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Mark Gibbons
12-04-2006, 11:25 AM
I've been reading the discussions about internal arts with some interest. I think a number of senior people at my dojo are working on them, doing tai chi, taiji, hanging out with Ikeda sensei, studying other things. But only some of the stuff is filtering down to us peons. So I had some more very simple questions.

How would someone go about spotting someone with good internal skills? I know a few people that can make me bounce off of them, I push and just bounce. To me it sounds like the same thing described in the internal arts discussions. If that's the case I don't have to go outside my own dojo. What would be the minimum practical tests needed to evaluate a teacher for internal skills?

What's the real point of the internal stuff? Why is the internal stuff so important to Aikido training? How would it contrast with kinetic invisibility? People I respect seem to be able to both. But some get by quite well without any obvious internal arts skills. Not that I'm any kind of a judge. Just my impressions. Erick Mead's posts about Aikido and rotational dynamics for instance make a lot more sense to me than some of the claims about the the internal work. The assertion that the internal skills are essential to Aikido , should be basic and all reputable aikido teachers should know and teach them may or may not be true, but I haven't read a good case for it.

Assuming someone wanted to experience and get training in the internal work that Mike, Dan, Rob talk about are there enough willing teachers scattered about? Or does it take years in Japan, a couple of years in China and a large amount of rolfing :), assuming you could find one of the few people that can really do this stuff? What kinds of qualifications should someone look for? Fads and frauds run together far too commonly unfortunately.

Regards,
Mark

Qatana
12-04-2006, 12:07 PM
How many of the people you just mentioned actually Train in aikido?

Mark Gibbons
12-04-2006, 12:16 PM
How many of the people you just mentioned actually Train in aikido?

Train in Aikido - Folks at my dojo, Erick, Ikeda Sensei

I don't know - Mike Sigman, Dan Harden, Robert John

I'll guess your point would be; Why should I care about the opinion of folks that don't do Aikido about what should be in Aikido? Well, because it looks like some of the folks I like to play with are checking this stuff out.

Regards,
Mark

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 02:05 PM
Have you considered going to the local Ki Society dojo?

It will probably take you some time to figure out if you are learning anything or even if there is something worth learning (as it always seems to, when studying some new area of any subject).

Rob

Mark Gibbons
12-04-2006, 02:07 PM
Have you considered going to the local Ki Society dojo?

Rob
Would that be at all equivalent to what Dan, Mike, Rob are talking about? I got the impression it wasn't, but I really don't know.

Thanks,
Mark

Cady Goldfield
12-04-2006, 02:47 PM
Ueshiba had this in his repertoire, and demonstrated its effects on his students, it's just that he did not include it in the curriculum he taught. So, you will have to go outside of aikido to get it. Taiji and related Chinese arts with substantial internal components include it as part of their curriculum, and they are easier to access than the Japanese arts that traditionally use them, such as koryu jujutsu. So, you may even need to go outside Japanese MAs to get a good internal foundation.

eyrie
12-04-2006, 06:31 PM
Ueshiba had this in his repertoire, and demonstrated its effects on his students, it's just that he did not include it in the curriculum he taught. So, you will have to go outside of aikido to get it. Taiji and related Chinese arts with substantial internal components include it as part of their curriculum, and they are easier to access than the Japanese arts that traditionally use them, such as koryu jujutsu. So, you may even need to go outside Japanese MAs to get a good internal foundation.

Well, there must have been [something] "in the curriculum" for Shioda and Sunadomari to "get it". Granted, Tohei had to go "outside" coz he didn't get it. But I think his sempai Tempu "got it", but superimposed his own understanding and paradigm on it.

Although I agree it may be easier to see it and find it outside of modern aikido - particularly from related internal CMAs, but I disagree that it's not in the curriculum or that it isn't in aikido.

If it isn't, it's only because the "big guns" aren't telling... ;)

Cady Goldfield
12-04-2006, 06:38 PM
Shioda trained "outside" of aikido... in Daito-ryu.

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 07:05 PM
Would that be at all equivalent to what Dan, Mike, Rob are talking about? I got the impression it wasn't, but I really don't know.

Thanks,
Mark

In my humble opinion, no, not remotely.

Tom H.
12-04-2006, 07:41 PM
In my humble opinion, no, not remotely.I'll offer the contrary opinion. I'm pretty sure that a lot of what they are showing is the same.

Mike Sigman
12-04-2006, 07:59 PM
(talking about going to the Ki Society to get the internal strength aspects of Aikido) Would that be at all equivalent to what Dan, Mike, Rob are talking about? I got the impression it wasn't, but I really don't know. You know, this is really a tough one for me. In many ways I was a staunch admirer of Tohei back in the early days, but essentially it appears that while he could use and demonstrate ki strength, he didn't really want to teach it. Ueshiba could and did many ki things, wrote about them, was filmed doing them, etc., but he didn't openly explain how to do them..... let's say he "kept his edge", which actually is traditional in martial arts. Tohei also kept his edge, despite the appearance of the idea that he was going to "teach people how to do ki things". The level at most Ki Society dojo's that I've seen is woefully low.

So "same thing"? Yes, but in such a limited way that I think it's somewhat embarrassingly over-marketted.

In terms of Jo's remarks about people not in Aikido, my usual riposte is along the lines of Ushiro Sensei's because it's true: "No kokyu; no Aikido". In other words, Jo's criterion of 'who is practicing Aikido' presently is a double-edged sword.... without kokyu power, most of the people she knows are not really doing Aikido but only limited external variants of it. I.e., we need to stick more to the subject and less to the trivializing because it goes two ways. To be fair, it's turning out that despite the protestations of the current hierarchies in Judo, Karate, Koryu, etc., a lot of the people are missing these basic skills. Also true of Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji, and most of the so-called Chinese martial arts you see in the West... they're just external parodies, when you boil it down. Some people in various arts saw this years ago and tried to point it out, but they were trivialized and shouted down by the larger numbers of "experts".

FWIW

Mike Sigman

DaveS
12-04-2006, 09:11 PM
In terms of Jo's remarks about people not in Aikido, my usual riposte is along the lines of Ushiro Sensei's because it's true: "No kokyu; no Aikido". In other words, Jo's criterion of 'who is practicing Aikido' presently is a double-edged sword.... without kokyu power, most of the people she knows are not really doing Aikido but only limited external variants of it.
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?

And could it be that Ueshiba didn't teach this stuff because he didn't consider it to be relevant to what he wanted aikido to be rather than because he was worried that if he taught people all his secrets they'd come after him and kick his ass?

Mike Sigman
12-04-2006, 09:17 PM
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?

And could it be that Ueshiba didn't teach this stuff because he didn't consider it to be relevant to what he wanted aikido to be rather than because he was worried that if he taught people all his secrets they'd come after him and kick his ass?No unwarranted offense meant, David, but maybe you should research the common idea that some things are "witheld", like in "Okuden", "Hiden", and so forth. The idea that some techniques are witheld because the higher-level people think they're not relevant just boggles the mind. These are the sort of completely off-the-mark comments that makes me wonder if the discussions are worthwhile on public forums.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

raul rodrigo
12-04-2006, 09:37 PM
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?

HI:


Aikido is not what Ueshiba taught. It is what he did. And what he did and what he taught, as should be clear by now, are very different things. He kept the most important things as gokui, hidden teachings---as his students like Tohei, Tamura, Saotome and the rest can attest. He didn't make many technical corrections and he left his students to figure things out for themselves. Its not surprising that some didn't. Others like Tohei and Tada went outside the Aikikai to recreate the inner workings of aikido for themselves. Which is pretty much what many in aikido are trying to do now, in the absence of an explicit teaching methodology from the traditional hierarchy/ies.

Mark Gibbons
12-04-2006, 10:25 PM
So far:

Could learn this stuff via:
Maybe Ki Aikido, but probably not.
Maybe some external art but probably get involved with something useless.
Maybe my own dojo, if the senior people are working on this.

Importance:
Some assertions that there were large parts of Osensei's aikido that didn't make the curriculum and that this was intentional. Contrasted with the legends about all the daito ryu stuff that didn't make the curriculum intentionally. Seems odd to have such important ommisions by accident. Either omitted by design or not essential. No real evidence either way beyond some what informed assertions. No contrasts to kinetic invisibility which I've generally been taught was the goal of aikido.

Criteria for judging the real thing:
Nothing new. I'm left with Dan's can you stand up to various pushes. Some of the folks I train with can do that. Most can't and so far it's not taught in any effective manner to lower ranked kyu students.

I hope that passes as a fair summary. I know there won't be any magic solution. "Go to xxxx, right next door they have everything you want. " But I don't see anything for someone that can't travel extensively that has good odds of teaching these skills. Probably just have to wait until they become more common. Why doesn't someone get rich teaching the NFL how to do and apply these things. That should make them much easier to spread around. :)

Thanks,
Mark

Mark Gibbons
12-04-2006, 10:33 PM
..
In terms of Jo's remarks about people not in Aikido, ...
I'll note that Jo didn't make any remark about people not in Aikido. I made a guess about the purpose of her question but that was my guess. And reflected my biases on the issue.

At some level it makes as much sense for folks outside aikido to tell aikido folks how to train as it does for bridge players to teach poker players poker. Some of the mechanics cross over and the instruction might be completely dead on and valuable. But none of the poker players are going to believe them easily.

Yours in seriously overly generalized metaphors,
Mark

raul rodrigo
12-04-2006, 11:09 PM
Importance:
Some assertions that there were large parts of Osensei's aikido that didn't make the curriculum and that this was intentional. .... Either omitted by design or not essential. No real evidence either way beyond some what informed assertions. Mark

In a 1996 interview of Koichi Tohei by Stan Pranin, Tohei says that Ueshiba didn't really teach him the most important principles of aikido:

"While Sensei felt deeply about this underlying principle of budo, he never really taught us anything about it in concrete terms. When we were training he would come around and tell us to “put some power into it.” And yet, when he himself demonstrated techniques he was totally relaxed! What he said and what he did, in other words, were completely different.

I never paid as much attention to what Sensei said as to what he did. You could ask him all the questions you wanted and never understand his answers. He would just show you and say something to the effect of “It's done like this.”

Erick Mead
12-04-2006, 11:33 PM
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?

And could it be that Ueshiba didn't teach this stuff because he didn't consider it to be relevant to what he wanted aikido to be rather than because he was worried that if he taught people all his secrets they'd come after him and kick his ass? No unwarranted offense meant, David, As opposed to unwarranted assumption, which is apparently fine ...
... but maybe you should research the common idea that some things are "witheld", like in "Okuden", "Hiden", and so forth. The idea that some techniques are witheld because the higher-level people think they're not relevant just boggles the mind.He kept the most important things as gokui, hidden teachings- And ... to slap someone down without any authority, well, it's just plain rude. Your mama'd be ashamed. :p

Well, unless the Old Man was a liar as well as a madman ....

A Doka from "Okui - The Secrets", (Seiseki Abe, ed.) In these teachings listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practice the very secrets of the art. And from another Doka (Stevens, tr.):

Kōjō wa
hiji mo keiko mo
araba koso
gokui nozomuna
mae zo mietari

Progress comes to
those who train in the
inner and outer factors.
Do not chase after "secret techniques,"
for everything is right before your eyes!

Mark Gibbons
12-04-2006, 11:56 PM
In a 1996 interview of Koichi Tohei by Stan Pranin, Tohei says that Ueshiba didn't really teach him the most important principles of aikido:

....." Unfortunately that doesn't tell me if the omitted pieces were omitted intentionally, why they were omitted, if Osensei regarded them as essential, or if they really are essential. That tells me Tohei sensei probably regarded them as essential. But if he had them why didn't he teach them effectively enough that we are not having this conversation. I'm probably just too dense to get it though.

There are arguments that the internal skills are essential.There is also the alleged 99%+ of the 1.5 million aikido folks doing aikido happily without these skills. (My own take on some of the statements about what is missing in aikido.) The arguments are nice but not logically compelling. The argument that "no kokyu, no aikido" assumes the current aikido practioners have no kokyu. I haven't seen that established. This is one place where not practicing aikido weakens credibility. Anyone more senior than I am in aikido, ie almost everyone, is welcome to jump in and correct my opinions.

I think its more likely that as a minimum many( .1 %) of the current aikido folks have some effective skills in this area. Who knows how they got them. I base that on the descriptions of the skills I've heard proposed, what I've seen and felt and the odds of 1.5 million people being deluded vs some 100's having seen the light. Some claim to know. I sure don't.

