastic (random) gyroscopic oscillation of a segmented inverted pendulum model focussed on the hip sway as active dampener/counterbalance, rather than on ankle/ground torque. SOme studies have sugested this is the normal rather than the extraordinary mode of balance. http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/9908185 It is certaonly the focus of aikido training as a mode of balance.

Oscillating motions of this type, even chaotic motions, obey gyroscopic prinicples. I find many things in aiki techique that are not explained as easily by any other means, especially given the emphasis on spirals and circles in techniques. Nothing I have seen published contradicts it (but do contradict the static spring conception.) I am looking for any other work that may have been done along these lines using rotary or oscillalting hip dynamics dynamics as the studied balance model.

One study still using inverted pendulum model and the foot-center-of-pressure measure, tends to lead that way. Chaotic or stochastic processes are evident in the "random walk" orbit of the center of pressure measures of human balance sway. This shows that linear mechanical models are not likely to be very explanatory. http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0411/0411138.pdf#search=%22stabilogram%20random%20walk%22
Another shows evidence of cyclic muscular "kicks" (even in the ankle strategy scenario) to orbit a supercritically unstable center that would be typical of a driven gyroscopic oscillation system. See: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1456055

Lots of room for traditional aiki concepts exist within contemporary physical understanding of the human dynamic support system we manipulate, but I am not sure that "pressures" or "springs" are good choices of physical or metaphorical models of aiki action.

There is some real room for aikido to make a useful addition to this body of knowledge for the benefit of more than just aikidoka. The rate of death of people over 80 from falls is NINE times that of their rate of death from car accidents. If we can contribute something to the understanding of the maintenance and recovery of good balance, or to aid in improving it where it is impaired, we can literally help save lives. If we aikidoka could get everyone we know, before the age of fifty, to learn proper ukemi, aikido would have been singularly worthwhile for that reason alone...

Tim Fong
09-29-2006, 05:19 PM
Hi Erick,

I have been following your discussion with some interest. I tried to draw diagrams to understand what you meant but I'm not sure that my physics ability is good enough to do it justice. You seem to talking about the resultant forces from geometric motions? Have you tried motion capture or something like that, or any attempt to actually measure the forces you're talking about? Not trying to be antagonistic, I'm genuinely curious.

Re: the pressure/spring stuff. I don't actually look at the pressure stuff as a model. Rather it is a feeling in the body that is recreatable . Unfortunately, no I don't know how to measure it, or even what is causing it. What I do know, however, is a method that another person could use to recreate the same feelings, and then, using that feeling, perform a technique which he/she otherwise could not perform. It's more a training method than an analytical model.



Again, I want to re-iterate-- it is NOT a model or even an analogy, but a way of training. I would certainly like to find out how and why it works.

Erick Mead
09-30-2006, 12:31 AM
You seem to talking about the resultant forces from geometric motions? Have you tried motion capture or something like that, or any attempt to actually measure the forces you're talking about? Others have already done that for quiet stance. See http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/cond-mat/pdf/9908/9908185.pdf. The normal hip sway movements shown in that study are on the order of at least three distinct periodic intervals ~ 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 cm (and possibly one or two more at smaller scales of resolution). The upper torso moves in almost precise counterpoise to the hip movement.

It would be interesting to try motion capture for techniques and particularly for strong kokyu movement to see what it might reveal. I have actually been thinking more in line of looking at EMG data folr balance and blending techniques. There is a nerurologist I know i might be able to draft into the effort to see if any useful study of balance modes can be made from aiki movement.

The author attributes the hip/torso movements as random or stochastic, but the existence of three distinct movement intervals and frequencies in his data diagram of that oscillation is a sign of chaotic behavior. Chaotic systems are paradoxically capable of disproportionate resulting changes from arbitrarily small changes in initial conditions, and also capable of maintaining a robust global pattern even in the face of large excursions in initial conditions. As a propect for a better model of the simultaneous sensitivy and relative imperturbailty of good kokyu, it is promisingly similar in effect.

The depiction given in that study cited suggests what I have suspected for some time - a figure-eight-ish path of the hip balancing oscillation. The shape of the data graph suggests to me a series of nested loop attaractors, but to see it clearly you would have to take that data and map it onto the 2D complex plane, or into a 3D phase space diagram. If you want a lay explanation of what that iis exactly, and what it would show, you can read James Glieck's book on Chaos or any recent college math text on Chaos or complex systems. Ther are also good web resources on this topic, too numerous to detail

What is interesting that I did not expect before reading the study, is that there appear to be sub loops of higher frequency oscillation nested with each arm of the figure eight, probably duplicating the same figure eight form, and possibly even one more layer of nesting loops at one scale below that.

This is fractal organization, which is the hallmark of self-organized criticality (SOC), a point that bears some serious consideraiton of its own for aiki purposes. O-Sensei described takemusu aiki as being led by kami to the right technique, or even awhollly new technique. SOC has been rigorusly examined by the likes of Steve Wolfram, to show how in such systems the structure of simple interactions themselve can develop very rich behavior that requires no conscious input to generate very complex and adaptive behaviors. I think you can see where that line of thought is headed. Re: the pressure/spring stuff. I don't actually look at the pressure stuff as a model. Rather it is a feeling in the body that is recreatable ... Again, I want to re-iterate-- it is NOT a model or even an analogy, but a way of training. I would certainly like to find out how and why it works. I would not begrudge any imagery that helps make the physics of any complex perfomance work. Singing coaches tell you to imagine doing do all sorts of physically ridiculous things that nonethless have powerful resonance as an image and focus of where to direct the energy, and which really work to correct errors of form. The test of a teaching method is whether it helps to learn what is being taught.

I am trying to better desribe the physical attributes of what aikido does with the still scientifically mysterious process of human balance. I am following some concrete intuitions that I gained in flying helicopters for ten years. I sense that there is an applicaiton of the gyrodynamics that I understand from that experience to better understanding of the human balance system and from that to better understand aikido techniques. I see these rotiational dynamics in the hip sway balance movements, but I also see them in the more nearly instantaneuos gyration/rotations of individual joints. While the limb joints are moving slowly enough that more common lever/linkage analysis can certainly be applied without gross errors, anything that rotates also obeys gyroscopic laws, if manipulated in the right way.

From that, perhaps yet more teaching paradigms will be made possible that the traditional lagugage of description sometimes obscures needlessly. Not that what I am doing so far is exactly crystalline at the moment. The mirror is still quite dull, murky even, and it needs lots of polishing yet.

Erick Mead
09-30-2006, 09:54 AM
I have been following your discussion with some interest. I tried to draw diagrams to understand what you meant but I'm not sure that my physics ability is good enough to do it justice. You seem to talking about the resultant forces from geometric motions? I am trying to work through concrete examples of the principles that I see. I have elsewhere tried to describe (very poorly, I might add) how the inputs and resultatns function for a "basic" shomenuchi ikkyo. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=153866&postcount=61
Tim had asked for a "free body diagram" in that discussion That is very difficult to do in this environment, but a careful description can accomplish much the same thing.

I will try the same kind of description of a "basic" katatedori kokyu tanden-ho movement. A couple of things I would like for people to keep in mind as I do this. First, consider nikkyo application, which I think makes a few things very explict that are otherwise implicit in all kokyu movement. The wrist is classically at 90 deg to the forearm, the elbow at 90 from the upper arm and the arm at the shoulder 90 from the torso.

We thus have a structure that is oriented in all three planes of rotation. The wrist rotates in the sagittal or vertically oriented anterior/posterior (A/P) plane; the forearm rotates in the medio-lateral (M/L or cartwheel) plane, and the shoulder rotates in the horizontal plane.

Nevertheless, the actual rotation of that structure in any plane need only be very, very small when applied with firm connection. With proper application this affects balance directly -- much less dependent on tension pain compliance component that we all know -- and have learned to LOVE. It is lovely, of course, but actually an incidental effect.

Place your partner in nikkyo and rotate the wrist gently about the joint toward your partner's head. Do not restrain the elbow at this point so that you can see the body's natural, unrestrained reactions. What you will see is that the application of the vertical A/P plane rotation at the wrist, creates the mediolateral rotation of the forearm about the elbow joint as the system attmepts to find a lower energy position (entropy). As the wrist rotation continues, its tension increases -- so does the elbow tension, and thus its rotation inturn in a perpendicular plane. Now you will begin to see the upper arm begin to rotate at the shoulder joint in the horizontal plane, which eventually carries the upper torso out of the supporting hip orbit, and giving kuzushi.

All of these planes of rotation are simultaneouly shifting orientation relative to the constant force vector of gravity. However, if technique is applied consistently throughout the movement and rotations, the relative orientation of induced forces in uke's body barely changes at all as the imparted rotation continues.

What you are seeing is the development of the ikkyo path in the body. What you are also doing is gyroscopic manipulation of the joint/body complex in three planes simultaneously.

Now the katatedori kokyu-ho movement is precisely the same, but done dynamically at a single point of contact, rather than with the more obvious semi-static cranks defining the orientation of rotation in all three axes. An initial linear offset is created in the wrist connection. This is the implicit equivalent of the wrist crank of the nikkyo. Then the kokyu movement of the arm follows the same spiral three-plane tumbling path of successive joint rotations from wrist to elbow to shoulder into the center of the body, creating the same ikkyo path progression.

I hope this helps visualize the rotations and perpendicular transformations that occur. These physical forces are not easily described by other by other than gyroscopic means. Essentially, the inital rotation creates precessional rotation in another axis which does so in turn to the third, which does so in turn to the original input axis at which time a three dimensional reorientaion of the plane system has occurred. This successive iteration of precessional transfromation on perpendicular axes occurs almost simultanwously throughout the entire motion of the technique.

clwk
09-30-2006, 11:35 AM
Erick,

I have read a lot of what you have written about what I will call your 'Gyro-dynamics Hypothesis'. I don't mean that in a condescending way, I just need a name for it. I won't pretend to have tried to parse *everything*, but I think I get the gist of it. I also went through a period of thinking in similar terms, and I *do* see why this and similar paradigms are seductive. I even think that the conceptual/psycho-physical tools you are using may be valuable in developing an intuitive model for moment-to-moment application. *However*, I am not sure this model is the best one to apply in *developing* the body conditioning/skill necessary as a base; and once you have switched paradigms (if you were to do so), you might find that other ways of thinking do the job as well - or not. I am not volunteering this analysis to insult you, or to get into an argument about the funky physics of it all. Rather, this is a good faith effort to communicate something tangible - in case it might help you or someone else thinking along your lines.

First, I will acknowledge that what you have developed is probably working for you, in terms of providing the conceptual key to applying technique. *But* I think you have explained well the reason for it when you said, 'I am following some concrete intuitions that I gained in flying helicopters for ten years. I sense that there is an applicaiton of the gyrodynamics that I understand from that experience to better understanding of the human balance system and from that to better understand aikido techniques.' As a helicopter pilot, of course you will have developed a finely tuned ability to interact to real-time dynamic physical instability and to intuitively guide a system governed by reaction to fluctuation in the manner of your choosing. That you have been able to link this ability into your aikido waza is a great accomplishment (in my non-patronizing opinion, which is probably not worth much). However, I think the gyrodynamics aspect is useful for *you* because *you* learned the 'piloting' skill flying helicopters.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The problem is that you're invoking a more complex model than necessary. *Even if* it's possible to construct an analysis that depends on gyrodynamics, I don't think it is as required as you think. For example, you say (about nikkyo) that 'These physical forces are not easily described by other by other than gyroscopic means.' I think that's a stretch. I think most people can see, with a little thought, how a roto-rooter plumbing snake, for example, could be understood without any gyroscopic analysis - if it were rotating very slowly, so I think it's a stretch to say that you need to invoke virtual gyroscopes to explain such a simple phenomenon.

Why would I argue that the simpler theory is better? I could invoke the famous Occam's razor, but I won't - since then we could argue about its application and applicability. I will instead point out that the problem with a gyrodynamic model as the core of a theory is that it does not address in any way at all, how to develop the body. It may (or may not) be a good theory for how to use the body, and you might take the approach that just using the body in this way will then develop it in the correct way, *but* the danger in this approach is that it *assumes* that what you are doing *and your understanding of it* are already ideal, and that all you need to do is find the right descriptive language to communicate that to others.

For myself, I find it makes more sense to assume that a lot more development is possible than what I can do already. I further assume that there are things which are hard to understand before you have achieved the practical basis for understanding them. It is on that basis that I would be extremely hesitant about synthesizing my own explanation based only on the *result* of training, and not on the method of achieving this result. In other words, your theory is at best *explanatory*, and you admit it is not even fully-functional as such yet. Competing 'theories' *are* 'complete', even if they do not quantitatively address mathematical abstractions. Most importantly, the 'theoretical' components are really just there as a way of allowing the *practical* components to be integrated into the knowledge culture in which they developed. Any 'modern' theory meant to replace an 'outdated' one should probably have extremely similar functional properties. It would not be untraditional for theories and methods to become more and more refined and therefore better as knowledge grows, but it would be a mistake to throw out the old in order to build something new from scratch - in my opinion.

There *are* traditional methods for explaning, understanding, training, refining these skills. They do not happen to require gyrodynamics. They *can* be updated somewhat to account for our predilection for physics-based analysis, and this is probably an improvement - but it is an *incremental* benefit. If we throw the baby out with the bath-water, then we lose the one really good thing there, which is a tried and true training system. We know that people like Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, and many others throughout history have applied systematic methods to accomplish startling results. I think it's a *very good idea* to try to understand exactly what those methods were before tyring to put them into our own words.

If O-Sensei were still alive and you could convince him to suit up for an infinite barrage of motion-capture experiments, I am sure the results would be interesting. Honestly though, if he were alive, I would rather train with him and try to find out *how* he did what he did - even if that means not knowing precisely *in scientific terms* what it was that he had accomplished. I am not in any way arguing against a physical understanding, just suggesting that *unless you know that you have mastered the full spectrum of the aiki skillset* it might be premature to introduce an explanatory framework which is more or less discontinuous with what is traditional. I don't think trying to find bits and pieces that seem to support your hypothesis really helps either, because it creates a somewhat sketchy intellectual climate - which I know you do not intend. If you *know* that what you are proposing is 'new and different', then it doesn't really matter about the common imagery - which probably can only confuse anyone who tries to reconcile the 'new system' with the 'old system'.

-ck

David Orange
09-30-2006, 08:01 PM
First, non-contact aiki against an untrained opponent looks A LOT like full contact atemi. So much so, in fact, that it is.

Yeah, one form can be, but I'm talking about the kind of thing where, by moving slightly out of the way, you make an overcommitted attacker come off his feet--such as when he kicks and you simply open with taisabaki so that he misses and loses his balance. Or as I once saw in a kyokushin karate tournament: one guy simply ducked slightly as the opponent threw a mawashi geri. It would have knocked him out if it had connected, but when the defender just slightly ducked, the kicker came off his feet and did a sort of barrel roll in the air, landing on his back on the opposite side of the defender. And this was in kumite. It was the guy "doing" the atemi who flew--not the other guy.

What I'm saying is that it is a mistake to construe aiki as using one's own strong structure to break down the opponent's strong structure. That is strength-against-strength and aiki uses the ura of the attacker's strength. Aiki can work with no contact at all. The structural displacement idea is really much closer to "ju" or "yawara," the core of sumo than to aiki.

"No touch" throws are, to my mind, distguishable only by uke's awareness of his own imminent peril.

Or here's another example. A military officer once told about attacking Capt. Sadayuki Demizu, who introduced yoseikan aikido to the United States. This Army man and another officer were training with Demizu and wound up one in front of him, the other behind him. The guy behind Demizu caught the other guy's eye and signalled him to make a simultaneous attack, so they did. But Demizu sidestepped and the two attackers collided with each other.

In my own experience, I attacked Kyoichi Murai from behind and grabbed both his shoulders, intending to snatch him off his feet, but using only my own grip, he threw me over his head. I had no sense of "peril" and he couldn't even see me. So I'm talking about a different thing when I say aikinage.

[]As to distinguishing sumo, jujutsu, and aikido, I would, say that in practice they often look similar in result, but their principles in achieving that result are very different. All of them involve tanren to temper and strengthen the maintenance of and manipulation of dynamic balance. Their respective focus on the means used to display these effects are quite divergent, however.

My point exactly. They are different arts and they express different concepts and methods. And I think people are making a mistake on this thread in trying to reduce aikido to the same as those other arts.

I have also become critically aware of how little the physical mechnisms of human three diminsional balance are understood by scientists and scholars. There is much we now know NOT to be true, but much that still defies our closest approximate explanations.

That's why I don't like to take a "scientific" approach to "explaining" things that I learned mostly without words.

Sumo principle is summed up for me in that deep kibadachi, leg lift and stomp that the sumo boys do at the beginning of each match. Sumo, as evidenced by the typical physique, is about manipulation of critically grounded inertia....the same physical principle as walking a refrigerator on its corners....

Judo/jujutsu seems to me more intrerested in the manipulation of force couple principles -- the rotary push-pull combinations that isolate and manipulate planar momentum ( i.e --directly altering angular velocity) at critical junctures, in combination with eccentric shifts of existing rotation in the plane for the same purpose.

I don't know. I see sumo and judo as very similar, both basically using the principle of yawara or ju. Judo is a derivation from sumo after all, but the core principle is ju. And that does require tanren development, but I think both arts develop tanren naturally as one continues training.

Aikido is much more about manipulations of constant acceleration potential moment (gravity), in conjunction with intermittent induced moments (attacks and techniques) to reorient the system of moments in its entirety, three dimensionally -- as opposed to adding to or diminishing from angular momentum (velocity) in what ever reference plane has been established by an attacking motion.

I think that limits the idea of aiki, actually. There is the kind of aiki that comes from aiki age, where you drive the attacker back into himself and the kind I have described in which you don't interfere with him at all, but because he is trying to place effort on something that is not there, he falls through.

I will have a look at your references, but I'm not sure they are critical to being able to actually perform aiki. And the six direction stuff sounds interesting as a way to refine power generation, but I'd like to see some of the proponents rise to rokudan in judo over the next few years (as a means of demonstrating its effectiveness against a control group, more or less) to prove it.

I am not sure that "pressures" or "springs" are good choices of physical or metaphorical models of aiki action.

It seems to have some relevance to what Mochizuki Sensei called "yang" aiki, as expressed in aiki age techniques, which drive uke back on himself, but good aikido practice will develop that ability without words and without anyone's ever necessarily using such terms to describe it.

There is some real room for aikido to make a useful addition to this body of knowledge for the benefit of more than just aikidoka. The rate of death of people over 80 from falls is NINE times that of their rate of death from car accidents. If we can contribute something to the understanding of the maintenance and recovery of good balance, or to aid in improving it where it is impaired, we can literally help save lives. If we aikidoka could get everyone we know, before the age of fifty, to learn proper ukemi, aikido would have been singularly worthwhile for that reason alone...

From what I've seen of "standard" or "mainstream" aikido ukemi, I wonder about that. Judo ukemi, on the other hand, seem really able to develop excellent control and limit injury in falling.

Thanks for the comments.

Best wishes.

David

Erick Mead
09-30-2006, 09:09 PM
I have read a lot of what you have written about what I will call your 'Gyro-dynamics Hypothesis'. ... I also went through a period of thinking in similar terms, and I *do* see why this and similar paradigms are seductive. I know what I mean by terms such as kokyu, ki, tanden, ittai ka, ki musubi, takemusu and aiki, because I know what they feel like when they occur, subjectively, but entirely empirically. Japanese tradition encodes this knowledge for direct transmission with minimal analytic content.

