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eyrie
02-26-2007, 11:42 PM
Well, the questions you pose are conjectural and bear no relation to baseline skills.... by the same token, do they apply equally to your opposing model??? Can your model answer those questions in that context?

Yeah, I don't recommend licking the Cat-5 cable either... we can talk about recipes all days... but unless you can cook... we're only going to be "eating wind"...

Erick Mead
02-27-2007, 12:04 AM
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. I could not and would not make an effort to carry on a sustained argument on any point that I have not dwelt on for some time, like this one. I am sure that I do not conjugate worth a damn, but then I was bad in Latin as well. But these are not finer points of grammar here.

I only need a rudimentary background in Japanese to point out that you still have not distinguished or explained away his use of "tettei" 徹底 "completeness/absolute" in regard to the concept of muteikou, that Pranin translated as "absolute non-resistance." Or the other consistent usages in that same interview and other works giving similar emphasis to the "absolute" nature of his "priniciple of nonresistance."

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。

私は同意する。私の思考は彼が話した主義の彼の重点から来る.
Which probably still bears much correction, grammatically, but gets the essential point, at whih we will agree to leave it.

Erick Mead
02-27-2007, 12:48 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).Shioda does the basic movement as O Sensei does in the other "chest push" video. His whole body is already rising in a forward-upward arc at the moment uke makes contact. By the time that uke makes contact the arc is actually vertical, and from there is headed up and backward relative to Shioda.
Since uke was attacking the shoulders, the normal attack is to shove up with the hips from the ground through the soulders and arms to try to teeter Shioda up and out of his center.

Shioda lets him do just that. At contact uke is pushing a now retreating object headed upward, and getting heavier as Shioda's upward momentum dies with gravity. Becasue Shioda has overcentered uke's arms upward, uke's shoulders have popped out of line to apply the push. Shioda also allows himself to be acelerated backwards, just like uke wanted. In combination this stops the motion of uke's shoulders forward -- but not the angular momentum of his already committed torso rotation. It has to go somewhere. His hips continue coming forward but with even greater acceleration in the established rising arc as all the angular momentum he was trying to apply from the shoulders is transfered to uke's hips in the same direction of rotation.

Shioda does exactly the same thing when attacked from behind immediately after the first one at 2:33.

Erick Mead
02-27-2007, 09:44 AM
Apropos of "rooting." I have said before that what Mike and Dan describe seems to me to be basically kokyu tanden ho. And lest I be accused of cherry-picking -- this recently was given in a post recounting Second Dosshu's lecture on Ki development, in which Kisshomaru explicitly discusses "rooting to the earth." Originally from aikidoonline. I think it gets pretty plainly at the nature of the means intended to develop a "rooted" center with aikido practice, as distinct from doing "rooting" to develop centering as a predicate for aikido practice.
It is clear that unless your center is firmly established, rooted to the earth, it will be impossible to achieve Aikido movements. The strict life style that has historically been associated with budo is one of the ways to establish this necessary firmness of center. ... In Aikido, our concept of the "Principle of Ki" is based on establishing a unity between this cosmic flow of the heavens and earth, and the flow of our own individual center, our "kokyu ryoku". We use kokyu ryoku yosei ho (popularly called kokyu-ho) as the most basic exercise designed to develop this power and unification. Emphasis added.

This part precedes that discussion but is also of note:

What does all this mean in terms of the actual movements of Aikido? We often hear people describe Aikido as being "purely defensive" or as relying exclusively on a "go no sen" form of technique in which we wait and act only in response to another's movement. I always feel that anyone who says this sort of thing must have somehow missed the true essence of this budo. ... Our feeling should be that we are already reaching out and embracing the other person. For this reason, I can say that when I move around my center the partner moves as well. Likewise, we could say that the other person is moving of their own accord and causing me to move around my center. This is the ideal way that we take hold of ki in Aikido.

A budo that is only a "go no sen budo", or that is only a "uke no budo" is not really a budo at all. In Japanese budo history there has never been an art designed to gain victory by being backed into a corner or by putting oneself under siege. In every case the essence is to strike out and decide the issue of victory or defeat in an active way. Thus in Aikido we do not sit back and let our partner push us here and there, neither do we actually attack them. There is no winning and there is no being defeated. We do away with the distinctions of attacker and attacked. Aikido movement brings the two into a single accord. Shioda's preemptive movements in the shoulder push video are very illustrative of the approach Kisshomaru Doshu describes, to my mind. "Preemptive" is precisely the right word, too, for those who are translation junkies. Pre + emptore = "to buy before."

Shioda buys into the attack completely -- before it is completely delivered.

Josh Reyer
02-27-2007, 10:38 AM
I could not and would not make an effort to carry on a sustained argument on any point that I have not dwelt on for some time, like this one. I am sure that I do not conjugate worth a damn, but then I was bad in Latin as well. But these are not finer points of grammar here.

No indeed, they are finer points of idiom and usage.

I only need a rudimentary background in Japanese to point out that you still have not distinguished or explained away his use of "tettei" 徹底 "completeness/absolute" in regard to the concept of muteikou, that Pranin translated as "absolute non-resistance."

Yes, I have.

Upyu
02-27-2007, 09:48 PM
Apropos of "rooting." I have said before that what Mike and Dan describe seems to me to be basically kokyu tanden ho. And lest I be accused of cherry-picking -- this recently was given in a post recounting Second Dosshu's lecture on Ki development, in which Kisshomaru explicitly discusses "rooting to the earth." Originally from aikidoonline. I think it gets pretty plainly at the nature of the means intended to develop a "rooted" center with aikido practice, as distinct from doing "rooting" to develop centering as a predicate for aikido practice.
Emphasis added.

This part precedes that discussion but is also of note:

Shioda's preemptive movements in the shoulder push video are very illustrative of the approach Kisshomaru Doshu describes, to my mind. "Preemptive" is precisely the right word, too, for those who are translation junkies. Pre + emptore = "to buy before."

Shioda buys into the attack completely -- before it is completely delivered.

Putting aside the fact that Kisshomaru isn't a good example either, (particualy since I think he only got this stuff on a very very very basic level)
the whole concept of go no sen, sen no sen etc etc, is simply application of the baseline skill sets.
You practice recieving/grounding to develop the skill to some degree. There's other ways to develop and refine as well.
But whether you chose to pre-empt (sen no sen, you kenjutsu freaks correct me if im wrong) or simply react (go no sen), is a difference in application.
Digging into the whole moving on "Setsuna" is interesting, but only if we have the *dum dum duuuuuuuum-* baseline skill sets at play :)

DH
02-27-2007, 11:16 PM
Well
Three degrees of sen
Sensen-no-sen is premptive
Sen-no-sen is matching
go-no-sen is after


Cheers
Dan

Ellis Amdur
02-27-2007, 11:39 PM
And I seem to recall an interviewer asking Ueshiba about sen and he replied that it's not sen no sen, not go no sen - that the enemy is defeated before he starts. (And in taking ukemi for K. Ueshiba, nope - he couldn't do that). So rather than Pre-emptore, caveat emptor.

Best

Upyu
02-28-2007, 02:38 AM
Well
Three degrees of sen
Sensen-no-sen is premptive
Sen-no-sen is matching
go-no-sen is after

Cheers
Dan
Duh, I'm such an idiot...
Cady thnx for pointing it out as well ^^;
"Go" (後-> after)の 線 :o

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-28-2007, 03:59 AM
"Go" (後-> after)の 線

Rob, unless I'm very much mistaken, the second "sen"
is also "tip":

先先の先
先の先
後の先

Regards, Gernot

MM
02-28-2007, 10:48 AM
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.


Ah, I misread. Apologies.


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.


I disagree in that if the teaching model isn't there, no amount of waza practice will give you these skills. With the rare exception of the genius who can see what is hidden in plain sight and pick it up.

Now, that doesn't mean I think waza is useless. Don't take it that way. Waza is very important, but we aren't talking about waza in this thread, merely the baseline skills.


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.


So, your teacher can do these things that Rob, Mike, and Dan can do?


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.

I'll reply to Erick's post about this. But, yes, it is useless and a waste of energy at this point in time.

Rather than waste the time on mechanics and physics, instead invest the time in solo practice. :) These skills are teachable. If I can learn, hey, that means anyone can learn.

Mark

Erick Mead
02-28-2007, 10:59 AM
-- you still have not distinguished or explained away his use of "tettei" 徹底 "completeness/absolute" in regard to the concept of muteikou, that Pranin translated as "absolute non-resistance." Yes, I have. No. Respectfully, you have not dealt with it in this context. You are certainly far better at Japanese than I hope to become but translation is contextual and your approach has divorced his statement from its immediate and near context in that interview exchange, which Pranin did not.
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. You lifted that phrase and made it fit your purpose in the argument, rather than the speaker's actual usage in its context to fit all of his words.

The question O Sensei was answering in the interview [ http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html ] was specifically about comparing or contrasting aikido to physical push/pull pull/push in Judo, not the "completeness" of adherence to principles of the universe. The remaining clause of his sentence " ... で相手に逆らわない is rendered by Pranin in English: "that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker."

Pranin also had to fit it to things in the later parts of the interview, like "Also, in Aikido you never go against the attacker's power." which was to immediately emphasize a point his son had just made that " if you clash with your opponent's power you can never hope to win against a very strong person. "

In Pranin's translation, the answer given of "adherence to the principle of absolute nonressitance" is thus clarified in that following clause to deal with an actual interaction between the aikido practioner and an attacker, not "adherence to nonresistance to the "flow" of a metaphysical principle.

Here's what you did on that point:
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, not the 無抵抗. Then you are squarely contradicting Pranin's translation, which you said you did not question. In his translation, in English the phrase using "tettei" that he renders in English as "absolute" unequivocally modifies "nonresistance", it does not, and cannot grammatically modify "principle" in English.

You said: 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. How can he give an adequate idea of the original in English if you are saying he got the emphatic modifier attached to the wrong concept?

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". He translated it the way I read it, you acknowledge the validity of his reading, but you read it differently and in doing so take it out of the context.

徹底した無抵抗主義で 相手に逆らわない.

Pranin reads it as "We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker."

I do not understand your argument on how the whole sentence should be read, in this context, with your assertion that Pranin is correct in his translation into English -- but his translation does not apply in English as he gave it.

What then, is your complete reading of it, in context?

I really think this is an important point made by O Sensei on a key area of dispute about what we train for and how we train to achieve it. I'd like to get tot he bottom of an actual answer, rather than suggestions about why my reading might be wrong in the Japanese, even though it agrees with the English translation by an accepted translator.

Why don't we we ask Pranin, or maybe Goldsbury, to offer their views?

MM
02-28-2007, 11:07 AM
"Useless?" "Wasting energy?"


Yep and yep. :)


That is curious.


Well, since you're curious.


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.


You can say it, but that don't make it right. I don't follow your posts all that closely because I'm not an engineer nor a physics major. But, what I do know is that you're using some very simple mechanics and physics to try to explain some extremely complex actions.

In other words, you're showing some flashy stuff that has no solidity or reality behind it. As an example, try this read:
http://www.discover.com/issues/jul-01/departments/featphysics/

Note the section about the "Women of the Kikuyu and Luo tribes". All they're doing is walking and it can't be explained how they do it.

Heck, they can't explain the reasons behind the shift between a walk cycle and a run cycle.

Not to mention the dynamic interplay between muscle groups, tendons, nerves, electrical system, chemical system, joints, etc, etc, etc.

It's like setting up a machine that spits out baseballs for training and sport purposes, studying the mechanics of that, and then saying that you are now a professional baseball pitcher because you understand what's happening in the very simple mechanics/physics of the machine.

But, I did err in one way. I should have said, useless, waste of energy, and silly. I forgot silly.

Mark

Mike Sigman
02-28-2007, 11:11 AM
So, your teacher can do these things that Rob, Mike, and Dan can do? One of the interesting things about these discussions, as more and more people are personally exposed to the feel and theory of these skills, is that a quick check back at most of the previous threads and posts has shown many people that they now understand fairly easily what has been posted by some of the ones trying to explain. It also becomes fairly obvious that the ones who continue to insist on tangential stances and other explanations must not know these basic skills. I.e., it is a very reasonable assumption that Brion Toss's teacher does not know these things ... Brion has chosen to highlight this point, repeatedly. About: any attempt at a mechanical analysis of the nature of internal power to be "useless," ... Brion.

I'll reply to Erick's post about this. But, yes, it is useless and a waste of energy at this point in time.It's very much like riding a bicycle.... simple when you're shown how, but pretty much a waste of time to try to describe with math, physics, and the written word. ;)

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-28-2007, 11:18 AM
As an example, try this read:
http://www.discover.com/issues/jul-01/departments/featphysics/

Note the section about the "Women of the Kikuyu and Luo tribes". All they're doing is walking and it can't be explained how they do it.
Actually, you picked an example that I'm familiar with, Mark, and I'd comfortably put in a bet that the "difference" they're having trouble explaining is that those women are carrying the loads using a jin-path to the ground, rather than just "carrying the load on their head".

Regards,

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-28-2007, 07:07 PM
But, I did err in one way. I should have said, useless, waste of energy, and silly. I forgot silly.

:D :D :D A true classic!

Brion Toss
02-28-2007, 08:14 PM
Ah, I misread. Apologies.

I disagree in that if the teaching model isn't there, no amount of waza practice will give you these skills. With the rare exception of the genius who can see what is hidden in plain sight and pick it up.

Now, that doesn't mean I think waza is useless. Don't take it that way. Waza is very important, but we aren't talking about waza in this thread, merely the baseline skills.

So, your teacher can do these things that Rob, Mike, and Dan can do?

I'll reply to Erick's post about this. But, yes, it is useless and a waste of energy at this point in time.

Rather than waste the time on mechanics and physics, instead invest the time in solo practice. :) These skills are teachable. If I can learn, hey, that means anyone can learn.

Mark
Hi again,
I hope you will understand if I leave my teacher out of this discussion; he is a quiet man, not interested in being compared to others. Further, I hope that this discussion can continue to be about principles, not an instructor-by-instructor rating process. Having said that, I believe I have worked with and been trained, to some extent, by people who do exhibit at least some degree of the skills you are speaking of, notably K. Tohei in the Aikido world. And what I have learned in those encounters lies behind my approach to this discussion. Clearly it has not been your experience, but there you are.
As for your assertion that physics and engineering analysis is a waste of time and silly, I continue to be stupefied. Perhaps an example from another field would help.
I had a father-in-law, now sadly gone on, who was a P-47 pilot in "War 2", as he called it. The basic (please stop calling them "baseline"; that's another word) skills required to fly a P-47 were definitely teachable, and those teachers, according to Curtiss, who understood the plane best tended to turn out fighter pilots who were less likely to get shot down. So no question, teachable, hands-on skills were valuable, as I am sure they are today. But Curtiss also often spoke of the exhaustive --- and exhausting --- time spent in classroom study over the years, where the physics of flying were imparted, to whatever degree possible, to aspiring pilots as well as senior ones. Without what he learned there, including how to think about problems, he said, repeatedly, that the hands-on stuff would be less valuable. He was definitely inclined to be a seat-of-the-pants fighter jock, but he understood the value of concepts. One of the consequences of those concepts was the addition of the characteristic "spine" that ran from the aft end of the cockpit to the base of the tail in later models of the P-47. This spine, which he suggested to a Repuplic engineer, helped prevent spin in certain situations, especially steep dives.
Now I'm no physics major either. In fact I have a hard time reading and digesting Mr. Mead's posts, and I'm sure I'm missing a lot. But what I derive is informing my practice, as knowledge tends to do. His attempts at describing the mechanics of Aikido, and how they relate to learning have, as I recall, been dismissed as attempts to use simple mechanical principles to describe extremely complex actions. Well let me clue you in: so far it is ONLY by use of simple mechanical principles that we can hope to describe extremely complex actions. The trick is to apply the correct principles, the ones that actually correspond to the actions. You might not find this approach useful in your practice. You might think that all you need is to touch the right teachers. And you might be right. Notice, please, that I am not dismissing your approach as useless and silly.

Mike Sigman
02-28-2007, 09:10 PM
Incidentally, as a side note to these discussions, it's an obvious undercurrent of the idea that the "Baseline Skills" are considered paramount by one group and secondary by another group of posters. The problem is that to realistically argue whether the skills are primary or secondary, one should be able to do those skills first, logically. However, the point I was thinking about as that this is an old, old argument about which should come first, the internal skills or technique first and then the skills. Here's something related that I grabbed in a quick internet search, just to show how old is this discussion:

Huashan Sect (華山派)
Huashan Sect was originally the most powerful of the five allied sects. Unfortunately, it became divided into two factions: the Qi faction (氣宗), which emphasized the cultivation of internal energy before learning sword techniques and the Sword faction (劍宗), which focused on acquiring sword techniques and mastering its use and making internal energy cultivation a secondary emphasis. While the Sword faction was in the majority, the Qi faction managed to win control of Huashan mountain and the sect through a ruse, forcing the other faction to leave the sect into exile or take their own lives. Because of the feud, the sect's strength was severely weakened and consequently, the Songshan sect won control of the leadership of the five sects. In general, the Sword faction possessed more innovative and creative sword techniques and skills, while the Qi faction relied on having strong internal energy and brute power, but were less creative and skillful with the sword.

The origin of the split arose when Yue Su (岳肅) and Cai Zifeng (蔡子峰), martial brothers from Huashan and the best of friends, went to the Shaolin temple and stumbled upon a manual written by a eunuch called the Sunflower Manual. In an effort to copy the manual, the two each read half of the manual and memorized it before return to Huashan. However, when they tried putting their parts together, much of the content was incomprehensible. Consequently, each believed his memory and interpretation to be correct and the other person's to be incorrect. However, from the individual parts that each of them had memorized, neither one could come up with or practice anything substantial either. From this, these once best of friends became heated rivals and helped to cause the rift between members of Huashan. Yue Su became the founder of the Qi faction and Cai Zifeng became the Sword branch's founder. The Shaolin abbott, upon realization of the nature of the Sunflower Manual and the inherent dangers of its practice, sent a monk, Du Yuan (渡元), to dissuade them from practicing the methods found there. The two martial brothers, who apologized to Du Yuan for what they had done and admitted their doings, asked Duyuan, to help them understand the manual.

Unknownst to the two Huashan masters, the monk had never heard of the manual or practiced the martial arts contained within. However, he was able to make logical conclusions from what Yue Su and Cai Zifeng recited. From the recollections of the two Huashan fighters and the monk's understanding, a manual was able to be formed. At the same time, however, Du Yuan began to be seduced by the manual and began secretly memorizing these recollections. Using his recollections of the dialogue between him and the Huashan masters, the monk made his own copy of the manual on his cassock or robe. Later, the monk fled the Shaolin temple and renounced his vows , returning to secular life as Lin Yuantu (林遠圖), the great-grandfather of Lin Pingzhi, compiling the Bixie Jianfa (辟邪劍法) manual. The two Huashan masters' disagreements were never resolved and as a result, led to the formation of the Sword and Qi factions. The copy which they compiled was stolen and became the Sunflower Manual (葵花寶典) in the hands of the Sun-Moon Sect (日月神教).

Though the two masters eventually died while fighting the Sun-Moon Sect members who had come to Huashan to steal the manual, their disagreement over which training should take precedence, qi or internal energy cultivation or swordsmanship continued within the factions they created. Each argued that the other side had turn away from orthodoxy by forgetting the teachings of the past Huashan masters. Disagreements between the sides eventually grew to the point that an all-out war between the two factions took place, taking the lives of many masters and students. Using a ruse to draw Feng Qingyang, the Sword faction's greatest swordsman and Huashan's best fighter away from Huashan, the Qi faction was able to eventually win control of the school and drive out the Sword faction members into exile. Feng Qingyang, who realized that he had been tricked, chose to stay in exile in the back of Huashan as a recluse.

;)

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-01-2007, 05:33 AM
Er, it seems we're still on pretty tame and amicable terms by these standards of the past eh? :D Very interesting extract, especially the part about more brute strength and less technique. I wonder if that is a poor translation, since if they were training Qi presumably whatever they used would be something else than brute strength. If the results of Qi and Sword training led to the same sensitivity in terms of wielding a sword and responding to the other party, it probably makes zero difference in practice where one starts. But I suspect that the Sword style also presupposed that all their techniques were to be done with jin/qi from the start, and the problem is merely that the beginners aren't very good at it. That seems to be a fairly usual thing in Japan, say in even in Abe sensei's aikido, and similarly is written in Kuroda Tetsuzan's books about his sword and jujutsu training. The "qi" faction equivalent doesn't really exist here it seems, but instead lives on as non-martial practices, such as the breathing or misogi groups that Tohei and Abe sent to to learn what they were missing in some way or other.