Regards,
Mark

Mark Gibbons
12-04-2006, 11:59 PM
...for everything is right before your eyes!:

One of the very best places to hide things. :)

Mark

raul rodrigo
12-05-2006, 01:17 AM
Ellis Amdur wrote in his article "Hidden in plain sight":


"There are several kinds of secrets - Gokui - in Japanese martial arts. The most mundane are tricks or special techniques to defeat other people in combat. Others are presented at the end of the road - practices such as mikkyo, which can be used to enter into the founder-of-the-ryu's experience, or to attain special power or knowledge. There is one final type of Gokui: "hidden in plain sight." The teacher does it every class, and everyone ignores it, waiting for the "warm-ups" or "basics" to be over to get to the real deal. "Find out yourself," said the old man. Is it possible that he didn't mean that one had to go away wandering into other arts and realms, or dropping by other esoteric teachers, be they Zen, yoga, t'ai chi or Tempu Nakamura's shin shin toitsu? Maybe all he meant was to pay attention to what he was doing in class."




R

Gwion
12-05-2006, 01:52 AM
You know, this is really a tough one for me. In many ways I was a staunch admirer of Tohei back in the early days, but essentially it appears that while he could use and demonstrate ki strength, he didn't really want to teach it.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

The idea that Tohei didn't want to teach ki is .... well I'll give you a chance to comment and explain that. How is the entire Ki Society curriculum NOT completely about learning ki from day one?

one other note, be aware that Ki is not magic, but it is not just a convenience coincidence of physics principles. read any of Tohei sensei's books for a ridiculously simple and clear explanation of ki and how it works.

Also, Chinese arts tend to drift toward magic and outrageous claims, so be careful and just find a nice healthy looking old guy who teaches tai chi and seems relaxed, positive and vibrant at all times.

Mark Freeman
12-05-2006, 03:44 AM
You know, this is really a tough one for me. In many ways I was a staunch admirer of Tohei back in the early days, but essentially it appears that while he could use and demonstrate ki strength, he didn't really want to teach it.

Back in Tohei's early day's or your early day's??

I don't get the 'didn't want to teach it' bit.

My practice involves literally hundreds of different exercises that are there to help test co-ordination, increase relaxation etc etc. My teacher got most of them from Tohei and I'm sure has developed some himself. If Tohei didn't want to teach it, how am I practicing what I practice?

regards,

Mark

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 06:49 AM
The argument that "no kokyu, no aikido" assumes the current aikido practioners have no kokyu. I haven't seen that established. This is one place where not practicing aikido weakens credibility. Anyone more senior than I am in aikido, ie almost everyone, is welcome to jump in and correct my opinions. I dunno, I had about 7-8 years of Aikido practice and I interact with Aikido practitioners regularly. The idea that if I don't go down to the local dojo, where the instructor doesn't know anything but some techniques, and practice is somehow indicating that I can't really understand Aikido... is absurd. If I thought half the people in Aikido understood these things, or 5% of them did, or whatever, I'd say it. I value my reputation for being accurate and honest. The truth is that these skills are almost non-existent in Aikido. Ikeda Sensei didn't invite a karate guy to teach these things because everyone already has the skills, did he? ;)

I took the time once to start a separate thread about the "Oh Yeah's". Everytime one of these conversations starts, the "Oh Yeah, we already do that" guys are out in full force. That's fine; it's perfectly human. But let me say my piece, based on many years of interacting with people, completely focused on these skills..... most people that say they can do these things or who think they already have a "reasonable handle on these skills" are kidding two people... themselves and their students. They're playing exactly that defensive status game that I keep warning against. My first words when I hear these guys start is "Show me". What's embarrassing is when they keep using muscle and shoulder and keep trying to keep the charade going that they know these things when we can both see that they don't. I.e., I'm honestly tired of being caught time and time again in these situations. Please be sure, before we start off with the idea that a lot of people have a handle on these things. Some people have some grasp of some pieces... but generally, just like Ueshiba, Tohei, and others, these studies represents years, not weekends, of studies and you can't just find them all out by yourself.

Off Sermon. ;)


Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 06:55 AM
Back in Tohei's early day's or your early day's??

I don't get the 'didn't want to teach it' bit.

My practice involves literally hundreds of different exercises that are there to help test co-ordination, increase relaxation etc etc. My teacher got most of them from Tohei and I'm sure has developed some himself. If Tohei didn't want to teach it, how am I practicing what I practice? I have no idea what you're practicing, Mark. I'd be tickled to be able to see it. But bear in mind that I've met tons of "Ki Society" people over the years and they will all say that they study what Tohei taught and within their own group they have some idea of where there skills are. To really have a conversation about this stuff, you and I'd have to meet. But keep your eye on the comment I've made a number of times that most people cannot even move honestly from the hara. ;) Prove me wrong.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 06:57 AM
The idea that Tohei didn't want to teach ki is .... well I'll give you a chance to comment and explain that. How is the entire Ki Society curriculum NOT completely about learning ki from day one? How is it that the entire Aikido community is NOT completely about learning ki from day one? But it's an obvious fact that they're not.... unless you want to argue that I just am not recognizing it when I see it. ;)

Best.

Mike

Robert Rumpf
12-05-2006, 07:13 AM
Mark, please check your PMs.

Mark Freeman
12-05-2006, 07:17 AM
I have no idea what you're practicing, Mark. I'd be tickled to be able to see it. But bear in mind that I've met tons of "Ki Society" people over the years and they will all say that they study what Tohei taught and within their own group they have some idea of where there skills are. To really have a conversation about this stuff, you and I'd have to meet. But keep your eye on the comment I've made a number of times that most people cannot even move honestly from the hara. ;) Prove me wrong.



You are right Mike, you do not have any idea of what I'm practicing. I have no intention of presenting my aikido for you to pass judgement on or to be tickled by ;) also, I don't belong to the Ki Society.

I would look forward to a 'hands on' meeting, but I'm not interested in proving anyone wrong. You obviously have a degree of understanding and skill as do I. Neither has right or wrong attatched to it. I'm sure there are things I could learn from you, as I would hope there are some things you could gain from me.

Moving honestly from the hara is a matter of degree, some people are trying their level best to do so, but not quite getting it, but with perseverence and practice they will get closer to the 'ideal'.

I teach this stuff, and I am also a constant student, when I practice with my peers, I still foul up, it is the nature of practice. When I teach I do what I demonstrate, I show what moving from the hara is, its easy to look impressive when you are teaching. :cool:

When it comes to aikido I'm not interested in point scoring, let's save that for the 'general' dicussions ;)

regards,

Mark

Mark Freeman
12-05-2006, 07:20 AM
How is it that the entire Aikido community is NOT completely about learning ki from day one? But it's an obvious fact that they're not.... unless you want to argue that I just am not recognizing it when I see it. ;)



Never discount all possibilities :D

Mark Freeman
12-05-2006, 07:24 AM
Mark, please check your PMs.

I'll keep my eyes peeled Robert... nothing yet

regards,

Mark

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 07:28 AM
When it comes to aikido I'm not interested in point scoring, let's save that for the 'general' dicussions ;) Mark, I was simply replying to your comment: If Tohei didn't want to teach it, how am I practicing what I practice.

Regards,

Mike

Robert Rumpf
12-05-2006, 07:43 AM
Sorry Mark Freeman, meant Mark Gibbons. :)

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 07:52 AM
Moving honestly from the hara is a matter of degree, some people are trying their level best to do so, but not quite getting it, but with perseverence and practice they will get closer to the 'ideal'.I've asked several people to describe how to do this, in previous threads, Mark. Since you teach it, could you explain how to move from the hara?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mark Gibbons
12-05-2006, 08:06 AM
I've asked several people to describe how to do this, in previous threads, Mark. Since you teach it, could you explain how to move from the hara?

Regards,

Mike SigmanPlease do it on a different thread.

Cady Goldfield
12-05-2006, 09:16 AM
Unfortunately that doesn't tell me if the omitted pieces were omitted intentionally, why they were omitted, if Osensei regarded them as essential, or if they really are essential. That tells me Tohei sensei probably regarded them as essential. But if he had them why didn't he teach them effectively enough that we are not having this conversation. I'm probably just too dense to get it though.

There are lots of hypotheses about why Ueshiba failed to actively teach this element. One is that he was afraid of Takeda's ire. If you read S. Pranin's Daito-ryu book, you'll catch a glimpse of their relationship and its later fouling. As is typical in traditional systems, one is not supposed to teach an art without the express permission of the person who instilled its principles in you. Ueshiba may have felt that his later form of aikido was different enough from Daito-ryu that he could freely teach it without having his former teacher get on his case, but teaching the internal aspects may have been a no-no, as they could exist in only their unadulterated original form in order to be effective -- so Ueshiba could not call them his own. Pure conjecture on my part, but not without evidence.

Ecosamurai
12-05-2006, 10:42 AM
So far:

Could learn this stuff via:
Maybe Ki Aikido, but probably not.

Can't speak for all ki-aikido but I'd contest this point. I'm sure Sigman will say otherwise and he may be right about it based on his own ki aikido experience but mine is much different I'm sure.

I've seen my sensei move his hand slowly and have the guy not see it coming, so much so that he got his contact lens knocked out. I've tested his unbendable arm and found it not just unbendable but un-moveable (as in that 6 direction thing people often like to talk about). I've seen four or five guys try to move him unsuccessfully at demos. I've been one of those guys from time to time too and i can assure you I wasn't being in anyway cooperative and lifting him in a way I knew wouldn't work. Short of chewing on him I tried everything, I even looked at him thinking that perhaps an atemi might do the trick, I'll leave you to picture what happened to me after that thought popped into my head.

All of those skills he learned from ki aikido. Perhaps he's not your typical ki-aikido sensei, he's definitely NOT your typical aikido sensei, that much I know for sure.

I'm sure if anyone were involved in this discussion were ever to get the chance they'd probably enjoy practicing with him.

Mike Haft

ChrisMoses
12-05-2006, 11:38 AM
I've seen my sensei move his hand slowly and have the guy not see it coming, so much so that he got his contact lens knocked out. I've tested his unbendable arm and found it not just unbendable but un-moveable (as in that 6 direction thing people often like to talk about). I've seen four or five guys try to move him unsuccessfully at demos. I've been one of those guys from time to time too and i can assure you I wasn't being in anyway cooperative and lifting him in a way I knew wouldn't work. Short of chewing on him I tried everything, I even looked at him thinking that perhaps an atemi might do the trick, I'll leave you to picture what happened to me after that thought popped into my head.

All of those skills he learned from ki aikido. Perhaps he's not your typical ki-aikido sensei, he's definitely NOT your typical aikido sensei, that much I know for sure.

I'm sure if anyone were involved in this discussion were ever to get the chance they'd probably enjoy practicing with him.

Mike Haft

Here's my question. And by the way, I don't discount your teacher's ability or where he learned it at all. But how many people at your school do you think can also perform on this level? The problem I have with how this sort of thing is 'taught' in aikido/ki-aikido is that it isn't actually taught. The best analogy I can think of is trying to teach someone long division by giving them the final exam over and over again. Some brilliant people might figure it out over time, most won't, but many will eventually memorize the answers. They however won't have any understanding of how really to get the answers or why it works the way it does. And when it comes time for them to teach it, they will 'teach' the same way they were taught...

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 11:48 AM
Here's my question. And by the way, I don't discount your teacher's ability or where he learned it at all. But how many people at your school do you think can also perform on this level? The problem I have with how this sort of thing is 'taught' in aikido/ki-aikido is that it isn't actually taught. The best analogy I can think of is trying to teach someone long division by giving them the final exam over and over again. Some brilliant people might figure it out over time, most won't, but many will eventually memorize the answers. They however won't have any understanding of how really to get the answers or why it works the way it does. And when it comes time for them to teach it, they will 'teach' the same way they were taught...That's a pretty good post, Chris. One of my stints in Aikido was with an instructor that had a few kokyu-tricks he liked to use to impress the peons. One day I realized that I was simply at another political Aikido dojo and I walked out. Some months later, having acquired the knowledge of how to do those same "tricks", I came back for a practice session and watched somewhat sickened at he attempted to assert his "dominance" with the same tired tricks. I could match him and I could see immediately that he was angry. "Dominance" in the pecking order is what I see so often and I think it's what your post is also highlighting. What you see is often not so much teaching these things, but holding out the secrets in order to maintain a peck-order edge. ;)

At least that's a possible interpretation, in too many cases.

Regards,

Mike

ChrisMoses
12-05-2006, 12:05 PM
What you see is often not so much teaching these things, but holding out the secrets in order to maintain a peck-order edge. ;)


Yeah, people don't like to hear that at all, but that's my belief as well.

Ecosamurai
12-05-2006, 12:18 PM
Here's my question. And by the way, I don't discount your teacher's ability or where he learned it at all. But how many people at your school do you think can also perform on this level? The problem I have with how this sort of thing is 'taught' in aikido/ki-aikido is that it isn't actually taught. The best analogy I can think of is trying to teach someone long division by giving them the final exam over and over again. Some brilliant people might figure it out over time, most won't, but many will eventually memorize the answers. They however won't have any understanding of how really to get the answers or why it works the way it does. And when it comes time for them to teach it, they will 'teach' the same way they were taught...

