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Ron Tisdale
02-09-2007, 07:53 AM
Nah, that's just Neil channelling Toby...

:D

b,
r

Mike Sigman
02-09-2007, 07:55 AM
And that damn Mike he ain;t no spring chicken either. He's damn near gray as me. Did I say damn kids already? You can only be young once, Dennis, but you can be immature forever. ;)

I like the way Rob posts. He's blunt and he tells the truth. Heck, I'm a lot older than 50, Dennis, but I never worry about something I can't control. And when I was Rob's age, I thought exactly the same way about age as he did.... it comes with the territory. ;)

Mike

Dennis Hooker
02-09-2007, 07:56 AM
Very true, Rob, as anyone with any exerience knows. You gotta meet the guy and feel him.

;)

Mike


You two have summed it up I believe. I do like brevity that makes the point.

Dennis Hooker
02-09-2007, 08:32 AM
You can only be young once, Dennis, but you can be immature forever. ;)

I like the way Rob posts. He's blunt and he tells the truth. Heck, I'm a lot older than 50, Dennis, but I never worry about something I can't control. And when I was Rob's age, I thought exactly the same way about age as he did.... it comes with the territory. ;)

Mike


Mike I love getting old. It beats the hell out of the alternative. I will get old as long as I can, hopefully with a since of humor and a touch of immaturity which will leave a little growing room. .

Eddie deGuzman
02-09-2007, 10:00 AM
Thanks for rephrasing the question Raul.

Yes, Eddie... "moving" and "different" how? Vague descriptions mean squat to me...

The example I used clearly illustrates that "different" can mean different things... whether one is moving or not.

What I find odd is the need to justify your mat time to me, when it was neither requested nor relevant to my question.

What would be more helpful to the discussion is, if you could not only do what was illustrated in my example, but also explain how it works...
Iggy, :crazy: Sheesh, a fella can't even say "Hey, that happened to me" without being asked to prove it AND on the internet, no less. Apparently vague descriptions don't mean squat to you. Sorry I presumed more. ;)

Sure, I can do what I think you're describing. And to describe it, my perspective is that your perspective is wrong. You did not "connect" with his arm, he connected with yours. :hypno:

If my experience bothers you, forget I mentioned it. BTW, before you snipe at me for NOT answering your question, you might want to ask one first. There is no question there, dude. I'd call that OVERextension! :p

To phrase it a little clearer, I do aikido differently now. And Raul, different how, would be better. :D

AND AS EVERYONE HAS ALREADY SAID, it makes no difference until someone feels it. So, I guess we're all gonna have to hold hands someday. :eek: And if that's what it boils down to, then it makes no sense to say one can do something, and it makes no sense to ask someone if they can do what another person did and then ask them to describe it. Well, that pretty much ends this entire discussion on a baseline skillset. :straightf

Mike Sigman
02-09-2007, 10:12 AM
Mike I love getting old. It beats the hell out of the alternative. I will get old as long as I can, hopefully with a since of humor and a touch of immaturity which will leave a little growing room. .Well, I wish I enjoyed it as much as you do, Dennis, but I hate seeing my faculties decline. My sex drive has dropped so much that I'm down to only doing it 5 times a night instead of the usual 7. On the plus side, that leaves me more time to workout. ;)

I've been able to gradually become more spiritual and have been able to conquer some of my bad habits like fightin' and cursing. Godamn did I used to curse!

The really nice thing about gettin older is that nobody can kid you about it.... if they do, they remember it sheepishly a few years later and wish they hadn't been such an obvious chump. ;)

Best.

Mike

ChrisMoses
02-09-2007, 12:34 PM
Words say a lot though. And anyone that's called me out hasn't made me eat them so far :)


Well that's as good a segue as any... ;)

I hadn't checked in on this thread in a while, and I admit to skimming about the last 2/3s... I wanted to make a few points however.

First, let me offer some distinctions that I think are being ignored or perhaps that people are just unaware of. The usual disclaimers apply: you might do things differently, I haven’t felt everyone, I don’t know everything, terminology may differ, warning generalizations ahead! Ok, now that that’s done. I believe that aiki movements can be generally sorted into active and passive connections. My experience has been that (at least within the Aikido circles I’m most familiar) that passive connection is the dominant paradigm, both in terms of philosophy and practical mat time. Passive connection emphasizes relaxation, sensitivity and leading. The way most people practice this ignores the necessity of any kind of fajing as I currently understand it. Kokyu (the best aiki term I can think of to describe fajing) exists in this context as a way to relax more and more to allow the encounter to happen. This often leads to the idea of musubi, of blending with the encounter. This isn’t exclusive to aikido, if you look at the Roppokai, they’re doing the same thing within Daito ryu. On the other side of the coin, you have active connection aiki, the kind that feels like you ran into a brick wall or got blasted with a firehose. Hopefully we’ve all experienced this kind of training, where as uke, we feel oddly compelled to move and fall a certain way. The stuff that Kondo Sensei demonstrates of Daito ryu is a great example of this kind of connection.

Before I met and started training with Neil, while I’d felt the active connection stuff, I don’t think anyone had ever told me how to do it, or that they were even doing it. Then after meeting with Rob and Ark, I found a whole system for developing the internal skills necessary to have this kind of connection without the loss of sensitivity that comes from simply muscling through someone. Often, when people were doing active connection, they would explain what they were doing in terms that led one to use passive connection. This kind of aiki depends on powerful kokyu/fajing. It’s critical that it be done right so that this kind or unstoppable power can be delivered with maximum efficiency and disorientation to uke. So if you primarily do passive connection stuff, what Rob, Mike and Dan are talking about will generally not make a lot of sense and will likely not sound like aikido. Here’s what confuses me about aikido: *every* super-senior mucky muck in aikido that has tossed my sorry butt around has used TONS of active connection, such that I felt powerless to stop their throw, and yet, almost none of them teach how to do this, but rather seem to focus almost exclusively on passive connection. As a result, almost all of their students, who are now teachers in their own rights, continue to focus almost exclusively on the passive connection stuff. Long story short, I now believe the stuff Ark’s teaching is (or at least can be) the baseline skills that explain how all those senior Aiki folks did what they did, but only if you give up the notion that passive connection is the only thing going. Mind you, I’m not saying that active connection is the only thing going either, I realize that a combination of the two is critical. Ark was able to easily transition from passive to active connection as smoothly as he did (I believe) because when you get these skills down, internally *you as nage* aren’t changing much internally, but rather you’re just changing the direction of your focus. Even when you’re whisper soft, your internal structure is sprung *not flaccid* so that the moment that kokyu/fajing becomes most advantageous, you simply release it outward. Now from the other side, it feels like nothing, nothing, nothing, EVERYTHING! If however internally you’re doing nothing as nage, you have to start something to generate power, and that gets telegraphed a mile away. That’s one of the reasons that in the second video posted, the receiver gets bounced off so hard, there’s no wind up or opportunity to absorb the power release.

There’s a belief in aikido that when you (as the attacker) exert a lot of pressure/force on nage, you somehow weaken yourself. This is only true if you don’t understand how to generate this force without coming out of your own base. I was at an aikido seminar recently with a senior aikido teacher who I greatly respect, both personally and martially. We were doing a kind of standing kokyuho exercise, and because I was using some of the internal stuff I’ve been playing with recently, my partner was having some trouble moving me. I should be clear that I was backed WAY off from the level of resistance I’m used to. The instructor came over to show that “the harder I resisted, the easier I was to throw.” He assumed the role of nage and asked me to resist, so I resisted very hard using the rear cross and some of the dynamics of the push-out exercise (at least as I understand it now…). Once he felt enough pressure, he said, “good,” and then went to do the kokyu to show how much easier I was to move. As he pressed into me, I felt him rebound and then he had to shuffle step backwards a couple inches to catch his balance. This is someone who has decades of training over me. He made quick eye contact and I shifted to a more typical muscular (meaning more what he was expecting) resistance and he finished the move. There is no way I could have done that six months ago.

That’s good enough to start. On a related note, Rob John was good enough to agree to do a workshop here in Seattle on 2/17 while he’s in town. There are a few spots open (space is limited), so if you’d like to attend, shoot me a PM or an email and I can give you more specifics.

Mike Sigman
02-09-2007, 12:58 PM
..... The instructor came over to show that "the harder I resisted, the easier I was to throw." He assumed the role of nage and asked me to resist, so I resisted very hard using the rear cross and some of the dynamics of the push-out exercise (at least as I understand it now…). Once he felt enough pressure, he said, "good," and then went to do the kokyu to show how much easier I was to move. As he pressed into me, I felt him rebound and then he had to shuffle step backwards a couple inches to catch his balance. This is someone who has decades of training over me. He made quick eye contact and I shifted to a more typical muscular (meaning more what he was expecting) resistance and he finished the move. There is no way I could have done that six months ago..... Not to belabour the point, Chris, what you described was not resistance really (although you could refine it even more with practice). At the point that his own force made him rebound, you effectively weren't resisting but adding to his own force... i.e., "blending with his force". You became nage and responded to his attack.... you could even done a technique as a smoothe transition an it would simply have been good Aikido. ;)

Best.

Mike

ChrisMoses
02-09-2007, 01:37 PM
Not to belabour the point, Chris, what you described was not resistance really (although you could refine it even more with practice).

Good point Mike, I was using the more common terminology. I much prefer terms like 'engagement' over 'resistance'. They imply a much more dynamic relationship.

Ron Tisdale
02-09-2007, 02:01 PM
Nice post Chris. I'm a little currious...did the instructor make any mention of what happened privately? It's nice to see that he didn't try to trash you (some I've heard of would) for that...but I guess what I'd like to see is "hey, that was cool, can you do it this way?", or "can you teach me that?"...

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
02-09-2007, 02:39 PM
Nice post Chris. I'm a little currious...did the instructor make any mention of what happened privately? It's nice to see that he didn't try to trash you (some I've heard of would) for that...but I guess what I'd like to see is "hey, that was cool, can you do it this way?", or "can you teach me that?"...

Best,
Ron

Didn't try and trash me, or follow up with an, "Oh yeah?" throw. Didn't ask about it either, so I'm not sure what his experience of it was. It was a really fun seminar though. :)

Dennis Hooker
02-09-2007, 02:45 PM
Didn't try and trash me, or follow up with an, "Oh yeah?" throw. Didn't ask about it either, so I'm not sure what his experience of it was. It was a really fun seminar though. :)

I love those little happy moments in class. I will usually stop class and ask folks to watch it done again. Hopefully the person can do it again. Sometimes though it's just part of the flow of class. I am glad the teacher took it well. Good example for others. Sometimes when I see someone doing something very well I will ask them to demonstrate it to the class. Most folks don't mind.

raul rodrigo
02-09-2007, 03:57 PM
To phrase it a little clearer, I do aikido differently now. And Raul, different how, would be better.


I wasnt trying to cast doubt on what you can do, Eddie, just asking for clarification. my apologies if you felt otherwise.

eyrie
02-09-2007, 06:04 PM
Great post Chris...

statisticool
02-09-2007, 06:12 PM
What I find odd is that you allow Mike his insight after coming to Japan and feeling this technique yet disallow the nearly 23 years I have on the mat, the last thirteen and counting of which have been here in Japan.


As far as I'm concerned and I think most people are concerned, 23 years on the mat is much more impressive in terms of mastery of an art than someone, anyone, who theorizes about this and that and 'proves' it by giving 'let's play nice' demos.

DH
02-09-2007, 06:17 PM
As far as I'm concerned and I think most people are concerned, 23 years on the mat is much more impressive in terms of mastery of an art than someone, anyone, who theorizes about this and that and 'proves' it by giving 'let's play nice' demos.

As far as I'm concerned 23 years of aikido IS... 23 yrs of playing nice demos.

I really don't care who has what time-in where.
-Your- understanding is in your hands.
Time-in matters not
I have seen that myth laid to rest more than once. Though you may be right that most people think that way. Most people don't have a clue about high level skills.
I'll bet on somone with either good internal skills or good MMA skills
Mores the point, someone with both...anyday and twice on sunday.
Although Aikido with good internal skills -can- be potent if you know what you're doing. Its what it was always meant to be in the first place.
Dan

Eddie deGuzman
02-09-2007, 08:38 PM
No worries, Raul. It's just getting frustrating having to explain in detail everything I write, even if it wasn't even the point of the original post I made. How do I move differently than I did 13 years ago? Better, smoother, lighter, straighter, more in-tune with my partner, aware of both our movement and balance, aware of connection and the lack of it, aware of muscle power and the use of kokyu, aware of weak and strong points, aware of the range of motion of limbs, better deeper longer breathing in conjunction with physical actions which are done by the body as a whole, better receiving, blending, extending, flowing, sensing etc. etc. etc. Let's just tack all that on to anything I say about aikido from now on. :D

Yes, Everyone, I agree, one can be practicing the wrong way. Been there, done that. Got a clue, but don't claim to know it all. Still, no one knows me from Adam and vice-versa so anything I say in response is moot. I'm willing to listen to everyone's thoughts about aikido though. :)

A shihan who moved to Fukuoka last year visited the dojo last night. Was really sorry to see him go. Really high level skills IMO FWIW. :rolleyes: Anyway, got to work together and his movement is slightly different now. I asked him why and he said he's over that theory, and got better. Actually, what he said was he "graduated" from that technique. He's a 7th degree who had great internal skill before he left IMO FWIW :rolleyes: , yet he has found something else to take his aikido to another level. He invited me to come visit so it looks like I'm going to the big city, Yippee! :D Really looking forward to meeting the fellow he's training with. Point is, no matter where you are on the ki/kokyu road, there seems to be always more to learn.

Good training to you all,
Eddie

eyrie
02-10-2007, 03:40 AM
Oh stoppit Eddie... you seem to be deferring to mat time and rank as some indication of kokyu skills... it's worse than watching a grown man cry....

FWIW, many years ago when I was a lowly white belt, I had the good fortune of training with some 4th dan Iwama stylist at a training camp to which many other groups were invited. We were doing ikkyo... and as was customary, I took ukemi first, to which he proceeded to rip my arm off... then when it came to his turn, he went all floppy, so as to foil me. So... I kicked him in the gut.

He had... NO kokyu skills whatsoever... all shoulder strength and muscle. Even then, I knew the difference between using kokyu and muscle. :rolleyes: If he had any kokyu skills, he would have made me throw myself....

FWIW, I went to train with some Goju peeps some years ago... and again, got the good fortune of training with some 5th dan in their version of "push hands".... all hard muscle, no kokyu. And then he starting punching me as he pushed... to which I responded with equal zest... and thought to meself, ok, let's see who gives up first.... after about a minute, he suddenly stops, and terminates the exercise, and then tells me "don't punch so hard"... :rolleyes:

Eddie deGuzman
02-10-2007, 08:29 AM
Oh stoppit Eddie... you seem to be deferring to mat time and rank as some indication of kokyu skills... it's worse than watching a grown man cry....

And then he starting punching me as he pushed... to which I responded with equal zest... and thought to meself, ok, let's see who gives up first.... after about a minute, he suddenly stops, and terminates the exercise, and then tells me "don't punch so hard"...
There you go again, reading more into it than was intended. I'll make it easy for you. You win. I know jack. Will never know jack. You still punch harder.

Good luck in your training,
Eddie

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 09:08 AM
Still, no one knows me from Adam and vice-versa so anything I say in response is moot. Hi Eddie:

There is a broad, unavoidable logic to the kokyu things that pretty much works OK on the internet (not 100%, but even if there's doubt a few questions can clear it up). I don't know Rob John, but he and I spotted that we were talking about the same thing pretty quickly. I don't know Dan Harden, but a number of the things he mentioned indicated pretty clearly that he was talking about jin. He knew, I knew it, and he knew that I knew it. Reportage of Ushiro Sensei's deeds, etc., was unclear so I made the trip to Glenwood Springs last Summer just so I could evaluate with my own eyes... he was using jin. The later reports of the Summer Camp and the comments about kokyu were crystal clear.... if I had seen the words in those before the Summer Camp, I might not have bothered to go because he's obviously talking about Kokyu. [[Incidentally, there is a huge spectrum of ability in ki and kokyu... "knowing kokyu" doesn't tell anyone how good the full abilities are]]

So best case, you can tell from what someone says whether they know or not. If there's a doubt, it's best to meet up. A lot of people are beginning to meet up and compare notes and that's the first sign that a critical step is beginning in a lot of Aikido .... not all Aikido; some groups will be left behind because they have no idea that they're missing something large but basic.

In Japan, it would probably be fun for you to meet up with Rob John and compare notes. On a completely friendly and helpful basis. That way someone would know you from Adam. ;) Or even "Adam's Off-Ox" (which is where I think the saying originated). :)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Eddie deGuzman
02-10-2007, 11:23 AM
Hi Eddie:

[[Incidentally, there is a huge spectrum of ability in ki and kokyu... "knowing kokyu" doesn't tell anyone how good the full abilities are]]

So best case, you can tell from what someone says whether they know or not. If there's a doubt, it's best to meet up. A lot of people are beginning to meet up and compare notes and that's the first sign that a critical step is beginning in a lot of Aikido .... not all Aikido; some groups will be left behind because they have no idea that they're missing something large but basic.

In Japan, it would probably be fun for you to meet up with Rob John and compare notes. On a completely friendly and helpful basis. That way someone would know you from Adam. ;) Or even "Adam's Off-Ox" (which is where I think the saying originated). :)

Hi Mike, I agree with you on the spectrum thought. I don't think I have made any amazing claims to date other than basic kokyu skills(as seen per my dojo) and not knowing exactly what IS possible at the highest level of the spectrum, I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to where I would fall on it. As for my dojo, I would say my skills are average or just a tad more(just to make myself feel good :) ) And this, of course means nothing to anyone.

I agree with you that some will get left behind, not that it is their fault, they simply just don't know. And I was in that group until I came to Japan and felt something different, as you did. As I'm sure happens to everyone who has never felt it before, it opens your eyes and your mind and there's no going back. I don't know it all and can't do it all. But I believe my foot is in "the door". Whether anyone else believes it is not really relevant to my training. And I say this not meaning to offend. It's just a fact. I'm just a little surprised that I would need to get verified before allowed to have an opinion.

Many things you've said "ring true" as per my experience. Please recall that I have learned in the less spoken is better traditional Japanese style and thus lack the words to accurately describe the "feeling" of ki/kokyu in English. My interest in this thread is not only to learn more about the concept of ki/kokyu, but also find an easier way to describe it.

Actually, I've pretty much agreed with everything you've said, comments about Eric aside, and would like to hear more on the energy paths used in Chinese internal arts. In an earlier post you mentioned use of the back leg for "grounding". I've never really thought of grounding, as I said, I feel more centered than anything, but I am always interested in learning more. You said you might PM me with some information regarding internal forces. Hope you find the info and the time.

Looks like Rob John is up in Tokyo and I'm down in Kyushu. I'm certainly not averse to the idea of meeting, yet I doubt I'll spend the money and time just so someone can call me Adam. ;) I did visit Aikikai Hombu ages ago. I found the style of aikido quite stiffer than how we do it, but perhaps that was one of the beginner classes. It was quite crowded.

He's welcome to stop by here anytime. I've toyed with the idea of going up to Hiroshima to visit Mr. Goldsbury since that's not too far from here. He seems to be quite knowledgable in many aspects of aikido and Japan in general. Closer to home though, is Fukuoka, and it looks like I'll get to visit Tenjin sometime soon. I mention this not to impress Iggy, but to show I have no qualms about visiting other dojo and am genuinely excited at the chance to learn more.

Cheers,
Eddie

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 12:49 PM
I agree with you that some will get left behind, not that it is their fault, they simply just don't know. And I was in that group until I came to Japan and felt something different, as you did. As I'm sure happens to everyone who has never felt it before, it opens your eyes and your mind and there's no going back. I agree with you, but there's still an element of personal responsibility. I assume as a baseline that my perceptions are reasonably normal.... not lacking, but not super-normal. It didn't take me, with almost zero experience in Aikido (although I had other arts under my belt) to notice immediately that special feel when I encountered it. A lot of the experienced people who are missing it now *must* have had elements of the same clues presented to them and they didn't get it. Or chose not to. Or let peer pressure and "common wisdom" keep them from thinking thoroughly. Or whatever. I can't give them a complete pass. And yeah, I know that's "mean" (as Rob Liberti says) because I don't give them a pass and still "respect their many years of achievements and nice-guyness in the arts", yada, yada.... but without a little prodding, most of the people will still not move, even now. Take a look at Rob Liberti and a few others.... now that they've had an actual feel, they want to go learn this stuff (the stuff they were just mildly interested in as a casual topic before) just so they can pass me and kick my butt with what they've learned. Good for them. If that's what it takes to motivate people, well hey, whatever works. :cool: Many things you've said "ring true" as per my experience. Please recall that I have learned in the less spoken is better traditional Japanese style and thus lack the words to accurately describe the "feeling" of ki/kokyu in English. Good point. In an earlier post you mentioned use of the back leg for "grounding". I've never really thought of grounding, as I said, I feel more centered than anything, but I am always interested in learning more. You said you might PM me with some information regarding internal forces. Hope you find the info and the time. Well, if you go back and look, my comment about the back foot was more along the lines that it's the best way to start to learn these skills, not that you use the back-foot all the time. Once you learn them, you can use the front foot, the butt, your back, or whatever has access to the ground, etc.

Sorry about the PM, Eddie... I may have forgotten. I'll handle it now.

Best.

Mike

DH
02-10-2007, 03:33 PM
Take a look at Rob Liberti and a few others.... now that they've had an actual feel, they want to go learn this stuff (the stuff they were just mildly interested in as a casual topic before) just so they can pass me and kick my butt with what they've learned. Good for them. If that's what it takes to motivate people, well hey, whatever works. :cool:
Best.

Mike

Hey Now..that isn't on the table with Rob. If it is, I'll be surprised. I've never heard anything like that. In fact just the opposite. More along the lines of wanting to "feel" everyone. He did say he wanted to handle HIS teacher-but in a light hearted way.
Most guys I have met so far are not into personalities one way or the other but into the research and the work. I encourage them to feel as many as they can.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 03:54 PM
Hey Now..that isn't on the table with Rob. If it is, I'll be surprised. I've never heard anything like that. Well, his posts are archived, Dan, but let's not get off the point. I very honestly don't have any feelings about emotional issues on this one... I genuinely think that anything is fair game to motivate people, if it motivates them in the right direction. You start off nice, but nice seldom works with anyone who thinks they're "already there", as you should know quite well by now. ;)

You do whatever it takes to motivate, but I think we're beyond that point (and have been for a 4 or 5 years now). There's already a cascade of people heading in the direction of those skills. Clinically, I think that Aikido has a *somewhat* better shot within a few of the factions as acquiring reasonably complete ki/kokyu skills, ahead of other western versions of Asian arts. And I'm all for a limited experiment at it. Encouraging, even. It will be interesting to watch. It will be interesting to watch how some of the Shihans adapt to a changing world, too.

And hey, it's OK for someone in martial arts to want to practice something until he's better at it than So-and-so. In my mind that's a perfectly legitimate motivation to practice and improve. Heaven knows.... one day my doorbell might ring and it will be Cady there to use her ki to "take control of my body" and toss me around like a rag-doll. :eek:

;)

Mike

DH
02-10-2007, 05:01 PM
I genuinely think that anything is fair game to motivate people, if it motivates them in the right direction. You start off nice, but nice seldom works with anyone who thinks they're "already there", as you should know quite well by now. ;)
Mike

Well I can't speak to that.
a. I've never heard it from Rob. People are much more up front and expansive in person. It doesn' even sound like him.
b. I try to be as nice as I can-though I am rather blunt. In Person nice seems to have always worked for me. As you know, most people who have never done this stuff, once they get a feel, realize they have to start over. And the pros- once they get to assess- tend to open up and share. Hard work and sweat tends to speak for itself to others who have sweat and failed, experimented and kept trying.

Cady can speak of her own skills. :D
I've never argued or shied away from internal to internal where ya can find it. That's where "skills" come to the for and the real fun begins. Aiki age or Peng jin is just the first step. There is so much more.
Cheers
Dan

eyrie
02-10-2007, 05:18 PM
Whether anyone else believes it is not really relevant to my training. And I say this not meaning to offend. It's just a fact. I'm just a little surprised that I would need to get verified before allowed to have an opinion.

Many things you've said "ring true" as per my experience. Please recall that I have learned in the less spoken is better traditional Japanese style and thus lack the words to accurately describe the "feeling" of ki/kokyu in English. My interest in this thread is not only to learn more about the concept of ki/kokyu, but also find an easier way to describe it.

Well, I too had the privilege of the "less spoken" tradition. But these things can be described in fairly simple terms which indicate quickly whether someone knows what they're talking about or not. Whether they can or can't apply it is another matter, and I think irrelevant to the discussion. So, anecdotal evidence of such and such a shihan having it or what someone says about you "moving differently" means very little - without touching hands.

I have provided you with several opportunities to describe it in your own words, but it seems you have either missed the point or the opportunity it presented. My description or Mike's or Dan's or Rob's have very little to do with it, but descriptive discourse adds to everyone's shared knowledge.

I'm sorry you took this the wrong way... but then, I am beyond any ego or emotional attachment to anything anyone says these days... ;)

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 05:28 PM
I genuinely think that anything is fair game to motivate people, if it motivates them in the right direction. You start off nice, but nice seldom works with anyone who thinks they're "already there", as you should know quite well by now.Well I can't speak to that.
I'm talking about your numerous posts where you said that you tried to tell people for years but they wouldn't listen.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
02-10-2007, 05:40 PM
Heaven knows.... one day my doorbell might ring and it will be Cady there to use her ki to "take control of my body" and toss me around like a rag-doll. :eek:

;)

Mike

Zzzzzz...uh?...huhn?...Someone talkin' smack about me agin? Mike, if I ever get to Durango, dang tootin' it won't be in the middle of winter when the Rockies have been hit with umpteen feet of snow. Sheesh. And it ain't about "ki," anyway. Should the day ever come (and don't forget the part about manipulating your bones. You left that out :p ), I'll be sure to acknowledge where those skills came from. :)

P.S. Dan, don't forget: www.sweeptheleg.com :D

DH
02-10-2007, 05:54 PM
I'm talking about your numerous posts where you said that you tried to tell people for years but they wouldn't listen.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Oops
Yup. And that was only in the mid nineties!! ten or twelve years ago.
And got my butt handed to me for trying (on many occasions) to talk about what was missing, what it could do...and...what the potentials were. I still have some of those posts some where.

I agree that hopefully those day are gone. More folks are asking the right people. Hopefully the folks who got it in AIkido will share it. Now there are many going outsde the art to get what was the foundation -Of - the art. But even that's OK. Those that will "think" and train will get it. It's certain. There's no stopping it at this point
And that's a good thing
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 06:39 PM
Yup. And that was only in the mid nineties!! ten or twelve years ago.
And got my butt handed to me for trying (on many occasions) to talk about what was missing, what it could do...and...what the potentials were. I still have some of those posts some where.Actually, that reminds me of Dennis Hooker's post on "Why Are You Posting Here" or whatever it was. Looking at the big number of responses from people who don't do Aikido but who used to do Aikido for a while and quit, we should start another thread entitled, "Why I Regretfully Quit Aikido, But Still Have Hopes As Evidenced by the Fact That I Still Hang Around". ;) Part of it has to do with those same attitudes that you're mentioning.

To me, I could see there was something out there and I just got tired of people who didn't see that fact trying to make me conform to their idea of what Aikido was and by gum be happy about the fact that they were here to tell me what was good for me. ;)

Mike

Josh Lerner
02-10-2007, 07:19 PM
. . . we should start another thread entitled, "Why I Regretfully Quit Aikido, But Still Have Hopes As Evidenced by the Fact That I Still Hang Around".

We could start a support group. exAikidoka Anonymous.

"My name is Josh, and I still hang out on Aikido forums. It's been 12 years since my last Aikido class."

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 08:01 PM
We could start a support group. exAikidoka Anonymous.

"My name is Josh, and I still hang out on Aikido forums. It's been 12 years since my last Aikido class."

Yeah, and we could start a thread titled, "It wasn't 'Hidden In Plain Sight', I was beat over the head with it and I refused to accept it". :D

Mike

DH
02-10-2007, 08:18 PM
Yeah, and we could start a thread titled, "It wasn't 'Hidden In Plain Sight', I was beat over the head with it and I refused to accept it". :D

Mike

And some still do........

Mike T-H-A-T was funny.
I just laughed out loud.
Dan

eyrie
02-10-2007, 11:40 PM
Or how about.... I didn't quit... I just left coz no one else wanted to train THAT way... :D

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 05:19 AM
Mike Sigman wrote:

To me, I could see there was something out there and I just got tired of people who didn't see that fact trying to make me conform to their idea of what Aikido was and by gum be happy about the fact that they were here to tell me what was good for me

Could it have something to do with attachment or ego? Sometimes we want so hard to believe in something, or to re-live our past experiences, or convey our desires or hopes on to something so much that we stick around for very irrational reasons.

Ego also works in this area as well. We figure somethings out, and like the feeling and attention that we recieve from being a big fish in the perceived small pond.

It could also be, as Mike discusses, that we decide that while it is not worth our time studying in our local aikido dojo, that there are some people in the circles of aikido that are worth studying with....we take the good with the bad.

I hope that I am being honest with myself and why I hang out and identify with aikido, or any martial art. I personally find value in being part of a community of people that are on the same path that I am on. We share things, discover things together, and explore the path. Not all of us necessarily have the same ultimate goals but it is close enough that there is mutual value.

At the same time, I don't take things at face value, and I am very cautious about calling myself an aikidoka, as I consider that to be a self limiting label.

I equate this to the same concept as not calling myself a Buddhist. While I follow the philosophy and many of the practices, tenants, and have a strong affinity toward buddhism, to call yourself one, is a form of attachment, and is therefore...self limiting.

DH
02-11-2007, 05:20 AM
That's an interesting take, Kevin.
In light of that.......
I left so I could keep doing Aikido.
I was afraid I'd start to move and be like them.
So I let go of the attachment. I found it to be too self-limiting :D
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 05:33 AM
If you left "Aikido" Dan....then who do you do aikido with so you can keep doing it?

I assume that you must feel that the basic infrastructure of aikido to be sound, otherwise you'd dismiss it entirely as a loss cause and move on out of the community entirely correct?

My aikido certainly will not be like the aikido of others in my dojo community as I have my own set of experiences. However, I do feel that I have much I can learn from within my aikido community.

I do understand to a point. I understand aikido much better having left aikido for the past couple of years by not studying it, than by studying it.

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 05:37 AM
I see you edited your post while I was responding Dan.

Yes, I think you do need to let go of aikido to internalize it and understand it. Just like anything else in life.

Mike Sigman
02-11-2007, 07:34 AM
Could it have something to do with attachment or ego? Sometimes we want so hard to believe in something, or to re-live our past experiences, or convey our desires or hopes on to something so much that we stick around for very irrational reasons.

Ego also works in this area as well. We figure somethings out, and like the feeling and attention that we recieve from being a big fish in the perceived small pond. Kevin, I can work on most electrical mechanisms, car engines (complete assembly and re-assembly), transmissions, mountain climbing, kayaking... all technical things. I get a great pleasure out of knowing how things work, in other words. I'm very analytic. When I encounter something, like I did with that Sandan I met so many years ago with kokyu skills, I want to know how it works. It's that simple; no psychoanalysing needed... I saw something, I wanted to know how to do it, I didn't let the flummery distract me. I was willing to put up with the rituals and stuff just to learn how to do those skills. Except, despite all the bullshit, nobody really knew. If you haven't spotted some of the BS in Aikido (and many other arts) and you want to tag someone as "ego" who left the BS because it was nonproductive, it's your opinion.

On the other hand, think about the people in Aikido, Taiji, Karate, Kungfu, whatever, who have really difficult-to-express goals that are not based on any substantive accomplishment per se. Analyse them... it's a lot more fruitful area ;)

I'm watching how this subject of baseline skills is being treated, but I'll save that for another post.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 08:06 AM
I understand and agree with your methodology.

What I don't understand is why guys like you and Dan bother wasting your time on a forum full of people that are wasting their time with ritualistic, nonproductive, difficult-to-express goals that are not based on any substantive accomplishment per se...if you geniunely feel this way....(i might not understand your perspective either).

Why?

I am not asking in a sarcastic way, but genuinely I am intrigued about what your motivations are. I'd grow impatient and bored and move on I'd think after a while.

I am not asking you to do this btw, because I think we'd all losing very valuable community members.

...simply curious.

Mike Sigman
02-11-2007, 08:23 AM
What I don't understand is why guys like you and Dan bother wasting your time on a forum full of people that are wasting their time with ritualistic, nonproductive, difficult-to-express goals that are not based on any substantive accomplishment per se...if you geniunely feel this way....(i might not understand your perspective either).But Aikido is not a monolithic group of people who are "wasting their time....", etc. There are a number (a minority) that are bright, dedicated martial artists. Look at the ones who left (like in Dennis' thread) but who are hanging around *as part of a larger martial arts practice that they still do*. Nobody is a homeless, hopeless waif looking to be part of some group, Kevin... it tends to be more people who still like the idea of Aikido and the FEW worthwhile people that appeal to them.

I came to AikiWeb (I've done it in the past and left pretty quickly... for the same reason some of my friends in Aikido don't bother to come here at all) this last time because I wanted to cover my bases about Japanese knowledge of the qi skills, before I made some error of reasoning in a book I'm working on. Turns out that this time I found some very interesting leads and the community has opened up a lot more. I don't tend to leave an information source until I'm satisfied that I've gotten all I can.

As it happens, AW happened to be the nexus that a lot of these discussions settled into. If Aikido Journal had been more viable (and it was a tossup there for a while) more of the discussions would be going on there right now. There are deeper discussions of this topic on a few more forums, but I think if you polled the readers of AW, there are a fair amount of people who are interested in the discussions, even though you're not really. ;)

Is that answer enough?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-11-2007, 08:46 AM
On a separate line of thought that goes back toward the original topic, I was thinking of Eddie's comments about some of the things maybe making sense within his own framework, while a number of other people have fairly instantly been able to spot that they're all talking about the same things in relation to basic ki and kokyu skills.

I think a lot of the conversational clues start out at the kokyu/jin skills. It's in the peculiar and focused way that someone who "uses the ground" can spot the focus and emphasis in someone else's conversation. A few more comments, exchanges, etc., and a basis for discussion is set because there is an immutable logic in these basic-level skills (actually there's a logic that ties into all the high skills, too, but often you need pointers). Someone who has just been introduced to these basic skills will almost invariably spot the focus by the people who are also doing these things, because now they know the foothold things (based on experience and common sense) to look for.

What doesn't work, but which bears noting in relation to "baseline skills", are the superficial usages of the same terms, while not adding the requisite peripherals to assure others that it's not just buzzwords they're using.

For instance, I noticed the use of "internalizing" skills. That's more of a buzzword; buzzword usage alone is a pretty sure indicator that someone doesn't have these basic skills. So when someone talks generally about "kokyu", "centering", "ki", etc., but it's always general and never with specific mention of how something is done, that too is going to be an indicator of lack of this knowledge. The problem is, a beginner can't spot that.

The beginner doesn't know enough, so the guy who is dropping the terms yet who has not been able to figure out what Rob, Dan, or others is talking about, is actually doing something I disapprove of. Let me encapsulate it like this: Any "teacher" or experienced martial artist who uses the buzzwords, yet can't solidly understand the discussion of the "ground path", unbalancing/floating with just a touch, etc., is doing more than just saving face... he's also doing something unhelpful to any beginner reading the thread. Now that's ego. And it's wasted, useless ego, because when you finally meet up with someone, there's no way to fake this knowledge. None of us can or could.... so an act is just an act and serves no positive purpose.

When I meet up with someone and I touch them, I know pretty much what they know. When I meet up with real experts, they can tell pretty quickly what I know by just a touch, too (and it ain't so high at all, in comparison with what they know). But some of this stuff needs to get away from the posturing and use of buzzwords because it's potentially damaging to the neophytes. In some ways, it's the same damaging approach that left so many of the current yudanshakai in the position they're in... it needs to be curtailed, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 10:03 AM
Thanks for your clarification and explaination Mike. It is good to know the source of your motivation and overall interest. I have benefited from the discussion you participate in. Thanks.

Dan, any comments?

DH
02-11-2007, 10:14 AM
I generally agree with Mike’s last two posts but wanted to add a few thoughts regarding the misinformation spoken and read on the Internet.
Its not always collusion. I believe that some teachers in Aikido are genuinely ignorant of these skills and truly believe in the…stuff….they say. They were told things by their trusted teachers and they believe it. More importantly they were NOT told things by their teachers as well. For this reason very sincere folks write in things like “I’m a godan under so and so and in twenty years X master teacher never showed me or talked to me about these things so how can they be important? And his skill is amazing.”
It’s hard to break through and explain the underlying ugly truths inherent in their own statement…till they touch someone with these skills. I have a dojo with a few folks in it who now know they were deceived or at the least held away from the truth.

Now you run into problem #2
Were they held from the truth by an amazing teacher who had the stuff? Or is the “Amazing teacher” not so amazing after all.
Here is the quandary. You can hide behind excellent technique in front of many students. How? Because excellent technique is enough most of the time to get the job done.
Most guys are unaware of these skills and how they can aid them to transcend to that point where technique matters little. It’s only when you meet someone who can easily handle you that you get a clue just how much you were missing after all.
Second you have the men who lie to themselves. Men who will take what you teach them and then tell you it was in their art after all. Some men are so in love with their art that they cannot bear to realize it doesn’t have it “all.”
Truth can be a wonderful freeing thing.
I can also be a painful process if you “hold on” to ideas dear to you in light of better information.

Cheers
Dan

Eddie deGuzman
02-11-2007, 10:15 AM
I agree with you, but there's still an element of personal responsibility.
...A lot of the experienced people who are missing it now *must* have had elements of the same clues presented to them and they didn't get it. Or chose not to. Or let peer pressure and "common wisdom" keep them from thinking thoroughly.

Well, if you go back and look, my comment about the back foot was more along the lines that it's the best way to start to learn these skills, not that you use the back-foot all the time. Once you learn them, you can use the front foot, the butt, your back, or whatever has access to the ground, etc.


Hi Mike, thanks for the PM. :)
I would think that as you said many people have been exposed to ki/kokyu skills and for whatever reason have not changed, but I would also think there must be a large percentage who have not. If one belongs to a dojo, they would train there and learn whatever that teacher might be teaching. Not everyone attends aikido events or meets with high ranking aikidoka.

Yes, I recall that now. I wasn't saying that it was incorrect or not. Just that I never thought of it that way. This probably stems from the fact that I was never taught the "idea" of connecting with the ground/rooting. Thanks for the clarification. It now seems to fit better with how I look at things.

After seeing a sketch of an "energy path"? leading through hands and down into rear leg, back up and out again(peng jin?), the idea of bouncing becomes a little clearer. When "hitting the attacker with his own force" was mentioned, I previously had pictured the description as more like a tennis ball would bounce off of a wall.

One shihan explained a similar path to me(strictly the flow of ki), the image of which I often utilize, but it did not reach the floor, it made a u-turn at the hara. I recently read that there are eight such pathways or types of energy in the Chinese internal arts and am wondering if it may be one of these instead. Whaddayathink? Perhaps you could describe them or provide a link. A picture is worth a thousand words. :)

TIA,
Eddie

Mike Sigman
02-11-2007, 10:46 AM
After seeing a sketch of an "energy path"? leading through hands and down into rear leg, back up and out again(peng jin?), the idea of bouncing becomes a little clearer. When "hitting the attacker with his own force" was mentioned, I previously had pictured the description as more like a tennis ball would bounce off of a wall.

One shihan explained a similar path to me(strictly the flow of ki), the image of which I often utilize, but it did not reach the floor, it made a u-turn at the hara.Hi Eddie:

Yeah, this was something I ran into at the Ki-Society thing in December that I attended. I realized that a lot of the people were "squishy" because they were doing that same hara thing instead of the ground. Using the hara to bounce someone is OK, I guess, as long as your understand that the hara is directly resting on the ground through the leg(s). Essentially, though, I find it best to just let the feet, legs, waist (in that order of importance) handle all loads. You breathe to your heels and you draw your power from the soles of your feet. ;) I recently read that there are eight such pathways or types of energy in the Chinese internal arts and am wondering if it may be one of these instead. Whaddayathink? Perhaps you could describe them or provide a link. A picture is worth a thousand words. :)Really, there are only 2 core powers, Yin and Yang, the support of the ground and the weight from gravity.

The basic powers in Taiji, to drop exact accuracy in order to make a point, are really 4, not 8 (the other four "corners" are variations of the first 4). Essentially the powers are "up", "down", "away from the body", and "toward the body".... or "peng", "an", "ji", and "lu". All motions can be described in terms of those 4. If you draw a circle with your arm, for instance, it will contain the 4 directions of power as they shift from one to the other. Hence, a circle is derived from a square, in that sense.