Mike Sigman
03-01-2007, 08:10 AM
Er, it seems we're still on pretty tame and amicable terms by these standards of the past eh? :D Very interesting extract, especially the part about more brute strength and less technique. I wonder if that is a poor translation, since if they were training Qi presumably whatever they used would be something else than brute strength. If the results of Qi and Sword training led to the same sensitivity in terms of wielding a sword and responding to the other party, it probably makes zero difference in practice where one starts. But I suspect that the Sword style also presupposed that all their techniques were to be done with jin/qi from the start, and the problem is merely that the beginners aren't very good at it. That seems to be a fairly usual thing in Japan, say in even in Abe sensei's aikido, and similarly is written in Kuroda Tetsuzan's books about his sword and jujutsu training. The "qi" faction equivalent doesn't really exist here it seems, but instead lives on as non-martial practices, such as the breathing or misogi groups that Tohei and Abe sent to to learn what they were missing in some way or other. The "Qi" faction would be Tohei's "Ki Society". The analogy is pretty close and sort of humorous.

And frankly, these last few months of nosing around the Ki Society approach make me somewhat more appreciative of Tohei's curriculum, to some extent. One of the points I've tried to make repeatedly is that it's not just Technique versus Ki... the added factor is that there are a number of ways to practice/develop Ki, just as there are a number of ways to do even external versions of Aikido technique.

But, lo and behold, the discussion is actually getting back to the famous old debates of "How and When to do the Ki Practice"..... that's so much better than the posts of only 2 years ago where some people were showing their complete ignorance by what they were posting in dismissal of Ki. :p

Things are moving nicely. ;)

Best.

Mike

DH
03-01-2007, 09:54 AM
In fact I have a hard time reading and digesting Mr. Mead's posts, and I'm sure I'm missing a lot. ..... His attempts at describing the mechanics of Aikido, and how they relate to learning have, as I recall, been dismissed as attempts to use simple mechanical principles to describe extremely complex actions. Well let me clue you in: so far it is ONLY by use of simple mechanical principles that we can hope to describe extremely complex actions.

Well, here's a clue back at ya.
Unless it has escaped your attention those from the list who have come to train with those who -actually- can do things all talk about it being laid out in simple terms. With every intention of it beng clear and teachable. There is no mention of Calculators, chaulk boards, and rotational dynamic models. Further, since he already more or less stipulated he can't do most of these things- were we able to get Mr Mead to stand there and be tested- he will simply fail-chaulk board, calculator, and laser pointer firmly in hand.:o
I think its very transparent-and I'm not alone-that attempts to obfuscate and muddy the waters with overly complex theories, is just another way to avoid facing the "simple" truth.
If we listen to him- Takeda was inept. I'll argue
Takeda didn't "know" physics.
He just "knew" Physics.;)
And Eric could never throw him.
Dan

Chuck Clark
03-01-2007, 12:36 PM
I'm gonna throw this in because I've not seen anyone else bring this up. If it has been, I missed it and apologize.

Using language that is useful in describing the mechanics of the human system performing behaviors such as running, jumping, throwing something, etc., or affecting an inanimate object such as lifting a barbell, or hitting a heavy bag, catching a ball, etc. is not appropriate for describing a human affecting another human such as boxing, wrestling, dancing, martial arts, etc. (A system of notation for describing ballet movements was developed but was so laborious that it largely is no longer in use because it wasn't really "useful.")

I think the sort of interchange of forces that is being discussed here is extremely complex and although it can be described mechanically in limited ways, it really can only be reached somewhat more by poetic metaphore, etc. Actual physical touch/connection is necessary with someone who has it at some level and someone who is willing to experiment to learn.

It's always amusing to hear taoist and zen folks talk about the "Tao that can be described is not the true Tao" and yet we all continue to talk about it and write about it incessantly. Somehow it's always easier to talk about what it isn't instead of what it is...

Thanks to everyone for sharing your passion for this from whatever direction.

Josh Reyer
03-01-2007, 12:57 PM
Erick,

This is quite simple. You questioned the aikido applicability of Mike's internal "baseline" skillset, arguing that it did not fit Ueshiba's idea of "non-resistance", using a quite narrow definition of non-resistance. I pointed out that Ueshiba never used the non-resistance, that he rather used the word 無抵抗, which, while it can be glossed/translated/calqued as "non-resistance", idiomatically it doesn't always match up, since what can be considered 抵抗 may not always be "resistance", and vice-versa. You asked for a source. I provided one.

You then suggested that 抵抗 meant "resistance" in a systemic sense, a wholly unsupported assertation. When I provided a dictionary entry to indicate this, you used it to then define 抵抗 as broadly as you did "resistance". When I suggested that your use of 抵抗 was not idiomatic of Japanese usage, you jumped on the 徹底 of Ueshiba's quote, linking it with 無抵抗 and justifying your very narrow definition of what "non-resistance" is. In doing so, you took it completely out of the context of the original quote.

Ueshiba never says "徹底した無抵抗". That phrase appears only in your posts. He says 徹底した無抵抗主義. I will categorically state now that the 徹底した modifies the 主義. There is no debate here. I don't care what Pranin's translation was (at the moment; see below), the Japanese is unequivocal. 無抵抗主義 is a compound, and 徹底した modifies that. You simply cannot, as you did, take the 徹底した無抵抗 and leave the 主義. Furthermore, this 徹底した...主義 expression is an idiomatic Japanese expression. The 無抵抗 is connected to the 徹底した only in as much as it is connected to the 主義.

So, after I explain that, now you come to me with Pranin's translation. This brings us exactly back to my original objection! A translation is never as reliable as the original! Okay, so what about Pranin's translation? I take back nothing that I said about it. I said it was capable and adequate for getting across the basic idea. I never said it was 100% perfect. I said that I agreed with Pranin's translation of non-resistance, and I'll thank you not to extrapolate that agreement to every word of the translation. No translation is perfect, and few are beyond quibble.

"Absolute" is one such quibble. Perhaps here Pranin, or his translator, was biased by what he already perceived the principles of aikido to be. 徹底 by itself carries more the meaning of "thorough". In the sense of 徹底した used here, "constant, consistant in thought and attitude". Lots of different ways to translate it. "Out-and-out" is sometimes seen. "Through and through". Now in translation we have to be aware of issues of tone. "A principle of non-resistance, through and through!" doesn't quite match the tone Ueshiba is taking here. I like "complete". Again, it's a very bad idea to take this word entirely literally, because it's a gloss, a calque, meant to convey general meaning, not precise semantic equivalence. So, "complete", I give a 90 on the acceptability scale, versus a 75 for "absolute". Here, any thoughts from other Japanese speakers would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to illustrate the nebulous difficulty of translation, not say, "I'm right, Pranin's wrong."

Now, "complete principle of non-resistance" vs. "principle of complete non-resistance". Looks a lot like "six of one, half a dozen of another", does it not? The former is a literal translation. The latter more idiomatic English. Most people will get the same basic idea from both. I'm sure Pranin didn't exactly expect his translation to be taken apart literally to explain aikido mechanics. It's a nice translation (talking about the whole). It gives people with no knowledge of Japanese some insight into Ueshiba's ideas. But for God's sake, don't take it (or any translation) as gospel. A grain of salt or two is required.

Finally, both the original and the translation have a context, as you note. An interview, in which people asked specific questions, and Ueshiba was addressing those questions. I, personally, don't see how you could use that quote in a discussion of baseline skillsets and mechanics without taking it completely out of context, but I'll leave for others to decide for themselves whether you were justified in doing so.

TomW
03-01-2007, 01:19 PM
As for your assertion that physics and engineering analysis is a waste of time and silly, I continue to be stupefied. Perhaps an example from another field would help.
I had a father-in-law, now sadly gone on, who was a P-47 pilot in "War 2", as he called it. The basic (please stop calling them "baseline"; that's another word) skills required to fly a P-47 were definitely teachable, and those teachers, according to Curtiss, who understood the plane best tended to turn out fighter pilots who were less likely to get shot down. So no question, teachable, hands-on skills were valuable, as I am sure they are today. But Curtiss also often spoke of the exhaustive --- and exhausting --- time spent in classroom study over the years, where the physics of flying were imparted, to whatever degree possible, to aspiring pilots as well as senior ones. Without what he learned there, including how to think about problems, he said, repeatedly, that the hands-on stuff would be less valuable. He was definitely inclined to be a seat-of-the-pants fighter jock, but he understood the value of concepts. One of the consequences of those concepts was the addition of the characteristic "spine" that ran from the aft end of the cockpit to the base of the tail in later models of the P-47. This spine, which he suggested to a Repuplic engineer, helped prevent spin in certain situations, especially steep dives.
Now I'm no physics major either. In fact I have a hard time reading and digesting Mr. Mead's posts, and I'm sure I'm missing a lot. But what I derive is informing my practice, as knowledge tends to do. His attempts at describing the mechanics of Aikido, and how they relate to learning have, as I recall, been dismissed as attempts to use simple mechanical principles to describe extremely complex actions. Well let me clue you in: so far it is ONLY by use of simple mechanical principles that we can hope to describe extremely complex actions. The trick is to apply the correct principles, the ones that actually correspond to the actions. You might not find this approach useful in your practice. You might think that all you need is to touch the right teachers. And you might be right. Notice, please, that I am not dismissing your approach as useless and silly.

Hi Bryon-

I liked your anecdote. I tend to concur with Curtiss on the subject of hands on and class room skill sets, particularly as a carpenter-turned-engineering student.

We indeed use simple mechanical principles to describe complex actions, (though personally I don't think that's the only "tool in the kit.") There are some things we can't explain using these simple mechanical principles. For example, I can describe, using mechanical principles, how aiki age is used in kokyu-dosa to lock up your skeletal structure and give me access to your spine. I can not use mechanical principles to explain why it works better when I breathe, or why I get different effects depending on where I place my intent but I have tangible, visceral evidence that it does work.

That's all well and good, but here's the rub with Mr. Mead. Several posters here have suggested that he's applying the wrong set of mechanical principles or that possibly this can't be explained using said principles. I myself suggested that, through my own experimentation and knowledge of said principles, the latter was indeed the case. Mr. Mead said I was wrong because.....he saw a video.....of someone else....at an event he didn't attend.

I have no problem with people who don't believe it until the see (feel) it, but the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, etc) and by extension, engineering, are laboratory sciences, fundamentally based on experimentation and tangible results. This implies not only finding an answer, but all answers. So, for Mr. Mead to expound mechanical theory while refusing to enter the lab to test all the theories presented is indeed a waste of time and silly.

ChrisMoses
03-01-2007, 01:37 PM
We indeed use simple mechanical principles to describe complex actions, (though personally I don't think that's the only "tool in the kit.") There are some things we can't explain using these simple mechanical principles.

Agreeing with Tom here, one of the things I took away from my BS in Physics is that the things we can solve specifically and cleanly even using very modern and complicated solutions is VERY small. Basically as soon as you have a couple points of mass influenced by a couple of non-linear forces, you are getting really close to chaos theory. What you get good at is figuring out how to approximate the system you are dealing with so that you can get pretty close. Hell, we put people on the moon using equations that were known to be incorrect. BUT THEY WORK! I am a very analytical and visual person. I can't walk down the street without seeing angle bisectors coming out from every crack in every sidewalk. As a I take a step, I draw mental lines between my feet and my head produces equilateral triangles to where my front and back 'third points' would be. Constantly, all the time. Talk about your useless superpowers... But that kind of thing only goes so far because bodies are not only hugely complicated structures, they are constantly changing and affected by psychology and physiology. I think it's important to realize that no matter how specific our paradigms get, we are always simplifying what is actually going on.

Brion Toss
03-01-2007, 03:22 PM
Well, here's a clue back at ya.
Unless it has escaped your attention those from the list who have come to train with those who -actually- can do things all talk about it being laid out in simple terms. With every intention of it beng clear and teachable. There is no mention of Calculators, chaulk boards, and rotational dynamic models. Further, since he already more or less stipulated he can't do most of these things- were we able to get Mr Mead to stand there and be tested- he will simply fail-chaulk board, calculator, and laser pointer firmly in hand.:o
I think its very transparent-and I'm not alone-that attempts to obfuscate and muddy the waters with overly complex theories, is just another way to avoid facing the "simple" truth.
If we listen to him- Takeda was inept. I'll argue
Takeda didn't "know" physics.
He just "knew" Physics.;)
And Eric could never throw him.
Dan
No, no, no, I want someone who can throw anyone, while holding that laser pointer. I want a theory that describes what's going on, not just what seems to be going on. It is possible to come up with a model for the motions of the stars, planets, moons, comets, etc., which assumes that the Earth is at the center of the universe. Using this model, you could easily account for the phases of the moon, the precession of equinoxes, the recurrence of comets, etc., far more accurately than someone who had no model, or a worse one. But your model would still be limited in what it could describe. I wouldn't, for instance, count on it to attempt a landing on the moon. And incidentally, I love how Hooker sensei, I believe, consciously or otherwise paraphrased what Galileo is said to have muttered as he left the Inquisition, narrowly escaping a nasty demise for his views on astrophysics, "And yet it [the Earth] moves."
Now I am not meaning to compare you with the Inquisition, or with any other believers in inappropriate mathematical models; it is entirely possible that the way you are explaining things to your students is a realistic model. I am just saying that so far as I've heard it, it isn't. It appears more likely that your, simpler theory, is muddying and obfuscating things. There is nothing about simplicity that precludes inaccuracy.
Oh, and Mr. Mead is not saying that Takeda is inept. Far from it, and I believe you do him a disservice to say so.

Brion Toss
03-01-2007, 03:30 PM
Agreeing with Tom here, one of the things I took away from my BS in Physics is that the things we can solve specifically and cleanly even using very modern and complicated solutions is VERY small. Basically as soon as you have a couple points of mass influenced by a couple of non-linear forces, you are getting really close to chaos theory. What you get good at is figuring out how to approximate the system you are dealing with so that you can get pretty close. Hell, we put people on the moon using equations that were known to be incorrect. BUT THEY WORK! I am a very analytical and visual person. I can't walk down the street without seeing angle bisectors coming out from every crack in every sidewalk. As a I take a step, I draw mental lines between my feet and my head produces equilateral triangles to where my front and back 'third points' would be. Constantly, all the time. Talk about your useless superpowers... But that kind of thing only goes so far because bodies are not only hugely complicated structures, they are constantly changing and affected by psychology and physiology. I think it's important to realize that no matter how specific our paradigms get, we are always simplifying what is actually going on.

I am absolutely with you and Tom on the limitations of mathematical processes to describe complex actions completely. Nor am I interested in trying to do so, as the very thought makes my head hurt. What I am hoping for is a clear description of the basics, as an aid to understanding and developing basic exercises, in this context.
To revisit Curtiss, it would have been much simpler for his instructors to explain powered flight in terms of faeries that bore the plane up by pushing up on the wings. In this model the various flaps and rudder would have acted as semaphors to instruct the faeries what action was needed, and the propeller would be there to cool their little faces in the midst of their exertions. Simple, even useful, as Curtiss would still be going through the same motions to achieve a desired effect. But somewhat limited, neh?

Erick Mead
03-01-2007, 03:54 PM
I don't follow your posts all that closely because I'm not an engineer nor a physics major. But, what I do know is that you're using some very simple mechanics and physics to try to explain some extremely complex actions. True, but not the way you mean. The assumption of your point is that simple mechnisms cannot explain complex actions. That is a fallacy that thirty-years of work on the physics of chaotic and other non-linear systems has thoroughly debunked.

Some complex behavior has truly complex causes. But the richness or complexity of behavior does not, in itself, mean that the underlying action is not very simple. It is has come as a revelation to modern engineering and physics that exceedingly complex, difficult to predict phenomena can come from very simple, iterated or recursive functions.

That is all I am saying, here -- that kokyu and the associated actions in aikido are the iteration of certain very simple forms of segmented rotary motion or its potential equivalents (moments) from the inner segments of the body to the outer segments of the body and on down into the structure of the opponent by the same mechanism -- and the reverse, as well.

Those simple motions can occur in a virtually infinite number of starting positions, orientaitons of movement, relative distance and timing of movements and rapidly diverging cascades of contingent results that then occur. From slight differences in initial conditions, that underlying simplicity, yields a deep richness in the behavior that we see in the art. Each interaction develops through iterated repetitions with variation in position and energy at each stage in the action. It is evolutionary -- in the strict sense.
In other words, you're showing some flashy stuff that has no solidity or reality behind it. Newton. Flashy? Hardly. String theory. Branes. Non-locality. Those are flashy. Not this. Stolid, white-shoe stuff, this is.

As an example, try this read:
http://www.discover.com/issues/jul-01/departments/featphysics/
Note the section about the "Women of the Kikuyu and Luo tribes". All they're doing is walking and it can't be explained how they do it.Which is, of course, why we should all stop trying, eh? ;) That's a true sense of exploration you have there.

Knowledge of kinematics has moved along a little since 2001. Statically sprung supports are now known to NOT be the mechanism of balance; even simply sprung inverted pendulums are not the mechanism. The stupid leg muscles actually pull the wrong way for that model to be correct. Compliant, anticipatorily actuated double or triple jointed inverted pendulums seem to be the mechanism, in gross terms. I'll describe it more particularly below, but here are some relevant studies.

Intrinsic ankle stiffness is shown to be insufficient for stability in quiet standing, therefore, how could it be sufficent under dynamic load in aikido or kokyu expression?

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=abstractplus&db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=abstractplus&list_uids=12482906
http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0411/0411138.pdf
http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/cond-mat/pdf/9908/9908185.pdf
http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/90/6/3774
(or abstract:http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/90/6/3774)

And related study abstracts:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=abstractplus&db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=abstractplus&list_uids=15661825
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=abstractplus&db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=abstractplus&list_uids=12832494
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15047776&dopt=Abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=abstractplus&db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=abstractplus&list_uids=12832494

Why does this matter? Because it is all about energy storage. You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu. But then you are limited by structural loading capacity (ultimately focusing on the ankle) and that is a real problem for eighty year old men.

(-- Stan: "Or women." -- Reg: "Why do you keep going on about women, Stan?")

Or, you can store energy in motion or momentum, and the body does not have to bear resistance strain loads in the structure. It is storing the energy as accelerations and momentum in the body parts for a brief periods, repeatedly. Energy in motion is cheap in conservation terms as long as you keep it moving.

A double inverted pendulum can store energy momentarily in the angular rotation of the upper segment, and then release it a back to the lower segment to drive a further rotation, which also counters the recovery oscillation of the upper segment which then then drives the lower segment in the reverse cycle, etc. etc. etc.

That's why you can keep a swing going without having to touch the ground. Your shifting of the body in the seat forms the second limb of that pendulum, which you shift around by sequential, anticipated oscillating rotations to maintain (or even add to) the energy of the swing.

Ever notice that the extension/retraction cycle of the funetori exercise mimics the leg pumps you use on a swing?

Funekogi/funetori undo is great example of this. The only function of the ground in that model is to provided a stable pivot point (the inverse of the suspension point for the swing). "Rooting" in the sense of making counter-thrust against the ground (arch action) is completely unnecessary to this form of energy storage. The energy is being stored in the oscillatory waves of motion and angular momentum up and down the segments of the body.

You can see the power and counter- intuitive attack of this use of kinetic energy with a simple self-demonstration using tekubi furi undo. Stand feet shoulder-width apart, put your weight over the balls of your feet, but leave your heels in contact with the ground. Raise your arms over your head, and then throw them at the ground, as in tekubi furi.

Your heels will come off the ground as your shoulders take the applied angular momentum of the simultaneously decelerating arms at the bottom of the throw. The body is lifted by a mass damping reaction to the the shoulder moments. Lest you think that a forward throw of the arms is doing this and just rocking you forward onto your toes -- throw the arms to the sides -- it still works.

Together those applied moments, generated by your acceleration, lift the weight of your body off the ground from the shoulders. You have just "floated" yourself with a throw of your arms -- the same basic way that one does an opponent, using the same kokyu mechanism, playing with his force as a component of the action, in addition to gravity itself.

In walking, that simple, sequential wave of oscillation up the spine and head and then back again is driven by an anticipatory addition of "kicking" energy in each joint (but primarily the hips) in the same direction to keep it going -- exactly like a child shifts the dynamic center of his secondary pendulum in the swing seat into and out of the arc on a swing to conserve or even magnify the energy of the fall that would otherwise be lost.

Kokyu expression typical in aikido is the same process applied to a partner using the additional linkages of the arms and of the partner's body. The ability to concentrate or dissipate that energy in ways I have previously described by playing with radii of inertia or centers of rotation in the limbs to magnify, diminish or even or disrupt the same process in the opponent entirely.

As to the Kikuyu walking with loads on their heads noted in the link ---

Walking is not fundamentally different in principle from a child's swing, it is just applied upside down, supercritical, but damped, with a couple more oscillatory linkages to exploit. The head also plays a part as a third vertical inverted pendulm. That is why we always correct people who drop their heads down in practice. Poor posture is poor kokyu.

Additional head weight, as with the Kikuyu, can make the third order pendulum storage in the head oscillation even more efficient if the rhythm of "kicks" at the various joints is correct, which is learned by the Kikuyu, as with anything, by practice.