Funnily enough I agree with you and was thinking to post as much. I know that I personally can't do what my teacher does. I know that some of my sempai who are my sensei's senior students can do them but I've not got much of a clue as to exactly how well they match his skill, perhaps I'll ask him when he comes to visit this weekend.
FWIW those of us who stay with him do definitely seem to be improving and developing similar skills. Those that hit an impass tend to leave after deciding its too hard or something similar. My teacher is a 7th Dan and I'm only a 2nd Dan. Sensei's senior student is ranked 4th Dan, it'll be an interesting question to ask again in a few years when sensei tests his first 5th Dan :)

I think that it is usually as Ellis Amdur said over on aikidojournal and others here have said 'hidden in plain sight'. All too often I think people are probably promoted for knowing nothing more than the empty shells of the aikido techniques. I can't see my sensei ever doing that, he usually gives us a thorough going over for our Dan ranks, I only passed my 2nd Dan on the fourth attempt (though some of that was probably due to me moving to the other end of the UK). Our dan tests usually take between 2-3 hours which many people hear and are horrified by.

Disclaimer: I speak for nobody but myself, and I'm not very good at that...

Mike

Ellis Amdur
12-05-2006, 01:06 PM
Cady - I'm seeing more and more evidence that, pre-war, Ueshiba taught these things. How else did Tomiki learn - as per the judo story I just found (and there's a story that Oba tells where he saw the DR demo where someone is pinned down flat on his back and choked and "casts" them off, and Tomiki said, 'that's easy," and called some people, Oba included, and did it. Tomiki apparently kept all that to himself. AND Shioda M-A-Y have learned a little from Horikawa, long after the war, but note the brothel fight, where he breaks a guys' leg with an aikido atemi he wanted to try out - a downward slap - pi chuan. He had the skills "way back when." Maybe Horikawa offered him a missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle - and from stories of several foreign deshi of his last years, maybe he just found another person with whom he could do his favorite recreation, which was to drink and tell stories all night long.
Several shihan had described Ueshiba telling them, in essence, "look - I'm going to teach you the real thing - and doing so in a matter of a week or so." I think after the war, with his spiritual focus - he was not averse to others learning what he knew, but he was not interested in making an effort. I will assert that he openly showed things (note his astonishing jo, so different from what came afterwards). But I think his attitude was, either from some spiritual motive or whatever else, that if he showed it, the suitable would pick it up. If you didn't get it from seeing it, maybe you weren't worth it. With all the talk about Sagawa, I've been told that few of his advanced students "got it," and that he was indifferent to those who did not have "eyes to see."
Tokimune stated that Ueshiba was his father's favorite student. Also that he was far better than Hisa. Also that Ueshiba studied with Sokaku longer than any of his students. Sokaku gave ueshiba that "Shinkage-ryu" menkyo (nothing to do with Yagyu, by the way, or any other established ryu), which, I believe, was a purely symbolic recognition of Ueshiba's devotion and attainment. Yeah, the last couple of years of their relationship were fraught - but the only person who can survive life-long with the utter domination of such a teacher (as ueshiba himself became) is the completely self-abnegating - which you could also read as the truly humble, I suppose.
Anyway, I run on. But I think anyone is on the wrong track when one assumes that a) ueshiba didn't teach any of the good stuff b) that he was inferior in his attainment to the other best students of Sokaku - how the heck would one measure that, anyway? I do think there was a "regress of knowledge" Takeda - to Ueshiba et al - then focusing on aikido, Ueshiba's best pre-war students - then the first generation of post-war students, who were still "his" and then to the next generation, directly Kisshomaru's, who learned from ueshiba by feeling and watching as carefully as they could, because he was no longer telling directly.
Best

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 01:29 PM
Several shihan had described Ueshiba telling them, in essence, "look - I'm going to teach you the real thing - and doing so in a matter of a week or so." I think after the war, with his spiritual focus - he was not averse to others learning what he knew, but he was not interested in making an effort. I will assert that he openly showed things (note his astonishing jo, so different from what came afterwards). But I think his attitude was, either from some spiritual motive or whatever else, that if he showed it, the suitable would pick it up. I still wonder what it was that Tohei showed when he called all those special meetings, etc. There's no doubt that Tohei has skills, although how complete his skills are/were I don't really know since I've only been privy to scattered anecdotes over the years. Ueshiba's skills were far more complete than I thought, based on the limited information we had available in earlier times (not to mention my own perceptions were heavily skewed by not knowing anything about those skills).

One of my side-thoughts is that if we can get someone to tell some of what Tohei showed at those special meetings, we can extrapolate what he considered to have been missing among the deshi, so we can get a glimpse of what Ueshiba actually showed, etc.

FWIW

Mike

Cady Goldfield
12-05-2006, 01:56 PM
Ellis,
I have been hearing about those indications as well, that Ueshiba did teach those things pre-war. Note that I state that it's his "later" aikido in which the internal component is lacking from the curriculum. It could have been philosophical on his part, could have been the result of becoming "jaded" by then (not wanting to waste "pearls" on students he didn't feel were "worthy"), or could have been the result from pressure on the outside (i.e. various schools of Daito-ryu) to stop teaching them outside a Daito-ryu context. I do believe, judging from his unusually close relationship with Takeda, that Ueshiba must have acquired genuine, high-level skills.

And, a former teacher can come to regret having awarded a symbol of "devotion and attainment," and perhaps act upon it. [Also, one doesn't have to be humble and completely obliterated of ego to stick with a harsh teacher. If that teacher has something of value that you covet, you may be strong enough of will and ego to say to yourself, "I'll stick with the old ba$t#%d until I have what I want. I don't see Ueshiba as having been an entirely humble soul. Am I mistaken?] Again, pure conjecture. Armchair deliberating may be unproductive, but it is entertaining.

The puzzle is, if Ueshiba did teach the internal curriculum to "high level shihan," why is there no indication at all that aikido today has it? Could all of those shihan have decided to keep the goodies to themselves? Are all aikido students today incapable of "getting it"? I kind of doubt the latter, I have my doubts about the former, too.

Actually, what amazes me is that a discussion like this can take place at all. Ten years ago ... or maybe even last year ... to broach the subject on an aikido forum would have guaranteed that buckets of tar and sacks of feathers would appear! These are indeed enlightened times. :)

Regards,
Cady

Mark Gibbons
12-05-2006, 02:05 PM
Summarizing again:

Could learn this stuff via:
o Maybe Ki Aikido, might not be the same stuff.
o Maybe some external art but would probably get involved with something useless left to my own devices.
o Maybe my own dojo, if the senior people are working on this.
o Ask sempai. More experienced folks may have some clues.

Importance: I don't have enough experience to evaluate this. Nothing that I've read on the web seems convincing that the internal stuff is a serious loss. Many of the comments assume background I just don't have which may explain my not being convinced. Excerpted quotes tend to be able to prove anything, so I trust them almost not at all. No comparisons with my favorite alternate theories of why aikido works.


Criteria for judging the real thing:
Little new. Ask more experienced folks. No reliable way for the uninitiated to evaluate this stuff or the people that may be able to do it. For instance, I've seen many videos that some say exhibit great internal skills. I can see more than a year ago, but not enough to tell what's really going on. As an amature magician let's say I know how easy it is to fool folks.


Again I hope this passes as a fair summary. Like so much in life someone wanting to learn this stuff will have to dig, know people and work hard. And that's for something they won't know if it's any good or not. My opinion is that there's something useful and amazing out there in the internal area. But my opinion is based on some very shakey grounds. I really need to get out more.

Thanks and best wishes,
Mark

Ron Tisdale
12-05-2006, 02:09 PM
why is there no indication at all that aikido today has it?

Part of the problem in these discussions is this sort of blanket statement. I most certainly have met people that I believe have these skills...in aikido. I won't speak to whether or not they teach them well, teach them intentionally, withhold them, etc...or to the level that they have them.

I will say that a dojo like Akuzawa's has made me rethink the whole idea of whether or not they can be directly taught...and in a relatively short time.

It kind of goes without saying that these skills are not widely spread...and that even when present, knowledgable people might disagree on how well developed. But to say that they do not exist in aikido today at all, anywhere is a bit of a stretch. I've trained in a bunch of places, with a bunch of folks, and I have no where near exhausted what is available out there.
Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
12-05-2006, 02:10 PM
I have been hearing about those indications as well, that Ueshiba did teach those things pre-war. Note that I state that it's his "later" aikido in which the internal component is lacking from the curriculum. It could have been philosophical on his part, could have been the result of becoming "jaded" by then (not wanting to waste "pearls" on students he didn't feel were "worthy"), or could have been the result from pressure on the outside (i.e. various schools of Daito-ryu) to stop teaching them outside a Daito-ryu context. I do believe, judging from his unusually close relationship with Takeda, that Ueshiba must have acquired genuine, high-level skills.



Or it could be that he just didn't teach much in the post war era. Most of 'his' uchideshi after the war were really students of Tohei and the other shihan of the hombu dojo after all.

Robert Rumpf
12-05-2006, 02:19 PM
Does anyone support or think feasible the idea that Ueshiba thought those skills were powerful, but morally neutral - while he specifically wanted to teach about morality and correct action, especially as his attitudes changed post-war and with his other enlightenments? That one comment I saw in some Tohei article about O'Sensei being annoyed that Tohei could demonstrate immovability in an "impure" state (hungover) comes to mind. O'Sensei connected spiritual enlightenment with his physical skills, almost to the point where the physical skills were not relevant, or perhaps were taken for granted. Therefore, O'Sensei emphasized the skills and methods less after the war, while his more current interests were in the theology and moral message, since that was where his interests were at that point..

I've noticed often in my training (and in my academic education) that my learning is strongly influenced by what my instructors are interested in teaching, not necessarily what I am ready, willing, and able to learn. Perhaps while O'Sensei's (especially postwar) students wanted to learn about martial arts, they were studying from someone who could certainly do martial arts, and so could show by example, but was only really interested in giving explicit lessons in morality.

I've certainly seen that happen at seminars (and in class) - the instructor is teaching one thing, but the students are trying to learn something else - if they are even trying to learn at all.

After that, everyone talks about how cryptic the instructor is.

Rob

Cady Goldfield
12-05-2006, 02:31 PM
Part of the problem in these discussions is this sort of blanket statement. I most certainly have met people that I believe have these skills...in aikido. I won't speak to whether or not they teach them well, teach them intentionally, withhold them, etc...or to the level that they have them.

I will say that a dojo like Akuzawa's has made me rethink the whole idea of whether or not they can be directly taught...and in a relatively short time.


Didn't mean to be the wet blanket, Ron. :)
I see any appearance of internal skills within aikido proponents as being the Great Hope of aikido's future. But I can't help suspecting that aikidoka who have these skills are not getting them from within mainstream aikido or post WWII aikido. However, the source of this return of an internal component isn't as important as is the fact that it is happening.

Dunno how quickly they can be learned in a form deep enough to be applicable to a system's external techniques. One traditional route is to teach the external technical stuff first, then learn the internal after. Then, you apply the power of the internal skills to "turbocharge" the technique tool kit you already have. Most people don't want to learn the internal stuff first, if they came into MAs to learn "fighting skills." They usually want to learn how to joint-lock, throw, punch, kick, etc. right away because that's what they see as effective MAs. ;)

Ron Tisdale
12-05-2006, 02:47 PM
I'm stuck with learning it the way you describe...and it is difficult. I think if I had a choice, I might go with Akuzawa's approach...learn the skills first...then choose a martial art for it to go with. Ah well...we are what we are, where we are...

B,
R ;)

Ellis Amdur
12-05-2006, 02:58 PM
Cady - You missed a small point. Ueshiba was anything but humble. I was thinking, for example, of Horikawa Kodo, whom, I may be mistaken, was more content to till his own fields.
The idea that Ueshiba was vulnerable to any pressure from Daito-ryu schools is inconceivably to me. He may have had it/escaped from Takeda in his latter years, but I doubt very much that anyone among his peers or juniors would have had any say in the matter whatsoever.
Finally, Ueshiba and Takeda broke with each other (or ueshiba left town) in the late 1930's. Sagawa was dispatched by Takeda only a few years earlier to ascertain that he was alright in the second Omotokyo incident. Tokimune used to visit "Ueshiba sensei," as he called him in the 1950's. Maybe he, like Kondo, was shown "what Takeda sensei taught me." (Referring to Kondo's account of UEshiba snatching up a jo and projecting him all over the place in what was to him incredible fashion.). ;) Maybe Tokimune's Daito-ryu has an element of things he learned from Ueshiba - it's surely as plausible as the idea that Shioda learned the real goodies from Horikawa. :)
So, really, all I think happened is that ueshiba's own creative direction diverged from his teacher, but they remained in contact for many years after this divergence - which was a mark of their closeness and also would engender friction. The very last few years of Takeda's life, alone, were devoid of contact, apparently.
Also, on another matter. I recently viewed a video of myself and compared it to a video of my instructor in Araki-ryu. It's remarkable how deeply imprinted his movement signature is on me. He NEVER told me how to move. I just paid attention. HIS teachers usually taught him a kata once. He'd be working out on the side, two of the old men would get together, and say, "Hey watch this." Do a kata once, and he'd never see it again, but he was responsible for knowing it impeccably.
That UEshiba allegedly didn't explicitly instruct after the war means little in my opinion. Perhaps the students, bored and distracted from the "god stuff" weren't paying attention when he showed exactly what to do.
Best

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 03:03 PM
Dunno how quickly they can be learned in a form deep enough to be applicable to a system's external techniques. I think that one of the problems is that a few "applicable" things can be learned fairly easily and that's enough for a lot of people to say "Oh sure... we got ki skills" when in fact they've probably got a few pieces. The trick would be to get an idea what the full range of ki skills really is, delineate the ones for complete usage in Aikido, and set that as a nominal standard. IMO.