That's just Taiji's way of describing/analysing the basic powers. Different arts analyse in different ways and to different degrees. The point is that the basics are very simple. The lowest element of force-station is the "original qi" (the "Hun Yuan Qi") that is stretched between Earth and Gravity (between Heaven and Earth) and all other powers derive from that basic point. So my suggestion would be to not worry about 8 powers, but only one. (From the One comes the Many). ;)

Best.

Mike

Eddie deGuzman
02-11-2007, 12:54 PM
Hi Eddie:

Yeah, this was something I ran into at the Ki-Society thing in December that I attended. I realized that a lot of the people were "squishy" because they were doing that same hara thing instead of the ground. Using the hara to bounce someone is OK, I guess, as long as your understand that the hara is directly resting on the ground through the leg(s). Essentially, though, I find it best to just let the feet, legs, waist (in that order of importance) handle all loads. You breathe to your heels and you draw your power from the soles of your feet. ;) Really, there are only 2 core powers, Yin and Yang, the support of the ground and the weight from gravity.


That's just Taiji's way of describing/analysing the basic powers. Different arts analyse in different ways and to different degrees. The point is that the basics are very simple. The lowest element of force-station is the "original qi" (the "Hun Yuan Qi") that is stretched between Earth and Gravity (between Heaven and Earth) and all other powers derive from that basic point. So my suggestion would be to not worry about 8 powers, but only one. (From the One comes the Many). ;)

Best.

Mike
I think a lot of things might lend to "squishiness", but if it was in all of them, then it is definitely a sign of something. BTW I don't study Ki Society. "Breathing to your heels" is a new idea for me. Just when I thought I was already a good heavy breather. :D Earth and gravity are interesting ideas. Thanks for more to think on.

Cheers,
Eddie

eyrie
02-12-2007, 02:58 AM
... buzzword usage alone is a pretty sure indicator that someone doesn't have these basic skills. So when someone talks generally about "kokyu", "centering", "ki", etc., but it's always general and never with specific mention of how something is done, that too is going to be an indicator of lack of this knowledge.

Thanks for nailing it, Mike. The major objections so far have largely been centered upon the use of these buzzwords, which really say nothing specifically... kinda like those management buzzwords which sound really impressive but mean very little.

So Mike, do you think we need a buzzword jar... like um... a swear jar? Say a $1 donation to Aikiweb next time someone uses a "buzzword"? :D

gdandscompserv
02-12-2007, 04:56 AM
So Mike, do you think we need a buzzword jar... like um... a swear jar? Say a $1 donation to Aikiweb next time someone uses a "buzzword"? :D
i like it!

DH
02-12-2007, 06:25 AM
The two core powers in Daito ryu
Aiki-age -rising
Aiki-sage -Desending
And there are a number of others. They equate with the 8 jins. No Taiji guy wants ot be told "Ahh..you're doing Aiki-age." No Daito ryu guy wants to be told..."Ahhh...you're doing peng jin." And every teacher who has to uphold a lineage can and will say "ours" is different. It's "ours" and you don't understand it enough to discuss it or compare it. Its just the way of it.
Folks can use buzz words all the day long just like upper center/lower center, down weight, weight transfer (a hugely overlooked area of study-IMO) drawing and condensing, borrowing force. But as opposed to the office jargon-they DO really mean something.
Ricky, I just learned the Chinese verbage for things I have been doing for years. Had a few teachers touch me and tell me I was doing this or that. I said "Uhm...OK... Translation please?" It doesn't mean I couldn't do them. Just didn't know their lingo. Its what you know and can actually do that matters-not what you say. Even when we CAN do things, we may be doing them properly at level 3 not at level 10. SO it's always debatable-even when we know what to say thats proper, how much we "really" know.
Our understanding is in our hands, not in words, and not in our teachers reputation;)

Dan

gdandscompserv
02-12-2007, 07:11 AM
Our understanding is in our hands, not in words, and not in our teachers reputation;)
Very true.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

Mike Sigman
02-12-2007, 07:14 AM
Thanks for nailing it, Mike. The major objections so far have largely been centered upon the use of these buzzwords, which really say nothing specifically... kinda like those management buzzwords which sound really impressive but mean very little.Nah... people will say what they will. What more people need to realize is that there are people out there (perhaps reading the forum at this moment) who know enough about the basic skills that a writer's pretenses and affectations are fairly obvious. A "buzzword-guy" is actually someone who thinks he's at least close enough to the truth to be able to BS knowledgeably. What people need to concentrate on is realistic discussion and drop the need to appear to be high level.... particularly when it comes to dazzling students.

Right now, as always, I'm working on some stuff that I sort of knew over the years but I didn't have the physical development of certain areas to be able to carry it off at anything more than a demo level. I *know* it wouldn't fool a real expert. I may meet a real expert later this summer, so I'm working hard to build up this particular skill. In other words, my focus is on impressing experts, not some online pecking order where we're pumping air into each others' tires trying to impress each other.

Impress the experts; the beginners will always be easy to impress. The guy who devotes his time to impressing beginners is not someone I could ever respect or take seriously. And I want to respect myself, don't I?

;)
Best.

Mike

gdandscompserv
02-12-2007, 07:24 AM
my focus is on impressing experts
Interesting motivation. I try to focus on impressing myself. Of course impressing experts is no small task and I do not suggest that I have the ability to do so. I just don't feel the need.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

DH
02-12-2007, 07:33 AM
Maybe you missunderstood.
It's about yourself and your hard work.
Its not whether some guy pats you on the back
Its about whether you're on the right track.
There is so much you have to do alone. Who are you gonna ask if your on the right path when your a 2. Then when you're a 3
I had a guy fix a few things I thought were rather small. Just a year later it made a big difference. And a year is nothing. I knew enough to ignore my instinct and take some great advice.
How did Takeda teach? Most of your real training was alone or with a training partner. Work, sweat, and becoming very familair with failure, and picking yourself back up..
The motivation is about the work and trying not to work in vain.
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-12-2007, 07:40 AM
It's too easy to BS one's self. It's better to go to someone really good and compare and get an evaluation. Or at least watch them and see what they can do that you can't do.... adjusting training and goals accordingly.

There was a comment that I always liked, "Many of these things are simple after you have been shown how; it would take you several lifetimes to figure them out for yourself".

I try to learn something (not forms, though) and then work on it until I can do it. Then I go back for more. These people who go to workshop after workshop but never really improve because they're waiting for somebody's next workshop .... they're just wasting their time. I think best step is work hard, then compare. But to each his own, I allus sez. ;)

Mike

Thomas Campbell
02-12-2007, 03:35 PM
[snip]Our understanding is in our hands, not in words, and not in our teachers reputation;)

Dan

Very nicely put.

Understanding in the whole body, expressed through our hands . . . and . . .
our understanding is in our hands, as in our understanding is our responsibility.

Mike Sigman
02-12-2007, 08:01 PM
Interesting motivation. I try to focus on impressing myself. Of course impressing experts is no small task and I do not suggest that I have the ability to do so. I just don't feel the need.Well, think of it from another perspective. It's easy for someone to fool themselves about what they're doing or where they are.... in fact, that's what leads a lot of people down the path of Self-Satisfaction. If you go to a real expert and talk really honestly and show real results, you'll get a real idea of where you are and where you should focus next. Most of the problem in the martial arts right now is that too many people are impressed with themselves for imaginary reasons. ;)

Mike

Dennis Hooker
02-13-2007, 07:12 AM
For the most part when I see demonstrations with people jumping over machetes and dodging swords I cringe. I believe some of these folks whom I have spoken with afterward actually believe they are doing this things under realistic circumstances. I am old and slow and even my blade moves faster than the eye can track, but taking a live blade from the hands of those of my ilk would be more of a task than these could accomplish, let alone my betters. We have some real con men and women out there and many are actually deceiving themselves assisted by culpable and vulnerable students. I hear the audience cheer at such antics and get embarrassed. Not only are the audiences being deceived but by being so gullible they reinforce the inflated ego of the demonstrator. I believe there are many more good teachers and students of Aikido out there than some on this thread but I also know from experience there are many that are hollow shells willing to be filled with all manner of tripe. There are those that have never tested themselves and some that have fell short of their expectations and for the most part blame the person they ask to help them test their skills. I have seen high ranking individuals abuse their students because the student was true to the attack and won. My partners get congratulation for such a thing. Although I will admit the older I get and the more down time I suffer from the occasional injury the less grateful I get ;) .

statisticool
02-13-2007, 07:40 PM
Could someone cite the source where Ueshiba, any of them, refer to 'baseline skills'?

Thanks.

Mike Sigman
02-14-2007, 05:33 AM
Interestingly enough, I had a response on the ki and kokyu baseline that was fairly in-depth, but once again Justin the Unbalanced has reminded me that there are simply a few bad people on this forum, so I'll take the discussion to QiJing where it can be done a little more thoughtfully.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Moses
02-14-2007, 05:24 PM
from the peanut gallery, there are those of us who really enjoy reading the disscusions, don't stop.
Also, what is QiJing?
Moses

Cady Goldfield
02-14-2007, 05:32 PM
Mike's mail list/forum, I believe, which would be fun to lurk and listen on. :)

Mike Sigman
02-14-2007, 07:01 PM
Mike's mail list/forum, I believe, which would be fun to lurk and listen on. :)No lurking.... or that's supposed to be the rule that I flogs 'em with. It's supposed to be a "pool". Even if someone contributes good questions, critiques, what-if's, etc., and it makes people think, it's a bonus. ;)

Mike

Loves to eat them mousies,
Mousies what I loves to eat.
Bite they little heads off,
Nibble on they tiny feet.

--J. Cat

Cady Goldfield
02-14-2007, 07:38 PM
Loves to eat them mousies,
Mousies what I loves to eat.
Bite they little heads off,
Nibble on they tiny feet.

--J. Cat

Haven't seen a quote from B. Kliban in years!

DH
02-14-2007, 09:23 PM
Could someone cite the source where Ueshiba, any of them, refer to 'baseline skills'?

Thanks.
Could you show me anywhere where he didn't?
There are many, many, interviews and quotes where men have gone on record stating they didn't have a freakin clue what he was talking about and couldn't wait for him to shut up so they could train.
There is significant president in interviews and film where he spent significant time having men push on him. No tenkan, no turn, direct force back into the pusher. Add the countless hours solo training.
It's fairly obvious by the thousands who have no clue about what he was really doing that "finding it" through techniques is stupid. It has never, and will never, work. I find it interesting that the grandsons of Takeda are- right now- purportedly training these skills, instead of the waza based pretzel-logic you seem to advocate as a better method. I wonder why?
Dan

eyrie
02-14-2007, 09:40 PM
Dan, you should know better than to throw out bait... Imagine... we are at the zoo.... ;)

Talking about baseline skills, I happen chance to come across an old vid of Ueshiba doing solo training... AND here he was... in the dark... spear thrusting at a bogu tied to a stake in the ground...

David Orange
02-14-2007, 10:23 PM
I am old and slow and even my blade moves faster than the eye can track, but taking a live blade from the hands of those of my ilk would be more of a task than these could accomplish, let alone my betters. We have some real con men and women out there and many are actually deceiving themselves assisted by culpable and vulnerable students....There are those that have never tested themselves and some that have fell short of their expectations and for the most part blame the person they ask to help them test their skills. I have seen high ranking individuals abuse their students because the student was true to the attack and won. My partners get congratulation for such a thing.

That's where the old padded sword comes in very handy. Mochizuki Sensei made them out of pvc pipe (about 1/2" diameter) covered with pipe insulation foam and wrapped in duct tape. The attacker could really attack with true spirit and the defender would get the true message and know he'd gotten it. Nothing puts an end to self-deception like a good whack from a good padded sword.

Best to you.

David

DH
02-14-2007, 10:43 PM
Since it takes little effort to cut I'd say a light touch with two cuts would be even more impressive. ;)

Back in the day
Ya had to fight all day
Ya didn't swing a sword
That way...all day
You left energy
To fight another day

Dan

George S. Ledyard
02-15-2007, 11:57 AM
Could you show me anywhere where he didn't?
There are many, many, interviews and quotes where men have gone on record stating they didn't have a freakin clue what he was talking about and couldn't wait for him to shut up so they could train.
There is significant president in interviews and film where he spent significant time having men push on him. No tenkan, no turn, direct force back into the pusher. Add the countless hours solo training.
It's fairly obvious by the thousands who have no clue about what he was really doing that "finding it" through techniques is stupid. It has never, and will never, work. I find it interesting that the grandsons of Takeda are- right now- purportedly training these skills, instead of the waza based pretzel-logic you seem to advocate as a better method. I wonder why?
Dan

I have to say that I come firmly on Dan's side in this. I constantly meet folks who have trained seriously and consistently for decades who simply don't have any real understanding of what our teachers are doing. The idea that simply repeating the same movements over and over will magically result at some unspecified time in the proper skills is just wrong in most cases.

The training that has been the most helpful to me has been principle based exercises, not waza. Ushiro Sensei does this a lot. Kuroda Sensei did this almost exclusively at the Expo. At least 50 % of Systema training is along these lines.

Static training in Aikido should be used for this but many folks miss the point and simply make it a contest about whose technique is stronger. If done properly, it is about developing the proper "feel" for your technique; conditioning your body to understand what it needs to be doing without the tension created by concerns for timing, spacing, etc. I once attended a seminar with Angier Sensei in which we did what I would call kosa dori sumi otoshi from a static position for a day and a half. Many of the folks attending lost interest and stood around talking but the real "goods" were right in front of them and they didn't see it. They just wanted to mambo...

Dan is absolutely right that most folks don't realize how much training O-Sensei did alone, both in terms of what we would see as spiritual practice and what we would describe as physical training. The fact is that these two areas weren't really separate. Nevertheless, very little of what he did in his solo practice is presented as important as daily training for most people in Aikido. Folks may have this or that exercise presented in class once in a while but not as something that should be done every day and often only in a very abbreviated form.

Saotome Sensei used to do the rowing exercise for a half hour or more every day. One poster commented that he gets bored if he is asked to do it more than a few minutes in class... he wants to get to the waza. He is missing something very important.

Very few people that I see get to a high level of skill just by doing daily partner training comprised of just waza. Some may do so but not any where near as many as should do so. Aikido people need to get out more. There are some absolutely amazing folks out there who can help us tremendously. Since they do principle based training, you do not have to abandon your Aikido. You can train with these people and the application of what they are doing is immediately apparent in ones own technique.

gdandscompserv
02-15-2007, 12:56 PM
Ledyard Sensei,
What 'principle based' exercises do you recommend?

Ian Starr
02-15-2007, 01:27 PM
I have to say that I come firmly on Dan's side in this. I constantly meet folks who have trained seriously and consistently for decades who simply don't have any real understanding of what our teachers are doing. The idea that simply repeating the same movements over and over will magically result at some unspecified time in the proper skills is just wrong in most cases.

The training that has been the most helpful to me has been principle based exercises, not waza. Ushiro Sensei does this a lot. Kuroda Sensei did this almost exclusively at the Expo. At least 50 % of Systema training is along these lines.

Static training in Aikido should be used for this but many folks miss the point and simply make it a contest about whose technique is stronger. If done properly, it is about developing the proper "feel" for your technique; conditioning your body to understand what it needs to be doing without the tension created by concerns for timing, spacing, etc. I once attended a seminar with Angier Sensei in which we did what I would call kosa dori sumi otoshi from a static position for a day and a half. Many of the folks attending lost interest and stood around talking but the real "goods" were right in front of them and they didn't see it. They just wanted to mambo...

Dan is absolutely right that most folks don't realize how much training O-Sensei did alone, both in terms of what we would see as spiritual practice and what we would describe as physical training. The fact is that these two areas weren't really separate. Nevertheless, very little of what he did in his solo practice is presented as important as daily training for most people in Aikido. Folks may have this or that exercise presented in class once in a while but not as something that should be done every day and often only in a very abbreviated form.

Saotome Sensei used to do the rowing exercise for a half hour or more every day. One poster commented that he gets bored if he is asked to do it more than a few minutes in class... he wants to get to the waza. He is missing something very important.

Very few people that I see get to a high level of skill just by doing daily partner training comprised of just waza. Some may do so but not any where near as many as should do so. Aikido people need to get out more. There are some absolutely amazing folks out there who can help us tremendously. Since they do principle based training, you do not have to abandon your Aikido. You can train with these people and the application of what they are doing is immediately apparent in ones own technique.

Hi George,

I think I may be one of those people that needs to come into contact with some of the folks you mention. I have to a very limited extent - perhaps I am not in a place psychologically where I can benefit yet. So maybe on second thought encountering more people of a similar quality would not be beneficial at this time - it's hard to know. Maybe it has to be the "right" person. I personally grow frustrated with the exercises and demos like we may see from, Ushiro Sensei for instance, at summer camp. I feel like in 15 years I can return to camp and very likely see the same people doing the same exercises (push here now change the way you feel/or settle your center/or shift your attention/or now use kokyu and now push again - see the difference?) and to what end? Where is it going? There are also other variables that constantly occur during the course of participation in these excercises that can totally wreck any real glimpse of truthful experience. And those are hard to avoid even when we desire to do so. After a week of going through that I simply don't feel like anything tangible has been conveyed at all. It is very frustrating indeed for some of us I believe.

Perhaps belief plays a crucial role actually. I know perfectly well that something has to be created/exist in your mind before it can exist in reality. And again, I just may not be there yet or may never be there.

People I have a lot of affection and respect for are very into some of these teachers and the things they are doing so despite my personal frustrations it is hard to dismiss them and what they are offering altogether. I suppose that is good.

I regard myself as a sincere student of the martial arts and just wanted to voice a frustration. I feel there are other students amongst our peers (dedicated aikidoka) that have similar feelings or difficulties.

Thanks,

Ian

Mike Sigman
02-15-2007, 01:47 PM
I personally grow frustrated with the exercises and demos like we may see from, Ushiro Sensei for instance, at summer camp. I feel like in 15 years I can return to camp and very likely see the same people doing the same exercises (push here now change the way you feel/or settle your center/or shift your attention/or now use kokyu and now push again - see the difference?) and to what end? Where is it going? I don't want to appear to be speaking out of both sides of my mouth, but on the one hand I applaud the fact that someone like Ushiro is being utilized to highlight the importance of kokyu (via Ikeda Sensei's concerns and focuses).... but on the other hand, as I've mentioned before, I don't think that most people are going to benefit from what Ushiro Sensei is *showing* (i.e., I don't think he's being explicative enough to call it "teaching").

Usually when someone tells me how much they've learned, etc., from a given teacher and how good he is, and yada, yada, yada, I just ask that they "show me". So far, I haven't felt anyone who has been to Ushiro's classes who has developed any real kokyu skills. Not that they couldn't, if they'd been given instruction up to where they understood where Ushiro Sensei was starting from, but since they're missing that gap and he doesn't fill it in, most of those classes are going to have marginal, if any, value, IMO. On the other hand, isn't a certain amount of reserve with information the traditional Asian method? We can't fault this occurence.

I've also talked with a few old friends of mine who have done Aikido forever (i.e., longer than most readers on this forum, by far) and who have participated in a number of Ushiro's classes. Privately, these people, while wanting to believe, have just been-there-done-that too long. They see it pretty much the same way I do and the way Ian does. Let's don't see clothes on the Emperor if they're not really there.... let's call a thong a thong. ;) Critical, self-honest thinking is the only way to approach these skills and Ian appears to be saying publicly what I've heard a number of people say privately.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
02-15-2007, 01:57 PM
There are also other variables that constantly occur during the course of participation in these excercises that can totally wreck any real glimpse of truthful experience.

I think this is really important...what it means to me is that without a knowledgable person to guide you, you can do all the solo and paired training you want...but it's still quite possible (or even likely) that you are just fooling yourself. I've been to seminars where some group of uke will fall or bounce off or go rigid at a touch...suggestion seems to be everything for them.

But then the next person isn't buying, and guess what?? My "Master" status drops pretty quickly right about then. :D

Without that base of someone who knows what you're looking for and where you're going getting hands on with you...these baseline skills can be very tricky to obtain.

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
02-15-2007, 06:09 PM
Hi George,

I think I may be one of those people that needs to come into contact with some of the folks you mention. I have to a very limited extent - perhaps I am not in a place psychologically where I can benefit yet. So maybe on second thought encountering more people of a similar quality would not be beneficial at this time - it's hard to know. Maybe it has to be the "right" person. I personally grow frustrated with the exercises and demos like we may see from, Ushiro Sensei for instance, at summer camp. I feel like in 15 years I can return to camp and very likely see the same people doing the same exercises (push here now change the way you feel/or settle your center/or shift your attention/or now use kokyu and now push again - see the difference?) and to what end? Where is it going? There are also other variables that constantly occur during the course of participation in these excercises that can totally wreck any real glimpse of truthful experience. And those are hard to avoid even when we desire to do so. After a week of going through that I simply don't feel like anything tangible has been conveyed at all. It is very frustrating indeed for some of us I believe.

Perhaps belief plays a crucial role actually. I know perfectly well that something has to be created/exist in your mind before it can exist in reality. And again, I just may not be there yet or may never be there.

People I have a lot of affection and respect for are very into some of these teachers and the things they are doing so despite my personal frustrations it is hard to dismiss them and what they are offering altogether. I suppose that is good.

I regard myself as a sincere student of the martial arts and just wanted to voice a frustration. I feel there are other students amongst our peers (dedicated aikidoka) that have similar feelings or difficulties.

Thanks,

Ian
I think to some extent this is the point of the discussion... If someone hasn't had enough of a foundation to understand what is being taught, it won't matter that someone shows you. The folks that I see getting the most out of Ushiro Sensei's teaching are the most senior people. I don't think most folks are aware enough of what the prerequisite issues are to be able to take advantage of the instruction. I use Ushiro as an example only in that he is more systematic and more clear about what he is imparting than what I have been used to. I have already had some of the best Aikido training available anywhere. So my experience prepared me to see what he is offering. Most people are simply in the same boat they are with Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei... they see them year after year and don't make any substantial progress towards understanding what they are doing. This is do to a failure in the transmission model.

I think that the principles which combine to create high level technique should be explained and taught right from the start of ones training. I see no point in acquiring hundreds of techniques and variations, none of which you can actually do, because you don't understand what principles are at work. You are better off doing a much smaller repertoire designed to teach your mind and your body the essential principles of aiki. Then one can acquire new techniques at any time and understand what needs to happen to make them effective.

There are a number of skills which would combine to create an O-Sensei level practitioner. There are various psychological aspects one would have to address. There are the structural aspects relating to internal power and kokyu which Mike and Dan have been describing. There would be the aspect of how one joins ones power with another's which would be along the lines of what folks like Endo Sensei and Kuroda Sensei focus on. Someone like Saotome Sensei, my own teacher, embodies much of this on a holistic level. But he doesn't really isolate the principles. I don't even think he sees them as separate issues. So if I wanted to focus on understanding internal power I would definitely train with someone like Mike who has a highly developed way of describing what he is doing and is quite excellent at getting you to do it. Kuroda Sensei had an array of movement paired exercises which were designed to get your body to understand what it should and should not be doing. He really focused on the physical musubi aspect of aiki. In terms of understanding about how to project your intention and what the issues are involved in ki musubi, Ushiro Sensei is incredible. I see a variety of amazing teachers, each focusing on certain aspects of what goes into producing the total package that results in an O-Sensei or a Takeda Sensei.

The problem is for moist folks is that the issues haven't even been defined enough to know what they should be trying to do or learn. They can see someone who is showing them what they need to be doing but they can't see it, even when it is right in front. This is the gap that has been created by a faulty definition of what the fundamentals are. Things that should be fundamental are called high level and no one even talks about them in normal training. Then someone comes along who will show you and you aren't ready because you don't even have the conceptual structure to understand what is being shown. This needs to be addressed. Discussions like this can make folks aware of what these issues are but it's still back to training with people who can teach you what you need to know. It may be that the folks who are the best at "doing" aren't even the best at "teaching". This has often been the case in the past. But if you are going to design your own training program to get you where you want to be, you need to be aware enough of what the issues are that you can seek out the teachers who can show you. Just training away, night after night, will not do it.

aikidoc
02-15-2007, 07:07 PM
I think to some extent this is the point of the discussion... If someone hasn't had enough of a foundation to understand what is being taught, it won't matter that someone shows you. The folks that I see getting the most out of Ushiro Sensei's teaching are the most senior people. I don't think most folks are aware enough of what the prerequisite issues are to be able to take advantage of the instruction. I use Ushiro as an example only in that he is more systematic and more clear about what he is imparting than what I have been used to. I have already had some of the best Aikido training available anywhere. So my experience prepared me to see what he is offering. Most people are simply in the same boat they are with Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei... they see them year after year and don't make any substantial progress towards understanding what they are doing. This is do to a failure in the transmission model.

I think that the principles which combine to create high level technique should be explained and taught right from the start of ones training. I see no point in acquiring hundreds of techniques and variations, none of which you can actually do, because you don't understand what principles are at work. You are better off doing a much smaller repertoire designed to teach your mind and your body the essential principles of aiki. Then one can acquire new techniques at any time and understand what needs to happen to make them effective.

There are a number of skills which would combine to create an O-Sensei level practitioner. There are various psychological aspects one would have to address. There are the structural aspects relating to internal power and kokyu which Mike and Dan have been describing. There would be the aspect of how one joins ones power with another's which would be along the lines of what folks like Endo Sensei and Kuroda Sensei focus on. Someone like Saotome Sensei, my own teacher, embodies much of this on a holistic level. But he doesn't really isolate the principles. I don't even think he sees them as separate issues. So if I wanted to focus on understanding internal power I would definitely train with someone like Mike who has a highly developed way of describing what he is doing and is quite excellent at getting you to do it. Kuroda Sensei had an array of movement paired exercises which were designed to get your body to understand what it should and should not be doing. He really focused on the physical musubi aspect of aiki. In terms of understanding about how to project your intention and what the issues are involved in ki musubi, Ushiro Sensei is incredible. I see a variety of amazing teachers, each focusing on certain aspects of what goes into producing the total package that results in an O-Sensei or a Takeda Sensei.

The problem is for moist folks is that the issues haven't even been defined enough to know what they should be trying to do or learn. They can see someone who is showing them what they need to be doing but they can't see it, even when it is right in front. This is the gap that has been created by a faulty definition of what the fundamentals are. Things that should be fundamental are called high level and no one even talks about them in normal training. Then someone comes along who will show you and you aren't ready because you don't even have the conceptual structure to understand what is being shown. This needs to be addressed. Discussions like this can make folks aware of what these issues are but it's still back to training with people who can teach you what you need to know. It may be that the folks who are the best at "doing" aren't even the best at "teaching". This has often been the case in the past. But if you are going to design your own training program to get you where you want to be, you need to be aware enough of what the issues are that you can seek out the teachers who can show you. Just training away, night after night, will not do it.


Perhaps, that is why you rarely see shihan teaching a seminar that does not focus on basics. THere is more there to learn than meets the eye. I like the way you put it.

DH
02-15-2007, 07:43 PM
Perhaps, that is why you rarely see shihan teaching a seminar that does not focus on basics. THere is more there to learn than meets the eye. I like the way you put it.
That is exaclty the claptrap they want us to be ever stuck in.
If they cared, you would be told. Instead they don't say and have you repeat the basics-for whatever that may be worth to ya. Then they may say. "Figure it out for yourself."
Or they may tell you..."It's in the basics."

It is, in so many ways, truly insulting.

If they are in the basics, ask them what the heck they are supposed to be imparting?
What does this motion really do?
What is drawing this hand?
What is pushing?
What am I using?
What should I be feeling if I do this at home?

If they don't answer or lead you astray you have the start of a serious questioning process.

Principles are a great way to learn to make techniques happen. But it is not what I have been talking about. And the basics I teach, I explain and show and they learn in a clear definitive manner.

Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-15-2007, 10:42 PM
There are the structural aspects relating to internal power and kokyu which Mike and Dan have been describing. Well, speaking strictly for myself, what I'm interested in is actually a large, complex topic that goes beyond just being "structural" in the sense that has been approached on this forum. It's more the like the very interesting glow at the heart of the "jewel" that Ueshiba described in his douka and it would be almost a trivialization to call it "structural". It IS what Ueshiba was referring to.

The other point I'd make is one that I've made before: this stuff is not some facet of a martial art; it's considered to be the ABC's, the essence of all movement and technique in any Asian art that refers to ki/qi. It's not a useful addendum like a bay-window or a front porch... it's the foundations upon which the whole house is supposed to be built. Very difficult to do after the house has already been built without the foundation.

The best, most diplomatic treatment I've seen any Japanese attempt to do about the foundation-level of these skills was the interview that Inaba Sensei did in AJ. ;)

FWIW

Mike

statisticool
02-16-2007, 04:10 PM
Well, speaking strictly for myself, what I'm interested in is actually a large, complex topic that goes beyond just being "structural" in the sense that has been approached on this forum.


Can you please describe what this "goes beyond" actually is?


..this stuff is not some facet of a martial art; it's considered to be the ABC's, the essence of all movement and technique in any Asian art that refers to ki/qi.


Is it the basis for it all, or is it something that you get after doing it for a while? I'd think that if it is the basis for it all, many people would have written about it and there wouldn't be so many debates about it.

aikidoc
02-16-2007, 04:32 PM
Dan:

Your point is well taken in some cases. However, there are some shihan or their assistants that will break it down for you or show you the subtleties. Unfortunately, with many it's monkey see, monkey do without really showing you the deeper more subtle stuff. Fortunately, I have a shihan that does not hide anything and tries to show you as much as possible. You still have to work on it to get it.

DH
02-16-2007, 05:10 PM
Dan:
Your point is well taken in some cases. However, there are some shihan or their assistants that will break it down for you or show you the subtleties.
Like what?


Fortunately, I have a shihan that does not hide anything and tries to show you as much as possible.

So your teacher exhibits the skills we're talking about here and has taught you how to do them?
cheers
Dan

Erick Mead
02-18-2007, 12:48 AM
The best, most diplomatic treatment I've seen any Japanese attempt to do about the foundation-level of these skills was the interview that Inaba Sensei did in AJ. ;)Ah. Yes. http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=107
For each art I teach the basic form. But I always keep flexibility in mind and am not trapped by the form, while at the same time I do not neglect technique. ... With any type of training you should think about developing power in the lower abdomen. In aikido, uke can train the lower abdomen better. When you throw forcefully you use extra power and lose energy from the lower abdomen. Kendo people are afraid of falling. That's why they protect themselves from falling, and they get a little stiff. Karate people are afraid of the counterattack. Each martial art has strengths and weaknesses, but "aiki" is not afraid of the counterattack. If aiki people practice the ken they are not afraid of falling. So, if I understand him aright -- Kihon. Ki no nagare. Ukemi. Lots and lots of ukemi, along with shiko, kokyu tanden ho, and the kokyu undo -- all build up the bujutsu body.

I presume you concur.

Kevin Leavitt
02-18-2007, 01:41 AM
Erick, I would think you'd have to add 'If done or taught correctly" to your last paragraph. That seems to be the whole sticking point for many of us. Who is, and who isn't doing it correctly, or who can teach it and transmit it.

Michael Douglas
02-18-2007, 03:29 AM
Perhaps this is a more appropriate selection from Inaba's article ;
"It's not good to pretend that you have energy (karaibari). Try to use the energy in the lower abdomen. You can call this energy focused "ki" energy. If you don't have center energy, you are bluffing. Really, you have to develop this energy. The energy will flow naturally if you can focus it in the lower abdomen. If you understand this point, you will understand how to develop your body and mind and how you should train.
If you forget this essential point, you'll think only about winning, and you won't have the power to keep centered. This power won't be released and you will be destroyed.
You do exercises to straighten up your back muscles and relax your shoulders. Drop your focus to your lower abdomen. If you do that, you'll find your center point and you will produce center energy. If your center is not developed, you won't have ki energy available to project through your fingers.
If you take excess energy from the upper body and train the lower body as in sumo wrestling, and if you train the energy of the lower abdomen, you will develop your center energy. You use that power wherever necessary."
Lots of good info in that small passage, it sounds like he has a great dojo.

Mike Sigman
02-18-2007, 08:24 AM
I agree with Kevin's point.... anyone can say they practice Aikido if they go to a dojo; few people practice correctly, though, so are they really doing Aikido?

Let me post what I consider the relevant part of Inaba's interview, as I see it. What he says is true. The problem is that different people have allowed different "this is what that word means" things to cloud their perceptions. Inaba is not talking about a lot of germane topics... he is talking about ONE topic:

Many people think they cannot use "aiki" technique because they do not have as much strength as their opponent. Then they start weight training. They cannot use "aiki" technique because they cannot judge timing in distance. They form a bad judgment of the situation.

So, what are "timing" and "distance?" We cannot measure these with a clock or ruler. Timing and distance have to be grasped through each person's intuition. If you are nervous or worried about something, this will cloud your intuition. But some tension is necessary.

You need cleansing, or purification (harai) training, as in Shintoism. You have to make your mind clear, like a mirror. There are many different ways to express how to grasp timing. I think when you purify the body and mind, then you can grasp timing.

However, even if you grasp timing, if you don't focus your power or energy you cannot do anything. In the human body the area to focus power is the lower abdomen (kafuku tanden).

Power focused here is defensive power; power going out is offensive power.

How can you put forth offensive power? The first thing you have to do is to focus the power in your center. Offensive power will naturally flow if you focus your power in the center. That is forceful power (iryoku). It is a condition of focused energy that becomes center energy. In budo, people use the terms "bui" or "iryoku", don't they? Most important in martial arts is "iwoharu," showing this powerfully focused energy. It's not good to pretend that you have energy (karaibari). Try to use the energy in the lower abdomen. You can call this energy focused "ki" energy. If you don't have center energy, you are bluffing. Really, you have to develop this energy. The energy will flow naturally if you can focus it in the lower abdomen. If you understand this point, you will understand how to develop your body and mind and how you should train.

If you forget this essential point, you'll think only about winning, and you won't have the power to keep centered. This power won't be released and you will be destroyed.

You do exercises to straighten up your back muscles and relax your shoulders. Drop your focus to your lower abdomen. If you do that, you'll find your center point and you will produce center energy. If your center is not developed, you won't have ki energy available to project through your fingers.

If you take excess energy from the upper body and train the lower body as in sumo wrestling, and if you train the energy of the lower abdomen, you will develop your center energy. You use that power wherever necessary.

Even though you focus the energy in your lower abdomen, you will not be able to move the energy to the area where you need it right away. You have to think about how you are going to move it. You have to think about two things, gathering and filling up the power, and then moving the power to where the opponent will attack. Also if you have a weapon, you have to project energy through the weapon. If you understand this point, you'll know how to train and what you need to develop. At the same moment you meet your opponent, you focus on your abdomen (hara) and project your ki where you need it. The result will be that you will shut down your opponent's power. I understand that as the power of "aiki."

I think that's why it's really important to develop the mind and body foundation. That is true not only for "aiki." In karate when you strike you step in with your foot. It's the same with kendo and sumo. I recommend sumo training. Sumo still includes basic body training for bujutsu.


Aikido -- Both Hard Training and the Pursuit of "Do"

Everyone at the Shiseikan often does sumo training. I think it's good to devise ways to practice sumo in order to develop the lower abdomen.


Demonstrating Kashima Shin-ryu in 1973In sumo, you train the legs and hips. You attack and bring the elbows down to the sides of the body, and move the lower abdominal power to both hands and fingers. In kendo you take large steps and the power moves from your lower abdomen to the top of sword. If you do this type of training, you will be able to focus your power; your ki will be full and your body will develop. If your mind and spirit grow and your body develops, your ki will be full. If so, you will not have to worry about being captured by the enemy. You will feel that you have no rivals.

If you do not have enough of this type of ki, you will panic. You will wonder what to do and you will become stiff.

With any type of training you should think about developing power in the lower abdomen. In aikido, uke can train the lower abdomen better. When you throw forcefully you use extra power and lose energy from the lower abdomen. Kendo people are afraid of falling. That's why they protect themselves from falling, and they get a little stiff. Karate people are afraid of the counterattack. Each martial art has strengths and weaknesses, but "aiki" is not afraid of the counterattack. If aiki people practice the ken they are not afraid of falling.

In this way, it's better to think that aiki has two meanings: one is to train in aiki technique, while the second is to simultaneously seek "do" (way) as a Japanese.

These two ideas are separate but if, in a fight, your life is on the line, when you use the technique you will show your lifestyle, the way you live, and your spirit. You can see that you cannot separate the two points. But on the other hand, you have to practice technique separately. And "do" has to be thought about separately. If not, you cannot go deeper. We have to think about these two separately, but at the same time, they are intertwined.


"What is Aiki Technique?"
Make the Opponent's Power Zero

When power meets power on the battlefield and you think about what aiki technique is, how can we overcome the opponent's power and make it zero? I think this is the point of aiki technique. Make the opponent's attack zero; take away the opponent's way to attack again, and overcome the opponent's fighting spirit.

"Make the Opponent's Power Zero" and "vector add the forces so that the opponent's balance goes into a hole" are the same thing. If you don't understand that phrase, stand in a parallel stance with Uke and lean just a tiny bit backward so that you're already slightly off balance. Put your hands on Uke's chest (standing close in front of you) and attempt to push him. You have no power... it has "gone to zero". Learning how to do that with the mind-manipulated forces is aiki.

FWIW

Mike

Erick Mead
02-18-2007, 12:05 PM
I agree with Kevin's point.... anyone can say they practice Aikido if they go to a dojo; few people practice correctly, though, so are they really doing Aikido? Well, therein lies the debate, doesn't it?

Let me post what I consider the relevant part of Inaba's interview, as I see it. What he says is true. The problem is that different people have allowed different "this is what that word means" things to cloud their perceptions. Inaba is not talking about a lot of germane topics... he is talking about ONE topic:
In the human body the area to focus power is the lower abdomen (kafuku tanden).

Power focused here is defensive power; power going out is offensive power.

You do exercises to straighten up your back muscles and relax your shoulders. Like, say .... kihon waza with proper posture and tai sabaki?
"What is Aiki Technique?"
Make the Opponent's Power Zero[/B] "Make the Opponent's Power Zero" and "vector add the forces so that the opponent's balance goes into a hole" are the same thing. Not physically a true statement, or at least an incomplete one. "Zero power" can be achieved by creating a situation of zero work, regardlss of the amount of forces involved. That cana be doen by resitance, adding positive to negaitve to reach a zero, or, by another means.

A centripetal force acting on an object with uniform circular motion does zero work, because its kinetic energy is not changing. Thus, lots and lots of force can be involved, but because no work is done, the applied power is made ineffectual, both practically, and mathematically -- zero. Being perpendicular to the input, the countering applciation of force has nothing to resist.

On the other hand by interposing yourself between force and ground you do work -- in the form of, at minimum, structural strain energy, if not actual muscular counterforce -- in resisting and rebounding into the force applied.

Utterly different principles. Both get to zero. Both are bujutsu. One involves resistance. One does not. One is aiki. One is not. Not because I say so -- but because the Founder said so. Aikido involves the principle of absolute nonresistance. That does not mean wimpy budo, it just means not zeroing force with counter forces.

I don't disagree that a lot of aikido trainng could be improved. But the remedy for bad aikido training is not good training in something else, but better aikido training.

Mike Sigman
02-18-2007, 12:16 PM
I don't disagree that a lot of aikido trainng could be improved. But the remedy for bad aikido training is not good training in something else, but better aikido training.
[[Snip the usual self-styled interpretation of what "resistance" means]]

So where do you plan on finding this training?

Mike

eyrie
02-18-2007, 03:58 PM
What I'm curious is, why Inaba would recommend sumo... if, as some are surmising, all one needed in Aikido was already in Aikido....????

What does sumo have that aikido doesn't??? Is the more pertinent question....

Mike Sigman
02-18-2007, 04:04 PM
What I'm curious is, why Inaba would recommend sumo... if, as some are surmising, all one needed in Aikido was already in Aikido....????

What does sumo have that aikido doesn't??? Is the more pertinent question....Shiko and the lower-body strength.

Best.

Mike

Erick Mead
02-18-2007, 05:57 PM
[[Snip the usual self-styled interpretation of what "resistance" means]]

So where do you plan on finding this training?

MikeI have decided, Mike, in future only to de-bait what you write. It is not worth the time trying to much else.

Erick Mead
02-18-2007, 07:18 PM
What I'm curious is, why Inaba would recommend sumo... if, as some are surmising, all one needed in Aikido was already in Aikido....????