Kevin Leavitt
03-01-2007, 04:18 PM
Erick, holy cow!

Wouldn't it just be easier to go train with these guys? :)

Mike Sigman
03-01-2007, 04:26 PM
You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu. I never proposed any such thing.

Mike Sigman

DH
03-01-2007, 04:44 PM
Oh, and Mr. Mead is not saying that Takeda is inept. Far from it, and I believe you do him a disservice to say so.

Brian
You got the humor in the first half but missed it in the later.
Probably my fault. I disagree with Eric but bear him no ill will.
Ya gotta be able to laugh here or there. I can't stay serious for long. Eric can poke fun at me I don't mind.:D
Dan

Brion Toss
03-01-2007, 05:24 PM
Brian
You got the humor in the first half but missed it in the later.
Probably my fault. I disagree with Eric but bear him no ill will.
Ya gotta be able to laugh here or there. I can't stay serious for long. Eric can poke fun at me I don't mind.:D
Dan

Ouch, I missed a joke? "Lone Ranger shot with silver bullet." My bad.

Erick Mead
03-01-2007, 10:09 PM
Erick, holy cow!

Wouldn't it just be easier to go train with these guys? :)I am not looking to lock horns or prove anything to them or me. I want their perspectives in a form that I can use to continue this exploraiton of the concepts. Practice I have. Exploration of them in practice, I am doing. But that training does not in itself advance things on this front -- to frame a true mechnical basis for these actions. Their perspective fairly consitently resists framing concepts derived from their own experience in those terms. This work cannot be done IN practice, but only in reflecting on it.

Erick Mead
03-01-2007, 10:11 PM
Brian
You got the humor in the first half but missed it in the later.
Probably my fault. I disagree with Eric but bear him no ill will.
Ya gotta be able to laugh here or there. I can't stay serious for long. Eric can poke fun at me I don't mind.:D
DanDitto, here.

TomW
03-01-2007, 10:45 PM
I am absolutely with you and Tom on the limitations of mathematical processes to describe complex actions completely. Nor am I interested in trying to do so, as the very thought makes my head hurt. What I am hoping for is a clear description of the basics, as an aid to understanding and developing basic exercises, in this context.

A specific model hasn't been proposed because I don't think there is one. I understand where you're coming from, I've read quite a bit of these discussions on the various forums looking for the same thing. Ultimately, I went to a workshop.
Not that I know a whole lot more than before (it was one workshop for one day) but I FELT what they're trying to describe. My impression is the model is kinesthetic, not mechanical.

Here's a site that was posted over on AJ some months back that might be of interest to you:
http://www.bullshido.net/modules.php?name=Reviews&file=viewarticle&id=259

eyrie
03-01-2007, 10:58 PM
That's the same article by our very own pretentious young whippersnapper... (hiya Rob!)

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10763&highlight=efficient+martial+movement
and
http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10869&highlight=efficient+martial+movement

Erick Mead
03-01-2007, 11:06 PM
You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu. I never proposed any such thing.

Mike SigmanAhem.
You can see O-Sensei gather slightly and then "release" power in the bounce-away demos that he does. It doesn't need much explanation. You envision some rotational thing... it's pretty easy to see from the obvious "spring" or "bounce" that there has to be a "release" phase to the power. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=165629&postcount=161
I'm saying that an object flying straight through the air came from a more linear device (similar to a pogo-stick) and that the actual power of the device is dependent upon how strong its spring constant is. The "spring constant" has a lot to do with why we train using breathing techniques and exercises like fune kogi undo. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=154901&postcount=79
The idea of "six directions" training, etc., is related to linear/vector directions, not the gyroscopic stability you're talking about. Think of a bead with small bungee strings pulling the bead up, down, forward, back, left, right.http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=153986&postcount=72
... I do place an emphasis on the fascia-related structures. If you go back and look at a number of my caveats, you'll see that I don't believe in the "pure fascia" approach; I tend to believe there's fascia structures but that there's a coupling with muscle, muscle-coordinative sets, and the inclusion of micro-muscles, even to the layers of small skin muscles (like in goose bumps, etc.). The muscle-fascia (like in "muscle-tendon channels") relationships appear to have an autonomous component that "brings the qi where you need it" for either active power or for more passive-response of stiffening an area upon receiving a blow.http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=151931&postcount=13

Tim Fong
03-01-2007, 11:14 PM
Erick

I'll say it again:
you don't do engineering analysis (which is what you are proposing) without gathering data. Numbers. Instruments. Not sterile socratic debate. Not putting forward concepts and saying "I think it works like this, let's prove it with words."

I understand you can do thought experiments in physics, because one of my TAs in undergrad was a theoretical physicist. But his theorizing was not done with words but with a specialized symbolic language developed to work with string theory and so on. We (the students in my section) made the mistake one time of asking the TA about his research. We got a blackboard full of stuff that was sure as hell not just plain English like we're using here.

You mentioned before that you took some What were they if I can ask? Were they science and engineerg classes ? Or intro, phsyics-for-pilots classes? I think these are valid questions to ask you since you invoke the rhetoric of science, so often.

Let me be blunt. All your theorizing is garbage unless you can present either software models or data acquired from live subjects.

Honestly Erick the only person who is really losing out here is you buddy. All the time you waste on your "theories" is time you could be spending training the actual skills you ostensibly want to master.

Frankly, if you had the skills you said you did, you should be able to understand the post I wrote a while back about the connection (and difference) between bujutsu karate and aikido.

Or wing chun and aikido for that matter. It's not the strategy or the moves either.

Actually if you had conditioned your body in the way we're discussing, it should be relatively straight forward for you to do any of the wing chun basics. Because it is a lot simpler than aikido in terms of the number of joints involved. Wing chun isn't even the same as aikido. But they use some of the same concepts. Identical concepts as far as the very, very, very basics goes....just in a different way =)

But...you already know this right?
=)

Mike Sigman
03-01-2007, 11:16 PM
Erick Mead wrote:
You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu.

Again.... I never proposed any such thing. Your examples are about *developments using kokyu*, not the actual basic mechanism of kokyu force. All of my previous posts have made clear that jin is the essence of kokyu, not the store and release of power (a later development). Again, you seem to be missing what is being said.

Mike Sigman

Tim Fong
03-01-2007, 11:31 PM
Erick

You mentioned before that you took some What were they if I can ask? Were they science and engineerg classes ? Or intro, phsyics-for-pilots classes? I think these are valid questions to ask you since you invoke the rhetoric of science, so often.



Edit function timed out. This should read "You mentioned before that you took some physics classes." Sorry. Brain is a little fried from the bar exam.

Erick Mead
03-01-2007, 11:35 PM
Okay, so what about Pranin's translation? .... I'm sure Pranin didn't exactly expect his translation to be taken apart literally to explain aikido mechanics. ... Finally, both the original and the translation have a context, as you note. An interview, in which people asked specific questions, and Ueshiba was addressing those questions. In which O Sensei added in clarification, which I pointed out and you ignored, in Pranins' translation, "...that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. "and in the original ... で相手に逆らわない. I, personally, don't see how you could use that quote in a discussion of baseline skillsets and mechanics without taking it completely out of context, but I'll leave for others to decide for themselves whether you were justified in doing so. Becasue the interviewer's question he was responding to was this, as Pranin gives it :

"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."

Seems pretty contextual to me. You, yourself, unprompted by me gave the same basic push-pull reponse options (as the interviewer did) as your examples of teikou/muteikou.

The entire answer is thus, per Pranin :
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.

TomW
03-01-2007, 11:46 PM
That's the same article by our very own pretentious young whippersnapper... (hiya Rob!)

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10763&highlight=efficient+martial+movement
and
http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10869&highlight=efficient+martial+movement

Thanks, I thought that's who wrote it. Guess I missed those in my reading:crazy:

Erick Mead
03-02-2007, 01:24 AM
I'll say it again: ...
you don't do engineering analysis (which is what you are proposing) without gathering data. ... data acquired from live subjects. Actually, not exactly, but you can figure out that for yourself as such an excellent judge of people. Data .. ... , got that, thanks. All the time you waste on your "theories" is time you could be spending training the actual skills you ostensibly want to master. ...
But...you already know this right?
=) ... Since you said it the first time. "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything." Source that. I explain these ideas and the basis for them not for your benefit or anyone else's but for my own purposes, which you aid admirably. You are more than welcome to take what you will from it, but you are hardly obliged to, nor do you seem to care to, which is equally fine. I'll just keep training and keep doing what I do here, thanks all the same.

Josh Reyer
03-02-2007, 08:11 AM
In which O Sensei added in clarification, which I pointed out and you ignored, in Pranins' translation, "...that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. "and in the original ... で相手に逆らわない.

Well, this is quite ridiculous. Check post #710. I brought up 相手に逆らわない long ago in this discussion, and pointed out that you were ignoring it while focusing on the 徹底した. Furthermore, 相手に逆らわない is not a clarification. で is not a clarifying conjunction, it's a linking conjunction, roughly equivalent to gerund statements in English. A more literal translation would be, "Being a complete principle of non-resistance, (one) does not go against the opponent." Of course, since that is clumsy English, Aikido Journal went with the "that is to say" clause, which you then interpret as clarification. Again proving my point at the impracticality of arguing talking points based on translations. (Incidently, I would translate this using an "as..." clause: "As aikido adheres to a complete principle of non-resistance, we do not oppose the other person." Note that "aikido adheres" and "we" are all subjects not supplied in the original Japanese. Also, "other person" I feel better carries the nuance of "相手 aite", which is used for both opponents and partners.)

Seems pretty contextual to me. You, yourself, unprompted by me gave the same basic push-pull reponse options (as the interviewer did) as your examples of teikou/muteikou.

And why did I do that? To do something Ueshiba never had to do: explain 抵抗 to a non-speaker of Japanese. I used many examples to illustrate 抵抗/無抵抗, you picked out one and suggested "as long as it's not a tug of war". I then provided elaboration. My question is, what does Ueshiba's statements regarding aikido's overall philosophy as opposed to that of judo have to do with your armchair model of what of Mike and others have suggested they are doing?

The entire answer is thus, per Pranin :

And there you go again. You find the answers you want in Pranin's translation, so you have no desire to learn what Ueshiba actually said, and what he meant. What's really crazy is that here I am, giving you Ueshiba's actual words, breaking them down in a way impossible to do in a typical translation, explaining the Japanese, and you keep coming back at me with Pranin's translation, which you have neither the skill, experience, or resources to judge, and interpreting it extremely rigidly, as if Pranin found the perfect words for every idea, for every clause. And that's not the way translation works. No translator, particularly those translating an interview such as this, would say that even their best work is a perfect representation of the original.

The fog is thick. You have to assume that A) Ueshiba expressed himself perfectly in his own language. Can you say that you have always perfectly expressed yourself in English? When writing, let alone talking on the fly in an interview? And then B) that even if Ueshiba said exactly what he meant to say, that there's no room for misunderstanding or divergent interpretations among native speakers. Good luck with that. And then C), that Pranin and Terasawa made a perfect translation, that was somehow an exemplar of both accuracy and readability (even though translation is almost always a compromise between the two) and that somehow the personal filters of the translators were minimized. Not to mention that D) Pranin's Japanese was suitably bad-ass to achieve all of the above. The translation occurred around 1975-1976. In this (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=34) article in Aikido Journal, Pranin states that "I recall clearly that, even though my Japanese language skills were rather limited at that stage, I managed to communicate to Saito Sensei my thoughts on this subject and doubts that his aikido was essentially the same as that of the founder as he claimed." "At that stage" was 1977-1978. Are we looking at a translation prepared by the Pranin we know now, with years of living in Japan and using the language under his belt, or are we in fact looking at a translation largely done by Terasawa with the English polished up and edited by a Pranin with merely basic Japanese skills? (I suspect a trifold process: initial translation done by Pranin, edit for accuracy done by Terasawa, and then an edit for readability by Pranin again.)

In any case, the translation is a nice one, for its purpose. It actually sucks that I'm being forced to point out its inevitable flaws, since it seems to cheapen it and put Stan Pranin in a bad light. Let no one think that he and his team are a bunch of incompetents. The flaws here come with the territory of translation; they are no real reflection on Aikido Journal, and the translation is a fine one, provided one doesn't try to put undue authority in it, as Erick is doing.

So, that's it, Erick. If you want to debate Ueshiba's words, please use Ueshiba's words, and stop bringing up the translation as if it were impeccable.

Dennis Hooker
03-02-2007, 09:08 AM
You know what would be really nice, and I am not being snide here at all, would be for the principles here to provide little video clips demonstrating what they are talking about. Is that possible? I know the technogily is out there because I see clips posted all the time to try and emphases a point. I think they exist on other websites and I don’t know how to do it, or even if Jun would allow it here. I have a little digital camera that takes video clips and I bet most folks here do too. You know the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words. I think that posted here a little video would be worth much more than that. Some folks have the gift of gab and some don’t. We got engineers, scientists, lawyers and others here to whom words come easy and whose descriptions are vivid. Not all here have those skills. I suppose we have people here who are much better at words than deeds. Perhaps video clips done honestly could shed light on some of the murkier concepts.

Anyway its just a thought. :straightf

ChrisMoses
03-02-2007, 09:52 AM
So, that's it, Erick. If you want to debate Ueshiba's words, please use Ueshiba's words, and stop bringing up the translation as if it were impeccable.

This is exactly why in my own attempt to wrap my head around what Ueshiba's Aikido was, I focus more on photos, videos and descriptions by those he trained with. I realize I will never be sure what he was actually getting at, but theses are the tools that I have to work with. I appreciate those who speak Japanese better than I flushing out the subtlety of what was said, but even then I feel we face (at least) two very significant obstacles. 1) He was by all accounts, even to those who studied with him for decades, obtuse and confusing in his verbal explanations. 2) It is impossible to translate from one language to another and not change the meaning of what was said, particularly when many translators bring their own bias into the translation (intentional or not).

And don't even get me started on the doka...

DH
03-02-2007, 10:05 AM
Dennis
Total waste of time
Those on this side of the fence have pointed to videos of men doing this or that to those on the others side-only to have it written off as being their argument.
I prefer what we on this side have been doing. Standing in a room with naysayers from the list and doing it on them. Then asking them to do it to us. Even letting them try to do their Aikido or Judo waza on us. Many of whom have reported back here.
I'll speak only for me. Do I really want to hear Eric, tell me how I'm doing things he is unable to do himself?
No thanks.

The only real equalizer to these skills I know is MMA skills. Other than that it takes someone with equal or better internal skills. But that just proves our argument anyway- that this is a better way to train.:cool: It doesn't matter -who- is better. But that the study of these skills makes you a better you no matter what you do. Aikido, Judo or MMA.
Dan

Pete Rihaczek
03-02-2007, 04:16 PM
At this point there is little to add beyond what's been stated, but I thought I would add another data point. I have a background in a number of different arts including Aikido, and was training BJJ with Rickson Gracie when I started talking to Mike online about his posts on internal skills. As with anyone else, written descriptions of a different way of moving the body didn't allow me to grasp what he was talking about. Since I'm not a teacher and didn't care about the "internal" label one way or another, I didn't filter everything he said with an "I already do that" or "I teach so I should know that" or "I teach but I don't know that so it must not be in the art" bias. Like most martial artists whose primary interest is in what really works, I dismissed Taiji as hippie BS, and had quit Aikido because I was losing any prior practical skills to learn things that simply would not be usable in fighting. In other words I dismissed Aikido as hippie BS too, but based on actual experience. ;)

I filed Mike's comments away under "potentially interesting", and when he finally got around to doing a workshop within a reasonable distance of me I went to meet him and see what he was talking about. I still remember the palm strike he did on me like it was yesterday. ;) Totally different feeling than anything I'd felt before, and I'd trained in or at least felt everything from Aikido to Wing Chun to silat, Muay Thai, Okinawan karate, Kali, Escrima, JKD, and easily spent over a hundred hours rolling with Rickson alone, as well as rolling with other Gracies, Rigan Machado, and lots of other good grapplers. What Mike demonstrated was completely and obviously different, and the difference has nothing whatsoever to do with flow, sensitivity, or other attributes any good external style has. It *is* a different way of using the body, and it really has a "steel wrapped in cotton", "using the weight of the earth" feeling. The hits feel like you got hit by a car, and in general the practitioner feels massively heavier than he is. You feel much more strength and solidity than you would expect, and of course you add to that a practitioner's ability to feel how connected you are in your body and with the ground, and take advantage of that tactically.

Like everyone else who has actually felt this stuff, it was immediately obvious to me that these are the closely guarded "real goods" (how's that instead of "baseline skills" ;) ) of the old masters. Everybody seems to want to say that they have Ki, but the idea that it's predominately a physical skillset as opposed to airy nonsense or deep breathing while you contemplate your navel is one of the most interesting things in the martial arts, if not the most interesting, whether your interest is merely historical or functional. Just like there is a serious, martial Taiji that is sadly mimicked worldwide with what is best described as New Age hippie Tai Chee, Aikido as practiced by the majority of people also has none of the "real goods" in it. This is fascinating news to anyone who isn't already a teacher with an ego vested in being an Aikido bigshot, particularly since more and more information is available openly now than in the past.

Since this is an Aikido list, I'll do a short digression on some specific points I've seen mentioned about Aikido. As I said, IMO most Aikido is martially worthless without the real goods. You can get around that to degree by having a more realistic training methodology, but if you want to walk the path of what Ueshiba could do, you're doing something other than his Aikido if you aren't pursuing the real goods. I don't believe it has anything to do with flow, rotational or otherwise, or non-resistance in the hands-on technical sense of what feeling you present to an opponent. Philosophically, I think Aikido has something over MMA. Training MMA does lead to a mindset to try to defeat the other person, with speed, power, technique, etc. I think of Ueshiba's philosophy in the context of his revelation following his bout with the swordsman, as meaning in a practical sense: "he who attacks should lose". Put a more pedestrian way, it's essentially the role of the counter-puncher. In theory, any attack leaves an opening to be exploited. If you never attack, your opponent is the one incurring the practical risk of being immediately countered by "breaking harmony with the universe". It seems to work well for Chuck Liddell, although he would get penalized for not occasionally pushing the action himself. ;) In MMA you have to attack, in regular life it's your choice (leaving aside the very strong legal disincentives to attacking or using too much force). Ueshiba also said that Aikido is 99% atemi, which is easy to reconcile with this interpretation, and impossible to reconcile with the hippie interpretation of just flowing in the most non-opposing way. This is in fact precisely why I stopped training in Aikido - every single attack done in class, whether a wrist grab or an overly-telegraphed punch, could in reality be countered by a properly timed punch in the face. What's the point of worrying about wristlocks and armlocks, throws and pins? If you can read and hit someone the moment they attack you, you're done. And this skill is better trained in actual sparring arts. That's where you learn the reading and timing to actually do that against a living, breathing, intelligent opponent bent on your defeat. In that sense I view Aikido as a grad-school martial art. Ueshiba had practical fighting skills before coming to his spiritual/philosophical revelation about not being the guy to hit first, and if you train nothing but Aikido, you're not following the same path of development he did, and you're unlikely to be able to emulate him in any real measure. Fighting skills first, then Aikido. And without the "real goods", "baseline skills" foundation he had to draw on, you won't get that part of it either. That's the really interesting part, and the one that nicely works with all the Ki of the universe talk. Instead of just talking philosophy and spiritual mumbo jumbo, you can actually dust somebody with one hand, thereby "proving" the philosophy. ;)

Getting back to that, I could use a pretty simple analogy for the basics of how I think this stuff works, how the body moves, and why, but I'm not going to for a number of reasons. First off it's already been done in a variety of ways, and as much as I like my pet analogies it probably still won't convince someone like Mr. Mead that it really is different. While it would be a benefit for someone with an ability to analyze mechanics to put a high-level practitioner in a sports lab and tell us what's going on, the details are only of academic interest. The real value in doing so would be to help design exercises that train the skills more directly than the traditional methods. Because of the likely origin of this sort of bodywork and its inevitable entrenchment with Asian cosmology and qi theory, there is a lot of both deliberate and inadvertant obfuscation of what's really going on physically. Pointing to your elbow and saying "bring qi here" is actually meaningful if you already know what's going on, and meaningless otherwise. The value of Western analysis would be to cut to the chase, and Mike has done a great deal in this regard already. Another reason is that just by writing so much from total vacuum, someone like Mr. Mead has unequivocally demonstrated that he will never bother to go meet anyone to actually experience what is being discussed. He's put it too much effort to risk what would inevitably happen, namely having to admit that Mike is right. Only people who are curious and are doers will bother to go take a look in person. To a person, everyone who has gone to investigate has come back saying, yup, these guys aren't BSing. By now enough people have piled on with actual experience that all the inexperienced "yeah, but..." bloviating will cease in any sensible person, and talking to the insensible ones isn't...sensible.