What I find over and over is that too many people are quick to think they've got 'em or are so close to having got 'em that it's not a big deal, when looking at the large picture of their already fine and subtle understanding of Aikido, Karate, Taiji, you name it. Sorry to be such a cynic, but seriously... I find that everytime I get positive and encouraging about these things, it comes back to haunt me and I feel that I'd have been more helpful if I'd been reserved.

FWIW

Mike

Cady Goldfield
12-05-2006, 03:34 PM
Mike,
Perhaps a lot of that situation is a Western phenomenon. How many people in our "gotta get it now" society are committed to a long-term, deep -- even lifelong -- pursuit of something so esoteric? Especially when an external kick, punch or joint lock is instant gratification?

Maybe the "moral-ethical" question is, does one offer it up to all comers, in hopes that some will stick it out and learn fully? Continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness? ;) Or does one save it and "give" it only to the ones that prove their mettle?

In the ideal world, I'd love to see it re-integrated into aikido (which, of course, would change the way aikido is done, and looks) and elsewhere where it "should" be. In our hi-tech age, to keep these things as "secrets" does not serve the purpose it did 700 years ago, when family combat systems meant life or death to a clan.

Given human nature, I believe that the mainstream and its "good enough for us" curriculum will always be the norm, while the deeper skills will persist and be perpetuated in small, relatively obscure pockets. But rather than be cynical, I choose to accept that not all knowledge, no matter how elegant we think it is, will ever be given its due. It's there for those who truly seek and want it, though.

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-05-2006, 03:52 PM
A thought on the teaching style: even someone like Kuroda Testuszan who was born into a family with a tradition of jujutsu, did not begin to comprehend the power of the kata until well into his thirties. His father and grandfather used to say that their ideal is to leave behind the kata as an inheritance. If the kata remained in existence in some form, then someone or other with the right mind would be able to see its meaning and train themselves. If that could happen, they would have succeeded in their duty. There was never thought to explicitly teaching all the details to anyone, althought the number of hints might be greater or lesser. Specifically, Kuroda states that with respect to the kata, his grandfather only ever used to say one or two things repeatedly, and when Kuroda finally started to grasp the truth behind the kata, he realized that what he had been told was true, but not in the sense that he had though before. So, as far as I am concerned, the teaching tradition in Japan and possibly the rest of Asia simply does not premise a good practitioner actively teaching students anything. In a Western sense that could be interpreted as "purposely showing only in order to maintain an edge" but that is not necessarily the case.

Cady Goldfield
12-05-2006, 03:59 PM
That UEshiba allegedly didn't explicitly instruct after the war means little in my opinion. Perhaps the students, bored and distracted from the "god stuff" weren't paying attention when he showed exactly what to do.
Best

That may be so, but it's hard to believe that a dedicated student could watch a small, frail old man do amazing things that seem to defy reality, and not want to be able to do that. But, of course, I'm speaking from the standpoint of someone who finds it fascinating and wants to pursue it deeply. The crowds love a good magic show, but that doesn't mean they want to learn prestidigitation.

I do see the possibility that Ueshiba may ultimately have gotten tired, fed-up, or just figured no one thought the internal stuff was as important or awesome as he had found it, and decided that if anyone really wanted to learn it, they could bloody well pick it apart themselves without his having to go to the effort of instilling it in them.

Anyway, it's all armchair musing. What I'd give for a time machine and a Cloack of Invisibility... :)

Mike Sigman
12-05-2006, 04:17 PM
Perhaps a lot of that situation is a Western phenomenon. How many people in our "gotta get it now" society are committed to a long-term, deep -- even lifelong -- pursuit of something so esoteric? Especially when an external kick, punch or joint lock is instant gratification? I'm not sure, Cady. It's *possible* that part of the problem also could have been some get-it-now-got-it-now Japanese teachers could have been part of the problem in the chain, too. I'm just not sure... so I don't want to download on just the westerners.Maybe the "moral-ethical" question is, does one offer it up to all comers, in hopes that some will stick it out and learn fully? Continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness? ;) Or does one save it and "give" it only to the ones that prove their mettle? Personally, while I tend to be fairly open with what little I do know, there are things beyond basics that I wouldn't freely give to people I thought didn't meet certain criteria. Each person has to make their own decisions in that regard, though.

FWIW

Mike

Cady Goldfield
12-05-2006, 04:40 PM
It's *possible* that part of the problem also could have been some get-it-now-got-it-now Japanese teachers could have been part of the problem in the chain, too. I'm just not sure... so I don't want to download on just the westerners.

That is a good point. Human nature doesn't have cultural boundaries.

Erick Mead
12-05-2006, 11:31 PM
[[Summarizing]]Cady - I'm seeing more and more evidence that, pre-war, Ueshiba taught these things. How else did Tomiki learn ... AND Shioda M-A-Y have learned a little ...
I think after the war,... he was not interested in making an effort. I will assert that he openly showed things [but] If you didn't get it from seeing it, maybe you weren't worth it. ... I think anyone is on the wrong track when one assumes that a) ueshiba didn't teach any of the good stuff b) that he was inferior in his attainment to the other best students of Sokaku Is this anything but argument in search of evidence of the preferred outcome?. Isn't the better practice to look at the evidence presented and then make decisisons about what conclusions it can concieveably support and then weigh those theories that it best supports?

Both the Doka quoted above [#18 ] that deny the existence of or any purposes in seeking "secrets" beyond the omote technqiue are from Budo Renshu (1933), not post- war, at all. There is no discontinuity. The only response seem to be that he could not know what he was saying [because it disagrees with their argument].

Why is O Sensei NOT the best witness of what Aikido was, where its revelation came from (kenjutsu) and what it was supposed to accomplish. Internal arts and "the skills" as advocated here are all fine and a venerable tradition, but, and I mean this as a frank and honest question, why does the theory that aikido has lost the secrets of their use, as the proponents say, require contradicting what he actually said about these things?

Ecosamurai
12-06-2006, 02:36 AM
For me at least, the interesting question about all this concerns O Sensei, Tohei and Kisshomaru.

If you look at some footage of Kisshomaru (on for example the aikidojournal postwar greats DVD) there's a scene where he is demonstrating funakogi undo, watching his father do the same exercise with Terry Dobson (in his endearingly short 'foreigner can't get the right sized' hakama) it's quite obvious that O Sensei is using his centre a LOT more and is displaying quite openly some of those 'internal skills'. Kisshomaru however looks like his just copying the motion and isn't using his centre.

Tohei Sensei doing the same exercise appears to most definitely be using his centre quite strongly. However we know that while he was a careful observer of O Sensei, his 'internal skills' came mostly from the Tempukai and some Bell misogi. Tohei's aikido wasn't the same as O Sensei's (I can give some good examples I think of techniques that look to me as though Tohei is trying to throw people like O Sensei, using similar kuzushi but in a different way with different connection to uke).

Tohei started training in 1939 was drafted not long after this. When people say O Sensei wasn't teaching internal skills after the war (or that he was but nobody noticed what he was doing), does this put a date of 1939 on the 'decline' in this actively taught aspect of O Sensei's aikido? Certainly Kisshomaru didn't begin taking an active interest in aikido until the late 1940s early 1950s from what I understand. So that would work out chronologically at least.

One thing that interests me is that the misogi Tohei did at the Ichikukai (spelling?) basically seemed to involve making one so physically exhausted that you had no choice but to do the technique in a coordinated 'internal' way with relaxed power. Your muscles simply wouldn't listen to you otherwise. I can recall my teacher seeing one of my sempai being too physical during randori practice, his solution was to make my sempai do a handstand against a wall and from that position do 20 pressups, after this of course the guy couldn't use his arms properly and so his kokyunage improved.

Could it possible be that the internal skills displayed by the prewar uchideshi such as Tomiki simply be due to the severity of the training at 'Hell's Dojo'? I recall hearing a story of one deshi in the Kobukan being able to push an iron nail into a lump of wood using only his thumb. Could that be it or a part of it? Could it be that Ueshiba never actually explicitly taught internal skills at all but they were fostered by the severity of the early Kobukan training environment? Perhaps aided by hints and tips and the careful observation of his students?

Mike Haft

Ellis Amdur
12-06-2006, 05:50 AM
Erick - Stating that the essence is in the omote is a reflection of a "commonplace." The gokui are in the first technique. In one sense, this is true in both koryu that I'm licensed - the first cut in each (which, btw, use radically different body mechanics) contains the whole. But without understanding of breathing in coordination with movement, and specific kiai (which includes manipulation of "internal pressure," it's a waste of time. I am quite willing to agree that ikkyo - open/close/dropping power/rise-fall is the essence of aikido. That still begs the question as to what he was doing that his son (whose ukemi I took on regular occasion) and the other top shihan at Honbu (whose ukemi I also took) did not manifest. (as to the old man "manifesting" it, I have to rely on other's accounts and films - I'm not quite that old).

Mike Sigman
12-06-2006, 06:45 AM
Both the Doka quoted above [#18 ] that deny the existence of or any purposes in seeking "secrets" beyond the omote technqiue Erick, everything has an "omote" face and an "ura" face. Those are common terms.... i.e., the douka is not referring to the "omote technique".

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
12-06-2006, 07:19 AM
And even it if does refer to the omote waza..."hidden in plain sight"; to quote Ellis. It's amazing that people still don't get that...

Best,
Ron

Robert Rumpf
12-06-2006, 09:01 AM
Personally, while I tend to be fairly open with what little I do know, there are things beyond basics that I wouldn't freely give to people I thought didn't meet certain criteria. Each person has to make their own decisions in that regard, though.
Out of curiosity, what are your criteria?

Mike Sigman
12-06-2006, 09:42 AM
Out of curiosity, what are your criteria?Just to keep it simple, I avoid saying anything to anyone (like Chris Moses and I discussed yesterday) who would use this sort of stuff strictly to maintain his pecking-order edge. Also, I tend to favor people who are into these things for functional practice, as opposed to the people who want to add some more talk-theories to their already sizeable repertoire. ;)

Best.

Mike

Thomas Campbell
12-06-2006, 11:15 AM
[snip]
One thing that interests me is that the misogi Tohei did at the Ichikukai (spelling?) basically seemed to involve making one so physically exhausted that you had no choice but to do the technique in a coordinated 'internal' way with relaxed power. Your muscles simply wouldn't listen to you otherwise. I can recall my teacher seeing one of my sempai being too physical during randori practice, his solution was to make my sempai do a handstand against a wall and from that position do 20 pressups, after this of course the guy couldn't use his arms properly and so his kokyunage improved.

Could it possible be that the internal skills displayed by the prewar uchideshi such as Tomiki simply be due to the severity of the training at 'Hell's Dojo'? I recall hearing a story of one deshi in the Kobukan being able to push an iron nail into a lump of wood using only his thumb. Could that be it or a part of it? Could it be that Ueshiba never actually explicitly taught internal skills at all but they were fostered by the severity of the early Kobukan training environment? Perhaps aided by hints and tips and the careful observation of his students?

Mike Haft

That's an interesting question, Mike.

Specifically with regard to prolonged nikkyo as one indication of training severity . . . back on 11-26 in the "Non-Compliant Ukemi" thread, Ellis Amdur wrote:

"I believe that Ueshiba, pre-war,taught in a way that ukemi itself was a means of learning internal skills (Shioda describes Inoue continuing nikkyo long after he and Shirata were frantically tapping - I think this was all about teaching the redirection of forces through the body)."

Exhaustion as a training tool in Chinese martial arts and karate . . . often it's justified in terms of "forging spirit," but the student also needs to learn to move more efficiently, use proper alignment, breathe . . . just to endure and persevere.

Today we're a lot more verbal and explicative in trying to reverse-engineer these internal body skills . . . which suits a "modern" learning style, and helps guide practice and motivate . . . but is no substitute for hands-on feeling and diligent solo practice. During the Kobukan era, it seems like Ueshiba Morihei was simply teaching in the same manner he learned (from Takeda and others), by doing.