What does sumo have that aikido doesn't??? Is the more pertinent question....Shiko and the lower-body strength. Love shikko. Warm ups in nearly every class. Suwari-waza even. Hanmihandachi on occasion.
In 1934, one year after entering, he [Shirata Sensei] was dispatched to the Okayama Branch of the Budo Enhancement Association with fellow deshi Mr. Hashimoto. They were challenged to a match by two locals who were boastful of their abilities. Shirata declined solidly saying, "There is no competition in Aikido. A match means killing each other. Moreover it is the principle of 'Aiki Budo' not to fight." They wouldn't listen to him. So he stood up from necessity and threw one of them and pinned his hands. He then joked, "You see? Can you resist the world of non-resistance?"

There was another uchideshi who was more than six feet tall. He had experience in professional sumo, the traditional Japanese-style wrestling. He boasted about his abilities and talked in a grandiose style. He was quickly and easily pinned by Shirata. After that he never spoke about budo in front of Shirata. There is a similar story of O Sensei and Tenryu the sumo champion and reformer, who ultimately became a great suppoerter of Yoshinkan, and another sumo wrestler from Wakayama that O Sensei treated similarly who thereafter studied aikido.

Let me then return the rhetorical question:

What did O Sensei offer that sumo did not give them, and their training did not apparently deal with?

Not shikko, I'm thinking ...
So where do you plan on finding this training? Ditto.

eyrie
02-18-2007, 07:29 PM
Shiko (sumo leg raises) NOT shikko (knee walking)... ;)

Mike Sigman
02-18-2007, 07:31 PM
Shiko and the lower-body strength. Love shikko. Warm ups in nearly every class. (snipsky) What did O Sensei offer that sumo did not give them, and their training did not apparently deal with?

Not shikko, I'm thinking ... Not wanting to be a spoiler, but "Shiko" and "Shikko" are two different things entirely.

Regards,

Mike "And Neither means Bon Mot" Sigman

DH
02-18-2007, 08:17 PM
Let me then return the rhetorical question:
What did O Sensei offer that sumo did not give them, and their training did not apparently deal with?

And what did Tenryu have already -from- Sumo, that caused Ueshiba to graduate him in three months telling him "Now no one could throw him?" That must have been some interesting training time eh?
And since you love to give MIke a hard time about it these things. Just why was Ueshiba doing push training with him. What was this resistance training with Tenryu for? Not withstanding it's all over his videos.

And Shiko was a favorite of many Daito ryu teachers.
For a very good reason.

Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-18-2007, 08:24 PM
And Shiko was a favorite of many Daito ryu teachers.
For a very good reason. What reason was that??? :) What does Shiko do?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
02-18-2007, 09:37 PM
Not wanting to be a spoiler, but "Shiko" and "Shikko" are two different things entirely. Truly, irony is lost on you people. I am reasonably sure O Sensei is not on video performing 俣割, either ... but please enlighten me. And I must've missed the video where O Sensei teaches his deshi to hike the leg and stomp. I am sure you will point me to it ...

However, -- shikko per aikido = teppo per sumo. In basic point of training, both exercises teach wholly integrated left-right movement, which I find very applicable, FWIW.

As to Dan's question, read Tenryu's own words about his being sent away, not a supposition about what it meant:"This time we used bokken and practiced various movements and then standing techniques. I think we practiced for about five days. Then he said to me: "I have nothing else to teach you. You will be able to handle anyone who comes to attack you wherever you go. Don't worry."
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=449 If you honestly believe that statement, made to an accomplished, controversial, sometimes well-regarded sumo champion, is intended to communicate only one unambiguous thing -- you really have no concept of Japanese culture at all. It literally and carefully says absolutely nothing at all -- either offensive or laudatory.

I watched enough sumo when stationed in Hawaii and favorite sons Konishiki and Akebono were front runners in the prime of their careers to give it due respect it as a formdibale art in its own right. I am sure O Sensei did as well. I am equally certain that it provided Tenryu with a prodigious foundaiton for his aikido training. And yet he lacked something significant and he recognized it.

Inaba is criticizing the lack of certain toughness of both mind and training in today's aikido, something which sumo DEFINITELY does not lack. I do not fault that observation, I even agree with it in many respects -- although I do not draw the same conclusions from it that you do.

More to the point: Later we went to Ueshiba Sensei's house near Mt. Kurama. We woke up at three o'clock the following morning and Sensei suggested that we go to visit the mountain shrine. Sensei wore sandles and we were barefoot as we walked to the stairs leading up the mountain. There Sensei said to me: "Tenryu, you are young. Since I am an old man and have a hard time climbing stairs you push me up." When I placed my hand on his back, he immediately leaned against it. Mr. Shioda told me later that I must have played a trick on Sensei then but I was really quite serious. Although the stairs to the main shrine were not that steep I was dripping with sweat. Sensei told me: "The reason you are perspiring so much is because you were preoccupied with the thought of pushing an old man like me. That's why you are out of breath. If you walk thinking that there is nothing in front of you, you won't sweat or get out of breath." The stairs to the inner shrine from there were quite steep and narrow. People rarely went there. I continued to push him but this time I found that I was not struggling since I had learned to breathe properly. I realized that a little practice of the correct breathing method could make a big difference in Aikido. Are you serious, that the secret in sumo you point to (as opposed to what Inaba alludes to) has to do with an ability to push more effectively against the ground? That Tenryu couldn't as effectively push O Sensei up the stairs because he had not done enough deep squats and leg hikes? And if O Sensei's vaunted strength comes from superlative pushing against the ground, why'd he need help climbing stairs? And yet how could such a weakened man toss people easily?

And what did Tenryu say about that, I wonder, that O Sensei, who needed his help up the stairs to the shrine, was just freakishly strong? Not exactly :I couldn't just leave things like that and attempted to twist his arm up and out. He didn't move an inch. I tried again with both hands using all my might. But he used my strength against me and I fell down. Or is it something else? A principle of manipulation or movement rather than an arcane strengthening, perhaps? Since we like the Socratic mode tonight...

Gary David
02-18-2007, 10:20 PM
Erick
A point here…In the middle of a committed attack in which you as the nage are functioning as the center, and using your connection to apply the centripetal force, the uke de-commits and in countering interposes you between his force and the ground? You are now compressed between the attacker and the ground in a linear path. You can't turn out of the way unless you can relax along the path to the ground without losing structural integrity and sort of shunt the force into the ground. You can do what you want at this point, let the force go and become the center again or bounce the force back along the path and through the attacker's center. The ability to do this fits into my understanding of Aikido and Aiki, and it takes lower body presence. Lower body presence and the ability to transfer momentum can be derived from basic Aikido training, but one has to know what it feels like, the sense and taste of it, to make sure it is in the training. I think Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and others are saying this….make sure it is in the training. How you utilize the skills is up to you. In this regard something that Saotome Sensei said during a visit on the westcoast back in 1983 comes to mind. He said something like "a knife can be used for cutting vegetables or cutting people, how you use it is your decision, but to have the opportunity to make the choice you have to have skill at both." I think the original theme of this thread was that something, one of the ingredients, is missing from the Aikido base skill set and needs to be put back in. I agree.....

Just keep moving…
Gary Welborn

Upyu
02-18-2007, 11:05 PM
Truly, irony is lost on you people. I am reasonably sure O Sensei is not on video performing 俣割, either ... but please enlighten me. And I must've missed the video where O Sensei teaches his deshi to hike the leg and stomp. I am sure you will point me to it ...

Apparently youre not too informed on the japanese "culture" as well.
Of course there wouldnt be video.
Its tanren.
Its th3 ub3r secret. Its the training you do that you dont show the students ;)
Lets also ignore the fact that Takeda was heavy into Sumo wrestling at an early age.
Of course, it may be a minute detail that Sagawa, Takedas oldest student told Kimura (his oldest student) to do Sumo Stomps at least 10,000 times a day to "change" the body.


However, -- shikko per aikido = teppo per sumo. In basic point of training, both exercises teach wholly integrated left-right movement, which I find very applicable, FWIW.

Other than the integrated left right movement (namba movement, for any fans of Yoshinori Kono out there :D ) is the only similarity that shikko shares with Teppo. Teppo itself is far more developmental than Shikko.
Course, it doesnt help that just about any good MA out there has some form of integrated basic left/right movement drill...chinese, japanese, indonesian, kali,escrima whatever.


If you honestly believe that statement, made to an accomplished, controversial, sometimes well-regarded sumo champion, is intended to communicate only one unambiguous thing -- you really have no concept of Japanese culture at all. It literally and carefully says absolutely nothing at all -- either offensive or laudatory.

I think youre partly right, but I also think theres a reason that he choose tenryu as an example. And not some other random Judo Champion that he"d hooked as his students.


I watched enough sumo when stationed in Hawaii and favorite sons Konishiki and Akebono were front runners in the prime of their careers to give it due respect it as a formdibale art in its own right.

Bad example if you ask me. Konishiki and Akebono (K-1 anyone?)were horrible Sumotori.
Chiyonofuji on the other hand.... something more than simple athletics at work there ;)
But, its also an excellent example showing that athletic ability (cough i mean throwing your weight around) and determination (akebono and konishiki) will still get you to the top of a sport, even if you dont develop finely honed skill.



More to the point: Are you serious, that the secret in sumo you point to (as opposed to what Inaba alludes to) has to do with an ability to push more effectively against the ground? That Tenryu couldn't as effectively push O Sensei up the stairs because he had not done enough deep squats and leg hikes?

Dude. You dont push the ground when you do those exercises. Rooting has nothing to do with "pushing" the ground. Even in Sumo.




And what did Tenryu say about that, I wonder, that O Sensei, who needed his help up the stairs to the shrine, was just freakishly strong? Not exactly : Or is it something else? A principle of manipulation or movement rather than an arcane strengthening, perhaps?

Do 1000 shiko squats a day (500 if youre feeling lazy) for a year, then come back and talk ;)
Its training a skill.
Tada no kinniku undo dato omottetara ...

Tim Fong
02-19-2007, 01:26 AM
Rob,

One minor quibble-- we're always pushing agains the ground as long as our foot is in contact.

But what it _feels_ like in the body...yeah I'll agree, I don't feel like I'm pushing against the ground when I do shiko.

Gotta focus on that feeling =)

Kevin Leavitt
02-19-2007, 01:39 AM
Coudn't resist this one. Royce Gracie vs Akebono

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0_svVIDORQ

Upyu
02-19-2007, 03:26 AM
Rob,

One minor quibble-- we're always pushing agains the ground as long as our foot is in contact.

But what it _feels_ like in the body...yeah I'll agree, I don't feel like I'm pushing against the ground when I do shiko.

Gotta focus on that feeling =)
ahhhh yes、But I forgot to mention that i possess the super secret levitation method, woohoo! :D

Mike Sigman
02-19-2007, 07:12 AM
Truly, irony is lost on you people. I may be slow at irony-spotting, but I'm pretty quick at watching lame recoveries. :rolleyes: Inaba is criticizing the lack of certain toughness of both mind and training in today's aikido, something which sumo DEFINITELY does not lack. I do not fault that observation, I even agree with it in many respects -- although I do not draw the same conclusions from it that you do.

More to the point: Are you serious, that the secret in sumo you point to (as opposed to what Inaba alludes to) has to do with an ability to push more effectively against the ground? Seriously... you need to go find someone that is willing to work with you on these things, Erick.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
02-19-2007, 09:23 AM
Its tanren.
Its th3 ub3r secret. Its the training you do that you dont show the students ;) So -- the answer is "No"-- there is no video (the sine qua non for you folks, over his actual statements, it seems) of O Sensei teaching matawari, teppo or shiKo.
Lets also ignore the fact that Takeda was heavy into Sumo wrestling at an early age.
Of course, it may be a minute detail that Sagawa, Takedas oldest student told Kimura (his oldest student) to do Sumo Stomps at least 10,000 times a day to "change" the body. -- And the similarly "minute" detail that O Sensei specifically demurred when asked if "discovered aikido" while learning from Takeda. He said, instead, it was "more accurate" to say that Takeda "opened his eyes to budo." It is a fallacy to state that Takeda ultimately knew more than O Sensei, merely because he taught him at one point.

Some variance between what Takeda taught him and what O Sensei desired to teach drove the separation from him.

You will say that it did not, most likely, but rather it was us poor folks out here in the hustings that separated from the "True Path" (tm).

But enough of suppositions. You have the answers, you say, so answer some more questions:

What was his reticence in giving the full credit for the genesis of the basic priniciples of aikido you all seem now to claim is automatically due to sumo drills advocated by Takeda?

What variant principles caused O Sensei to ultimately part ways with Takeda and seek his own path in budo that diverged from Takeda?

What evidence do you have that channeling ground resistance efficiently through your body (yes, a la sumo) is O Sensei's principle (which then distinguishes aikido) as opposed to a sound principle of Takeda's budo that he may well have learned, but then put aside in favor of the principles that he ultimately adopted and taught?

Are there not budo principles that are inconsistent with aikido's "principle of absolute non-resistance?"

Is O Sensei's direct statement to this effect that you all seem to reject (with much disdain and without bother of rebutting), merely foolish quibbling?

How does offering your body as a prop against the ground to an incoming force not involve structural resistance?

Cannot resistance be broken or crushed by sufficient application of force?

Is not crushing resistance by force very much among the first principles of most budo?

Was "unskillful" Konishiki unfairly criticized (sometimes uncharitably referred to as "meatbomb") in applying that principle to great effect?

Is not the converse principle is that a force cannot so easily destroy that which does not resist?

Do not both principles limit the operation of the other?

What was O Sensei's reticence in giving the full credit for the genesis of the basic priniciples of aikido you all seem now to claim is automatically due to sumo drills advocated by Takeda?

What variant principles caused O Sensei to ultimately part ways with Takeda and seek his own path in budo that diverged from Takeda?

If bodily structures cannot remotely equal the resistance of the ground, how will an old man who cannot get up the stairs by himself, not be overwhelmed and unite himself suddenly with the ground long before the ground typically yields.

Is that the kind of harmony that O Sensei was talking about?

Cannot material limits be exceeded locally by critically altered geometry, even if the forces involved in that alteration are not large globally?

Do not sinews in tension, even young ones, even organized into discontinouus compression tensegrity spaceframes, have material limits?

Do they not also have geometric parameters beyond which they cannot collectively function?

Is their mechanical role even relevant if one goes outside those parameters?

Ellis Amdur
02-19-2007, 09:37 AM
BTW - apropos a comment Rob made. Ueshiba reportedly gave Kotani Sumiyuki (10th dan judo) a menkyo kaiden in DR/aiki-budo/aikido. Given that there is no record of Kotani as a deshi at the Kobukan or post-war, where and how long did he study? (I've told a story elsewhere about Earnie Cates, the great judoka, seeing Ueshiba PRACTICING at the Kodokan, throwing people around, and Kotani telling him to give the old man a try, that he will dump him in less than 10 seconds, which is what happened). I will bet that Ueshiba regarded all that Kotani did as all he needed to know on the technique side, and regarded him as lacking one thing - the ki/kokyu skills we discuss at such length here. And I'll further bet that he simply taught him the skills and Kotani practiced, checking in a few times, and Ueshiba deciding - "you've got it."
(NOTE: Kotani was a middleweight, and went to, I think, the 1932 Olympics in LA as a wrestler for Japan, although he'd never done it. A team mate was also middleweight, so he entered the heavyweight competition, and placed fourth.).
Best

Mike Sigman
02-19-2007, 09:47 AM
What was his reticence in giving the full credit for the genesis of the basic priniciples of aikido you all seem now to claim is automatically due to sumo drills advocated by Takeda? "You all"? Your sentence is complete BS, Erick. "Full credit for the genesis of the basic principles of Aikido" has not been claimed as "automatically due to sumo drills advocated by Takeda". You made that up out of whole cloth. The sumo drills are simply further "forging" drills, not the genesis of the basic principles. How does offering your body as a prop against the ground to an incoming force not involve structural resistance?

Cannot resistance be broken or crushed by sufficient application of force? See.... you have this fixation. Your fixation is based on ignorance and like a mule, you're not going to budge forward an inch because, circularly, you're not mentally flexible enough to learn the new things that will get you past this point.

A globe of the planet has an axis through it and is therefore solidly affixed to the "ground". Anyone slightly off-center in attacking the globe simply causes the globe to spin. Without a good axis (the jin) this spinning is not nearly so effective. If by chance someone hits the globe dead-on, the axis is capable of telescopically retracting into itself and the ground and then expanding directly back into the incoming force. Ueshiba is shown on film doing exactly that. Your raucous bleatings about "resistance!" simply show that you don't understand more than the vague idea of what Ueshiba was saying, so you need to go gather further information. Is that the kind of harmony that O Sensei was talking about?I don't think you understand the "harmony" that O-Sensei was talking about, either. It's a common theme in Asian cosmology and means "working with natural laws without resistance to those laws". A ball bouncing from the floor is a "natural law", but you misapply the meaning and recoil in horror because there is a momentary "RESISTANCE!!!! RUN FOR THE HILLS BOYS.... SHE'S A-PUMPIN' MUD!!! in that natural bounce.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Adman
02-19-2007, 10:01 AM
Do not both principles limit the operation of the other?Just a thought. You can learn non-resistance through "resistance". I find it easier to learn to connect to a person (or the ground) through "resistance," first. Once I can do that well enough, while being as relaxed as possible, I can then learn to connect without "resistance". Seems to work for me, as far as I can tell.

But hey, I'm still young.

thanks,
Adam

DH
02-19-2007, 06:01 PM
BTW - apropos a comment Rob made. Ueshiba reportedly gave Kotani Sumiyuki (10th dan judo) a menkyo kaiden in DR/aiki-budo/aikido. Given that there is no record of Kotani as a deshi at the Kobukan or post-war, where and how long did he study? (I've told a story elsewhere about Earnie Cates, the great judoka, seeing Ueshiba PRACTICING at the Kodokan, throwing people around, and Kotani telling him to give the old man a try, that he will dump him in less than 10 seconds, which is what happened). I will bet that Ueshiba regarded all that Kotani did as all he needed to know on the technique side, and regarded him as lacking one thing - the ki/kokyu skills we discuss at such length here. And I'll further bet that he simply taught him the skills and Kotani practiced, checking in a few times, and Ueshiba deciding - "you've got it."
(NOTE: Kotani was a middleweight, and went to, I think, the 1932 Olympics in LA as a wrestler for Japan, although he'd never done it. A team mate was also middleweight, so he entered the heavyweight competition, and placed fourth.).
Best

Which makes all the points.
1. Ueshiba playing and practing still, even in his later years-and the fact that Internal skills can be used used in freestyle.
2. That Ueshiba recognized -with both this Judoka and with Tenryu that they can be taught separately
3. And with the Japanese fellow out of his league in wrestling placing fourth that they are not unstoppable.

There is so much being discussed about them we need to say again they are probably the best edge you have. But fighting is fighting. Anything can happen.

Cheers
Dan.

Dennis Hooker
02-20-2007, 06:44 AM
Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur
(I've told a story elsewhere about Earnie Cates, the great judoka, seeing Ueshiba PRACTICING at the Kodokan



Just a side note and one off topic at that. Ellis remember Ernie Cates and his late wife Mary showing up at that little thing you, Chuck and I did a few years ago to see Chuck? After I did my thing Cates Sensei came up and said I am going to steal all that stuff. Made me feel about ten feet high. Then Chuck hijacked him and I never got to talk to him anymore. I hadn’t seen them for years and I just learned Mary passed away in May 2006. I used to do joint seminars with Ngo Dong the founder and grandmaster of international school of Coung Nhu in Florida and Mary Cates was one of his top students. Ernie Cates is one of those individuals one meets in life that stand out because of done deed not spoken word. To think O-Sensei handled him with such ease, as he often did so may in his life, still gives pause to consider his power.

Josh Reyer
02-20-2007, 09:33 AM
Are there not budo principles that are inconsistent with aikido's "principle of absolute non-resistance?"

Is O Sensei's direct statement to this effect that you all seem to reject (with much disdain and without bother of rebutting), merely foolish quibbling?

Linguistically, you're on very shaky ground here. Ueshiba never said anything about "non-resistance". The man spoke no English. What he said was that the principle of aikido was muteikou 無抵抗, which is not at all at odds when what Mike, Rob, and Dan have been describing. "Non-resistance" is a decent enough translation for muteikou, close enough for government work, as they say. But if you want to argue terms and definitions, you'll have to do it from the original Japanese.

How does offering your body as a prop against the ground to an incoming force not involve structural resistance?

It may or may not involve structural resistance (depending on how you define that particular term), but it doesn't involve any teikou. Quite the opposite.

If bodily structures cannot remotely equal the resistance of the ground, how will an old man who cannot get up the stairs by himself

Seriously, you don't actually believe that Ueshiba actually meant that he was really too old to go up the stairs by himself, do you?

As for sumo, we shouldn't underestimate the ki and kokyu skills present in that art, either, as this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GAyUeyerR8) clip clearly shows. Watch carefully, and you can see the connection with the ground and the ki extension.

Chuck Clark
02-20-2007, 09:34 AM
I just spoke with Ernie Cates Sensei a couple of days ago. He is doing well and has made his way cross country a couple of times in the past few months in his sweet Mustang (on his own...) to teach seminars and just be by himself in the car. He's very active and, of course, misses Mary greatly. We are trying to cook up something to do together before long. I'll let you know when something jells.

If you get a chance to spend some time with him ask about this bit of time he spent with Ueshiba Morihei. Stories grow both with time, distance, and the number of people that hear and then pass on the story. It's always good to get it from the original source.

By the way, I'm still processing stuff I learned from you and Ellis a couple of weeks ago. Thanks again.

George S. Ledyard
02-20-2007, 10:51 AM
Seriously, you don't actually believe that Ueshiba actually meant that he was really too old to go up the stairs by himself, do you?

Actually, O-Sensei in his last years required assistance to get up from seiza, handle stairs, etc. His body was pretty well beaten up in many ways. He could still go onto the mat and shift into extraordinary mode and go to town but when class was over the deshi would have to assist him to move around. I am sure he was quite serious when he referred to being too old to go up the stairs by himself...

Erick Mead
02-20-2007, 12:19 PM
Linguistically, you're on very shaky ground here. Ueshiba never said anything about "non-resistance".
We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. From "Aikido" (1957) Kisshomaru Doshu, (tr.-- Pranin & Terasawa).
Online here: http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
The man spoke no English. What he said was that the principle of aikido was muteikou 無抵抗, which is not at all at odds when what Mike, Rob, and Dan have been describing. Source? If its from Second Doshu's "Aikido" why don't you post the original of the quoted translation and we can all parse it? I do not not have access to a Japanese version of the text.
"Non-resistance" is a decent enough translation for muteikou, close enough for government work, as they say. But if you want to argue terms and definitions, you'll have to do it from the original Japanese. Government is never close enough -- take it from one who has worked there. Argue with Pranin on the English translation text, not me... you forgot the to address the "absolute" part, though...
It may or may not involve structural resistance (depending on how you define that particular term), but it doesn't involve any teikou. 抵抗 typically means "resistance" in a systemic sense, as in an electrical circuit or a suppressed political opposition movement, with the sense of the kanji = touch + confront.

All of these terms mean "resist" or "resistance" in varying connotations closer to the sense that Pranin's translation used in English. I have no idea which was used in the interview transcript

反対 hantai = "resistance/hositlity" with the sense of the kanji = anti + opposite, counterpart -- typically in an attitudinal sense of antagonism.

抗 戦 kousen = "resistance" with the sense of the kanji = confront + battle

抗 争 kousou = "resistance" with the sense of the kanji = confront + quarrel, strife

手 向 かい temukai = "resistance" with the sense in the kanji = hand + opposed

Of course, so does レジスタンス but I doubt you would find that in the original... :p


As for sumo, we shouldn't underestimate the ki and kokyu skills present in that art, either, ... Who did?

Mike Sigman
02-20-2007, 12:30 PM
Online here: http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
Actually, I agree with what was said in the interview, because here is what is being said, albeit the translation can be questioned:

O Sensei: In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.

I.e., O-Sensei is answering a question about the role of the Aikidoist and he stresses that an Aikidoist does not attack... thus the Aikidoist is not going to oppose an opponent. In that sense of no attack, I agree that there is no resistance to an opponent.

It appears Erick is ready an answer about the role of an Aikido response as meaning something to do with physics.

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
02-20-2007, 01:36 PM
I've never had the pleasure of becoming a bete noire before. Fascinating.


<<de-"bait">>

... Ueshiba is shown on film ... Yes. He is.
... the "harmony" that O-Sensei was talking about ... means "working with natural laws without resistance to those laws". A ball bouncing from the floor is a "natural law", ... that natural bounce. Arsenic, lead, uranium, and hogfarm lagoon liquor are all perfectly natural also. Doesn't make them very healthy -- to whatever degree.

From the same cited interview, O Sensei was speaking more carefully and more specifically on these points than Mike's dismissal of the point gives due credit. O Sensei was speaking, not of "non-opposition to natural laws" that lets balls bounce, but of "absolute non-resistance" to the physical force of an actual opponent or attacker:
[[question alluding to aikido seen as "mystical"]]

O Sensei: It only seems to be mystical. In Aikido we utilize the power of the opponent completely. So the more power the opponent uses, the easier it is for you. ...

... Suddenly, from all directions, from behind bushes and depressions many soldiers appeared and surrounded me. They started to strike at me with wooden swords and wooden rifles. But since I was accustomed to that sort of thing I didn't mind at all. As they tried to strike me I spun my body this way and that way and they fell easily as I nudged. ...

... We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength. ...

[describing a one-finger pin] ... I draw a circle around him. His power is contained inside that circle. No matter how strong a man he may be, he cannot extend his power outside of that circle. He becomes powerless. Thus, if you pin your opponent while you are outside of his circle, you can hold him with your index finger or your little finger. This is possible because the opponent has already become powerless. ...

... Also, in Aikido you never go against the attacker's power. When he attacks you striking or cutting with a sword, there is essentially one line or one point. All you need to do is avoid this. There is nothing in this that remotely hints at "bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground. He specifically speaks of avoidance, of being "outside" the effective power of the opponent, of the opponent becoming powerless -- just as Inaba Sensei said, "Making his power "Zero." He is describing a different set of principles.

While I have not had the pleasure of his instruction directly, I did have the benefit of Ledyard Sensei's seminar following the last summer camp at which Ushirso Sensei was featured. His delivery of what he perceived as a key point that Ushiro Sensei had taught, fit very much into the context of O Sensei's statement: "There is essentially one line or one point. All you need to do is avoid this." The structural manipulation he demonstrated as having been shown by Ushiro, and its variations we practiced, was at once subtle and distinctly "slackening," not at all a "bouncing back." I did not find it at all unrelated or alien to the movements I have learned in my practice, but the isolated focus on refining the point was very much worthwhile.

Mike and Dan have largely and willingly left the path of aikido as it is practiced, finding that it did not suit them. That is fine. It simply may be that what Mike and Dan are getting at is not necessarily what O Sensei was getting at. Or what Ushiro Sensei has been getting at in the summer camps. It does not make their budo lesser. It also does not make aikido lesser either. I have never said anyone else's approach to budo was all wet. I am not remotely qualified to do that, even if it were not in bad taste to say. The favor has not noticeably been returned from certain quarters, I may note.

I am simply trying to distinguish what they are addressing from what I have come to understand in my training in aikido as it is practiced (and I've knocked around a bit), to better delineate those differences and the sources of them. Not from my own understanding, but from what O Sensei actually described as his goals for the teachers that he gave me to learn from, and who I am now working to emulate.

If I were to try to summarize the distinction between what MIke and Dan are addressing, and what O Sensei is addressing in purely Japanese concepts I would say it is more like he is talking about katsujinken and they are talking about satsujinto. O Sensei's description of his approach aloows the opponent's power life (more or different than than he wanted, maybe) wihitn its bounds, while Mike and Dan's approach negates or destroys the opponents power. Both are legitimate aspects of traditional budo. O Sensei even seems to allude to this in describing his revelation of aikido: While overwhelmed by this experience I suddenly realized that one should not think of trying to win. The form of Budo must be love. One should live in love. This is Aikido and this is the old form of the posture in Kenjitsu. After this realization I was overjoyed and could not hold back the tears.

Erick Mead
02-20-2007, 01:55 PM
Just a thought. You can learn non-resistance through "resistance". I find it easier to learn to connect to a person (or the ground) through "resistance," first. Once I can do that well enough, while being as relaxed as possible, I can then learn to connect without "resistance". Seems to work for me, as far as I can tell.

But hey, I'm still young.

thanks,
Adam -- And one can learn rooting by understanding the critical margins of ukemi, finding where you must give up, and where you do not, and then understanding how to place oneself in relation to that margin so as to be outside his power even if he is applying it to you.

Finding out when I will yield is different from finding out how I will not yield -- even though they may explore the same boundary. Ask a fish which side of his critical boundary he is better suited for, or which requires less energy on his part ...

The one approach teaches non-resistance as a first principle, the other does not.

My question is, if we are to follow O Sensei's aikido, which did O Sensei intend?

Masagatsu agatsu.

I think the question is not as trivial as Mike and Dan obviously do.

Mike Sigman
02-20-2007, 01:57 PM
Arsenic, lead, uranium, and hogfarm lagoon liquor are all perfectly natural also. Doesn't make them very healthy -- to whatever degree. I see the standard Asian cosmology is beyond your grasp. Now you're going to miss what "natural" means. What next? :) Mike and Dan have largely and willingly left the path of aikido as it is practiced, finding that it did not suit them. That is fine. It simply may be that what Mike and Dan are getting at is not necessarily what O Sensei was getting at. That would be bad, I suppose, if Dan and I and numerous other people were totally missing the mark on qi and jin and how Aikido uses it. But that's not what I see happening. I see neither Dan, nor Ushiro, nor me, nor Abe Sensei, nor many others disagreeing on the how's and what's of these skills. The only person I see that seems to disagree, while still claiming to "teach", is you. I would propose that the ki skills are pretty obviously the basis of Aikido and if you don't understand them, you have less right to "teach" Aikido than Dan or Ushiro or many other people. It's an interesting discussion. Who is more qualified in Aikido.... a sixth dan with no ki skills or an ikkyu with ki-skills. I put my money on the ikkyu with the baseline skills.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
02-20-2007, 01:58 PM
As for sumo, we shouldn't underestimate the ki and kokyu skills present in that art, either, as this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GAyUeyerR8) clip clearly shows. Watch carefully, and you can see the connection with the ground and the ki extension. I was most intrigued by the bonfire of ki as the spectators were immolated at the end. :D

Erick Mead
02-20-2007, 02:52 PM
<<de-"bait">>

Regards,

Mike Sigman Bete noire. Yep. Truly.

... I see neither Dan, nor Ushiro, nor me, nor Abe Sensei, nor many others disagreeing on the how's and what's of these skills ... I have worked with some seriousness and commitment to technical detail, rather than airy metaphor, on the idea of rotational mechanics as being somehow important to fundamentals of aikido. I have advocated a view that, particularly in a training environment, one should be willing to be moved rather than resist attacking forces. I have analyzed kokyu movement in terms of manipulations made to shift the effective centers of the ordinary progressive limb and body rotations involved in common movement and attacks.

So, let's see what Abe Sensei has to say about any of that :
Ame no Minakanushi ... the idea of "the importance of the center" ... He [Futaki] spoke of aikido as being circular movement, saying that one must find the center and lead all into the circles that surround it. The modern aikido we practice today is no different in the sense that we teach people to be their own centers, to work with centrifugal and centripetal forces to draw their partner into or around that center, thereby coaxing and cajoling the attacker into a position that allows him to be controlled. These circles can also be taken into three-dimensional form to become spirals. ...
... Another example would be the three of us participating in this interview. Since I'm the one speaking at the moment, I am Minakanushi. When you respond or ask another question, then you become that center. The center, in other words, is something that shifts. http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/INTERVIEW-E.html

I would love to see Mike's calligraphy of 'minakanushi' 御中主.

ChrisMoses
02-20-2007, 03:04 PM
O Sensei was speaking, not of "non-opposition to natural laws" that lets balls bounce, but of "absolute non-resistance" to the physical force of an actual opponent or attacker:
There is nothing in this that remotely hints at "bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground. He specifically speaks of avoidance, of being "outside" the effective power of the opponent, of the opponent becoming powerless -- just as Inaba Sensei said, "Making his power "Zero." He is describing a different set of principles.

Erick, I really think you're missing some genuinely great stuff in that article you linked to. It's so obvious to me, that the fact that you don't get it doesn't give me much hope that even my pointing it out to you will help you see it, but perhaps a few others (or perhaps you) will.

First let's talk about your often quoted, "absolute nonresistance". Here's the line from the article:
B: Then, in that sense, there is Aiki in Judo, too, since in Judo you synchronize yourself with the rhythm of your opponent. If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull. You move him according to this principle and make him lose his balance and then apply your technique.

O Sensei: In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.

So yes, OSensei does use what is translated as "absolute nonresistance". However, I don't think you quite get what (IMHO) he really means here. In fact, I think you're making a similar mistake to the interviewer in his followup question:

B: Does that mean ~o no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)

O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.

Avoiding an attack does not equate to absolute non-resistance, nor does intercepting an attack pre-emptively, nor does using an attacker's force against them. All of these scenarios still accept an attacker and a defender. OSensei is claiming that Aikido is something other than that, specifically "a partner you control". Wow, did anyone else just catch that? That doesn't sound much like blending with an attack. Unfortunately, it's my opinion that this is way too far over the heads of most people. I'm more interested in what got OSensei to this headspace than the headspace itself. Like my old guitar teacher used to say, "You wanna sound like VanHalen, you gotta learn Clapton."

So let's look at some other parts of this thing. Earlier you stated that, "There is nothing in this that remotely hints at "bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground. " I call shenanigans…
B: Then, does that mean that you were associated with Tenryu for some period?

O Sensei: Yes. He stayed in my house for about three months.

B: Was this in Manchuria?

O Sensei: Yes. I met him when we were making the rounds after a celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the government of Manchuria. There was a handsome looking man at the party and many people prodding him on with such comments as, "This Sensei has tremendous strength. How about testing yourself against him?" I asked someone at my side who this person was. It was explained to me that he was the famous Tenryu who had withdrawn from the Sumo Wrestler's Association. I was then introduced to him. Finally, we ended up pitting our strength against each other. I sat down and said to Tenryu, "Please try to push me over. Push hard, there's no need to hold back." Since I knew the secret of Aikido, I could not be moved an inch. Even Tenryu seemed surprised at this. As a result of that experience he became a student of Aikido. He was a good man.
(Emphasis mine) Quite frankly, that doesn't sound much like avoiding the line of the attack, but does sound an awful lot like, ""bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground." Further…

C: Were there any episodes while you were at the Toyama School?

O Sensei: Strength contests?...One incident took place, I believe, before the episode with the military police. Several captains who were instructors at the Toyama School invited me to test my strength against theirs. They all prided themselves in their abilities, saying things like: "I was able to lift such-and-such a weight," or "I broke a log so many inches in diameter". I explained to them, "I don't have strength like yours, but I can fell people like you with my little finger alone. I feel sorry for you if I throw you, so let's do this instead." I extended my right arm and rested the tip of my index finger on the end of a desk and invited them to lay across my arm on their stomachs. One, two, then three officers by themselves over my arm, and by that time everyone became wide-eyed. I continued until six men lay over my arm and then asked the officer standing near me for a glass of water. As I was drinking the water with my left hand everyone was quiet and exchanging glances.
Again, not a lot of avoidance of a line of attack, but for lack of a better phrase, ""bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground." What else is in here?

B: Was he the same Mihamahiro of Takasago Beya Sumo Wrestling Association?

O Sensei: Yes. He was from Kishu Province. When I was staying at Shingu in Wakayama, Mihamahiro was doing well in the Sumo ranks. He had tremendous strength and could lift three rods which weighed several hundred pounds. When I learned Mihamahiro was staying in town, I invited him to come over. While we were talking Mihamahiro said, "I've also heard that you, Sensei, possess great strength. Why don't we test our strength?" "All right. Fine. I can pin you with my index finger alone," I answered. Then I let him push me while I was seated. This fellow capable of lifting huge weights huffed and puffed but could not push me over. After that, I redirected his power away from me and he went flying by. As he fell I pinned him with my index finger, and he remained totally immobilized. It was like an adult pinning a baby. Then I suggested that he try again and let him push against my forehead. However, he couldn't move me at all. Then I extended my legs forward, and, balancing myself, I lifted my legs off the floor and had him push me. Still he could not move me. He was surprised and began to study Aikido.

Again, it sure sounds like he's ""bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground."

Now, let's make a list of modern aikido teachers who we feel would match the same feats against comparable partners? Yeah, that's about the same list I have… And that's why so many of us are looking elsewhere, because this is the kind of stuff that people like Akuzawa are doing right now and they're willing to show people what they did to get there.

Mike Sigman
02-20-2007, 03:10 PM
I have approached with some seriousness and commitment ot technical detail, rather than airy metaphor, on the idea of rotational mechanics as being somehow important to fundamentals of aikido. Your "idea" of "rotational mechanics" is no more clear and concise than the "airy metaphors" because, as has been noted, you can only speak generally with your idea. Your idea has nothing explicative about the subject of the thread, "baseline skillset". Your idea is about waza and you seem to willfully want to avoid discussing the "baseline" skills that Ueshiba, Tohei, and many others exhibit with static, "resistive" examples. I.e., you should have stopped while you were behind. Now you are approaching a position of open ridicule, despite bolstering your arguments with your CV. So, let's see what Abe Sensei has to say about any of that Abe Sensei wrote:
Ame no Minakanushi ... the idea of "the importance of the center" ... He [Futaki] spoke of aikido as being circular movement, saying that one must find the center and lead all into the circles that surround it. The modern aikido we practice today is no different in the sense that we teach people to be their own centers, to work with centrifugal and centripetal forces to draw their partner into or around that center, thereby coaxing and cajoling the attacker into a position that allows him to be controlled. These circles can also be taken into three-dimensional form to become spirals. ...
... Another example would be the three of us participating in this interview. Since I'm the one speaking at the moment, I am Minakanushi. When you respond or ask another question, then you become that center. The center, in other words, is something that shifts. http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/INTERVIEW-E.html

I would love to see Mike's calligraphy of 'minakanushi' 御中主.

Hello? Hello? We're not talking about waza, Erick. I'm not sure how many times that has been pointed out to you, but you continue to show that you don't understand the baseline skills by confusedly returning to waza, time after time.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
02-20-2007, 04:18 PM
Your idea is about waza and you seem to willfully want to avoid discussing the "baseline" skills that Ueshiba, Tohei, and many others exhibit with static, "resistive" examples. AVOID DISCUSSING!
That is one sin I can safely say I am NOT guilty of !;)

Mike cannot define the terms of debate (waza/baseline) to avoid discussion when when his own cited video examples tend to rebut his position. I have AT LENGTH examined, analyzed and described here each of the video examples of O Sensei Mike has offered as proof of proposed resistive mechanics -- in what he holds out as sterling examples of the baseline skills according to his interpretation. They do not prove Mike's point, which Mike repeatedly assumes and then ignores.

Here: In no particular order -- Chest push, Thigh push, Head push (and the jo trick as lagniappe in the last one)

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=154966&postcount=96
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=154885&postcount=78
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=163163&postcount=371

Careful visual observation does not show what Mike says is occurring. WITHOUT EXCEPTION, when viewed in stop frame the vidoes offered do NOT show static resistance with a rebound from ground through the center. They show demonstrable limb and postural mobility to AVOID any direct line of force or moment arm to his center (just as he himself said) AND sequential rotations -- imparted by either centripetal or tangential means to manipulate the opponents center, as Abe generally describes.

It was true of the "jo trick" video, the seated head push video, the chest push video, the thigh push video. It was true of the video of the ninety-year old Chinese gentleman that was also offered a while back. There is no "bounce" from the ground in any of these. In the one of the chest push videos he is actually poised on one toe in a near piruoette tossing the guy! Mike and others are the apparent victim of an optical illusion that does not stand up to careful scrutiny.

If Mike wants to stick to training metaphor, more power to him, but he ought not pretend that has described any mechanical basis of "baseline skills" in operation in these examples he has given. The arguments and observations I present dispute what he claims "baseline skills" actually are in mechnical terms.

Disagreeing with my model is fine. Rebutting it is fine. Destroying it, or questioning it, with contrary evidence is fine.

Pointlessly degrading me so as to avoid substantive response proves nothing, at least, nothing about the mechanics. Pretending I have not addressed his evidence is ... well, that would be "bait" that I'll not rise to.

Erick Mead
02-20-2007, 04:32 PM
Erick, I really think you're missing some genuinely great stuff in that article you linked to. It's so obvious to me, ... So let's look at some other parts of this thing. ... doesn't sound much like ... , but does sound an awful lot like, ... ... it sure sounds like he's ""bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground."
"Sounds like" is not "is." Go look at the video of the head push. It seems to be close to what it "sounds like" Tenryu and Mihahiro were doing when O Sensei sat down and said to push him.