<<THIS>> is Kokyu. <<THAT>> is also kokyu. Enough examples to detect root patterns and both Japanese traditions of learning and their Chinese antecedents (pace Mike), operate to relate those patterns -- and can be spoken of intelligently -- but not easily to any one who has not first subjectively experienced them, and has a background in the finer points of East Asian natural philosophy. Most importantly, the 'theoretical' components are really just there as a way of allowing the *practical* components to be integrated into the knowledge culture in which they developed. Any 'modern' theory meant to replace an 'outdated' one should probably have extremely similar functional properties. You mistake my purpose. We have a threshold barrier to understanding of WHAT aikido is and WHAT aikido does that limits its ability to penetrate the broader fields of Western culture. There are limits to the number of people that have an innate interest in absorbing the manner of thinking that allows traditional Japanese and Chinese antecedent concepts of physical/spiritual/psychlogical action to be usefully applied. As Ignatius Teo said in another thread we must "Simplify." You see the traditional mode as the most simple -- and so it is -- for those with the preconditional knowledge.

There lies the problem for my purpose. To allow aikido to become native and not merely adopted in the West, to make it our our own, and reachable from our own preconditional knowledge. Not to supplant the tradition, but to provide a complement and introduction that can resolve the chicken-and-egg problem of threshhold knowledge..

My learning in aikido will progress at this point in either mode quite happily and equally well. I have that foundation, not only in a topical university degree on the philosophical concepts but from my own concrete experience of twenty years of aikido practice several of the various offshoot branches and thinking about the differences as I learned it. I am looking for ways to nativize its teaching, as a complement, not a substitute.

The fact that we here in this forum, with fairly deep exposure to both the root concepts and their physical expression, can still get into highly involved debates about their precise application and descriptive use demonstrates two things that should give us pause in effort to expand the reach of aikiod and its teaching : 1) Western minds are inherently biased toward analytical understanding, and 2) Eastern concepts are ill-fitted for analytical treatment. The answer is not to make one substitute for the other but to fully develop each as a complenemtn to the other. The Western side is most seriously lacking at this point in time.
*However*, I am not sure this model is the best one to apply in *developing* the body conditioning/skill necessary as a base; and once you have switched paradigms (if you were to do so), you might find that other ways of thinking do the job as well - or not. There is no substitute for practical experience. Practical experience is the common meeting gorund for East and West, and will remain so. Imagery is helpful if it results in demonstrable learning regardless how metaphorical it may actually be. The results in learning prove the efficacy of any such method. But, to make aikido more broadly digestible, it needs a thorough exposition in Western ideas. And Western technical knowledge is anaIytical, not metaphorical. If aikido is truly a universal art, which I believe it to be, it should not suffer from adding an anlytical component as a complement to the traditional knowledge, and may help make it more approachable by smoothing the entry ramp for Westerners. The problem is that you're invoking a more complex model than necessary. *Even if* it's possible to construct an analysis that depends on gyrodynamics, I don't think it is as required as you think. For example, you say (about nikkyo) that 'These physical forces are not easily described by other by other than gyroscopic means.' I think that's a stretch. Actually, its a torque, but I know what you mean. :D Simplification is a task for later. First, we need thoroughness, then we can select the more limited schematics that work best in given circumstances.
I think most people can see, with a little thought, how a roto-rooter plumbing snake, for example, could be understood without any gyroscopic analysis - if it were rotating very slowly, so I think it's a stretch to say that you need to invoke virtual gyroscopes to explain such a simple phenomenon. Fair enough. (Realize that you are applying Chinese metaphorical method to a Western image.) Describe how a plumbing snake transmits forces or moves when its potential is increased or released in a manner that does NOT use gyroscopic action in its torsional mechanics. Sprung torque is nothing but rotational potential which is gained by applying rotation, which propagates from loop to loop of the torqued spring in three dimensions.

On the other hand when I use kokyu properly, I am not using either direct or stored potential torque, and I need not do so in nikkyo (altough one can if one prefers to). It is a manipulation of rotational dynamic, which transforms torque forces axially but is not a stored torque potential (wind up) as in the case of a twisted plumber snake spring. Kokyu is not simple twist of uke's arm

Now torque that spring up really good, and note that it will adopt two "spiral" forms on different scales, one in the original untorqued spring length and an even larger spiral that is made by a further three dimensional transformation. The spiral is the shape of minimal internal force for this deformation. Now release one end of it and tell me, by non-gyroscopic means -- which way it will go. Hint - be very careful where you choose to stand based on any such decision ...
Why would I argue that the simpler theory is better? Simplicity is a schematic of information -- which only means that it refers to assumed knoweldge to fill in the gaps. The problem is that it is simple only in its own terms and natural context, implying a very large body of non-Western knowledge that is necessary to reference for full comprehension.
I will instead point out that the problem with a gyrodynamic model as the core of a theory is that it does not address in any way at all, how to develop the body. I look at O-Sensei and what he wrote, and I do not see that "development of the body" is really the point. To resort to the traditional terms -- chinkon kishin and takemusu aiki are the ultimate point. Calm the spiriti and return to the divine, and learn how techniques create themselves in the flow of aiki. Nice ideas, but we need to give them expression here and now. In his old age, as his physical power began to seriously wane, he said to the effect that "Now I can really begin to practice aikido." To me this emphasizes the development of sensation and modulation of will, much more than development of the body. The body is the instrument, but not the musician; and tuning the instrument only does so much to improve the performance.
I further assume that there are things which are hard to understand before you have achieved the practical basis for understanding them. This is a chicken and egg problem that can be solved by having two bodies of independent but complementary knowledge to apply. Problems hard to envision in one system may be easy to frame in another, and vice versa.
It is on that basis that I would be extremely hesitant about synthesizing my own explanation based only on the *result* of training, and not on the method of achieving this result. In other words, your theory is at best *explanatory*, and you admit it is not even fully-functional as such yet. Competing 'theories' *are* 'complete', even if they do not quantitatively address mathematical abstractions. A not so minor quibble. If the math doesn't work -- it cannot be complete -- as far as Western knowledge is concerned, which is not to say that the math is complete in and of itself. Math itself proves that it is not.
Te
I don't think trying to find bits and pieces that seem to support your hypothesis really helps either, because it creates a somewhat sketchy intellectual climate - which I know you do not intend. The point of a proper analysis of the physics is to unerstand both the means as well as the results that they obtain. I am confident enough in the track record of my intuition and cautious enough to be corrected by well-supported argument to the contrary. Which effort I certainly appreciate on your part, particularly. Good aiki works intellectually as well.

Erick Mead
09-30-2006, 10:26 PM
What I'm saying is that it is a mistake to construe aiki as using one's own strong structure to break down the opponent's strong structure. Then we are in agreement. You infer something in regard to atemi that I did not state. Moving the sword from chudan to seigan is atemi. No touch required.
That's why I don't like to take a "scientific" approach to "explaining" things that I learned mostly without words. And yet metaphorical explanations are readily accepted because they are traditional to Japanese teaching. The one is not superior to the other, but the mind asks for explanation, and receives best what it is prepared to hear. Purely physcial demonstration standing alone without any verbal component is a valid means of teaching. But it does little to broaden the reach of the art, however, as few who do not already understand something of aikido will seek that direct demonstration.
I don't know. I see sumo and judo as very similar, both basically using the principle of yawara or ju. On that point of similarity I think I agree. That does not really contradict my observaiton of the difference, if it was even intended to.
I will have a look at your references, but I'm not sure they are critical to being able to actually perform aiki. That remains to be seen. Won't know unless we try. But the point is to fit aikido within Western tradition. The same sort of thing was done for Buddhism in China -- yielding Zen. We will either put our own stamp on the art and develop the tradition in our own mode or aikido will not last two more generations here.
From what I've seen of "standard" or "mainstream" aikido ukemi, I wonder about that. Judo ukemi, on the other hand, seem really able to develop excellent control and limit injury in falling. Never more than a couple of judo classes. My ukemi is all aikido, and it has rarely lacked to provided me with kaeshi waza in low and high energy settings, weapons or taijutsu. Aikido has alot more to offer than you give credit for.

clwk
10-01-2006, 02:33 AM
<<THIS>> is Kokyu. <<THAT>> is also kokyu. Enough examples to detect root patterns and both Japanese traditions of learning and their Chinese antecedents (pace Mike), operate to relate those patterns -- and can be spoken of intelligently -- but not easily to any one who has not first subjectively experienced them, and has a background in the finer points of East Asian natural philosophy.We agree that direct experience is necessary, but I think we disagree that a 'background in the finer points of East Asian natural philosophy' is necessary. I would argue that the correct practical experience would include explanation - in whatever terms proved effective, and presupposes only a common communicative framework between the shower and the showee. It's not so much that 'natural philosophy' is a prerequisite for understanding the technical content as that taken far enough the technical content converges on the 'natural philosophy'. If you treat the 'philosophical' aspects as something which are not inextricably intertwined with the physical, then I think you have already broken the paradigm.
As Ignatius Teo said in another thread we must "Simplify." You see the traditional mode as the most simple -- and so it is -- for those with the preconditional knowledge.Since you've brought Ignatius into the discussion, I wonder whether *he* would consider 'gyrodynamics' to be a simplification, with respect to the traditional 'natural movement' paradigm, which embraces descriptive relationships between joint movement, use of the breath to modulate pervasive pressure, dynamically self-stabilizing physical systems, and training methods for accomplishing these things (among others). I can't speak for him, but maybe he will chime in if he happens to see this.
There lies the problem for my purpose. To allow aikido to become native and not merely adopted in the West, to make it our our own, and reachable from our own preconditional knowledge. Not to supplant the tradition, but to provide a complement and introduction that can resolve the chicken-and-egg problem of threshhold knowledge..I believe that the 'traditional' paradigm *can* be explained in *relatively* comprehensible terms, and I think there are people working hard on bridging the gap. Keep in mind that it is not traditional for this material to be highly accessible. There is always a 'chicken and egg' problem, because without the real skill, you can't really have the understanding - however well you do or don't understand the words. I don't claim either great skill or great understanding - just enough of each to have a pretty good sense for the space.
My learning in aikido will progress at this point in either mode quite happily and equally well. I have that foundation, not only in a topical university degree on the philosophical concepts but from my own concrete experience of twenty years of aikido practice several of the various offshoot branches and thinking about the differences as I learned it.The latter may be credible (20 years of training), but the former is probably not so important. I don't mean to take anything away from your topical university degree, but I think most people understand that university degrees are pretty tangential to martial-arts-type knowledge. I'm not saying that having a lot of book knowledge might not be helpful in the ability to research things, but the topics under discussion aren't really the kinds of things learned in those kind of places. The problem (in general) comes down to this: there aren't really *any* credentials that mean *too* much apart (maybe) from widespread consensus of top martial artists. Even that is hard to gauge because of the danger of a you-pat-my-back-I'll-pat-yours oligarchy within a limited population. That's why I think it's important, *if there is to be discussion of these fairly concrete topics* that the discussion be focused in fairly pragmatic terms.

Fair enough. (Realize that you are applying Chinese metaphorical method to a Western image.)Pardon? I used the example of a roto-rooter snake to roughly describe how torque can propagate through a mechanical system without recourse to virtual gyroscopes or anything nearly so esoteric. How is that a 'Chinese metaphorical method'? At least allow me the dignity of a proper dressing-down, and tell me that my method of argumentation is insufficiently rigorous for your purposes - if that's what you feel. But if it is, I think you'll have to disqualify your own arguments on the same basis: not only is your theory incomplete, but it's also confusing - and I think the confusingness of it hides its incompleteness. You are basically arguing that it is *intuitively* reasonable to introduce the idea of non-existent gyroscopes into an analysis of fairly straightforward mechanical systems (I'm not saying it's entirely straightforward, but your analysis seems restricted to a fairly straightforward aspect): I'm just pointing out that you seem to be over-complicating the issue, without any payoff in terms of predictive, explicative, or constructive power.
On the other hand when I use kokyu properly, I am not using either direct or stored potential torque, and I need not do so in nikkyo (altough one can if one prefers to).Okay, your approach to nikkyo has been registered. Would you say you can make this technique work on pretty much everyone? If not, who doesn't it work on, and why?
Kokyu is not simple twist of uke's arm Nor is valid discussion a simple twist of your partner's words. I never asserted the straw man you are dismantling. I proposed an approximate alternative to *your* convoluted gesture toward explaining kokyu - as a way of suggesting you might be introducing needless complexity. I haven't volunteered a description of kokyu - although I will say that I don't think 'kokyu' is really the primary factor involved in 'how joint locks transmit force' - although it almost sounds like you do. Note, I'm not saying kokyu is uninvolved in the application of joint locks, just that analysis of joint motion, etc. in locking techniques is probably not the right tree to bark up to *define* kokyu.
. . .note that it will adopt two "spiral" forms on different scales, one in the original untorqued spring length and an even larger spiral that is made by a further three dimensional transformation. The spiral is the shape of minimal internal force for this deformation.Why take an example meant to make a simple point, and twist it so far past its intended purpose. I think this conceptual strategy is part of the problem (if there is one) with your Gyro Theory. I could probably come up with a theory based on time travel and what would happen if I were to 'virtually exceed the speed of light' which could also give me some kind of intuitive ability to explain aikido techniques in way which was, nevertheless insufficiently rigorous to be disprovable. But why would I want to do that? Human bodies are *not* gyroscopes, and you can't twist an arm nearly enough to need to worry at all about what shape it would assume if you could twist it indefinitely - as far as I can see.
Simplicity is a schematic of information -- which only means that it refers to assumed knoweldge to fill in the gaps. The problem is that it is simple only in its own terms and natural context, implying a very large body of non-Western knowledge that is necessary to reference for full comprehension.You seem to be assuming that the primary difficulty in understanding the skills in question is cultural. This doesn't account for how rare it is for people of any culture to have developed them; nor does it account for how people of many different cultures have done so. The complexity comes from the subject matter itself - which is perfectly adequate to obscure it from those not willing to work hard just to 'get it'. It doesn't need extra layers of complexity added in to make it more difficult - even if in the guise of 'simplifying'.
I look at O-Sensei and what he wrote, and I do not see that "development of the body" is really the point. I think it's pretty obvious that O-Sensei spent a lot of time throughout his life in cultivating *physical skills* (not to discount anything else he may have done) - and that without this *physical* work, he would not have been able to manifest the art he did.
In his old age, as his physical power began to seriously wane, he said to the effect that "Now I can really begin to practice aikido."According to the logic implied by your argument, everyone's Aikido would be improved by prematurely accelerating the degeneration of their bodies then, right? I would take a statement like that like I would interpret a life-long virtuoso violinist who was beginning to lose the ability to play extremely difficult pieces who might say, "Now I can really begin to understand music." I think most people would understand that one earns the right to make those kind of statements (which then convey something meaningful) by being the kind of person who *obviously* has been there and done that in terms of the overt part of an art which their are *finally* de-emphasizing - as an unquestioned master.
The body is the instrument, but not the musician; and tuning the instrument only does so much to improve the performance.Well, I'd say it's a necessary but not sufficient condition for a brilliant performance. I would not want to skip the tuning step at all. Sure, a musical genius might be able to make do on an out-of-tune instrument - but he would probably know how to tune one and have a strong preference for keeping his weapon of choice tuned. A musical system which seemed to disregard that step as not-so-important might not be the best one in which to invest the *decades of life* one anticipates needing to *really get somewhere* with any serious skill in life.
A not so minor quibble. If the math doesn't work -- it cannot be complete -- as far as Western knowledge is concerned, which is not to say that the math is complete in and of itself. Math itself proves that it is not.It's probably better just to slap some working math on a good practical theory than to try to get involved in the theoretical project of simultaneously discovering some nifty math *and* evolving a pragmatic theory. As important as a kind of 'intelligence' may be to getting the most out of training, I think turning that training into 'theoretical science' might be a mistake - because there isn't any guarantee that the project will converge. I'm not saying abandon your theory, but unless you actually nail it down - I'm not sure what good it does to start publicizing it. I mean this in a literal, emotionally neutral, and non-critical way when I say that your Gyro Theory is half-baked.
I am confident enough in the track record of my intuition and cautious enough to be corrected by well-supported argument to the contrary.
Well, by all means go with your intuition, and good luck. It's not really possible to argue too strongly against a theory which bases itself in extremely elaborate mathematical constructs and orients itself as being scientific and rigorous - yet which does not actually make any falsifiable predictions nor propose any distinct theorems (provable or otherwise), nor even provide a unique or describable method of implementing whatever its practical application might be. You're literally flying by the seat of your pants, and I think that's great - really, but I don't think you should try to sway anyone to your point of view until you've worked some of the kinks out. I can respect the somewhat heroic stance of using yourself as the test subject for this cake your baking, but how would you feel if someone else got sick from eating it? That's the question people who teach - but especially those who also devise their own theories - should be asking themselves, in my opinion. It's an extremely delicate area - because it's not just about personal prestige: there's a question of ethics, intellectual honesty, and general social responsibility.

-ck

eyrie
10-01-2006, 07:05 AM
...
Since you've brought Ignatius into the discussion, I wonder whether *he* would consider 'gyrodynamics' to be a simplification, with respect to the traditional 'natural movement' paradigm, which embraces descriptive relationships between joint movement, use of the breath to modulate pervasive pressure, dynamically self-stabilizing physical systems, and training methods for accomplishing these things (among others). I can't speak for him, but maybe he will chime in if he happens to see this.


I thought I did... hence my comment regarding simplification.... ;)

I mostly teach 8-9yr olds... 'nuff said... :D

Upyu
10-01-2006, 07:58 AM
I second that. :D

The stuff is complicated and detailed...but its not "#$"#$ing rocket science.

Actually Erick, there's a quick way to see if we're all on the same page.
Can you replicate the pushout exercise that's been posted before?

Erick Mead
10-01-2006, 12:51 PM
I second that. :D
The stuff is complicated and detailed...but its not "#$"#$ing rocket science. True. That would be ballistics -- and orbital mechanics. :) Actually Erick, there's a quick way to see if we're all on the same page.
Can you replicate the pushout exercise that's been posted before? For everyone's reference::
...the pushout exercise I mentioned before.
... Two people face each other at arms length.
Feet shoulder width apart. Knees straight, not bent.
Person A's arms are extended, the Person B's arms are pulled back, chest open, shoulderblades touching, shoulders dropped.
A then tenses the arms (in whatever manner you feel comfortable with) with the specific aim to keep B from extending his arms.

B tries to extend his arms and move A back without RESTING his weight, or leaning in any manner, or using the arm muscles extensively. If I understand your description of this exercise properly, it is kokyu tanden-ho/kokyu dosa in a standing position, with the connection at the shoulder, instead of at the wrist.

I see no fundamental difference in the kokyu movement for B to take A's center. It is merely foreshortened to the isolated shoulder girdle/clavicle rotation in connection with tanden, instead of the whole arm in tegatana.

I have done this exercise seated a number of times as a kokyu-ho variation. Having just tried it standing with my teenage son (who trains when he is not otherwise distracted) -- it is no different. What am I missing, if anything?