Just some thoughts.

Erick Mead
12-06-2006, 03:35 PM
Erick, everything has an "omote" face and an "ura" face. Those are common terms.... i.e., the douka is not referring to the "omote technique". Is it that the intensive training in the secret "skills" in immoveability inevitably results in this degree of density, does it just occur naturally, or do you have to consciously will it to happen ? :p

ChrisMoses
12-06-2006, 03:43 PM
Summarizing again:
Mark, you bring up some excellent questions in this thread and did a great job summarizing what’s being said and implied (and pointing out just how obtuse this issue really is). So, here goes…


Could learn this stuff via:
o Maybe Ki Aikido, might not be the same stuff.
o Maybe some external art but would probably get involved with something useless left to my own devices.
o Maybe my own dojo, if the senior people are working on this.
o Ask sempai. More experienced folks may have some clues.

I’d say that most people will never learn ‘this stuff’ in the typical Aikido environment as I’ve seen it. This might lead one to question if it really has a place in Aikido then, but I’ll get to that in a bit… A few will either just do it naturally or will stumble onto something similar. I think Aikido has a long history as a ‘gateway drug’ to other arts for this very reason. People who aren’t satisfied with good enough start looking elsewhere with the hope of adding new skills or understanding to their Aikido practice, but by the time they’re deep enough into whatever external (meaning not Aikido) system that they’re studying to enhance that understanding enough to bring something back, they’re already deeply entrenched in a new study. I compare it to the “Brain Drain” they talk about in the inner cities or in some countries.

Importance: I don't have enough experience to evaluate this. Nothing that I've read on the web seems convincing that the internal stuff is a serious loss. Many of the comments assume background I just don't have which may explain my not being convinced. Excerpted quotes tend to be able to prove anything, so I trust them almost not at all. No comparisons with my favorite alternate theories of why aikido works.

My question is, are you disappointed with what you’re learning or how you are progressing? Are you getting what you want from your experience of studying Aikido? For most people, the answers are emphatically, “Yes.” They love what they are studying, the changes it makes in them and being part of a community that’s different than most other aspects of our Western society. If your answer is, “Yes,” then I’d say it wasn’t very important. I’m not being dismissive or making light of the subject either, I honestly believe what I just wrote there. If Aikido wasn’t filling a valuable place in peoples’ lives AS IS, it wouldn’t be as popular as it is today. End of story.

Personally, I experienced a sea change at the first Aikido Journal Expo in Vegas. I was struck simultaneously by how generally disappointed I found myself with the level of skill in the literally hundreds of aikidoka present and awed by how good the non-aikido guest instructors and their students were (namely: Don Angier, Toby Threadgill, Kondo Sensei and Ushiro Sensei). Further, I was impressed with the methodology and clarity of their teaching. Angier would do something incredible and then show you what you needed to do to achieve it. You might not get it right away, but you had a sense for what you were working on. The aikido teachers would then show some techniques and let people practice, or if they were explaining things, would offer some medaphors or mental imagery. I realize both of these are valid tools in teaching, but in my mind, they should fill gaps of understanding rather than form the base of that understanding. Let me preface this next comment with the following disclaimer: I love Ikeda Sensei, I think he’s one of the best Aikidoka in the US. His waza is clean, his throws efficient and if he was any kinder I don’t think people could stand it. BUT, I don’t know how many seminars I’ve been to with him where he was working his wrist twist thing and ‘teaching’ by saying, “See? Working. Not working. Working! Not-working… Ok you try.” I’ve read his guidelines for teachers and they basically say, “Don’t.” The old “you must steal the technique” teaching paradigm worked in small groups where teachers took the traditional role as uke. I do not believe that it works in larger organizations or perhaps at all in the West. We simply aren’t taught to learn that way. After training with Neil for a fairly brief period of time, I could see what Ikeda was doing and replicate it to a large degree. Same with some of the other senior teachers that I’ve trained with since. The context that I’ve gotten from outside of Aikido lets me see what’s going on with a clarity that I never got from someone in Aikido. I’ve had multiple experiences where a senior aikido teacher was demonstrating something and sayng, “I don’t understand why this works…” and found myself thinking, “I do. Why don’t you know why it works?”

So to tie this back into “this stuff” ie internal skills/training and its importance: What I have felt from those who do this stuff (Ark, Don, Neil…) is so similar to what I’ve felt from the really good aikido teachers (Ikeda, Takeda Yoshinobu, Anno Motomichi…) that it’s hard not to make the comparison. Further, their students can replicate these skills to a very large extent and after no where near the length of time that would be expected in aikido. I know when I train with someone and I can’t make them budge and I can feel that they’re not just messing with me I’m impressed. The first time I trained with Rich Elias was at that same Expo (in Ikeda Sensei’s class no less!). I bowed into him about ½ way through class after training with a lot of people and thinking, “Man what is wrong with these people, they suck…” After a few attempted throws and then getting tossed about like I was a 3 year old (hi David!) I was forced to think, “Man what is wrong with me, I suck!” If you’ve felt people who really have these skills and then look back on the videos of OSensei or read the accounts of taking ukemi from him you are struck by the similarity. Or maybe it’s just me. Ask Robert Chang or Brian Concle about some of the stuff we did where I showed how some of the stuff I’ve been working on relates to what Ikeda Sensei teaches (and that was before meeting Ark!).



Criteria for judging the real thing:
Little new. Ask more experienced folks. No reliable way for the uninitiated to evaluate this stuff or the people that may be able to do it. For instance, I've seen many videos that some say exhibit great internal skills. I can see more than a year ago, but not enough to tell what's really going on. As an amature magician let's say I know how easy it is to fool folks.

Man this is really a hard one. When I visited Rob, we talked about the “Oh yeah, we do that too…” thing. It gets really hard to explain or even demonstrate something similar but different to someone without their brain shaping it into something they already know. I was guilty of the same thing with him and Akuzawa. What they were doing looked similar to what we were studying. It was a LOT more different than I expected. But then after working with it for a while, it feels like while it was different, it fills gaps and solves problems that I’ve been struggling with for years, and even with the very little exposure that I’ve had to it, I can see real and significant results in my waza. So I guess the criteria comes down to actually feeling it. That sucks, but there ya go. But then you also have to go back to my earlier comments about really looking at what you’re getting from your training and what your expectations are. I could very easily imagine someone meeting Ark and thinking, “That’s cool, but it has nothing to do with Aikido,” the same way lots of people have met Don and had the same reaction. Who knows they could very well be right. After all, most of the detractors on this forum who go on and on about what Aikido’s missing are outside of Aikido, looking in. At this point, I’m guilty of that as much as anyone. I suppose I still love Aikido for what it could be, rather than what it is today, I don’t know what Dan and Mike’s reasons for posting here are. Perhaps, like me, they just like arguing on th3 int3rw3bs…



Again I hope this passes as a fair summary. Like so much in life someone wanting to learn this stuff will have to dig, know people and work hard. And that's for something they won't know if it's any good or not. My opinion is that there's something useful and amazing out there in the internal area. But my opinion is based on some very shakey grounds. I really need to get out more.

Thanks and best wishes,
Mark

Thanks Mark.

PS: you can ask Nat about his take on what the “push out” exercise felt like, I showed him on Saturday. He probably thought it was a bunch of crap. ;)

Mike Sigman
12-06-2006, 03:52 PM
Is it that the intensive training in the secret "skills" in immoveability inevitably results in this degree of density, does it just occur naturally, or do you have to consciously will it to happen ? :pI was just going by what you said, my boy.

Besides, do you understand that these exercises will actually make you denser, when done correctly? Your bone density will increase... but for understandable physiological reasons. Sorry... you probably already know all that.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mark Gibbons
12-06-2006, 04:20 PM
Thanks Chris. I did realize when I started the thread that for my own purposes I could just ask you or Jeremy. (Chris was one of my first aikido instructors.) But without you guys I wouldn't have found much of anything I could trust. I got PM's that pointed out local resources I would never have checked out on my own. The danger of ending up a student of and believing someone like that poor old man getting hit by the karate guy in the recent video is all too real.


I very much appreciate the effort and attention. Nat is one of the people I bounce off of and can't move unless he lets me. His opinion should be interesting. I may have other TC specific questions but that's what PM's are for.


Thanks again,
Mark


Some folks were offended by some of my posts and sent me PM's. My apologies.

ChrisMoses
12-06-2006, 04:28 PM
Thanks Chris. I did realize when I started the thread that for my own purposes I could just ask you or Jeremy.

I'm glad you posted, you offered a much needed call for clarity.


Some folks were offended by some of my posts and sent me PM's. My apologies.

Wow, that's too bad. I thought you asked some very reasonable questions.

Erick Mead
12-06-2006, 06:08 PM
I'd say that most people will never learn ‘this stuff' in the typical Aikido environment as I've seen it. ... The old "you must steal the technique" teaching paradigm worked in small groups where teachers took the traditional role as uke. I do not believe that it works in larger organizations or perhaps at all in the West. We simply aren't taught to learn that way. ... I've had multiple experiences where a senior aikido teacher was demonstrating something and sayng, "I don't understand why this works…" and found myself thinking, "I do. Why don't you know why it works?" Western thinking has been bound up in reductionist dialectical learning for about three or four hundred years now (OK, thousands if you count Plato) and we're not about to give it up now -- it has taken us too far.

Has it occurred to anyone else that the reason why there is this sense of lack or ill fit in the learnign of such skills, is because the Western means of learning does not facilitate learning them in the way that the Eastern knowledge paradigms are prepared to teach them? They quite literally get taken out out of the Western learning process, because they are not reductive enough to pass through the fine seive of physical knowledge that is used here. They need to be broken down more.

O Sensei said this very thing. In Budo Renshu, he wrote "Today, it is important to train thinking (all this) in terms of scientific warfare." He also wrote in that same book that students should always be "keeping in mind the principle where...the spirit of Yagyu Jubei [and others] meet." Hiroshi Tada Shihan (9th dan) wrote in an IAF conference address in 2004, and quoted Yagyu Jubei saying "... the root of the art of warfare lies in the understanding of the reason of the mind and its underlying principle. Therefore, the root of the art of warfare is based on the training of mentality..."

What Aikido (and these internal arts) lack is a rigorous theory of action. If that deficit were remedied, then it would make the knowledge more reductive and it would then better pass through the Western seive. These thoughts would have a much better chance of continuity here, if that were the case. It would also put the knowledge back into an intellectually toughened mode of budo rigor that Westerners innately comprehend -- and away from the airy, navel-gazing associations that Westerners (unfairly) give to such knowledge presented in the traditional manner of ki and kokyu skills.

What they have now is the classical East Asian empirical complex of correlations organized into an coherent, organic sytem of reference. Don't get me wrong -- it is useful and rich stuff to mine -- but it must be mined to find the essential nuggets in the cast-off rock. The nearest thing the West ever had to the Chinese traditional knowledge or the Japanese metaphysical tradition used by O Sensei was alchemy.

That type of system enables access to the knowledge and understanding of the correlation schemes that produce reliable results. But it must be duplicated rigorously to ensure the result, since the operative elements are never reduced to explicit terms. Much must be done that is not necessary, because those things were always associated with the process, and there is not a mechanism to test and eliminate them as non-functional agents. They achieve the result and transmission of knowledge -- but do not form a rigorous physical theory -- not in the Western sense of reductive learnign that we so excel at, and therefore prefer.

The closest that anyone I have seen come to this type of Western theory of action is Adele Westbrook and her husband, may he rest in peace, Oscar Ratti. Oscar Ratti's illustration work is particularly valuable in this regard. He had a keen sense of dynamics and a gift for representation in simplified schematic form. His images, if not their attempt at overall sytemization are a serious start. They basically interpreted the traditional mode into non-jargon English. They did not critically examine the nature of the system itself or really even attempt to describe a theory of action in physical or mechanical terms. Of course, no one else really has either.

I am not trying this because I am the best man for it (OH, HARDLY!), but because no else seems to be trying. I am doing it in discussions such as this, because ideas that attempt rigor need knowledgeable criticism and serious challenging to achieve it, without any excuses or apologies for the points scored, either way. Even if we get bogged down in terminology debates. Mike (when his rhetoric allows), Dan and many others have offered useful criticism to me -- which I frequently counter and argue, and they agai in fine counterpunnch fashion. It is all valuable even when wrong nonetheless for a fair swing at a valid target. Meeting and entering into those criticisms allows me to work out the issues even further as I go along this path.

To forestall one objection -- just becasue you put more rigor into a physical description does not mean you sacrifice intuiton and the innate "feel" of the art. Far from it -- the body must still be trained, but with rigor of description will come greater sharpness and rigor in training. Most advanced physics travels on well-trained intiution first and then confirmation for the advancing frontiers of those arts. Aikido should be no different.

By all means, someone please find a gifted physicicist or engineer with good knowledge of aikido to do this and I'll happily watch from the sidelines. Until then, ...