Stop frame it with the pause button -- read my analysis I linked to above -- and then answer this question. How do you push on a prop that won't bear your weight without falling over yourself?
...match the same feats against comparable partners? Is that why you are in this -- to match feats?

ChrisMoses
02-20-2007, 05:37 PM
Is that why you are in this -- to match feats?
Yes, I hope to make a living doing strong man routines traveling with Gypsies one day. Thanks for asking.

Mike Sigman
02-20-2007, 05:41 PM
"Sounds like" is not "is." Go look at the video of the head push. It seems to be close to what it "sounds like" Tenryu and Mihahiro were doing when O Sensei sat down and said to push him.

Stop frame it with the pause button -- read my analysis I linked to above -- and then answer this question. How do you push on a prop that won't bear your weight without falling over yourself?
Is that why you are in this -- to match feats? Yeah well, here's the essence of your analysis.... you think Ueshiba is making deliberate small motions that are part of your "rotational movements" theory. He's an old man that his trying to keep his jin path solid against an incoming push. You're so busy trying to justify an absurd theory that you don't even offer the common-sense viewpoint as a "maybe". Good luck in your search for a clue.
;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

eyrie
02-20-2007, 05:50 PM
...
Mike cannot define the terms of debate (waza/baseline) to avoid discussion

I think the terms are quite clear... there should be no debating as to what the terms are. We are specifically talking about baseline skills - not technical waza. This point has been reiterated many times before, and sadly... you still don't get it.

Yes, we are talking about mechanics (at the very base), but there is a whole lot more that isn't really being discussed here, that I would consider part of the baseline. Stuff like mind-willed forces, breath pressurization etc.

You, OTOH, are talking about the application of a completely different type of (i.e. rotational) mechanics as applied to waza. We're talking about the very core of all Asian martial arts, which has nothing to do with technical application - i.e. waza, or rotational mechanics or joint articulation, and everything to do with ki/kokyu/jin. Again, this point has been reiterated several times, and sadly... you still don't get it.

We're talking about stopping men dead in their tracks - when they come to attack, push, pull, shove, hit, punch, kick, grab, whatever. We're talking about basic martial skills (the literal meaning of "gongfu", not the stylized choreography of HK flicks from the 70's).... martial skills that, on a very basic level, allow you to absorb that force and do "something" with it - and that "something" is NOT technique.

We're talking about having someone push on you and they feel like they can't move, or lift their foot without falling over, or getting bounced off as a result, much less move you. Having someone pull on you, and feel like they're trying to uproot a tree. Having someone hit you and they feel like they're hitting a brick wall. Or you hitting someone, without a windup, and they feel like they've been hit by a sledgehammer. Having someone grab you and they feel like they've been tasered, and sapped of all their power. All of which DO NOT involve waza.... just standing there and "connecting". No rotation, no "resistance" no opposition, no apparent outward movement, no nothing.

We're talking about the kind of connection that makes you one with your attacker, and they become a part of you that you control. No resistance... but by "standing firmly between Heaven and Earth".

We're talking about basic martial skills applicable to a broad spectrum of Asian martial arts. We're talking about Martial Arts 101. Basic gongfu... something that a lot of people think they're doing, and a lot of teachers think they're teaching, at the same time not knowing that all the waza in the world is not IT, and without IT, waza is merely empty skill.

Josh Reyer
02-20-2007, 08:43 PM
Actually, O-Sensei in his last years required assistance to get up from seiza, handle stairs, etc. His body was pretty well beaten up in many ways. He could still go onto the mat and shift into extraordinary mode and go to town but when class was over the deshi would have to assist him to move around. I am sure he was quite serious when he referred to being too old to go up the stairs by himself...

When Ueshiba trained Tenryu, he was 56 years old.

Josh Reyer
02-20-2007, 09:09 PM
Online here: http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html

I'm quite aware of what the translation says. My point is that you are arguing off of translated terms that are idiomatically imprecise. If I was translating Ueshiba's words in this case, I, too, would use "non-resistance", but if I was arguing whether something was counter to his words or not, I'd use his actual words, not a translation.

Source? If its from Second Doshu's "Aikido" why don't you post the original of the quoted translation and we can all parse it? I do not not have access to a Japanese version of the text.

Ueshiba's words, from the Seibukan website (http://seibukan.main.jp/budou.html):

合気道は無抵抗主義である。無抵抗なるが故にはじめから勝っているのだ。

If you need more convincing I'll happily stop off at the library today, pick up the Japanese edition of "Morihei Ueshiba and Aikido", and quote Ueshiba's interview directly.

All of these terms mean "resist" or "resistance" in varying connotations closer to the sense that Pranin's translation used in English. I have no idea which was used in the interview transcript

Then don't argue from "what Osensei said", because you don't know what he said, only what it was translated as. Arguing from someone's words is a tricky enough business among native speakers of that person's language. Adding translated words only muddies the waters further.

Who did?

I guess you responded to that before clicking on my link...

Mike Sigman
02-20-2007, 09:35 PM
Just for the record, I'd like to note one comment in the translated interview. O-Sensei says: "I sat down and said to Tenryu, "Please try to push me over. Push hard, there's no need to hold back." Since I knew the secret of Aikido, I could not be moved an inch."

Notice that Ueshiba is saying that the "secret of Aikido" has to do with an ability to stand immoveable while being pushed. That is jin, the essence of the kokyu force. That jin/kokyu is used as the power to the strategic techniques of Aikido, techniques which do not offer any brute resistance but which draw their great "kokyu power" from the essence that Ueshiba is talking about as "the secret of Aikido".

FWIW

Mike Sigman

statisticool
02-21-2007, 05:53 AM
O-Sensei says: "I sat down and said to Tenryu, "Please try to push me over. Push hard, there's no need to hold back." Since I knew the secret of Aikido, I could not be moved an inch."

Regarding this

[quote]
Notice that Ueshiba is saying that ...


Well, we notice that what you type is your interpretation of the translator's interpretation of the text, not Ueshiba's direct words.


... the "secret of Aikido" has to do with an ability to stand immoveable while being pushed.


That's one interpretation. If you already believe being immobile is the secret of aikido, then you will interpret it that way. From reading that, it sounds like the secret of aikido is also the secret of sumo.

You might want to ask yourself why would being immobile in a martial art that obviously, if you've ever seen it, values being highly mobile, be its secret?

My interpretation is that it sounds like Ueshiba is saying

secret of aikido -> being immoveable

and not

secret of aikido = being immoveable, as you believe.

That is, whatever he is calling the secret of aikido led to him being immoveable (ie. the translator's "since"), but the secret itself isn't being immoveable.


That is jin, the essence of the kokyu force.


Is that anything like saying "sushi, the essence of shui zhu yu"?

Could you please, please, try and put your Japanese and Chinese terms in regular ol (non-quoted) terms from a basic physics class so those of us that don't speak these foreign languages can hope to udnerstand these secrets? Thanks.

Tom H.
02-21-2007, 07:38 AM
You might want to ask yourself why would being immobile in a martial art that obviously, if you've ever seen it, values being highly mobile, be its secret?

From my experience with this unpopular resistance & immovability training, it's only the other guy who thinks you are immobile, and that's because you've decided you to stop and smell the flowers, not because you are resisting his efforts to move you. Conversely, when you do start walking again, he can't stop you. It's not because you are opposing him at every turn, but because you are keeping your body in "natural" harmony and you've decided to walk over to the next interesting flower.

Once you've got that body, then you can start doing the fun stuff. If the other guy has it, too, things may get interesting.

Erick Mead
02-21-2007, 07:56 AM
I'm quite aware of what the translation says. My point is that you are arguing off of translated terms that are idiomatically imprecise. Then your argument is with Stanley Pranin -- not with me. But, in any event, the original also bears the same interpretation he gave it and that I see in its translated form.
If I was translating Ueshiba's words in this case, I, too, would use "non-resistance", but if I was arguing whether something was counter to his words or not, I'd use his actual words, not a translation. For which I thank you.
Ueshiba's words, from the Seibukan website (http://seibukan.main.jp/budou.html):

合気道は無抵抗主義である。無抵抗なるが故にはじめから勝っているのだ。 Thank you. As I said, 抵抗 is a systemic characteristic, like electrical resistance, for which it is also used. A systemic characteristic exists throughout the whole and in each part.

Acknowledging his use of muteikou 無抵抗 in this passage, it does not change anything about my point from the text of the interview. The term used in that interview translated as "absolute"by Pranin is "tettei" 徹底 = "thoroughness/completeness" 徹底 した無抵抗主義" states a principle (主義) of nonresistance (無抵抗) existing with (した) "thoroughness/completeness" (徹底) or throughout the whole of the body. The proper connotation of the kanji 徹底 is nonresistance that "penetrates to the bottom/root/foundation"

His use of tettei 徹底 in the interview may be used to strengthen the statement, such that there should be no partial degrees of nonresistance in the different parts, or it may be merely an emphasis on the systemic nature of the principle already implicit in teikou 抵抗. The statement is open to both interpretations in this context where he was correcting an apparent misimpression of the interviewer.
If you need more convincing I'll happily stop off at the library today, pick up the Japanese edition of "Morihei Ueshiba and Aikido", and quote Ueshiba's interview directly. Again, thank you very much. Please take no further trouble, although, if you have any pointers to any other original texts of O Sensei online, I will happily take them. I am satisfied with the excerpt text you gave, and very appreciative to have thisportion of the original stateemnt to work with on this important point.
Arguing from someone's words is a tricky enough business among native speakers of that person's language. Adding translated words only muddies the waters further. I am glad we clarified that.

DH
02-21-2007, 08:18 AM
From my experience with this unpopular resistance & immovability training, it's only the other guy who thinks you are immobile, and that's because you've decided you to stop and smell the flowers, not because you are resisting his efforts to move you. Conversely, when you do start walking again, he can't stop you. It's not because you are opposing him at every turn, but because you are keeping your body in "natural" harmony and you've decided to walk over to the next interesting flower.

Once you've got that body, then you can start doing the fun stuff. If the other guy has it, too, things may get interesting.

Very nicely said Tom.
It is hard enough describing this stuff-many times to folks its like talking a different language. Your "visual" of being walked through incorporates at least two argument points that are being discussed here
1. That it is, in fact, moving energy and not static
2. That it is a powerful, connected body, in motion that causes the other person to have to move.
I would only add that the amount of resistance that the "other person" lets call him uke creates some facinating effects in the interplay.
There truly is no static robotic actions involved.
What remains truly sad is that those in AIkido don't have a clue as to what he was really doing in the first place.
Is it any wonder they argue?
Cheers
Dan

ChrisMoses
02-21-2007, 08:50 AM
Could you please, please, try and put your Japanese and Chinese terms in regular ol (non-quoted) terms from a basic physics class so those of us that don't speak these foreign languages can hope to udnerstand these secrets? Thanks.

How's this, "In order for ones aikido to be great/better/like the founder's one needs to understand how to use the support muscles of the body to control ones movement, rather than depending on 'beauty' muscles and simple inertia. These skills seem to be easiest to come by through solo exercises that force the practitioner to simultaneously learn to propriocept with greater accuracy and develops the structures within the body necessary for efficient martial movement. Unfortunately, you must learn these things in person, as it is far too easy to think one is doing something right and rely on what one already knows, thus the confusion."

I agree with your comment about secret of aikido and being immovable. I suppose if he was being less guru-like, he might have said something along the lines of, "Because I understand and have internalized the underlying principles of movement in aikido, I can stabilize my structure in such a way that it would take a great deal of energy for someone external to myself to move me in a meaningful way, while I am however sprung and able to move with great speed and efficiency at a moment's notice." I don't think anyone here is arguing that simply being immovable is the secret of aikido, but rather that IF you REALLY understand how to do aikido, these kinds of parlor tricks are trivial.

Josh Reyer
02-21-2007, 09:03 AM
Then your argument is with Stanley Pranin -- not with me. But, in any event, the original also bears the same interpretation he gave it and that I see in its translated form.
For which I thank you.No, my argument is with you. Stan Pranin supervised a capable translation that adequately gave an idea to English speakers of what Ueshiba said. You are the one who has been using the idiomatically imprecise term to argue with Mike et al.

Let me give you another example. In Iwama style uke is taught to grab tori/nage very strongly and very solidly. Tori should be unable to move unless moving correctly, and without trying to muscle through the technique. In English this could very well be described as training with "resistance" (hell, we had a whole thread about it). But in Japanese it would never be described using 抵抗. That's the difference in idiom.

So, if you want to argue that what Mike, et al are describing is against the principles of 無抵抗, then great. I absolutely disagree with that position, but at least you're on firmer linguistic ground. If you are using the term "non-resistance", then I think there's a fundamental problem.

Thank you. As I said, 抵抗 is a systemic characteristic, like electrical resistance, for which it is also used. A systemic characteristic exists throughout the whole and in each part.

Acknowledging his use of muteikou 無抵抗 in this passage, it does not change anything about my point from the text of the interview. The term used in that interview translated as "absolute"by Pranin is "tettei" 徹底 = "thoroughness/ completeness" 徹底 した無抵抗主義" states a principle of nonresistance that exists "thoroughly" or throughout the whole of the body. Or using the proper connotation of the kanji 徹底 = nonresistance that "penetrates to the bottom/root/foundation"

His use of tettei 徹底 in the interview may be used to strengthen the statement, such that there should be no partial degrees of nonresistance in the different parts, or it may be merely an emphasis on the systemic nature of the principle already implicit in teikou 抵抗. The statement is open to both interpretations in this context where he was correcting an apparent misimpression of the interviewer.There is nothing inherently "systemic" about 抵抗. The Daijirin definition is quite simple.

(1)外から加えられる力に逆らったり、張り合ったりすること。手向かうこと。さからうこと。
「―すると撃つぞ」「官軍に―する」
(2)そのまま素直には受け入れがたい感じ。反発したい感じ。抵抗感。
「そういう言い方には―がある」
(3)運動する物体に対し、運動と反対の方向に作用する力。抗力。
「空気の―を少なくする」「摩擦―」
(4)「電気(でんき)抵抗」の略。

If you grab my hand, and I pull away, that's 抵抗. If you try to push me, and I try pushing back, that's 抵抗. If you try to push me and I pull, that's not 抵抗. If you swing your sword at me and I bat it away with my sword, that's 抵抗. If you swing at me and I move to the side, it's not 抵抗. If I use ukenagashi to let it slide off my sword, it's not 抵抗. If you try to push me and I simply let the energy from that push go into the ground, that's not 抵抗.

What you should be paying attention to is not the 徹底, but the 逆らわない, which is where Ueshiba describes what he means by 無抵抗. 逆らう sakarau means to oppose the flow or movement of something. So, now, we flip back ten pages or so in this thread, and see the dangers of non-idiomatic discourse. In your discussion with Ignatius, your premise was that what Ignatius was suggesting was resistance. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't; that's not particularly an argument I care about. But what Ignatius (and Mike) was describing was certainly not 抵抗, and at no point suggested any kind of 逆らう of the partner's energy.

Erick Mead
02-21-2007, 03:38 PM
No, my argument is with you... Well, thank you Joshua. This debate is worth the time.
Let me give you another example. In Iwama style uke is taught to grab tori/nage very strongly and very solidly. Tori should be unable to move unless moving correctly, and without trying to muscle through the technique. In English this could very well be described as training with "resistance" (hell, we had a whole thread about it). But in Japanese it would never be described using 抵抗. That's the difference in idiom. --- And that is 180 degrees out from the instance of "resistance" TO the attack I am speaking about and that O Sensei refers to in the instant quote. I, too trained in Iwama style, and I can make your wrist turn pale if need be. The training was, as you say to move freely even in a very firm attack, but the response I learned that allows that, is by no means, resistant at all.
So, if you want to argue that what Mike, et al are describing is against the principles of 無抵抗, then great. I do. Based on what they say one should train to do as a matter of first principle -- to become a spring or prop against the ground.

I absolutely disagree with that position, but at least you're on firmer linguistic ground. If you are using the term "non-resistance", then I think there's a fundamental problem. This is equivalent to saying that one cannot think about aikido -- except in Japanese. I demur to even lift a hand to that straw man. What English term would you propose in its place, since you disagree with Pranin, or at least with me, about its usage in this context?

But, I will take it in the spirit you have offered and not resist ;) dealing with the concepts in the Japanese.

There is nothing inherently "systemic" about 抵抗. Which would only reinforce attention to his use of tettei 徹底 completeness/thoroughness to eliminate that ambiguity. And as we well know, idiomatic Japanese is normally utterly lacking in ambiguity. :rolleyes:

And # 4 definition is support for a systemic concept -- (4)「電気(でんき)抵抗」の略。 Abbr. for resistance to electricity. My arguments on interpreting "non-resistance" are largely geometric in application. "Resistance" in an electrical sense is also very dependent on the shape and orientation of the conductor.

The Daijirin definition is quite simple.
(1)外から加えられる力に逆らったり、張り合ったりすること。手向かうこと。さからうこと。 See discussed below.
(3 ) 運動する物体に対し, 運動と反対の方向に作用する力。 Well that certainly applies to my objection: "against an object in motion, power opposite the direction of motion." Seems to me he is an object in motion at the point his intedned push comes into contact with my body

If you grab my hand, and I pull away, that's 抵抗. If you try to push me, and I try pushing back, that's 抵抗. If you try to push me and I pull, that's not 抵抗. If you swing your sword at me and I bat it away with my sword, that's 抵抗. If you swing at me and I move to the side, it's not 抵抗. If I use ukenagashi to let it slide off my sword, it's not 抵抗. Agreed thoroughly, with the only quibble being the assumption that the grab and pull bakc does not result in a tug of war, in which case it is 抵抗.

If you try to push me and I simply let the energy from that push go into the ground, that's not 抵抗. And there is where we disagree. If you are a static intermediate structure between two objects pushing at one another (Newton's Third Law I believe) through your structure, your structure is necessarily and unavoidably exerting equal and opposite force against BOTH of them. If you are a eighty-year old man and you become the intermediary for the hammer and the planet, then you likely break something along the way.

Your structure is pushing back in each case. If not, then you are being moved somewhere, because you are not resisting. Basically, those are the two choices in repsonse to applied force, either resist or accelerate.

If you resist only partially, then you "vector add" as Mike refers to it, to manipulate the line of force through the body to the ground. Per the # 1 definition -- because there is a component of force opposed (さからうこと) in that model, the muteikou 無抵抗 lacks tettei 徹底. The non-resistance does not have thoroughness/completeness.

It is, in part, in competition (張り合ったりすること) with the push and therefore not muteikou that is thorough (徹底した無抵抗). It is, in part, opposing the outside force (外から加えられる力に逆らったり), and also therefore not muteikou that is complete. (徹底した無抵抗).

If you do not resist at all, but act only perpendicularly or tangentially (of like sign) to all forces or rotations, then no component of your force is ever acting against or in opposition to the outside force at all. The relative strength of your structure does not come into play (other than to maintain its own integrity). There is no component of your force, whether static fascial strain ( Mike's "springs model") or muscular counter-exertion, (which we all agree is bad) in response.

Either of the latter is 抵抗 in the sense of the Daijirin usage of 抵抗 : 運動と反対の方向に作用する力, and also of the first usage listed as outlined above.

Let me hasten to add that atemi are not per se 抵抗. If applied on a clear line where no force is being exerted by the opponent, atemi can be applied with 無抵抗 -- the strike is not resisting any "force form the outside." He might be resisting my strike with his structure when he gets hit -- but that is only if he is not doing aikido at the time. :D
What you should be paying attention to is not the 徹底, but the 逆らわない, which is where Ueshiba describes what he means by 無抵抗. 逆らう sakarau means to oppose the flow or movement of something.
But what Ignatius (and Mike) was describing was certainly not 抵抗, and at no point suggested any kind of 逆らう of the partner's energy. I am trying to read his entire concept in context together with all its parts. The entire phrase is: 徹底した無抵抗主義 で相手に逆らわない。 He essentially repeats the earlier phrase "principle of thorough/complete nonresistance" "so" (で) that "it does not oppose" (逆) the attacker. 無抵抗 is primary, and which 逆らわない "comes from" (で) -- as the result or expression of 無抵抗.

Sakarau 逆 is also the same kanji as "gyaku" which is its primary usage and involves a positional concept -- implying the geometric interpretation of I am giving it 無抵抗で... 逆らわない -- offering NO opposing component of force, at all. That means tangents of like sign or purely perpendicular components. "Juji" 十字, in other words. That brings up another favorite image he uses in the Doka where he referred to the art as "jujido": "cross sign of the way", or "way of the cross sign," and in several other Doka as merely Juji

天 地 の
精 魂 凝りて
十 字 道
世 界 和 楽 の
むすぶ 浮橋

Ametsuchi no
seikon korite
jujido
sekai waraku no
musubu ukihashi.

That gives a further context and connection to my fundmamental geometric premise on what constitutes effective, physical, and aggressive 無抵抗 non-resistance in response to an attack.

Bottom line -- a push will move you somehow unless you resist it somehow. To move parts of your structure around (as we see O Sensei doing in the videos offered previously) to dissipate his push the attacker need not be able necessarily to shift your stance (which we also see in O Sensei's videos offered).

The question is what part(s) you allow him to move, and more importantly in what order or direction. And whether you decide to let some parts "not resist" ahead of time or "out of order" from his perspective.

Wherein lies the art -- rather than the physics -- of aikido.

eyrie
02-21-2007, 05:41 PM
...If you are a static intermediate structure between two objects pushing at one another (Newton's Third Law I believe) through your structure, your structure is necessarily and unavoidably exerting equal and opposite force against BOTH of them. If you are a eighty-year old man and you become the intermediary for the hammer and the planet, then you likely break something along the way.

Your structure is pushing back in each case. If not, then you are being moved somewhere, because you are not resisting. Basically, those are the two choices in repsonse to applied force, either resist or accelerate.

I think the best way to describe the structure is "sprung"...rather than "rigid". Obviously there are varying degrees of "springiness" and "rigidity"... But it has to do with conservation of linear momentum and elastic (or in varying cases... partially elastic) collisions - a combination of Newton's 1st and 3rd laws...

It's like that suspended ball bearing contraption, whereby if the ball on one end is swung and hits the other balls, the balls in the middle remain stationary, and kinetic energy is transferred to the opposite end ball and so on. Obviously there will be some loss of KE, and conversion to PE, but the total momentum and energy within that isolated system is conserved. I think... :confused:

If the opposite end ball is somehow prevented from swinging, perhaps by being in contact with a wall, then KE is transferred to the wall. And because the wall (ground?) is THE rigid structure, Newton's 3rd law applies, and the KE is transferred back to the first ball, causing it to swing back (i.e. the 1st law).

So, your structure is not "pushing" back... or rigid, but sprung. You're just the balls in the middle. And you are merely attempting to manipulate the kinetic energy, thru your structure, against the ground and back, so that the total momentum is more or less conserved, thus restoring "harmony".

Well, at least how I understand it... my physics sux, so I could be way off the mark...in terms of the physics... :D

DH
02-21-2007, 07:42 PM
I think the best way to describe the structure is "sprung"...rather than "rigid". Obviously there are varying degrees of "springiness" and "rigidity"... But it has to do with conservation of linear momentum and elastic (or in varying cases... partially elastic) collisions - a combination of Newton's 1st and 3rd laws...

It's like that suspended ball bearing contraption, whereby if the ball on one end is swung and hits the other balls, the balls in the middle remain stationary, and kinetic energy is transferred to the opposite end ball and so on. Obviously there will be some loss of KE, and conversion to PE, but the total momentum and energy within that isolated system is conserved. I think... :confused:

If the opposite end ball is somehow prevented from swinging, perhaps by being in contact with a wall, then KE is transferred to the wall. And because the wall (ground?) is THE rigid structure, Newton's 3rd law applies, and the KE is transferred back to the first ball, causing it to swing back (i.e. the 1st law).

So, your structure is not "pushing" back... or rigid, but sprung. You're just the balls in the middle. And you are merely attempting to manipulate the kinetic energy, thru your structure, against the ground and back, so that the total momentum is more or less conserved, thus restoring "harmony".

Well, at least how I understand it... my physics sux, so I could be way off the mark...in terms of the physics... :D
Hi Ignatius
My physics suck as well. I'll let you and Gernot keep making your excellent analogies and detailed explanations. You do a far better Job than me.

The above example while pretty nifty doesn't really cover willful dissapations or vectoring of forces in the body. Nor compression power releases.
One thing about the ball transfer effect, and how it can be misunderstood is how it realtes to hardness. I'll use an example thats close to home for me -blacksmithing. With a hammer and anvil you test to measure quality of tempered hardness.You drop the hammer on the anvil and watch to see the rebound off the surface. If you have a nice hard but tempered steel surface and a hard but tempered steel hammer- it rings and bounces almost as high as it was dropped. If you have a cheap, pig iron anvil face that is soft it will not transfer the energy back up and bounce the hammer as high. This becomes important because when moving hot steel you want the energy transfer to be absorbed in the steel so it moves with less effort.
Now with a human body between the ground and the force-if you are "hard" by flexing-your dead meat.
So that leads to wonderful questions of clear power-Sagawas "Tomie no Chikara." Just "what" is hard so that the rebound is clear enough (like a teacher expressed to me) to ring a bell.
How do we make "Tomie no Chikara" real? Why would Sagawa even discuss it?
And just what can we use to enhance that uhm...hardness- in an expansive manner? And how can all that work in the inverse to absorb?

What isn't really being discussed is how "sensitive" it leaves you to someones force. Because of an enhanced zero-balance point or what the CMA call central equilibrium- input is more easily read and more easily "changed." I don't talk about it much because I don't play aiki-games so much anymore, but the sensitivity is tailor made for Aikido.

For me the real fun stuff is how other aspects of good structure can be utilized once achieved..... in another venue... to kick, hit, throw, and choke.
But it's still all power, and its all fun
Cheers
Dan

eyrie
02-21-2007, 08:04 PM
Hi Dan,
The above example while pretty nifty doesn't really cover willful dissapations or vectoring of forces in the body. Nor compression power releases.
One thing about the ball transfer effect, and how it can be misunderstood is how it realtes to hardness.
Thanks for the forging metaphor... WRT doing a better job explaining... you are too kind.... and yes, I was keeping it simplistic.

Whilst we are on the subject of metaphors, what parallels do you see between forging steel and forging the body?

DH
02-21-2007, 08:52 PM
Whilst we are on the subject of metaphors, what parallels do you see between forging steel and forging the body?

Well,none actually. I think it’s a way overplayed axiom
All that stuff about
"The iron brags about facing the tortuous furnace and the heat...
The steel blade? Looks back and smiles."

Or "Through tortuous discipline, fire and coaxing, thus the blade is born..."
Yadda yadda Actual forging is addictive but a whole lot of hot, hard sweaty work.

I think the real key to learning this stuff is repetitive, gradual work. Ya have to learn without stress at first to slowly get your body to hear and respond in new ways. It's the best way to learn this stuff not beating it ala forging. Even fighting with it has to be a process or you'll just go back to isolated flexing.
It's why I don't really want to teach people. I'm having too much fun to waste my time with technique junkies. I look for other people who are just as challenged by it as me and who will eat it up and work it.
Cheers
Dan

Erick Mead
02-21-2007, 09:48 PM
I think the best way to describe the structure is "sprung"...rather than "rigid". Obviously there are varying degrees of "springiness" and "rigidity"... But it has to do with conservation of linear momentum and elastic (or in varying cases... partially elastic) collisions - a combination of Newton's 1st and 3rd laws...

It's like that suspended ball bearing contraption, whereby if the ball on one end is swung and hits the other balls, the balls in the middle remain stationary, and kinetic energy is transferred to the opposite end ball and so on. Obviously there will be some loss of KE, and conversion to PE, but the total momentum and energy within that isolated system is conserved. I think... :confused:

If the opposite end ball is somehow prevented from swinging, perhaps by being in contact with a wall, then KE is transferred to the wall. And because the wall (ground?) is THE rigid structure, Newton's 3rd law applies, and the KE is transferred back to the first ball, causing it to swing back (i.e. the 1st law).

So, your structure is not "pushing" back... or rigid, but sprung. You're just the balls in the middle. And you are merely attempting to manipulate the kinetic energy, thru your structure, against the ground and back, so that the total momentum is more or less conserved, thus restoring "harmony".

Well, at least how I understand it... my physics sux, so I could be way off the mark...in terms of the physics... :DActually, I think the elastic collision analysis you are using is basically correct for what you are doing, or at least how it is described. And I do get the "spring" aspect. The Tthird Law applies in each succesive collision, and each ball in turn must bear its share of resisting the reaction load through its structure to push the next one in the line. It is also bearing the countering reaction push from the end ball's inertia that is accelerated by the impulse transmitted. If its structure is not strong enough, the middle ball breaks and a great deal of energy is eaten up in the fracture loads. If you do not believe this, substitute an egg for one of the ball bearings in the middle sometime. I suggest using hardboiled, or have lots of paper towels on hand.

The problem is that even springs are subject to the Third Law. and the reactive push comes from the elastic strain deformations of the structure that the effective "spring" undergoes. An actual spring is just more obvious in its elastic deformation than the more rigid (but still highly elastic) ball bearing. But overloaded springs (of whatever construction) also snap, just as rigid tubes or spheres do.

The question in a resisting mode -- even in linear elastic collisions, which you properly describe -- is determining the limiting load for the structure. True non-resistance does not have that limit, because it never bears a load that would significantly limit it. So it is safer and more effective for doddering old men -- as Ikeda urges us to plan for.

eyrie
02-21-2007, 11:12 PM
But... there is no resistance Erick... and you'd be surprised how much load a properly trained body can withstand... But then again, we're not talking about the body having to withstand the load, and instead, spreading the load across the frame and fascia structures to the ground, which bears the main brunt of the load.

And by all accounts, O'Sensei was still extremely strong, even in his old age... despite the fact that he had to be carried in and out of the dojo. But then, you only really need as much strength as you do to remain standing.... it's the getting up outta bed and down part that's the problem.. :D

So, no, I don't plan on being a doddering, slobbering and incontinent old man when I'm 60, 70 or 80... hopefully I'll still be running 40-50kg bags of chicken feed up the hill, and push starting the missus' ol' heap of shi'te (the ol' 1 tonne ute) UP the inclined driveway, just using the ground, when I'm well past my prime... (oops... wait a minute... I AM past my prime...but HEY this boy don't need to take them little blue pills!) :D

TomW
02-21-2007, 11:19 PM
The problem is that even springs are subject to the Third Law. and the reactive push comes from the elastic strain deformations of the structure that the effective "spring" undergoes. An actual spring is just more obvious in its elastic deformation than the more rigid (but still highly elastic) ball bearing. But overloaded springs (of whatever construction) also snap, just as rigid tubes or spheres do.

The question in a resisting mode -- even in linear elastic collisions, which you properly describe -- is determining the limiting load for the structure. True non-resistance does not have that limit, because it never bears a load that would significantly limit it. So it is safer and more effective for doddering old men -- as Ikeda urges us to plan for.

Erick, your physics is on the money. The thing with the analogy and one of the reasons Iggy's is overly simplistic, is that springs, ball bearings, anvils etc. are inanimate objects and the human body is not.

Taking the example of Ueshiba sitting on his rear with his feet in the air and the Sumo tori (not sure if that's the correct term) pushing on his forehead. Ueshiba's rear end is essentially a pin connection with no moment resisting capacity, and he had no bracing system to resist the lateral loading (there's some non-resistance fore you), but he didn't fall over, as an inanimate object would have under the same conditions. So....he either redirected the force vector such that it ran through him, "bounced off the ground" and returned equal and opposite or, he defied the laws of physics with some woo woo ninja tricks. I dunno, but I'm sticking with the physics. Seems clear to me that there's a little more than just waza and the party line "non resistance" going on here.

Just my two cents, YMMV, etc., etc,

Tom Wharton

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-22-2007, 04:39 AM
Hi Ignatius
My physics suck as well. I'll let you and Gernot keep making your excellent analogies and detailed explanations. You do a far better Job than me.

Ah, I've been staying out of this because I can't do this stuff yet. The last thing I'd want to do is make any of my private analogies public, some of them might not be work-safe LOL

And in the absence as yet of a pithy English translation, it should be "Tomei no Chikara" (the invisible power).

Regards,
Gernot

Mike Sigman
02-22-2007, 05:14 AM
Ah, I've been staying out of this because I can't do this stuff yet. The last thing I'd want to do is make any of my private analogies public, some of them might not be work-safe LOL

And in the absence as yet of a pithy English translation, it should be "Tomei no Chikara" (the invisible power).

Regards,
GernotIt's also referred to as the hidden/invisible power by the Chinese.

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-22-2007, 05:30 AM
Oh, now that's interesting! I'd assumed it was Sagawa's or the publisher's idea for a cute title. This is the only place I've seen this reference, all other Japanese references I have seen (i.e., the usual magazines, interviews available to the public in Japan) refer in some way to ki or aiki. Is the expression widespread in all Chinese martial arts, or only in some?

DH
02-22-2007, 06:20 AM
I think of it as "clear" power.
Which is a wonderful play on words.
It is clear in the sense that one wants to be as smooth and unhindered as possible, so there is a clear current. To be invisible to the force and the ground-not entirely true but an ideal for some things. That was the "ringing the bell thing." They touch the hand of a good player and bong!!...off they go as they "clearly" hit the air-supported-by- the-ground.
In another sense to have no intention- till you do. So your are clear to feel.

Then the other notion that it is clear, transparent, and all but invisible to the opponent to see and perceive.

Some of which BTW a good grappler understands. Personally, I always liked being perceived as a meathead grappler-at least by the guy coming to play.
Dan

Erick Mead
02-22-2007, 08:18 AM
Erick, your physics is on the money. The thing with the analogy and one of the reasons Iggy's is overly simplistic, is that springs, ball bearings, anvils etc. are inanimate objects and the human body is not.

Taking the example of Ueshiba sitting on his rear with his feet in the air and the Sumo tori (not sure if that's the correct term) pushing on his forehead. Ueshiba's rear end is essentially a pin connection with no moment resisting capacity, and he had no bracing system to resist the lateral loading (there's some non-resistance fore you), but he didn't fall over, as an inanimate object would have under the same conditions. So....he either redirected the force vector such that it ran through him, "bounced off the ground" and returned equal and opposite or, he defied the laws of physics with some woo woo ninja tricks. I dunno, but I'm sticking with the physics. I am with you. Your catalog of the possibilities is just not quite complete. His butt is not a pin, but a hinge. One hinge at the ground, one hinge at the shoulder/neck, one hinge at the head/neck, and a hinge at the push connection, There are also potential hinges at the attacker's wrist, elbow and shoulder. O Sensei also has quasi-hinges in the waist/spine It is fairly isolated in this posture, but it is useable to control the hinge at the ground by counterwieght of the legs.

Three hinges are within his immediate control. If he takes control of the connection hinge by kokyu methods (which the video demonstrates -- he does not allow the pusher to establish a stable connection) he then has four hinges to manipulate. He has created a four-hinge "arch" which is, in fact, a mechanism. It will not support the load statically and it will not bear weight except along one supercritical funicular path without the whole arch collapsing.

His use of kokyu ensures that it is the other side of the arch that does the collapsing part. If he has the proper funicular shape for his own weight load and connects to the push with motion tangentially up or down or sideways, his structure remains intact and their structure collapses from the applied rotation.

Because he took the linear momentum and coverted it to angular monentum at the point of connection with perpendicular force or tangential rotation, he never bears the linear force of the push on his side of the connection, and he does not violate the Third Law. Pure math likes linear forces. Engineering mechanics has non-zero-dimension material substances and non-point action. Therefore the moments and shears tend to control the solutions more than the linear forces.

He just sits there on his butt and rolls the the connection into the ground or into the sky with his head (ten chi), and that propagates the kokyu rotations up the chain of the attacking arm, where any inconsistent joint rotations will instantly hinge the wrong way and then collapse, because they are applying a substantial load to that joint that is inconsistent with the induced rotation. Kuzushi.

Although we are talking about angular momentum, rather than linear momentum -- the attacker can no more easily stop transfer of angular momentum up the chain of his arm than the ball in the middle of the "clacking balls" inertial toy, described earlier, can stop transmitting the linear momentum to the next ball in the line. Stiffening in an attempt to dampen it actually makes it worse by reducing the effective radius of the propagating wave of angular momentum transfer in the limb, creating a "shock" toward his center, like the cracking of the whip.

IF he grounded the forces in that scenario and formed a pinned joint at the ground, as you suggest he would effectively REMOVE one hinge under his control, and thus would be LESS able to avoid being moved or toppled.

Josh Reyer
02-22-2007, 08:39 AM
--- And that is 180 degrees out from the instance of "resistance" TO the attack I am speaking about and that O Sensei refers to in the instant quote. I, too trained in Iwama style, and I can make your wrist turn pale if need be. The training was, as you say to move freely even in a very firm attack, but the response I learned that allows that, is by no means, resistant at all.
I do. Based on what they say one should train to do as a matter of first principle -- to become a spring or prop against the ground. I was not referring to Iwama style ukemi being the same kind of resistance as Mike and Ignatius are talking about. I was making a reference to the idiomatic difference between "non-resistance" and 無抵抗.

Here, let me try again, completely removed from aikido so there can be no misunderstanding. In English it's perfectly acceptable to say "I can't resist eating another piece of chocolate cake." It is not acceptable in Japanese to say チョコケーキのもう一個を食べるのを抵抗できない. You could say it, and you might get a native speaker to understand what you're saying, but that's a usage of 抵抗 that isn't natural to the Japanese idiom.

To whit, in English we can say "resistance" and "non-resistance" as glosses for 抵抗 and 無抵抗, but we can never assume that they mean exactly the same thing in all situations and all cases. What very well might be resistance in English may not be 抵抗 in Japanese, and vice versa.

This is equivalent to saying that one cannot think about aikido -- except in Japanese. I demur to even lift a hand to that straw man. What English term would you propose in its place, since you disagree with Pranin, or at least with me, about its usage in this context?
Erick, with all due respect, you seem to have this habit of not reading very closely and putting your own little spin on what the other person is saying. I would appreciate it if you would read a little closer.

I do not disagree with Pranin. If you would reread my previous post, I said that that the translation capable, and the words adequate to convey the basic idea of the original. If you would reread my post previous to that, you'd see that I said that if I was doing the translation, I too would use "non-resistance". Hell, I did use that word, here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9444). Once again, my beef is not with the word. What I'm trying to say is that any word, while adequate to convey ideas, would be wholly inadequate to base an argument on "what Osensei meant".

I am not by any means saying that aikido can only be discussed in Japanese, or can only be thought about in Japanese. If I may engage in a bit of snark, thank you for answering my argument with a reductio ad absurdum. God knows that has never happened in an internet discussion before.

Now that the snark is out of my system. Far from believing aikido can only be thought about in Japanese, I'm in fact in favor of minimizing "dojo Japanese" as much as possible; I don't think it really helps. No, what I am saying here is that the minute you appeal to authority in an aikido discussion with an "Osensei said...", then I believe you have to go to the Japanese, or at least be cognizant that you are not actually quoting Osensei, but a translation of what he said, with all the signal loss that goes along with that.

無抵抗主義, which is something Ueshiba repeats, can be translated as "principle of non-resistance". It can also be translated as "principle of passive resistance". Whoa, now we're suddenly in a completely different realm with our physics analogies, aren't we? Now, in English, we have to choose: is it "non-resistance", is it "passive resistance"? Well, it's not Ueshiba's problem. He simply said 無抵抗, with all that encompasses.

And # 4 definition is support for a systemic concept -- Abbr. for resistance to electricity.#4 is support for its use as an abbreviation for a technical term. Nothing more, nothing less.

Well that certainly applies to my objection: "against an object in motion, power opposite the direction of motion." Seems to me he is an object in motion at the point his intedned push comes into contact with my bodyI don't see it that way. If that's the case, Ueshiba not moving when Tenryu pushes him is 抵抗. Obviously what is paramount is the energy given in the push. That is what is not 抵抗された.

Agreed thoroughly, with the only quibble being the assumption that the grab and pull bakc does not result in a tug of war, in which case it is 抵抗. Needless to say. He grabs me and pulls, I push with his pull. Not 抵抗. If he says, "Yikes!" and tries to push, I pull. No 抵抗. He says, "Zoinks!" and tries pulling again, I push. No 抵抗.

And there is where we disagree. If you are a static intermediate structure between two objects pushing at one another (Newton's Third Law I believe) through your structure, your structure is necessarily and unavoidably exerting equal and opposite force against BOTH of them. If you are a eighty-year old man and you become the intermediary for the hammer and the planet, then you likely break something along the way. This would be convincing if you truly understood what Mike, Ignatius, Dan, and others are trying to say, and what they do. I'm afraid I don't believe that is the case. So this particular segment of the discussion will have to wait until you've met someone doing what they do.