Lastly, I don't like taking good information along with the mental effort I may have put into it, and then putting that on an open forum. There are too many jerks and users in the world, and it just rubs me the wrong way to give anything special to people I might not even like if I met them. That's human nature, and probably part of the reason why this stuff isn't well-known, even among many high-ranking people in arts featuring past or present masters with these skills. On the other hand, I see now the wisdom of what Mike has done. Or at least the payoff. ;) For years I marvelled at his patience in participating in forums like this one, dealing with the egos who can't ever really empty their cups and all the rest of it, and it seemed like a waste to endlessly cast pearls before swine, as it were. But now I see that a certain critical mass has been reached. Thanks to people like Akuzawa and Rob John, along with Mike and others...I don't know Dan Harden from anyone, but once you know, the veil is lifted and it's obvious who else knows...there is too much to be able to deny it anymore, and the people who still do without even bothering to check look ridiculous. So many people have gone to meet Mike, or Rob, or Akuzawa, or Dan, or whoever, coming back with universal agreement that these are real, unique skills, that thanks to the communication power of the internet and the archival of search engines, the record is there and the evidence far beyond chance. Moreover, Mike, Rob, and the rest can also now benefit from comparing notes, which brings the level of understanding up for all interested parties. For people who can put their ego aside, these are good times. Mike also has the benefit of years of archived posts he can forever point to to say "I told you so", which is nice. ;) It's also a benefit to people like Akuzawa who actually want to show what they have, and have it appreciated for what it is. Regardless of where I see myself going with this stuff, I would make it a point to attend a seminar by Akuzawa, Chen Xiao Wang, etc, if they come to my area if for nothing other than a show of support for people willing to teach the real stuff. Between that and the pressure from the MMA side, there seems less and less room for people who can talk endlessly but can't really show anything interesting.

gdandscompserv
03-02-2007, 05:45 PM
What do you think about:
"the effects of Ki on the formation of water crystals."
http://www.ryokukai.com/ki_water.htm

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-02-2007, 06:28 PM
Put that way in Asian style language, it is BS. Same with the photos on that page. If there is anything there other than a marketing attempt to attract sponsors, I cannot see it.

gdandscompserv
03-02-2007, 08:03 PM
I've decided that my son and I are going to Aikido-Ai's annual Memorial Weekend Retreat at Mt. Baldy.
So I started to research some of the sensei's.
Teja Bell sensei looks like he might have some interesting stuff to teach about the "internal" arts.
http://www.puretimespace.com/tejabio.html

Mike Sigman
03-02-2007, 08:14 PM
I'm assuming Jun will move "The Ricky Wood Thread" somewhere suitable.

Erick Mead
03-02-2007, 08:29 PM
... as much as I like my pet analogies it probably still won't convince someone like Mr. Mead that it really is different. Try me. :) ... Another reason is that just by writing so much from total vacuum, someone like Mr. Mead has unequivocally demonstrated that he will never bother to go meet anyone to actually experience what is being discussed. He's put it too much effort to risk what would inevitably happen, namely having to admit that Mike is right. Only people who are curious and are doers will bother to go take a look in person. So nice to be fairly judged on the apparently indispensable basis of personal knowledge. ;)
To a person, everyone who has gone to investigate has come back saying, yup, these guys aren't BSing. Apparently, you have the privilege of judging my ideas and observations without meeting me, but I do not have the same privilege. For the record, I have not said these guys are "BS-ing" or misrepresenting their abilities at all. I do not believe they have (or want) a proper mechanical understanding of what they are actually doing when they do it. That is a perfectly valid approach.

That does not make them wrong or lacking in competence. They only lack, as you do, a desire or interest in comprehending what we commonly describe as kokyu ho or kokyu ryoku from this perspective. I'll happily admit Mike is right and I am wrong on the mechanics if he wanted to describe a different physical mechanism that explains things more comprehensively, or that makes mine inadmissible. I'd gladly steal his ideas in that case, with no shame or ego lost. He doesn't, Dan doesn't -- and that is fine. I do.

DH
03-02-2007, 08:35 PM
Pete
Nice post and thanks for taking the time. We don't worry much about Eric or really any of the naysayers anymore. As I have mentioned here before the number of men who have felt the three of us and reported back the same or very similar experiences is just inescapable. Trust me when I tell you these men are as unconcerned about the naysayers as can be. I have a whole crew of guys driving from all over to train tomm. They are simply not concerned with their ego's or their training having been bereft of these skills. They need no convincing whatsoever. They are simply going to do the bodywork and fix it. And be the better for it.

It should be a fun 5 years or so, even better... a decade. In the fullness of time, these men, trained with these basics will be out among the AIkido and Judo community, raising the bar for everyone else.
So you are right in that these can be good times for those intent on research. And although I was saying all this on the Aikido list years ago it really was Mike and his constant prodding who dragged my sorry ass out into the open. So there is a measure of thanks due him for his efforts.

Your comments about MMA are true enough on many levels but those of us who were doing our own form of MMA for years, mixing Greco Roman, Judo and Muay Tai weren't doing it with rules in mind- just excellent fighting and research. I don't see any technical or tactical superiority in Aikido as a "grad school" (your quote) In fact all things being equal and were I in agreement with your point -I would be looking at Daito ryu to fulfill -that- role over Aikido. Did you really find Rickson's skills that much beneath Aikido that it would be a grad-school over his skills? As it is I see MMA as a great equalizer over many methods. Further-MMA with internal training? All the better.
You didn't mention whether or not you were going to pursue these skills in your MMA training.
Again great post and thanks
Dan

mjchip
03-02-2007, 10:22 PM
I have a whole crew of guys driving from all over to train tomm. They are simply not concerned with their ego's or their training having been bereft of these skills. They need no convincing whatsoever. They are simply going to do the bodywork and fix it. And be the better for it. Dan

Some words my teacher once shared with me:

"Don't be stuck in a single way. Many people [of all levels] around you have things that you need. Look carefully at yourself, find the holes [in your skill set] and work on filling them."

As I'm no longer regularly exposed to my teacher, these words have an even greater relevance to me. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the body skills that are being discussed here, that I've felt with my own body, will "fill some holes" in my training that might have remained void for years and possibly even decades to come. This stuff is not an additive to good aikido......this stuff, in my humble opinion, IS good aikido or at the very least a proper foundation for good aikido.

I can't wait to train some more!

Mark

Mike Sigman
03-02-2007, 10:41 PM
I'll happily admit Mike is right and I am wrong on the mechanics if he wanted to describe a different physical mechanism that explains things more comprehensively, or that makes mine inadmissible. I'd gladly steal his ideas in that case, with no shame or ego lost. He doesn't, Actually, I did some fairly detailed and technical breakdowns, insofar as my understanding went, some years ago on the old Neijia List, Erick. However, the point I've made a few times is that I don't feel constrained to do more than give people an idea of the general picture anymore.... mainly because until someone gets a feel of what is happening, they simply can't get it. So all the complex descriptions I've done over the years have generally been for naught. You're the one who has been interested in detailed analyses.... frankly, the more I learn about these things, the more complex the picture gets and the less likely it seems that simplistic analyses are appropriate.

Besides, if I did explain it adequately, you'd just steal it. ;)

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
03-03-2007, 04:50 AM
Good post Pete. It helped me tremendously in my understanding and perspective.

I am really looking forward to the opportunity to study with one or all of these guys as soon as I can.

I have debated and tried to find the holes in this and all that.

However, on a base level, when I have a number of people that I know and respect come back on here, PM me, and say nothing negative and that it is what they say it is.....I have to accept it, even without empircal evidence and at least say: "you have my attention".

So, at this point, for me, I am now in "recieve" mode as it seems pointless to debate and argue further without my own set of experiences to understand it.

I personally only care about the mental/congitive level of understanding only so far as it helps me physically interpret things. Lets face it, martial arts is all about a physical, intuitive response.

We can understand it mentally and cognitively all we want to, however if we cannot translate it into a physcial demonstration then we have nothing.

I run into this all the time with Sr Officers that don't want to go to my training class prior to going down range. they look at the syllabus and say "M16/M4...okay I already know all about it, I don't need this training!"

So I throw the weapon out them and then say...okay sir..then show me how to load, clear and reduce stoppage with your eyes closed in the next 5 seconds...GO!".

They typically sheepishly look at me and say...okay...I will be there on monday.

There is a huge difference between cognitive understanding and intrinsic/intuitive understanding.

Like you and Dan kinda say. Aikido is like grad school. All theory and no practical experience...an excercise in the mental....but yet how many can actually translate that into a spontaneous physical response without having parameters and constraints placed around their skill in the dojo enviornment.

I am not talking street fighitng, simply a deeper understanding of the physical and the ability to control and respond and adapt.

Thanks again, for the wonderful post.

DH
03-03-2007, 07:43 AM
Hi Kevin
You'll have a blast with these skills. Pete is like you and me in that he likes to grapple. Rob is just getting started looking down that road as well. These skills work well in that venue too. You know I always argue on two fronts, internal skills and MMA. The reason I do is that it has been my experience that conventional MAers just can't overcome somone with these skills. But MMA is the great equalizer. Add the two...Internal skills and MMA? Booya!!.
I've also gone on record in that many martial artist are ignorant of how aware many grapplers are of body skills, use and application. Even in my younger days we would give many traditional MA'ers a wake up call- about wieght distribution, relaxation, quandrenting and seperation of mass, even the simple act of stretching through lock attempts.
For this reason I cannot help but address "Basline skills" without bringing up grappling and/or MMA. The fundentals of a good grappler, the experience in dealing with all out resistence will give anyone greater AIkido or DR skills.

A baseline skill set of Internal training and MMA is a formidibale combination.

As for the reports you are getting back. I am hopeful that they continue to be postive, at least in regards to Mike, Rob and me. Most sharp guys will learn from anyone. You don't have to like the guy who's got the stuff-you just train and get what you can. But it sure does help if the chap your learning from is affible and even funny. Budo is hard work, ya might as well have fun while you're doing it.

While we're on that subject. I've not much cared for the stuffy formal atmosphere I've found in AIkido dojo-giviing it an almost relogous flair. I've allways been more comfortable with the relaxed humor, sweat and confidance of capabe men. Odd that in the severl Koryu I have experienced ALL of them were faaaaar less formal than any single Aikido dojo I've been in {just in my experience}
By the early 90' I adoptyed a phrase from all these Aiki bow and scrape'ers
"In lue of substance
you frequently find formality."

Last thought
Remember, this stuff builds your body, instead of breaking it down. So there is an added benefit of strength and conditioning into your old age. There was a reason thst Takeda was so strong in his 80's. And Sagawa was tossing gold medal Judoka in his 70's. I met a Taiji guy who was 70 who was a freaking powerhouse of a guy. WIth a spirit as big as the outdoors. Hell of a way to grow old if you ask me. All around me I see broken down, overwheight, old men who often got "wrecked" from budo. I have my eye on a pleasant old age.
Cheers
Dan

DH
03-03-2007, 07:54 AM
This stuff is not an additive to good aikido......this stuff, in my humble opinion, IS good aikido or at the very least a proper foundation for good aikido.
Mark
Not to be a nidge.
But this stuff is the basis of DR and it is the Basis for his Aikido.
Now that you felt it- is it any wonder Ueshiba said "Takeda opened my eyes to true budo!"
So the only fine point I would add is
its not really a "proper foundation for AIkido."
It...IS....Aiki....do.
The way of Aiki, is no way....without aiki. Otherwise it's just another pretzel-logic game. And not a very good one either.
These skills are the engine that drove it and gave it it's power.

See ya soon
Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
03-03-2007, 08:21 AM
Thanks for the reply Dan.

I think you and I might put slightly different priorities and perspective on various aspects of things.

Not that we disagree of the validity of anything, just emphasis/priority.

I am glad you explained a little more in detail what you mean by MMA skills. I don't really label anything as MMA skills. There is MMA training, which to me, means an elimination of the various paradigms and walls typically associated with traditional study. Sort of in line with JKD philosophy.

To me skills are skills. To me there are a few different categories of types of skills. Ones that rely on correct alignment and an understanding of core principles. Then there are the ones that require strength. Apparently there are a third set that you all talk about, but I tend to lump into the core category.

I understand where you are coming from on the whole formality thing. I had this very conversation with a high ranking aikidoka last year and he did admit that the japaneseness does tend to get in the way some. that is the culture of politeness, respect (in the traditional sense, not in personal respect).

That said, I don't put a lot of thought into this. I like to train and just try and do my thing.

as far as realitive value concerning a 70 year old doing this stuff. I believe I will find value...but what is the realitive value? I don't know...but I don't think we agree on this.

IMM, if it was that important, we'd see 70 year olds trashing these young MMA guys every now and then, and we don't.

Thanks Dan.

Lee Salzman
03-03-2007, 09:14 AM
To me skills are skills. To me there are a few different categories of types of skills. Ones that rely on correct alignment and an understanding of core principles. Then there are the ones that require strength. Apparently there are a third set that you all talk about, but I tend to lump into the core category

How about... correctly aligned strength (the "third set")? Strength is poo-poo'd a lot, but its everything under the sun between your mind, your muscles, and the signal routes between them. What happens if you spend as much time as many people spend on their aikido... perfecting those routes?

Mike Sigman
03-03-2007, 09:25 AM
IMM, if it was that important, we'd see 70 year olds trashing these young MMA guys every now and then, and we don't. Do we see 70-year-old MMA guys trashing young any-kind skilled martial artists? No? Then MMA must be completely useless. ;)

A good story from the Oral History of Chen Village (Chenjiagou):
There was a story about Chen Jingbo going around Chenjiagou during the Qianlong years in which he was said to have killed "the Black Fox Tiger" . That morning in the eastern part of the town of Wenxian, in front of the temple at Guantaishan, a martial artist who went by the nickname Black Fox Tiger set up a place to perform with his weapons. Soon many people gathered round to watch the show. More and more people came as he whipped around his three-section staff making the air whistle. Then, using his feet, he kicked two swords into the air which he then caught with his hands. He slapped the swords twice, and then spoke: "Hello everyone, I have long heard of your honored land which is known as a fighting village, and has a reputation far and wide for its martial arts. Because of its fame I have come a long way in order to learn these arts. However, I have one requirement before bowing to a teacher."
He then pointed to a bowl of water on the ground and said: "When these swords start moving, nothing can get by them. Whoever can splash a drop of water from this bowl onto me, to him I am willing to bow before as my teacher." Saying this, he flourished his swords, coiling them around his body with a whoosh and a whirl. In the crowd was an old nightsoil collector from Chenjiagou by the name of Chen Jingbo. Standing at the outer edge of the throng, he was carrying a bucket of nightsoil and wearing an old tattered straw hat.
Chen Jingbo did not care for Black Fox Tiger's fierce, arrogant posturing. Then just as Black Fox Tiger was performing again with the sword, Chen grabbed an old rag, stepped quickly forward, stretched out his arm and placed his hat right on the head of Black Fox Tiger. He then turned and walked away. Knowing from this that Chne Jingbo was of a high level, "Black Fox Tiger" dropped his swords and chased after Chen Jingbo calling him 'Master' and kneeling down to kowtow. Chen Jingbo quickly pulled him up and admonished him, "Accomplished ones are not wild; the wild are not accomplished. Those who practise martial arts value sincerity and should not blow their own horn." Black Fox Tiger said yes, but inside he would not acknowledge defeat. When they parted he said to Chen Jingbo, "See you in three years."

In the blink of an eye three years had passed and Chen Jingbo was already an old man of eighty. Little did he know that in these three years Black Fox Tiger had been busy searching out famous teachers, and his gungfu had progressed considerably. One day Black Fox Tiger made a special visit to Chenjiagou to avenge his public humiliation. Upon hearing that Chen Jingbo had gone to a neighboring village to collect nightsoil, he headed west to meet up with him. He saw Jingbo approaching to the west of Changyang Monastery carrying his nightsoil, and went to head him off.
Chen Jingbo had totally forgotten the lesson he had given to Black Fox Tiger, and thinking this man wanted to know the way, asked: "Where are you going? Who are you looking for?" Black Fox Tiger answered, "Don't play dumb. I came here to find you. Let's go! I will tell you when we get to the temple." When the two entered the temple, Black Fox Tiger bolted the door and put a stone tablet against the door to secure it. He then turned to Chen and said, "Can you remember three years ago at the east of town you embarrassed me, Black Fox Tiger, in f ront of a crowd of people? Today I have come here to see who is better, and don't even think of leaving until you have given me satisfaction." Hearing this, everything suddenly became clear to Chen who then clasped his hands in front of his chest in salute, "That time I gave you honest advice because we are both martial artists. I had no intention of embarrassing you. Measuring one's level against others should be for the improvement of skill, and should not be done in anger or to injure. I am a withered old man of eighty, what kind of challenge am I for you?" Not waiting for Chen to finish speaking, Black Fox Tiger shouted harshly, " Quit wasting your breath! I vow to avenge my public humiliation; otherwise I cannot consider myself a man!" He then immediately attacked Chen Jingbo with three moves in quick succession: 'hungry tiger pounces on prey', 'ferocious tiger rips out the heart', and 'black tiger goes for the groin', all of which were avoided by Chen. For his fourth move, Black Fox Tiger went for a lethal throat hold with the intention of killing him. Chen Jingbo at that point lost his temper and said heatedly, 'I have taken three attacks from you, and we can consider that you have won. You are not satisfied with regaining your lost face? You can only push me so far.' Black Fox Tiger at that moment was incapable of listening to reason. His hands were already near the throat of Chen who, although slow to speak was swift just then; the only thing seen was Chen turning his body and issuing a shake which resulted in his shoulder striking the chest of Black Fox Tiger and sending him flying two meters high through the air. Black Fox Tiger cried out at the impact, and then his head crashed into the stone tablet which was leaning against the door, breaking the tablet in two, and his brains spilled onto the floor where he died.
Chen Jingbo was an old man of eighty, after all, and was not up to such exertions. Upon his return home he became ill, and within a few days passed away. Thus there is the story told in Chenjiagou down to the present of beating Black Fox Tiger to death, Chen Jingbo was exhausted to death.

Pete Rihaczek
03-03-2007, 11:33 AM
I do not believe they have (or want) a proper mechanical understanding of what they are actually doing when they do it....
That does not make them wrong or lacking in competence. They only lack, as you do, a desire or interest in comprehending what we commonly describe as kokyu ho or kokyu ryoku from this perspective.

And what you are doing, and fooling no one in the process, is attempting to equate your skill and knowledge with theirs. You can't provide a mechanical understanding, proper or not, of something they're doing when you don't know what they're doing or how to do it. You're trying to whitewash any difference between what you know and what they know, as if you have any idea what they know. It's ridiculous.

I won't give you another analogy of how things may work, but I will give you an analogy. You're like a miniature golfer who gets on a forum where Tiger Woods is trying to describe what he does to drive a golf ball halfway to the moon, and you have the nerve to insert yourself in the discussion via nitpicking his mechanical descriptions of how he achieves his results. In doing so you implicitly posture as if you can actually do what he does; no normal person would have the nerve to do that unless he were at a similar level of ability. And somehow the assembled golf enthusiasts who want to improve their game aren't supposed to notice this cry for attention.

Now analogies being what they are are never perfect, and Mike would be the first to admit he isn't in the Tiger Woods class of internal artists...but you get the idea. If you can't do what Rob, Mike, Dan, Akuzawa, etc. do, and you're all about trying to display superior knowledge of physics, it looks like a little kid going "me too me too!" and fooling no one. Apparently people are supposed to be impressed, instead of noticing you're three feet tall with peanut butter all over your face. ;)

Pete Rihaczek
03-03-2007, 12:18 PM
Your comments about MMA are true enough on many levels but those of us who were doing our own form of MMA for years, mixing Greco Roman, Judo and Muay Tai weren't doing it with rules in mind- just excellent fighting and research. I don't see any technical or tactical superiority in Aikido as a "grad school" (your quote) In fact all things being equal and were I in agreement with your point -I would be looking at Daito ryu to fulfill -that- role over Aikido. Did you really find Rickson's skills that much beneath Aikido that it would be a grad-school over his skills? As it is I see MMA as a great equalizer over many methods. Further-MMA with internal training? All the better.
You didn't mention whether or not you were going to pursue these skills in your MMA training.
Again great post and thanks
Dan

Hi Dan, and thanks. I have no concern about naysayers either, I just find it amusing. The sensible people who will go take a look are the ones worth reaching, the naysayers just keep the conversation rolling, and build up the archives with a body of work that will haunt them later. ;)

Analogies are never perfect, the "grad school" quote was to say that you probably won't learn to fight with Aikido, unless you could fight before studying Aikido. I suppose that could be read as, "Aikido and a quarter will buy you a cup of coffee". ;) In one sense I'd be hard pressed to argue against that. If you can fight, why bother doing Aikido at all? Maybe it's a good art to play with when you're too old to have a fighting career, and you want to work on your body skills in an easy way. Even then the typical Aikido class would be suboptimal, you'd need a group of guys with the real goods to make it worthwhile. It's a good question. Ueshiba took a certain path to get to what he had, and came to a point where it physically, philosophically, and spiritually gelled into something he liked. Perhaps the only way to get to a similar place nowadays is to follow a similar path, but using modern techniques combined with the body skills.