Mike Sigman
12-06-2006, 06:17 PM
(trivializing mixed with tap-dancing and verbal aerobatics, par excellence)By all means, someone please find a gifted physicicist or engineer with good knowledge of aikido to do this and I'll happily watch from the sidelines. Until then, ...Until then, Erick... until then. Auf Wiedersehen and good luck. It's up to others to satisfy your requirements or you won't learn.... ;)

Mike

Cady Goldfield
12-06-2006, 06:33 PM
Oh no. Someone had to go evoke the spirit of Oscar Ratti... :eek:

ChrisMoses
12-06-2006, 06:40 PM
The closest that anyone I have seen come to this type of Western theory of action is Adele Westbrook and her husband, may he rest in peace, Oscar Ratti. Oscar Ratti's illustration work is particularly valuable in this regard. He had a keen sense of dynamics and a gift for representation in simplified schematic form. His images, if not their attempt at overall sytemization are a serious start. They basically interpreted the traditional mode into non-jargon English. They did not critically examine the nature of the system itself or really even attempt to describe a theory of action in physical or mechanical terms. Of course, no one else really has either.



While I appreciate their effort and realize their work had the best intentions, it's my opinion that "The Dynamic Sphere" has done more to obfuscate the real core of aikido than just about any other published work. They simply were not in a position (in terms of their own understanding or training) to offer THE book on the nature of Aikido. I'm sure others will disagree with me greatly (although I would be surprised if Dan, Rob or Mike do).

George S. Ledyard
12-06-2006, 07:04 PM
While I appreciate their effort and realize their work had the best intentions, it's my opinion that "The Dynamic Sphere" has done more to obfuscate the real core of aikido than just about any other published work. They simply were not in a position (in terms of their own understanding or training) to offer THE book on the nature of Aikido. I'm sure others will disagree with me greatly (although I would be surprised if Dan, Rob or Mike do).

Back in the seventies, none of the Americans had a clue... the senior folks in American Aikido were 4th Dans when I started which was when that book was out.

Everybody just assumed that "circular" or "spiral" movement was what Aiki was about. There are still plenty of folks, as evidenced by this forum, whose limited view of what is doing on has to do with the outer form of the movement. That book was fine in its day but it had absolutely nothing to contribute with regards to the principles of kokyu, aiki, musubi, etc that are under discussion.

However, I will say this for the book... it was by far the single biggest source for Aikido illustrations for all of our publications in the early days before desk top publishing and general ownership of scanners. There was a period of time when every Aikido ad or flyer used their illustrations. Good thing they didn't feel like going after all of us for copyright issues...

Mike Sigman
12-06-2006, 07:33 PM
While I appreciate their effort and realize their work had the best intentions, it's my opinion that "The Dynamic Sphere" has done more to obfuscate the real core of aikido than just about any other published work. They simply were not in a position (in terms of their own understanding or training) to offer THE book on the nature of Aikido. I'm sure others will disagree with me greatly (although I would be surprised if Dan, Rob or Mike do).I think this 3D Aikido now out is exactly along the same lines of missing the point as "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere". Don't get me wrong... I didn't know any better back then and I had a copy of the book and I looked through it for patterns, understanding, etc., too. None of us starts out knowing things (even though there is a tendency to want to pretend that)... and the Dynamic Sphere was just a step along the way, neither good nor bad, IMO. ;)

Mike

Thomas Campbell
12-06-2006, 08:01 PM
I think this 3D Aikido now out is exactly along the same lines of missing the point as "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere". [snip]
Mike

Is this the "3D Aikido" referred to?

http://www.aikido3d.com/

Just curious. I hadn't seen the website or software before.

Erick Mead
12-06-2006, 09:11 PM
(trivializing mixed with tap-dancing and verbal aerobatics, par excellence) Until then, Erick... until then. Auf Wiedersehen and good luck. It's up to others to satisfy your requirements or you won't learn.... Really, it is even more fun without the dozens ... If you cared to serve anyone but yourself you would be concerned whether they understood in their terms, not whether they merely bowed the knee to your holy vocabulary.

And if you are representative of the self-appointed gatekeepers -- I'll just reconnoiter over the wall, thanks.. Oh, wait, ... there isn't a wall ... just that gate with the guy trying to get people to stop and get his permission go through it, rather than just to keep on walking around it.

I'll keep walking, thanks.

Mike Sigman
12-06-2006, 09:25 PM
Is this the "3D Aikido" referred to?

http://www.aikido3d.com/

Just curious. I hadn't seen the website or software before.That's it. Hmmmmm.... is it really 3D if I view it on a flatscreen? ;)

Mike Sigman
12-06-2006, 09:28 PM
And if you are representative of the self-appointed gatekeepers "Gatekeepers"?? Has someone been calling themselve gatekeepers?

Oh Erick, you big silly. There you are shaking your golden curls and stamping your tiny little feet and all I was doing was just funnin' ya.


Mike

Thomas Campbell
12-06-2006, 09:35 PM
Please, sir. I was up all last night. My head cannot handle a koan about three dimensions on a two-dimensional screen.

jeff.
12-07-2006, 03:26 AM
Does anyone support or think feasible the idea that Ueshiba thought those skills were powerful, but morally neutral - while he specifically wanted to teach about morality and correct action, especially as his attitudes changed post-war and with his other enlightenments? That one comment I saw in some Tohei article about O'Sensei being annoyed that Tohei could demonstrate immovability in an "impure" state (hungover) comes to mind. O'Sensei connected spiritual enlightenment with his physical skills, almost to the point where the physical skills were not relevant, or perhaps were taken for granted. Therefore, O'Sensei emphasized the skills and methods less after the war, while his more current interests were in the theology and moral message, since that was where his interests were at that point.. .


i've been thinking about this post since it was posted, as it goes along a certain way toward something i've been wondering about. that is: is it possible that osensei was trying to point us to something "higher" (for lack of a better term) than what we generally understand as internal skills, etc.

perhaps better put: maybe it was not so much that these skills were neutral, but rather that osensei viewed them as basic to the general physical repetoir of techniques most koryu styles have. meaning that the internal skills were still, in some sense, for him, material skills. i mean, others here have noted that daito-ryu (or at least takeda sensei) taught these skills, so perhaps we can assume their existence in most (or at least many) styles. attendant to this, of course, is osensei's sense of a grander ethical-spiritual mission for aikido. because of all of this, his statements criticizing the strictly material nature of the arts might include internal skills.

also important here, before we go on, is the fact that he seemed to emphasize making use of "venerable traditions", as long as we put them thru the aiki filter.

so why, then, wouldn't osensei teach the internal skill overtly, while obviously trying to teach the ethical-spiritual message overtly? i mean: the fact seems to be that he barely even taught the external skills overtly after a certain point, at least no more than was necessary to make a philosophical point. tho, if ellis is right, and i suspect he is, he was showing the internal skills as much, and at the same time, if you were paying attention. i think, maybe, osensei viewed these two sides as the omote and ura (in and yo) of basic waza, and so didn't meaningfully separate them the way we do. that his students missed the point would be their problem. it was all out there on the surface all along, and he was certainly demonstrating it and talking on and on about it in his way... what more could he do?

regardless, perhaps he saw his message as the ground state? and had enough foresight to know that eventually we would put whatever was needed back in? that is: he felt the need to return to an ethical ground state, knowing full well that dorky warriors such as we would eventually add in what we need from "venerable traditions" to complete our core understandings so we could progress (infinitely, one presumes) as samurai in osensei's sense. (you know, "one who serves and adheres to the power of love".) he wasn't worried that we would absorb what we need, he knew we would, and told us to do so. what was important was the message.

due to this, it would seem we would be remiss, as aikido students, to not seek out and put into practice any applicable traditions from an aiki perspective. it is important, i think, to practice the waza osensei left us, as he seemed to design them around demonstrating aiki in a grander sense. (it seems that for osensei "ki" is, ultimately, roughly equivalant to the "holy spirit" in christianity. if so, "harmony with ki" then is descriptive of the rest of his message, and the term "aikido" as a name for his system makes a lot of sense.) some of us feel certain things have gone missing, in particular, for whatever reason. thus, i think trying to seek out and put back in internal skills is important in this regard, just as putting atemi waza back in is. in fact, it would seem these two goals are much the same in spirit. the only question then is whether or not we are doing so to understand and augment aikido-as-osensei's-spiritual-recast-of-bushido-for-the-modern-world.

or some such.

jeff.

ps-- haven't really slept in a few days. end of the semester and all. hope this isn't terribly incoherent. couldn't keep it in any longer! :)

Erick Mead
12-07-2006, 06:52 AM
"Gatekeepers"?? Has someone been calling themselve gatekeepers?

Oh Erick, you big silly. There you are shaking your golden curls and stamping your tiny little feet and all I was doing was just funnin' I had suspected that your insight into people is as good as your insight into hair color.

And YOU said it, yourself, ya big silly :p : ... there are things beyond basics that I wouldn't freely give to people I thought didn't meet certain criteria. Out of curiosity, what are your criteria?Just to keep it simple, I avoid saying anything to anyone (like Chris Moses and I discussed yesterday) who would use this sort of stuff strictly to maintain his pecking-order edge. Also, I tend to favor people who are into these things for functional practice, as opposed to the people who want to add some more talk-theories to their already sizeable repertoire.

History teaches that one should automatically suspect purveyors of the "secret" hidden knowledge, worthy only of the elect.

That approach is as pernicious as it egoistic, and as Thomas suggests, deeply anthetical to the moral fabric of O Sensei's teachings.

History also shows that true knoweldge is never hidden for the benefit of those who are meant to be kept ignorant.

This does, however, explain clearly why you continually refuse to engage me squarely on the mechanics of these issues, and prefer belittlement, rhetoric and resort to arcana. Those are classic ways to avoid actual communicaiton of ideas on a truly common and independently verifiable basis from which (the great unworthy, unwashed) others might benefit in a forum such as this.

Just a thought...

Cady Goldfield
12-07-2006, 07:02 AM
Please, sir. I was up all last night. My head cannot handle a koan about three dimensions on a two-dimensional screen.

Stay away from those M. Escher lithographs, then. ;)

Erick Mead
12-07-2006, 09:21 AM
Everybody just assumed that "circular" or "spiral" movement was what Aiki was about. There are still plenty of folks, as evidenced by this forum, whose limited view of what is doing on has to do with the outer form of the movement. Ledyard Sensei provoked my recent thoughts about the nature of these mechanics in his seminar last year communicating some of what Ushiro Sensei was teaching at the Expo. It caused me to recollect my own kokyu tanden ho training and reconsider how I viewed what was actually operating.

Not that it changed what works for me in aikido, but it enlightened for me WHY it might work and how things might work better. Notably, my light bulb did not illuminate the path that Dan, Mike and the others recommend. I underwent a similer gestalt change in flight schoool when I finally realized how to physically interpret and thus to intuitively apply radial instruments, but it required a radical change of thinking and perspective on my part, or I would have surely flunked out.

Ledyard Sensei's approach (as in his recent article) to the psychological aspects of this issue is invaluable on the issues of musubi, aiki and kokyu. Psychological traiing has to be part of physical training in how to control one's own, and to grasp another's, attention and intent in action. Kinematic skills such as diving, skiiing, skating and gymnastics have benefited greatly in terms of dynamic control by addressing the same psychological means of adaptive dynamic interaction, control and the "flow state" psychology.

"Flow psychology" itself owes a great debt to contemplative Buddhism. But that body of learning made a distinct transition into the western empirical and analytical context of psychology. As a result, that flow psychology has found far broader application. It has since informed and advanced many arts that otherwise might not have engaged that knowledge. It was better able to "fit," i.e. -- the body of knowledge itself had to first achieve fit (musubi) with its surroundings, before it could blend seamlessly (aiki) with them.

But those other physical arts have also not ignored the kinematics and physical mechanics of their disciplines. They have all shown remarkable development and advancement in their technical range of skills since they have done so.

But the mechanics of aikido (and judo or jujutsu for that matter) are still woefully lacking (as specifically illustrated by the magnificent failure of Dynamic Sphere). The state of knowledge in this area, as I have said, remains stuck at the level of alchemy in Western terms. It all works -- but has no valid physical theory in Western terms.

Should we then be surprised that many aikido practitioners' discussions of "aikido principles" would tend track that of the Philosopher's Stone in terms of its rational, empirical significance? Is that really where we want to repose the modern legacy of budo? O Sensei did not -- and said so in Budo Renshu. He explored these in the idiom that "fit" him and his time. It is up to us to find the fit of these ideas for our own time and circumstance.

None of us is violtaing the laws of physics here. It just might be that nailing down which ones are actually being employed, and in what manner, might be helpful.