As to my physical interpretation of the dynamics, it is no different. A slight offset rotation of the line of force in A's arm by rolling the shoulder in tandem with tanden (cognate to the kokyu-tegatana hand expression, and then kokyu follows and drives the chain of rotational transformations -- which occur in precisely the way I indicated before.

Making it small makes it seem more mysterious, and requires more sensitivity and direction of will to follow the kokyu as it happens. It is not as obvious because of the diminution of gross movements -- but it is exactly the same. In some ways it is easier, because A's connection gives inherent moment on the torso that is not present in anything like that degree in the seated wrist grab.

"Body development" in the sense of "core strength" or "internal power" or whatever other buzzword is au courant is not what is operating. IF by "body development" one means the learned application of the body's fundamental balance functions (which is a matter of dynamics, not "strength") to more expressive purpose, then maybe we are talking apples and apples.

Tim Fong
10-01-2006, 01:39 PM
Erick,

You mentioned before that you spent a decade flying helicopters. When you were , say, taking, off, were you thinking of gyrodynamic forces, resultants and so on? Or were you focused on how the controls felt, what the instruments looked like and how that related to you own sense of balance (i.e. the horizon etc?). I have a lot of respect for helicopter pilots -- having been in them a few times I realize how chaotic and unstable they are even in the best of conditions.

Thinking is good, but only after/before practice. As someone once said, "don't think; feel" =)

As far as judging a method by the results--

I've never met Rob. But we have corresponded quite a bit, and I've practiced the exercises that I've seen in the videos. I've also had the pleasure of having Mike show me how he develops the strength which we are discussing.

And after about 9 months, I can do the pushout drill to some degree. So to me, that speaks quite highly of the method that Rob and others are talking about.

Erick Mead
10-01-2006, 03:47 PM
I would argue that the correct practical experience would include explanation - in whatever terms proved effective, and presupposes only a common communicative framework between the shower and the showee. ...
Surely, almost anything that works to give the correct result will do .. up to a point. But giving the sense of what is POSSIBLE before it is learned, this drives people to continue the path. And in seeking to deepen understanding requires a deeper body of knowledge that is accessible to the seeker. The mystique of the unfamiliar works for some people, up to a point -- and not for others at any point.

I believe that the 'traditional' paradigm *can* be explained in *relatively* comprehensible terms, and I think there are people working hard on bridging the gap.

Keep in mind that it is not traditional for this material to be highly accessible. I think you have hit the problem exactly, and what distinguishes aikido -- in a definitive break with that aspect of tradition. Some view Aikido as a exclusive body of learning -- one is initiated and the fundamental secrets may ultimately be revealed. I do not believe this is true to the vision of the Founder.

Aikido is catholic. It is intended to be universal in its accessibility and universal in its potential appeal. O-Sensei himself played down the more esoteric aspects of his Shinto background. Aikido has no secrets, or more accurately, its secrets are hidden in plain sight.
That's why I think it's important, *if there is to be discussion of these fairly concrete topics* that the discussion be focused in fairly pragmatic terms. I'll admit to struggling a bit here : "Physics is NOT pragmatic" ... ???
I used the example of a roto-rooter snake to roughly describe how torque can propagate through a mechanical system without recourse to virtual gyroscopes or anything nearly so esoteric. Let me put it more plainly -- kokyu is not sprung torque, it is not LIKE sprung torque in a fixed form or otherwise-- even though torque forces are in play in any gyroscopic mechanism. Sprung torque is energy stored in strain the way a deformed spring operates. It still obeys gyroscopic laws when it begins to do work and expend that stored angular momentum.

The application of a torque to a freely moving gyroscopic system is resolved by an alteration of the inherent inertia of the system, causing it to tumble freely in three axes, unless it is restrained. This precessional cascade will reach equilibrium unless the input is maintained, but without any requirement of significant strain energy. The energy that would create twisting strain in the input axis is shifted to another axis and the inertia is eaten up in reorienting the body in that axis -- not on the axis of the input force. What is required is that there be rotational intertia already on the input axis to be transformed -- i.e. that there is a real attack happening.

Done imperfectly, the arm receives a component of torquing strain in the technique. Done well, the input axis receives none because there is no residual component of the input force in the torque axis of that limb. The wrist/arm/shoulder/spine/ tanden are all falling freely into the path of least energy.

How is that a 'Chinese metaphorical method'? At least allow me the dignity of a proper dressing-down, and tell me that my method of argumentation is insufficiently rigorous for your purposes - if that's what you feel. Testy, testy ... It was not a criticism -- only an observation, nor even a negative one. Chinese traditional knowledge is a highly rigorous system of metaphoric connections describing operative holistic principles in what the West would sometimes view as distinct and separate regimes of knoweldge. Sometimes, the Chinese approach to observational knowledge leads to valuable things that Western analytical theory paradigms do not easily admit as useful, although they can certinaly be understodd in those termns once that threshold of assumptions is overcome. My point was YOU are approaching knowledge in that mode, and not in the Western mode of analytic thought. It is not a bad thing, it just is.
Okay, your approach to nikkyo has been registered. Would you say you can make this technique work on pretty much everyone? Pretty much like nikkyo always works. Did I say anywhere that nikkyo is different than it is?
I haven't volunteered a description of kokyu - although I will say that I don't think 'kokyu' is really the primary factor involved in 'how joint locks transmit force' - although it almost sounds like you do. Note, I'm not saying kokyu is uninvolved in the application of joint locks, just that analysis of joint motion, etc. in locking techniques is probably not the right tree to bark up to *define* kokyu. Probably not, since "joint locks" are not the principle on which aiki rests, nor does the application of kokyu require anything like a "joint lock" -- although they may well easily result from its application. The assumption the other way is a post hoc fallacy -- not a straw man. :p

Why take an example meant to make a simple point, and twist it so far past its intended purpose. To illustrate the limits of such forms of explanation. I think this conceptual strategy is part of the problem (if there is one) with your Gyro Theory. I could probably come up with a theory based on time travel .... :hypno:

Human bodies are *not* gyroscopes. Anything that rotates obeys gyroscopic laws of mechanics. Period - no exceptions. Whether those dynamics or material strains predominate in a given movement is a legitimate mechanical question, and one which in the case of aiki is resolved in favor of dynamics and agasint material strain.

The complexity comes from the subject matter itself - which is perfectly adequate to obscure it from those not willing to work hard just to 'get it'. Another hint of the 'elect' sensibility that I find of concern to the future of the art. This is not koryu. We have no "ultimate secrets' to hide for the chosen trusted few that are made menkyo kaiden. All the secrets are in the open for the taking It is meant to be more missionary and far less exclusive than you seem to assume. Perhaps my reading of your intent is in error, but the theme is there throughout this discussion.

According to the logic implied by your argument, everyone's Aikido would be improved by prematurely accelerating the degeneration of their bodies then, right? I have known of none in aikido of any sufficient experience in the art who would not agree that to the extent the movement requires less overt strength -- there is more aiki in it.

[I'll respond to the balance of your post a little later]

Erick Mead
10-01-2006, 05:55 PM
I think most people would understand that one earns the right to make those kind of statements (which then convey something meaningful) by being the kind of person who *obviously* has been there and done that in terms of the overt part of an art which their are *finally* de-emphasizing - as an unquestioned master. From strawman, to post hoc and now to the fallacy of authority. Quite a rhetorical tour we are having. Keep score, someone.

The point of physics (indeed the entire Western theory of knowedge) is that it does not depend on authority for verification of knowledge. The West has a poor track record in bending to the counsel of authority... Nor, frankly, did koryu budo. They were frighfully, even brutally, empirical in their testing of efficacy. But not analytically so. Analytical thinking has had one or two minor uses in advancing "practical" budo. Aikido as praxis is not primarily concerned with that same aspect of "practicality." But that hardly means it could not benefit at all.

Most gendai budo have taken up at least one of two other aspects of Western modernity, and in some cases both:: Sporting competition and commercialism. Aikido has taken a tack affirmatively away from both. Those are not the only aspects of Western culture on offer however. I am attempting to relate aiki to other aspects of Western thought, specifically its analytic tradition, which is potentially applicable, and see where it leads.
Well, I'd say it's a necessary but not sufficient condition for a brilliant performance. I would not want to skip the tuning step at all. Who's twisting who, now? I hardly said (nor even implied) that the body could be "out of tune" and still do good aikido. O-Sensei was keenly "in tune" until his death, and deadly effective whle being fragile physically notwithstanding that.

If aikido depended on strength we should swing sledge hammers in practice, rather than merely in discussion groups. O-Sensei went down that particular road of tanren about as far as any budoka in memory, and came back suggesting strongly that it did not lead where he wanted to go. My point is that the most important time in practice is spent not in obsessively tuning the insturment but in working through the playing of the music, and even -- maybe -- even considering the math that underlies that beauty.
It's probably better just to slap some working math on a good practical theory than to try to get involved in the theoretical project of simultaneously discovering some nifty math *and* evolving a pragmatic theory. And yet, thus were nuclear weapons made possible... So I doubt seriously that a good case can be made to show that "nifty math" does not advance "practical" budo, in principle ... Artillery, anyone ...??
I think turning that training into 'theoretical science' might be a mistake ... I am doing nothing of the kind, nor have I suggested so. I am working on an interpretation of aikido AS IT IS in Western analytical terms. I am proposing nothing at all regarding training, in which I find no fault in either technique or many of the teaching paradigms in use; I seek to broaden the physical references used to teach the concepts that we train to apply.
It's not really possible to argue too strongly against a theory which bases itself in extremely elaborate mathematical constructs and orients itself as being scientific and rigorous Of course it is -- you just haven't done it yet. First, it is not a theory, much less a new one. Gyroscopic dynamics is a proven system of practical mechanics (but no more 'uncommon' than is, say, aikido technique). The biomechanics of human balance remains more developmental, but aikido has a great deal of information to contribute to that development. By virtue of my actual experience, I can see these as related bodies of knowledge, which I offer for consideration, further development or even substantive refutaiton by anyone who chooses to engage the issue.

The proposition is that gyrodynamics is usefully descriptive of aiki technique. Where that proposition leads ultimately I do not know, any more than I know how a randori may progess, nor is it my concern -- it seems useful to explore -- I will explore it.
I acknowledge the suggestion of the connection is somewhat novel. So if you disagree, trying applying some rigor to giving an actual case in technique that challenges its applicability, something more rigorous, say, than the image of sewer snakes as metaphor for aiki techniques. Robert's question on the "pushout" exercise was a good effort, although his intended point could be made clearer, which I certainly invite.

Physics is not a metaphor. I may be proved wrong; but I must be PROVED wrong. Too much military training and law practice under the bridge to do otherwise. But, do your best. I've asked for it by bringing the point up.

However, rhetoric is not a substitute for substantive arugment any more than hand flourishes substitute for irimi. If you hit me solidly, I will alter my line of thought, in acknowledgement of a demonstrated vulnerability. But until you do, why should I alter my own movement? That spirit of the koryu does survive in the aiki I have been taught.
I can respect the somewhat heroic stance of using yourself as the test subject for this cake your baking, but how would you feel if someone else got sick from eating it? That's the question people who teach - but especially those who also devise their own theories - should be asking themselves, in my opinion. It's an extremely delicate area - because it's not just about personal prestige: there's a question of ethics, intellectual honesty, and general social responsibility. "Don't go that way, no one has ever gone that way before!" I am unsure of the utility of that that form of self-fulfilling prophecy, or the underlying tautological argument it illustrates. Another irimi aspect of Western culture worthy of note -- we tend to ignore arbitrary barriers in pursuit of learning.

I am working through exploration of reasonable questions based on well-understood issues of mechanics in an open discussion in as transparent a manner as I know how. And in one magnificently drafted paragraph (really - nicely done) -- I am treated to backhanded sarcasm -- damning me in the faintest possible praise -- branding me as basically megalomaniacal, unethical, intellectually dishonest and socially irresponsible.

Hmmm. While I know I am not that good, I suspect I cannot be THAT bad either. Add "ad hominem attack" to the list -- while we're keeping score on the empty rhetoric.

Tim Fong
10-01-2006, 06:06 PM
Rob's question was crystal clear. Can you replicate pushout the exercise he posted? Then as an addendum, can you, using the understanding gained through your gyrodynamics model, teach another person to do the exercise?

Can you replicate it with a partner who is , say 50 percent heavier than you who can bench press twice your bodyweight? Can you teach a student to do the same?

clwk
10-01-2006, 06:20 PM
But giving the sense of what is POSSIBLE before it is learned, this drives people to continue the path. And in seeking to deepen understanding requires a deeper body of knowledge that is accessible to the seeker. The mystique of the unfamiliar works for some people, up to a point -- and not for others at any point.This probably gets to the issue. It's not really clear where you think your theory falls on this spectrum. What I would call the 'traditional paradigm' provides both benefits you cite. If your theory does, then I think it's in a slightly different way. There is mystery in trying to solve unsolved equations, and in trying to do so, one might learn a lot. On the other hand, this is a completely different kind of learning (with far fewer guarantees) than that associated with simply absorbing an already-understood body of knowledge.
Some view Aikido as a exclusive body of learning -- one is initiated and the fundamental secrets may ultimately be revealed. I do not believe this is true to the vision of the Founder.I do not subscribe to the 'train for years and years and maybe you will get it some day theory'. Insofar as *correct* instruction may be termed 'initiation', then *yes* I think the art is esoteric - but I see no reason why the *basics* which cut across many arts and which are essential to Aikido need to be shrouded in mystery. Everyone should know the basics: what they can actually develop and do with them is up to how hard they want to work.
Aikido has no secrets, or more accurately, its secrets are hidden in plain sight.I don't know, Erick. I understand the rhetorical point you are making - but it's a big problem if people have somehow failed to learn the non-secrets, and if a pedagogical tradition emerges in which people are trying to learn from those who also don't know those things which are 'hidden in plain sight' - then you might say they are gone, and they have become secrets. It's a danger, in my opinion, because it's extremely obvious that a lot of people (and I am included in this) do not just *figure out* these things based on exposure to the waza, etc. And since it *is* possible to communicate them without *too much* difficulty, I have to wonder about any rhetorical position that denies the importance of doing this. Go back to my instrument-tuning analogy. Is instrument-tuning a secret? It might become one if it were not taught to musicians, but it *should* just be part of the culture. The problem seems to be an aikido culture in which instruments are habitually played out of tune. I'm not citing or indicting anyone, just making an observation based on my own experiences. As I said, I include myself for many years in this; I wish some important things had been laid out for me far sooner in my training. I would not feel I had been deprived of anything by having the basics explained correctly by someone who actually knew them.
I'll admit to struggling a bit here : "Physics is NOT pragmatic" ... ???Correct on both counts. ;-)
Let me put it more plainly -- kokyu is not sprung torque, it is not LIKE sprung torque in a fixed form or otherwise-- even though torque forces are in play in any gyroscopic mechanism. Sprung torque is energy stored in strain the way a deformed spring operates. It still obeys gyroscopic laws when it begins to do work and expend that stored angular momentum.
Without trying to argue the physics - because I don't want to use a Physics definition of kokyu, I would say that this statement explains your previous statement that you feel analogies to springs, and the use of the word 'pressure' are inferior to your gyro model. It seems that you do not account for the body's capacity to store and release energy through torsional deformation or the manipulation of internal pressure. That's fine - but if you are saying that, then you're placing yourself clearly in the spectrum of pragmatic knowledge on this topic. I don't have any need to argue about this: it's just good to be clear about what level of sophistication (in terms of actual usage) your theory is even trying to explain.
Probably not, since "joint locks" are not the principle on which aiki rests, nor does the application of kokyu require anything like a "joint lock" -- although they may well easily result from its application.Hmmm, probably best to drop it then - since you introduced the topic in the first place, seemingly as an explanation of how kokyu works in your gyro model.
Anything that rotates obeys gyroscopic laws of mechanics. Period - no exceptions.Yes, but this isn't really saying anything. Obviously there are places where gyroscopic laws are an appropriate analytical tool and those where they are not - just like any other subset of mechanics. We're just disagreeing about whether this is a good place to try to apply these rules.
Another hint of the 'elect' sensibility that I find of concern to the future of the art. This is not koryu. We have no "ultimate secrets' to hide for the chosen trusted few that are made menkyo kaiden. All the secrets are in the open for the taking It is meant to be more missionary and far less exclusive than you seem to assume. Perhaps my reading of your intent is in error, but the theme is there throughout this discussion.Yes, this is the crux. Let me clear up my position - in case it was not made clear earlier in this response. The topics to which I (and other posters) are alluding are what I would consider foundational basics. These basics seem, nevertheless not to be widely known, understood, taught, practiced, etc. Since this has happened, it could almost seem as though those arguing for knowledge of these basics are preaching a form of elitism: "we know something and you don't, so we're better than you". I think the reverse is true though. The real elitist position would be to stay silent and hold onto 'the goods' for oneself, creating an actual culture of secrecy. The open secret is that those who 'know' would - in most cases - really like to see others also know, because they understand that just 'knowing' is not enough without a lot of training and hard work. It only seems like an elitist secrecy kind of thing if those who don't know (I'm not putting you in a category, you can assign yourself wherever you like) are threatened by the possibility that they don't know something fundamental. Then you have a problem.

Imagine a world in which soccer had become a popular sport, but somewhere along the line, certain soccer leagues stopped using the ball. They might evolve incredibly elaborate 'forms' based on how 22 people might move in semi-spontaneous patterns, and some people might even get so far as to posit the idea that an 'imaginary ball' could be used to make sense of the otherwise overwhelming curriculum. If by chance, someone from a different league, where soccer was played with a ball happened to witness this event, they might try to introduce the actual use of a physical ball into the game. You can see how this might be almost impossibly painful and revolutionary to those who had gotten used to soccer-without-the-ball, but how it wouldn't really be a big elitist thing to the soccer-with-a-ball people. The use of the ball is not really something worth hiding - like, say, secret dribbling techniques might be. You can also probably see how the ball users would probably only want to spend a limited amount of time on the evangelism project, and would mostly be targetting those who were open to the idea of switching games - rather than wanting or needing to dismantle the soccer-without-a-ball institution.

I personally find soccer better with a ball, and I have witnessed the frustration of those trying to play soccer without one. I have also witnessed both kinds of reactions to the suggestion that a ball be used. I have seen great relief by those who have been trying to find the ball and just didn't know where to look; and I have seen hostility from those who are insulted by the suggestion that they may be missing something. I would be quite curious to hear from others who may have been or may be in a similar position - in terms of feeling there may be something missing from much Aikido, and in terms of possibly having discovered that something. I have a feeling that anyone who has their eye on the ball will be 'elitist' only by side effect if at all.

It basically comes down to an instance of the Emperor's New Clothes. Some people are saying, "The Emperor has no clothes," and are being labeled as elitists or as trouble makers. In the end, it comes down to who is willing to suck it up and admit what they haven't learned and find it - and who chooses to staunchly march down the street in his birthday suit. It doesn't matter to me where you fall on this spectrum, so I don't really think we need to argue indefinitely about your theory. I'm really just writing because I want others who don't really know about the existence of a pragmatic paradigm based on traditional training methodologies to know there is such a thing - so they can benefit from it *if they choose*. I'm glad I was able to track down a *foothold* into this kind of training, and I think there are others with the same mindset I had/have. Now that this topic has become a matter of public discourse, I think it's important that the simple explanations being offered are understood for what they are. That's all.