As you say, in light of modern MMA techniques, the technique arsenal of Aikido, the actual locks and whatnot, is totally inadequate. The information age has created a situation that old arts didn't face, which is ability to rapidly cross train and assimilate techniques. I am of course referring to technique in the external sense, divorced from body mechanics. The technical syllabus of Aikido doesn't address MMA at all, and that's no fault of Ueshiba.

Long story short, I'm in complete agreement with you, and I think Mike and others, that it's the body skills that count. I hadn't thought about it that deliberately because I was trying to throw Aikido a bone so to speak, but in the course of writing this response it's obviously correct...take what you can find of the body skills, and apply it to the modern technical syllabus. That renders Aikido completely useless except in the rare case that you could find a master with the real goods, so that you can improve some bodyskill aspect. Unless of course you're just in love with the actual technique of Aikido, which is a personal choice. For me, what is fascinating about the martial arts is that they are all clever methods created to solve an intractable problem, namely how to win against another intelligent being doing his best to beat you. The body skills, which I suspect originally derive from spear and other heavy weapons work, is one of the most clever and therefore secretive approaches.

To answer your other questions, no, there is nothing Rickson needs from Aikido technique, you can trust me on that one. ;) I've also talked a bit to Rob about how Akuzawa's stuff applies to grappling, though as always I can't expect it to click until I actually get the chance to feel it. I do think internal skills could add to MMA both in general and specific ways, though that is a whole other discussion. It also forces the need to find faster ways to incorporate the skills than what the traditional decades-long training methods provide, and that's also a good thing. Fighting is for the young (with rare exceptions like Randy Couture, who I hope against hope will beat the tough-but-boring Tim Sylvia tonight), and I have no MMA aspirations at my point in life. I'll be happy to learn what I can and pass it on in what measure I can. At some point even the most skilled person is better as a coach than a competitor. Besides, it's just so much easier to sit on the couch with a beer and watch it on TV. ;)

Pete Rihaczek
03-03-2007, 12:47 PM
Good post Pete. It helped me tremendously in my understanding and perspective.

I am really looking forward to the opportunity to study with one or all of these guys as soon as I can.

I have debated and tried to find the holes in this and all that.

However, on a base level, when I have a number of people that I know and respect come back on here, PM me, and say nothing negative and that it is what they say it is.....I have to accept it, even without empircal evidence and at least say: "you have my attention".

So, at this point, for me, I am now in "recieve" mode as it seems pointless to debate and argue further without my own set of experiences to understand it.


Hi Kevin, thanks. Well, this marks you as sensible, as opposed to some others that I don't want to keep picking on. ;) This is the attitude I had when confronted with the idea that there are skills I had no clue about no matter how many years I had in different arts. I think it's the only logical way to approach it - just mark it down as interesting, and go check it out when you can. Typically the less ego you have, the more people are willing to show you things and the more you can learn. Some people are frightened by the idea that they can do something for years, and then meet someone that totally erases their prior perspective. A lot of people reacted that way to BJJ at first, for example. On the other hand you have the people who relish that opportunity because they know that's pure gold. How lucky was I to have Rickson personally kick my ass over and over again? That regular access will likely never come again. Those are the encounters and the things that allow you to increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge. Some people aren't interested in depth, they may only want to have a belt and students, or whatever, and will resist any change to the death. Ultimately it comes down to personality, interests, maturity, and other personal facets. Trust me, when you check it out you will like it. ;) And it will also be immediately obvious what each side means in all the discussions where people are talking past each other, and you will have no more success in explaining things in writing to those who haven't felt it than anybody else does. And that's OK. :)

Josh Reyer
03-03-2007, 01:12 PM
IMM, if it was that important, we'd see 70 year olds trashing these young MMA guys every now and then, and we don't.
Would we? Let us put a young MMA guy up against a 70 year old catch wrestler/judo player. I think it's generally agreeable that the 70 year old is going to get thrashed in short order, possibly seriously hurt. But what if the 70 year old fellow had internal skills? Has anyone seriously suggested he would then thrash young guys? Again, I think it's generally agreeable that he'd get thrashed, but perhaps not in short order. Maybe he puts on a good show, and makes the young guy sweat a little, instead of the massacre our first hypothetical fight is. It's a wide spectrum. We don't have to adopt hard A = B or A \= B stances.

Kevin Leavitt
03-03-2007, 05:04 PM
No, the only reason I even bring this up is to address the realitive value of these skills as compared to other skills. I don't doubt that they may be helpful.

gdandscompserv
03-03-2007, 07:51 PM
I'm assuming Jun will move "The Ricky Wood Thread" somewhere suitable.
Or not.:D

Erick Mead
03-03-2007, 10:45 PM
And what you are doing, and fooling no one in the process, is attempting to equate your skill and knowledge with theirs. ... ...you're all about trying to display superior knowledge of physics, it looks like a little kid going "me too me too!" and fooling no one. Apparently people are supposed to be impressed, instead of noticing you're three feet tall with peanut butter all over your face. ;) 'There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, "Do trousers matter?"'
‘The mood will pass, sir.'

P.G. Wodehouse.

DH
03-03-2007, 11:48 PM
Delete

DH
03-03-2007, 11:49 PM
Hey Pete!!!!

There ya go
MMA....as grad school...........at 43.
And no career injuries!

What do we say about sooooo many 30 and 40 somethings in Aikido with so many injuries? Aikido is more harmful to your body!
I wonder why?:D
We need Ukemi... why again?
Seems baseline skills should include...actually...fighting back.
Now there's a thought.
Who was the guy who advocated full-resistence as a different and far safer body dynamic in ukemi?

A whimpy 51 yr old
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
03-04-2007, 02:20 AM
I am feeling better than I ever had a 41. I thought BJJ/MMA would be harder on my body than aikido. It is the exact opposite!

I have a bad back from jumping out of airplanes. I cannot run the long distances that I used to do, I have to take care of myself. I have arthritis in my major joints. (all the good stuff a 41 year old infantryman typically has!)

I can roll and do BJJ and MMA all day long...minus the breakfalls and "high techniques".

Aikido is a killer in this department! I am concerned when I get back to training in it full time this summer. I will definitely be taking it much easier than I used to when it comes to falls and rolls!

I will typically "ride" nage to the ground easing the fall. I think you can practice things very gently without resulting to huge leaps and rolls. Once contact is made, given correct balance, posture, and alignment....and giving nage the little bit that he needs to actually eploit the advantage slightly, I think you can still do the techniques without all the hype.

DH
03-04-2007, 08:01 AM
I should have stated I was responding to Petes comment about Randy. More specifically about the heavywheight match of Randy "the natural" Couture who won hos 5 th championship against a 6' 8" 285lb very tough fighter.
he was 30, Randy..... 43.

What I also addresssing was that MMA skills-grappling specifically-while much more able and violent, is far safer on your body. These skills combined with internal skills (the base line skills of all aiki arts) are safer still in that most men, anywhere, will simply not able to handle you. And mores the point- you will be able to defend yourself without needing to cause harm. Thus actuating Ueshiba's vision.
Needing to do do ukemi the way you do (which breaks down the body) isn't necessary, nether is the antics of a few famous Aikido teachers who just simply abuse their students all in trying to "appear" more martial.
The skills you should be pursuing-the internal aspects that allow aiki to really happen-are powerful for Aikido on two fronts.
To allow you to actually BE more martially effective.
And to stop, stymie and frustrate the attacks of others without harming them.
Starting with the "techniques" of your own art and then going up to more intense techniques of others from there. These basline skills will exponentially increase your power and abilities, and you donlt have to get hurt learning them

In retrospect I've still not seen any mention of a "basic skills" that are in "Aikido" that are their equal.

Cheers
Dan

mjchip
03-04-2007, 08:22 AM
I will typically "ride" nage to the ground easing the fall. I think you can practice things very gently without resulting to huge leaps and rolls. Once contact is made, given correct balance, posture, and alignment....and giving nage the little bit that he needs to actually eploit the advantage slightly, I think you can still do the techniques without all the hype.

This sounds like really good *aikido* ukemi to me. I wouldn't be concerned at all and you wouldn't be the only one doing that.

Mark

DH
03-04-2007, 08:43 AM
This sounds like really good *aikido* ukemi to me. I wouldn't be concerned at all and you wouldn't be the only one doing that.

Mark

This is interesting.
Where and by who would it be excepted as "good" Aikido?
For that matter considering how many decry their Aikido is different from this or that Aikido-just how much deviation is tolerated before it is no longer recognized as Aikido? And By whom?
In light of the aikikai's loose position that they are the true Aikido of Ueshiba (which if they really wanted to be traditional is actually Ueshiba-ha Daito ryu) who can accept or deny "standards?"
Are there any?
Is Ueshiba's admonission that "Everyone must pursue their own Aikido."
Anything more than just words? Did he in fact know what he was talking about and his words or vision have been proscripted by his heirs?
Cheers
Dan

mjchip
03-04-2007, 09:09 AM
Where and by who would it be excepted as "good" Aikido?
For that matter considering how many decry their aikido is different from this or that Aikido-just how much deviation is tolerated before it is no longer recognized as Aikido? And By whom?
In light of the aikikai's loose position that they are the true Aikido of Ueshiba (which if they really wanted to be traditional is actually Ueshiba-ha Daito ryu) who can accept or deny "standards?"
Are there any?
Cheers
Dan

Not to be a "nidge" :) (BTW, that the heck is a "nidge"), what I said was "good *aikido* ukemi" and not "good *aikido*". The reason I said *aikido* ukemi is because I wanted to emphasize that I was taking about ukemi in the traditional aikido training paradigm.

To answer your question, where and who? I was giving my personal opinion of what I feel would be good ukemi within the training paradigm as we practice in the Birankai. To me that means being centered, connected, sensitive, and alive, attacking with commitment, receiving and absorbing nage's power and controlling ones own body throughout the encounter.

Rarely will you see us take big unnecessary falls. We try to connect and remain connected until it is no longer possible. We typically receive power right up to the point where we lose our balance and then we fall but we don't bail, jump, fly, etc.. In general it looks sort of like what Kevin was describing. I just realized that I suck at writing......

Mark

Mike Sigman
03-04-2007, 09:10 AM
One of the interesting books that I like (apologies, I know I've mentioned it before) is Koichi Tohei's "This is Aikido". One of the really interesting things is that this book was published while Tohei was the head instructor for Aikido and Ueshiba was still alive as his boss. The split from Aikido by Tohei had not happened yet.

So this book lays out a lot about the "baseline skills". In fact, there are numerous illustrations of Tohei checking uke's posture for static kokyu power in this book. The same static illustrations that Ueshiba Sensei would use in demo's.

Now no traditional head of an organization would have blatantly published a book that contained material different from what the living founder espoused and did himself. So that book is a good base-point from which to judge a lot of what is correct in Aikido. Discussions about techiques, ukemi, and kokyu power can probably be argued much more easily from the perspective of the very strongly-established base-point of information and resource.

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
03-04-2007, 09:24 AM
Not to be a "nidge" :) (BTW, that the heck is a "nidge"),

http://www.asinine.com/essays/yiddish.html
:rolleyes: Scroll down to "nudge" (pronounced "nudzh" or "noodj")

DH
03-04-2007, 09:32 AM
I wanted to emphasize that I was taking about ukemi in the traditional aikido training paradigm.

To answer your question, where and who? I was giving my personal opinion of what I feel would be good ukemi within the training paradigm as we practice in the Birankai. To me that means being centered, connected, sensitive, and alive, attacking with commitment, receiving and absorbing nage's power and controlling ones own body throughout the encounter. This sounded to me like what Kevin was describing.

Mark
HI Mark.
Cady corrected my spelling.....hasty hasty. What is spell check and what does it do?

I'll let Kevin speak for himself.
To me it sounded like he was making a comparison to grappling skills and his concern of how it would be to go back and do aikido ukemi.
Whether or not his point it raised questions of interest to me
Grappling skills like; bringing the opponent into his guard, dragging him, etc. VS the traditional Ukemi you were talking about.
I was carrying that forward- not changing the subject per se- and expanding on that to an obvious conclusion that is not often thought through to it logical end.
Were he to start doing the active-response as in grappling.
1. The "ukemi" would be different....yes agreed.
2. It would seriously alter and change the way Nage would have to respond.
3. At a point -depending on a grapplers skill level-the interchange- energy exchange for want of a better term- would look so drastically different that it would start to look VERY different from Aikido.
4. At what point is it "perceived" as no longer Aikido? By whom?
A point which Kevin Addressed when he talked about being concerned when he returned to Aikido in the summer.

So do we Kevin now allowed to freely express -HIS- Aikido?
In line with Ueshiba's mandate?
What would it look like?
Who would/could judge?
At what point would he be allowed to express, stand alone, or...be asked to leave?

Again I argue on two fronts
1. I think my discussions of active resistent Ukemi, taken to their logical conclusions, lead to some very difficult paradigms for your average Aikidoka in facing MMA- the great equalizer.
2. I think the base line internal skills offer the single greatest edge to what has largely become a rather empty shell of DR waza.

Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
03-04-2007, 10:36 AM
I noticed last summer when I was back at my dojo that my ukemi had actually gotten much better from my grappling/bjj experience. I tended to follow through a little more and stay with nage a little more actively than I might have in the past.

Ironically I think I have gotten a a little softer and controlled with my ukemi (at least I hope so).

Mike Sigman probably can comment on the Ukemi at Aikido of Northern VA since he worked with a bunch of those guys there.

We (or I at least), try and be fairly alive and active throughout ukemi to the point of totaly dominance and control, if you don't get it, then I am coming back up again for the next round.

That said, we don't beat up those of less skill, but work with them, and yes, sometimes it involves guiding them through the dynamic and "letting them experience".

I think Mark has it about right as you can on a forum.

One thing that will be difficult I think is shomenuchi and yokomenuchi techniques for me. (always caused me problems). These are very challenging as you form the relationship from way far out and there is sooo much that is assumed (or not) about uke/nage relationship leading up until the point of impact/commital. In many ways shomen/yokomen do require you to move big, at least move your feet in a big way to the correct position.

THEN you have to transistion to the touch/hands on phase that physically influences the situation!

Lots of opportunity, lots of room for failure :)

DH
03-04-2007, 11:31 AM
We (or I at least), try and be fairly alive and active throughout ukemi to the point of totaly dominance and control, if you don't get it, then I am coming back up again for the next round.

That said, we don't beat up those of less skill, but work with them, and yes, sometimes it involves guiding them through the dynamic and "letting them experience".

Now thats interesting. So your Ukes can keep attacking back if nage- as you say- "doesn't get it?"
So were someone to be Uke and just stand there and stop everything Nage does and then turns the tables on nage and "gently guides nage through a dynamic to let him experience... Aiki power....
That it is allowed and even admired?

Were a person to do so and stop everyone in the dojo from doing anything in the Aikido syllabus..And remain on their feet and sound, what does that mean?
What would that person be doing?
Can you give it a name?


One thing that will be difficult I think is shomenuchi and yokomenuchi techniques for me. (always caused me problems). These are very challenging as you form the relationship from way far out and there is sooo much that is assumed (or not) about uke/nage relationship leading up until the point of impact/commital. In many ways shomen/yokomen do require you to move big, at least move your feet in a big way to the correct position.
Why?
It seems to me that someone of reasonable skill in "Aiki" wouldn't need to move their feet to make "bigger" motionsl. Their uke would.
May I ask-why do you need to move in big leg motions to "make a connection?"
What on earth are you moving around for?
Perhaps we haven't been talking about the same thing after all.
I've been talking about Aiki. Perhaps levels of which are not openly known.

Cheers
Dan

Pete Rihaczek
03-04-2007, 12:19 PM
Hey Pete!!!!

There ya go
MMA....as grad school...........at 43.
And no career injuries!

What do we say about sooooo many 30 and 40 somethings in Aikido with so many injuries? Aikido is more harmful to your body!
I wonder why?:D
We need Ukemi... why again?
Seems baseline skills should include...actually...fighting back.
Now there's a thought.
Who was the guy who advocated full-resistence as a different and far safer body dynamic in ukemi?

A whimpy 51 yr old
Dan

Funny you mention that, the only serious injury I've ever incurred was from taking ukemi in Aikido class. Took years to recover and my shoulder will probably never be the same. Definitely wasn't worth it from a martial perspective.

My complaint about BJJ and MMA nowadays though is that as you get older, your body doesn't recover as quickly, and going through deathmatches with 20-somethings on steroids who can bench press a car tends to get old. It's unnecessary and even counterproductive to train that hard, but unless you can choose your training partners that's what you have to deal with in typical group classes. But, the point is that Aikido forces you to take a substantial injury risk for little to no martial payoff.

Kevin Leavitt
03-04-2007, 01:18 PM
Dan, I think you are getting over analytical about all this.

Have you actually worked in an Aikido dojo for any length of time??? If so, it would seem you would understand the dynamic that is present in that methodology and learning environment.

I will kinda paint myself into a corner a little bit here and be over stereotypical...so keep this in mind as I proceed.

In my experiences, aikido tends to isolate out much of the static that we tend to call aliveness and sets up a controlled set of parameters that offer only very few variables in which to correctly learn some of the basics such as body alignment, movement, space, timing in realationship to each other.

Attacks are technically and tactically correct albeit the speed, although they are somewhat modified for training. (shomen/yokomen uchi).

We will typically assume a balance ma'ai in which both uke and nage know what is coming and they are equal in their knowledge.

So, if I am doing a same side wrist grab, I should not have to over extend myself to grab the wrist placing myself initially off balance, it is up to nage to move appropriately to my attack. If he does not...say he proceeds to stand there, then I am free to respond with the next follow through which may be to use the other hand for a light atemi, enough to show him his mistake.

Lets say he moves, but unbalances, and I still have my balance, he moves and tries to throw me, I could ride him down and again show him that he is not correct in what he is doing.

We would NOT proceed to grapple or struggle, as that would not be the point of studying the initial point of entry and response.

That is what aikido is about in this scenario.

If you have watched the Matt Thorton analogy on learning to play chess by doing the same move over and over...I think this is somewhat analogous to that in a way.

It is not necessarily alive in the sense of spontaneous technique and control, but it is also not as bad as Thornton would like us to think as it does teach and reinforce some correct principles.

I would submit that you need to do both.

Problem is from a grappling paradigm we are training one range (range), from an aikido paradigm we are training another range (mid range).

I think the division between these two ranges was created for philosophical reasons to convey the DO of aikido, which really is about transcending the physical anyway. (another thread all together, but salient to the discussion).

Now..on to stopping everyone in the dojo.

We have all probably experienced the guy that shows up at the dojo and simply grabs and plants, or fights back to thwart your technique. They may do it to be spiteful, although most of the time it is due to lack of understanding of the dynamic we are training.

We could just sit there and stare at each other all day, or I could hit him to make him recognize the error of him just standing there with all his KI focused on that single point!

Remember we have eliminated so much in the exercise!

Dan, if I had to give it a name, I suppose I would simply call it ""grabbing and standing there". or ignorance.

Anyone can stop any aikido technique we are practicing if that is their goal. it is a fake set of parameters that we have established for training.

I think the issue many times is that we really don't know what we are training. When I do shomenuchi iriminage, I am not training the overhead strike, or the whole technique of enter, spin, twirl, dump, and pin. I am training moving my Freakin feet and body as a unit and correctly aligning my center back on uke. If I am nage I am training to move on an angle of attack, keeping my hips and spine aligned and then trying to keep them that way and recover while nage in responding.

It is all about correct alignment, balance and the realationship to each other. It ain't about the technique.

Once we have done that, or failed that...well, then we have no reason to continue on.

So, if uke wants to do something stupid, or not correctly in response, well then I have an obligation to show him why it does not work. It can be done in many ways.

In aikido we are fairly polite about it. one, we can show him what the other response would be to the set of conditions he has presented that is contrary to the one the instructor wanted.

we can ask the instructor to come over an help.

We can do it four times then switch, then politely bow and wait for a new partner.

Mike Sigman
03-04-2007, 01:25 PM
We could just sit there and stare at each other all day, or I could hit him to make him recognize the error of him just standing there with all his KI focused on that single point!

Remember we have eliminated so much in the exercise!

Dan, if I had to give it a name, I suppose I would simply call it ""grabbing and standing there". or ignorance.Not to pick on you nor to take Dan's side, Kevin, but I know that's not what Dan is talking about at all. So your debate is operating from a misunderstanding of the subject. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
03-04-2007, 01:47 PM
Dan wrote:

Why?
It seems to me that someone of reasonable skill in "Aiki" wouldn't need to move their feet to make "bigger" motionsl. Their uke would.
May I ask-why do you need to move in big leg motions to "make a connection?"
What on earth are you moving around for?
Perhaps we haven't been talking about the same thing after all.
I've been talking about Aiki. Perhaps levels of which are not openly known.