Anybody that wants to can check my thoughts on mechanics and can gig me publicly for any error I commit. It's not that hard -- I am not that good. I probably commit a fair number of errors. I commend David Knowlton for meeting me on this level to challenge me on the related stability questions of angular moment and bicycles. It illustrates that no one has to take what I say at face value. Go look it up and work it out. Go propose a different physical mode of action - internal or external. Defend it.

Without a valid physical theory aikido can never progress or develop in Western terms. That is why these issues are stuck where you all are complaining about it in the level of aikido training generally. Japan is and has been an increasingly Western oriented nation since about 1869, and doubly so since 1945.

That is why these things are being overlooked or ignored in the training of aikido generally. They just do not fit. They have lost musubi. The ideas are invaluable, but they (or, more to the point -- we) have not made the necessary transition to connect to the concepts of this time and place. They will continue to be overlooked or ignored in any arena of Western learning (here or in Japan) unless something is done to address that problem.

The mind of aikido has become fixed on its own paradigm thus violating the principle of fudoshin. Dan and Mike are right about the symptoms, but wrong on the diagnosis, and thus, wrong on the cure.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing that has repeatedly failed in the hope of a different result. Some of you say that these ideas have failed to be communicated. You are right. Some of you say you are doing something differnt. You think you are doing something different.

But really, you are singing the same song, just a verse that is different from the one you don't like. Yes, singing the same tune louder masks some part of the underlying dissonance -- but it doesn't actually come into harmony.

A new tune has become the fundamental to the larger orchestral movement in which we exist. We must change our key or no one will want to listen to us. And closing ourselves off in a sound-proof practice room means we will only be hearing ourselves play.

Just a thought...

Erick Mead
12-07-2006, 09:28 AM
... as Thomas suggests, ...Meant Jeff. Too late to catch for the edit. Apologies all round.

Thomas Campbell
12-07-2006, 10:51 AM
Meant Jeff. Too late to catch for the edit. Apologies all round.

No worries. I'm only posting to clarify and to expressly disclaim having any substantive insights into "the moral fabric of O Sensei's teachings." I certainly don't have any substantive insights into the nature of aikido practice. But I am very interested, and this is a fortunate time to be looking at aikido, because aikido is looking at its own practice, and the questions and insights are helpful. Thanks to everyone contributing on this and related threads.

Gwion
12-07-2006, 11:16 AM
How is it that the entire Aikido community is NOT completely about learning ki from day one? But it's an obvious fact that they're not.... unless you want to argue that I just am not recognizing it when I see it. ;)

Best.

Mike

Well I've been to a lot of dojos, yoshinkan, shodokan, aikikai, and so forth. I would agree that there is a general understanding of center and ki going on everywhere. However, Tohei's main mission and emphasis is that ki comes from a relaxed physical state and relaxed mind, coordinated and acting as one. RELAXED is the key word here. This seems to have been lost or never taught in a lot of other schools. Go on You Tube and look at any Aikikai demonstration and you'll see high level yudanasha throwing people with the infamous spread 'eagle claw' fingers, stiff shoulders, and on close examination, generally stiff and muscled movements. (and sometimes poor balance)

a clear comparison would be this relaxed example of tohei himself:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kpgQ4hupYQ
(notice if you can his fingers, shoulders, and rest of body stay completely relaxed)


and this high ranking shihanin aikikai:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_wFJDbaJyw
(by comparison, this appears to have excessive pushing and force application as well) I'm not saying this is 'bad' aikido, but it's definitely 'tense' and while relative to street fighting very relaxed, it lacks the incredible emphasis on relaxation.

Tohei's aikido seems more genuinely 'powerful' and of course without all that muscle tension to slow him down, much much faster.

I"m not arguing that one style is better, just that one is more relaxed. And if you believe that ki flows better in a relaxed body, then the more relaxed you are, the more ki .

:circle: :square: :triangle:

PS now if you wanna take relaxation to the ultimate extreme, there is this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzR1lsLm5RA&NR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXa7q0Zz_LA&mode=related&search=

Ron Tisdale
12-07-2006, 11:21 AM
Hi Wayne,

Who do you think the uke is in the first clip with Tohei??? ;)

Best,
Ron

Mark Freeman
12-07-2006, 11:24 AM
Well I've been to a lot of dojos, yoshinkan, shodokan, aikikai, and so forth. I would agree that there is a general understanding of center and ki going on everywhere. However, Tohei's main mission and emphasis is that ki comes from a relaxed physical state and relaxed mind, coordinated and acting as one. RELAXED is the key word here. This seems to have been lost or never taught in a lot of other schools. Go on You Tube and look at any Aikikai demonstration and you'll see high level yudanasha throwing people with the infamous spread 'eagle claw' fingers, stiff shoulders, and on close examination, generally stiff and muscled movements. (and sometimes poor balance)

a clear comparison would be this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kpgQ4hupYQ
(notice if you can his fingers, shoulders, and rest of body stay completely relaxed)


and this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_wFJDbaJyw
I'm not saying this is 'bad' aikido, but it's definitely 'tense' and while relative to street fighting very relaxed, it lacks the incredible emphasis on relaxation.

almost brutal, forced, and 'mean' by comparison. yet for some reason, Tohei's aikido seems more genuinely 'powerful' and of course without all that muscle tension to slow him down, much much faster.

I"m not arguing that one style is better, just that one is more relaxed. And if you believe that ki flows better in a relaxed body, then the more relaxed you are, the more ki .

:circle: :square: :triangle:

Head down Wayne...."Incoming" ...:eek:

Gwion
12-07-2006, 11:27 AM
Head down Wayne...."Incoming" ...:eek:

hey it's a discussion board, gotta stir things up a bit right?

lol :D

Ron Tisdale
12-07-2006, 11:27 AM
Nah...I'm too nice to take the shot...that's why I'm letting him figure it out for himself. ;) And being from the yoshinkan, I have nothing invested in the New York Aikikai one way or the other. But hey, if you're willing to stick your head up out of the trench, don't be too surprised if someone *does* take the shot...that's what usually happens. :)

Best,
Ron

Mark Freeman
12-07-2006, 11:29 AM
hey it's a discussion board, gotta stir things up a bit right?

lol :D

Very true! Follow me, I'm right behind you :D

Gwion
12-07-2006, 12:02 PM
Nah...I'm too nice to take the shot...that's why I'm letting him figure it out for himself. ;) And being from the yoshinkan, I have nothing invested in the New York Aikikai one way or the other. But hey, if you're willing to stick your head up out of the trench, don't be too surprised if someone *does* take the shot...that's what usually happens. :)

Best,
Ron

woah, are you saying I'm on a hit list now?

ChrisMoses
12-07-2006, 12:02 PM
Well I've been to a lot of dojos, yoshinkan, shodokan, aikikai, and so forth. I would agree that there is a general understanding of center and ki going on everywhere. However, Tohei's main mission and emphasis is that ki comes from a relaxed physical state and relaxed mind, coordinated and acting as one. RELAXED is the key word here.

I can't for the life of me find the video of Tohei trying to throw the big dumb white reporter from "Rendevous With Adventure." I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about though. Anyway, Tohei's not very relaxed there. It's amazing how relaxed you can be when people are going with whatever you do. I think the Ki Society totally misses it with their 4 principles. Relax completely should be Relax correctly as far as I'm concerned. I could go on, but that's probably enough. I too used the think the Yoshinkan didn't "get it." I still think a lot of people in the Yoshinkan don't, but I now think there is something there to get.

Gwion
12-07-2006, 12:03 PM
Hi Wayne,

Who do you think the uke is in the first clip with Tohei??? ;)

Best,
Ron

Is that you in that clip Ron?

lol

Mark Gibbons
12-07-2006, 12:17 PM
Hi Wayne,
Who do you think the uke is in the first clip with Tohei??? ;)

I'll never figure it out, all though I have an ironic guess. Could you post the name tomorrow (just long enough to torture us) to resolve my curiosity?
Thanks,
Mark

Ron Tisdale
12-07-2006, 12:20 PM
Let's say that his initials are YY...and he currently lives in NY...

B,
R ;)

Mark Gibbons
12-07-2006, 12:21 PM
Funny that was my ironic guess.
Thanks,
Mark

Ron Tisdale
12-07-2006, 12:47 PM
it is rather humorous, isn't it, given the nature of the post, no?

Hey, it's all good though...

B,
R

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-07-2006, 06:59 PM
Well I've been to a lot of dojos, yoshinkan, shodokan, aikikai, and so forth. I would agree that there is a general understanding of center and ki going on everywhere. However, Tohei's main mission and emphasis is that ki comes from a relaxed physical state and relaxed mind, coordinated and acting as one. RELAXED is the key word here. This seems to have been lost or never taught in a lot of other schools. /.../ Tohei's aikido seems more genuinely 'powerful' and of course without all that muscle tension to slow him down, much much faster. /../

I can't stop quoting Kuroda Tetsuzan - it's just so much easier when it's already in print :-) Kata trains the one-movement type of coordination, where each to and fro motion becomes a single action.
He demonstrates this to beginners to give them the idea of what speed means in martial arts (many beginners come from boxing, karate, grappling, competitive MMA and so forth). First he shows a strike with normal body movement, as fast and hard as he can. Second, he does the same thing using single-movement coordination. Everyone usually picks the first one as the fastest and baddest. Then, he puts his hand against the beginner's stomach to feel the muscles, and does a similar strike with the other hand, which they should block. On the first type, he says he feels the stomach muscles working at the moment he starts his strike, so the blocks is already working. On the second type, the other person's muscles only start to work as Kuroda's hand is already travelling back from it's strike. So, he says, the martial arts masters are actually physically slower than full-speed strikers using normal coordination. It's not about the absolute power and speed. Using the one-movement coordination trained in kata wipes out any advnace signal of impending movement, so that even people who know what is coming cannot block it in time using their conventional coordination. This is not simple stuff, not addons to normal coordination.

Minoru Akuzawa does things similarly, when playing around with us in classes. He'll put out his hand to touch someone's face or body with a light tap, and actually I can remember intellectually that they never moved very fast, except that I could never remember in time to actually do something about it :D

DH
12-07-2006, 10:01 PM
This has long been recognized as an aspect of Bujutsu training. But the important thing is that the physical aspects can be shown to actually attain unity of movement but rarely has been I'd bet. Better than the happenstance of twenty years of training. Where some get it and most do not.

But the body training and the movement has actual use in fighting.
Consider the old addage of Suigetsu and why it is so often written about. Movement in grappling is fine, But movement.... with edged weapons was deadly. Suddenly...... Moon / water and the potential for ...instant connection of two entities.... has more relevance.

Since we're yaking abut this stuff, how we carry our weight and the movement through the spine, is as pertinent as the movement itself. And the result of this type of body movement is significant on contact. For those who train in grappling the displacement and movement potential, not to mention striking. And for me the Counter-punching potential become profound. I am told constantly that they can't see them coming. Even something simple as a double underhook and leg wrap can be nuetralized without moving. And the abiltiy to "hear" is far more real.
Since this is new to some guys I'd encourage getting into grappling to try your skills. Your going to find a whole new dynamic and potential there where skilled guys will simply not be able to get in. You will have their center on touch. Other commen things will be them locking themselvs up momentarily. And if they are astute grapplers they will dump out and change up continually trying to get in.
For those who are new to things, theres going to be a lot of fun to offset the agony of training. :D

cheers
Dan

billybob
12-08-2006, 08:14 AM
I love aikido. I saw Sensei make someone fall without touching them (caught their eyes irimi) while icing a dislocated shoulder I got from (poor practice on my part) judo class.

I knew that that was where my judo had been headed before I got injured a few years prior. I began to study.
----------
Mode of inquiry:
Erick Mead makes a valid point - why not subject aikido to the rigors of western thought? I criticized him for exactly that, and for talking over people's heads. At age 8 I saw students attaching paper to bushes to measure their growth - abomination! I tore all the papers off. Now, years later I am proud to call myself a scientist.

I understand why Erick and Mike Sigman grouse at each other. I think Sensei Harden knows why I 'jumped' him.

To not run on I'll speak by analogy: Five years ago my physical therapist taught me how to get in and out of my chair at work. He said of getting up: 'Bring one foot back, bend forward and lose the horizon, fall forward onto your feet, then regain the horizon. Now push up, don't pull with your legs, and you'll be standing'. The fool! It taught me nothing! Until now. I am opening the muscles/nerves around my battered groin and feeling what is there. The exercise has taken on a whole new dimension of sensation, opening, strengthening and wonderful glorious intense pain - which I prefer to numbness.

How will we train aikido?

David

ChrisMoses
12-08-2006, 08:48 AM
Mode of inquiry:
Erick Mead makes a valid point - why not subject aikido to the rigors of western thought? I criticized him for exactly that, and for talking over people's heads. At age 8 I saw students attaching paper to bushes to measure their growth - abomination! I tore all the papers off. Now, years later I am proud to call myself a scientist.