Eddie deGuzman
02-22-2007, 08:53 AM
As it is typically used, Dan is right. "Toumei na" means transparent or clear. I think "transparent" lends interesting connotations, easy to see-through.:D

Cheers,
Eddie

Erick Mead
02-22-2007, 02:20 PM
What I'm trying to say is that any word, while adequate to convey ideas, would be wholly inadequate to base an argument on "what Osensei meant". Neither you nor I can divine what he meant unless it is contained in what he "said" or contained in the kihon of the art as he passed it on to his heirs and students. I give him credit for saying what he meant, and will approach the problem accordingly.

無抵抗主義, which is something Ueshiba repeats, can be translated as "principle of non-resistance". It can also be translated as "principle of passive resistance". "Passive resistance" would be typically be judou 受動 teikou 抵抗. 受 indicates receiving or accepting (also pronounced uke) and 動 indicates change or motion. Also, merely as a conceptual matter, even if you were right the further usages for the concept of "passive" are not helping your argument here. The other word for "passiveness" is ukemi 受身 "accepting or receiving position"

As you know, negation in Japan is a funny thing. One just does not say "no" in polite company. The common negative word "iie" いいえ can affirm, negate or beg off -- depending on context. Same with the onyomi kanji form hi 否.

Mu 無 on the other hand is not nuanced. It is unequivocal. Nothing, zero, not at all, empty set. The comprehensive and curt negation of mu 無 is part of the shock value of its use in Zen stories where "Mu." 無 is the answer to the whole koan.

He simply said 無抵抗, with all that encompasses. Semantic overstretch does not aid your argument. And you have not even tried to address the emphatic use of tettei 徹底.

Needless to say. He grabs me and pulls, I push with his pull. Not 抵抗. If he says, "Yikes!" and tries to push, I pull. No 抵抗. He says, "Zoinks!" and tries pulling again, I push. No 抵抗. In the cited interview we have been discussing, the interviewer states his question with that assumption analogizing judo's principle of "If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull." O Sensei's answer was to correct him by stating his adherence to 徹底した無抵抗主義 -- "principle of complete/thorough/absolute non-resistance."

It is this same point that Second Doshu (who also participated in that interview) made about the difference between judo and Aikido in the appendix to his book "Aikido." "Push when pulled, and pull when pushed." ... Jujutsu literally means "the techniques of suppleness," while judo means "the Way of suppleness".
When the same concepts are explained by the principle of Aikido, it is, "TURN when pushed, and ENTER when pulled."
In other words irimi/tenkan is the fundamental. See text here: http://www.aikidoonline.com/Archives/2003/feb/feat_0203_doshu2.html

In Pranin's translation of the interview, which is not in the excerpt you gave me, Second Doshu says this and then is joined by his father's comment emphasizing the point again:[Kisshomaru]:The opponent is left totally powerless, or rather, the opponent's power is led in the direction you want to take him. So the more power the opponent has, the easier it is for you. On the other hand, if you clash with your opponent's power you can never hope to win against a very strong person.

O Sensei: Also, in Aikido you never go against the attacker's power. ...

So this particular segment of the discussion will have to wait until you've met someone doing what they do. Putting off the threatened rejoinder to another day? That would be 受動抵抗 .

eyrie
02-22-2007, 06:05 PM
...hinges...funicular shape...tangentially... applied rotation....angular monentum... tangential rotation....rolls the the connection into the ground or into the sky...kokyu rotations up the chain...joint rotations....transfer of angular momentum up the chain....effective radius of the propagating wave of angular momentum...cracking of the whip....pinned joint

I dunno Erick, you're still arguing from the same position. IT's not any of those things...

Here's a clue... I'll use a technical example for the moment, since you seem to be fixated still on technique. Take a simple wrist lock, like kotegaeshi, for example. If uke is floppy (or even "strong"), you can turn the wrist all day and you will not get kuzushi. You might wrench the wrist out and sprain/tear a few tendons, but I guarantee you he will not go over and maybe he'll punch you in the head a couple of times for your trouble. Try it. As a static exercise of course.

As a condition of this exercise, you are NOT allowed to move your feet, turn your hips, shift your body, turn/rotate your wrists, flex or rotate any joints - yours or uke's. You must start from the position of already having uke's wrist in the lock. Likewise, uke must only stand there in a relaxed manner and allow you to put the lock on, without attempting to negate it in any way, even to the extent of taking ukemi. i.e. he will fall when he has absolutely no choice but to.

The question is, how do you "lock" the entire connection from the wrist to the foot, so that all intervening joints CANNOT flex, turn, pivot, unhinge or rotate. Then how do you, with that entire structure locked, make him bear weight on one foot and tip him over?

Again, I'm only using AN example of technique as an application of the baseline skills. It's not about a particular technique or techniques in general. And any armchair postulations about how it *might* work will become immediately apparent. ;)

BTW, a simplistic answer of "just use kokyu" just won't cut it... ;)

TomW
02-22-2007, 11:32 PM
I am with you. Your catalog of the possibilities is just not quite complete. His butt is not a pin, but a hinge. One hinge at the ground, one hinge at the shoulder/neck, one hinge at the head/neck, and a hinge at the push connection, There are also potential hinges at the attacker's wrist, elbow and shoulder. O Sensei also has quasi-hinges in the waist/spine It is fairly isolated in this posture, but it is useable to control the hinge at the ground by counterwieght of the legs.

Three hinges are within his immediate control. If he takes control of the connection hinge by kokyu methods (which the video demonstrates -- he does not allow the pusher to establish a stable connection) he then has four hinges to manipulate. He has created a four-hinge "arch" which is, in fact, a mechanism. It will not support the load statically and it will not bear weight except along one supercritical funicular path without the whole arch collapsing.

His use of kokyu ensures that it is the other side of the arch that does the collapsing part. If he has the proper funicular shape for his own weight load and connects to the push with motion tangentially up or down or sideways, his structure remains intact and their structure collapses from the applied rotation.

Because he took the linear momentum and coverted it to angular monentum at the point of connection with perpendicular force or tangential rotation, he never bears the linear force of the push on his side of the connection, and he does not violate the Third Law. Pure math likes linear forces. Engineering mechanics has non-zero-dimension material substances and non-point action. Therefore the moments and shears tend to control the solutions more than the linear forces.

He just sits there on his butt and rolls the the connection into the ground or into the sky with his head (ten chi), and that propagates the kokyu rotations up the chain of the attacking arm, where any inconsistent joint rotations will instantly hinge the wrong way and then collapse, because they are applying a substantial load to that joint that is inconsistent with the induced rotation. Kuzushi.

Although we are talking about angular momentum, rather than linear momentum -- the attacker can no more easily stop transfer of angular momentum up the chain of his arm than the ball in the middle of the "clacking balls" inertial toy, described earlier, can stop transmitting the linear momentum to the next ball in the line. Stiffening in an attempt to dampen it actually makes it worse by reducing the effective radius of the propagating wave of angular momentum transfer in the limb, creating a "shock" toward his center, like the cracking of the whip.

IF he grounded the forces in that scenario and formed a pinned joint at the ground, as you suggest he would effectively REMOVE one hinge under his control, and thus would be LESS able to avoid being moved or toppled.

Well, this just might be semantics, but a hinge is a pin connection. The joints of the body are moment connections (or REALLY stiff hinges) in the manner you describe, shear and moment are developed by linear forces, structural engineers build entire cities by modeling loads as linear forces. Rotational mechanics implies velocity, and the force is statically applied so "we" aren't talking about angular momentum, or linear momentum for that matter. An arch with four hinges will collapse.

I do understand what you are trying to describe, I just don't think it's happening in this case.

I went to the workshop in Seattle last weekend that Chris Moses put on with Rob John. We did an exercise called push hands where you and a partner stand face to face, one arm length apart. You stand knees straight, forearms parallel to the ground, like the down push-up position, your partner stand similarly, but in the up push-up position with your hands touching. The same conditions apply as Iggy describes in his exercise above, effectively eliminating what you call rotational mechanics out of the game. Now push your partner back. I was the smallest person in the room. I've just finished yarding my semi-old ass through engineering school, so I have a better than average grasp of the laws of physics, engineering mechanics, structural analysis etc., and I'm rather skeptical of the "woo woo" stuff to boot. I could push my partners back without putting myself in kuzushi (most of the time).

For what it's worth,
Tom Wharton

P.S. Thanks to Rob, Chris, Jeremy and the boys, I had a great time.

Erick Mead
02-23-2007, 02:32 PM
Well, this just might be semantics, but a hinge is a pin connection.
Tom Wharton I learned three classes of engineering structural connections:

1) a roller joint which is free to move laterally without friction and to pivot freely at the point of support,

2) a hinge joint which can pivot freely about the point of support but not move laterally

3) a pinned or fixed joint that is not free to move laterally or to pivot.

Trusses or spaceframes must have pinned or fixed joints.

Stable arches can have pinned joints or up to three hinges, but no rollers.

A beam can have any combination of the three. (Continuous beams can have more that two points of support.)

There is a fourth, of a sort, but plastic connections are very non-linear.

I went to the workshop in Seattle last weekend that Chris Moses put on with Rob John. We did an exercise called push hands where you and a partner stand face to face, one arm length apart. You stand knees straight, forearms parallel to the ground, like the down push-up position, your partner stand similarly, but in the up push-up position with your hands touching. The same conditions apply as Iggy describes in his exercise above, effectively eliminating what you call rotational mechanics out of the game. Now push your partner back. I was the smallest person in the room. I've just finished yarding my semi-old ass through engineering school, so I have a better than average grasp of the laws of physics, engineering mechanics, structural analysis etc., and I'm rather skeptical of the "woo woo" stuff to boot. I could push my partners back without putting myself in kuzushi (most of the time). "Seemingly eliminating" but not actually, or even "effectively elminating." There is a video that shows this precise exercise done in a gym of some kind, that Mike or Rob, maybe, posted. Very clearly there is a lead irimi of the hips by the pusher. The pusher pivots the legs and hips forward, centered at the ground. Then that angular momentum is transferred to the torso at the shoulder level, by letting the shoulders come forward as the hips go back which simultaneously restores the hips to center, and delivers the push impulse from the shoulder level. The arms merely connect the push to the shoulders, and are used to modulate the rhythm.

DH
02-23-2007, 03:25 PM
I do understand what you are trying to describe, I just don't think it's happening in this case.
The same conditions apply as Iggy describes in his exercise above, effectively eliminating what you call rotational mechanics out of the game. Now push your partner back. I was the smallest person in the room. I've just finished yarding my semi-old ass through engineering school, so I have a better than average grasp of the laws of physics, engineering mechanics, structural analysis etc., and I'm rather skeptical of the "woo woo" stuff to boot. I could push my partners back without putting myself in kuzushi (most of the time).
For what it's worth,
Tom Wharton

Interesting Tom.
May I ask were you able to push Rob?
Josh?

I found your response to Eric’s ideas interesting. Forget the tests- the truth is that most people are unable to do many of the exercises !! The tests come later. The way to accomplish them is far less complex than Eric Describes.

The push out test and rotation
Eric
I've offered a whole different idea to Arks push-out exercise that we do.
I stand in a feet-parallel stance,. knees locked, elbows locked, with the "other " person in hanmi. The key differences here are that I am feet parallel they are hanmi, and we both have our arms out in locked-elbow position. The one in hanmi is asked to "walk" through me.
All while I am standing like a stick. Since most guys I do this with have no structure-they can't even lift a foot off the ground. But I am not moving.
Can you do this?

Same thing when they push on the head. I don’t do What Ushiba does either. I'l stand upright and have someone push on my head-hard. Again, no movement. Nothing visible resisting.
Can you do this?

Or again with a two hundred pound man pushing horizontally or upright at an angle on your chest and not fall over.
Can you do this?

I don’t argue physics, Bud. I'll leave that to you.
But Mike has asked, I have as well. Can you do these things? These things are simple but take time to learn. Since I do nothing you describe but I can do these things. I wonder if you can as well with all your theories.

Once again I hope folks understand these are simply "tests" of structure. Tests of what your training is building inside of you. While it is a tremendous advantage in fighting-If you don't know how to fight....ya still can't fight.

Structure and Use in Martial arts
I enter these discussions arguing on two fronts. One is internal skills one is fighting skills. They are NOT the same. Internal skills are the single greatest advantage that you can have. No matter what you do it will improve it. If you train to build this structure and then to utilize these skills in you and you do Aikido, your aikido will be vastly improved. If you train MMA and add these skills it will add to your game stand up, on the ground or what have you. It also "helps you" if you are outgunned by a better man Though all in all, equal internal skills to skills learned- I’d still bet on the MMA’er fro the best combination of skill sets. Its like having double insurance.
Dan

Erick Mead
02-23-2007, 05:32 PM
The push out test and rotation
Eric
I've offered a whole different idea to Arks push-out exercise that we do.
I stand in a feet-parallel stance, knees locked, elbows locked, ... not moving ... push on my head-hard. Again, no movement. ... pushing horizontally ... not fall over.
Can you do this?
Well, I'd certainly want to be sure that I did them correctly according to your exacting standards. Why don't you go visit Jim Sorrentino since he has kindly invited you and film some video while he pushes at you as an independent participant. Then I'll know if I am doing it correctly, and then I can be sure to answer your question without any possibility of misunderstanding -- unlike the last time you asked it.

Unlike you, I am not here trying to prove anything. I am merely trying to bring a physical perspective to the fundamentals of what aikido already is and does from its tradition in training, and to counter your advocacy about what it isn't and -- in your mind -- should be. Not that you do not do useful things, but they are problematic, for reasons I have already said plenty about.

If pushed -- turn; if pulled -- enter.

DH
02-23-2007, 06:19 PM
Well
We were talking about tests. You are the one wanting to get scientific. So yes I was giving certain standards. If you know your body-you know your body and those should be easy. If your rotational dynamics are real and we are supposed to believe they are the way Ueshiba was doing things then those examples are a cake walk to a fella like yourself.

As for your wanting some independent evaluation by Aikido people who were total strangers to me? Hmmm....let me think, Like the people who have written here already? Sort of Like Mark Murray, Murry Mcpherson, Stan Baker, and Rob Liberti? Who have already written in? People Like that Eric? I could recite about a dozen more but they don't post here. Then again there a few CMA, MMA and Koryu chaps as well, not to mention about a hundred folks who read here who know me.
How about just sticking to the point? I think that would be more beneficial.
I have never given you a hard time. I just respectuflly dissagree with you. The point is you keep telling us how you are doing these things. I'm trying to determine -what things?
Can you do these things?

Now as to Aikido being turn when pushed, / enter when pulled.
Can you explain WHY we have many vidoes of Ueshiba remaining stationary against a push and then even pushin back?
Not how....you'll go into a rotational theory.
Just WHY we see it. JUst that difference will do.
And why others who trained with him described his wanting to be pushed while he remained immobable or pushing back
Or why he had multiple men pushing on him with many written witnesses while he stood there and......did not turn when pushed.
Thoughts, any thoughts at all?
Can you answer -why- you think that is? In defiance to your quoted definition of what Aikido ...is.?


Last up is why we think it is the essense of all AIkido is.
If you notice I don't debate you on the merits of what it brings to Aikido. I don't think we can agree. So I don't see the point in debating it. If we meet I'll let you try anything from Aikido on me and see what you can make of it. I'll buy the beers.
But since we can't agree on that, I thought we could agree on whether or not you can do these things.
If you can't
1.Then just what are you describing doing? I mean what the heck are the results
2.If you can't then why wouldn't you just say yo not only canlt do them but you don't know how the heck they are being done.
Anythings better then saying you can't do them, then telling us how they are being done.
I still hope to dissagree in a friendly manner.
Cheers
Dan

eyrie
02-23-2007, 08:20 PM
If pushed -- turn; if pulled -- enter.

My Japanese isn't all that good, but... I believe (and according to WWWJDIC)... tenkan 転換 doesn't quite mean "turn"... it means convert/divert. Perhaps on it's own, 転 might mean revolve, turn around, or change and 換 means to change.

Irimi doesn't quite mean "enter" (as in "step in") either. Iru 入る means to get in; to go in; to come in; to flow into; to set; to set in; Thus irimi 入身means something else completely... in that context.

I'm guessing, but Josh L can corroborate the syntactical validity...or maybe someone can provide the Japanese source of this quote?

DH
02-23-2007, 08:36 PM
I was waiting for a reply while I'm sitting here working.
Turning and entering can be resolved in the body with no evident motion. In fact from Zero create the motion in them. From there and IMO only from there does motion become evident. Turning is the axle, entering the beam. Both are "change." And both work to do either. We are not limited to just turning sideways, nor to entering straight-in.
Dan

Ron Tisdale
02-24-2007, 11:30 AM
Entering with the body
Entering with the mind
Entering with the body...but without *overt* movement
same with Turning...Diverting...etc.

Same again with the breath.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
02-24-2007, 12:01 PM
Well
We were talking about tests. You are the one wanting to get scientific. So yes I was giving certain standards. If you know your body-you know your body and those should be easy. If your rotational dynamics are real and we are supposed to believe they are the way Ueshiba was doing things then those examples are a cake walk to a fella like yourself. Ummm. Tests cannot be scientific ? You are talking about "not moving." It is fairly clear at this point that we do not agree on what constitutes "not moving."
Mike described O Sensei as "not moving" in the videos. I looked at his videos and I saw (and described in detail) him moving quite a bit around the forces being applied.

If we cannot agree on what "moving" or "not moving" in this context even mean, your questions are meaningless in this forum without an objective basis -- such as video.

It is fairly clear from your statement that you yourself intend to do something O Sensei is NOT seen doing on those videos, since you expressly said so.

Now as to Aikido being turn when pushed, / enter when pulled.
Can you explain WHY we have many vidoes of Ueshiba remaining stationary against a push and then even pushing back?
Not how....you'll go into a rotational theory.
Just WHY we see it. JUst that difference will do. It is quite simple, and is true of all the "strength contests" he gave to those WHO ASKED.

The answer is what he said -- because there is no point pushing directly on someone who knows the secret of aikido.

So a simple question is begged -- for those who actually want to practice aikido -- Why in the world would you ever want to push directly against the force of anyone pushing on you?

In every anecdote or report I have read he did not offer them -- THEY ASKED for them. So he showed them, at their request, how pointless their ideas of "strength" and resistance truly were in the face of non-resistance.

The response to the push and the manner of pushing back are not contrary to one another, from my standpoint. I cannot explain your perceptions, nor do we agree on the premises (about how he is affecting his partner -- which is critical -- a negating push or perpendicular/tangential push).

He was engaged in showmanship, in other words. He was a good one, too.

Last up is why we think it is the essense of all AIkido is.
If you notice I don't debate you on the merits of what it brings to Aikido. I had noticed.
If we meet I'll let you try anything from Aikido on me and see what you can make of it. Aikido is not about "trying" anything on anyone. I am not a showman. If I wanted simply to be a more effective "fighter", I would choose from among many more effective means, far more deadly. Aikido is budo that is headed someplace else. I also do not treat it as "play" as you often refer to your training. It can be enjoyable. It is not idle or lack in deadly seriousness, even so. You seem headed in a direction that I find doubtful.

I base that conclusion not on my personal opinion, but on some subtantial authority and evidence from O Sensei himself. My point (and as I see it, O Sensei's point as well) is that pushing back directly or being in the line of force to have to push back is a step down a bad road. His point -- there is another way.

You may say this is a small quibble, a trivial objection -- It is "only a little bit" of resisting -- For training, you say. You are right -- it is a small objection -- made well before anything of great consequence has occurred.

"When the avalanche has begun, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

M. McPherson
02-24-2007, 01:51 PM
If we cannot agree on what "moving" or "not moving" in this context even mean, your questions are meaningless in this forum without an objective basis -- such as video.

[Qualifier: I wouldn't normally wouldn't get sucked into this conversation, except that, as Dan mentioned me as being one of the folks who met him and felt what he can do, I thought I might be able to provide some further testimony to what he and others are talking about. So as one of the formerly oblivious who can now state unequivocally that not only can Dan do what he writes about, but can do that and more, I offer the following]

Mr. Mead, I can tell you that video is *not* an objective source of comparison. Hie thee to an internal instructor and feel it for yourself. If, that is, you truly want an objective basis for comparison.
Until I actually met Dan, most of the battling back and forth on this subject really didn't hold much meaning for me. Who was right? Who was wrong? Who really cared? All that I could see were people on one side of the argument (a true minority, mind you) who knew of a way of structuring and and moving the body that was fairly radical, but, to them, an integral - if almost completely unknown, anymore - component of not only *all* martial arts, but of physical movement in any endeavor.
On the other side were/are most of us: people who signed on to aikido, karate, judo, etc, and did what was taught to us by instructors we respected. If these teachers were Asian, or held a certain rank, or had lived abroad in Japan since before most of us were born, or had been doing the art for x-amount of years, and could thrash kohai left and right...well, then it must be the real.
Hell, I learned aikido in Japan, from a tenth dan, and had plenty of high rankers showing me what was what. So that must be aikido, right? We even had plenty of aiki tourists in from Honbu and abroad, doing some variation of the same thing. Must be gospel.
So to read stuff from Rob John, Mike Sigman, and Dan - all questioning the status quo, all asking why the majority of Ueshiba Morihei's students (or even Takeda's) could not do anything even close to what they could - well, you'd probably be dismissive, or even some degree of pissed off that a bunch of outsiders are even questioning, let along challenging aikido dogma.
On the other hand, you might be curious, and want to *feel* what they're doing for yourself. No, not to try to glean from a video how they're moving (or not, because in all honesty, you won't see much movement at all), or even argue ad nauseum online about what not only constitutes "aikido," but what movement is (which all too easily descends into the realm of Clintonian rhetoric). But to actually step on a mat with one of these guys and see what they're talking about.
I did.
And the sad truth is that what I felt was so far removed from standard aikido (or judo, or karate, for that matter) that I had the not entirely pleasant sensation of feeling simultaneously excited by the possibility of it all, yet resentful and angry that these skills are not understood and/or taught as the essential building blocks of skill, from day one.
So, yes, Dan's questions are meaningless in this forum, but I don't think it was his intent to have you try to answer them on this or any other forum. His intent was to get you to answer them for yourself with someone right in front of you who could demonstrate these principles.
Also, I know that it can seem more than a bit grating to have the internal folks tell you that it's obvious by what you write, the language you use, that you don't have a clue what they're talking about. But they're correct. And I'm telling you that from the perspective of someone who didn't have any idea what they were talking about all that long ago, and would have previously offered many of the same descriptors to illustrate my conception of what "internal" is that you have throughout your posts.
Also, with regards to showmanship, judging from the number of video clips offered on Aikido Journal, Ueshiba could have had an alternate career in the movies. No shrinking violet, him. One gets the impression that a modern incarnation of Morihei would be the featured guest on many a Japanese variety show, the assorted tarento fawning and in awe.

Regards,
Murray McPherson

DH
02-24-2007, 04:21 PM
Hi Murry
Hope it was OK to mention you.
Excellent post-BTW I wish I could write as well as you:o
You did bring up a few interesting points:
1. The fact that curious folks are getting out and feeling it.
2. The fact that many share a profound sense that they have been ripped off. Either outright from their teachers who know the skills but will not teach them. Or questioning whether their teacher ever had it at all.
3. I would add the folks I have met with injuries from the art-many that will be with them for life, all while trying diligently to learn it.

Eric
I trust it does not escape your attention that that those who felt these skills in various places now number in the dozens just here on Aikiweb.
No one is writing in agreeing with you.
No one....none.

You seem to have an analytical mind.
Can you explain why it is that all these Aikido folks are feeling these skills and writng back and telling you it IS Aikido?
Or why some have writtne here that it is the foundation of their arts as well?
Why Judo guys are seeing and saying this is critical to Judo?
Why CMA'ers say.."That is Taiji!"

I find it odd that you can read the various quotes that have been entered here over these last few years and you not only dismiss Rob, Mike and Me but you have dismissed all your fellow Aikido practitioners and teachers -who all having finally felt these skills- to a man dissagree with you as well.
Are you going on record stating you understaind Aikido better than these men?

I'll keep showing these things to AIkido folks. I just finished a one day seminar with 5 more Aikido folks-three of whom are teachers. All of them were in agreement that it is Aikido as well.
And they are all, Eric.....in Aikido.
Its a curious position for you to take, to say the least.

Your comment about it being pointless to push on someone who knows the secrect of AIkido?
Well again you pretty much miss the point of what pushing does and why Uehsiba was doing it. You alos miss the point that it is not at all the only things we are doing. But again, you are ever increasingly standing alone. Those who have now felt these skills...at least get it. And are changing their ways. So they can learn......the real secrets of Aikido.

I do wish to say that I enjoy the fact that you are a good debater, level headed and even humorous at times.
Cheers
Dan

TomW
02-24-2007, 04:49 PM
I learned three classes of engineering structural connections:

1) a roller joint which is free to move laterally without friction and to pivot freely at the point of support,

2) a hinge joint which can pivot freely about the point of support but not move laterally

3) a pinned or fixed joint that is not free to move laterally or to pivot.

Trusses or spaceframes must have pinned or fixed joints.

Stable arches can have pinned joints or up to three hinges, but no rollers.

A beam can have any combination of the three. (Continuous beams can have more that two points of support.)

There is a fourth, of a sort, but plastic connections are very non-linear.

Pin joints cannot handle moment, ie. rotate freely under an applied force, what you call a hinge.

Plastic joints deform non-linearly, as do most things that have a plastic phase. Brittle joints fail without reaching a plastic phase. That happens regardless of how the load is applied, linearly or rotationally. But all of that is based on the assumption of nearly uniform material properties, and, more importantly, predictable reaction to loading. We can model the human body as an inanimate object if the man/woman acts like an inanimate object. Hell, we can map a water particles movement in a free flowing stream with the Navier-Stokes equations....and a super computer, but the water particle can't think, can't choose to do something else.

Interesting Tom.
May I ask were you able to push Rob?
Josh?

I found your response to Eric's ideas interesting. Forget the tests- the truth is that most people are unable to do many of the exercises !! The tests come later. The way to accomplish them is far less complex than Eric Describes.


Hi Dan

No, I was not able to push Rob, though when I got a chance to try, it was in a different exercise. I didn't meet any Josh.

It was a fascinating workshop. The paired practices were not so much tests to me, but interesting in terms of feed back, vis a vis solo practice, much like practicing punches vs. practicing punching something. Not particularly physical feed back, but mental feed back. Where's my mind.

My response to Erick, in engineering terms, was mainly because he was using engineering terms and I can speak that language. I thought I could explain it a little better (serves me right for thinking:freaky:) but clearly, he has it all figured out.

I have a Honey-do list hanging over my head, may be more later.

Tom Wharton

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-24-2007, 06:14 PM
Murray has wonderfully summed up my feeling also -- that mixture of excitement and resentment. It turns out that many of us seem to share the same underlying defect, namely that we don't like to remain "a sucker" :-) Even if we only get better slowly (through laziness, slow recovery from long-term bad posture misalignments, etc.) there is the incredible freedom of knowing that the time put in is not wasted, has a clear goal, in terms of long-term health as well as any activities we pursue, which is explicable fairly simply (on a simple level), and progress is within our own control. There is also the satisfaction of being able to call "bullshit" and back it up if necessary :-)

Erick Mead
02-24-2007, 07:07 PM
Pin joints cannot handle moment, ie. rotate freely under an applied force, what you call a hinge. You are correct if you assume that no strains are allowed. But of course they can -- if they can resist by undergoing strain deformations, typically in shear or torsion, recoverable if sufficiently elastic, and non-recoverable if the plastic or brittle limit of the material is exceeded. Shoulders are notoriously poor at enduring such strains, particularly in torsion. Another reason not to pin the shoulder in place to resist a force.
Plastic joints deform non-linearly, as do most things that have a plastic phase. Brittle joints fail without reaching a plastic phase. That happens regardless of how the load is applied, linearly or rotationally. We agree. However, most materials are weakest ( i.e. -- reach the plastic or brittle limit soonest) when in shear or torsion. Thus, resisted rotations, particularly spiral rotations, exploit the weakest aspects of both material and structural integrity.

As you likely know, form counts for vastly more in structural performance than material. Statically, thin shells are among the most elegant examples of this principle. Adaptive intelligence, as you rightly note, that we have available in dynamic response to alter our form to our advantage in reacting to applied force, vastly superior to the gross material strength of our structural frames, or any degree of "strengthening" we might attempt to employ.

What Dan and Mike are talking about is resolving moments to a linear oppositon to perform the "bounce." Their principle depends on the linear elasticity or strength of the deformed fascia carrying the "spring" loads they are storing to release back again. It is a principle of material elasticity (strength).

Kokyu, on the other hand is a matter of form. In form it is essentially variations on a spiral wave. In aikido it is commenced by the input force and not resisted, but converted by perpendicular or tangent components. It may then be returned on a different axis from the input, gaining a measure of surprise in the process. I do not dispute that the same fundamental form may be used in other ways by arts that do not follow the general principles of aikido.

Try placing a spiral wave into a rope or waterhose. The same motion of the body and limbs is required as for kokyu manipulation of the opponent's one-arm grab, and of many other connections with other body parts seen typically in aikido practice.

Erick Mead
02-24-2007, 08:05 PM
[...So as one of the formerly oblivious who can now state unequivocally that not only can Dan do what he writes about, but can do that and more, I offer the following] Thanks for posting. Point to be made -- I have never questioned whether Dan, or any one else, does what he says -- I question whether we are speaking on the same terms when we each describe what we are talking about. More to the point, I have wondered whether certain described forms of this training create problems, at a basic level, for the practice of aikido, and my reasoning has been given at length on those points.

Language has its limits, which is why it is critical, for useful communicaiton to occur at ranges farther than arm's length, for there to be a neutral and well-understood body of concepts and terminology to use to work these things out. Mechanics is the most broadly available, and culturally transparent form for that communication that we have.

As to "feeling" it, again, the body can easily be made to lie to us about position and acelerations. What we feel may, or may not, equate to an objective view of the actual motion. I only trust my own perceptual cues of motions because I have religiously watched my teachers and my fellow students moving to perform things that I know work, and have seen what does and doesn't work and have learned to map what I see objectively onto my own subjective bodily cues.

As to perceptible motion, video and objectivity, I trained to work out rotor tracking, which, fro all the nifty electronic gizmos we had at at our disposal, there really is no substitute for a critical eye for motion. I hardly claim to remotely be the best at that sort of thing, but almost any former helicopter maintenance check pilot will have a better eye than the average bear for mechnically significant but small variations of dynamic position.
... Hell, I learned aikido in Japan, from a tenth dan, and had plenty of high rankers showing me what was what. So that must be aikido, right? We even had plenty of aiki tourists in from Honbu and abroad, doing some variation of the same thing. Must be gospel. One of the advantages/curses of having an empirical bent of mind is a lack of deference to authority, merely for the sake of authority, unless it is demonstrated authority. Certain authorities can be understood, emulated and the results demonstrated and repeated. I take certain concepts as important becuase of who said them or showed them to me, but only becasue they conform to my experience of what actually works and help to rationally explain why it works so well. O Sensei is chief among those. So far, Mike and Dan are not.

And the sad truth is that what I felt was so far removed from standard aikido (or judo, or karate, for that matter) that I had the not entirely pleasant sensation of feeling simultaneously excited by the possibility of it all, yet resentful and angry that these skills are not understood and/or taught as the essential building blocks of skill, from day one. Answer a couple of question for me and then please feel free to again retire to the back benches of the forum:

Did what he showed you how to do result in linear, opposed forces either negating one another or being absorbed by and then released by your structure ?

Do you think that aikido can be applied to someone who is not attacking you or someone else?

An attack is necessarily suki for aikido. So, if he was not attacking, did he even have any suki to exploit?

Why would you push on someone who was not attacking you, and why would you necessarily assume that an opening for aikido would exist in such a situation?

eyrie
02-24-2007, 08:19 PM
What Dan and Mike are talking about is resolving moments to a linear oppositon to perform the "bounce." Their principle depends on the linear elasticity or strength of the deformed fascia carrying the "spring" loads they are storing to release back again. It is a principle of material elasticity (strength).

As Tom said, the model I used was overly simplistic for the reasons already stated. It is nowhere near a close approximation of the human model and was never intended to. The idea was to convey a general principle.... that's all we're talking about.... general principles... a point which has been reiterated several times and which you either miss or choose to ignore.

Kokyu, on the other hand is a matter of form. In form it is essentially variations on a spiral wave. In aikido it is commenced by the input force and not resisted, but converted by perpendicular or tangent components. It may then be returned on a different axis from the input, gaining a measure of surprise in the process. I do not dispute that the same fundamental form may be used in other ways by arts that do not follow the general principles of aikido.

Try placing a spiral wave into a rope or waterhose. The same motion of the body and limbs is required as for kokyu manipulation of the opponent's one-arm grab, and of many other connections with other body parts seen typically in aikido practice.

Tim Fong already mentioned this... and a spiral wave has a what???...A linear component!!! The stuff we're talking about, at a very basic level (i.e. BASELINE) is LINEAR... How do spirals and waves exist without a linear component????

Seems like we keep getting sucked into your rotational dynamics black hole... 665 posts later and we're still going in circles... :mad:

aikidoc
02-24-2007, 08:35 PM
Talk about a spring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auHbz0rr_kk&mode=related&search=. The Tohei bounce.

Erick Mead
02-24-2007, 09:22 PM
Eric
I trust it does not escape your attention that that those who felt these skills in various places now number in the dozens just here on Aikiweb.
No one is writing in agreeing with you.
No one....none.
Can you explain why it is that all these Aikido folks are feeling these skills and writng back and telling you it IS Aikido?
By now it should be obvious that I am hardly seeking affirmaton here. Even assuming these discussions involved a representative sample of the aikido mainstream.

Rational argument is not a popularity contest. You don't know if anyone has written me off-line or not or what they may say -- nor does it matter. Only a few repeat player's cheerlead your side of it -- that does not matter either.

I merely speak in supprot of a traditional view of aikido practice and its functions, as against your revolutionary viewpoint, and I use a certain view of rational mechanics in trying to transparently describe that tradition as it exists and functions, Anybody who wants to crack the college physics book can keep up with me, I am not that talented at this stuff.

I criticize tendencies in what you advocate that are problematic. Maybe it is just because your discussion of them is incomplete, in Mike's case, willfully so, maybe not. Either way, the points I have raised have not been answered.
Or why some have writtne here that it is the foundation of their arts as well?Martial arts differ in both principle and application. Is there any other art, internal or otherwise, founded on the "principle of absolute non-resistance" 徹底した無抵抗主義 ? Hapkido, very likely, as the inheritor of O Sensei's Manchurian legacy. Not in judo While it uses non-resistance, its reliance on the principle is not complete or absolute. Jigoro Kano was quite explicit that nonresistance was only one principle in his thought on maximum efficiency. Go and Ju held equal place in his conception of that art. Taiji I do not know enough to speak to. My limited impression is that it is in line, on this philosophical point at least, with Kano's position.
I find it odd that you can read the various quotes that have been entered here over these last few years and you not only dismiss Rob, Mike and Me but you have dismissed all your fellow Aikido practitioners and teachers -who all having finally felt these skills- to a man dissagree with you as well. If I were to dismiss you I would quit posting. I have not determined that you and I necessarily disagree at a root level except perhaps on training methodology. The method you have described to do it is problematic, but as MIke says -- that is "just training." That does not releive my concerns about training in that wya, but distinguish the actuality of what you accomplish from the method of training you have described to accomplish it and maybe my objections are misplaced. But neither you nor Mike have been able yet to formulate an explanation to address it.

O Sensei, for all the valiant effort at the semantic argument around his plain words, was unequivocal, and emphatic, about non-resistance being fundamental to aikido. His principle matches my functional experience, and my mechnical view of what he demonstrated on film that I can see.

Mike admits there is resistance involved in what he does. Resistance is resistance. You do what you train to do. What you describe seem roughly consistent with what he says he does, and so it is in the same category until it proves otherwise in my book.
Your comment about it being pointless to push on someone who knows the secrect of AIkido?
Well again you pretty much miss the point of what pushing does and why Ueshiba was doing it. You alos miss the point that it is not at all the only things we are doing. Unfortunately, the "other things" have not been forthcoming. The admitted air of secrecy is particularly ill-suited to alter my unwillingness to change a well-supported view of the facts that confirms in empirical terms 9 objectively and subjectively) the validity and power of the tradition in training, from my personal experience, in at least ASU, Federation and the Iwama lineages, and by way of much more limited experience, but some critical observations, very likely within the Yoshinkan lineage as well.

I do not doubt the good faith of some people who are dissatisfied with their training, but what evidence is there that their experience is representative, much less the indictment of aikido generally that is proposed?

Upyu
02-24-2007, 10:09 PM
I merely speak in supprot of a traditional view of aikido practice and its functions, as against your revolutionary viewpoint

Its hardly revolutionary.
Maybe you should rename that... your understanding of what "traditional" aikido practice is.;)


Martial arts differ in both principle and application.

Not really.
More like the core principles of the highest levels are all the same, but the application/sophistication etc may differ.
My guess is that you just haven't touched hands with enough "good" people outside of your style yet Erick :D


Is there any other art, internal or otherwise, founded on the "principle of absolute non-resistance" 徹底した無抵抗主義 ?

I suggest you work up to decent fluency in Japanese before you arguing the language front Erick...



Go and Ju held equal place in his conception of that art.

As did Ueshiba's art. Go and Ju are literally inseperable Erick. And I dont mean pushing/pulling ;)



O Sensei, for all the valiant effort at the semantic argument around his plain words, was unequivocal, and emphatic, about non-resistance being fundamental to aikido.

Actually, no he wasnt.
He was pretty round about in explaining the stuff, even by Japanese standards.
Check out Sagawa's book on "Clear Power" if you want less ornery BS.



Unfortunately, the "other things" have not been forthcoming. The admitted air of secrecy is particularly ill-suited to alter my unwillingness to change a well-supported view of the facts

Just get to some teacher that can show you these things Erick. Theres no secrecy. The only secret seems to be in finding a way to get you off your butt and find someone that can show these things to you. People within the Ki Society have been named as well (if going outside of Aikido gives you the jitters)
so really the rest is up to you.

I recently did a couple of mini-seminars (god that sounds pretentious.... :-p ), one in Seattle, and one in Virginia with Mike to various people from different backgrounds, many of them Aiki-arts, and I think we got... <counting>... "zero" negative feedback so far as to whether or not this stuff is useful for Aikido and other arts.
Mike and I come from completely different backgrounds. This is the first time we've met. But quel suprise, it turns out we be doin the <gasP> same thing for the most part.

We have two legs, two arms, and a head man.
Only so many ways you can use the human body efficiently :p

M. McPherson
02-24-2007, 10:30 PM
Certain authorities can be understood, emulated and the results demonstrated and repeated. I take certain concepts as important becuase of who said them or showed them to me, but only becasue they conform to my experience of what actually works and help to rationally explain why it works so well. O Sensei is chief among those. So far, Mike and Dan are not.

The point is moot, unless you've not only worked with the authorities you emulate, but also with Mike or Dan (or anyone else who can do these things). That certain concepts are important to you doesn't really matter to me one way or the other. I posted because you seem to be on a quest for proof of concept, and the only way that's going to happen (or not) is if you have first hand experience of the alternatives being offered. For some inexplicable reason, you seem resistant to that.

Answer a couple of question for me and then please feel free to again retire to the back benches of the forum:

Well, gosh, Mr. Mead, thanks for deigning my exit. Howzabout I retire to actual training? And you may feel free to remain at your keyboard.

Did what he showed you how to do result in linear, opposed forces either negating one another or being absorbed by and then released by your structure ?

What Dan was doing was not linear in any sense of the word. Was the force that I was directing (linear and otherwise) absorbed and then re-directed, and/or released by my structure? You bet.

Do you think that aikido can be applied to someone who is not attacking you or someone else?

Sure. It seems to happen all the time in aikido dojo. Or are you trying to tell me that slow motion haymakers and grabbing onto someone's wrist for dear life whilst they dervish about is an actual attack? (c.f. next answer)

An attack is necessarily suki for aikido. So, if he was not attacking, did he even have any suki to exploit?

Really? It is? Because I have yet to see an actual attack in any aikido I've ever witnessed. I mean, besides the wonder that is tachidori waza. Sure, my scope of experience is probably limited (you know, not much to do there in the back benches), but apart from those aikido folk who engage in full resistance training outside of aikido dojo, or take part in active sparring - which I have yet to see in any thing save for the format that Tomiki espoused - I have never seen anything that even closely resembles the active resistance that's commonly demonstrated in judo, MMA, some karate, and the like. Are you telling me you engage in fully commited attacks every time you work out with a partner? If not, by your reasoning, would that then be aikido?