-ck

dps
10-01-2006, 06:32 PM
I am working through exploration of reasonable questions based on well-understood issues of mechanics in an open discussion in as transparent a manner as I know how. And in one magnificently drafted paragraph (really - nicely done) -- I am treated to backhanded sarcasm -- damning me in the faintest possible praise -- branding me as basically megalomaniacal, unethical, intellectually dishonest and socially irresponsible.



Erik, your irreverent use of science to question the sacred, borders on blasphemy. Don't you know that the earth is flat plane balance on a static pole with springs. To the stockade with you whilst we make preparations to burn you at the stake unless you repent of your gyroscopic beliefs.

Erick Mead
10-01-2006, 07:11 PM
You mentioned before that you spent a decade flying helicopters. When you were, say, taking off, were you thinking of gyrodynamic forces, resultants and so on? Or were you focused on how the controls felt, what the instruments looked like and how that related to you own sense of balance (i.e. the horizon etc?). I have a lot of respect for helicopter pilots -- having been in them a few times I realize how chaotic and unstable they are even in the best of conditions. Once I had learned HOW they were supposed to feel, and got the feel of it burned into my motor pathways, very much the latter.

But having a conceptual scheme about what feelings and indications were important -- and why -- and what my actions might do -- and why -- and perhaps more importantly, what I could disregard and not act upon -- and why-- all of this aided me immensely in that process of learning far more efficiently, and, I might add -- more safely.

And without that purely conceptual learning I might not know about, or how to avoid, dangerous things like torque-induced ground roll (a highly counter-intuitive gyroscopic effect, I might add) and exceedingly deadly things like vortex ring state, that you usually get to experience once and once only (unless you are a test pilot with about eight thousand feet excess altitude to work with). In fact, the realm of negative knowledge, or things to AVOID doing in the fiorst place, is an area in which conceptual learning has distinct advantages -- one avoids having a well disciplined practice regime burning in well-practiced errors. It is in this area that secondhand wisdom of others is vastly superior to one's own firsthand wisdom by sad experience.
I've never met Rob. But we have corresponded quite a bit, and I've practiced the exercises that I've seen in the videos. I've also had the pleasure of having Mike show me how he develops the strength which we are discussing.

And after about 9 months, I can do the pushout drill to some degree. So to me, that speaks quite highly of the method that Rob and others are talking about. What was your training experience in kokyu tanden ho /kokyu dosa exercises before that? How are they similar from your perspective, and if not, how are they different?

I could not really determine from Robert's post whether we were talking about different things. If not, then this helps me place Mike's posts in a much better perspective. If they are really different, I would like a better description of the process of the drill, the typical difficulties experienced, and the means you learned to resolve them, from your perspective.

Erick Mead
10-01-2006, 07:13 PM
Erik, your irreverent use of science to question the sacred, borders on blasphemy. Don't you know that the earth is flat plane balance on a static pole with springs. To the stockade with you whilst we make preparations to burn you at the stake unless you repent of your gyroscopic beliefs.
Shame on you. The Earth rests on the backs of four immense elephants, standing on the shell of a giant turtle, and past that -- it's turtles all the way down ... ;)

Mike Sigman
10-01-2006, 07:19 PM
Erik, your irreverent use of science to question the sacred, ... I seem to have missed something here. What "sacred" tenets has Erick questioned? I thought he was merely "positing" (he said it was his position, meaning, I assume, he is doing no more than offereing a hypothesis) an as yet unproven idea. If Erick has "challenged" or "questioned" some established dicta, I'd like to know what it is.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

dps
10-01-2006, 08:15 PM
Shame on you. The Earth rests on the backs of four immense elephants, standing on the shell of a giant turtle, and past that -- it's turtles all the way down ... ;)
And the individual elephants swaying to keep their balance must be in sync, tandem or shall I say harmony with each other to maintain the balance of the earth. :)

While imagery such as this is useful to some in understanding things, I prefer explanations in using scientific language in American English. Language that I already know and explanations that I can verify without learning different languages, cultures and philosophies.

clwk
10-01-2006, 08:15 PM
From strawman, to post hoc and now to the fallacy of authority. Quite a rhetorical tour we are having. Keep score, someone. It sounds like you *are* keeping score. My memory was that you had the straw man, then told me it was actually 'post hoc', but let's just not go down that road. The 'high school debate team' sparring is a little tedious - especially since we *don't* have a referree to step in and hand out the points.

To address your substantive point though, I think that *in a discussion of 'What is Aikido?' then referring to O-Sensei as an unquestioned master is probably a *reasonable* argument to authority. He did in fact found the art, and as I understand it sometimes defined the art with reference to his own practice of it. I'm not sure how looking at O-Sensei's practice and its context is really a 'fallacy of authority'. If you wanted to ignore how he trained, why talk about 'Aikido' at all?
And yet, thus were nuclear weapons made possible... So I doubt seriously that a good case can be made to show that "nifty math" does not advance "practical" budo, in principle ... Artillery, anyone ...??Well, I guess I'm arguing to the audience who understands the important differences in how you would train to invent nuclear weapons or artillery, and how you would train to gain skill in a body-based art like Aikido. That's the extent of the case I want to make.


It's not really possible to argue too strongly against a theory which bases itself in extremely elaborate mathematical constructs and orients itself as being scientific and rigorous
Of course it is -- you just haven't done it yet. First, it is not a theory, much less a new one.

Erick, while we're on the topic of rhetorical styles - I don't think it's conducive to discussion for you to snip the relevant part of my statement mid-sentence and continue to argue as though I have not addressed the point. I said, 'yet which does not actually make any falsifiable predictions nor propose any distinct theorems (provable or otherwise), nor even provide a unique or describable method of implementing whatever its practical application might be.' I'm not talking about gyrodynamics. I'm talking about your application of gyrodynamics to Aikido, which - fascinating as it may be (really) - seems too vague to discuss as though it is more than 'an idea'.

I am working through exploration of reasonable questions based on well-understood issues of mechanics in an open discussion in as transparent a manner as I know how. And in one magnificently drafted paragraph (really - nicely done) -- I am treated to backhanded sarcasm -- damning me in the faintest possible praise -- branding me as basically megalomaniacal, unethical, intellectually dishonest and socially irresponsible.Erick, you are the one inserting the emotional content and acting as though I am attacking you personally. I made it quite clear that my comments apply to everyone who teaches Aikido to the extent that they are 'building their own explanatory framework'. I think it's a serious undertaking, and that one has to be careful about misleading others. That's all. Insofar as I sometimes spout off ideas about 'how things work' I include myself in this. The only part of the statement (which you have interpreted as a character attack) which was directed to you specifically was my assertion that I respected your heroic stance. I think it's important for people to experiment with these things. Without personal, conceptual risk-taking, there can't be any progress (either individually or generally). I'm not attacking you and I respect the work you are doing in trying to come up with a pedagogical framework that works. My *general point* about *novel explanatory approaches* is that one needs to be careful not to err in terms of the 'social responsibility' aspect I mentioned. That could be applied to every one of us who is discussing this topic publicly, because people looking for real information have to make personal decisions based on what they read here. None of us is exempt.

Hmmm. While I know I am not that good, I suspect I cannot be THAT bad either. Add "ad hominem attack" to the list -- while we're keeping score on the empty rhetoric.It's not about you Erick, and we don't need to keep score. If you can't hear that I'm addressing you out of fundamental respect for your intellectual process then there's not much point in discussion. We don't need to keep score of each other's perceived argumentation flaws, or anything of the sort. The topic of discussion, in my opinion is 'What is Aikido' - and I'm simply suggesting that the Gyro Theory, however good it is in some ways, is probably not the best core framework for answering that question.

-ck

Mike Sigman
10-01-2006, 08:24 PM
(in support of Erick Mead's "scientific" explanation of how kokyu works) While imagery such as this is useful to some in understanding things, I prefer explanations in using scientific language in American English. Language that I already know and explanations that I can verify without learning different languages, cultures and philosophies. So why not verify and let us know what you find. Here... do something simple. Analyse the simply thigh or chest pushes O-Sensei does on this video clip in terms of "gyro-dynamics".

http://www.neijia.com/UeshibaKokyu.wmv

They are pretty simple moves, yet they are the heart of kokyu-nage and without the spinning and turning of gyro's. Let's see some analysis. I can do and explain these things without resorting to angular momentum in any meaningful way, yet I don't consider myself particularly skilled. Perhaps I am just simple and ignorant... alas. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
10-01-2006, 11:16 PM
On the other hand, this is a completely different kind of learning (with far fewer guarantees) than that associated with simply absorbing an already-understood body of knowledge.
I don't know, Erick. I understand the rhetorical point you are making - but it's a big problem if people have somehow failed to learn the non-secrets, ...And since it *is* possible to communicate them without *too much* difficulty, I have to wonder about any rhetorical position that denies the importance of doing this. The problem is the self-selective nature of this group that is prepared to learn it without such difficulty. If all we teach are those that come looking, then well, of course, you are indisputably right. If we are seeking to broaden the exposure and reach those who may not have considered aikido, or know nothing about it, we have a different problem of threshold reference. We could take the callous commercial inducements route of the more common gendai and not care, or the sport route and promote the "bigger faster stonger" paradigm, but that would give up root principle and the deadly seriousness in the task of the art. All of that is inappropriate to aikido.
It seems that you do not account for the body's capacity to store and release energy through torsional deformation or the manipulation of internal pressure. Not at all, or at least not in the way you, Mike and others seem to advocate. It is more correct to say that the strain form of energy storage is among the conceptual items that I specifically see that aikido is intended to avoid as unnecessary in application of technique. It is also correct to say that in an attack, that kind of "wind-up" joint loading is precisely the vulnerability that aiki exploits.

A torqued joint has potential energy (which can be released by a negligible disturbing input.) It also has established a plane of force orientation, and thus is exposed to distrubance without direct resistance on two other coordinate planes. Strain energy is what creates overt "feel." And technique that "feels" like almost nothing unitl it feels like the mat is striking my body somewhere is the epitome of performance in my experience as uke.

Applying or receiving subnstantial amounts of such strain energy in the body necessarily requires strength, or rather, strength is a major measure of the limits of both applications of it. Aiki technique does not require it, and is not limited by it, although it certainly can be applied to give or take it at need, and is often performed so as to give such results, it is the ultimate goal of training to dispense with it.

The only stored energy necessarily released and then recovered is a transient angular momentum, not a potential torque strain. I only receive such strain if I try to reject energy I gather or hold onto energy I release. If I let them both go, I am not under strain, because I allow the energy to move me as it will and retain no potential wind-up or tension energy to impart. I leave the energy in the movement.

Traditionally, nage gathers ki in the hara, transforming and then giving it form with technique and then gives it concrete connection through ki musubi and juji to another person, letting the all ki no kokyu pass by means of aiki technique maintained with kokyu tanden ho.

This is my analytical equivalent, by no means as succint, but by being less dense, perhaps more approachable. Energy is traded in a small, brief drop of the CG, losing potential and gaining kinetic energy. That energy is transiently stored as angular momentum in an additional excursion of the normal hip gyration of the existing balance sytem. By means of precessional transformations that angular momentum energy is transferred from hip to spine to shoulder to elbow to wrist. (These are also seen in training exercises such as funatori and furitama).

Nage's delivery of energy in technique is performed so as to fade to nearly nothing at contact -- where the actual energy at contact is nil, but the potential energy again reaches a maximum (cresting the hill). Nage's actual momentum energy, at nil on contact, is very naturally brought into synchrony by perpendicular plane to uke's attack momentum, which is at maximum actual energy for delivery on one plane, but close to nil in actual energy on two of three coordinate planes.

Then the gyrational cascade back into uke's balance system is begun by technique along the line of least strain -- cascading that angular momentum energy back downhill, using the obverse of the mechanism that delivered it, and adding to it the gyrationally transformed momentum of the attack. This propagates back down the same chain into the center of uke's balance center, with the excess of his attacking energy disrupting its normal gyration beyond recovery limits, and providing nage postural advantage. As it is a purely rotational transformation that occurs along the line of least strain with negligible induced strain energy, uke does not feel "resisted" by the reaction or strain energy that creates "feel."
Probably not, since "joint locks" are not the principle on which aiki rests, nor does the application of kokyu require anything like a "joint lock" -- although they may well easily result from its application. Hmmm, probably best to drop it then - since you introduced the topic in the first place, seemingly as an explanation of how kokyu works in your gyro model. If you may recall, my example with nikkyo was specifically with the other joints unrestrained from rotation, and thus not capable of being "locked" so as to illustrate that natural rotational transformation. Nikkyo as a joint lock is an application of strain energy that occurs by restraining the natural rotations, and a resulting occurrence -- a contingency, but not a principle of action.

We should train nikkyo with sufficent "feel" to maintain form and so students know what is happening in that rotation and their good connection with it, and strive to lose that feel without losing the connection. With proper ki musubi in the technique, every joint is moving simultanouesly in three axes and no joint ever achieves sufficient positional stability for uke to focus the resistance that creates the lock.

Even in kihon, the lock is uke's to create, not mine to apply, although I certainly can if I choose to, and do for training or demonstration purposes. But for good training what I really need is an uke who continues his attack, and therefore makes nikkyo work on my choice of form but HIS choice of energy. Given my druthers, I'll happily stand there until he continues his attack -- and locks himself up.
Anything that rotates obeys gyroscopic laws of mechanics. Period - no exceptions. Yes, but this isn't really saying anything. Obviously there are places where gyroscopic laws are an appropriate analytical tool and those where they are not - just like any other subset of mechanics. We're just disagreeing about whether this is a good place to try to apply these rules. Please frame the elements of your disagreement to show why these rules are not admissible for a given technique or aiki movement. That's all I ask. Contradiction is not argument -- Monty Python notwithstanding ...
Yes, this is the crux. Let me clear up my position - in case it was not made clear earlier in this response. The topics to which I (and other posters) are alluding are what I would consider foundational basics. Then cease alluding, please. "S'plain! S'plain!"
I personally find soccer better with a ball, and I have witnessed the frustration of those trying to play soccer without one. ... I personally find soccer better with a very tall bourbon whisky, preferably two, as it does seem very nearly entertaining at that point, or at least marginally more so than the grass growing under their feet ... :p
Some people are saying, "The Emperor has no clothes," and are being labeled as elitists or as trouble makers. ... I'm really just writing because I want others who don't really know about the existence of a pragmatic paradigm based on traditional training methodologies to know there is such a thing - so they can benefit from it *if they choose*. ... I think it's important that the simple explanations being offered are understood for what they are. Which is anything but simple based on the articulations I have seen attempted here so far in this and other threads, or at any rate, no less complex or inhibiting than rotational dynamics.

Take the "pushout drill" as example (and the most concrete thing I have seen yet described). It seems to me that this is kokyu tanden ho, traditionally understood. I visualized while reading what was written and then did it and it fit quite neatly into my spectrum of kokyu ho repertory. If I am missing something in my grasp of what is being described -- please point it out. Or, point out some other exercises or techniques that illustrate the problem I keep hearing alluded to, but I have not yet heard articulated.

In my training career, I have been doing kokyu tanden ho/ kokyu dosa regularly in three different cadet branches of aikido -- mainline Federation Aikiaki, Iwama and ASU, in no particular order (four if you count my brief sojourn with Chiba, and not counting my intermittent training opportunities in Yoshinkan in Japan, who did not do it,at least while I was training).

Tim Fong
10-02-2006, 12:41 AM
Erick,

I think I am getting a better picture of what you are saying. And it seems to me like your model may make sense from an analytic perspective (thought I'd like to see a way to do some data analysis/motion capture etc)

So here's how I train (keep in mind I am pretty much a beginner at this aspect).

The best way to demonstrate what I mean by "pressure" is by showing a process by which you can also develop this feeling, since it's not something I can measure or show with scientific instruments _at this time_. That's a key comment. I AM NOT saying this is not measurable by science, or is not a regular explainable phenomenon. I just don't know what it is. I am open to investigating this with FMRI, motion capture, EEG or radioactive tracers in the blood , but I lack the facilities or the expertise to do that.

Onwards...so if you take a look at the yoga position "downward facing dog"
http://yoga.org.nz/postures/dog_yoga_instruction.htm

Once you get into the full posture, if you experiment with your breathing while staying as relaxed as possible eventually you'll feel that the the expanding and contraction of your body created by your breathing, changes the amount of pressure you feel in the palms of your hands (from the ground) as well as the feeling of pressure _inside the arms and shoulders. It will also change the feelings of pressure in your legs and at the foot-ground interface, assuming you are flexible enough to have your heels touch the ground. (took me a year or so). You will have to build up the muscular endurance to reach this point, which can take a few weeks. that is, you have to be strong enough to hang out in the posture long enough to feel what's happening in your body. Hardcore yoga peeps call this "prana" and that's fine they can call it wtf they want but to me it's just a feeling, and not some metaphysical thing that involves channelling the power of the universe.

Okay so on to the breathing:
Basically there are two schools of thought on breathing. Some yoga ppl say that you should always breathe "abdominally." This does not mean you actually put air in your stomach. Obviously not. What it does mean is that when you inhale, you let your stomach muscles expand, and when you exhale it flattens toward your back. Your chest does not rise and fall much when you do this.

The second school of thought is that you should always keep a flat stomach. This is a pilates thing that you may be familiar with. For the non-pilates ppl, the flat stomach is the feeling you get if you put your fingers on spot where your inner thights meet your pelvis. When you do that and cough, those are the muscles you keep flat. If you do this, you flatten the stomach muscles toward the spine, and therefore when you breathe your chest will expand and contract.

If you get into the downward dog posture, then alternate the types of breathing you do in cycles (flat stomach/stomach expansion) you will begin to eventually feel the sensations I have outlined above.

Once you do that you will feel how what you are doing is feeling how the weight (mass times gravity) of your body is distributed, and how your breathing changes that.

The weight of the body is simply a force (f=ma) and of course you can create (some) force on/in your body (i'm not sure about the exact terminology here, nor how it works exactly) through muscular tension. The next step, once you can find the feeelings of pressure in downward dog is to recreate those feelings while standing up. You can do this by playing around with the tension created when you extend or contract your arms, flex your wrists, open your hands and do things like...make those weird hand positions (crane beak, sword hand, leopard paw, etc etc) you see in Southern Shaolin and karate (esp Okinawan karate)

Now take those feelings you can create in your arms and upper back, and recreate it while standing up. At my stage, I use some overt muscular tension to create the pressure, then try to let it go. When I set to do pushout, I create those feelings right before my training partner makes contact with my hands, and I strive to maintain them throughout. Once I accept the force of the other person, I try to feel it in my feet. I've noticed that the harder they push the more I feel like I am being driven into the ground. My theory is that somehow I'm translating the push in Z into a Y force that increases the normal on the shoe, and thus the force of friction which keeps me from being knocked back. Now that I think about it, I should get some scales and test this out.

As far as kokyu ho stuff, I never did it when I practiced hapkido. Once in a while one of my friends would teach what I now realize is a tension-based qigong exercise, but none of us (including him) realized how to use it to develop what we are discussing here.

This is kind of odd considering that a number of my former club mates were ranked (dan ranked in some cases) in aikido, but so it goes.

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 01:18 AM
So why not verify and let us know what you find. Here... do something simple. Analyse the simply thigh or chest pushes O-Sensei does on this video clip in terms of "gyro-dynamics".

http://www.neijia.com/UeshibaKokyu.wmv

They are pretty simple moves, yet they are the heart of kokyu-nage and without the spinning and turning of gyro's. Let's see some analysis. OK. Not the best images for kinematics of hip gyration, but hey, what the hell ...