Since you have a judo background, you know that this was, in many ways, Kano Sensei's intent. He was educated in Western methodologies of Phyisical Education in addition to his jujutsu background. Perhaps it was this new mental paradigm that led him to put "that feeling" into a clear conceptual concept (kuzushi) and develop a sylabus to teach it. Aikido could have used these same concepts and added to them in a similar manner, but for whatever reason it didn't. Personally I think this was because Ueshiba was a martial genious and a deeply religious person, but was not a scientist. He described aikido in just as sophisticated a lexicon as any scientist could hope for, but it was an obscure lexicon of ancient deities and fringe religious teachings. (This last point is admittedly conjecture. I never met the man, never studied with him, but this is the picture I have drawn from all of the primary sources I have read.) That doesn't do me much good. I have a physics degree with a math minor and enough anatomy/physiology/phychology courses to fill entrance requirements for a Physical Therapy program (I was trying to make a career change a while back). I think in structures, rules and psychological phenomena.

One of the greatest gifts I've gotten from my current teacher is a lexicon for aikido/budo/jutsu that actually means something to me. Sometimes I take it too literally, but just as any new language is learned, the subtlety and depth of meaning requires 'living' in the language for a while.

Short version? There are already people and groups out there that have done this to a large degree, but by doing so, have moved themselves out of the art. It's a slippery slope, remember that before you can ask yourself HOW something works, you have to be pretty confident THAT it works. ;)

billybob
12-08-2006, 08:57 AM
Chris,

If we meet at a seminar would you favor me with some judo style randori please? I sorely miss it - and I love to fall. Some guys at my dojo know how to do randori but they decline to play with me - I hope it is the sucky mats and not my body odor problem.

david

Esaemann
12-08-2006, 10:23 AM
I guess I'll jump in, and anybody can take whatever they want out of it.

I've been doing aikido for about 5 years now, and tai chi seriously for about 3 (started 8 yrs ago).

In aikido, I always have to consiously think about relaxing, and when practice gets heated up (with someone I'm comfortable) I revert to non-relaxing and using muscle.

In tai chi, relaxing comes easier. Probably moreso because that is the attitude in my Daoguan among everyone. We have the same set of students since I began.

Learning to use jin (or chi) power in a martial sense has eluded me thus far. I believe that obtaining this power for healing self and becoming stronger physically and mentally is much easier than martially. I'm buying into the statements that if you practice for 2 to 4 hours a day for 10 years, you will develop effective internal power. It also sounds better than saying there is no such thing as internal power that can be used to throw someone without touching them. I have at times felt sensations during tai chi and meditation that I haven't in aikido. From what I've read and understand, these sensations only come when one is totally relaxed (so to speak). Also, it seems much easier to effect change (even internally (even at a very base/cell level)) in self, than to affect someone else.

For those seeking internal power, it is definitely an individual journey (taoist philosophy) even if you are fortunate enough to have access to an effective teacher.

Is it possible to find an effective teacher? I'm not even sure if mine is an effective(?) teacher for developing martial internal power.

ChrisMoses
12-08-2006, 10:53 AM
Chris,

If we meet at a seminar would you favor me with some judo style randori please? I sorely miss it - and I love to fall. Some guys at my dojo know how to do randori but they decline to play with me - I hope it is the sucky mats and not my body odor problem.

david

Sure, but keep in mind that I suck. You'll probably dump me all over the place. That can be fun too though. :D

billybob
12-08-2006, 11:15 AM
Chris, can't wait brother!

Esaemann - Learning to use jin (or chi) power in a martial sense has eluded me thus far. I believe that obtaining this power for healing self and becoming stronger physically and mentally is much easier than martially.

Martial sense:
Here is where I get philosophical; sorry if it's a threadjak. Martial does not have to mean kicking the s__t out of someone. If attacked I can poke my finger through the eye, step in and break the person's neck OR I can step inside thir strike, hug them, and lay them gently to the ground, then run like hell.

Prewar, postwar, I don't care. I like the broadminded, be gentle to all others approach that Dr. Kano and OSensei put across. I think it works in the real world. I am not in prison now, because I chose Not to kill. It don't get more real world than that.

On topic, do we make aikido more like judo, or should I drop everything and stick to solo bokken and chi kung for ten years?

dave

Erick Mead
12-08-2006, 03:37 PM
... Kano Sensei's intent. He was educated in Western methodologies of Phyisical Education ...
Aikido could have used these same concepts... but ... didn't. Ueshiba ... was not a scientist. He described aikido in just as sophisticated a lexicon as any scientist could hope for, but it was ... obscure ... . I firmly believe that everything he said or wrote or was recorded in teaching must be preserved AND APPLIED in relation to aikido. While it is alchemical knowledge in its nature, that is not derogatory in any way. It describes a certain type of non-reductionist symbolic knowledge. Without the direct legacy of alchemy we would not have either organic or inorganic chemistry, for instance. Without the indirect legacy of alchemy the very basis of metatheory in empirical science, as early developed by Bacon, would not exist.

There are many potential mechanical perspectives on interpretion of these principles. Several of them could be equally valid from differnt perspectives or in understanding certain principles of action at different scales, for instance.
I think in structures, rules and psychological phenomena. Then we truly have common ground.
One of the greatest gifts I've gotten from my current teacher is a lexicon for aikido/budo/jutsu that actually means something to me. Is it drawn from mechanics? What is his approach?

Jacques Heyman, an engineer, and who, as far as I know, doesn't even know what aikido is, started me thinking about structures and their mechanical interpretation in ways that called up aikido for me. A good start is his book translating and discussing the principles of analysis used in "Colulomb's Memoir on Statics." Particular attention should be given to the principles graphically illustrated on the cover of the 1998 edition. and if you get a copy , the discussion of that topic. See here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1860940579/ref=sib_dp_pop_fc/103-5006222-7503008?ie=UTF8&p=S001#reader-link
There are already people and groups out there that have done this to a large degree, but by doing so, have moved themselves out of the art. It's a slippery slope, Which is why I want to constantly check the mechnical interpretation against actual practice and the sources that O Sensie gave us. It is necessary to have the patience to delve into both streams of learning to do this.

O Sensei is and must be the acid test for anything that aspires to be aikido. Budo Renshu, the Takemusu Aiki lectures or in the lectures and depictions of the kotodama and mandala, and tehcniques and principles he otherwise communicated all have application to this effort. I do not propose to abandon any of them. Far from it. I wish draw from them to re-relate that knowledge into one or more recognized systems of mechanics, as Ledyard Sensei is re-relating the knowledge in a system of psychology.

Ledyard started me thinking in this way because of his way of translating O Sensei's concepts into terms of Western psychology. On that point, an excellent analyst of the psychology of budo from a purely Western perspective is John Hillman (a direct student of Carl Jung). He wrote "A Terrible Love of War." I found it remaindered at the Barnes & Noble. It is a marvelous book summing up his ideas drawn from a lifetime of psychological study and practice in Jung's method. What is intrgiguing is that like O Sensei, Hillman deeply relates the principles of both war and love using a Jungian mytholigical backdrop, from bothe clasical and modern sources. It gives some strong examples of how to do the same thing in approaching the functional symbolic imagery that O Sensei drew from the Kojiki. One sentence from one scene in one film, Patton, sums up what this book tries to understand. The general walks the field after a battle. Churned earth, burnt tanks, dead men. He takes up a dying officer, kisses him, surveys the havoc, and says,

"I love it. God help me, I do love it so. I love it more than my life."

DH
12-08-2006, 08:30 PM
Ueshiba a martial Genius?

I'd say he had a good teacher and was talented guy. He didn't invent this stuff. As much credit goes to Takeda as him.

As for the means he used to express it? I think that had an evolutionary source as well

I believe in Ueshiba's vision.
I also believe that what we see in much of Aikido today…..aint it.
Ueshiba could not be touched
Takeda could not be touched
Sagawa could not be touched
Kodo could not be touched

So I guess saying there all genius's saves giving credit where credit is due. That being the only one --they-had in common was Takeda
How Uehsiba's skills morphed into Aiki-do and how his students morphed into receivers is explicable. When one can generate internal power and control incoming forces then they themselves can see the effects it creats and the way it affects and attacker. Play with the same attackers for long time and their attacks become fairly useless on you. They know it and it changes the game.
I believe....as Ueshiba got better. He realized that he could not be touched. I believe as a result of that…. the ukes changed. Their attacks changed, and then, since the repelling and power generation of Ueshiba changed as Ueshiba could repel and draw them and lead them……. The art gradually solidified and changed into the open type of attacks seen on all those videos..
And this.....this key marriage between the ability to be untouchable and how it repels aggressors....was the later day birth of Aikido.
It became the engine that drove --him- but was not taught.

And I actually admire the goal and vision.
But without the internals, its hollow and insipid and the whole conceptual framework of attack and true control becomes, half hearted, open attacks, with out any need of internal skills to control anything to begin with. It becomes just a watered down jujutsu. And for some worse.

As for conflict
One can love conflict and the physical game of chess with out having become warped, violence mongers by it. Men from of all walks of life have enjoyed that play in all era's
The argument that those who love it are of small mind is a frequently used insult also cast on the military. Similar to Kerry's grade point average at Yale being below Bush's yet he derides his intelligence and our service people who are on average better edicated then the same section populace age group.
In Ueshiba's case one can argue he had to become internally strong and technically skilled before he could become enlightended enough to have access to skills that could power his "vision" to draw a successful solution to conflict. How? by drawing, repelling, and contolling through internal power.

But hey if we're talking peace, love and visions.....His path, in the end was just not to far afield from the well worn highway of
"Peace.... through strength. ;)


Cheers
Dan

Rupert Atkinson
12-08-2006, 11:30 PM
And I actually admire the goal and vision.
But without the internals, its hollow and insipid and the whole conceptual framework of attack and true control becomes, half hearted, open attacks, with out any need of internal skills to control anything to begin with. It becomes just a watered down jujutsu. And for some worse.
Dan

That, is hitting the nail on its head.

billybob
12-09-2006, 02:28 PM
Bull by the horns:

Erick, I was a small asthmatic kid when I started judo, and frequently had histamine reactions when I trained - result, not much muscle to begin with.

I was motivated to learn judo because I expected to be beaten to death by my father before age twenty. (I was almost right)

My wise old Sensei told me judo would not make me invincible but could be used to lessen injury in rough situations. I was sold. I gave it all my heart and soul. What I am offering, perhaps in poor taste, are my credentials for saying - I learned some internal stuff.

No one was there to talk about it with me. Small town, narrow culture, Sensei just smiled and kept quiet. The wise old man from my (Catholic) church, would have helped, but he did not experience what I did.

Example of internal power: I could sit in a desk in school and grip the opposite side of the flat top. By shifting the way my body levered off itself, from the inside, I could tear the desk top off its screws and no one could see what I was doing because there was no movement, especially if i was wearing long sleeves and the muscles in my forearms were not visible. Those flexed visibly.
-----------------
So, I submit that we can talk about internal power as being 'the way of shifting one's body leverage without it being apparent'. The word 'Gestalt' might come up in our discussion - 'the Whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Self indulgence - My mind got very calm, and I couldn't understand english words when I did judo. As I reflected I thought perhaps I was reverting to an 'animal' state. Later I wondered if maybe I was different than the animals only in that I could 'reprogram'. I could set my internal leverage to do judo, or to jump high in volleyball, or to ride a bicycle without straining my neck. But I had no one to talk to about it!

Now I do, but we all like to argue, me included.

dave

Mark Jakabcsin
12-11-2006, 11:38 AM
I must start with an appology. I have not kept up reading this thread so what I have to add may have been covered, is so I appologize. Unfortunately this thread is longer than I currently I have time to read.

Anyway, I have been reading a book that came out this year called "Zen Body-Being: An Enlightened Approach to Physical Skill, Grace and Power" by Peter Ralston.

Disclaimer: I have never met Peter Ralston nor I have seen him on video, hence my limited opinion is solely based on the parts of the book I have read so far.

Opinion: The book is worthwile reading for those starting out in their discovery of internal training. Peter gives 5 basic principles and 14 structural points to focus on training. The book contains a number of individual drills that enable the reader to experience the principles and structural points in a meaningful way. By following the directions an observant and persistent person can learn a good deal about themselves and improve his/her body skills.

I do want to caution that the first 60 pages of the book are difficult. While there is definetly good information found in those pages, it is much longer and wordy then necessary.

For those with a solid background in the internal arts it is unlikely you will find anything new. Although the method that Peter uses to discribe feelings and connections may be useful for those that teach and share the art.

Take care and enjoy,

Mark J.

Mark Freeman
12-11-2006, 04:38 PM
Thanks for the heads up Mark, I'll definitely add this one to my Xmas wants list.

regards,

Mark

Mark Gibbons
12-13-2006, 02:54 PM
Looks like my home dojo will be having Tai Ji Chen 24 form and Tai Ji push hands classes next year in addition to Aikido. Interesting.

Mark G.