I was also not "attacking" Dan. I'm curious, not stupid. Dan was demonstrating principles of movement, not fighting.

Why would you push on someone who was not attacking you, and why would you necessarily assume that an opening for aikido would exist in such a situation?

Well, possibly because you were engaging in a training drill. Or maybe you were trying to help squeeze them onto a crowded subway car. I'm not sure. As to the second part of your question, I wouldn't.

Mr. Mead, by your leave...

eyrie
02-24-2007, 11:02 PM
By now it should be obvious that I am hardly seeking affirmaton here.

Then self-aggrandizement perhaps??? I heard lawyers love hearing the sound of their own voice... One of the advantages/curses of being a lawyer is the ability to equivocate just about anything to suit your argument. :rolleyes:

But this has gone well beyond arguing the point rationally. It's quite obvious that no one seems to be affirming the philosophical and theoretical basis of your rationale, much less your credibility.

I merely speak in supprot of a traditional view of aikido practice and its functions, as against your revolutionary viewpoint, and I use a certain view of rational mechanics in trying to transparently describe that tradition as it exists and functions

Whose "traditional view"??? This [what we're talking about] is hardly revolutionary stuff... not widely known perhaps, but hardly revolutionary... what's "revolutionary" is applied rotational dynamics... :D

I criticize tendencies in what you advocate that are problematic.... The method you have described to do it is problematic, but as MIke says -- that is "just training." That does not releive my concerns about training in that wya, but distinguish the actuality of what you accomplish from the method of training you have described to accomplish it and maybe my objections are misplaced. But neither you nor Mike have been able yet to formulate an explanation to address it.

It is only problematic in that you inevitably find yourself (and have so for some pages now) in a position where you have to abandon your rotational dynamics model and your perceived notions of "resistance", because it simply does not fit into it.

But, God love them lawyers, they'll never admit wrong nor defeat...

Mike Sigman
02-25-2007, 04:39 AM
By now it should be obvious that I am hardly seeking affirmaton here. Then you will not be disappointed in your search. Mike admits there is resistance involved in what he does. Resistance is resistance. Once again, you hold onto your personal interpretation of "resistance", despite numerous comments by actual Japanese speakers, as if it is your security-blanket of which you must not let go. At best, your only argument about "resistance" seems to depend only on your interpretation of a passing phrase in an interview relating to waza. It's not that no one has presented you with reasonable debate... you simply ignore debate and cling desperately to a forlorn and untenable position. If you really knew how to do these things, you would have quit some time ago, back when you were only someone interjecting debate. You do what you train to do. Another constant old saw that is not applicable as you use it, but which you cling desperately to. You're reduced to tilting at windmills, Don. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-25-2007, 04:44 AM
I recently did a couple of mini-seminars (god that sounds pretentious.... :-p ), one in Seattle, and one in Virginia with Mike to various people from different backgrounds, many of them Aiki-arts, and I think we got... <counting>... "zero" negative feedback so far as to whether or not this stuff is useful for Aikido and other arts.
Mike and I come from completely different backgrounds. This is the first time we've met. But quel suprise, it turns out we be doin the <gasP> same thing for the most part.Yeah... it was a lot of fun. If any one thing stood out to me.. again.. it is the necessity that people get out, in a friendly way, and go check out and discuss what other people are saying and doing. I'm still in travelling mode, as is Rob, but I'll try to formulate my impressions, etc., when I get back home Monday or Tuesday.

Met a number of interesting people on the trip and it was a good thing to meet these people and see what they're doing, exchange views, etc.

Best.

Mike

DH
02-25-2007, 05:27 AM
Eric Writes
Hapkido, very likely, as the inheritor of O Sensei's Manchurian legacy.
Man o man. The more things change the more they stay the same. Before we're done I think we'll have good ol "O sensei" creating everything "Budo."
You want "real" traditional approaches to your art Eric?
Listen up. Ueshiba-ha Daito ryu (which is a far more "traditional" version of how things would be viewed) had nothing to do with Hapkido.
Even Hapkido denies that. They- being smart in marketing- claim a history directly to....? Takeda Sokaku's Daito ryu. Which, in itself, remains tenuous at best. It stems from a claim that Choi, Yong Sul, was training with Takeda under an assumed Japanese name as his servant. Its perfectly hilarious. Almost as funny as Ueshiba's "inventing" Aikido out of a whole bunch of disparate arts.

Ueshiba was busy at the time teaching Daito ryu.

The other thing I wanted to address was about this absolute non-resistence. You still don't get it Eric.
I'll give it to you on two levels
1. Were you to push on me- the more I get out of the way and "I" don't get involved in resisting ...you. the more you feel the ground. I become -for want of a better term- invisible to the current or flow.

Since you admiteddly can't do these things, and you were not "best buds" with Ueshiba- then I say THAT is what he meant by non resistance. Not your version of whirlin and dancin. Giving way and turning like that is the dumbest, lowest level expression of anything beffiting a trained Budo man.

2. On another level with this training in place (and active in our body) in movement we are ever changing and moving where we will. Simply because most folks cannot stop the structure. We feel no resistence.

It isn't mystical, and if you get it outside in actual MMA with real people who can kick your ass.... it isn't as "magical" either. Its just a great edge.

Again, I argue on two fronts. These skills are the best base line skills in the world. But in the end, if you can't fight.....well....you just can't fight.
Ueshiba, were he alive today, would simply not be quite the same "legend."

Dan

Mary Eastland
02-25-2007, 07:07 AM
Did you notice how relaxed Tohei, Sensei seemed in his tape.....
Mary

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-25-2007, 07:23 AM
Heres my take FWIW. Ballet dancers seem relaxed too. Often what we perceive as relaxation is really a flow of well-connected tensions rather than a lack of tension. When Tohei does a vertical "spring" action, you can see his legs compressing actively (he wouldn't need to make it visibly so, since the essence is not in the joint articulation), but his chest would be doing something similar (either as a result of the legs, or in conjunction with), which is less visible. Since that power moves the arms and sends energy into uke, he doesn't have to do any isolated and overt arm/shoulder motion. So he seems relaxed. Except for the parts that have to power the entire system, that is.

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 07:59 AM
... a spiral wave has a what???...A linear component!!! The stuff we're talking about, at a very basic level (i.e. BASELINE) is LINEAR... How do spirals and waves exist without a linear component????

Seems like we keep getting sucked into your rotational dynamics black hole... 665 posts later and we're still going in circles... :mad: Is it linear? Fair enough -- Offer a dynamic model of waves and spirals that does not require consideration of angular momentum. I'll suggest one and offer my counterargument.

As a side point, gravity waves in a fluid such as water have no linear structural connections or actuations at all (and certainly none rigid). Yet the molecules of water circulating in the wave form obey the laws of angular momentum and conservation. They even concentrate angular velocity and kinetic energy by reduced radius of circulation. It is the conservation of that angular momentum that allows a body of water to lift, against gravity, from the surface of the surrounding fluid for a moment - without anything remotely like a structure, any linear push or pull, or any functional "springs." It is almost completely a momentum conservation process.

It is not a linear compression/decompression cycle like sound waves in air (which are mass-effect 'springs' of a sort), because water is incompressible. I suppose it boils down to whether you treat the body as a compressible or incompressible medium in the transmission of forces. Eighty year-old people don't compress so well (or at all, safely) so I know where I lay my money based on O Sensei's example.

Lee Salzman
02-25-2007, 12:07 PM
So, 30 or so pages later we're still debating whether this is or is not... aikido? This seems really backwards to me.

So, where's the meat and potatoes? If I just cram enough intellectual knowledge into my head about what is or is not aikido, will that make intuitive and spontaneous expression of movement in a martial venue magically better? When in a fighting situation, do I really want to be limited by what my "super-ego" thinks is the "correct" thing to do according to some prescribed dogma?

Or is it in what spontaneously arises as a result of whatever I've been practicing? Does it matter if I call this or that particular expression aikido, or is aikido not just the particular methodology for getting the body to, little by little, come closer to a desired expression?

All this discussion drove me many moons ago to start practicing this "stuff". Is it what O'Sensei, Takeda, Sagawa, Tohei, etc. did? Hell if I know or care. Does it give me an answer on how to refine my body's movement to levels that I didn't find an answer for in aikido as it was shown to me? Yes. And the answers seemed... mundane. Not really complex, just require a buttload of practice, rather than a bunch of thinking about it. I can think "turn when pushed, enter when pulled" all I want, but unless my body's "turn" and "enter" can be done as an integrated whole, a unit, and all by itself without ever having to think about it, then it ends up being an ineffective "turn" or "enter" (and indeed it was).

Sure, you COULD use an integrated body to stand immobile. Would you really want to when someone's trying to lay a beatdown on you? No. But that seems the lowest level of application. You can use the integration for movement... ANY movement. ANY exhertion of power. Is that aikido... who cares?

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 12:26 PM
The other thing I wanted to address was about this absolute non-resistence. You still don't get it Eric.
I'll give it to you on two levels
1. Were you to push on me- the more I get out of the way and "I" don't get involved in resisting ...you. the more you feel the ground. I become -for want of a better term- invisible to the current or flow. Physically, nonsensical. As metaphor, fine.

... you were not "best buds" with Ueshiba- then I say THAT is what he meant by non resistance. Since I can comfortably say that we are equal in this regard, you don't have that privilege, either... And as to Mike's comment about the Japanese, I stand by my points already made. Joshua made an able stab at supporting your view, but never dealt with the problem of O Sensei's emphasis on tettei muteikou. "complete" or "absolute" non-resistance. To show idiomatic usage that differs he needs, not a dictionary, which only proved my point further, but contextual examples of idiomatic use where 徹底した無抵抗 has actually been used euphemistically to mean something like judou teikou 受動 抵抗. I'll gladly look at anything offered.

Not your version of whirlin and dancin. Giving way and turning like that is the dumbest, lowest level expression of anything beffiting a trained Budo man. Whirlin'? Dancing'? You plainly have no conception of what it means for radius of turn to go to zero. Real sudden-like.

Ueshiba, were he alive today, would simply not be quite the same "legend." As you admit, you do not stand for continuing his legacy in aikido. You have something else to offer, and your own vision of fundamentals. Which is, in part, why my criticism approaching these issues from a traditional training standpoint and a plain vanilla mechnical perspective continues to be valid and needed for some differing persective in an aikido forum.

I don't argue my own conceptions in terms of training, but always look for foundation in those points already made by O Sensei, Doshu, or other senior students who have discussed these things. I don't invent mechnical concepts to apply, but apply the commonplace understanding of moving bodies and structural stability to my objective observations.

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 12:35 PM
Talk about a spring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auHbz0rr_kk&mode=related&search=. The Tohei bounce.If you are speaking of the one-leg stuff (starting at about 1:15), a general question, then -- for everyone with any interest -- Do you think this illustrates your described "bounce?"

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 12:41 PM
When in a fighting situation, do I really want to be limited by what my "super-ego" thinks is the "correct" thing to do according to some prescribed dogma? Of course not. We are on a forum talking about methods of training, and more specifically, what we are actually training to accomplish.

I can think "turn when pushed, enter when pulled" all I want, but unless my body's "turn" and "enter" can be done as an integrated whole, a unit, and all by itself without ever having to think about it, then it ends up being an ineffective "turn" or "enter" (and indeed it was). Amen to that.

George S. Ledyard
02-25-2007, 12:47 PM
I think that, while this discussion is quite fascinating for many of us Aikido folks, it is also frustrating. As I have stated several times, Mike and Dan are clearly quite knowledgeable and competent. I absolutely do not debate with them that the finest Aikido practitioners have the internal energy and physical structure which they describe. I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). I absolutely agree with them that most Aikido folks do not understand this set of issues very well.

But, having said that, one notices that many of the senior Aikido folks who regularly post on this site and the other Aikido forums, have not participated in these discussions. I believe that this is because there is so much more to Aikido than what these fellows understand. As I have said before, the majority of Aikido's most incisive critics have some Aikido background. Of the group, I think that Ellis Amdur, despite the fact that he chose to leave Aikido and pursue classical martial arts training and is now engaged in the pursuit of Chinese internal arts, is the most sympathetic to what O-Sensei intended Aikido to be. This would probably be the result of his original Aikido training with Terry Dobson Sensei for whom O-Sensei's message was very important.

People who look at Aikido through the lens of straight martial application tend to believe that the Founder was at his peak in the thirties. They believe that Aikido technically peaked when it was barely evolved out of Daito Ryu (which was actually before the art was even renamed Aikido). If the point of Aikido was purely martial application this might even be true to a large extent, not completely, but largely.

But that was never the intent of O-Sensei's development of Aikido. He flat out stated that all the way back in the early days. Mochizuki Sensei, after he returned from France reported to the Founder that he was concerned that, in order to win the various challenge matches that he had to accept (very common in the early days when Aikido had to prove itself) he had to resort to tricks that came from his experience in other martial arts. O-Sensei was completely unconcerned by this and replied by asking Mochizuki Sensei "Haven't you understood the point of what I have been teaching?"

Mike and Dan are pretty outspoken about these issues. Eric is one of the very few Aikido folks who is willing to stand in the line of fire and debate them head on, which I appreciate greatly, even though in this particular discussion I think they prevail. Most Aikido folks simply find that this discussion, while interesting, has very little to do with what they see as their own training, with what they are looking to get out of the pursuit of the art.

While we all, myself included, make fun of the "aiki fruities" because they really have less than no idea how to connect their philosophical / spiritual ideas to actual waza in a way that makes sense, in terms of intent, they understand what the Founder was trying to do in creating Aikido more than Mike and Dan will ever do. They simply cannot understand Aikido because they do not do the art. They do not do the art probably because they are temperamentally unsuited to it. This in no way questions their own high level of expertise in areas that impact on Aikido practice. That is why I strongly recommend that every Aikido student who gets a chance go out of his way to get some experience with these folks.

Aikido is essentially a practice about whose purpose is to open ones heart. Teachers like Sunadomari Sensei, Anno Sensei, and others are very straightforward about this. To really appreciate how Aikido as an art can do this, one must actually practice the art and take that practice to a fairly deep level. You cannot understand it from the outside.

So what I am trying to say is that, Mike especially, has a tendency to evaluate everything from one set of criteria. He isn't much interested in something if it can't be talked about using that set of criteria. And while Dan is much the same in this regard, Mike is more apt to actively try to pull every discussion in which he participates back to these criteria. I can say, for myself, that his set of criteria for evaluating our art touches on only a small part of what I think is central to the pursuit of the art in terms of how O-Sensei intended it to be.

There are Aikido teachers out there that most of us would give our right arms to equal. It is of virtually no concern to me whether Mike thinks they are using internal energetics as defined via his pursuit Chinese martial arts. There are teachers whom I emulate in my own practice whom I think Mike would basically write off as offering nothing of interest to him. For instance, on several occasions I have mentioned Vladimir Vasiliev and Systema. Mike's response was to say that he had looked at what they do and he didn't think that what they were doing utilized the energetic concepts which he understood to be central to good martial arts. I simply do not care whether what they do can be described using those terms or not. But when I look at the results of lengthy Systema training in terms of both ability and even more especially in terms of character development and what folks would probably consider the "spiritual" side of things, I see an art that embodies exactly what I want out of my Aikido and an art that I think O-Sensei would instinctively have understood. I don't care whether Mike can describe it in his terms or not.

There are an array of Aikido teachers who I think have taken their Aikido to an extremely deep level. Mike would look at each of them and consider whether they were doing what he understands. If not, he would be uninterested in pursuing any further investigation. It is clear what he is interested in knowing and it is clear that he will go far out of his way to find folks who can better his understanding in that area. But there are folks in Aikido that I would train with at every opportunity whom Mike and Dan and the folks with similar approaches would write off in an instant, I think. For instance, it would surprise me greatly if either of these folks would spend ten minutes of their time looking at Endo Sensei. I could be wrong, but it would seem to me that what Endo Sensei is doing and the intent with which he is doing it would pretty much be irrelevant to the concerns of these folks. On the other hand, what he is doing is absolutely central to what I am trying to do with my own Aikido.

The failure to understand what Aikido is and could be is not limited to outsiders. There were plenty of Aikido folks of great achievement who simply couldn't go the distance with the Founder as he kept developing the art. Most of the thirties deshi would be in this category. It is my opinion that we do not have to be apologetic about our art when we deal with folks like Dan and Mike etc. We can acknowledge their great expertise and their ability to articulate it while at the same time seeing that they do not understand what we are doing, what we aspire to make out of our art, why we love the art so much, etc.

It is quite fascinating to me that a couple of guys who clearly believe that most Aikido folks are incompetent and have nothing to teach them will spend the huge amount of time they have communicating with all of us.I think that the fact that most of the very senior Aikido folks who post here don't participate in these discussions much, if at all, simply speaks to the fact that on a fundamental level what Mike and Dan are expressing, while it may be an important set of issues technically for all of us, is not central in our concerns. And the issues which are central to our concerns are simply not very important to these fellows.

So, I repeat, I know that both Dan and Mike are experts in what they do and are to be regarded with great respect. What they know could make all of our Aikido practices better. But I do not believe that either of them really "gets it" either when it comes to what we do and why we do it. Neither of them does it and Mike actually used to and walked away from it. That's fine. Aikido isn't for everyone, no art is. You find your art and you find your teacher. Perhaps as one grows one even changes these over time. But someone who is temperamentally unsuited for a given art will never really understand it, period. I am the first one to say that we in Aikido should be better at what we do. But I am certainly unwilling to concede that folks from outside can speak to the central issues of what Aikido should be and we do not need to let outsiders define the parameters for evaluating our art. They fundamentally do not "get it" nor do they particularly wish to.

I know that for every person posting there are hundreds who browse but never express themselves. Many of these folks are at the beginning of their Aikido careers and I think often find these discussions a bit confusing. Reading these discussions would often give someone new an impression that we don't know as Aikido practitioners who we are and what we do. So there is a lot of discussion about sources for practice outside our art. But for most of us, this is simply to get more understanding to bring back into our own art of Aikido and make it better. It isn't an expression of loss of focus or dissatisfaction with the art. It is folks who have trained a very long time talking about where they go to keep their training and ideas fresh; how we keep growing in our practice.

Aikido is a very alive and evolving art. The intention is completely different than koryu in which the intent is to preserve something intact from the past and keep it going. Aikido is new, it has very little past. The evolving nature of the practice is both its strength and a weakness. We have a tendency to charge forth and walk away from important elements of the practice. There is not set system to keep this from happening so it relies on the sincerity of the practitioners themselves that they do not let this happen. When we stray it is important to look at where we have become deficient and reacquire those skills and get them back into the art.

At the same time, no art can be all things. There will be things our art isn't well designed for. I do not think that we need to worry terribly about that. It is not important, I think whether an Aikido guy can be in the UFC and prevail. If I wanted to do that, I would do mixed martial arts. Integrity on our practice comes from paying attention to what we are trying to do and why and making sure we develop our practice honestly along that path. This forum has many many folks who have substantial backgrounds in other martial arts and have found what they were looking for in their Aikido practice. Introspection is good for our art but we don't need to have an inferiority complex about it either. As important as a thread like this is in defining many important technical issues for us as aikidoka, it also doesn't even touch on areas which I think are central to defining Aikido as Aikido and not aikijutsu or some other soft or internal style. I just wanted those folks with only a little experience to understand that point so they don't get confused by thee discussions.

Mark Freeman
02-25-2007, 01:30 PM
Absolutely brilliant post George, thank you very much.

respect

Mark

DH
02-25-2007, 02:43 PM
George
Great post

I agree with just about everything you've said and wanted to clarify a few things.

1. It appears you are ackowledging these skills-having felt some of them- are great for AIkido and you may agree they -are- aikido. I have had an older Japanese student of O'sensei look me right in the eye and state to me, and another fellow you know, that "This is Ueshiba's Aikido. They don't teach this anymore you know. Its not in modern Aikido." These skills are the skills Aikido was based off if. Whether you look at it from a DR perspective or CMA. They are in fact, the basis of the art and what many teachers have knowingly held back. if they knew at all. What does that say for them?
What does it say for the men training in vain when these skills were available to them all along? I have more to say about this in my closing remarks about why I am here.

2. The use and goals.
I give you that I -may- not understand Aikido. I said "may not." But wish to add once again -I've said it so many times- that it is my belief that these skills hold the best potential to achieve that "open heart" you are talking about. In fact I think they make a quantum leap into resolving the oft seen passive/agressiveness prevelent in Aikidoka. Gentle folks will have actual power -real and whole- to stop attackers in a much more adroit and uninvolved fashion. These skills are the engine! It is where it came from in the first place. They are Aikido. Without them, no real AIkido.
It is the way, and no other.
As I have said Takeda had the skills that gave Ushihiba what he needed to fulfill his vision. It is this power that comes closest to allowing someone to defend without causing harm. AND THAT was the real vision of peace. These skills are better able to get folks there.
Most Aikido men I have met and felt me, find the potential they both see and feel ...abso..freakin..lutly thrilling. As they have stated here after meeting me. And I -actually-teach them how to do it.
No I'm not much into Aikido. Not my cup of tea. But I am fully able to understand the mindframe and completely respect it. Even admire it.

So , though no person is unstoppable I'd place my money on folks having these skills in their aikido over anyone else in aikido without them. I woud like to add that I have been surrounded by aikidoka lately. I tell them to take these skills and work them and use them in their Aikido to make it better. Further, to not even tell folks where they got it. My focuse is to build them. I understand what its like to have been lied to and have had things held back.

3. Why here?
Read the last sentence of the last paragraph. I get it Bud. I know what its like to see the magic and want it. I recognize sincere people who are hungry and genuine in their search. I hope to help them in a way that works. ANd also has to work for me.
While I will take the many digs I have received here, I offer you this in closing.
What can you say regarding -my- open heart.
I don't try to talk folks into MMA who visit. I tell them to stay in it and do what ever they wish.
That I teach for free.
That I hold no thing back.
That I open my dojo to folks from the CMA, MMA, Karate, Judo and...AIkido and I give time, many times 5 hours at a wack.
I ask no money and no recognition.
I even tell them to call me at night when they are solo training if they have questions
I hear and I understand do others?
What did you say..."Open heart?"
I think some "teachers" In Aikido need to sit up and take notice of what some kind hearted men with open hearts who have seen men lied to by Budo teachers, physically damaged and abused, and seen things held back...... are in fact willing to do to help.
With nothing asked for in return.:)
My hand is out ...only for a handshake. We laugh and have a great time. Kinda sounds like what Ueshiba was hoping for afterall.
And that ain't so bad.
Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2007, 02:51 PM
Yes George, very good post.

I have spoken up on occasion when I have either caught something that I felt was incorrect, or when I detected a incongruency in their logic, or wanted clarification on a particular point.

I read pretty darn near all of the post, really in an attempt to understand better what it is that they are really talking about.

However, I do not see the value in discussing something that must be described through touch, feel, and doing. Not discussion on aikiweb.

The only two issue I have ever had was:

one, dealing with the criteria/situation/conditions in which they could or were willing to demonstrate within.

two, that they can unequivocally stand judge over who gets it and doesn't get it.

Dan has gone so far to say that my description of what I do when I grapple using kokyu skills because of the verbage I use here on aikiweb shows him that I don't get it! Maybe I don't...I don't know.

To me it becomes like trying to discuss comparative religion with a fundamentalist. You simply cannot establish common ground or a base as they are so stuck in what the define as right and true, that we can never have a rational conversation. We cannot agree on a common ground in which to have this conversation.

As far as doing it. I think certainly given a set of controlled conditions with a training and a set of defined parameters that people can darn near demonstrate whatever they'd like to.

Heck, when I was in Beijing last year I was simply amazed at the Beijing Circus watching a guy jump up a set of stairs, inverted on one hand with another guy balanced on his foot on one hand.

One might say that is simply impossible, but I saw it, and I think it exhibits a extradinary mastery of many,many things to include many of the so-called internal skills that we talk about here.

How about those russian roof jumping guys on Youtube? Pretty impressive and they defy gravity and all paradigms of what we thought possible.

However, what do these things have to do with budo and martial arts?

Maybe they have application and we can learn from them. Maybe not. Maybe the skills that Dan and Mike have are useful...maybe not.

One would have to bring those skills into a martial enviornment and effectively apply them.

In my eyes, and criteria, if you cannot demonstrate that you can perform these things in a non-compliant, dynamic way..that is...using aliveness...or within the parameters as generally accepted in budo/marital arts...then you do not impress me from this stand point.

The Bejing Circus dude, and the Russian Roof jumpers may not be able to show us how to use their internal skills in a non-compliant, alive environment....that does not discount their skill, just means that they have nothing to offer to aikido, or it is possible that they could show us a few things that are g-whiz or may be helpful...i don't know until we try.

I have felt the power of Saotome and Ikeda sensei. Bob Galeone, and Jimmy Sorrentino have been my primary instructors within aikido over the years. I have felt the power of a few great world class brazillians too.

I am told that these individuals do not "get it". Even though they have never worked with them. Not sure how they know this, but..okay.

So, until I work with Dan or Mike, and we can agree to the martial criteria and conditions in which to demonstrate and work on these things in...I simply have nothing to say about it.

I have yet to see any video on Youtube or the like that has impressed me martially that these things are overwhelmingly so important that it is worth focusing this much effort on. Neither have I ever experienced a power so special that it warranted me dumping all my BJJ training and AIkido training to study.

Frankly I think it is all there anyway, that has been my debate with Dan and Mike.

Yes George, I agree that there is much more to budo, aikido, MMA, and martial arts than all this talk about this very, very detailed discussion on this topic.

So, until I have the opportunity to work with the likes of Dan and Mike, I refrain from judgement, and discussion...as I see it to be pointless.

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2007, 03:07 PM
Dan Wrote:

I give you that I -may- not understand Aikido. I said "may not." But wish to add once again -I've said it so many times- that it is my belief that these skills hold the best potential to achieve that "open heart" you are talking about. In fact I think they make a quantum leap into resolving the oft seen passive/agressiveness prevelent in Aikidoka. Gentle folks will have actual power -real and whole- to stop attackers in a much more adroit and uninvolved fashion. These skills are the engine! It is where it came from in the first place. They are Aikido. Without them, no real AIkido.
It is the way, and no other.


So , though no person is unstoppable I'd place my money on folks having these skills in their aikido over anyone else in aikido without them. I woud like to add that I have been surrounded by aikidoka lately. I tell them to take these skills and work them and use them in their Aikido to make it better. Further, to not even tell folks where they got it. My focuse is to build them. I understand what its like to have been lied to and have had things held back

Dan, if it is so core to the essence of aikido and the whole open heart/understanding/enlightment thing...AND if that is what is really important as the core reason to study aikido...it would seem to me that we would have aikidoka abandoning the art outright...at least the ones that are honest with themselves in their search for this secret key that unlocks the door.

Two, if this were the case, and you have discovered it...AND the majority of aikidoka don't get it, then why would you waste your time hanging out here with us? Why not hang out with Yoga people, TKD guys, or another group of people? as aikido would be as irrelevant and invalid as the next art.

Unless you see the potential for prosetlyzation of the ignorant masses that are looking for what you possess.

Why bother making their aikido better? what would be the point? What is it that aikido offers if this is true? What would be the point of studying it if the so-called internal skills were so important and salient? Why not just study these skills and acheive the open heart?

As usual I am confused as to why you waste your time with us aikido types?

What is in it for you? are you really that altruistic with your supposed unique gift of understanding, or do you gain some benefit from aikido types?

It sounds like prostelyzation to me. Which is fine. Just define the martial critieria upon which we can work on these unique skills, then we can come and experience.

If you could do this in an acceptable manner to me, that demonstrated that aikido and Saotome Sensei's organization did not have anything to offer me as far as a better understanding of true martial arts, budo, and acheiving a open heart understanding, then I would definiitely join your gang!

Until then.

DH
02-25-2007, 03:42 PM
Kevin
Don't swing the pendulum so far. I've never said everyone doesn't get it. I have said the stuff is here and there and either the teachers withhold it to make themselves look good or others simply don't know it.

The enlightenment angle is another thing your blowing up. Come on bud don't do that stuff. Just talk to me. I don't claim enlightment. I said the folks would be able to adroitely handle agression in a more impassive and nuetral fashion. At least better then they do without these skills. And that would come closer to fullfiling -Ueshiba's- vision of peace thru the art.


Your suggestion that everyone would be leaving aikido is perfectly ridiculous and not even the point. I say stay in Aikido.
But I'll take your dig and run with it.
"If you love it, you don't have to leave it. Learn what the basic core of what it really was about and then do it the right way......." Hey ...you shot first. kidding... kidding. Where are those damn smiley's, mine are gone.

Passive agressive
Some of the least passive agressive and more well balanced men I know are judoka, wresttlers and MMA types. When you mix it up, everything speaks for itself. Ki, shmee, if ya can't make it work its back to the drawing board. Any art that breeds so much cooperation breeds passive/ agressive tendencies. Having good internal skills will make Aikidoka more powerful...and here's the key..... All within Aikido. That's it and thats all.

And the reason I argue on two fronts is that I firmly believe in MMA training. It is the great equalizer of everything. Sorry, I can't help but feel that way. I've both seen and been part of so many theories blown to hell in the hands of a good fighter. A fact I believe you are familair with and agree to. We are after all talking about body conditioning that brings about enhanced skills not martial technique. Lighten up. Ya don't have to join anyone elses gang nor are you being asked too. :-)

I already said why I am here. as well as other places and yes ya pinhead (kidding) I am that altruistic.
My freely giving and sharing (although on my own terms) is a matter of record. I teach for free and pay the bills. I have now taught some dozen guys from the list and didn't charge a penny. And some of them have written in here in the past.
Why?
I answered why in the last post

Cheers
Dan

Brion Toss
02-25-2007, 04:08 PM
Thank you George, Kevin, for your wonderful posts. Getting back to the origin of this thread, I would say that you have demonstrated the only really important basic skill in Aikido: an open heart.
I believe that the "powers" that Mike and Dan speak of are available to us, if we choose to find them, in Aikido waza and elsewhere. I also happen to believe that the mechanics of those powers are simply not what Mike and Dan think they are, but are rather more like what Eric thinks they are. But does any of that truly matter? The point for me is that Aikido, whatever its mechanical underpinnings may be, and however successfully or not it might be taught and learnt, is an art that speaks to me. It is an art that has, on extremely rare occasions, been helpful in physical conflict, but which, far more important, has informed my behavior, mood, and character every day since I found it, so many years ago.
So while Mike and Dan pursue their path, I will continue with what seems to be working for me. Their words (and I have read every one of them) have caused me to think, reconsider, and reprioritize, and I am grateful to them for that.

eyrie
02-25-2007, 05:02 PM
Good post George... however, this thread is not about what Aikido is or isn't.... I don't think that's what Mike, Dan or anyone is debating, well except for Erick maybe.... :p

This thread is about baseline (foundational/core) skills that are common to the Asian martial arts. Skills that open a door to whatever form of martial expression takes your fancy - whether it be Aikido, CMA, MMA, BJJ, JJ, Karate and what have you... I believe this is what O'Sensei intended when he mentioned... "[absorbing and] clothing [the venerable traditions] with fresh garments...to create better forms", or that it is "...the religion that perfects and completes all religions".

The idea that none of what's being discussed here is or isn't Aikido, per se, is not the real issue. It's whether these baseline skills can or can't be applied to Aikido, which I think you agree, if it makes one's Aikido better, then why not. What Mike and Dan are saying is that it already is in Aikido, but was misunderstood or knowingly or unwittingly withheld, or that the way in which these skills are being transmitted is obscured, or a combination of the above.

That you could use such skills for peaceful or aggressive means is merely a choice - I believe Dan has already mentioned this... several times. Whether that can be considered "Aikido", as a form of spiritual practice, or whatever... is also a choice. But I think you would also agree, that one's level of spiritual practice is also limited by the "strength" of one's foundation in the physical side of the practice. I don't think anyone is specifically discussing martial applications or interpretations. Again, whether these skills can be applied in a martially-valid venue is outside of this discussion. That it *could* give you an edge in such a venue, is by the by, and largely a conscious choice.

I also believe that what Mike and Dan are saying is that, their particular approaches to training these skills are essentially grounded on the same core principles as other venerable traditions that purport to develop these skills. It is to these core principles that I believe is what is being discussed.

So, if such discussion aids in one's own introspection of what their own practice of Aikido encompasses, or can encompass, then so much the better. As to how they choose to take the things being discussed here and where they wish to take their own physical practice and expression, is largely a choice molded by their own teachers and their own experiences.

I think it would be prudent to be aware of what "baggage" one is carrying in that regard. For those, like myself, who prefer to travel "light"... make of it what you will. If it helps someone perceive the threshold and the doorway, well and good. But they will have to walk through the door first... and it helps if one wasn't lugging all that baggage in at the same time...

George S. Ledyard
02-25-2007, 05:04 PM
George
Great post

I agree with just about everything you've said and wanted to clarify a few things.

1. It appears you are ackowledging these skills-having felt some of them- are great for AIkido and you may agree they -are- aikido. I have had an older Japanese student of O'sensei look me right in the eye and state to me, and another fellow you know, that "This is Ueshiba's Aikido. They don't teach this anymore you know. Its not in modern Aikido." These skills are the skills Aikido was based off if. Whether you look at it from a DR perspective or CMA. They are in fact, the basis of the art and what many teachers have knowingly held back. if they knew at all. What does that say for them?
What does it say for the men training in vain when these skills were available to them all along? I have more to say about this in my closing remarks about why I am here.

2. The use and goals.
I give you that I -may- not understand Aikido. I said "may not." But wish to add once again -I've said it so many times- that it is my belief that these skills hold the best potential to achieve that "open heart" you are talking about. In fact I think they make a quantum leap into resolving the oft seen passive/agressiveness prevelent in Aikidoka. Gentle folks will have actual power -real and whole- to stop attackers in a much more adroit and uninvolved fashion. These skills are the engine! It is where it came from in the first place. They are Aikido. Without them, no real AIkido.
It is the way, and no other.
As I have said Takeda had the skills that gave Ushihiba what he needed to fulfill his vision. It is this power that comes closest to allowing someone to defend without causing harm. AND THAT was the real vision of peace. These skills are better able to get folks there.
Most Aikido men I have met and felt me, find the potential they both see and feel ...abso..freakin..lutly thrilling. As they have stated here after meeting me. And I -actually-teach them how to do it.
No I'm not much into Aikido. Not my cup of tea. But I am fully able to understand the mindframe and completely respect it. Even admire it.

So , though no person is unstoppable I'd place my money on folks having these skills in their aikido over anyone else in aikido without them. I woud like to add that I have been surrounded by aikidoka lately. I tell them to take these skills and work them and use them in their Aikido to make it better. Further, to not even tell folks where they got it. My focuse is to build them. I understand what its like to have been lied to and have had things held back.

3. Why here?
Read the last sentence of the last paragraph. I get it Bud. I know what its like to see the magic and want it. I recognize sincere people who are hungry and genuine in their search. I hope to help them in a way that works. ANd also has to work for me.
While I will take the many digs I have received here, I offer you this in closing.
What can you say regarding -my- open heart.
I don't try to talk folks into MMA who visit. I tell them to stay in it and do what ever they wish.
That I teach for free.
That I hold no thing back.
That I open my dojo to folks from the CMA, MMA, Karate, Judo and...AIkido and I give time, many times 5 hours at a wack.
I ask no money and no recognition.
I even tell them to call me at night when they are solo training if they have questions
I hear and I understand do others?
What did you say..."Open heart?"
I think some "teachers" In Aikido need to sit up and take notice of what some kind hearted men with open hearts who have seen men lied to by Budo teachers, physically damaged and abused, and seen things held back...... are in fact willing to do to help.
With nothing asked for in return.:)
My hand is out ...only for a handshake. We laugh and have a great time. Kinda sounds like what Ueshiba was hoping for afterall.
And that ain't so bad.
Cheers
Dan

Hi Dan,
You and I are no disagreement as far as I can see... I am the first person, which can be seen by my posts over the years, to point out that the Aikido being put forth in many places is not O-Sensei's Aikido and I don't just mean in terms of the kokyu power skill sets under discussion here. Aikido is in danger of losing it's identity as Budo both in terms of the art as "martial art" and in terms of it's vital spiritual core. Much Aikido today isn't good martial art and it isn't deep spiritually.

To remedy this, one must find the few teachers who are presenting a version of the art which hasn't yet lost it's edge so to speak. Then after one finds that, one is still faced with the issue of whether the teacher(s) ones finds can actually systematically present what they do. Galleone and I have talked about this at length and once again, I think I have been as clear as I could be in my posts that the "transmission" or lack thereof, is as big a problem as the watering down of Aikido. Which is precisely why folks like yourself and Mike are so valuable. You know about things that are important for us to know. Aikido teachers often either do not have these skills or are not sure how to systematically teach them to the growing number of people doing the art.

I just see too many promising students leaving Aikido because it isn't what it should and could be. I have lost people to kenjutsu and Systema. These were top notch people who loved their Aikido training but found greater depth in this other training. I couldn't argue with their decisions, if i were younger I might have done the same... But my greatest hope is for the ones who didn't leave. Their are a number of people all over the country who are doing other training but staying with their Aikido. They learn to appreciate what Aikido has which other arts don't and they are actively looking to see what other arts offer that can be brought back into Aikido to make it what it was.

I think there is great hope for the art. Although I would consider O-Sensei's Aikido to be on the "endangered list" I have hope. If we can bring back the Bison from the brink of extinction we can revive Aikido. But it will be the work of individuals not organizations. I think that large organizations are often the enemies of this effort. Almost everyone I see really making it happen out there are busy looking beyond what their own associations are offering. I don't think it is necessary that this should be so, but I think it is currently.

I have spent my entire adult life in Aikido. Nothing else has ever spoken to me as this art has. I am glad that there are folks from outside our art who are willing to take the time to offer their knowledge to us. But i also don't want our own people to get discouraged and leave because they feel they can't get what they want out of Aikido. Because when they leave, they lose that which makes Aikido unique. I feel it is our mission to put it all together for ourselves. To the extent that folks outside are interested in helping us do that, it's wonderful. I think in those instances in which it starts to come together, we will find that folks from other arts will perhaps look to us for help making their arts better. Lord knows, there is enough martial arts practice out there that could use what we know. Aikido isn't by any means the only art which is danger of losing what was deep in its roots. At least many of us realize that it is an issue and are working on it. I see that consciousness almost completely lacking in much of what passes for martial arts these days. I'm sure we wouldn't be in disagreement on that either...

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 05:30 PM
I think that, while this discussion is quite fascinating for many of us Aikido folks, it is also frustrating. As I have stated several times, Mike and Dan are clearly quite knowledgeable and competent. I absolutely do not debate with them that the finest Aikido practitioners have the internal energy and physical structure which they describe. I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). ... Mike and Dan are pretty outspoken about these issues. Eric is one of the very few Aikido folks who is willing to stand in the line of fire and debate them head on, which I appreciate greatly, even though in this particular discussion I think they prevail. Just for the record, Dan and Mike have repeated this strawman in argument often enough that people start to believe I said that when I didn't. I have not claimed that what they do is not done; that the essence of what is done is different from what O Sensei did, or that proper training does not change one's structural sensiblities. Mike, Dan and I have a hard time coming to a commonly agreed way of describing what we see done, and what we feel in doing. The persectives we bring out differ very sharply. I happen to think their perpecitve is wrong mechanically, whatever value it has for practical training, and that is likely considerable. But I have never thought that we were looking at anything fundamentally different in this or any other art.
Most Aikido folks simply find that this discussion, while interesting, has very little to do with what they see as their own training, with what they are looking to get out of the pursuit of the art. ... I know that for every person posting there are hundreds who browse but never express themselves. Many of these folks are at the beginning of their Aikido careers and I think often find these discussions a bit confusing. ... I just wanted those folks with only a little experience to understand that point so they don't get confused by these discussions. I am concerned that they use these things to a different end. It only makes sense therefore that they train for them differently. It therefore makes sense to critically examine their training recommendations, particularly when folks new to aikido are reading them seeking guidance, because they may be problematic for other things that aikido is directed toward.

It is those new folks who are among the reasons I continue to respond critically on these topics.

Practice is not a place for analysis -- that's what this is for. New folks should not surrender their own critical minds, but neither should they learn to distrust the value in the body of the knowledge as a living tradition. Dan and Mike often slip into an air of that distrust that is not warranted -- and distrust can be infectious. People as varied in style and approach as Saotome, Abe, Shioda, and many others, have not themselves plumbed the depths of what the traditional kihon and kokyu undo have to offer. There is no reason whatsoever to distrust them.

eyrie
02-25-2007, 07:37 PM
The persectives we bring out differ very sharply. I happen to think their perpecitve is wrong mechanically, whatever value it has for practical training, and that is likely considerable. But I have never thought that we were looking at anything fundamentally different in this or any other art.