Thigh push.

First- the attack is set in uke's Anterior/Posterior plane and it is oriented at a slight angle up from the ground.

I see five distinct movements by O-Sensei, all fundamentally part of kokyu tanden ho.

1) A set of the upper torso forward (and thus of the hips slightly back) which, is also a set of the hips slightly off line to O-Sensei's rear.

This slight teeter is rotation in uke's Medio Lateral M/L (cartwheel) plane, in which his attack is not oriented. It cannot be easily seen from the video, but my experience tell me that uke's attack is now slightly offline to his left, i.e. -- the vertical plane of his attack has been shifted left (counter clockwise) about the horizontal plane, by virtue of a rotation in the M/L plane. As a result his balance center is now left of the line and forward.

2) A horizontal gyration (tenkan) of the hips creates a draw rotation of uke tipping him forward toward kuzushi and left (on one limb of the hips' natural figure eight pattern);

This rotation by O-Sensei is in uke's horizontal plane, in which his attack is not oriented. It creates an increase of the A/P moment forward, which leads to further precessional aggravation of the left rotation of the line of attack. Uke is precariously in the edge of kuzushi to the left front.

3) The set of the hips is brought forward again as O-Sensei's torso straightens, warding uke's balance center from collapsing left of the line but closing the center line from recovery forward and right.

This slight reverse teeter is, again, rotation in uke's M/L plane, in which his attack is not oriented. This creates an opposite moment in uke's horizontal plane of rotation (clockwise) from the first teeter but now uke's balance is yet further forward and the rotation moment primarily brings his rear balance component in line along the left edge of that balance envelope. Uke now has virtually no moment arms against the ground to resist further rotations.

4) Then the natural return gyration (irimi - the other limb of the figure eight balance envelope) tips uke into rearward kuzushi and carries uke around out the back of his balance envelope along the left edge along the ikkyo line of the body in a rear roll, to effect the projection outside of his balance system.

The reverse of the first rotation in uke's horizontal plane yields the reverse rotation about the A/P plane, a toppling moment backwards.

5) O-sensei gives a firm irimi closure lean of the thigh out the ikkyo line to ensure the projection and "send him on his way."

I can do and explain these things without resorting to angular momentum in any meaningful way, yet I don't consider myself particularly skilled. Perhaps I am just simple and ignorant... alas. ;) OK. Do that, please. Five easy pieces. No Japanese other than irimi tenkan and kuzushi. Not just what happens but why. Your turn.

Meanwhile I will work on the chest push. I can see it is the same, but the descriptioin needs to be laid out.

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 01:36 AM
It sounds like you *are* keeping score.
... Erick, you are the one inserting the emotional content and acting as though I am attacking you personally. I've been a lawyer and aikidoka too long to care if someone attacks me or not. I just want to make sure it is a clean and direct attack -- THAT I can work with. The other stuff is just, well, not useful, and needs to be noted as such.
I made it quite clear that my comments apply to everyone who teaches Aikido to the extent that they are 'building their own explanatory framework'.
I think my point is that I do not want "my own." I want to apply a framewrok that is beyond individual predilection or whim, and as close to universal as I can get.
If you wanted to ignore how he trained, why talk about 'Aikido' at all? Because he said so. He developed aikido to shortcircuit his essentially unguided shugyo marathon exercises that led to it. I train in aikido to get what he got by the means he provided. Aikido does not recapitulate O-Sensei's life story, nor was it meant to.

Well, I guess I'm arguing to the audience who understands the important differences in how you would train to invent nuclear weapons or artillery, and how you would train to gain skill in a body-based art like Aikido. And saying that because they are differnt that analytic thought or nifty math does NOT apply is non sequitur. O-Sensei clearly believed that part of the disease was an essential element of the cure.

Subtlety in application and appreciaiton of force are the watchwords of both analytical physics and aikido. If we seek to train in a spirit that will remedy the very unhealthy budo of nuclear arms (and other technical accomplishments of warlike aim), we cannot shrink from addressing the spirit of aiki toward the budo that led to them, and that budo is largely framed by lots of "nifty math."
It's not about you Erick, and we don't need to keep score. Well, where's the fun in that?

Upyu
10-02-2006, 01:43 AM
Erick:

Hopefully this'll take some of the guess work out of what I'm describing.

The following video shows the exercise being done, towards the end, the person on the left holds him down slightly, without exerting visible pressure.

http://www.badongo.net/vid/197241

I don't think the connection is at the shoulder, in fact I think the spine plays a more prominent role, and needs to be coordinated with the tanden. Its not "just" the tanden.
Its simply an exercise in understand what it means to "stand" and transmit your weight without committing it.

clwk
10-02-2006, 02:31 AM
The problem is the self-selective nature of this group that is prepared to learn it without such difficulty. If all we teach are those that come looking, then well, of course, you are indisputably right. If we are seeking to broaden the exposure and reach those who may not have considered aikido, or know nothing about it, we have a different problem of threshold reference.I would rather see a smaller group of people doing something valuable than a larger group doing something questionable. Since really working at this stuff is automatically self-selecting anyway, I would rather see a clear exposition which can act like a magnet to draw those who really want it and will make use of it. You are probably right that Aikido currently does not attract some people it 'should', but the converse is that it also attracts people it 'should not'. I think simple accuracy is the best way to provide 'truth in advertising', and I would not presume to have any goal beyond that. All I really want personally are training partners who are on the right track. I'm not really a proselytizer though.
Not at all, or at least not in the way you, Mike and others seem to advocate. It is more correct to say that the strain form of energy storage is among the conceptual items that I specifically see that aikido is intended to avoid as unnecessary in application of technique. It is also correct to say that in an attack, that kind of "wind-up" joint loading is precisely the vulnerability that aiki exploits.From what you are saying, I don't think we are talking about the same thing.
The only stored energy necessarily released and then recovered is a transient angular momentum, not a potential torque strain. I only receive such strain if I try to reject energy I gather or hold onto energy I release. If I let them both go, I am not under strain, because I allow the energy to move me as it will and retain no potential wind-up or tension energy to impart. I leave the energy in the movement.The problem, in my opinion, with using 'angular momentum' as a fundamentally important property, is that it simply does not translate to the static potential so important to expression of the forces we want to generate. It's not that momentum (angular or otherwise) is not important when it comes to applying techniques, but it should be possible to factor it out. Your idea, as I understand it, would be to reduce the input momentum to an infinitesimal quantity, and leave the analysis of how forces propagate through joints unchanged. I think it is interesting, but you eventually need to deal with the static situation. By focusing only on the dynamic aspect of the system, you are leaving out something important, I think.

Your model is good for an 'ideal body', where we can 'assume a spherical Aikidoka'. In this universe, sure, you can make everything about the subtle, connected, manipulation of a network of oscillating points. But in the real world of an untrained person, the human body (and nervous system) does not follow these constraints. Perhaps your approach is a good visualization for working toward being able to manifest this 'ideal' situation - but that approach needs to be made. When I talk about 'cultivating the body', I am talking about approaching that 'ideal body'. Do not misunderstand this for cultivating 'ordinary strength' though, or seeking a kind of 'physique' which is detached from the spatial reduction your model requires. What we are talking about is developing the ability to connect the body so that it *can* function in such a way that forces propagate ideally through it.

And yes, a kind of strength is required. You can see this clearly by imagining a person whose body is so weak that his bones snap at a touch. This is obviously not enough strength in the body. Even in your idealized world in which forces propagate perfectly through the body, there will still be internal strain on the system - due to the mass of the bones being used to transmit the forces from joint to joint. Either the joints will have to shear apart (and stop behaving like joints), or there has to be something holding them together. That something is the connective component which your model ignores. It is also the component actively developed by the 'traditional paradigm', and it has a lot to do with the breath. I could go into more detail, but I don't think this is the appropriate place to do so.

Since the range of angles from which you can apply forces, and how much force you can apply, (however you view it as being generated) is dependent on the body's overall structural integrity, then conditioning this connective quality is important. Why else would O-Sensei show off about being able to ground forces applied to the side of his bokken? Your model might be usable to analyze how he accomplished that, and I'd be interested in hearing your comprehensive report on how that worked. I think, though, that in order for it to function you will need a very special robot - not just a regular old human body. Otherwise, anyone who understands the 'idea' and has the 'feeling' should be able to duplicate the demonstration. In reality, it's not that simple.

Please frame the elements of your disagreement to show why these rules are not admissible for a given technique or aiki movement. That's all I ask. Contradiction is not argument -- Monty Python notwithstanding ...
Yes it is. (Kidding!)

As above, I don't think your model addresses the question of working with the body to create a sufficiently idealized system for idealized physics to be the whole story. The problem with skipping this aspect of the training is that you can get trapped in the local maximum of technique - even if the technique is 'correct', it may be limiting, just by failing to stimulate the development which would make a wider range of more interesting 'technique' possible. This other aspect is, roughly, the idea behind misogi, or purification. I think that's a fairly comprehensible idea: that the 'non-ideal' properties of bodies are an impediment to the expression of more 'theoretically interesting' tricks.
Or, point out some other exercises or techniques that illustrate the problem I keep hearing alluded to, but I have not yet heard articulated.Okay, here's another one: O-Sensei resists a push from several people pushing on his forehead. After a while, he throws them. If you just analyze the static component of this demonstration, which is the meat of it, you can see that he is demonstrating two things. 1) He knows how to ground a push against his forehead, and 2) he has a well-conditioned neck and spine, so that he can take a lot of force. If 2) were not important, he wouldn't try to hold the push as long as he could before the throw. In point of fact, the throw is just a graceful way of ending the situation without having to call off the pushers. How would you use gyrodynamics to analyze that example?

-ck

dps
10-02-2006, 03:32 AM
OK. Not the best images for kinematics of hip gyration, but hey, what the hell ...

Thigh push.

First- the attack is set in uke's Anterior/Posterior plane and it is oriented at a slight angle up from the ground.

I see five distinct movements by O-Sensei, all fundamentally part of kokyu tanden ho.

1) A set of the upper torso forward (and thus of the hips slightly back) which, is also a set of the hips slightly off line to O-Sensei's rear.

This slight teeter is rotation in uke's Medio Lateral M/L (cartwheel) plane, in which his attack is not oriented. It cannot be easily seen from the video, but my experience tell me that uke's attack is now slightly offline to his left, i.e. -- the vertical plane of his attack has been shifted left (counter clockwise) about the horizontal plane, by virtue of a rotation in the M/L plane. As a result his balance center is now left of the line and forward.

2) A horizontal gyration (tenkan) of the hips creates a draw rotation of uke tipping him forward toward kuzushi and left (on one limb of the hips' natural figure eight pattern);

This rotation by O-Sensei is in uke's horizontal plane, in which his attack is not oriented. It creates an increase of the A/P moment forward, which leads to further precessional aggravation of the left rotation of the line of attack. Uke is precariously in the edge of kuzushi to the left front.

3) The set of the hips is brought forward again as O-Sensei's torso straightens, warding uke's balance center from collapsing left of the line but closing the center line from recovery forward and right.

This slight reverse teeter is, again, rotation in uke's M/L plane, in which his attack is not oriented. This creates an opposite moment in uke's horizontal plane of rotation (clockwise) from the first teeter but now uke's balance is yet further forward and the rotation moment primarily brings his rear balance component in line along the left edge of that balance envelope. Uke now has virtually no moment arms against the ground to resist further rotations.

4) Then the natural return gyration (irimi - the other limb of the figure eight balance envelope) tips uke into rearward kuzushi and carries uke around out the back of his balance envelope along the left edge along the ikkyo line of the body in a rear roll, to effect the projection outside of his balance system.

The reverse of the first rotation in uke's horizontal plane yields the reverse rotation about the A/P plane, a toppling moment backwards.

5) O-sensei gives a firm irimi closure lean of the thigh out the ikkyo line to ensure the projection and "send him on his way."
t.
You can easily see the hip rotation on O'Sensei.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2218278502048697656

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 08:20 AM
OK. Do that, please. Five easy pieces. No Japanese other than irimi tenkan and kuzushi. Not just what happens but why. Your turn. Naw... I already did it concisely and with illustrations involving Tohei in a previous post to the forum. I did it completely enough that anything missing can be extrapolated. It's far simpler than you're making it. "Hip gyration" isn't needed, since mainly linear forces are involved.

I think the problem is that you see an object flying straight through the air and you're positing "Oh, it must have been flung from a spinning turntable". I'm saying that an object flying straight through the air came from a more linear device (similar to a pogo-stick) and that the actual power of the device is dependent upon how strong its spring constant is. The "spring constant" has a lot to do with why we train using breathing techniques and exercises like fune kogi undo.

FWIW

Mike

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 08:23 AM
You can easily see the hip rotation on O'Sensei.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2218278502048697656
Excellent slowed down clip. Wish I had some easy clipware.

For clarification in that regard, I was actually analyzing the first example of this technique in Mike's clip, where uke was pushing with his left side, whereas the second example you clipped shows uke pushing with the right.

In this case, chirality does not break symmetry, so if you view David's clip vice the first example in Mike's just swap the L-R orientaton in my analysis, etc. and it is the same dynamic.

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 08:29 AM
You can easily see the hip rotation on O'Sensei.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2218278502048697656But that's more of an after-effect (uke is already going away) and not something he always does, if you look at the other examples in the videoclip I mentioned. Particularly in the chest push. It's pretty obvious, once you know how to do it, how Ueshiba powers his pushes and I think it's up for most people to figure it out (simple is better than angular momentum and helicopters). ;)

Mike

eyrie
10-02-2006, 09:14 AM
I totally agree. IMHO and equally humble experience, you HAVE to keep it at a simple enough level for even the dullest blade in the drawer.... if you can't teach this stuff to a 9yr old, forget it.. you've lost them coz it's "too hard" to understand. What Ueshiba is doing in the chest push is really simple stuff (when you know how) and how to power it equally basic stuff (if you know how)... which Mike (and others) have already elucidated in numerous other posts. The gems are out there... look for them!

FYI, one of my teenage students of talented mediocrity (who needs to train more consistently!!!) was already able to do this very basic "bounce jin" from seiza after training with me for a mere 9mths. The crux of the matter is being able to teach this stuff to someone with little to no martial arts exposure in the shortest amount of time. My 9yr old son has been training with me for a year and he can already do most waza at a high enough standard that would put many adults that have been training a bit longer to shame.

If I tried to explain what I do in gyrodynamics, rotational dynamics, or angular momentum, he won't understand a word I'm saying. But if I use simple analogies like rubber bands, see-saws and rolling balls, he'll get my drift in a jiff.

Nice theory, for the academically minded, but I would seriously question the appropriateness and practicability.

FWIW, my teachers NEVER explained any of this in physics terms... always simple analogies...

dps
10-02-2006, 11:16 AM
O'Sensei Kokyu Demo Slow

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7769364658248953602

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 12:41 PM
Naw... I already did it concisely and with illustrations involving Tohei in a previous post to the forum. I did it completely enough that anything missing can be extrapolated. It's far simpler than you're making it. "Hip gyration" isn't needed, since mainly linear forces are involved. And here I thought tenkan actually meant something was turning.

Mike, really now, with over 1500 posts to your name, maybe just pointing to one or two? I could just as easily have said "Pull out the physics text -- it's in there." I tendered a tad more effort to your gauntlet to address the specific example, which is what I asked you to give me to do. Thank you, BTW.

I asked for your illustration on this example YOU proffered so we can compare notes for the benefit of everyone. It seemed that you were more than adequately prepared to do that. Do you want to engage this discussion or pretend that it is not occurring? You may yet blow me out of the water, which I am prepared to receive ukemi for. If you have the stuff to show, in concrete examples such as this, do it.
I think the problem is that you see an object flying straight through the air and you're positing "Oh, it must have been flung from a spinning turntable". I'm saying that an object flying straight through the air came from a more linear device (similar to a pogo-stick) and that the actual power of the device is dependent upon how strong its spring constant is.
Any obect in eccentric rotation that is released from its centripetal contraint will follow a linear path perpendicular to the centripetal contraint in rotation at the moment of release. If the constraint is eccentric to the CG of the object, and the release is not instaneous, it may impart an internal rotation in the plane of the original rotation as well (think frisbee), unless you think that is also done by pushing springs. I note that not only does uke fly back, but he is rotating along his ikkyo line as he does it.

It may seem simpler to assume a linear input is the cause of a linear result, but it is a fallacious assumption. Merely observing a linear resulting motion does not answer the question. (And please note again the internal rotation imparted to uke in his fall.)

You have not addressed the question of the nature of the kinetic input that resulted in that observed linear motion. You made a simplifying assumption, but it does not foreclose the rotational proposition, which is not really mechanically more complex at all. and it does not answer certain other observations that the rotational answer would predict and that is shown in the example. You propose a linear push in opposition -- I see in the video four distinct sets of "Connect, turn, enter and release." in two different axes of rotation in the nage waza -- all of which I describe in terms of rotational mechanics, but in that plainer language "Connect, turn, enter and release" is very much traditional tenkan-irimi movement of basic kokyu nage.

The only arguably linear element present is the final irimi lean of the thigh which simply maintains the input connection (ki musubi) to fully transmit the constant moment of rotation throughout uke's entire kuzushi movement (constant force, over time = acceleration). Even that is strongly modulated by the hip turn that allows the wieght shift to occur.
The "spring constant" has a lot to do with why we train using breathing techniques and exercises like fune kogi undo. I don't think fune kogi/funatori/torifune or what ever term is preferred in your neck of the woods, does what you think that it does.

The linear motion you ascribe to that exercise, is not really linear, but a pendular rotation of the torso in the A/P axis. As I was taught the exercise, the hips pivot over the legs about a fixed point on the ground, but the legs compress toward the middle and extend toward at the front and rear, forming an inverted arc of your CG travel.

In the funatori or funekogi exercise the center describes a downward arc from the rear limit to the center of your stance then rising toward the forward limit. Your shoulder girdle forms the axis of swing, and it oscillates back and forth over the the hip center to provide the initiating instability impulse to each swing of to the pendulum. In a proper irimi you essentially just fall into uke as you recover your own balance, like skier just falls down the hill.

This is BTW, the very same reciprocal teetering motion is seen in the video, well before uke's projection backward. I just was avoiding any term so obviously loaded with assumptions.

If you really are doing it laterally, without any vertical arc component, then the only momentum energy you get (even if you could store it in your legs and hip strain) is what lateral linear intertia your muscles can generate, which is 1) not free like gravitational potential, and 2) not as great in kinetic potential as the angular momentum as you can create by rotation and manipulation of radius of turn. An ice skater, uses this to great effect.

In essence, aikido irimi-tenkan is doing the same thing -- creating rotation in the balance system and then gathering in the balance to the center by a centripetal moment, caused by the inertia of the weighted foot with the ground (the crossing of the roughly figure eight path of the balance center) drawing that balance center (your oscillating mid-section mass damper (also known as the Angular Sweep Servo ;) ) into the smallest radius manageable. Angular velocity increases proportional to the radius of turn. Kinetic energy is the square of the velocity.

My funatori motion is comfortably about 25 cm, and my feet are placed laterally about shoulder width apart , approximately the same distance. That is close to what I see O-Sensei moving in the thigh push.