If I said BIGGER that is not what I meant.

I certainly understand what you are illuding to. especially when you are talking about kokyu etc. Certainly as your skill increases you can allow uke to enter into your sphere and be more responsive. I train this way pretty much all the time...not good at it though.

So why move "big"? I didn't say move big, but lets play in that range for a while....

shomenuchi is a big attack in which range is closed quite quickly. it could be a knife, stick, or maybe a kick, or something like that. I don't need to move big, but I do need to move on the 45 degree angle (irimi) and then realign my center with uke (tenkan).

From my perspective, I look at this as mid range training.

your irimi must be appropriate for what you are facing. You do want to maintain as tight as control to uke as you can. Big movement typically means you are disconnected and if you don't do it right, well you are only going to have to fight to regain the distance you just closed again on uke's counter.

Dan, I am really getting concerned about your knowledge of controlling space appropriately.

I have no doubt that you can work these internal skills by standing there and working all that stuff from a standing position from what I have heard.

In real life though it don't make sense to assume the risk of not moving yourself out of the line of attack.

I train soldiers in all ranges of individual combat.

I train them for shooting weapons long and close range. (long range)

I train them for too close to shoot, but blunt objects are available (mid range).

I train them for too close to shoot, but they are on the ground. (close range).

In mid range you move your feet. You move off the line of attack, off balance your opponent, strike/immobilize, and move on.

Why on earth in mid range would you want to stand there and play push hands with your opponent just because you can???

It is a risk that is stupid to assume in a fight when there are other things that mitigate that risk much more efficiently.

Like I said you and I look at the realitive value of the various concepts in martial arts training with different priorities. Your post clearly demonstrates that to me.

Apparently you have figured out one small thing in the spectrum of martial skill, that is the so-called internal piece.

It is great to be able to play pat-a-cake push hands, and go g-whiz demonstrating a useful tool in the spectrum.

However, the martial spectrum is a much bigger dynamic than nut hugging on the ground, or doing the kokyu/Jin/push hand thing.

To me the skills you talk about are the equivilant of the kid that figured out how to create nuclear fusion in his basement.

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/nov/19/teen_creates_nuclear_fusion_basement/


Yes, he did decode a huge secret. Yes it is important. Yes those that want to know are definitely intrigued and want to know how to do it.

However, being able to create nuclear fusion and being able to build an atomic bomb are two different things. there is a long jump in the process to get there.

Likewise, the things that are trained in aikido are important and should not be viewed judgementally through one set of lenses or value system that you understand through your skill set. There is much more going on than I think you understand.

If I am wrong in my understanding of what you are saying let me know.

Kevin

Kevin Leavitt
03-04-2007, 01:53 PM
Pete,

I hear ya on the 20 somethings! I don't have too much issue with them, but stamina wise it is hard to keep up with them. There is no way I can beat them.

About 6 months ago I had to fight a young white belt in an open tournament. It was no pont, submission, no time tournament. I easily outskilled the kid, but it took me 15 minutes to get him where I could do something with him. He was just so damn quick and I am so damn slow!

Latent ecovery time definitely is not what it used to be!

Ron Tisdale
03-04-2007, 05:55 PM
This weekend I found out I have nothing of substance to add to this thread, but I'm going to say something anyway.

Kevin, Dan and what he described does not fit the scenario's you proferred. Once you touch hands with him, you'll know why. And you will understand...simply from grabbing him, trying to move him, feeling him. I don't agree with all of Dan's opinions, but I now understand why he has them. They are based in reality.

I don't think there is any point in trying to describe this to someone who has not felt it. Even if they think they have a clue (as I did), they will not.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
03-04-2007, 06:19 PM
This weekend I found out I have nothing of substance to add to this thread, but I'm going to say something anyway.

Kevin, Dan and what he described does not fit the scenario's you proferred. Once you touch hands with him, you'll know why. And you will understand...simply from grabbing him, trying to move him, feeling him. I don't agree with all of Dan's opinions, but I now understand why he has them. They are based in reality.

I don't think there is any point in trying to describe this to someone who has not felt it. Even if they think they have a clue (as I did), they will not.So, Ron, let me ask your opinion on a few things.

As people removed from the pecking order, organizations, and the need to please or draw Aikido students, some of the posters on the forum are in a unique place to contribute to some potentially progressive discussions, regardless of varying opinions pro or con among different people within the fold of Aikido. So we're in a different place than you and can speak freely.... but what do you think should be done about this new/old data that Tohei tried to stress, Abe stresses, and others stress?

Now that you get a feel for it, you can see that a number of questions are raised about how to move forward, potential obstacles within various Aikido organizations, and so on. Other questions are raised about who knew what and when, who simply didn't know, who "couldn't communicate", whose feathers might be ruffled if certain paths of action are initiated, and so on. You can see the complexities. Naturally, you can't speak as bluntly as some of us off to the side, but I'd be interested in hearing you mull over the ramifications. ;)

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
03-04-2007, 07:01 PM
Ron,

I understand what you are saying. The issue is, that there are several different ranges.

Dan is working very closely within one range of a very narrow set of parameters I feel. No issue there.

However, in the greater scheme of things, there are situations and ranges in which are not concerned with the the range Dan is addressing.

Unless we are talking about Ki projection and throwing ki balls now! :)

Yes, I am all over what he is addressing, and I am in receive mode for that.

My comments several post back where in reply to another post that were not addressing the same things Dan is discussing.

Are you proposing that it is more appropriate to stand there and perform these internal skills, as real and as viable as they are, over moving your feet and body out of the line of attack?

Maybe I don't understand what is being said here?

Again, I have no issue with this stuff on the close range, I am all about that.

There are other ranges though correct???

I understand that these things do apply in these ranges as well, but, in some cases, we may not need to fully engage.

(this is hard to discuss without being in person and seeing it for sure!)

Kevin Leavitt
03-04-2007, 07:07 PM
Another thought Ron.

I can understand Dan has the opinions and understanding he has as well I think. It is working for him within the set of parameters/conditions in which he is training.

What if I don't want to grab him? What if there are blunt object type weapons like sticks involved? What if I don't accept the range in which he wants to establish the boundaries of our realationship?

No I don't doubt his opinions are based on reality. However reality is a complicated thing, there are many paradigms associated with it.

Looking forward to working with one of these guys, so I can better understand for sure!

Ron, thanks for trying anyway! :)

Mike Sigman
03-04-2007, 07:07 PM
However, in the greater scheme of things, there are situations and ranges in which are not concerned with the the range Dan is addressing.

Unless we are talking about Ki projection and throwing ki balls now! :)Hmmmmm.... what art do you do that affects people at a distance, Kevin? I don't know of any, in reality, so that's outside of the discussion. Any range you work at, this type of strength can work at.

Regards,

Mike

Upyu
03-04-2007, 08:10 PM
Are you proposing that it is more appropriate to stand there and perform these internal skills, as real and as viable as they are, over moving your feet and body out of the line of attack?

Maybe I don't understand what is being said here?

There are other ranges though correct???


Kevin:
This stuff affects your body at a fundamental level, hence it'll affect how you move through all ranges.
No one ever said you don't have to move your feet and body out of the line of attack. (and I don't mean that in a snide way ^^;) But if you do move them out of the line of attack they should be a result of the movement and intent "inside" your body.
Actually, I've been knocking ideas back and forth between some of my friends who've been experimenting with using some of this stuff when they fire guns at the range, including using a shot gun to shoot clay pigeons.

If moving the body in a connected or "suit" manner (© Mike Sigman :D ) is more efficient in general, then there's no reason it shouldn't improve other facets of human movement, including carrying heavy objects/packs(something Ark likes to demonstrate frequently) effortlessly, running, shooting, climbing etc etc.

My two cents.
Rob

DH
03-04-2007, 09:24 PM
Dan, I think you are getting over analytical about all this.
Actually I haven't been overanalytical. I have been very straighforward. Even blunt. I have asked you many questions in the previous posts You haven't answered any of them in a mutually direct way.

Have you actually worked in an Aikido dojo for any length of time??? If so, it would seem you would understand the dynamic that is present in that methodology and learning environment.
Yes. I found no one, or no thing, to keep my interest. I am quite familiar with your methods and techniques also what you deem to be a dynamic. They were meant to work with internal skills which produce Aiki. Without it they are at best a weak jujutsu. The Aikido interpretations of what "Aiki" is- that I've seen- are external principles of movement. Much like what you've expressed in all your posts to date. That isn't it.

So, if I am doing a same side wrist grab, I should not have to over extend myself to grab the wrist placing myself initially off balance, it is up to nage to move appropriately to my attack. If he does not...say he proceeds to stand there, then I am free to respond with the next follow through which may be to use the other hand for a light atemi, enough to show him his mistake. Lets say he moves, but unbalances, and I still have my balance, he moves and tries to throw me, I could ride him down and again show him that he is not correct in what he is doing.
I hate to respond to this Aikido claptrap, but I like you and respect your intentions so what the hell.
If you grab my wrist or anything else in that training environment you're going to pop off me or be controlled by me. Your follow-through will be dealt with accordingly. Your single point theory is meaningless to me. I neither think nor move on that level. It's to slow. I prefer moving and fighting while flowing

Problem is from a grappling paradigm we are training one range (range), from an aikido paradigm we are training another range (mid range). I think the division between these two ranges was created for philosophical reasons to convey the DO of aikido, which really is about transcending the physical anyway. (another thread all together, but salient to the discussion).
Well you're dead wrong in my opinion.
a. the difference in range is more discusion of tactics and has little to do with these skills.
b. I am converscent any way you want to play. Grapple, MMA with leather, swords and long weapons, knives or gun combatives. We can play and discuss all the day long. It would be fun to see if you can even keep a boken in your hands. I've lost track of the Aikido and Iai guys I have cut the bokuto right out of their hands.

You're missing the point all together though, Keven. I do what I do because it is a trained part of me. Distance, and weapons? Doesn't change me.

Now..on to stopping everyone in the dojo.We have all probably experienced the guy that shows up at the dojo and simply grabs and plants, or fights back to thwart your technique. They may do it to be spiteful, although most of the time it is due to lack of understanding of the dynamic we are training. We could just sit there and stare at each other all day, or I could hit him to make him recognize the error of him just standing there with all his KI focused on that single point !
Dan, if I had to give it a name, I suppose I would simply call it ""grabbing and standing there". or ignorance.
Not to be rude. But the ignorance is soley your own.
I don't know why you talk about this stuff over and over with me. I discuss MMA and full resistance training and moving, judo type throw resistance training and heavy hand hitting and knees. Then separately I discuss static basic push training
Your response?
What does Kevin hear?
"Dan stands still. Its all he does. Static pushing and single point Ki."

So I'll ask another question-sure that you wont answer this directly either-
What is it about you that your don't hear me?
I USE THESE SKILLS FOR MMA TRAINING.
In your cooperative Aikido play (within those parameters) I won't try to stop your technique at a single point. Why bother? You will be doing everything you can to stop me from moving me...and you..wherever I want. And in a very...alive manner. Why...I might even move off-line....If you can give me a reason to!. :D But, even within those set parameters; the way I move me, and what is moving in me, will be different from how you are moving. And you'll know it.

I snipped the remaining martial art 101 descriptions as they are known by most everyone after a few months and done well by others in a few years...forgive me but ...yawn!
Your just shwoing your excellent understanding of your teachers material. No harm, no foul.
No disrespect but you didn't bother to answer my questions in the previous post. In the following posts you simply demonstrate that you don't have a clue what I'm talking about.
But lets stay friendly anyway.
Cheers
Dan

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-04-2007, 11:22 PM
Funny you mention that, the only serious injury I've ever incurred was from taking ukemi in Aikido class. Took years to recover and my shoulder will probably never be the same. Definitely wasn't worth it from a martial perspective.

My complaint about BJJ and MMA nowadays though is that as you get older, your body doesn't recover as quickly, and going through deathmatches with 20-somethings on steroids who can bench press a car tends to get old. It's unnecessary and even counterproductive to train that hard, but unless you can choose your training partners that's what you have to deal with in typical group classes. But, the point is that Aikido forces you to take a substantial injury risk for little to no martial payoff.

I'm sorry to hear about your injury Pete, those long-term things suck :-( Almost like my brain injury, but that's from birth. I'll recount a little here. When much younger, I trained hard in karate and aikido, lots of (different) warm-up and stretches before and after classes. Idea was always to develop stronger and faster "arms", and "legs", and also do lots of stomach and back strengthening exercises. But narry a thought to connecting all these body parts up coherently. I still injured hamstrings, got a sore left knee that put an end to my running.

In Japan I thought I'd improve with better classes, but the injuries got worse. Sitting more and more during work did not help. Years of pain, years of useless and contradictory medical advice. I knew I was talking to ignoramuses. I looked around, got advice from Mike Sigman, started ballroom dancing and met Akuzawa and Robert John. And from that moment on, I got better. After less than a year I could take up ballet as the pain receded and range of movement of the main joints in the hip and back improved.

Now, the knee pains have gone (every couple of weeks there is a set of fairly extensive clicks and shifts in muscle/tendon in a connected way in my body, and it gets a bit better), the problematic left side of the body is almost equalized with the right, and connections have tightened up (and at the same time become "unstuck" from the body) that as Robert John has said before, it is now possible to do stretches without a "warm-up".

I see many many "seniors" in the dojo with hip and back problems, showing me that they very emphatically do *not* know how their bodies work. I firmly believe that the lack of connection training in Aikido, an art which critically requires this with its large range of articulated movements, that causes so much mayhem in students' bodies. I would argue that even without proper internal training (as Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and Akuzawa might teach) any activity, such as serious dance, which does build connectivity, will help to reduce the possibilities of training injuries a great deal.

Ron Tisdale
03-05-2007, 07:44 AM
Hi Mike,

First let me thank you for all the years of discussion through email and postings...much of this wouldn't be happening without your pushing.

Second, let me be blunt. Screw the ramifications. I won't be trying to break anyone's rice bowl. I'm going to do the best I can to learn this material and train. That's it. Just one more time I have to start over at the bottom. The organizations will take care of themselves, as they always have. If I am sucsessful in training and learning this material, and they want me to go elsewhere, I go elsewhere...if they allow me to train, I train.

Nothing more is needed.

Best,
Ron

So, Ron, let me ask your opinion on a few things.

As people removed from the pecking order, organizations, and the need to please or draw Aikido students, some of the posters on the forum are in a unique place to contribute to some potentially progressive discussions, regardless of varying opinions pro or con among different people within the fold of Aikido. So we're in a different place than you and can speak freely.... but what do you think should be done about this new/old data that Tohei tried to stress, Abe stresses, and others stress?

Now that you get a feel for it, you can see that a number of questions are raised about how to move forward, potential obstacles within various Aikido organizations, and so on. Other questions are raised about who knew what and when, who simply didn't know, who "couldn't communicate", whose feathers might be ruffled if certain paths of action are initiated, and so on. You can see the complexities. Naturally, you can't speak as bluntly as some of us off to the side, but I'd be interested in hearing you mull over the ramifications. ;)

Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
03-05-2007, 07:50 AM
What if I don't want to grab him? What if there are blunt object type weapons like sticks involved? What if I don't accept the range in which he wants to establish the boundaries of our realationship?
Hi Kevin,

Once you are in contact with people who do this you will understand. These skills apply at any range...you move with these skills. You use weapons with these skills. You do what ever you do with these skills. No ki balls needed. These skills won't defeat a bullet.

Ron, thanks for trying anyway! :)[/QUOTE]

No problem.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
03-05-2007, 07:56 AM
For the record

It would be fun to see if you can even keep a boken in your hands. I've lost track of the Aikido and Iai guys I have cut the bokuto right out of their hands.

Many of you have trained with me...you know I suck at weapons. But you also know I tend to hang on to my bokken.

Dan knocked my bokken across the room with no windup starting from less than a foot away. maybe less than six inches. Awesome power. And controlled.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 08:27 AM
I looked around, got advice from Mike Sigman, started ballroom dancing and met Akuzawa and Robert John. Let's clarify this one a little bit, Gernot. Just to be clear, I did NOT advise Gernot to take up ballroom dancing.... and if he spotted Rob John and Akuzawa dancing, I don't want to know about it.

;)

DH
03-05-2007, 08:28 AM
I loved that Gernot.
After meeting so many broken Martial artist its nice to be able to offer them a way to be more powerful and martially able then they have ever been in their lives..all while contributing to healing their bodies.
Now if I can just get them grapple and -actually- fight back they wouldn't get as much long term damage, and be fighters to begin with.;)
Systema is doing some of that was well.
I mean really, there's no glory in Budo and no need for fighting any more. So any smart fella is going to look twoce at doing something where his knees get wrecked, his hips are shot and his back aches.
I looked at Judo, Iai, and DR and said "No thanks!" I'll take the body conditioning, Aiki and applied principles though, and then train them and burn em in, to fight back- using those very same things.
Active, fully resistent interplay with teaching the student to be your equal at all times and fight you back is-in the short term- a faster learning path to competency. In the long term a far more competant skill set. In the fullness of time, these things, taught with internal skills are the healthiest most competant way to make a martial guy something close to an artist at martial abilities and a healthy old dude still able to bang.

In the more casual world of untrained attacks or in "most" martial artists abilties you'll be able to easily cast off their every attempt with joy in your heart and smile on your face.
Now where have I read and seen that before..............?

I think its clear that Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, and Ueshiba..knew a better way, you don't. They were powerful old men.
Find it, and if your teachers really know but aren't telling.... beg. If they still won't tell you ..leave, go find it and go back and stop em in their tracks. When they ask how YOU did it. Tell THEM to keep doing waza... they'll figure it out. Just stop being training dummies and ruining your bodies and think.
Change the face of your Aikido and make it powerful.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 08:30 AM
First let me thank you for all the years of discussion through email and postings...much of this wouldn't be happening without your pushing. Finally.... public recognition for being a horse's ass! ;) Second, let me be blunt. Screw the ramifications. I won't be trying to break anyone's rice bowl. I'm going to do the best I can to learn this material and train. That's it. Just one more time I have to start over at the bottom. The organizations will take care of themselves, as they always have. If I am sucsessful in training and learning this material, and they want me to go elsewhere, I go elsewhere...if they allow me to train, I train.Exactly my feeling. This is the stuff Ueshiba, Shioda, and others (it's a traditional comment in Asia) said was an investment for your old age. It's pretty damn handy in the here and now, too.

Thanks for the comment.

Mike

DH
03-05-2007, 08:50 AM
Thanks Ron
Remember the dinner conversation about size? Where you were expecting someone bigger? For the record, did anything I did to you feel like muscle? When a few of your were trying more judo stye throws did you guys think I was moving you around by flexing? Or was it very clear that it is a "different sort of power?" That Kokyu dosa trick where I make you stand back up on your feet was that muscle? Mike and I get short shrift in that we are somewhat bigger so it must be muscle? As I said to you at dinner "Decades of sweat and training and this is what I get..."its muscle." I wish I were little sometimes. Just for a month... to prove a point. Seeing size makes folks not have confidance in thermselves. Thats not fair. If I teach folks to do this stuff, others can to. I want folks to feel good about them and believe in their chance to get it.
Cheers
Dan

DH
03-05-2007, 08:59 AM
Finally.... public recognition for being a horse's ass! ;)
Mike
Hey......I'll agree to that.
***************************************************************

No seriously. You can be difficult and exasperating but I think you had a plan afterall. As I said here It took you prodding me and pissing me off, and to be fair another personal friend with some good advice about helping researchers like myself that made me open up. I still won't be doing some "seminar" anytime soon or teaching.
But when I look at good men like Ron, Tim, both Marks and others, who have asked, Ron has asked me 3 or 4 times over the years-and turned them all away. This is better.
I have privately given the you and the other fellow credit, So here's a public one Mike.
Now if I can get you to be as nice here as I hear you are in person.....;)

Thanks
Dan

MM
03-05-2007, 09:01 AM
Thanks Ron
Remember the dinner conversation about size? Where you were expecting someone bigger? For the record, did anything I did to you feel like muscle? When a few of your were trying more judo stye throws did you guys think I was moving you around by flexing? Or was it very clear that it is a "different sort of power?" That Kokyu dosa trick where I make you stand back up on your feet was that muscle? Mike and I get short shrift in that we are somewhat bigger so it must be muscle? As I said to you at dinner "Decades of sweat and training and this is what I get..."its muscle." I wish I were little sometimes. Just for a month... to prove a point. Seeing size makes folks not have confidance in thermselves. Thats not fair. If I teach folks to do this stuff, others can to. I want folks to feel good about them and believe in their chance to get it.
Cheers
Dan

Hi Dan,

Not to steal Ron's answer, but I'd like to post my input on this area. :)

Definitely not muscle. I never felt that at all. In fact, it might have been helpful to feel muscle since what was there is really hard to describe. If it was muscle, I'd have a much easier time explaining things. But that wasn't the case with you, Mike, or Rob.