I think we are only discussing general principles of how to get to "step 1". You are obviously looking at it from a very different perspective - no disagreement there. So, to say that their mechanical perspective is wrong, is firstly incorrect, and secondly implies that you believe yours is the correct perspective, which is also questionable.

FWIW, I was teaching Aikido in largely the same mechanistic terms as Mike and Dan are talking about, well and truly before I even encountered Mike or Dan. Not only that... what I've been teaching has also been validated by my senpai (although in not so many words), and which was immediately apparent to him, in the quality of my students, particularly my 9yr old who has been training with me for over a year now. So that blows THAT perspective out of the water...

I am concerned that they use these things to a different end. It only makes sense therefore that they train for them differently. To what different end? What possible different end could that be? The true meaning of Budo? To stop the spears?

It therefore makes sense to critically examine their training recommendations I think that generally goes without saying... in case it bears repeating... thinking is not only recommended but required!

Dan and Mike often slip into an air of that distrust that is not warranted -- and distrust can be infectious. People as varied in style and approach as Saotome, Abe, Shioda, and many others, have not themselves plumbed the depths of what the traditional kihon and kokyu undo have to offer. There is no reason whatsoever to distrust them.

Distrust!? Dan and Mike have been far more open than some of the "high-ranking" lurkers here. And in fact, Gernot has already mentioned that even Abe Sensei has openly admitted that he will not teach *some* things... Distrust? Who?

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 09:11 PM
Distrust!? Dan and Mike have been far more open than some of the "high-ranking" lurkers here. And in fact, Gernot has already mentioned that even Abe Sensei has openly admitted that he will not teach *some* things... Distrust? Who?Of whom. You mistake my meaning. They have an distinct distrust for institutional elements in aikido. It is not a criticism, per se, skepticism of authority is healthy. It is simply a very strong perspective of theirs. It can stand a little balancing of points of view in the discussion.

... to say that their mechanical perspective is wrong, is firstly incorrect, and secondly implies that you believe yours is the correct perspective, which is also questionable. It is more correct to say that mechnical terms that they use do not explain the energy manipulation advantages gained. I do not imply mine is completely correct, merely that it explains far more than theirs can, both in concentrating and dissipating energy of large magnitude.

I am open to anything that provides a better and more consistent explanation. They have not explained their idea of the mechanism that will concentrate momentum or increase effective kinetic energy, or to dissipate large amounts of kinetic energy directed at them. I would love for someone to propose a physical model for the "bounce" mechanism they describe that does not rely on angular momentum. .

DH
02-25-2007, 10:12 PM
Abe admits holding back, so have many others whether -they- admit it or not. It is all too obvious that these skills were and are-rare in your art. How did that happen if they have been openly taught all this time? We have even been told to our faces to expect to have to steal them. That’s not just in other Asian arts, but yes…yours too.
Its not a distrust to simply look, see what is known but not being shown, and then call them on it.
I have been pointing it out for ten years
If we are wrong in our distrust, then I ask you why is it that your own teachers -like Ikeda- are now....only now...saying the same things. AND going outside the art to bring men in to show the skills missing?
It appears he doesn't agree with you either. I understand you are not interested in anyone's agreement as you stated. But your opinion doesn't alter the reality that these things are largely absent in the open teaching of your art.

……or to dissipate large amounts of kinetic energy directed at them. I would love for someone to propose a physical model for the "bounce" mechanism they describe that does not rely on angular momentum.
I don’t debate your mechanic and physics. I’ve no need. I can do things you admit you cannot do and now openly tell me I don’t understand how –I- do them.
Sometimes it’s a struggle to maintain my good nature….
I’ll be happy to continue teaching your adepts how to do what they admit they cannot do, while you tell me I don’t know what I’m doing. I find the work speaks for itself. And now I and these others training with me -from Aikido- will continue to experiment and improve -thier- Aikido.
Cheers
Dan

eyrie
02-25-2007, 10:32 PM
Of whom. You mistake my meaning. They have an distinct distrust for institutional elements in aikido. It is not a criticism, per se, skepticism of authority is healthy. It is simply a very strong perspective of theirs. It can stand a little balancing of points of view in the discussion.

There ya go....equivocating again... what you say is not what you mean, and what you mean to say is never meant... :D Distrust of institutional elements? That's a rather strong accusation.... and I don't think that really is the case. As for balanced perspectives... that's questionable too... although I s'pose you could technically say a diametrically opposed "model"... is "balanced". :confused:

It is more correct to say that mechnical terms that they use do not explain the energy manipulation advantages gained. I do not imply mine is completely correct, merely that it explains far more than theirs can, both in concentrating and dissipating energy of large magnitude.

That it is far more involved than the (simplified) mechanistic examples that have been used, is absolutely true. However, the reasons for doing so were made clear initially - they are intended to convey "first" principles. (If they were not, I apologize - it should have been made clear).

As far as your model goes toward explaining far more than what Dan & Mike have said, that's what YOU claim... and according to YOU. Whether your claim is correct or not is a totally separate issue. More is not necessarily better, nor does it make it more correct.

Unless you mean something else altogether??? ;)

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 11:17 PM
There ya go....equivocating again... what you say is not what you mean, and what you mean to say is never meant... :D Distrust of institutional elements? That's a rather strong accusation.... and I don't think that really is the case. I say what I mean. I presume Mike does as well. Dan? .. maybe Mike's statements are too broad a brush to paint him with, but the feel of his approach is not a far cry ... ....What I'm saying is that within the hierarchy of Aikido, most people (well, from a westerner's perspective in a western land) don't know how to do these things, .... if you take the number of Aikido practitioners that can do these things, it's a small (but not negligibly small) number in comparison with the whole of Aikido. .... Always the same pattern that some of the skilled at the top know how to do these things, the knowledge is somewhat guarded, and the majority of practitioners don't really know. ....

....Think about it. Everything is there for some serious mind-shenanigans. Uniforms. A "leader" and pecking-order hierarchy. Exotic rituals. Foreign words that must be used as part of the ritual. Cooperative training that helps confirm that the play is "real" as long as it's kept within the secret meeting hall (the dojo). And so on.

.... [Someone] ...making noises about kokyu power, I assure you that the established hierarchy would react very negatively toward anyone who made such a suggestion. Their status is at stake; in some cases their livelihood is involved. They would try to blow the topic off and personally attack anyone who suggested such a thing. Pretty much what you'd expect. Not exactly a balanced picture of the functions of institutional continuity and conservation of knowledge, even an instituional model as loose-fitting as that which exists in aikido. Fine as personal perspective. There are other valid potins of view on that. Whether your claim is correct or not is a totally separate issue. Entirely true. It stands or falls on its own. A thorough attempt at knocking IT down on a substantive basis is a worthwhile effort. Like Joshua's challenge to to justify O Sensei's statement on non-resistance.

If you succeeded in knocking me down the ideas are still there. It is wasted effort trying to knock me down, cause I really don't count for much. I just pointed to the ideas and the things that call them into play -- I didn't invent them. They don't travel on my merit, and good thing, too. If I were run out on a rail, somebody else will eventually point to the same ideas and ask naughty questions, too.

I made a long list of questions that no one really answered yet.

Jorge Garcia
02-25-2007, 11:50 PM
I think that, while this discussion is quite fascinating for many of us Aikido folks, it is also frustrating. As I have stated several times, Mike and Dan are clearly quite knowledgeable and competent. I absolutely do not debate with them that the finest Aikido practitioners have the internal energy and physical structure which they describe. I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). I absolutely agree with them that most Aikido folks do not understand this set of issues very well.

But, having said that, one notices that many of the senior Aikido folks who regularly post on this site and the other Aikido forums, have not participated in these discussions. I believe that this is because there is so much more to Aikido than what these fellows understand. As I have said before, the majority of Aikido's most incisive critics have some Aikido background. Of the group, I think that Ellis Amdur, despite the fact that he chose to leave Aikido and pursue classical martial arts training and is now engaged in the pursuit of Chinese internal arts, is the most sympathetic to what O-Sensei intended Aikido to be. This would probably be the result of his original Aikido training with Terry Dobson Sensei for whom O-Sensei's message was very important.

People who look at Aikido through the lens of straight martial application tend to believe that the Founder was at his peak in the thirties. They believe that Aikido technically peaked when it was barely evolved out of Daito Ryu (which was actually before the art was even renamed Aikido). If the point of Aikido was purely martial application this might even be true to a large extent, not completely, but largely.

But that was never the intent of O-Sensei's development of Aikido. He flat out stated that all the way back in the early days. Mochizuki Sensei, after he returned from France reported to the Founder that he was concerned that, in order to win the various challenge matches that he had to accept (very common in the early days when Aikido had to prove itself) he had to resort to tricks that came from his experience in other martial arts. O-Sensei was completely unconcerned by this and replied by asking Mochizuki Sensei "Haven't you understood the point of what I have been teaching?"

Mike and Dan are pretty outspoken about these issues. Eric is one of the very few Aikido folks who is willing to stand in the line of fire and debate them head on, which I appreciate greatly, even though in this particular discussion I think they prevail. Most Aikido folks simply find that this discussion, while interesting, has very little to do with what they see as their own training, with what they are looking to get out of the pursuit of the art.

While we all, myself included, make fun of the "aiki fruities" because they really have less than no idea how to connect their philosophical / spiritual ideas to actual waza in a way that makes sense, in terms of intent, they understand what the Founder was trying to do in creating Aikido more than Mike and Dan will ever do. They simply cannot understand Aikido because they do not do the art. They do not do the art probably because they are temperamentally unsuited to it. This in no way questions their own high level of expertise in areas that impact on Aikido practice. That is why I strongly recommend that every Aikido student who gets a chance go out of his way to get some experience with these folks.

Aikido is essentially a practice about whose purpose is to open ones heart. Teachers like Sunadomari Sensei, Anno Sensei, and others are very straightforward about this. To really appreciate how Aikido as an art can do this, one must actually practice the art and take that practice to a fairly deep level. You cannot understand it from the outside.

So what I am trying to say is that, Mike especially, has a tendency to evaluate everything from one set of criteria. He isn't much interested in something if it can't be talked about using that set of criteria. And while Dan is much the same in this regard, Mike is more apt to actively try to pull every discussion in which he participates back to these criteria. I can say, for myself, that his set of criteria for evaluating our art touches on only a small part of what I think is central to the pursuit of the art in terms of how O-Sensei intended it to be.

There are Aikido teachers out there that most of us would give our right arms to equal. It is of virtually no concern to me whether Mike thinks they are using internal energetics as defined via his pursuit Chinese martial arts. There are teachers whom I emulate in my own practice whom I think Mike would basically write off as offering nothing of interest to him. For instance, on several occasions I have mentioned Vladimir Vasiliev and Systema. Mike's response was to say that he had looked at what they do and he didn't think that what they were doing utilized the energetic concepts which he understood to be central to good martial arts. I simply do not care whether what they do can be described using those terms or not. But when I look at the results of lengthy Systema training in terms of both ability and even more especially in terms of character development and what folks would probably consider the "spiritual" side of things, I see an art that embodies exactly what I want out of my Aikido and an art that I think O-Sensei would instinctively have understood. I don't care whether Mike can describe it in his terms or not.

There are an array of Aikido teachers who I think have taken their Aikido to an extremely deep level. Mike would look at each of them and consider whether they were doing what he understands. If not, he would be uninterested in pursuing any further investigation. It is clear what he is interested in knowing and it is clear that he will go far out of his way to find folks who can better his understanding in that area. But there are folks in Aikido that I would train with at every opportunity whom Mike and Dan and the folks with similar approaches would write off in an instant, I think. For instance, it would surprise me greatly if either of these folks would spend ten minutes of their time looking at Endo Sensei. I could be wrong, but it would seem to me that what Endo Sensei is doing and the intent with which he is doing it would pretty much be irrelevant to the concerns of these folks. On the other hand, what he is doing is absolutely central to what I am trying to do with my own Aikido.

The failure to understand what Aikido is and could be is not limited to outsiders. There were plenty of Aikido folks of great achievement who simply couldn't go the distance with the Founder as he kept developing the art. Most of the thirties deshi would be in this category. It is my opinion that we do not have to be apologetic about our art when we deal with folks like Dan and Mike etc. We can acknowledge their great expertise and their ability to articulate it while at the same time seeing that they do not understand what we are doing, what we aspire to make out of our art, why we love the art so much, etc.

It is quite fascinating to me that a couple of guys who clearly believe that most Aikido folks are incompetent and have nothing to teach them will spend the huge amount of time they have communicating with all of us.I think that the fact that most of the very senior Aikido folks who post here don't participate in these discussions much, if at all, simply speaks to the fact that on a fundamental level what Mike and Dan are expressing, while it may be an important set of issues technically for all of us, is not central in our concerns. And the issues which are central to our concerns are simply not very important to these fellows.

So, I repeat, I know that both Dan and Mike are experts in what they do and are to be regarded with great respect. What they know could make all of our Aikido practices better. But I do not believe that either of them really "gets it" either when it comes to what we do and why we do it. Neither of them does it and Mike actually used to and walked away from it. That's fine. Aikido isn't for everyone, no art is. You find your art and you find your teacher. Perhaps as one grows one even changes these over time. But someone who is temperamentally unsuited for a given art will never really understand it, period. I am the first one to say that we in Aikido should be better at what we do. But I am certainly unwilling to concede that folks from outside can speak to the central issues of what Aikido should be and we do not need to let outsiders define the parameters for evaluating our art. They fundamentally do not "get it" nor do they particularly wish to.

I know that for every person posting there are hundreds who browse but never express themselves. Many of these folks are at the beginning of their Aikido careers and I think often find these discussions a bit confusing. Reading these discussions would often give someone new an impression that we don't know as Aikido practitioners who we are and what we do. So there is a lot of discussion about sources for practice outside our art. But for most of us, this is simply to get more understanding to bring back into our own art of Aikido and make it better. It isn't an expression of loss of focus or dissatisfaction with the art. It is folks who have trained a very long time talking about where they go to keep their training and ideas fresh; how we keep growing in our practice.

Aikido is a very alive and evolving art. The intention is completely different than koryu in which the intent is to preserve something intact from the past and keep it going. Aikido is new, it has very little past. The evolving nature of the practice is both its strength and a weakness. We have a tendency to charge forth and walk away from important elements of the practice. There is not set system to keep this from happening so it relies on the sincerity of the practitioners themselves that they do not let this happen. When we stray it is important to look at where we have become deficient and reacquire those skills and get them back into the art.

At the same time, no art can be all things. There will be things our art isn't well designed for. I do not think that we need to worry terribly about that. It is not important, I think whether an Aikido guy can be in the UFC and prevail. If I wanted to do that, I would do mixed martial arts. Integrity on our practice comes from paying attention to what we are trying to do and why and making sure we develop our practice honestly along that path. This forum has many many folks who have substantial backgrounds in other martial arts and have found what they were looking for in their Aikido practice. Introspection is good for our art but we don't need to have an inferiority complex about it either. As important as a thread like this is in defining many important technical issues for us as aikidoka, it also doesn't even touch on areas which I think are central to defining Aikido as Aikido and not aikijutsu or some other soft or internal style. I just wanted those folks with only a little experience to understand that point so they don't get confused by thee discussions.

Amen.

Erick Mead
02-25-2007, 11:52 PM
……or to dissipate large amounts of kinetic energy directed at them. I would love for someone to propose a physical model for the "bounce" mechanism they describe that does not rely on angular momentum.
I don't debate your mechanic and physics. I've no need. I can do things you admit you cannot do and now openly tell me I don't understand how --I- do them. Then it will remain only with you and those you meet with -- because it is not amenable to communicaiton in deatils by other means. There are some means that provide that ability of critical detail. I don't actually know what you mean to do, or what you can do, nor you of me. I don't pretend otherwise, although I give you the benefit of reputation here. I don't do that. There is no point. I am not travelling on my reputation, as you do, nor could I, and so your attempt at dismissal of me on that basis is misplaced, even if it were sound.

When I say you are wrong on a mechanical understanding of what you describe you are doing or that we see on video, it is not a personal affront, nor a call for the defenders of your reputation to chime in a vouching contest to put me down. I am merely saying that there are very useful mechanical concepts for what is happening, and that concepts that come down the metaphorical road from a holistic tradition lose their utility to critique movement at a level of detail where mechanical principles are just getting going. Sometimes detail is not useful in training critique, but many times it can be.

There is a very great deal of information that can be observed and then communicated about this stuff in purely mechanical terms. Not all of it, surely, and not the most imporatn parts. But very great depths of detail. Close observation can only aid practice. Mechanics is really little more than very refined methods of observation and description. Really, it can lead to some pretty cool stuff. It lets people defy gravity with some clever shapes and moving air.

Our collective understanding of the principles involved in aikido and martial arts generally can be enlarged by the comparisons of different ideas about its functions in mechnical terms. You leave me thinking that for you there is nothing left to learn and nothing new to find in what you already know. I doubt that is true. I have lived and learned too long to believe that about anything I ever learned. Don't avoid it just because someone might be a little better at it to begin with. It's just time and experience, like anything else. Your observations have great value. The language to describe them more precisely can be learned.

eyrie
02-26-2007, 01:07 AM
A thorough attempt at knocking IT down on a substantive basis is a worthwhile effort....If you succeeded in knocking me down the ideas are still there. It is wasted effort trying to knock me down, cause I really don't count for much. I just pointed to the ideas and the things that call them into play -- I didn't invent them. They don't travel on my merit, and good thing, too. If I were run out on a rail, somebody else will eventually point to the same ideas and ask naughty questions, too.

I made a long list of questions that no one really answered yet.

Yeah, we already know... nobody can win unless you say so, right?

I can't imagine how so many people who have not met or know each other from Adam, can all be talking about the same ONE thing and understand perfectly what the other person is saying, and YET, only YOU and YOUR theory stands out amongst the rest as the ONE ultimate, undefeatable theorem of Aikido movement to end all other MA movement theories.

Oh, I apologize, you didn't invent the concepts, you're just playing devils advocate for the heck of it.... because you can, not because it's the right and responsible thing to do... have you considered that this garden path that you are essentially exhorting some ignorant neophytes to follow may not in fact be the right one?

What long list of questions? I thought those were already answered, by various persons? Oh... you mean answered to YOUR satisfaction.... with the answers YOU wanted to hear?

Mike Sigman
02-26-2007, 05:24 AM
I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). I absolutely agree with them that most Aikido folks do not understand this set of issues very well. Hi George:

Well, the point is, as you note, that these skills are ESSENTIAL, they're not some side-element like a sword kata,etc. I.e., and this has been said before, these skills are the foundational skills without which someone who does Aikido is only doing the external shell, regardless of whether they can do if for fighting, looks good in a hakama, has many supporting theories, etc., etc. The inference I get is your emphasis of "PART" ... these skills are "PART" of Aikido just like the alphabet is "PART" of Shakespeare's writings. But, having said that, one notices that many of the senior Aikido folks who regularly post on this site and the other Aikido forums, have not participated in these discussions. I believe that this is because there is so much more to Aikido than what these fellows understand. OK, I will accept that as an assertion, but I want to see it. Any "senior Aikido folk" (westerners who frequent this forum) you want to name who can demonstrate these skills? Because before they can have a "deeper understanding", they must be able to do these "essential" things, right? In your first paragraph, you said these things were "essential". And remember, this isn't just "Dan and Mike".... we're just uncomfortable reminders of things that O-Sensei also said, Tohei says, Abe says, etc., etc. Remember also that "Dan and Mike" (we're not a team, please... we're often arguing from different perspectives) are offset by the crucial circumstance of Hiroshi Ikeda bringing in Ushiro Sensei to teach these same things because they are so important. How many "senior Aikido folks" can already do these things that Ushiro is teaching?So what I am trying to say is that, Mike especially, has a tendency to evaluate everything from one set of criteria. He isn't much interested in something if it can't be talked about using that set of criteria. And while Dan is much the same in this regard, Mike is more apt to actively try to pull every discussion in which he participates back to these criteria. I can say, for myself, that his set of criteria for evaluating our art touches on only a small part of what I think is central to the pursuit of the art in terms of how O-Sensei intended it to be.Well, the fact that I think someone should learn how to use the alphabet before becoming a writer is somewhat different from your view that you can be a good writer without having to know the alphabet because the alphabet is only a "PART" of the things a writer has to know. ;)But I am certainly unwilling to concede that folks from outside can speak to the central issues of what Aikido should be and we do not need to let outsiders define the parameters for evaluating our art. Well, the real problem is that you're flatly disagreeing with Hiroshi Ikeda by making these comments, George. He is bringing in an "outsider", even more of an outsider than I am. Yet you're not trying to maginalize Ushiro's comments like "No kokyu, no aikido". Is it because if you ignore Ushiro's and Ikeda's comments about these skills long enough, they'll quit bothering you, go away, and leave the status quo where it is? ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

MM
02-26-2007, 06:43 AM
I think there is great hope for the art. Although I would consider O-Sensei's Aikido to be on the "endangered list" I have hope. If we can bring back the Bison from the brink of extinction we can revive Aikido. But it will be the work of individuals not organizations. I think that large organizations are often the enemies of this effort. Almost everyone I see really making it happen out there are busy looking beyond what their own associations are offering. I don't think it is necessary that this should be so, but I think it is currently.


I would respectfully disagree with you here. This is all IMO. Large organizations are usually run by a handful of people. The organization is not to blame, it is the individuals. Just a few individuals running the organization can change the whole organization.

Let me use an example. If Saotome sensei knew of some exercises that built these baseline skills and he decided to implement them into his organization, do you think the dojo cho would resist him? Or would there be a change? You're higher up in the chain of authority, so I'm guessing you'd know what would happen. I'm low enough that I don't have to deal with the politics yet.

Thanks,
Mark

DH
02-26-2007, 07:02 AM
Politics for protection of what?
And for helping and being honest with whom? Assume for a moment these skills and how to attain them are known among your smiling Japanese shihan.They tell you...while smiling "Yup the sectret is in the kata. Go beat up your body for another ten years for another morsel."
I'll be happy to stay outside and help do the job they should have been doing all along. And show how to build-up your body not break it down and at least honestly share the little I know. The exercises are just step one. There is so much more.

The oddest part is that in many ways at least technically-Mike, and I are not outsiders, only Rob is. How's that? We were both in Aikido and were part of the men who left that George just described. Moreover, I have been in aikido dojos every once in a while since then. So I respecfully offer you're not hearing from outsiders- you're hearng from your lowest students.

So what can we say now that the lowest are in agreement with some of the highest in the art? That ain't bad. I can't speak to Mike and Robs expereinces. But to date, I've not met the Aikido person I am showing these things to-many of whom have felt your highest level teachers- who does not think these skills are essential to the art. To say that you are choosing to only search for them from within is to just continue with the "shut-out" that the art has perpetuated for years. Quite honestly that will no longer work.

Aikido-by what I have been reading- is losing numbers- not gaining, The pressure on the art is two fold. I end as I've ended the last few posts, that I argue on two fronts.
First, it is losing because skill-to-skill it is no match for us who do MMA. Young men or those interested in pursuing MA look for things that work in a shorter time frame. then they hear of advanced ten and fifteen year aikidoka "having the stuff" only to see them taken apart just by jujutsu with no real agression. So techncially its available waza and principles are no match and come up short. Why? the power of Aikido was NEVER in its waza. Its in these skills. Which leads me to the next part.
Secondly, It is losing because the higher level skills which can give it power to defend are simply not being taught, and or are not known. This is what men have been looking for after all. How well they can fair against MMA is no matter. These skills will increase their martial veracity exponentially with their studies. Any idiot will tell you that power isd essential. Takeda said the number reason to train was to be strong. He knew what he was talking about.And it ain't lifting weights.

What can you say to your young men who have felt it. The power speaks for itself. Only a damn fool wouldn't want it
I tell them "Go, train it, and stay in Aikido and make it what it was. Don't tell them where you got it from."
In this case "ignore it and it will go away." Has a critical meaning.
You continue to ignore it
your students will go away.
Cheers
Dan

MM
02-26-2007, 07:14 AM
The only two issue I have ever had was:

one, dealing with the criteria/situation/conditions in which they could or were willing to demonstrate within.

two, that they can unequivocally stand judge over who gets it and doesn't get it.

Dan has gone so far to say that my description of what I do when I grapple using kokyu skills because of the verbage I use here on aikiweb shows him that I don't get it! Maybe I don't...I don't know.

To me it becomes like trying to discuss comparative religion with a fundamentalist. You simply cannot establish common ground or a base as they are so stuck in what the define as right and true, that we can never have a rational conversation. We cannot agree on a common ground in which to have this conversation.


Hi Kevin,
Well, as someone with a before and after experience, let me add my opinion.

Dan, Mike, and Rob are all doing very different things in their training. Mike has talked about CMA, Dan MMA, and Rob is with Akuzawa. But, yet, all three, with different backgrounds, can talk about the same baseline skills and understand each other. They have common ground even though they are not doing the same training. Think about it, Taiji is as different from MMA as you can get. :)

The ones who aren't sharing this common ground are the ones who don't understand what these baseline skills are. And coming from before, I know what that's like. I remember Dan's posts on E-budo and I struggled to conceptualize what he was doing.

However, if it wasn't for the long threads and efforts of those three, I wouldn't have ever met any of them. So, talking about this is constructive and positive. At least I found it to be so. :)


However, what do these things have to do with budo and martial arts?

Maybe they have application and we can learn from them. Maybe not. Maybe the skills that Dan and Mike have are useful...maybe not.

One would have to bring those skills into a martial enviornment and effectively apply them.

In my eyes, and criteria, if you cannot demonstrate that you can perform these things in a non-compliant, dynamic way..that is...using aliveness...or within the parameters as generally accepted in budo/marital arts...then you do not impress me from this stand point.


These baseline skills are the "base". If there is no base, there is no foundation or framework. Like building a house on a sandy beach. :)

Let me put it this way. It's my opinion that these "baseline skills" are the "aiki" in aikido. They are that important.

As an example that someone else has used and I've read before. If you stand in a relaxed manner with feet side by side, shoulder width apart and let someone push on your chest with all their strength, what happens to you? Are you pushed over? Do you lean in and resist? Try it. Have someone put their hand on your chest and push for all they are worth.

Now, if you can stand there and not be moved, then think about what that means. You have someone exerting a force upon your body and you have neither added resistance to it, nor have you given way under it. So, in essence, you haven't added or subtracted away from that force. You have matched that force such that everything has been neutralized.

Let that simmer for a minute. You've matched an incoming force in such a manner that you have neither hurt the attacker nor were you hurt in the effort. Now, that is aiki.

And to answer the last part of your comment. Yes, definitely, it can be put into dynamic situations, using "aliveness".


I have yet to see any video on Youtube or the like that has impressed me martially that these things are overwhelmingly so important that it is worth focusing this much effort on. Neither have I ever experienced a power so special that it warranted me dumping all my BJJ training and AIkido training to study.


Eh, video is over-rated. Kind of hard to tell what's happening inside someone's body on video, or how compliant an uke is being. :)

But, as for the dumping part. These baseline skills aren't there for that. They are, as they are called, "base"line skills. That means that you can apply them in some manner in your training. Why do you think that Rob, Mike, and Dan can do vastly different training and yet talk about the commonality so well?

Mark

MM
02-26-2007, 07:47 AM
I believe that the "powers" that Mike and Dan speak of are available to us, if we choose to find them, in Aikido waza and elsewhere. I also happen to believe that the mechanics of those powers are simply not what Mike and Dan think they are, but are rather more like what Eric thinks they are. But does any of that truly matter?


Hello Brion,
I disagree. I think you're way off and completely wrong. Well, unless you are a MA genius and can see what's hidden in plain sight. These baseline skills are not in the waza. Eric doesn't get it and any attempts at using simple physics or mechanics to try to explain what is happening is useless and wasting energy. But, if you don't think any of that truly matters ... why post? Obviously, you thought it did. :) To me, these do matter.

Mark

Josh Reyer
02-26-2007, 07:59 AM
Here's the light bulb that went off in my head. Since I'll be playing the "Osensei said..." game, here's the direct quote, followed by my translation (which I invite any fluent in Japanese to pick part).

From the Seibukan website (http://seibukan.main.jp/budou.html)
合気道の極意は、己を宇宙の動きと調和させ、己を宇宙そのものと一致させることにある。合気道の極意を会得した者は、宇宙がその腹中にあり、「我は即ち宇宙」なのである。 いかなる早技で敵が襲いかかってきても私は敗れない。それは私の技が敵の技より早いからではない。はじめから勝負がついているのだ。敵が「宇宙そのものである私」と争おう とすることは、宇宙との調和を破ろうとしているのだ。

"The secret (gokui) of aikido is to harmonize oneself with the movement of the universe, and to become one with the universe itself. One who has learned the gokui of aikido, the universe will be in his mind (lit. "in his hara, or stomach"), and he will be the universe. No matter how fast a technique the enemy attacks me with, I will not be defeated. That is not because I am faster than my enemy's technique. The contest is decided from the beginning. The enemy, trying to struggle with me, who is the universe, is trying to rend harmony with the universe."

Now, some say this is really just an extended metaphor for aikido's circular movement (with the idea that the universe spins, so so should aikidoka). But really, for me that was not a satisfactory answer. How does one harmonize with the movement of the universe? No teacher that I heard or read in aikido seemed to address it. I guess most just wrote it off as esoteric philosophizing. But what the internal strength guys on here have mentioned does seem to fit what Ueshiba was saying here. It seemed to fit Ueshiba's pushing demonstrations. When I met Rob John, nothing he did seemed "un-aikido". Rather it felt very aikido.

The counter argument for this is that Rob and others speak of using "the ground", while Ueshiba says 宇宙, uchuu, the universe. But that again falls into the translation trap. 宇宙 is certainly used in modern science to refer to what in English is called "space" and "the universe". But the word also has the sense of "everything that exists". Modern folks, used to modern science, say you have to form a connection with the ground. Ueshiba, exponent of esoteric Shinto-ism, said you have to form a connection with existence itself. It's not a one-to-one calque, no, but nothing else in aikido seems to come as close.

That's how it looks to me. I leave others to draw their own conclusions.

George S. Ledyard
02-26-2007, 08:14 AM
I would respectfully disagree with you here. This is all IMO. Large organizations are usually run by a handful of people. The organization is not to blame, it is the individuals. Just a few individuals running the organization can change the whole organization.

Let me use an example. If Saotome sensei knew of some exercises that built these baseline skills and he decided to implement them into his organization, do you think the dojo cho would resist him? Or would there be a change? You're higher up in the chain of authority, so I'm guessing you'd know what would happen. I'm low enough that I don't have to deal with the politics yet.

Thanks,
Mark

Mark,
I am in complete agreement with you... If organizations were designed properly they would serve an indispensable function in the transmission of the art. With the huge number of people training, the organization creates the structure which would allow a small group of seniors at the top to systematically reach the widest possible range of students at the bottom.

But typically, this is not happening. Instead, what I see is that Aikido gets simplified and dumbed down by organizations in order to make it accessible to the mases, so to speak. Or, the organization becomes a structure designed solely to perpetuate itself by rigidly controlling what its members get to see. Sometimes both happen at the same time. In this case the organization serves to stifle any creativity in its membership and makes it difficult for any person of rare talent to rise above the rest.

If I had to pick a group that has seemed to do an excellent job with the transmission it is the Yoshinkan Aikido folks. They have tried to keep a good quality level, have a systematized curriculum for teaching the fundamentals, but they seem rather open to outside experience when compared to other groups. They have not dumbed down the art but rather created an organization to pass on what Shioda Sensei taught.

So when I say that organizations will not keep Aikido growing and vital in terms of re-introducing the skills that may have been neglected I simply meant that they are not generally constructed with anything like that in mind at the moment.

HL1978
02-26-2007, 08:19 AM
I learned three classes of engineering structural connections:

1) a roller joint which is free to move laterally without friction and to pivot freely at the point of support,

2) a hinge joint which can pivot freely about the point of support but not move laterally

3) a pinned or fixed joint that is not free to move laterally or to pivot.

Trusses or spaceframes must have pinned or fixed joints.

Stable arches can have pinned joints or up to three hinges, but no rollers.

A beam can have any combination of the three. (Continuous beams can have more that two points of support.)

There is a fourth, of a sort, but plastic connections are very non-linear.



Just to add a bit and say that when talking about structure, some of the assumptions are a bit flawed.

What if the fasteners for the various hinges/joints are loose?

Wouldn't that change one type of joint into another?

Would tightness/loosness in the joint change which type of deformation (plastic etc)occurs at varying loads?

What if they are tight? What if some of them are loose and others are tight? That is to say they aren't uniform, or can selectively be chosen which are loose and which are tight?

Think about that for a bit and the grounding sensation that people are talking about might make a bit more sense if you want to talk about it from mechanics/statics. Its like if you played with an erector set and only tightend some of the fasteners, how would that effect how the erector set was loaded.

mjchip
02-26-2007, 09:26 AM
I'm curious to hear some opinions from senior folks....... How many of Osensei's students have surpassed him in skill level? Heck, do you feel that it is even possible? I'm anticipating that the answer might be none and no. Taken to the next level, for those of you that train with direct students of Osensei, have you or any of your peers surpassed the skill level of your teacher? Where I'm going with this is as follows:

1. If none of Osensei's students have surpassed him in skill level, and none of the students of his direct students have surpassed them in skill level, doesn't that mean that the art is technically weakening with every generation? It's very easy to give an emphatic HELL NO here but I'm interested in hearing why if you believe that this is not true.

2. If the art is technically weakening with each generation then why is this happening? Curriculum? Training methods? Progressively weaker constitution of followers?

3. To use a metaphor, have I spent years and years unknowingly building a house on unsettled ground? I know that each time my house falls down I scrutinize my efforts by looking at the house and trying to figure out why it fell. With some new ideas of how to improve the house I then attempt to rebuild it better than the last time only to have it fall again. So, I spend all of my sweat, blood, and pain trying to keep my house from falling down all the while not being able to live in it much less show others how to build one of their own. Is it possible to start building the house on a solid foundation so that maybe......just maybe......I could expend that same effort on showing others how to properly build a house that can provide them with shelter and enrich their lives as well.

Is it possible that stable ground and the foundation is the "baseline skillset" being discussed and debated here? What would happen to the art if this foundation was passed on efficiently?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

Best,

Mark

Dennis Hooker
02-26-2007, 09:47 AM
Hand me that whip and let me beat this dead horse a little bit.

Words – words - words. So many opinions and such inflated ego. I question the existence of a definitive set of Baseline Skills. There are good foundations on which one builds “their” art and there are bad foundations on which one builds “their” art. Good strong works are built on good strong foundations. Some folks believe a person can short circuit the process and jump right into the higher levels of training without building a strong foundation. Some of us believe a good budoka should take time to develop. Part of that process is the development of the person as a human being and not just an effective martial arts practitioner and we joust on occasion with humility. Waza is just the start, when ones waza becomes ones own then it turns into jutsu and after sufficient time and training under a competent teacher ones jutsu becomes a Do. If Do is the ultimate goal one must get their through waza and jutsu. Now granted some folks in Aikido believe they have an inalienable right to define what they do as a Do. They believe because of their affiliation with Aikido they can lay claim to the process and jump right to the head of the line.

Some on this forum will have you believe your goals should be judged by their parameters and many here are buying into it. Much of what M. Ueshiba did involved circles and spirals. Watch him in rondori, he is not standing still letting people bounce off him. He is moving all the time. In Aikido proper movement, spacing, timing, proper distance use of centrifugal and centripetal energy, breathing and understand energy folws between you and your partners are critical to proper training. To me these are the first thing a student should learn. Then move to waza and do that long enough to let it become jutsu and do that long enough to let it become Do. Some here have said some of my students have been on the mat with them and proclaimed a new insight had been gained. When I ask those same students (one just last week) it seems at lest one teacher has a much greater opinion of his impact on them than they do. Of course opinions are like assholes we all have one.

Now we are all making judgments here, some more than others. Let me preach on. From all report both Dan and Mike and big, well muscled, strong and capable individuals. How much of what they do is based on their physical prowess as opposed to their “inner” power I do not know. I hope one day to find out in a friendly and open way. We have a common friend that says he believes both men could take him down. However, we have both been training in budo for about 40 years and both if us put limited value on being able to take someone down.

Several years ago a 10th dan was touring the United States doing a series of demonstrations. I was ask to be and Uke for one. Inf ornt of several hundred people he did his thing and then pined me with one finger. He said “get Up” I started to and felt his finger bend and his elbow. I ask my self did I want to do this to this old man in front of all these people. I said to myself No. Just because his technique did not work that day I was not going to make a statement that said his technique would never work. Why did I tell you this? I don’t know but it seemed like it needed telling here. Sometimes a kindness needs to be extended I think. Some will say because of this I am weak and complaisant in a lie. I say I was being a kinder person than I had been.

Josh Reyer
02-26-2007, 09:54 AM
Since I can comfortably say that we are equal in this regard, you don't have that privilege, either... And as to Mike's comment about the Japanese, I stand by my points already made. Joshua made an able stab at supporting your view, but never dealt with the problem of O Sensei's emphasis on tettei muteikou. "complete" or "absolute" non-resistance. To show idiomatic usage that differs he needs, not a dictionary, which only proved my point further, but contextual examples of idiomatic use where 徹底した無抵抗 has actually been used euphemistically to mean something like judou teikou 受動 抵抗. I'll gladly look at anything offered.


Tire screech. Hold on, let's back the truck up a bit.

I was tempted to let the point go after Rob John pointedly suggested that you get some Japanese fluency before arguing the language front. But if you're going to use my non-response as evidence for your argument, well then, I have to respond.

First point. 受動抵抗? Did you just translate the two words and stick them together? 受動的(な)抵抗 at least has use to refer to "passive resistance" beyond joint therapy and role-playing game saving throws. But that's beside the point. I'm not interested in how to translate "passive resistance" into Japanese (which could be accomplished by 消極的(な)抵抗, 受動的(な)抵抗, if I want to take two words and put them together, or indeed 無抵抗 if I just want one word), I'm interested in what 無抵抗主義 means, since that is what Ueshiba actually said.

What I said was that 無抵抗主義, (note the 主義 shugi!) could be translated as "the principle of passive resistance". This is not up for debate. The term is most frequently associated with Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus Christ.

Now, as to 徹底した. The quote is 徹底した無抵抗主義で相手に逆らわない. First off, the 徹底した refers to the 主義, not the 無抵抗. 無抵抗 is modifying the 主義, not the 無抵抗. 徹底した〇〇主義 is a common expression in Japanese, and refers to a thorough consistency in thought and attitude, so Ueshiba was certainly not talking about body mechanics. At least not as far as the 徹底した goes in this quote. Secondly, the part that comes next is important; what Ueshiba says doesn't end there. That で connects the first part of the sentence with the second, the 相手に逆らわない part. In other words, the 徹底した無抵抗主義 is that in aikido one doesn't oppose the other person. You can't quote the 徹底した part while leaving off the 主義, and certainly not the part that explicitly elaborates on how that 主義 is realized.

Erick, I've never met you, or felt your aikido. What you describe you do may be some wonderful aikido internal power, and if you were to meet Mike, Dan, Rob, or Ignatius, maybe you'd realize that what you're talking about isn't really that different. I hope that is the case. I can only say, as a person who lives and works in Japan, who has made the study of Japanese a major part of his life for the past 13 years, that linguistically you don't have a leg to stand on here.

この議論がますますこのスレの本題から外れています。これ以上日本語に関して議論をしたいのなら、日本語のフォーラムで続きましょう。そして、日本語でお願いします。合気 道について日本語で話してはいけないとは決して言わないが、日本語について議論するなら、日本語が最適だと思います。

Edward
02-26-2007, 10:08 AM
I'm curious to hear some opinions from senior folks....... How many of Osensei's students have surpassed him in skill level? Heck, do you feel that it is even possible? I'm anticipating that the answer might be none and no. Taken to the next level, for those of you that train with direct students of Osensei, have you or any of your peers surpassed the skill level of your teacher? Where I'm going with this is as follows:


I think some direct students of Osensei are better and more talented than others. I have seen students, both Japanese and Westerners, who surpassed their teachers who are direct students of Osensei. In the exception of Tohei and perhaps Shioda, and with all due respect, I have not seen something from the remaining Shihans that really strikes me as extraordinary. They had the privilege to know and train with Osensei, they are great aikido masters, but their students can also become as good or even better. Osensei was an extraordinary man, with exceptional talents and gifts, and he also was a very hard worker, obsessed with what he was doing. Get me someone who trains and lives aikido the same way Osensei did, and I am quite sure he must be damn good.

Josh Reyer
02-26-2007, 10:13 AM
Much of what M. Ueshiba did involved circles and spirals. Watch him in rondori, he is not standing still letting people bounce off him.