Assume that the initial radius of turn is about half that (Tangent circle) or 12 cm, and that the radius of the balance sweep is brought into to it normal quiet stance excursion radius (see the study I cited and linked) of about 1 cm. The energy of shifting my mass 25 cm , plus the transformed energy of the weight drop that I put into initiating the radial acceleration of the turn, commences the turn. The reduction in radius of rotation inward increases the velocity of the balance center about 12 fold, and since the kinetic energy is the square of the velocity but only proportional to mass, this magnifies the effective energy for work about 144 times.

If my control is as precise as possible (and let us assume O-Sensei's was in the video), then the resulting kinetic energy when released into uke is thus: If you look at the diagram on normal balance center excursions that I cited, you will see that the balance center it can also manage intermittent periodic oscillation of about 0.25 cm diameter or 0.125 cm in radius. This increases the veloocity in inverse proportion to the reduction in radius : 12 / 0.125 = 96 times. The kinetic energy is the square of that veloicty -- on the order of 96*96 = 9216 times the effective energy for work.

All of this efficiency is obtained by obeying ordinary conservation laws.

Show me spring constants with that degree of energy conversion potential.

This funatori is a gain in kinetic energy from the fall energy. You ascribe that to a "spring constant" in your legs and hip undercarriage, but since you rise at the end of that motion, whatever "spring constant" of stored compression strain there may have been is dissipated.

Funatori is exercise in coordinated energy management (on which I think we agree), we just disagree on the energy being managed. It is not technique for application.

In applied technique, the only "storage" of this kinetically captured gravitation potential energy is its successive transformation by the rotational lift of your center and then precessional capture in the turning motion that comes at the end of the irimi movement as the center is rising on the second limb of the arc. No "linear" irimi or fune kogi motion in a technique occurs without a tenkan either preceding it or following it, which the video clearly shows - twice.

The process is reversible, which is the point of the tai no henko exercise, irimi energy is transformed into tenkan. Tai no henko is the mirror image of funatori in terms of energy dynamics.

Mere rotation is sufficent to avoid a strike, but is not sufficient to apply aiki technique, as any rotation that engaged uke's attacking moment in the same plane would directly oppose uke's energy in at least one component of those two axes. The transformation of that rotation by precessional means, moves the energy to a secondary rotation, in the same basic way as the irimi energy is captured in tenkan, or tenkan energy captured in irimi. The rotationally transformed moment energy is now applied where it is not opposed by any component of the angular moment of the attack -- on the two coordinate planes intersecting the torque axis of the attack.

Juji 3D.

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 01:04 PM
If I tried to explain what I do in gyrodynamics, rotational dynamics, or angular momentum, he won't understand a word I'm saying. But if I use simple analogies like rubber bands, see-saws and rolling balls, he'll get my drift in a jiff.

FWIW, my teachers NEVER explained any of this in physics terms... always simple analogies... "What is aikido?" Simple analogies are not what IT IS. What we do is NOT SIMPLE, although the tools (balance and instability) we use to do it are very common indeed.

As I have said, the point is not to substitute anything that works as a convenient teaching aid but to build a complementary foundation (or better yet, a connecting bridge between two rich palaces) to enable the comprehension of aikido in as thorough and deep a manner in Western idiom as it is understood in the idiom of East Asian natural philosophy.

It is incorrect to assume that just because that form of knowledge works by principle of similarity rather than principle of difference, it is thereby any LESS complex or less rigorous to learn properly as Western learning is. Full comprehension of ki, kokyu, jin, and a whole host of other holistic principles embodied in that cultural complex is the work of a lifetime to master.

What we lack is a Western complement to that tradition, which may allow some of the same simplifications of root native concepts tofunction here, as simiplifications of root native concepts function in Japan. That effort will allow a deeper penetration of aikido into Western culture than it appears to be capable of now.

We cannot start with the simplifications, or the terms of reference to the root concepts will be skewed from the beginning, as I think this discussion is beginning to show.

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 01:09 PM
And here I thought tenkan actually meant something was turning. You keep confusing the waza with the basic strength... I've said this a number of times.

Mike, really now, with over 1500 posts to your name, maybe just pointing to one or two? I could just as easily have said "Pull out the physics text -- it's in there." I tendered a tad more effort to your gauntlet to address the specific example, which is what I asked you to give me to do. Thank you, BTW. Hmmmmm. Mark Freeman.... do you remember what the thread was? I know you were in the discussion. Erick, I don't mind talking about the basic theories up to a level, but there's a level I don't want to get into, mainly for the reason that there are some "body tricks" involved that I try to avoid because it will get some beginners to focus on the tricks and not the basic training/ideas/principles.The only arguably linear element present is the final irimi lean of the thigh which simply maintains the input connection (ki musubi) to fully transmit the constant moment of rotation throughout uke's entire kuzushi movement (constant force, over time = acceleration). Even that is strongly modulated by the hip turn that allows the wieght shift to occur. I would suggest again that it's a lot simpler than that. If you look at a picture of O-Sensei simply standing there when someone pushes him.. and that's the same core force he uses in all kokyu-nage's, etc.... and if you still think that he's doing that rooted standing in some sort of "gyro-dynamic" way, then I don't know what to tell you.
I don't think fune kogi/funatori/torifune or what ever term is preferred in your neck of the woods, does what you think that it does.

The linear motion you ascribe to that exercise, is not really linear, but a pendular rotation of the torso in the A/P axis. As I was taught the exercise, the hips pivot over the legs about a fixed point on the ground, but the legs compress toward the middle and extend toward at the front and rear, forming an inverted arc of your CG travel. You're describing an arc opposite to the way O-Sensei does it on film, though. My comment is about the importance of the back and forth part of the fune-kogi-undo for beginners. The up and down part I'm not going to comment on in a public forum, at the present time. But I will say that I think you're doing a long and wasted analysis and missing the fairly simple point.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

dps
10-02-2006, 02:14 PM
.... and if you still think that he's doing that rooted standing in some sort of "gyro-dynamic" way, then I don't know what to tell you.

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1456057

Paradoxical muscle contractions and the neural control of movement and balance

Richard C Fitzpatrick and Simon C Gandevia

Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, 2031, Australia

Email: r.fitzpatrick@unsw.edu.au
" Loram et al. (2005b) go on to show how the brain and the muscle solve this load problem. Since 憇tatic' equilibrium cannot be achieved by continuous muscle contraction, the system adopts a pattern of cyclic muscle activation, producing repeated ballistic, catch-and-throw movements of the body. The behaviour resembles keeping a balloon in the air by repeated hits. Over time, the balloon maintains a mean position, which might seem an equilibrium point, but at no time does it stay in static equilibrium; it is either being accelerated upward as it is hit or it is in free fall.

Standing is a dynamic activity. It has been believed that normal body sway comes from small perturbation forces, either internal to the body (respiration) or external (breezes); limited sensory acuity to detect body movement; receptor noise; motor output noise; or movement generated by the brain. What Loram et al. (2005b) show is entirely different. A major cause of human body sway arises from this cyclic pattern of catch-and-throw ballistic muscle activation."



Human postural sway results from frequent, ballistic bias impulses by soleus and gastrocnemius.

* Loram ID,
* Maganaris CN,
* Lakie M.

Applied Physiology Research Group, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. i.d.loram@bham.ac.uk

It has been widely assumed for nearly a century, that postural muscles operate in a spring-like manner and that muscle length signals joint angle (the mechano-reflex mechanism). Here we employ automated analysis of ultrasound images to resolve calf muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius) length changes as small as 10 mum in standing subjects. Previously, we have used balancing of a real inverted pendulum to make predictions about human standing. Here we test and confirm these predictions on 10 subjects standing quietly. We show that on average the calf muscles are actively adjusted 2.6 times per second and 2.8 times per unidirectional sway of the body centre of mass (CoM). These alternating, small (30-300 microm) movements provide impulsive, ballistic regulation of CoM movement. The timing and pattern of these adjustments are consistent with multisensory integration of all information regarding motion of the CoM, pattern recognition, prediction and planning using internal models and are not consistent with control solely by local reflexes. Because the system is unstable, errors in stabilization provide a perturbation which grows into a sway which has to be reacted to and corrected. Sagittal sway results from this impulsive control of calf muscle activity rather than internal sources (e.g. the heart, breathing). This process is quite unlike the mechano-reflex paradigm. We suggest that standing is a skilled, trial and error activity that improves with experience and is automated (possibly by the cerebellum). These results complement and extend our recent demonstration that paradoxical muscle movements are the norm in human standing.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15661824

PMID: 15661824 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 02:18 PM
You're missing the point completely, unfortunately. There is more to "rooting" than is included in that article, by a long shot.

dps
10-02-2006, 02:36 PM
You're missing the point completely, unfortunately. There is more to "rooting" than is included in that article, by a long shot. And your scientific explaination with references is.......

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 02:40 PM
And your scientific explaination with references is.......Same post I referenced Erick to and a few others in various other threads. Not, mind you, that I'm trying to convince you. I think it's fun to watch just as it is. If you knew how to do these things, you wouldn't be taking this side of the conversation with these kinds of questions. A lot of people already know how to do these things that read this forum. Ergo, you're saying a lot about what you understand about basics to a lot of people.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

dps
10-02-2006, 03:14 PM
Same post I referenced Erick to and a few others in various other threads. Not, mind you, that I'm trying to convince you. I think it's fun to watch just as it is. If you knew how to do these things, you wouldn't be taking this side of the conversation with these kinds of questions. A lot of people already know how to do these things that read this forum. Ergo, you're saying a lot about what you understand about basics to a lot of people.

Regards,

Mike SigmanDitto

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 04:24 PM
"Ditto"???? You've posted explanations with illustrations on AikiWeb? I never saw them.

Mike Sigman

eyrie
10-02-2006, 06:45 PM
"What is aikido?" Simple analogies are not what IT IS. What we do is NOT SIMPLE, although the tools (balance and instability) we use to do it are very common indeed.


When you say "we", perhaps you mean the royal "we"? What I do and teach is very simple - as it was taught to me by my teachers - a point that was consistently reinforced to me time after time - this stuff is simple.

What is not simple is getting the body, mind and intent coordination working together as a cohesive unit - THAT takes anywhere from 10yrs to a lifetime to master.

I think you are confusing what Aikido (the Art - or rather the Path of Aiki) is, and what the learning tools are for transmission of the body skills under discussion.


As I have said, the point is not to substitute anything that works as a convenient teaching aid but to build a complementary foundation (or better yet, a connecting bridge between two rich palaces) to enable the comprehension of aikido in as thorough and deep a manner in Western idiom as it is understood in the idiom of East Asian natural philosophy.


I don't see any incongruence between the Laws of Physics and the East Asian teaching modality of adherence to Laws of Nature. As Mike has pointed out before, and I agree, these things can be described using levers, pulleys and Newtonian mechanics. I would add, it can also be described in far more comprehensive ways without recourse to Physics 101.

I just think your theory of choice is way off the mark in terms of what we are discussing. ;)


It is incorrect to assume that just because that form of knowledge works by principle of similarity rather than principle of difference, it is thereby any LESS complex or less rigorous to learn properly as Western learning is. Full comprehension of ki, kokyu, jin, and a whole host of other holistic principles embodied in that cultural complex is the work of a lifetime to master.


Not to name drop here, but Prof. Rick Clark once told me to look for the similarities rather than the differences. A point that was consistently reinforced by other teachers I have had, more notably, Patrick McCarthy.

It's not that the Eastern traditions are less complex or rigorous, it's a diametrically opposed teaching modality to the modern Western perspective of "education". The Latin root of the word "education", educar, means to "draw out" - the very same modality by which the Eastern paradigm operates - to draw it out of the student.

Zen 101 - it's not the finger... and it's not the waza. ;)

dps
10-02-2006, 07:47 PM
When your students asked for a deeper meaning for what they are practicing, will your explanations be in Eastern philosophy and mysticism?
The martial arts has a history of hiding meaning by not explaining or explaining in terms unintelligible, to be revealed only to who the teacher deems worthy. That is the tradition of your modality of teaching.
Science has a more open tradition of sharing knowledge for all to use.

eyrie
10-02-2006, 07:54 PM
Hi David,

There is no need to resort to scientific explanations, theory and hypotheses - I feel they detract from the "real" lesson at hand. Always in simple non-esoteric terms.... as my teachers taught. ;)

Like Mr Miyagi (God bless his soul) showing Daniel-san the secret of his family's karate.... :)

PS: FWIW, Patrick McCarthy never used physics to explain what he was doing... always very simple explanations, so the principle was easily and quickly grasped. You don't need to confuse the student any further with all that high-falutin theoretical claptrap.... ;)

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 08:52 PM
But that's more of an after-effect (uke is already going away) and not something he always does, if you look at the other examples in the videoclip I mentioned. Particularly in the chest push. It's pretty obvious, once you know how to do it, how Ueshiba powers his pushes and I think it's up for most people to figure it out (simple is better than angular momentum and helicopters). ;) OK, I have looked at the chest push.

First of all, note that uke grabs with the gyakku hand, and is coming around. Very poor position for a uke to perform ikkyo munedori kuzushi or munetsuki combination.

You can see uke's free hand seriously lagging his torso, initially, indicating a pronunced uchi turn of the body toward O-Sensei. It seems to me like the intended attack was therefore coming around for the ushiro kubishime with the free hand. Great attack -- choking the opponent out with opposing lapels.

I know if I had been tasked with attacking O-Sensei I would be more than hesitant to make a full frontal charge. :freaky:

At first glance it seems that has uke has just carried himself into a munedori sumi-otoshi from the barest irimi. However, his fall is not to his right, in front to O-Sensei, which would be expected in sumi-otoshi, but to his left, away. And O-Sensei's body is turning toward his right at the end of the technique, also away from the sumi-otoshi to his front left.

It looks like a very subtle sokumen iriminage movement.

The munedori attack is coming from the belly upward. The attack is in the A/P vertical plane with pitch upward.

What I do see O-Sensei doing is consistent with what I have said about the pendular funatori/funekogi motion.

O-Sensei begins to drop his center into the funatori swing forward of the hips meeting the attack. The irimi connects early, from the right of uke's line. Horizontal plane rotation (clockwise) is induced by the offset of the arm to uke's right. This provokes more angular moment (pitch up) in the A/P plane adding to the rotation of his seigan rotation (pitch up) momentarily, carrying his hips too far forward, and thus dropping his center and beginning the rearward toppling moment.

Uke's outside arm is stil lagging to this point, so his uchi turn has not been disrupted yet. His progress turning clockwise around O-Sensei for the attack has been stalled, but not reversed.

O-Sensei moves in, rising into an abbreviated sokumen turn, so much so that he basically ends up poised on one foot. The rise shifts uke's right shoulder further forward and up, thus shifting his left shoulder back and down, creating a reversal of the turn of the torso from uchi to soto on the horiztonal plane, beginning an ikkyo line rotati of his body. The whipsaw shift of the torso causes his left arm to now swing suddenly forward ahead of the left shoulder, which is being shifted back by the change of direction in torso rotation.

O-Sensei pivots to his right (clockwise) on the right foot, rising into the throw, rotating in the horizontal plane. The rise causes uke to rotate in the M/L plane, cartwheeling to the left. The turn to the right (just like the earlier clockwise turn caused by irimi to the offline right arm) aggravates the rotation in the A/P plane toppling backward. O-Sensei brings his rear leg into the center of the turn (and thus the hip and the balance center) from behind him to center (reducing radius of his rightward turn turn and increasing the energy in the movement), and then finishes with continued ki musubi irimi by settling his weight gently down into the throw that has already begun.

I see too much rotation in and corrrelated resposne in differnet axes to ignore as irrelevant. There is not enough sudden linear movement to create the accleration impulse that uke obviously is experiencing.

The decreasing radius turn is very deceptive in terms of its energy because the smaller it becomes -- the more powerful it is, and the harder it is to see. I hold that this is a truth of techniques recognized almost universally among schools of aikido. I feel firmly convinced by the evidence Mike has given, that this rotational dynamic is a significant part of aikido function.

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 08:58 PM
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1456057

Paradoxical muscle contractions and the neural control of movement and balance

Richard C Fitzpatrick and Simon C Gandevia

Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, 2031, Australia

Email: r.fitzpatrick@unsw.edu.au
" Loram et al. (2005b) go on to show how the brain and the muscle solve this load problem. Since 憇tatic' equilibrium cannot be achieved by continuous muscle contraction, the system adopts a pattern of cyclic muscle activation, producing repeated ballistic, catch-and-throw movements of the body. The behaviour resembles keeping a balloon in the air by repeated hits. Over time, the balloon maintains a mean position, which might seem an equilibrium point, but at no time does it stay in static equilibrium; it is either being accelerated upward as it is hit or it is in free fall. Nice to know someone reads it and gets it.

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 10:13 PM
When you say "we", perhaps you mean the royal "we"? You, me Mike, David Chi'med and anyone who remotely has attempted to imitate an aikido waza successfully.
What I do and teach is very simple - as it was taught to me by my teachers - a point that was consistently reinforced to me time after time - this stuff is simple.
The tools are common, the application is not. I can whack stone into chunks fairly well, but Michelangelo with the same hammer and chisel made the Pieta. It is art, it does not use any function that my body does not already have -- it lacks only a spirit and will and training.
I don't see any incongruence between the Laws of Physics and the East Asian teaching modality of adherence to Laws of Nature. Because there is none.
As Mike has pointed out before, and I agree, these things can be described using levers, pulleys and Newtonian mechanics. And Mike is just dead wrong on that. You cannot generate the kinetic energy by the human body in linear motion that gyration can produce and manipulate.

There is a fundamental physical reason why we abandoned the direct impulse linear piston along with the steam engine steam engine in favor of rotary driveshafts and torque converters. You can turn things faster and harder more efficiently than you can push them. Rotate the refrigerator up on one corner and spin it around 180 degrees and set it down again. Now try pushing it back. You tell me how it compares.

Gyrodynamics is entirely newtonian. Really, I haven't spun up to relativistic velocity in, oh .. must be years now :p

Not to name drop here, but Prof. Rick Clark once told me to look for the similarities rather than the differences. ...It's not that the Eastern traditions are less complex or rigorous, it's a diametrically opposed teaching modality to the modern Western perspective of "education". That sums up what distinguishes traditional East Asian learning from Western analytical knowledge. Holistic versus reductionist. They are opposed, but only as the sets of muscles in my arm are opposed. If one set overpowers the other I am as crippled or musclebound as if I had neither. I am about rectifying the disuse of one of them in aikido.

The Latin root of the word "education", educar, means to "draw out" - the very same modality by which the Eastern paradigm operates - to draw it out of the student. In which case one only draws out what was poured in in the first place. Not an etymological argument to pursue too far. I have had many very good lessons forcefully impressed into me :uch: ... But, in granting your point, it shows the importance of finding common references to deeper relevant Western physical knowledge (and other types I might add).

Erick Mead
10-02-2006, 10:21 PM
You keep confusing the waza with the basic strength... I've said this a number of times. Aikido requires the strength to strand up straight and walk stably. Everything else is waza and proper perception. That -- or its not aikido. I have seen rank beginners grasp a waza at an advanced age and be amazed that their own well-understood physical limtations did not matter if the waza was correct.

... there's a level I don't want to get into, ... I try to avoid ... I would suggest again ... it's a lot simpler than that. "Springs," yes I know. The "springs" in the legs aren't. Muscles only pull in tension, they cannot push in compression. What they pull on is a bone the other side of a joint. They create leverage across the fulcrum of the joint to ROTATE the joint to produce the leverage moment (push) delivered by the limb.