I try to wrap my head around what it feels like and then describe it, but I don't come close. The one thing that I think about is the quote from Kano* about units of strength. When I push using all my 10 units of strength, it feels like you/Mike/Rob have somehow turned my 10 units into zero. I neither feel units of strength coming back at me, nor do I feel my units of strength going anywhere. As Kano suggested, if it were muscle, then there would definitely be some action/movement somewhere because each person's unit of strength is different.

IMO anyway,
Mark

* Find Kano's quote here:
http://www.judoinfo.com/kano2.htm
Gives a whole new realm of thought to what he was talking about, but that's material for another thread.

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 09:22 AM
Hey......I'll agree to that.
***************************************************************

No seriously. You can be difficult and exasperating but I think you had a plan afterall. As I said here It took you prodding me and pissing me off, and to be fair another personal friend with some good advice about helping researchers like myself that made me open up. I still won't be doing some "seminar" anytime soon or teaching.
But when I look at good men like Ron, Tim, both Marks and others, who have asked, Ron has asked me 3 or 4 times over the years-and turned them all away. This is better.
I have privately given the you and the other fellow credit, So here's a public one Mike.
Now if I can get you to be as nice here as I hear you are in person.....;) I'm so confused and I just don't know who to believe! Just the other day someone told me that they liked the way I was nice to the nice people and blunt to the not-so-nice people. Maybe it depends on their own personality, how we get along, to some degree.... not just mine? I am notorious for screwing with people who cross certain lines of behavior, Dan... and guess what? Those people never come to a workshop. Get it? ;) ;) Nod Nod.

Er.... back to the issues, I think.

Mike

mjchip
03-05-2007, 09:24 AM
Thanks Ron
Remember the dinner conversation about size?

Dang it(or dong it), I missed dinner? :D

For the record, did anything I did to you feel like muscle? When a few of your were trying more judo stye throws did you guys think I was moving you around by flexing?

Nope. I laughed internally when you said that you were 220lbs. because you felt like 350 easy. I've manhandled some well-muscled two hundred+ pounders (you know how small I am) and there is no chance I could do that with you. The neat thing is that there was no apparent perceptible action/reaction stuff going on. When I pushed you, on the outside you felt compressible, but on the inside it was solid.....or should I say stable or grounded or something (immovable). Again, I suck with the words thing......

Cheers,

Mark

P.S. These exercises are killing me.....LOL

DH
03-05-2007, 09:40 AM
Yeah but forget me.
You guys are the real show stoppers. YOu go home trying to digest and absorb all this new information and way of thinking about Budo.
We openly talk you up. Did you feel him change did you see her bounce him. This is old news to us. Seeing the joy on your faces is the show.

Lets talk about how YOU felt Mark C.
I remember you falling apart the first day. I seem to remember you feeling solid then freely moving your hips? Then.. I remember you lifting me off the ground sidways from your hurt shoulder?
Now add everyone else who was coming along nicely.I still rmemeber the look on Ron's face when he was doing stuff. That internal questioning "Did I just do that?" Priceless......
In the moving through force exercise I remember seeing a certain 310 pound grappler being lifted off the ground easily and repeatedly by Murray.
I'm not important..we're not important...the work is, and the fact that you guys were doing it....... while moving.

Mark M.
ooohh
I gave a little talk about that "units equal ten that makes zero." and how it makes center-on-touch a reality. A grappling and judo "dilema." I never talk about on the net because until you feel it it makes no sense. Even though you guys liked seeing it with the moving grappling/judo demonstation you actually were doing the first steps already. The little exercise where they pull (in agreement) a pusher's force into themselves so each pusher could feel a negative hole then how to use their spine to expand and suddenly their big and resistive but then have them hoola hoop their hips with all this force on them. Its silly, but it is the first step in understanding your structure can support load while you are uninvolved and free to move. Like most things the secrets are also in the baby steps. There are profoud martial applications in many of these little drills. Ya just need to step one then the other and it becomes clearer as you build. I do things so that without any external movement they and their partner make an internal change of force just using their mind and body in new ways. I think everyone walked away saying "I did it."

Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
03-05-2007, 11:44 AM
Mark C., it was great meeting you, and I'm sorry you missed dinner! I'm buying you at least a beer, and hopefully food too the next time we're up.

The folks that think this is just muscle are going to be in for a surprise...that's all I can say...

Best,
Ron

M. McPherson
03-05-2007, 11:45 AM
I don't have too much to add about the thread topic, per se, but if it's not stepping out of bounds, I would like to add my two cents about something.
First, an immeasurable amount of time and energy is being given freely by Dan, of course, but also by his students, as well. Dan has written extensively here about the fact that he doesn't want it to be about him; we're all just links in a chain. The responsibility is to make sure that the chain maintains structural (sorry for the pun) integrity. His students are exemplar of this philosophy, and were the only reason that anyone who worked with them was able to move anyone. Good instruction, period. It really isn't about him, and it really isn't about them. But at the same time, it is. Nobody is selling videotapes here, and no t-shirts or keychains are being manufactured to help finance that shiny new dojo or kamiza. Filthy lucre is no part of this, either. Just a lot of hard, oft-times painful work going on. And selflessness. That has to be mentioned, and respected.
Second, and the real reason I wanted to write this, is the fact that it was his students who were getting us to do this and that, as well as Dan. Yes, of course Dan was there teaching, and getting hands on - literally - but his crew took turns with each and every person there for lengthy periods of time, and gave of themselves quite openly. (Again, no accolades, no scrolls, no acclaim.) What this demonstrates to me is the fact that, because his students were so effective in imparting this work to us (the well-intentioned, but painfully oblivious), it proves that it is all replicable. No, it is not easy, and nobody was moving 310lbs grapplers when said grapplers didn't want to be moved. But everyone there learning was able to demonstrate the effects of sound structure and power transfer because of a systematic method of instruction. Did I fly up the staircase in a blur of motion to evade my attackers? Dan says that's lesson number 43, but no. (Ron did, if I'm not mistaken...or maybe he just really had to go use the can). We all did, however do things - minor things - that were jaw-dropping to us, and things that most of us have not felt from the majority of ten or even fifteen year students in other arts. Okay, I'm being diplomatic: feel free to read that as twenty or thirty year students. Take from that what you will.
But there should be no misunderstanding that any of these skills are flukes of genius, or inaccessible to mere mortals. They're real, they're replicable, and they're hard, hard work.
[I'm going to qualify this yet again: *none* of us there were able to do what Dan or his students can do in a practical, workable manner. If you have to crawl before you can walk, then all of us there were able to wiggle our toes by the end of the day. Maybe flex an ankle once or twice. But we felt what could be done, and were shown the building blocks. And, again, what little we could do was lightyears ahead of what most of could do prior to walking in the door.]

Sincerely,
Murray McPherson

gdandscompserv
03-05-2007, 11:46 AM
If I do the ki exercises as demonstrated here:
http://www.bodymindandmodem.com/KiEx/KiEx.html
will that develop the internal strength you guys are talking about?

Ron Tisdale
03-05-2007, 11:50 AM
I don't know Ricky...why don't you do them, then find someone who understands what we are talking about, and then push on him, and see if you think it helps.

I should add...unless someone who knows what they are doing shows you HOW to do them...I'm not betting on them helping more than a little.

Best,
Ron

gdandscompserv
03-05-2007, 12:00 PM
Okay Ron, fair enough.
Would you be so kind as to share with me the exercises you do to develop the internal skills?

Kevin Leavitt
03-05-2007, 12:04 PM
Dan,

The issue that I have is not so much with your skills, it is your attitude towards alot of this. I come on here and say, "sounds good, can't wait in a very sincere way".

Open myself up to a few things that I am working on, you jump on it, and then we start in on the whole ego trip, which I suppose in retrospect that I am a part of.

Ego on:

Don't mistake me for who and what I train for, and why. I am not some aiki-fruity type that is caught up only in the philosophical, intellectual pursuit of budo. I resent some of the implications that you make and frankly see them as an outright challenge. I train hard, and I train for real. I train for many weapons ranges, and I train in many ways that civilians simply do not have the ability to train in. I train in methodogies that are proven to work, and I train ALIVE. So yes, I think I DO understand a slight bit about martial training, the dynamic of fighting ranges, and what it takes to do this....just a LITTLE.

Ego off.

I have never said that what you do is irrelevant, nor dismissed you as a martial artist. I do hope that I can experience what you have to offer.

I don't dismiss what you say with bored yawns in text, or dimiss you with flippant remarks and nonchalant demeanor. I have a little more respect for myself and for you.

I hope that if we do meet that you would do the same.

I am happy that everyone here is open with what you have to teach, one thing you do seem to be lacking is in the area of humility and respect, things which are a part of the totality of budo...things that in reality WILL get you killed in combat or in real life. Something that I DO know about.

MM
03-05-2007, 12:05 PM
Okay Ron, fair enough.
Would you be so kind as to share with me the exercises you do to develop the internal skills?

Doesn't work that way. If it did, don't you think a whole lot of people would be getting this stuff from Tohei's exercises? Shioda's exercises? Etc. etc. etc.

Reading about it won't get you there. If it did, then you'd be on your way with these past 35 pages of postings.

but, if you really want to try, then search for Rob John's posts here on AikiWeb. I think he posted some of his exercises.

Mark

Robert Rumpf
03-05-2007, 12:21 PM
Doesn't work that way. If it did, don't you think a whole lot of people would be getting this stuff from Tohei's exercises? Shioda's exercises? Etc. etc. etc.

Have you tried this route? If not, then how do you know it doesn't work? If so, please elaborate.

Thanks,
Rob

Tom H.
03-05-2007, 12:33 PM
but, if you really want to try, then search for Rob John's posts here on AikiWeb. I think he posted some of his exercises.There's even video on the open internet of shiko, tenchijin, and ashiage, but until you know what to train and how to train it, you will likely be doing everything externally, even ki exercises, yoga, or taiji silk-reeling.

The good news is that once start going internal, just about everything you do can go with it: walking, climbing stairs, jumping jacks, and yes, even ki exercises. In fact, if it doesn't, you aren't re-wiring your body properly. At least that's been the case with me.

Shiko = glorified jumping jacks?

Q: "Tom, what's that stuff you do?"
A: "I use jumping jacks to train Ultimate Martial Power. Stand Back."

DH
03-05-2007, 12:35 PM
Kevin
I've not shown you any disrespect. I have applauded your efforts on grappling and in many posts here-go find them-said we share many experiences of good grapplers. Rob stated my feelings toward you well when he wrote "You're his kind of guy. And that he would like to show this stuff to just your kind of mindset."

Consider for a moment that your confusing the topic with the person and you're upset that I said "You don't get what I'm talking about." with this stuff and that it is not openly taught in Aikido or even seen in a lot of it.
That may seem disrespectful on the surface because those who don't move this way or know this stuff find it hard to believe that someone can "see its lack" just in watching you move. Or that a line of argument on the net "reveals" a lack of understanding of it.

From me to you in all seriousness...I have nothing BUT respect for both the way you comport yourself here and for the fact that you grapple. Add to that you're a Military guy...all that puts you over the top in my book.
Please consider that we are dissagreeing over a topic, and that only.
And before someone breaks out a harp.....I disagree that you understand much of what I have been writing about. If you did you woudn't say the tings you say. How do I put this...you'd think different.
As for lack of respect and getting killed-well i think thats a but much
I know some real serious folks both bangers and traditional Budo and I get along just swell.
Cheers
Dan

MM
03-05-2007, 12:41 PM
Have you tried this route? If not, then how do you know it doesn't work? If so, please elaborate.

Thanks,
Rob

Hi Rob,

I remember you coming in to the dojo for the Sigman/Rob thing, but I never got a chance to introduce myself. Maybe next time. :)

Well, I've tried Tohei's exercises and Shioda's exercises and neither got me to the exercises that work on baseline skills.

Course, if they would have been explained differently and shown differently, maybe ... but that'd be another story. Or maybe if I had 20-30 years of development? Who knows. But, I do know that the way I've been shown how to do those exercises is definitely not the same as working on the baseline skill exercises.

What I got from working on hiriki no yosei, funakogi undo, etc, was a very different feel from working on shiko, etc. Course, now that I am working on the baseline exercises, I can see how they would shift over to doing funakogi undo, hiriki no yosei, etc. But I can't see someone doing those exercises without being shown where they're supposed to be going with them. And that takes a hands on approach.

Does that clarify?

Mark

Ron Tisdale
03-05-2007, 12:46 PM
Hi Ricky,
What part of me not having a clue is so hard to understand??? If I had a clue, I wouldn't have been so helpless in Dan's hands. You want to learn? Make a RELATIONSHIP with someone who knows how to do this. Get your info from THEM. Train hard by YOURSELF. No ill will here...I'm just tellin' you straight.

Hi Rob,
If the video route worked, would I, Mark, Murray and anyone else I know of who is now speaking of the value of these skills be so clueless? Do you really think I haven't looked at video?? Looked at what Ark has out there? Looked to my teachers?? Jesus...how many times do we have to stress...you need hands on guidance to learn this stuff?

Hi Kevin,

Hi Kevin...you don't understand what Dan is saying, or why. I have felt people across the US, in France, people in the military, people in Africa, people who are high ranked in different arts, people who train competitively (I used to wrestle div. 3 in college myself). I have felt your teacher in aikido (if I understand correctly who it is you trained with most). Dan is just speaking the truth. He is not belittling you or anyone else. What "attitude" you think Dan has is well deserved, in my opinion.

Let me try to be blunt again...I am not a shrinking violet. Ask Jim, he has felt me several times, in various stages of health.

I could do NOTHING with Dan in either cooperative or non-cooperative training environments. Not many (or maybe even any) of the people I'm used to feeling would be able to either.

My suggestion? Close the thread, go out and feel it, get someone who does it that is williing to show you HOW to train it.

To All,

I don't know how else to communicate this. So I'm probably not going to post in these types of threads for a while. Because I don't have anything else to add. It's a new beginning, I'm a white belt again, I can't do anything except to say go feel it for yourself, and make up your own minds.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 12:53 PM
Doesn't work that way. If it did, don't you think a whole lot of people would be getting this stuff from Tohei's exercises? Shioda's exercises? Etc. etc. etc.Have you tried this route? If not, then how do you know it doesn't work? If so, please elaborate.

Thanks,
RobLet me offer an opinion on the Ki Society approach, since I've seen a limited amount of it over the years. Generally speaking, I think the Ki-Society approach is correct for Aikidoists, but I think the amount of material has been curtailed and I think a little too much "philosophy" is inserted, which tends to emasculate the drive for full potential.

One of these days, I'd like to meet with a group of more advanced Ki-Society people that have fairly good quality (like the Lawrence, Kansas group I recently encountered) and see what I could add to their present practice. I'd have to ask them to change their paradigm to accomodate my perspectives (they can rationalize it back later into the "Ki of the Universe" stuff later, it it feels better).

But the point is that I think these people could grasp some of the high-end stuff very quickly (some of it admittedly would take conditioning, so not everything would be instantaneous). The reason I think they could do high very fast is because the Ki-Society approach is NOT that bad... just a little limited, in my limited view of their approach.

Another point to remember is that there are a number of approaches to these kinds of skills. Some approaches are varying mixtures of ki, strength, and structure, and hara, and a few other things. I.e., there are permutations to the way someone can approach these skills. My personal feeling is that an Aikidoist should get his foot in the door some way (perhaps Dan, perhaps Akuzawa, perhaps Ushiro, whatever), but then try to re-create the way O-Sensei used these skills. Tohei's approach was similar to Ueshiba's but apparently not quite the same. Abe Sensei publicly states that he learned his ki skills from someone else. And so on, but the idea is that they learned somewhere else but then tried to use what they'd learned to generally emulate O-Sensei's usages of these skills.... they didn't try to make Aikido into a "hard" art. So I think people need to watch that aspect closely.

FWIW

Mike

MM
03-05-2007, 12:55 PM
To All,

I don't know how else to communicate this. So I'm probably not going to post in these types of threads for a while. Because I don't have anything else to add. It's a new beginning, I'm a white belt again, I can't do anything except to say go feel it for yourself, and make up your own minds.

Best,
Ron

Ron,

I don't have the words. If you look at the others, I don't think they do either. We muddle the best we can, neh? :)

But, I think there is great gain by muddling through. I do think there is good reason to keep posting, even if words fail most of the time. Especially for you. You have a presence on the web and are very respected. Your voice adds a lot of credence to those silent lurkers who either don't understand or are not sure what to believe.

Definitely with you there on the white belt thing. :) Big time. But besides being a lot of hard work, it's going to be a lot of fun, too.

Mark

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 01:00 PM
Oops.... addendum to my last post. I think the Ki-Society people can learn this stuff by far faster than anyone else because they haven't (as a group... of course this doesn't apply to them all)learned so many bad habits that will be almost impossible to overcome, for many people.

Mike

gdandscompserv
03-05-2007, 01:06 PM
Hi Ricky,
What part of me not having a clue is so hard to understand??? If I had a clue, I wouldn't have been so helpless in Dan's hands. You want to learn? Make a RELATIONSHIP with someone who knows how to do this. Get your info from THEM. Train hard by YOURSELF. No ill will here...I'm just tellin' you straight.

Thanks Ron. No ill will taken. I, like you, have an empty cup.
I will be attending Aikido-Ai's annual Memorial Weekend Retreat at Mt. Baldy and it looks like Teja Bell sensei has a very extensive background in what you folks are talking about.

But perhaps now you sense MY frustration in following this thread. ALOT of words but nothing I can really apply in my own training. I do not doubt for a minute that Mike, Dan, Rob or others have these internal skills...it's just that they're not helping me to understand or acquire them. Just telling me how inadequate I am isn't very helpful.

M. McPherson
03-05-2007, 01:11 PM
"I use jumping jacks to train Ultimate Martial Power. Stand Back."

Tom, that was perfect.

I take it back - Dan should have t-shirts made up.

Robert Rumpf
03-05-2007, 01:22 PM
Let me offer an opinion on the Ki Society approach, since I've seen a limited amount of it over the years. Generally speaking, I think the Ki-Society approach is correct for Aikidoists, but I think the amount of material has been curtailed and I think a little too much "philosophy" is inserted, which tends to emasculate the drive for full potential.

One of these days, I'd like to meet with a group of more advanced Ki-Society people that have fairly good quality (like the Lawrence, Kansas group I recently encountered) and see what I could add to their present practice. I'd have to ask them to change their paradigm to accommodate my perspectives (they can rationalize it back later into the "Ki of the Universe" stuff later, it it feels better).

But the point is that I think these people could grasp some of the high-end stuff very quickly (some of it admittedly would take conditioning, so not everything would be instantaneous). The reason I think they could do high very fast is because the Ki-Society approach is NOT that bad... just a little limited, in my limited view of their approach.

Another point to remember is that there are a number of approaches to these kinds of skills. Some approaches are varying mixtures of ki, strength, and structure, and hara, and a few other things. I.e., there are permutations to the way someone can approach these skills. My personal feeling is that an Aikidoist should get his foot in the door some way (perhaps Dan, perhaps Akuzawa, perhaps Ushiro, whatever), but then try to re-create the way O-Sensei used these skills. Tohei's approach was similar to Ueshiba's but apparently not quite the same. Abe Sensei publicly states that he learned his ki skills from someone else. And so on, but the idea is that they learned somewhere else but then tried to use what they'd learned to generally emulate O-Sensei's usages of these skills.... they didn't try to make Aikido into a "hard" art. So I think people need to watch that aspect closely.

Oops.... addendum to my last post. I think the Ki-Society people can learn this stuff by far faster than anyone else because they haven't (as a group... of course this doesn't apply to them all)learned so many bad habits that will be almost impossible to overcome, for many people.

This makes a lot of sense. I think that part of the problem with exercise-based training is that there can be a tendency to lose the content and keep the form. Perhaps that is what has happened in Aikido waza, as well, to a large extent.

There is little value in blind mimicry, and it is hard for anyone to learn without a decent example.

Rob

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 01:22 PM
Just telling me how inadequate I am isn't very helpful.Hey.... it's start. It's something you didn't know, isn't it? ;)

Ricky, it's been said time and time again that you simply have to be shown. Now let me caveat that about Dan, Ushiro, Akuzawa, Tohei, and others.... these skills come in surprisingly different flavors, even though the underlying principles are the same if you look closely enough. Go see and feel for yourself... until then, it's a waste of time trying to describe *how* to do these things. But try to get a feel, also as soon as possible, of what a high-level Aikidoist with Ki skills feels like. Say, Sunadomari or Inaba... someone like that. It's important that Aikido people don't start to go the too-hard route or one that uses a lot of shoulders, or etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Pete Rihaczek
03-05-2007, 01:22 PM
Pete,

I hear ya on the 20 somethings! I don't have too much issue with them, but stamina wise it is hard to keep up with them. There is no way I can beat them.

About 6 months ago I had to fight a young white belt in an open tournament.