With all due respect, Dennis (and my respect for you is considerable), I have watched Ueshiba in randori, in the 1935 Asahi film to be precise, and seen him stand still and have a person bounce off him. Twice. Well, that's not entirely true. He did move forward ever so slightly, just as the uke reached him.

Shioda does the same thing at about the 2:30 mark in this clip (http://youtube.com/watch?v=RrV5RgkFf9s).

Dennis Hooker
02-26-2007, 10:21 AM
With all due respect, Dennis (and my respect for you is considerable), I have watched Ueshiba in randori, in the 1935 Asahi film to be precise, and seen him stand still and have a person bounce off him. Twice. Well, that's not entirely true. He did move forward ever so slightly, just as the uke reached him.

Shioda does the same thing at about the 2:30 mark in this clip (http://youtube.com/watch?v=RrV5RgkFf9s).

But he did move!

ChrisMoses
02-26-2007, 10:28 AM
Hand me that whip and let me beat this dead horse a little bit.

Me too! Me too! ;)

I question the existence of a definitive set of Baseline Skills. (snippage) Waza is just the start, when ones waza becomes ones own then it turns into jutsu and after sufficient time and training under a competent teacher ones jutsu becomes a Do.

I'm not trying to launch a purely semantic argument, but I think this last line truly outlines one of the differences in thought that we're discussing here. As I have been taught in Aikido, and as you state, "Waza is just the start..." I am arguing (and I believe others in the "Baseline" camp are as well) that waza is NOT the start, but rather a manifestation of strategies that can only really be formed over a more fundamental skillset. That skillset is what I'm currently interested in. In short, it is teaching the body how to exist in a state that readies it for efficient martial movement. For me, I find that it's filling holes, namely, I'm learning how I need to BE (*not* how I need to *move*) internally so that I can really do all the waza that I've been taught over the years. At Rob's workshop, Scott Irey, a friend and MJER godan, stopped by to watch. Scott is one of the best Iaidoka that I have ever seen and he's a sarcastic bastard ready to dismiss anything and anyone at the drop of a hat. He stayed and watched the whole thing, occasionally jumping in with us to feel something (as long as we weren't in horse stance, the lazy bastard...) or feel Rob's arms or back while he was doing something. Later over tastyadultbeverages, instead of commenting on how it looked "Chinese" or "like Yoga" (both valid observations actually) he kept saying, "This stuff is REALLY old, people don't train like this anymore. It's too hard, so nobody does it." No dismissal, no poo-pooing, just interest and the twisted joy of watching grown men want to cry when their quads would no longer support their own weight. :cool:

Now we are all making judgments here, some more than others. Let me preach on. From all report both Dan and Mike and big, well muscled, strong and capable individuals. How much of what they do is based on their physical prowess as opposed to their “inner” power I do not know.

Well, I haven't met Dan or Mike, but Rob's about 6' and maybe 140 lbs. He's THIN. Not to diss him, but I think my forearms are about the size of his upper arms and he was able to bounce our 6'3" 240 lb *Mitz Yamashita trained* Samoan around pretty much at will. I easily have 50 lbs on him and he is almost the only person I have trouble doing the push-out exercise with anymore.

ChrisMoses
02-26-2007, 10:35 AM
Hi Dan

No, I was not able to push Rob, though when I got a chance to try, it was in a different exercise. I didn't meet any Josh.



Josh Lerner was from the KSR contingent, he was on the other side of the <STRIKE>pit of dispair</STRIKE> dojo most of the day.

Finally all that physics talk forces me to write, "Spherical Point Mass Chicken!" That is all...

Dennis Hooker
02-26-2007, 10:54 AM
Christian these skills being talked about here will develop as we train if we are sponges not a mirrors. Waza, Jutsu and Do equate to Shu Ha Ri and mark the development of a budoka. The skills are transferable to all arts I have trained in and I find my Aikido compliments by sword very well and my sword work fits into my Aikido seamlessly. Some of us believe what is being defined here as a baseline skill set is a natural outcome of proper training. That is one of the big issues that separated the Tohei camp from the Aikikai camp in the late 60’s. Dan and others believe you should go for this skill set from the top down and some of use believe in the bottom up method. That is about it. Of course some believe that few of us posses it at all. Of course me, I got it all just ask me:D

Me too! Me too! ;)

I'm not trying to launch a purely semantic argument, but I think this last line truly outlines one of the differences in thought that we're discussing here. As I have been taught in Aikido, and as you state, "Waza is just the start..." I am arguing (and I believe others in the "Baseline" camp are as well) that waza is NOT the start, but rather a manifestation of strategies that can only really be formed over a more fundamental skillset. That skillset is what I'm currently interested in. In short, it is teaching the body how to exist in a state that readies it for efficient martial movement. For me, I find that it's filling holes, namely, I'm learning how I need to BE (*not* how I need to *move*) internally so that I can really do all the waza that I've been taught over the years. At Rob's workshop, Scott Irey, a friend and MJER godan, stopped by to watch. Scott is one of the best Iaidoka that I have ever seen and he's a sarcastic bastard ready to dismiss anything and anyone at the drop of a hat. He stayed and watched the whole thing, occasionally jumping in with us to feel something (as long as we weren't in horse stance, the lazy bastard...) or feel Rob's arms or back while he was doing something. Later over tastyadultbeverages, instead of commenting on how it looked "Chinese" or "like Yoga" (both valid observations actually) he kept saying, "This stuff is REALLY old, people don't train like this anymore. It's too hard, so nobody does it." No dismissal, no poo-pooing, just interest and the twisted joy of watching grown men want to cry when their quads would no longer support their own weight. :cool:

Well, I haven't met Dan or Mike, but Rob's about 6' and maybe 140 lbs. He's THIN. Not to diss him, but I think my forearms are about the size of his upper arms and he was able to bounce our 6'3" 240 lb *Mitz Yamashita trained* Samoan around pretty much at will. I easily have 50 lbs on him and he is almost the only person I have trouble doing the push-out exercise with anymore.

DH
02-26-2007, 11:06 AM
Dennis
Couple of small points. Speaking for myself I don't expect any WOWS! from these things we are doing. They were/are in the art in various degrees. Its shop talk- not selling anyone on glowing golden clouds rising from the ground-thats your own arts mysterious hide the truth lingo. No one is striving for "great impacts" on people or teacher status.
FWIW I show, then Ask
"OK do you know this?"
"Can you do this?
"Do you want to learn?"
The most I expect... is what I ask them. "Do you think you can use this in Aikido?" THEY typically say they can see it is the basis of the art. No one is telling them anything about "doing" their art or leaving it. I encourage folks to stay. So, no one should be blown away, and no one is asking them- to be so. So
Top down or bottom is an old refrain that has no merit. It is many times the quintessential push away ploy. Many guys in the old days got "gradiated" in a fraction of the twenty-year man route we see now. I've felt twenty year guys I woudn't give you a wooden nickle for. I've also felt shihan who don't get it. And just why was it Ikeda brough in Ushiro and flatly stated the art needed help. And just how many twenty years guys could not do what he was doing? It leads me back to bottom up leading to nowhere as any -one- emporer may have no clothes. Then the other emporer does but held it for the late practitioner.
I call bullshit. These skills can be taught day one and build a better adept-in Aikido- from there.
Since your throwin digs a little, and you authored the "Why are you here?" thread. Just what are your opinions or conclusions as to why?

Second up is Ueshiba. I'm not going to go into details but I'll say the entire basis for turning, and centripedal and centrifcal forces all surround and are greatly enhanced, by these very things. And it all begins with an immovable and strong stationary central axis. The skills advance from there but the "aiki" is created; the drawing, the leading, the empty or full from that contact point.

Strength
Small guys do just fine, in fact in some things even better. They're already underneath. And "well muscled and big." Really Dennis pulease! I find it odd to even hear it raised as a question. The stronger and more flexed, the lighter they are. Since you obviously know better, why would you say that? Seems a bit disengenuous if I were assuming you were talkng to me as a collegue and not talking down to me. I for one certainly know better. And I already think most guys here know better as well.
Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
02-26-2007, 11:32 AM
Dan I only know you by what others say and what you say about yourself. For me to say I don't know how much you rely on your physical prowess is natural until such a time as I learn different. I have talked to a few Aikido people that have been on the mat with you. Other than one of your students I have not heard from any other person that has trained with you or knows you. Just as you infer (no as you have said) that most if most all of us Aikido folks lake your skills and understanding. I know the power of small and even physically weak people can generate. I felt it and do it and I teach it. However I don’t expect you to believe it until such time as we meet. You yourself are from time to time very boisterous regarding you skills and the general lack thereof on the part of the Aikido community. However, when one of us tends to react in kind you get upset.

Dennis
Couple of small points. Speaking for myself I don't expect any WOWS! from these things we are doing. They were/are in the art in various degrees. Its shop talk- not selling anyone on glowing golden clouds rising from the ground-thats your own arts mysterious hide the truth lingo. No one is striving for "great impacts" on people or teacher status.
FWIW I show, then Ask
"OK do you know this?"
"Can you do this?
"Do you want to learn?"
The most I expect... is what I ask them. "Do you think you can use this in Aikido?" THEY typically say they can see it is the basis of the art. No one is telling them anything about "doing" their art or leaving it. I encourage folks to stay. So, no one should be blown away, and no one is asking them- to be so. So
Top down or bottom is an old refrain that has no merit. It is many times the quintessential push away ploy. Many guys in the old days got "gradiated" in a fraction of the twenty-year man route we see now. I've felt twenty year guys I woudn't give you a wooden nickle for. I've also felt shihan who don't get it. And just why was it Ikeda brough in Ushiro and flatly stated the art needed help. And just how many twenty years guys could not do what he was doing? It leads me back to bottom up leading to nowhere as any -one- emporer may have no clothes. Then the other emporer does but held it for the late practitioner.
I call bullshit. These skills can be taught day one and build a better adept-in Aikido- from there.
Since your throwin digs a little, and you authored the "Why are you here?" thread. Just what are your opinions or conclusions as to why?

Second up is Ueshiba. I'm not going to go into details but I'll say the entire basis for turning, and centripedal and centrifcal forces all surround and are greatly enhanced, by these very things. And it all begins with an immovable and strong stationary central axis. The skills advance from there but the "aiki" is created; the drawing, the leading, the empty or full from that contact point.

Strength
Small guys do just fine, in fact in some things even better. They're already underneath. And "well muscled and big." Really Dennis pulease! I find it odd to even hear it raised as a question. The stronger and more flexed, the lighter they are. Since you obviously know better, why would you say that? Seems a bit disengenuous if I were assuming you were talkng to me as a collegue and not talking down to me. I for one certainly know better. And I already think most guys here know better as well.
Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2007, 11:38 AM
And it all begins with an immovable and strong stationary central axis. The skills advance from there but the "aiki" is created; the drawing, the leading, the empty or full from that contact point.

I saw this and had to comment...if I had a dime for everytime I've heard "central axis line" I'd be a rich man...But I still don't have a good, solid relaxed central axis line. I hear the words all the time...but it is really hard to accomplish. It is something my teacher harps on all the time, but I really wonder how much of it I can do in my body.

Best,
Ron

Ian Starr
02-26-2007, 11:55 AM
"Several years ago a 10th dan was touring the United States doing a series of demonstrations. I was ask to be and Uke for one. Inf ornt of several hundred people he did his thing and then pined me with one finger. He said "get Up" I started to and felt his finger bend and his elbow. I ask my self did I want to do this to this old man in front of all these people. I said to myself No. Just because his technique did not work that day I was not going to make a statement that said his technique would never work. Why did I tell you this? I don't know but it seemed like it needed telling here. Sometimes a kindness needs to be extended I think. Some will say because of this I am weak and complaisant in a lie. I say I was being a kinder person than I had been."

Hi Dennis and everyone,

I have been in similar situations (not with any 10th dans). I think many of us have actually. In fact I feel we are put in an analogous situation every time we step onto the mat to train in Aikido due to the fact that our training is at its core, cooperative. There is no way around that fact (unless of course you change the way that you train "Aikido" - but for the most part that is how Aikidoka practice all over the world, or so I believe...). I appreciate your decision to respond as you did. I have acted in the same manner myself. Whether it be when everyone is watching or during normal training. Again, I believe we all do this to some degree each time we train. This is a real point of conflict for me lately. Acting in this manner has significant implications.

I very much understand and empathize with the choice you made in your story, especially given the context. I believe that we as practioners of Aikido do this constantly.

How to tie this into the thread?

How are we to measure "baseline skill sets" and what is/is not working within the training methodology of Aikido? To me this is a challenge to say the least. The easiest thing to do would be to ignore this problem and keep training as I/we have in the past. Honestly, I will probably do just that to some extent. Even when I am at my most contentious and feeling really cranky? about this, when I do show up and train I will still give in and "go with the flow". There are years of habit forming behaviors that contribute to this not to mention the dynamics of various relationships within the dojo. It would be truly disruptive to challenge the model of training with any consistency. That alone is almost always enough dissuade me. Then I go home and curse myself for contributing to what I believe is often a stagnant form of practice.

I do go outside of Aikido to satisfy/challenge myself and that is fine. But I still am very much connected to Aikido and many wonderful friends I have made over the years. So my struggle continues. I believe it is important to question these things if we really care about the future of Aikido.

Sorry if this sounds like me lying on a couch for a quick therapy session. The story you told inspired me to contribute.

Thanks,

Ian

Dennis Hooker
02-26-2007, 11:58 AM
I saw this and had to comment...if I had a dime for everytime I've heard "central axis line" I'd be a rich man...But I still don't have a good, solid relaxed central axis line. I hear the words all the time...but it is really hard to accomplish. It is something my teacher harps on all the time, but I really wonder how much of it I can do in my body.

Best,
Ron

Ron part of the confusion revolves around the definition of Aiki. How it is defined by Daito Ryu and how is was changed and redefined by Ueshiba in his development of Aikido. Some folks still want us to believe Aikido is just a derivative of Daito Ryu. They won’t or can’t believe it is something different because it doesn’t fit within their parameters of what a budo should be. Are worth is constantly being measured by them using their standards. Of course we won’t measure up according to them.
I really hate this line of communication it makes me very uncomfortable but I feel a need to respond to some of these derogatory comments. Also I believe you will develop this skill if you just keep training. Or go to Dan and take him at his word. Good luck and I hope you find it and he can lead you to it if you must have it quickly. I will admit I can’t give it to you in a matter of hours or even days. I can show you but you got to work on it a lot.

DH
02-26-2007, 11:59 AM
Dan I only know you by what others say and what you say about yourself. For me to say I don't know how much you rely on your physical prowess is natural until such a time as I learn different. I have talked to a few Aikido people that have been on the mat with you. Other than one of your students I have not heard from any other person that has trained with you or knows you. Just as you infer (no as you have said) that most if most all of us Aikido folks lake your skills and understanding. I know the power of small and even physically weak people can generate. I felt it and do it and I teach it. However I don't expect you to believe it until such time as we meet. You yourself are from time to time very boisterous regarding you skills and the general lack thereof on the part of the Aikido community. However, when one of us tends to react in kind you get upset.

Upset??
Heck no. If I'm mad I'll tell ya. I like ya Dennis and I like the way you handle yourself in a discussion. Yes, we dissagree from time to time. But don't ya know we'd have a blast in person?

As for folks who have trained wth me, you've read from many right here on aikiweb. I'm fairly sure they have all stipulated that muscle cannot do these things. It won't work. The muscle comment was yours ya bone head. :D I didn't say it. All I did was comment that I would NEVER say that to the likes of you, or Chuck, Or Ellis or anyone else who's been round the block. We -ALL- know better. So why attach that to me or Mike? FWIW Rob's a skinny dude (sorry Rob). He has power.
Lets not get wacky about various arts. Whether DR, CMA or Aikido your going to find you can talk and move with commonalities between these Asian arts. The single biggest mistake folks in Aikido make is "believing" that Ueshiba found something unique in movement and power. In fat he didnlt. The only unique thing was his "peace vision" to not harm through budo. These skills are in other arts-particularly where he got his. But don't listen to me. He said it. "Takeda opened my eyes to the truth of Budo."
His Aiki gave Ueshiba the power to make his vision a reality. He could "see" that he could easily hand judoka, karateka Kendoka etc of his time with these skills-not waza.

Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
02-26-2007, 12:15 PM
Dennis Hooker wrote:

Waza is just the start, when ones waza becomes ones own then it turns into jutsu and after sufficient time and training under a competent teacher ones jutsu becomes a Do. If Do is the ultimate goal one must get their through waza and jutsu. Now granted some folks in Aikido believe they have an inalienable right to define what they do as a Do. They believe because of their affiliation with Aikido they can lay claim to the process and jump right to the head of the line

Dennis, do you think that maybe we concentrate too much on the DO in our study of aikido and that it would develop a better base to work on jutsu first?

Or am I missing your point all together. There is so much going on in this thread it is hard to process all this really.

Dennis Hooker
02-26-2007, 12:19 PM
[QUOTE=Dan Harden;169862]Upset??
Heck no. If I'm mad I'll tell ya. I like ya Dennis and I like the way you handle yourself in a discussion. Yes, we dissagree from time to time. But don't ya know we'd have a blast in person?

Dan your exasperating, frustrating, irritating and stimulating and I been trying to draw you out of that northern groundhog hole you call home from years into the real world but you come out see your shadow and go back in. One of these days you’ll make a mistake summer will be here and you will actually end up teaching a seminar somewhere.

Dennis Hooker
02-26-2007, 12:24 PM
Dennis Hooker wrote:

Dennis, do you think that maybe we concentrate too much on the DO in our study of aikido and that it would develop a better base to work on jutsu first?

Or am I missing your point all together. There is so much going on in this thread it is hard to process all this really.

Kevin You missed nothing. You got it! Harder work more study is what many of us need. As I travel around I see so much weak Aikido and people without strong foundations trying to be philosopher warriors when they are nether.

Kevin Leavitt
02-26-2007, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the reply Dennis.

I actually think this is key to the conversation.

I train this way and frankly I think it has drastically improved my understanding of aikido. Although I will let Jimmy Sorrentino and the rest of our dojo be the judge of that when I return home after 4 years this summer.

Anyway, I am told that I don't understand what these guys are talking about because I do not use the same verbage. I tend to think that I understand, can do some of these things in practical application, that there are quite a few out there who can and do...they simply do not use the verbage and demonstrate it in the same fashion.

I think that from the discussion from you, George, Jimmy, and many others AND my personal experiences that what I hear and have experienced is that there is much, much more to all this than the ability to isolate out this stuff. That much more is needed in development of a person from a budo stand point than this.

To me it is sort of like a kid that learns how to isolate a particular genome in his bedroom lab. he says "hey guys, come here...look what I can do!" Scientist keep these secrets, say it takes years of study, and is too complicated for anyone except a high level PhD to do this....and I...the 15 year old figured this out on my own...and I am willing to share my secret.

My point is this....

so I am fascinated that you can do this, it is intriguing and yes it might be beneficial in someway.

NOW show me how you can put that very specialized skill to use in a way that benefits the totality of something that I can use in my daily life.

I have no way of knowing if aikido is getting soft or not.

I can tell you I personally have struggled understanding it and it was not until I found BJJ that I really began to understand what my aikido instructors have been trying to teach me.

I can tell you that I have seen many yudansha within our own ASU organization that have only done aikido, are comfortable staying within the confines of what they have learned, go through the motions quite well, are very "good in show" when taking ukemi for our senior instructors, are knowledgeable about technical things about aikido. AND they do not know the first thing about Budo or could actually demonstrate ANY thing I consider to be base skills or what these guys label as internal.

I'd put these guys in the DO only category for sure.

I do learn from them.

However, there are others in the same organization that really, really get it or get it, and are on what I consider to be a decent path.

Guys that will respond appropriately when I challenge them as uke. Guys that are willing to clash and have their skills pushed. Guys that are mentally tough and are okay with being challenged and questioned.

All in the same dojo.

Okay, now we are on a different topic though...and that is one of the fact that I think that aikido allows for a certain level of mediocrity to exist.

I have always taken that as okay though, as by the nature of the spirit in an aikido dojo that we must allow people develop in their own way on their own timeline.

I have seen Saotome Sensei actually fail people, as I am sure you have too on shodan test. I have seen him frustrated because he saw his students not get it as well. So I think he has a limit from my experiences to what he feels is okay and not okay.

Anyway...I am rambling now.

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2007, 01:03 PM
Also I believe you will develop this skill if you just keep training. Or go to Dan and take him at his word. Good luck and I hope you find it and he can lead you to it if you must have it quickly. I will admit I can't give it to you in a matter of hours or even days. I can show you but you got to work on it a lot.

Hi Dennis,
It isn't so much what someone can show me...it's more about how to find it in myself. I know others who train under the same teacher, and I can definately say they are further along in the development of a stable axis line than I am. The work is hard, it's frustrating, sometimes painful, and sometimes (even with guidance) like stumbling around in the dark...but that's ok, I am here for the long haul, so I'll keep working at it. But if I find supplimental work I can do outside of what I already have...I'll do that too, to the best of my ability.

My statement was not meant to shortchange my teachers...but rather, my own understanding in my body.

How are we to measure "baseline skill sets" and what is/is not working within the training methodology of Aikido?

Find others in your dojo(s) with similar interests. Work after class, before class, outside of class. Apply what you discover in class...and measure it with the senior students and your instructor. If they think your aikido is improving, and you also see results in your non-cooperative venues, then I think you are well on your way. That's what I try to do, anyway...

If it works in both cooperative and non-cooperative venues, then what more could anyone ask?

Best,
Ron

DH
02-26-2007, 01:08 PM
[QUOTE=Dan Harden;169862]

Dan, Your exasperating, frustrating, irritating and stimulating
Have you been talking to my wife??
You know the next step after that is to fall in love with me:D
runnin and duckin....

[QUOTE=Dan Harden;169862]
and I been trying to draw you out of that northern groundhog hole you call home from years into the real world but you come out see your shadow and go back in. One of these days you'll make a mistake summer will be here and you will actually end up teaching a seminar somewhere.
Ok seriously, I don't do seminars. But there are about a dozen guys from here who will tell you I don't turn most people away. I just did a one day gig with about 5 Aikido folks. I'm certainly not hiding Bud.
Real world?;) I am in the real world. I just tailor things to suit me and my family and give as best I can. Small groups come to visit, we laugh allot,-I just have to have fun while doing this stuff- and we train hard. Everyone is doing sincere training and they have a better chance to feel one on one. If I don't feel I can really contribute to them getting better, than I get embarrased at wasting their time.
Long tern repitition, and solo work is the goal.
Kevin You missed nothing. You got it! Harder work more study is what many of us need. As I travel around I see so much weak Aikido and people without strong foundations trying to be philosopher warriors when they are nether.

Well that's certainly derogatory Dennis;) Where have I heard others say the same things........and get chastised for it. Is truth, conditional?

Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2007, 01:11 PM
I also have to say that I don't think large seminars lend themselves to the hands on work from the specialist that my own experience tells me is needed in this.

The mass marketing of aikido has to take some of the rap for any decline in skill level, in my opinion.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
02-26-2007, 02:04 PM
... have you considered that this garden path that you are essentially exhorting some ignorant neophytes to follow may not in fact be the right one? You make it sound like we do aikido with blackboards on the dojo walls. Hardly. I have stood up here to defend training according to the transmitted kihon waza and kokyu undo as I was taught. The same strawman keeps being tossed in the ring repeatedly.

I like to be able to think carefully about movments in physical terms -- to critique myself and to catch incorrect movements by students in the kihon that I might not otherwise see as precisely or be able to describe as well. I am better able to understand what the waza or kokyu movement is actually doing, physically. I find the language of 17th century mechanics is fairly well-suited to that line of thought.

I find it remarkable that looking intensively at the mechanics of it all is considered such an outer-limits approach by anyone. Japan's Navy, about thirty years out of the box, decimated Russia's 200 year-old Baltic Fleet with all the up to date Western systems of mechanics on board back in 1905. It is now 2007. We can manage this stuff with computers and other nifty gadgets if we really want to. I'm just working through the concepts in the traditional narrative form of problem analysis that has worked since at least Galileo and Kepler.
What long list of questions? That would be here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=169124&postcount=602

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2007, 02:15 PM
We can manage this stuff with computers and other nifty gadgets if we really want to. I'm just working through the concepts in the traditional narrative form of problem analysis that has worked since at least Galileo and Kepler.

That would probably all be fine if we could accept that you were discussing the same subject. Unfortunately...

Best,
Ron

Keith R Lee
02-26-2007, 02:19 PM
I have to say that I find all of this interesting as well. However, it seems so all over the place, differing opinions, conflicts in language...that I usually just stay out of it. The thing is, I'm very intrigued by the type of training that is being discussed. However, two things:

1) In my experience (online and off) no one has been able to demonstrate these skills to me in an "alive" training environment. - Caveat: I live in AL, not really a hotbed of MAs, though I have lived and traveled around the country, been to many dojos, seminars, etc. Also, I haven't been going out of my way to look for it, I have enough on my plate now as it is.

2) I think that there is probably a .000001% chance of this stuff being successfully transmitted in some fashion via text.

Therefore, I'm not going to be able to get it and instead just get frustrated trying to read/interact in these conversations. At some point people are just talking for the sake of talking, there's really no chance that anything is going to be learned or transmitted. (Of course, you could say that about a lot of the conversations on here, my own included :crazy: )

I really hope to be able to train with most of you guys some day though. (Plus beers and conversation afterwards!)

Kevin Leavitt
02-26-2007, 02:23 PM
I am with ya on that Keith. Open minded, but with ya.

Kevin Leavitt
02-26-2007, 02:24 PM
That said Keith, I think it CAN and IS demonstrated by effective MMA guys in an aliveness environment. Top BJJ guys do it everyday. This is were I differ with these guys as this being special.

DH
02-26-2007, 02:25 PM
Yea Dan, maybe, one day...I will finally get to one on one with the likes of you too! :)
Your taking the heat pretty good! :)
I'd like to clarify that again, I have no issue with what you are training even though it sometimes sounds like it.

Just a few things on perspective and realitive weight of it. Which I consider to be very important.
I almost never get mad, Kevin. Those who don't know this stuff get frustrated and for good reason. Those who do- simply understand.

On a pure fighting level you and I both know that banging and rolling is its own reward. Why I say I argue on two fronts. But you need to separate the two to train it, then join them together. It's what I said to Rob. "Without fighting experience- its tough to convince someone like me of the value." Its why I show it to fighters as a separate skill set. I tell them "You lift, you run, right? All in order to build your body. This will build-YOUR- body in a different way that you can use to enhance YOUR skill set." Otherwise, if they're like I was- they won't listen. They will judge all you know, by your ability to defeat them. Its kind of nonsensical of course. Its like looking at a BJJ or Judo guy whom you can defeat then discounitng BJJ or Judo. On the other hand when I handle them they think its all skill. So its a bit of a chess discussion. Its a very powerful skill set, but as we know MMA is a both great teacher and a great equalizer.
Thanks for the taking "the heat well" comment. Many here have at least acknowledged that. I take the heat well for some very simple reasons.
Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
02-26-2007, 02:35 PM
I am tracking Dan. I just don't think we will agree without working together so we can understand each other..that is all.

What I do is read between the lines to say I think we are on common ground. Like this. I put very little value in weight lifing or strength in my martial training. I don't need it as much as I need other things such as an understanding of the correct use of my body.

I strength train to maintain my overall fitness and muscle mass as I grow older. I have some very strong, young guys, that I train with from time to time. In fact I have a Hung Gar guy right now that does not really understand the so-called internal thing very well. He is very, very strong, yet it does no good at all against me.

The guys that roll with me will tell you that when I am in the zone, that they are amazed that they cannot read me as I am simply not there or there is nothing to push on. Of course, we are talking about beginners, as I do not have enough skill to do this with very accomplished BJJ guys as they are better at it than I am.

Is this the same concept you are talking about? I don't know...I suspect you'll say no.

Again, we'd have to work together to figure out if that is the case.

DH
02-26-2007, 02:37 PM
That said Keith, I think it CAN and IS demonstrated by effective MMA guys in an aliveness environment. Top BJJ guys do it everyday. This is were I differ with these guys as this being special.

Really. And how is that Kevin? They are great tactitions and postional opportunists to an excellent degree. Also good at relaxed noncommitted flow-fighting. That is the same as "those guys"....just how?
Lets save that till we meet and stay cordial. As I said least year "I like your curiosity bent on practical research-and- your stubborness." You remind me of me.
Cheers
Dan

Brion Toss
02-26-2007, 02:44 PM
Hello Brion,
I disagree. I think you're way off and completely wrong. Well, unless you are a MA genius and can see what's hidden in plain sight. These baseline skills are not in the waza. Eric doesn't get it and any attempts at using simple physics or mechanics to try to explain what is happening is useless and wasting energy. But, if you don't think any of that truly matters ... why post? Obviously, you thought it did. :) To me, these do matter.

Mark

Mark,
You misread me. When I asked, "But does any of that truly matter?", it was in reference to my opinion, in the immediately preceding lines, regarding the respective engineering concepts of Messrs. Harden, Sigman, and Mead. I wrote that opinion in order to draw a contrast with the theme of the letter: an open heart as a basic Aikido skill. I certainly think that "internal power" does matter, a great deal, and I am sorry if that was not clear from my post.
As for whether or not such power can be derived from the waza, it would appear that we disagree. There are, of course, no guarantees that a student will be able to derive them, or that a teacher will be able to teach them, any more than there are guarantees in any other training model. But empty practice is hardly a phenomenom unique to Aikido. To take an example from something I do know something about -- sailboat rigging -- many contemporary sailors are opting nowadays for electric-powered winches, and sails that wind up inside the mast. Some of this preference is based on boat size and/or the ages of the sailors. But far too often the sailors are abandoning a simpler, cheaper, more durable and efficient manual configuration because the manual components are poorly specified, poorly installed, or poorly understood. Nothing the matter, intrinsically, with the manual option, but if the sailor doesn't understand that, then the first person who comes along with a gizmo that is guaranteed to make their life easy will get their attention. That's fine with me, because I make a lot more money installing gizmo's, but the two approaches were not actually judged on their merits.
You believe that it takes a martial arts genius to find internal energy in Aiki waza; I believe otherwise, perhaps because it has been explained to me better, as a system.
It also seems clear that you see any attempt at a mechanical analysis of the nature of internal power to be "useless," and this I just do not understand. If we can't even approach creating a rational model for what is happening, then we are stuck with the kind of direct transmission that tends to ossify into cult belief. Information that cannot be analysed cannot be related to other phenomena, or improved on in a meaningful, systematic manner.

Erick Mead
02-26-2007, 02:53 PM
These baseline skills are not in the waza. ... any attempts at using simple physics or mechanics to try to explain what is happening is useless and wasting energy. "Useless?" "Wasting energy?" That is curious. The sytemic application of mechanical concepts nearly wiped out the practical utility of these "quaint" empty handed arts and classical arms as serious options in combat. It very nearly destroyed the last remnants of the warrior ethos in favor of the stamped-out soldiery of mass-production. It came far closer to doing that in our own culture than it did in Japan. I've fought using what that allows, and it is a very powerful bujutsu, indeed.

Having said that, we cannot run away from the ideas that are the basis of that technological bujutsu either. We have to engage it and infuse it with the same spirit O Sensei demonstrated. Technological and methodological innovations did not completely destroy the fundamental spirit or principles lying behind classical warfare. But, really -- "useless?" Damned dangerous, I would say.

O Sensei proposed as early as 1933, in Budo Renshu, to follow the road of scientific inquiry, precisely to harmonize its immense destructive potential with the embodied wisdom and spirit of its proper use in his vision of "true budo." He was not at all afraid for his art to explore this road, even if he did not do it himself. His vision was immensely greater than the personal horizon of his life, which is part of what inspires those who have followed him in this.

I really don't have any reason to feel that I am out on the limb here -- not in my approach, anyway. Nor do I fault you for steadily chopping away at the stretch of branch that lies between us, even so. We will all learn something from it -- one way or another.

Kevin Leavitt
02-26-2007, 02:54 PM
I agree Dan, we'd have to get together to train to reach an understanding...it is as simple as that..yes.

I can't for the life of me see how what you call flow fighting in which you move your body in a correct and coordinated way, take and recieve energy, and return it along a correct meridan that is powerful and effective to be any different than what you describe.

Of course, no one in MMA I have seen can fight 100% with this skill, as they have to make up shortfalls with speed, strength etc....but still don't see how this is different.

I will have to get with you guys and see!

Kevin Leavitt
02-26-2007, 03:00 PM
Erick wrote:

The sytemic application of mechanical concepts nearly wiped out the practical utility of these "quaint" empty handed arts and classical arms as serious options in combat. It very nearly destroyed the last remnants of the warrior ethos in favor of the stamped-out soldiery of mass-production.

I agree. The cold war army worked during the cold war. However we are finding today that we need skills that long range missles and F-16s with air superiority cannot affect.

This is why we are seeing a return to Empty Hand martial arts training in the Army and Marine Corps in the last 10 years. They are key to instilling warrior ethos. Many in the military still don't get it, but it is important..not so much for the skills you gain, but the other aspects you gain from it.

These skills are as important to establishing a base as any others. That is, the willingess to fight.

Erick Mead
02-26-2007, 04:36 PM
Just to add a bit and say that when talking about structure, some of the assumptions are a bit flawed.

What if the fasteners for the various hinges/joints are loose?
Wouldn't that change one type of joint into another? NOt really flawed -- incomplete, as I freely admit. This a matter of degrees of freedom, both in directional and quantitative terms. A joint can be one kind of connection in one axis and range of motion and a different type in another axis or range of motion. It is relevant in comparing, say, the typical action of the knee with that of shoulder under various loads.

Would tightness/loosness in the joint change which type of deformation (plastic etc)occurs at varying loads? What if they are tight? What if some of them are loose and others are tight? That is to say they aren't uniform, or can selectively be chosen which are loose and which are tight?
Precisely. Which is why manipulations that change the axis of impingement are so critical and devastating. The adaptive structure may be unprepared to see a change of ninety degrees in the orientation of effective forces. If it occurs where the structure that was hinged on one axis but is pinned on another it may be unsuited to bear the existing load at all on the off-axis without reaching or exceeding the plastic limits (ouch!) almost immediately.

Think about that for a bit and the grounding sensation that people are talking about might make a bit more sense if you want to talk about it from mechanics/statics. Its like if you played with an erector set and only tightend some of the fasteners, how would that effect how the erector set was loaded. If I link a set of erector pieces together to mimic an arm, and hang them from an upright, I cannot push on that chain, unless it happens to obtain an funicular (hanging cable shape) for the loads in play, and becomes stiffened in that shape so as to compress (push) and not hinge. That path is supercritical for a static load, and instantaneously variable in response to a changing load.

In a loosely hanging structure, there is one and only one unique shape for every unique load condition that will allow it to bear weight without bending it (or articulating it, in the case of our erector set).

Because the joints rotate with relative freedom, they cannot be pushed, unless the critical path is found and maintained. It is supercritical like a ball balcned on top of a round hill. All paths depart from the singular stable point. The supercritical path also changes instantly as soon as anything moves. All I need to do in entering his center in the face of a push is to act where he is not "on" the shape of the curve that allows him to push with stabilkityand withou bending -- then he cannot push me without sacrificing stability or subjecting himself to bending forces.

If am on that shape for myself, then I can push him by following its continual changes (like surfing) and he is incapable of resisting -- he cannot easily find my critical path to push back at me because it is changing constantly. He may be in a hole he cannot physically get out of, in fact (like being caught just a bit too far in front of the breaking wave to catch it). He gets tumbled as a result.

If he is "on" his critical path he can push me and I can push him -- all without any bending involved. But if I apply a moment to the point of connection with a perpendicular force or tangential rotation (which is equivalent), his load status changes instantly. Bending forces develop at the joints. Once that has occurred, he is on the wrong side of the supercritical energy "hill" to "push" his chain. He is out in front of a earlier breaking wave than he had assumed. He has to scramble for position. But my energy is downhill, or at least level, while his is uphill to recover, and I will keep pushing where he isn't and he will keep scrambling to to find where I am.

If we tighten the joints we subject them to bending/buckling loads. If we resist, we respond with countering moments (rotational potentials) applied at each joint. If you looked at a limb segment in a free body diagram, it does not matter whether the left side joint rises or the right side joint drops -- the rotation (and therefore the moment) is the same in each case. But the relative motion of each joint is very different, depending.

Shifting the center of the rotational moments does not change the energy. But if that limb is countering a moment load at the time the center is shifted the structure can be placed in immediate progressive collapse. The countering moment and the impinging moment are now made to act together at a given joint. All equilibirum is lost and an actual rotation is realized in response to the released moments.

If all rotations of the limb are the same as in kokyu motion, then it is relatively harder to shift a progressive inward (gathering) or outward (cutting) centering of the limbs. If the rotations are already opposite (but aligned) at a joint to begin with -- as with a true push or pull --- then the joint is easily attacked and manipulated since the two limb segments already want to rotate together to bend.

eyrie
02-26-2007, 04:56 PM
You make it sound like we do aikido with blackboards on the dojo walls. Hardly. I have stood up here to defend training according to the transmitted kihon waza and kokyu undo as I was taught. The same strawman keeps being tossed in the ring repeatedly.

Your defense is noted, and your objections have been overwhelmingly overruled by more than a few. The only scarecrow here is your rotational model...

I like to be able to think carefully about movments in physical terms -- to critique myself and to catch incorrect movements by students in the kihon that I might not otherwise see as precisely or be able to describe as well. I am better able to understand what the waza or kokyu movement is actually doing, physically. I find the language of 17th century mechanics is fairly well-suited to that line of thought.

Well bully for you... but waza is not kiso... and kokyu is not movement. I think we've established, beyond reasonable doubt, that we are talking about kiso... the REALLY old stuff that nobody does anymore... that is not really taught anymore...

So all your musing of 17th-21st century physics and mechanics defines the extent of your limited experience... of rotational kihon waza and kokyu "movements"....

Brion Toss
02-26-2007, 06:57 PM
Your defense is noted, and your objections have been overwhelmingly overruled by more than a few. The only scarecrow here is your rotational model...

Hmm, so now you have appointed yourself as judge, while simultaneously acting as advocate for the opposing side. Of course, this is not a courtroom, right?


So all your musing of 17th-21st century physics and mechanics defines the extent of your limited experience... of rotational kihon waza and kokyu "movements"....

And now you are defining the limits of someone else's experience. Could we stick with constructive input? In M. Ueshiba's words,"I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others; it is for correcting your own mind."

gdandscompserv
02-26-2007, 07:07 PM
In M. Ueshiba's words,"I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others; it is for correcting your own mind."
:)

eyrie
02-26-2007, 08:11 PM
Hmm, so now you have appointed yourself as judge, while simultaneously acting as advocate for the opposing side. Of course, this is not a courtroom, right?
You know darn well that's simply not true.... ;) But hey, I can take the heat... And you might want to check first though... who is on what side.... I think I'm on the proposing side....
And now you are defining the limits of someone else's experience.
I don't have to... I'm merely re-stating the fact that that was already defined by the line of argument taken. :D

Erick Mead
02-26-2007, 09:23 PM
And you might want to check first though... who is on what side.... I think I'm on the proposing side.... By my count, you have the trifecta -- proposing, opposing, and disposing. :D

Of course, the proposing side has the burden of proof, so I'll accept your choice.

eyrie
02-26-2007, 09:44 PM
Of course, the proposing side has the burden of proof, so I'll accept your choice.

Proof of what?

Proof that it works? Already done... go back and re-read the posts of any number of your detractors...

Proof that it is an essential part of Aikido? Asked and answered in the affirmative.

Somehow I doubt that any amount or type of proof would satisfy you enough to admit that your position is, and has been for sometime now, untenable...

The proof... as they say.... is in the tasting.... ;)

TomW
02-26-2007, 10:06 PM
...The sytemic application of mechanical concepts nearly wiped out the practical utility of these "quaint" empty handed arts and classical arms as serious options in combat. It very nearly destroyed the last remnants of the warrior ethos in favor of the stamped-out soldiery of mass-production....

Oh, the irony of THAT statement. I absolutely could not have said it better my self.


Josh Lerner was from the KSR contingent, he was on the other side of the <STRIKE>pit of dispair</STRIKE> dojo most of the day.

Ah ha, it's all coming clear to me now. I didn't get a chance to work with him.

I know we just scratched the surface, but I got a lot out of the workshop, thanks again.

Erick Mead
02-26-2007, 10:26 PM
Proof of what? .... You are the proposer -- you tell me, preferably in concrete terms. List of questions? -- still there, awaiting your detailed proposals.
The proof... as they say.... is in the tasting.... ;) And yet I do not recommend licking the Cat-5 cable ... This medium is good for some things. The dojo is good for other things. Why curse those who use this medium for things that are inadequate for your purpose elsewhere? In that, I sense a possible theme.