So riddle me this -- rotate or push -- which one is the primary action and which one the secondary??

and if you still think that he's doing that rooted standing in some sort of "gyro-dynamic" way, then I don't know what to tell you. Well, that much is clear. You don't have to take the time nor interst to read the resources I provided. But kindly respect that they have empricial information that may not support your contention,as some may have discovered in reading them. They show that what we know empirically about the bipedal balance system DOES NOT WORK according to the static spring model. It is ruled out.
You're describing an arc opposite to the way O-Sensei does it on film, though. He did it that way on the film you provided -- both of them. You asked, I described.
My comment is about the importance of the back and forth part of the fune-kogi-undo for beginners. The up and down part I'm not going to comment on in a public forum, at the present time. But I will say that I think you're doing a long and wasted analysis and missing the fairly simple point. So simple, apparently, it is inexpressible.

The beauty of aikido as an art to me is that it has relieved me of the fear that my ego will get bruised should I get knocked over. That too is part of the waza. There is no waza or concept a beginner in aikido cannot get to some degree. They simply cannot get it completely all the time, or in every waza they attempt. Paternalism has no place in budo. Let them fall over .

I will say what I think in public or not and invite direct attacks on my position. In fairness, you have not made any direct attack, but only suggestion, allusion, inuendo and rhetoric. In aikido, I do not consider this a compliment -- it is clever, and entertaining to a point but ultimately, pointless sophistry.

Speak your mind or don't. I am not offended either way. I am only annoyed by having to dig out your contrary position with earthmoving tools so I can grasp what relevance it may have. One runs the risk of being simply ignored if one persists in refusing to say anything concrete.

dps
10-02-2006, 10:34 PM
Here is a way to teach students without using either teaching modality.


http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000E0165-AA1E-14D7-AA1E83414B7F0000&ref=sciammind

Electrical Current Used to Control Human Walk
Walking upright separates humans from most other creatures. Our bipedal gait is a wonder of balance but it remains unclear exactly how our brains manage to maintain this posture and use it to arrive at desired destinations. Now researchers have shown that the balance mechanisms of our inner ears play a decisive role in directing the human walk, as well as demonstrating that blindfolded volunteers can be steered by simple electrical current.

Richard Fitzpatrick of the University of New South Wales in Australia and his colleagues gathered five men and five women and set them on a path. After staring at a target six meters (20 feet) away, the subjects were blindfolded and the researchers began running a slight electrical current through electrodes placed behind their ears. The current disrupted the constant electrical signaling produced by the sensory hair cells in the three canals of the inner ear. (They fire 90 times a second when the head is at rest.) Their continuous firing rate tells the brain exactly how the head is moving, which the brain then uses to maintain balance and direction.
But when that signaling is disrupted, either by increasing or decreasing its rate, walking chaos ensues. The researchers could drive the subject to either the right or left depending on the direction of the current, basically convincing the brain that the head was rotating in a given direction and forcing it to make concomitant adjustments in the direction of the walk in order to arrive at the now misperceived goal. Further, if the researchers asked the subjects to tilt their heads forward toward the ground or backward toward the sky they would veer off course by an even greater degree. And when subjects held their heads only slightly back, the current completely disrupted their balance, inducing swaying and stumbling.

The research shows that the human walk depends on the accuracy of the signals of these tiny hair cells in the ear. Further experiments in the Sydney Botanic Gardens proved that researchers could guide a blindfolded subject through its meandering pathways via electrical cues alone. "By manually adjusting the stimulus intensity and polarity we could, by remote radio control, steer freely walking subjects so that they kept to the paths and avoided obstacles for periods of many minutes," the team writes in the paper presenting the research in this week's Current Biology. "Stimulation techniques developed from those that we used here will provide a fundamental understanding of the processes of spatial representation and transformation in the brain and thus lead the way to diagnostic, therapeutic and virtual-reality applications." --David Biello

dps
10-02-2006, 11:05 PM
http://www.dailytexanonline.com/media/storage/paper410/news/2005/10/26/Focus/Scientists.Find.Way.To.Control.You-1034010.shtml?norewrite200610030003&sourcedomain=www.dailytexanonline.com

dps
10-02-2006, 11:26 PM
Erik,
Next thing you know they will be calling you Gyro Gearlose.

http://stp.ling.uu.se/~starback/dcml/chars/pics/gyro.gif

Is that you testing Mike's linear pogo stick theory?

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 11:26 PM
And Mike is just dead wrong on that. You cannot generate the kinetic energy by the human body in linear motion that gyration can produce and manipulate. Well, I can do it. *Sometimes* I add certain rotational movements, but they are more cam-like than "rotational"; and they simply represent additional aspects to the whole of the power chain. There is a linear aspect to the "ki" that you're missing, I think. It's part of the main reason why so much time is spent on "breathing" exercises. I hope you don't think that Misogi breathing is rotational, too.... I'm getting dizzy generating rotational forces to push down these keyboard letters. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Gernot Hassenpflug
10-02-2006, 11:30 PM
David, interesting though totally tangential to the discussion. I've learnt to walk quite happily along a line narrower than the width of my foot while rolling my head around the sky in circles quite rapidly. Dancers/gymnasts/figure skaters/etc do the same thing while spinning incredibly quickly, showing that their balance can equally be felt along their centerline. Your example says much about the subjects and their lack of sophistication in the art of balance.

Mike Sigman
10-02-2006, 11:36 PM
"Springs," yes I know. The "springs" in the legs aren't. Muscles only pull in tension, they cannot push in compression. What they pull on is a bone the other side of a joint. They create leverage across the fulcrum of the joint to ROTATE the joint to produce the leverage moment (push) delivered by the limb.

So riddle me this -- rotate or push -- which one is the primary action and which one the secondary??Riddle me this.... regardless of the simple lever classes, depending on muscle-bone attachments, we could be silly and argue about whether "push" and "pull" have rotational components all day. But why would we take some fairly obvious movement and obscure it from the lay public by splitting hairs over simple "push" and "pull"???? You're the one saying that you're trying to put things into western terms, but if you're going to analyse all pushes and pulls for their rotational components, you and David Skaggs will have to do it alone. Why would anyone else want to join in such a needless exercise?

Besides.... you're still missing the simple point. ;)

Mike

dps
10-02-2006, 11:48 PM
Dancers/gymnasts/figure skaters/etc do the same thing while spinning incredibly quickly, showing that their balance can equally be felt along their centerline. .

Spinning incredibly quick like a gyroscope?

dps
10-03-2006, 12:38 AM
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9015778841890401193&q=wu+style+tai+chi

At 5:04 minutes into the video is a demonstration of push hands.
At 8:55 the characteristics of push hands.

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 08:52 AM
Riddle me this.... regardless of the simple lever classes, depending on muscle-bone attachments, we could be silly and argue about whether "push" and "pull" have rotational components all day. But why would we take some fairly obvious movement and obscure it from the lay public by splitting hairs over simple "push" and "pull"???? You're the one saying that you're trying to put things into western terms, but if you're going to analyse all pushes and pulls for their rotational components, you and David Skaggs will have to do it alone. Why would anyone else want to join in such a needless exercise? Because "obvious" perception can cause dangerously illusory disconnects from physical reality. Ask any pilot how to tell which way is up. If you think you know, try deciding in an overbanked (>90 degree) turn on a hazy day. If you judge "up" by what you think you perceive, you will make a lovely scorched hole in a pasture someplace.

A more everyday example is the fact that though for all the world it looks like the pencil turned to rubber when I wiggle it between my fingers, it remains happily rigid.

I come from a background where three axis orientation and control is not the difference between ukemi or kaeshi waza, but life and death. That is my introduction to the true root of budo. Life-death. Altitude control or uncontrolled impact. No middle ground.

I therefore take this aspect of the budo rather seriously, as should any one in an art so firmly found on sword work. One such serious applicaiton of this sensibility is that if my kumitachi partner performs the waza poorly, I very often show him how to take the offered ukemi safely -- and cut him with the very motion of my fall. It aids him in understanding why his "obvious" win -- I fell down -- does not remain so obvious.

Perception can be fooled because our perceptual systems are imperfect (and our conscious and unconscious motivational systems responding to those perceptions are also imperfect). Buddhism calls this general tendency maya. Our perceptions are not wrong, but our assumptions about what they tell us may be.

The same is indisputably true of our sense of balance, in terms of visual, vestibular and kinesthetic cues. This vulnerability is exploited with some degree of subtlety in aikido. I would not have thought the point that "obvious" perceptions of movement and balance and the underlying assumptions that frame responses need to be critically studied would be so controversial in this regard.

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 09:01 AM
There is a linear aspect to the "ki" that you're missing, I think. It's part of the main reason why so much time is spent on "breathing" exercises. I hope you don't think that Misogi breathing is rotational, too.... I'm getting dizzy generating rotational forces to push down these keyboard letters. ;)
Breathing is cyclic. :D

That is the Taiji.

More seriously - rotation translated linearly is a wave form. Breathing flow follows a temporal sine curve, so yes - it is rotational as far as the math is concerned. Maai matters equally in time as in space, and where in the cycle of the breath performance of technique occurs is critical.

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 02:14 PM
Well, I can do it. *Sometimes* I add certain rotational movements, but they are more cam-like than "rotational"; and they simply represent additional aspects to the whole of the power chain. A point I missed. The major torso joints, shoulder, hip, are universal joints. No cam action of these joints is possible because an out of plane input will alter the plane of movement of the joint without much reaction. Which is sort of my point,

The spine can store energy, but is an exceedingly weak lever - a fact for which countless chiropractors are immensely graterful and their patients proportionally saddened. It is, however, a marvelously stayed segmental column, with lots of little offset cam-like processes, that are "guywired" in opposing sets to the remaining superstructure (chest/ribs armature, shoulder girdle and hip girdle).

The spine is remarakbly poowerful in torque however. It can rotate about its vertical axis nearly 270 degrees. By setting a maximum tension potentional on one side of each tension pair one can release them, allowing the connective sheath loaded in torsional shear to recoil in a spira time series, and then applying the opposite tension in the same timing to add more inertia, this can be done to maximize the harmonic resonance of the spiral wave of torque converted to rotation -- resulting in a devastating amount of kinetic energy.

Let me now combine the analytic with the (not so) metaphorical and show you what I am reaching for in terms of explanatory power of reference.

These little offset tension cams do a great job of propagating torque energy in a three axis rotation, with one point of support (viz. the chest push video) and releasing it explosively, as any major league catcher will tell you, who wears bogu precisely because of the seriousness of the impact danger.

Are we to assume that a pitcher can linearly push a baseball faster toward the plate than the balletic scheme of rotational transformations that are actually used to do this? (Yet another common ground for the U.S and Japan.) MLB may want to pay MIke hefty consulting fees, if this is so.

If you watch the instant replays or motion analysis (e.g. -- http://www.peavynet.com/video1/Cumberland_Pitch.wmv ) you will see a good pitcher's bent arm tumble in three axes as it comes over (right behind his torso leading with the same three-axis tumble). It comes into an extremely tight radius of turn in the horizontal plane and vertical A/P plane with maximum bend (centripetal constraint) as it passes his center.

The body and arm then uncoil in a three dimensional spiral with (constantly reducing radius) all converging on the point of release thus giving the ball maximum available energy. This process with different application is what I have described in aiki techniques where the energy is going the other way. Muscles function in tension, so the articulation is not as stable going the other way with aiki technique, as it is in pitching the ball.

A pitcher's motion also follows the ikkyo line, not surpisingly. The arm in receiving ikkyo is in inverse postion to the arm in throwing (i.e. -- tenchi). At the end of the throw the pitcher is set up for mae ukemi.

We typically view uke's attacking hand as the throwing arm, maximizing energy for impact. However, an ikkyo may be viewed in this context as converting that attack into a non- throwing arm which I then use to help uke wind up the other way to throw his energy away from me with the other arm.

Mike Sigman
10-03-2006, 02:35 PM
A point I missed. The major torso joints, shoulder, hip, are universal joints. No cam action of these joints is possible because an out of plane input will alter the plane of movement of the joint without much reaction. Which is sort of my point, Well there you go, then. Who knew? BTW... there are a few people running around and maybe reading the forum that I've released in a "cam-like" (notice this is what I originally said.. I did not say the joints were cams) into, without any windup or obvious movement. Not to do any self-pumping, but just to indicate that there are witnesses that can support my "cam-like" statement. I.e., it's not just my story against your story. "Stillness in motion". Are we to assume that a pitcher can linearly push a baseball faster toward the plate than the balletic scheme of rotational transformations that are actually used to do this? (Yet another common ground for the U.S and Japan.) MLB may want to pay MIke hefty consulting fees, if this is so. Why on earth would we confuse martial arts, with all its varied motions, and baseball? So far you seem to be doing some strange analysis of motion that has yet, insofar as I can see, fully explained any unique motion that would be "kokyu power". In fact, to date every analysis you've put down could simply just be your attempts to explain normal motion. Using your "joint rotation" fixation, nothing you have said differentiates between kokyu, ki, normal motion, etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 03:52 PM
Why on earth would we confuse martial arts, with all its varied motions, and baseball? So far you seem to be doing some strange analysis of motion that has yet, insofar as I can see, fully explained any unique motion that would be "kokyu power". In fact, to date every analysis you've put down could simply just be your attempts to explain normal motion. Using your "joint rotation" fixation, nothing you have said differentiates between kokyu, ki, normal motion, Carefully, now. Who said it was unique? Not me. As the student of Chinese arts you should well know that normal, natural motion is that which accords with the Way, which is to say, what functions without special effort. O-Sensei is not applying any special effort in the videos you sent, he is walking around, almost dancing, dropping strapping youngs lads on their butts.

Normal motion is kokyu as an expression of ki. There is nothing special or mystical about it. I hear tell of a lot of complicated huffing and puffing and pushing and "body development" and I kinda think that is not the great Way, which is manifest in the potential of ki and actualized by kokyu.

What aikido uses to function is an exceedingly common inheritance. The art of using it in this way, now that is the treasure, but it was always ther foir us to enjoy. Most people do not do it because they stop moving normally when confronted with opposition and threat. People untrained in martial arts react like babies who flail and wail when they fall over when learning to walk. It is in our nature to learn how our body fights as we learn how our body walks. Most people never get to learn that, and thus have a stilted, unnatural and unhealthy approach to conflict.

That is pretty much it - returning to our original nature and what we are naturally capable of developing, not our constructed nature -- our maya.

Physics has its issues, as a system of knowledge, but illusion is not one of them.

Mike Sigman
10-03-2006, 04:46 PM
Well then, Abe, Tohei, Ueshiba, and all the others were just simpletons for acting like kokyu power was special or even deserved a special name. Who knew??? Thanks for bringing this startling revelation to the forefront, Erick. ;)

Incidentally,.... just for the sake of discussion.... let's pretend for a minute that there is a special form of movement that takes special training and needs someone to show you how to get started, etc., (sort of like Tohei says he learned it from Tempu Nakamura, and so on). The really interesting question is whether every practitioner of a martial art should learn how to do that stuff. It's an interesting philosophical discussion because it potentially means that some teachers and students, etc., are left out in the cold. What's your opinion on this potential problem?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

statisticool
10-03-2006, 05:38 PM
Well then, Abe, Tohei, Ueshiba, and all the others were just simpletons for acting like kokyu power was special or even deserved a special name.


If someone disagrees, or has a different viewpoint, you say something like 'Well, so and so must have been stupid to practice that...' etc., dishonestly implying that those that are disagreeing or having that different viewpoint are calling so and so stupid. It really doesn't work as a logical debate tactic.

People that think it does must have a problem with people naturally disagreeing with them or others.


Justin

clwk
10-03-2006, 05:56 PM
That is pretty much it - returning to our original nature and what we are naturally capable of developing, not our constructed nature -- our maya.

Physics has its issues, as a system of knowledge, but illusion is not one of them.Erick and others,

Please allow me to recuse myself from the discussion at this point. I do so without implying either agreement or disagreement with your statements, but simply because it is not a discussion I wish to have in this venue and under these conditions. It is not that I do think it would be an interesting discussion, only that its likely direction would take it too far off topic. This message is intended only to signal that my failure to comment should not be interpreted as having any other meaning.

I have enjoyed the discussion, and I respectfully request you not make any 'parting shot', tempting as it may be - as I will not be available to respond this time.

Thank you,
Chhi'm鑔 K黱zang

Mike Sigman
10-03-2006, 05:59 PM
I think I'm out of it, too. Here's our little Sigman-chaser once again with nothing but personal remarks to contribute to an Aikido discussion. I'll let Erick discuss the issues with the little Cheng Man Ching practitioner.

Mike

dps
10-03-2006, 07:55 PM
A link that explains in simple terms about human balance and motor control.
http://www.ee.umanitoba.ca/~mousavi/research/research_Balance.htm

Erik,
In your explanation of balancing the human body with gyroscopic movement of a chaotic figure eight, what is the direction of movement of the pattern?

dps
10-03-2006, 08:53 PM
Hi David,

There is no need to resort to scientific explanations, theory and hypotheses - I feel they detract from the "real" lesson at hand. Always in simple non-esoteric terms.... as my teachers taught. ;)


When teaching to someone new with no understanding, you are right resorting to scientific explanations, theory and hypotheses will confuse and detract from the lesson. But at some point the Aikido student will ask how and why the Aikido works. Since in Aikido the unbalance of your opponent is a key principle, understanding how the body maintains its balance is important in seeing how to unbalance your opponent.

raul rodrigo
10-03-2006, 09:02 PM
Maybe I'm just not smart enough to understand him, but it seems to me that Erick's formulation adds a level of complexity that doesn't really add to my understanding of the movement. In the language of physicists, it might be regarded as an "empty formalism," a restatement that doesnt help us get any deeper into the heart of the matter.

eyrie
10-03-2006, 09:53 PM
Hi David,

I'm sorry, but I too am withdrawing from this conversation. Nothing personal. I think Erick's general theory has merit, but it misses the point. Personally, I think rotational dynamics and gyrations are way off the mark.

As far as understanding kuzushi no heiho, it's all about lines, angles, directions in which balance can be affected, and leverage. It has very little to do with rotational movement in the sense that Erick is talking about - gyro-oscillation. True a very large circle can appear linear. And also true that you can augment linear force with pivoting and spiraling motions, but generally the idea is to put the force in a straight line into the opponent. i.e. even if rotational movement/torque is involved, it is always converted to linear force at some point - e.g. using torque to create leverage to unbalance.

How else do wheels, catapults, slingshots, screwdrivers etc. work?

Feel free to PM me if you like.

David Orange
10-03-2006, 10:19 PM
...normal, natural motion is that which accords with the Way, which is to say, what functions without special effort. O-Sensei is not applying any special effort in the videos you sent, he is walking around, almost dancing, dropping strapping youngs lads on their butts.

Now you're really close to my way of thinking about martial arts.

Normal motion is kokyu as an expression of ki. There is nothing special or mystical about it.

I do agree that normal motion is kokyu as an expression of ki and that it is not special or mystical in ordinary life, but that, when refined and cultivated it is both very special and deeply mystical because ordinary people don't even keep the surface level of it. Far from refining and cultivating it, they lose it in habitual movement and fear-based reactions.

What aikido uses to function is an exceedingly common inheritance. The art of using it in this way, now that is the treasure, but it was always ther foir us to enjoy. Most people do not do it because they stop moving normally when confronted with opposition and threat.

Very much agreed.

People untrained in martial arts react like babies who flail and wail when they fall over when learning to walk.

There, I think you need to observe more babies more closely. Unless an adult attaches intense emotion to their walking and falling, babies take both as ordinary miracles in stride. They typically don't even get flustered when they fall (unless they fall really hard) and just get up and keep on about their business.

It is in our nature to learn how our body fights as we learn how our body walks. Most people never get to learn that, and thus have a stilted, unnatural and unhealthy approach to conflict.

Both points I strongly advocate. However, even lions and panthers must learn to fight and they do that mostly by playing among themselves, with their parents and siblings. Our society (human society, ego-based and power-hungry) tends to pit us against each other and breeds competition instead of cooperation and sharing. This is why Jigoro Kano's maxim "Ji ta kyo e" (improve together with the other guy) is so revolutionary. But even more than aikido, judo gives us a ground for the kind of play-fighting by which lions and tigers become strong and able fighters.

That is pretty much it - returning to our original nature and what we are naturally capable of developing, not our constructed nature -- our maya.

Yes, this is true, but we do have to develop that nature. I think the mistake is in reliance on "second nature" development and I think that you have named it quite well as "maya".

Physics has its issues, as a system of knowledge, but illusion is not one of them.

However, I do think that physics sometimes suffers the illusion (physicists may, at least) that it can and should be used to explain everything. And I think some things are best not attempted through rationality. Zen, for instance, teaches exactly that. Enlightenment is said to be "Nothing special."

As for Mike:

Abe, Tohei, Ueshiba, and all the others were just simpletons for acting like kokyu power was special or even deserved a special name. Who knew???

Again, the name is not particularly "special" in Japanese language. It's an ordinary word for "breathing." Of course, it has a "special" meaning in martial arts terms, but that's only a matter of refinement, not a matter of its basic nature.

let's pretend for a minute that there is a special form of movement that takes special training and needs someone to show you how to get started, etc., (sort of like Tohei says he learned it from Tempu Nakamura, and so on).

Granted, it would take an extraordinary person to develop the full range of aiki technique without having someone show him how to get started (and guide him quite far down the path), but what did Tempu Nakamura actually teach Tohei? Isn't he the guy whose main influence on Tohei was a single sentence? "The mind leads the body."

Unless I'm mistaken, that was the major part of what Tohei said he learned from Nakamura. And he said that the major part of what he learned from Morihei Ueshiba was how to relax. And by applying those two principles, along with his well-developed judo physique and mentality, he was able to master aikido in rather short order.

The really interesting question is whether every practitioner of a martial art should learn how to do that stuff. It's an interesting philosophical discussion because it potentially means that some teachers and students, etc., are left out in the cold.

I think that's simply a matter of personal capacity. O-Sensei taught many, many people, but the true stand-outs were rather few: Shirata, Mochizuki, Tomiki, Tenryu, Saito, Shioda and not so very many others. It was similar in judo. There were some five million Japanese practicing judo before WWII, but only twelve achieved tenth dan. There was only one Mifune and he was one of the few whose name ever became known outside the circle of judo enthusiasts.

So while I think that aikido is based on natural human movements, it is true that they must still be refined and cultivated and that, even with one's utmost efforts, one's personal capacity will still define a limit for him well below the likes of Ueshiba, Mifune, Mochizuki, Saito and Shioda.

Add to that one's personal inclination to train and their actual application of effort to fully master the art and it should be no wonder that the vast majority of practitioners will remain "in the cold".

But even at that, anyone who dilligently practices can gain a great deal from aikido training and can enhance their life and their ability to deal with the challenges of life according to their needs.

Best wishes.

David

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 10:29 PM
A link that explains in simple terms about human balance and motor control.
http://www.ee.umanitoba.ca/~mousavi/research/research_Balance.htm

Erik,
In your explanation of balancing the human body with gyroscopic movement of a chaotic figure eight, what is the direction of movement of the pattern? I judge the shape from my own sense of the hip movement I feel and this is corroborated by the cyclic pattern in Figure 1 in the "Correlated Hip Motion" study, p. 3. you see one perspective of this motion in 2 dimensions. There is also the fact that the traverse across the leg quadrants provide two opposed points of static constraint -- driving all tracks to the center. The traverses across the shikaku quadrants have to be recovered in some cyclic dynamic, therefore strongly suggesting two major loops joined at the center.

To see the shape clearly you need a long observation time for the system to fill up its typical phase space, or path history. A 3D graph in the complex plane is usually the best manner of seeing the pattern dynamic. I understand what this sort of transform does, but I cannot do it.

A chaotic system observed long enough will fill up its characteristic phase space. In this case, it should be a fuzzy looking figure eight figure made up of full loops, minor loops and tightly folded reversal loops. The motion is reversible at any time without much loss of momentum (because the two eccentric points of rotation are in constant parity) in which case the path tracks back in reverse either along its immediate past trajectory as a closely folded loop in the same approximate curvature as the full loop, or as a minor excursion loop.

You can see major cycles as well as the minor cycles in that diagram. That may indicate a cardioid shape of the minor (interior loops) loops or a sort of floral shape (exterior loops). That level of detail would be difficult to guess at without a lot of data.

dps
10-03-2006, 10:41 PM
Isn't there a vertical componet to the chaotic figure eight?

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 10:59 PM
Hopefully this'll take some of the guess work out of what I'm describing.

The following video shows the exercise being done, towards the end, the person on the left holds him down slightly, without exerting visible pressure.

http://www.badongo.net/vid/197241

I don't think the connection is at the shoulder, in fact I think the spine plays a more prominent role, and needs to be coordinated with the tanden. Its not "just" the tanden.
Its simply an exercise in understand what it means to "stand" and transmit your weight without committing it. I see what you mean. Sorry I missed this earlier. Thanks for the video.

This actually helps me see something what Mike is so vaguely talking about, although it also confirms me further that he is wrong. :hypno:

By reference to the front of his pants with the line of the mat just in front of them (but in background) you can see that the man on the right (apparently more skilled by the interaction), leans his hips forward just as he begins his push, but keeping his legs straight and his torso relatively steady. A straight leg pivot describes an arc, and if it is departing the center, it is headed downward, thus acclerating under force of gravity with no muscular input other that creating the topple.

So, while it seems "obvious" that like neither one has anything supporting their push, it is visually deceptive. The reaction to the push of the partners' arms is in fact absorbed by their own countering forward momentum, closely in rhythm. This is the closest I have seen to anything "springlike" but it is simply using that initiating forward momentum as the backstop for the backward reaction to the forward push.

AAANNDD most importantly :cool: -- it is angular momentum created by gravity accleration from an intentionally perturbed balance system that commences the whole thing. :D

dps
10-03-2006, 11:03 PM
Unless an adult attaches intense emotion to their walking and falling, babies take both as ordinary miracles in stride. They typically don't even get flustered when they fall (unless they fall really hard) and just get up and keep on about their business.


I find it very amusing that among the first things that I learned in Aikido was; how to stand, how to fall, how to move ,how to breathe
and the amount of fear I attached to falling until I learned how to do it again..

dps
10-03-2006, 11:19 PM
Maybe I'm just not smart enough to understand him, but it seems to me that Erick's formulation adds a level of complexity that doesn't really add to my understanding of the movement. In the language of physicists, it might be regarded as an "empty formalism," a restatement that doesnt help us get any deeper into the heart of the matter.

If it does not add to your understanding then I would not try to use it.
I use the memory of a spinning top that would topple when the spinning stopped as a basis of understanding what Erik is describing.

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 11:21 PM
There, I think you need to observe more babies more closely. Unless an adult attaches intense emotion to their walking and falling, babies take both as ordinary miracles in stride. They typically don't even get flustered when they fall (unless they fall really hard) and just get up and keep on about their business. A good correction and point taken. Please read it as amended -- "wail and flail like immature adolescents."

But even more than aikido, judo gives us a ground for the kind of play-fighting by which lions and tigers become strong and able fighters. Oh, we play plenty, and in some ways we can go places in play that judo rules out, because of the manner of our play. And, humans are not like lions or or tigers -- sadly, they are far more vicious when they act in fear.
However, I do think that physics sometimes suffers the illusion (physicists may, at least) that it can and should be used to explain everything. And I think some things are best not attempted through rationality.

"Bodhi is no tree,
nor the mind a standing mirror bright.
Since all is originally empty,
where does the dust alight?"

Erick Mead
10-03-2006, 11:36 PM
Isn't there a vertical componet to the chaotic figure eight? Yes, but assuming a quiet stance it should be like drooping petals, since the balance is statically supercritical. That's why you need a long observaiton phase space plot to see the whole picture of the envelope. Chaotic systems often have unexpected features when they are seen in a complex plane plot.

dps
10-04-2006, 12:04 AM
When taking a step forward is the step an extension in the direction that the sway (chaotic figure eight) is already moving?
In other words there already is momentum in the direction of the step.

Upyu
10-04-2006, 01:40 AM
I see what you mean. Sorry I missed this earlier. Thanks for the video.

This actually helps me see something what Mike is so vaguely talking about, although it also confirms me further that he is wrong. :hypno:

By reference to the front of his pants with the line of the mat just in front of them (but in background) you can see that the man on the right (apparently more skilled by the interaction), leans his hips forward just as he begins his push, but keeping his legs straight and his torso relatively steady. A straight leg pivot describes an arc, and if it is departing the center, it is headed downward, thus acclerating under force of gravity with no muscular input other that creating the topple.

So, while it seems "obvious" that like neither one has anything supporting their push, it is visually deceptive. The reaction to the push of the partners' arms is in fact absorbed by their own countering forward momentum, closely in rhythm. This is the closest I have seen to anything "springlike" but it is simply using that initiating forward momentum as the backstop for the backward reaction to the forward push.

AAANNDD most importantly :cool: -- it is angular momentum created by gravity accleration from an intentionally perturbed balance system that commences the whole thing. :D


Well ok taking this a step further,
say someone takes the pushout posture, only instead of pushing the partner, he "punches" him. How does the angular momentum you describe keep the "puncher" from being knocked back, and why would the "punched" person be knocked back instead?
Remember the person is weakest physically front to back.

Erick Mead
10-04-2006, 11:13 AM
When taking a step forward is the step an extension in the direction that the sway (chaotic figure eight) is already moving?
In other words there already is momentum in the direction of the step. Yes. That is why walking the way we do is so efficient. By overdriving the balance sway slightly, which is almost free,we fall into our next step.

But this goes to your question about the possible vertical dimensions of the pattern in quiet stance, some analogs of which are probably seen in typical gross motion. And there is a gross difference in motion between in two important forms of that movement for aikido 1) walking 2) the sliding irimi step.

In walking the premium is on energy conservation. In irimi the premium is on stability conservation.

A gait is a regime that optimizes a certain performance feature of motion. Running optimizes maximum applied accleration (to obtain maximal dynamic inertia). Jogging optimizes for maximum total work (constant acceleration over distance). Walking optimizes conservation of total energy. and Irimi optimizes conservation of stability (obtaining greater static inertia -- the inverse of running) (Ah, stillness in motion).

In walking you loft the moving hip up and forward, this clears the foot from the ground and inputs an eccentric forward moment hat casue the leg to fall under gravity swinging freely forward. Once it passes center its momentum is stolen by the hips and that momenutm is used to carry the center over the swinging foot as it plants, with its hip still cocked up. The rocking momentum bringing the center over up over the planted foot is also used to create the forward eccentricity that gives the other leg potential forward swing and the lateral hip eccentricity to loft the other hip up and over to free the foot to swing, etc.

Walking requires mainly just the energy to lift and rock the leg forward with the hip slightly and keep the leg from collapsing under weight in a fall of about 1 cm. There really is no "push-off" in the most efficient form of gait -- although it can be added to accelerate the swing of the leg, this adds driving energy in the pendulum that is not necessary to the basic dynamic which is driven by gravity and manipulation of pivoting falls.

Irimi is a differnt gait, like walking, jogging and running are different gaits. Irimi is not not just a "driven" walking gait, as mentioned above.

Irimi is the inverse of walking, with emphasis on the horizontal rotaiton of the hips with the leg as a grounded pivot for horizontal swing , rather than the leg as rod pivoting vertically from the ground and hip, alternately. The advancing hip is in the direction of travel, like walking, but carrying the weight immediately onto the forward planted leg. This unloads the rear leg.

The moving leg is allowed to basically hang freely from the hip in a relaxed, non-rigid way. It is not free to rotate like a pendulum, i. e. - it is left propped loosely against the ground. The twist of that hip basically pulls it forward into the front position, and as the wieght shifts over that leg, it freeing the hips to rotate horizontally the other way, etc.

Irimi makes the unloaded hip hang lower than the loaded hip, (opposite to walking) making the gait a rotary horizontal hip-driven motion, rather than a hip-modulated vertical swing and fall under self-weight with the hip lofted in walking.

The stability benefit comes from the unloaded and dropped hip. Any upsetting moment in the body can be countered not only by the normal hip rotation and balance system with access to a freely swinging inertial moment arm. Extending the unloaded leg and hip outward creates magnified inertial dampening effect compared ot what both hips, rigidily connected to the ground, can do alone. The increased static inertial moment is positional -- relying on mass, orientation and radius, not timing or force. By dropping weight vertically 1 -2 cm over the weighted leg, the other leg now engages the ground firmly and thus becomes a brace as well.

The mechanics of irimi motion is more relaxed and fluid for stability efficiency. It is less rigid in its mechanics than walking, which relies on fairly straight-limb pendulum effects for energy efficiency.

In proper tai sabaki (especially in randori) I shift from one gait to the other, approaching an opponent by walking and then dropping into an irimi gait for contact, in the same manner as dropping gait from a a run to a jog, because the ground seems more diffcult going -- or from a jog to a walk, because I see something ahead that I need to navigate more carefully. Irimi is just the next step in that gait progression of care about positional stability.

Erick Mead
10-04-2006, 11:52 AM
Well ok taking this a step further,
say someone takes the pushout posture, only instead of pushing the partner, he "punches" him. How does the angular momentum you describe keep the "puncher" from being knocked back, and why would the "punched" person be knocked back instead?
Remember the person is weakest physically front to back.
Maai and centering. The punching movement is critically delivered to maximize impulse with the inertia of the body driving the arm like a nail. There is very little room for error.

At impact (when they all four come on line) the puncher is pushing a stick with four joints in it (you count the clavicle/scapula separate from the shoulder orbit).

Just a moment before impact the clavicle/scapula is still out of line (eccentric) with the line of the other three joints, because it is rotating to drive the arm forward. Uke intended to meet static interia with all four joints in line in linear compression. Instead, his arm becomes the conduit of the offset angular momentum of the rocking forward inertia couple with his opposing forward inertia.

His arm now forms the connection of a horizontal inertial couple with the pivot at his shoulder, instead of at his opposing hip. The reversal of eccentricity causes a vertical couple between that the punching shoulder and the opposing hip, rotating his torso more or less vertically backward at the top. Since his hips are busy rotating forward at the time, he is likely to go outside his recoverable balance sway almost instantaneously.

Centering is a very small drop of the center as contact is made. This is naturally done to avoid over centering on the toes with the forward sway . This imparts a slight downwrad rotation of the arm with the shoulder, creating the same sort of couple in the vertical plane. This ecccentririty causes the clavicle/scapula joint to rise as the arm ortate in the vertical plane

This adds even more moment arm length and energy to the existing vertical toppling rotation. That vertical toppling rotation was caused by the horizontal rotation created by the offset impact, and that horizontal rotation offset was created by the original vertical rotation forward.

This punching example nicely of ilulstrates how the rotations transform and effects cascade on different axes in complement


All from tottering forward -- delicately.

Erick Mead
10-04-2006, 02:37 PM
Well ok taking this a step further,
say someone takes the pushout posture, only instead of pushing the partner, he "punches" him. How does the angular momentum you describe keep the "puncher" from being knocked back, and why would the "punched" person be knocked back instead?
Remember the person is weakest physically front to back. I realized that I answered your question in reverse configuration, but that was because the exercise shown on the video suggests that configuration, i.e. -- how the attacker's dynamic is disrupted.

You really wanted me to say how to beat people up this way, is that it?? ;)

The short answer is the same -- Maai and centering -- but in reverse... and who ever gives up first -- wins.

The only real difference is who is practicing aiki and who isn't.

Upyu
10-04-2006, 05:29 PM
Erick, reading your description, I'd definitely have to say I disagree.
If anything you're trying to eliminate any sway in your body, but like they say, this stuff is best understood if felt.
Power actually comes from compression of the "spine", and the principal behind delivery is much the same as agete (in my case anyways).
Be interesting to compare notes one day ;)

Erick Mead
10-04-2006, 06:37 PM
Erick, reading your description, I'd definitely have to say I disagree.
If anything you're trying to eliminate any sway in your body, but like they say, this stuff is best understood if felt.
Power actually comes from compression of the "spine", and the principal behind delivery is much the same as agete (in my case anyways).
Be interesting to compare notes one day ;)
Look forward to it. How do you "compress the spine"?

And how do you mean "agete"? 挙げて?

Can you describe your best sense of the mechanics of it? If you mean that you are altering the lordosis or kyphosis curves, I may have some sense of what you mean, especially with the earlier yoga "downward dog" reference.

I have a very hard time getting a sense of how the countering moment is developed merely by letting the spine snap back into its curvature -- if that is the mechanism. The two curves are opposed in orientation and any induced moment from one would be cancelled out by the other.

Upyu
10-04-2006, 08:06 PM
Look forward to it. How do you "compress the spine"?

And how do you mean "agete"? 挙げて?

Can you describe your best sense of the mechanics of it? If you mean that you are altering the lordosis or kyphosis curves, I may have some sense of what you mean, especially with the earlier yoga "downward dog" reference.

I have a very hard time getting a sense of how the countering moment is developed merely by letting the spine snap back into its curvature -- if that is the mechanism. The two curves are opposed in orientation and any induced moment from one would be cancelled out by the other.
Er sorry, using our terminology again.
Agete simply means "raise hands"(上げ手), akin to what you guys probably call Kokyu dosa, but its simpler. There's no twisting of the wrists, and your hands are held down in your lap, and you raise them without using force in the arms.

The "compression" is done by pulling up and down at base of the neck, as well as the tailbone, which makes the lower back feels like it slightly compresses. There's other stuff that has to do with relaxing but push/pulling the pelvic crease, but that's an additional factor really.
I'd say that its not simply letting the spine snap back to its curvature, its like you compress it and as you let go, you still keep the compression there, which means you're always building up potential energy.

Erick Mead
10-12-2006, 03:35 PM
Found this of interest in Second Dosshu's article entitled, not too ironically, "What is Akido?" :
A spinning top revolves at a high speed around a stable center, yet hardly appears to move at all. If you touch the top slightly, however, it will immediately fly off with a burst of centrifugal force, and its latent power becomes evident. The energy radiated by a spinning top is a perfect example of "stillness within movement.

The Founder often described the state of stillness within moment as sumikiri, "total clarity of mind and body." This concept lies at the very heart of Aikido. http://www.aikidoonline.com/Features/WhatisAikido.htm

FWIW

Upyu
10-12-2006, 09:06 PM
And what if you could manifest that "centrifugal"/torque force while it looks like you're standing still? :)