Hi Kevin,

I won't spar white belts, period. They're the scary ones. ;)

I'm not going to mediate between you and Dan here, but I do think I see you projecting an attitude on him that I'm not reading from his words. I do see you writing things like, "Dan, I'm getting concerned about your understanding of distance", and so forth. Now I'm new here, so likely there is a long history of interaction I'm not aware of, but I don't see the ego from Dan that you're talking about. Writing is a generally poor form of communication though, because the reader is free to interpret the writer's emotional state, and it's often wrong. So, such things are normal and inevitable.

In my post to Dan, what I was agreeing with is essentially the separate nature of body skills and a technical fighting syllabus. The body skills are a way of moving, and as such can be applied to any martial technique. To me then, and presumably to Dan, since our interest seems to be in what works best, the value of the technical syllabus of Aikido is dubious. The simplest example is that no man is going to get his wrist grabbed in a fight. Women and kids maybe, but not an adult male. If it did happen, the only reason would be for the attacker to throw punches with his free hand, the wrist grab being merely to prevent you from blocking on that side. You're immediately engaged in a punching battle then, and working on a wristlock isn't a good idea anyway.

Let me be clear that any art that one trains hard at *can* work on some people some of the time. No one is saying "Aikido is useless". But some techniques are low-percentage, and some are high-percentage in terms of how likely they are to be successful. Yet whether it's spoken about openly or not, there is an implicit assumption even among those martial artists who profess their interest is in something other than pure effectiveness, that the more years you have in an art, the tougher the level of opponent you could handle. But if you're working low-percentage techniques that isn't very true. Someone with a few months MMA training could easily defeat someone with 10 years in Aikido, and that would not be unusual at all. The reason is that the technical syllabus of Aikido doesn't address a really competent opponent.

Wrist grabs can be ignored (punch the guy in the face) or defeated easily. The shomenuchi type attack you could say could be a stick or club, but if you want to learn that stuff, a Filipino or Indonesian system will give you a PhD in weapons compared to what you would learn in Aikido. I forget what that attack that looks like a softball pitch is called, but it's ridiculous. Double wrist grabs are easy to defeat, and you can learn to counter all these sorts of things with minimal training, and no tenkan, no large body movement, just standard jiu-jitsu type stuff. We're talking a few hours to a few weeks to drill such things. I think that's what Dan means with a "yawn". From an overall martial arts perspective it's rather unexciting. Why spend years working on low-percentage counters to things you can learn high-percentage counters to in a matter of hours? Only the body skills are interesting, but you won't find those anywhere, and if you do, why not put them to work with a high-percentage syllabus?

Dan refers to MMA as the "great equalizer", and I would agree. A good part of the reason for that is the Western boxing component of MMA. Boxing has both speed and knockout power, and it doesn't offer anything to feel through the arm, whether you want to feel the opponent's balance, work on an arm or wristlock, etc. It's suicide to try. A whole lot of traditional arts that do a lot of work in this area of feeling the opponent through arm contact would have to adapt their technical syllabus to address the fact that you're taking a huge chance of getting clocked unless you clinch in some fashion (if you don't want to trade) and work from there. Note that this means that even with the body skills the actual technical syllabus has to be adapted to address modern opponents. MMA is exploding in popularity to the point that it is becoming part of the cultural awareness, hence the likelihood of being attacked by someone who is at least somewhat aware of what works, if not actually trained in it, is becoming higher.

Having said all that, I would say in principle that you have a valid question, because I don't really know how the body skills would best be used in a boxing/kickboxing context. I don't doubt that they can, I just don't know enough to do more than speculate. This could easily be another discussion tangent, but as I see it the maximum ground power necessitates a good ground connection, which would seem to incur at least some cost in mobility. On the other hand, there is the aspect of connection alone, without necessarily using the ground for power. I almost see a sort of two-pronged approach between what Akuzawa and Rob do and what Mike does, deriving from the Chen Taiji and similar traditions. The obvious sweet spot for the latter is in the clinch, where the full suit and ground connection can be used to maximum effect, along with short power hits. That is probably the area where internal skills can make the greatest impact (pun intended) in MMA. But what about the feeling out range where the opponent is dancing in and out, trying to hit you with jabs and score with leg kicks? I don't doubt that you can powerfully close the gap, but this is where it's generally better to be up on the balls of your feet with high mobility. That doesn't seem to mesh with maximum ground connection, keeping weight underside, etc. As a quick speculation I could toss out the idea of more connection-only approach kickboxing range, shifting to the full ground-and-suit approach in the clinch. Anyway, I think only a select group is going to understand exactly what I'm getting at, point being it's certainly a valid question as to whether there is a tradeoff between maximum power and mobility. You sort of accused Dan of not being able to do his stuff at all without standing in one spot, which to be honest isn't fair since you haven't experienced what he does, but in this sense the strategic question has merit. Note that it's a question, not a statement. ;) That you made it as a statement indicates some bias or irritation with how you think Dan is putting things, and as I said I don't really see that. Hopefully this gives you an idea of where (I think) he is coming from as well.

Pete Rihaczek
03-05-2007, 01:55 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your injury Pete, those long-term things suck :-( [snip] I would argue that even without proper internal training (as Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and Akuzawa might teach) any activity, such as serious dance, which does build connectivity, will help to reduce the possibilities of training injuries a great deal.

Hi Gernot,

My shoulder is fine actually, never bothers me, I just had to give up heavy bench pressing. Which is fine, weight training is not something I particularly enjoy anymore, in some ways I think it does more harm than good, and benching doesn't have the best athletic carryover anyway. I definitely think more holistic exercises where the whole body is addressed as a unit is the way to go for the long term.

Kevin Leavitt
03-05-2007, 03:30 PM
Pete,

Thanks for the reply. No need to mediate, the discussion is over.

I agree whole-heartedly with your post above.

I have a very good, sound traditional aikido background as well as a pretty good base in MMA/combatives training. I have trained extensively with sticks, knifes, tasers, simunitions and understand there place and employment for the most part, as well as I think you can without becoming a kali expert.

Pete wrote:

his could easily be another discussion tangent, but as I see it the maximum ground power necessitates a good ground connection, which would seem to incur at least some cost in mobility. On the other hand, there is the aspect of connection alone, without necessarily using the ground for power. I almost see a sort of two-pronged approach between what Akuzawa and Rob do and what Mike does, deriving from the Chen Taiji and similar traditions. The obvious sweet spot for the latter is in the clinch, where the full suit and ground connection can be used to maximum effect, along with short power hits. That is probably the area where internal skills can make the greatest impact (pun intended) in MMA. But what about the feeling out range where the opponent is dancing in and out, trying to hit you with jabs and score with leg kicks? I don't doubt that you can powerfully close the gap, but this is where it's generally better to be up on the balls of your feet with high mobility. That doesn't seem to mesh with maximum ground connection, keeping weight underside, etc. As a quick speculation I could toss out the idea of more connection-only approach kickboxing range, shifting to the full ground-and-suit approach in the clinch. Anyway, I think only a select group is going to understand exactly what I'm getting at, point being it's certainly a valid question as to whether there is a tradeoff between maximum power and mobility.

YES, YES, YES...you have precisely hit the nail on the head. I am not so good with words!

Nah, Dan got what Dan got because he is sniping at bits and pieces. It was a quick tap dance around the issue for him. (He was sniping at my comments concerning aikido methodolgy and moving. I said irimi/tenkan...which is moving your feet/body/alignment...he says...why would you want to do that??? so the inverse is...what...don't move, or move a little...certainly relevant to perspective and this is text and not reality! My point is regardless of moving a little or not at all...if you do not first move ENOUGH, then you will get nailed, and why do you want to assume this risk in a real situation? So you can show everyone you can do some cool things with your body????

Or you really don't understand aikido....or you assume I don't really understand what I am talking about....

So either way, it was a snipe at the real issue, which was simply another way for him to grandstand and thumb his nose (I am not in the GET IT club you see!) :)

In hindsight, I fell for the trolling hook line and sinker. Hey it happens every now and then! He got me.

Anyway, I think part of my frustration on this thread has been that I cannot seem to understand things from my own training paradigm. I am excited because it appears that you might be able to help bridge that gap with your background as it seems similar, AND you have an idea of how this stuff works!

Look forward to your input and discussion!

Lee Salzman
03-05-2007, 04:42 PM
Having said all that, I would say in principle that you have a valid question, because I don't really know how the body skills would best be used in a boxing/kickboxing context. I don't doubt that they can, I just don't know enough to do more than speculate. This could easily be another discussion tangent, but as I see it the maximum ground power necessitates a good ground connection, which would seem to incur at least some cost in mobility. On the other hand, there is the aspect of connection alone, without necessarily using the ground for power. I almost see a sort of two-pronged approach between what Akuzawa and Rob do and what Mike does, deriving from the Chen Taiji and similar traditions. The obvious sweet spot for the latter is in the clinch, where the full suit and ground connection can be used to maximum effect, along with short power hits. That is probably the area where internal skills can make the greatest impact (pun intended) in MMA. But what about the feeling out range where the opponent is dancing in and out, trying to hit you with jabs and score with leg kicks? I don't doubt that you can powerfully close the gap, but this is where it's generally better to be up on the balls of your feet with high mobility. That doesn't seem to mesh with maximum ground connection, keeping weight underside, etc. As a quick speculation I could toss out the idea of more connection-only approach kickboxing range, shifting to the full ground-and-suit approach in the clinch. Anyway, I think only a select group is going to understand exactly what I'm getting at, point being it's certainly a valid question as to whether there is a tradeoff between maximum power and mobility.

I can only speak for the methodology I practice, but connectedness can and is developed into explosive power/movement. You can teach the body how to relax more completely to be prepared for movement, get rid of the gap between intent to move and actual movement, ensure movement is not broken, hone your ability to move in different directions out of various body shapes, etc. etc. Down is one direction out of many in this whole 4D space-time thing.

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 05:04 PM
So either way, it was a snipe at the real issue, which was simply another way for him to grandstand and thumb his nose (I am not in the GET IT club you see!) :)Well, I'm not speaking for Dan, nor do I want to get in between your love fest, but let me say that there are 2 sides of the story.

Try to imagine the other side for someone who was exposed to these types of body skills:

First of all, the utility of these skills and the sudden physical realization of what the old Asians meant by "ki" is obvious. The fact that everyone is not already doing this is stupefying.

Secondly, imagine trying to tell people in a friendly (at first) manner that there's something generally missing that is pretty important. Then imagine getting repeatedly rebuffed with crap about how they're "high-ranking dans" and there is either "no such thing" or "we already talk about and do those things" (when very obviously they don't).

Picture how really stupid that scenario looks to someone who can see these skills (even at a low level) and who suddenly sees western Aikido, Karate, Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Iaido, Sword arts, etc., for what they are.... a lot of costumery covering pretty much just external strength. And the guys doing those external charades are the ones giving you a hard time for trying to pass on something that is supposed to be intrinsic in the art they teach. See the picture? Now imagine that that same bizarre denial and rudeness has gone on, in your experience for a decade or more. As you can see, respect for some "high ranking dan" is just about nil and of course the "high ranking dan", who has some assigned niche in the pecking order, takes that lack of respect as an insult. That pretty much sums it up.

Now go back to some of your posts, Kevin, and the posts of others. There's been enough to signal quite easily that there's probably something you should look at and just shelve the commentary for a while. Instead, you've listened and then you post things about "Oh, ki and kokyu.... I teach those things".... but to us it's pretty obvious you don't know what ki and kokyu are, so you're signalling that you're part of the same continuing insanity that seems to be never ending from "Those That Teach" (not all, but too many). See why Dan gets irritated so quickly, under that scenario? See why you, a 'teacher' who also 'rumbles with young guys and whips their butts' feel like you're not being given full due for you knowledge, etc.? It's a 2-way street.

Dan's apparently being pretty friendly in his showing people whatever he shows them, although I suspect he'll reach a point where he'll feel "point made; now back to working on myself". Knowing that you're under no obligation to make your point and validate yourself, as Dan has more or less done at this point, makes him probably less prone to put up with the superficial friction that has probably gotten under his skin over a number of years. I.e., He may not be trolling... he may be considering that doesn't he really need to put up with supposed "teachers" challenging him about something they should already know before they call themselves a teacher. See the point? ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Pete Rihaczek
03-05-2007, 06:03 PM
[snip]

So either way, it was a snipe at the real issue, which was simply another way for him to grandstand and thumb his nose (I am not in the GET IT club you see!) :)

In hindsight, I fell for the trolling hook line and sinker. Hey it happens every now and then! He got me.

Anyway, I think part of my frustration on this thread has been that I cannot seem to understand things from my own training paradigm. I am excited because it appears that you might be able to help bridge that gap with your background as it seems similar, AND you have an idea of how this stuff works!

Look forward to your input and discussion!

Honestly, and I think I'm being objective here because I don't know you or Dan, I simply did not see Dan's comments as sniping. If you're anticipating sniping and attitude, you can put it in where the writer didn't intend. This is one of the bizarre side effects of being in the "get it" club (not by virtue of ability in my case, mind you) that it's like the Babelfish got put in your ear and you understand what someone like Dan is trying to say. ;)

The whole mobility thing is probably easily answered; like most of us who have been exposed to this stuff but don't have someone high-level to train with on a regular basis, there are many gaps and you do the best you can. I work on putting what I know of this sort of motion into boxing, because the objective evidence is that punching people in the head really hard is very effective. ;) I'm playing with various things, but the kickboxing range stuff I'm less sure of how to address. This is the problem Matt Hughes had when lost to St. Pierre, namely that he was in boxing mode, and MMA encompasses more than that and calls for a modified approach. St. Pierre was able to get in, hit, and get out, before Hughes could effectively counter. But, my knowledge of "internal footwork" and kicking technique is extremely limited, and my ignorance says absolutely nothing about how well it can be done. I know that Akuzawa and Rob have shown things in this regard, but the structure is different than what Mike does. There are many facets and variants of the big picture, and I have even less idea who Dan trained with, what system(s), etc. Suffice it to say I'm sure it can be answered relatively easily.

If by "I think part of my frustration on this thread has been that I cannot seem to understand things from my own training paradigm" you mean you can't put what Dan, Mike, etc. do into the reference frame you already know - welcome to the club. :) That is the normal experience, as Ron Tisdale confirmed for the nth time. I've never heard it go differently with anyone, ever. I had talked to Mike for some time before meeting him, and I'm pretty decent with verbalizations and picturing things, kinesthetic sense, but it was still totally different than what I expected. There simply is no way around that. You have to meet up for a show and tell before you can join the Dark Side^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H club. ;)

DH
03-05-2007, 06:44 PM
I think Mike and Pete are doing a fair job of describing both sides and I appreciate the effort.
I have to mention that I have posed so many questions to Kevin that have largely gone unanswered with no attempt made.
I have agonizingly tried to describe two different baseline skill arguments; MMA and internal skills.
As I have repeatedly laid out- these things are first taught statically then in motion....
What do I get from Kevin.
a. I don't understand distance
b. I don' understand off-line work
c. Then he tells me the only word he can think of to describe it is ignorance
Uhm... are you kiddin me.
Now I'M a bad guy?
My remarks about "Yawning" and Aikido claptrap were about wrist grabs.

I'd add to that that my repeated attempts to describe and explain they are used in motion is simply never acknowledged. Its like I never said it. Every post in return talks about standing still.
So....where is this "communication” and openness really happening?
I talk, I explain, I go ignored. OK fine
Someone else PMed me pointed out the many compliments I have given Kevin with no thanks nor any warm regards and no friendly recognition.

Last, I think it obvious that those who have felt the skills have experienced these skills haven’t gotten any serious consideration for their efforts, nor a lot of intelligent questions. In fact some have gotten weird PM's and there really isn't the "openness" as Kevin mentions here to learn. One PM I've seen from a guy who attended one of these shabangs was pretty snide. There are still vestiges of "territory" and proprietary information.
I thought I’d share some cautions I have received.

I’ve heard very good reports. And I appreciate you being so open with __________. He was very grateful and went on at length. If I may be so bold, I would caution you to be careful about being too open on Aikiweb and wearing your heart on your sleeve the way you sometimes do……

This from a surprising source I edited out the off topic points.
....meaning the level of acceptance your seeing is a bit of a veneer, well trained in them by their Japanese teachers.
....I have been privy to some talk of checking you out and bringing it back to work into our own. What I am getting at, is the level of acceptance you are seeing may be on the surface. It has not, nor will not, overshadow the level of scorn and open hostility seen in the past.
......There will be skill stealing and denial. There will be backstabbing. There will be teacher prejudice and a very real sense of protectionism and loyalty, even to their own detriment. I’m sorry to say that as a group, they’re not as honest, even with themselves, as the same men I’ve met in Judo.
You three fellows have your work cut out for you. If your serious about helping engineer a change-I hope you can stay the course. I’d suggest being very cautious, take it slow and pay attention to who you show things too.

Ouch!
I will continue to try to be hopeful.

Pete makes a compelling case that if a reasonable man were to go back and read in Open discussions.
Robs original Ark thread
Robs thread after Paris
My meeting with Rob and Mike
My meeting with Dan Harden in Boston
My experience with Dan Harden

You will see a commonality in the threads. Every....single....man reports the same things. It is very compelling. Lest it escape anyones attention the teaching was clear, open, and giving, and real results were attained.
All acknowleged it was absolutly a baseline skill to have for aikido. Moreover that asa group they didnlt get it-what we have been talking about-till they felt it. I find it interesting that now they talk amongst themselves about its potential and where and how it all makes perfect sense in their training. Just like we all did....Its about the work.

In light of the recent letters I went back and read the tone expressed in the "open invitation to Dan Harden" thread. As one gentleman who wrote me cautioned .....so don't be fooled, that was hostile. That level of hostility doesn't go away overnight.

I ...am... going to keep by guard up.
Cheers
Dan

DH
03-05-2007, 07:31 PM
On a lighter note and lest it escape Kevin's attention again -note-that is lighthearted banter Kevin the third or fourth exercise at this last get together was?...drum roll...How to move with the connection they just created and felt- intact...actually Moving with it.
Lest it escape anyone elses attention.
I then demonstrated a next step in how to deal with changinf roces you aren't expecting. we used judo throws as an example. I demonstrated the use of these skills with three different guys bieng allowed to move and do anything they wished to try and throw me.
1. I let them get close-in and they locked themselves up
2. I no longer let them get in and they had serious trouble lifting their feet
3. They couldn't move-in at all and bounced off
4. I let an Iai guy try to cut at speed with a bokken
This is a very small example of moving around with....drum roll
different distances.

For the guys who have felt this- this is in keeping with Arks pushout exercise. How you manage your connections doesn't change and is no different you just connect with them while fighting with it in jujutsu- keeping the tensions and the central pivot. The short kick and the power release I did (sans breath work) to a few guys are further exercises in motion . In a pushing test exercise "What receives?...feeds." So the paths of power are static as well as fluid. Quick change-up are done without thought or with thought, standing or on the ground. On the ground you still need to know how to fight on the ground to use them well.
If you are lousy fighter, you're still a lousy fighter but with a bit of an edge. If you get this stuff really really well.....you're still a lousy fighter.. with a better edge.
If you're a good fighter..this stuff can help you to be a great fighter.
If you're a great fighter it will give you another great edge.
In any event -they- are great skills.
MMA are great skills
They can be discussed separately or together.
But in the end, when we train, we move Kevin
Cheers
Dan

Upyu
03-05-2007, 08:55 PM
Having said all that, I would say in principle that you have a valid question, because I don't really know how the body skills would best be used in a boxing/kickboxing context. <snip> That is probably the area where internal skills can make the greatest impact (pun intended) in MMA. But what about the feeling out range where the opponent is dancing in and out, trying to hit you with jabs and score with leg kicks? I don't doubt that you can powerfully close the gap, but this is where it's generally better to be up on the balls of your feet with high mobility. That doesn't seem to mesh with maximum ground connection, keeping weight underside, etc. As a quick speculation I could toss out the idea of more connection-only approach kickboxing range, shifting to the full ground-and-suit approach in the clinch. Anyway, I think only a select group is going to understand exactly what I'm getting at, point being it's certainly a valid question as to whether there is a tradeoff between maximum power and mobility.

You bring up some really good points Pete.
I think a good deal why Ark stresses the upper cross, and not so much the Dantien and ground power is when you're moving chaotically in a fight, a lot of things get shot to ""$t, and having control over your upper cross tends to be more beneficial in this scenario.
Really I think there's no real transition and that you develop the major "control" centers of your body and adjust them to the situation accordingly.

The other thing you have to consider is that...even when you're fighting a kickboxer, you don't fight them within their paradigm, and that's what gives you the upper edge. (Leads into the whole you don't fight them, fight them without fighting them bla bla bla)You're not worried about mobility, timing etc, because when you move you "pwn" them regardless.
Its just another one of those "IHTBF" things, which I'm sure we'll get around to soon enough if I can drag Ark's ass to the westcoast. :D

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 09:04 PM
I think a good deal why Ark stresses the upper cross, and not so much the Dantien and ground power is when you're moving chaotically in a fight, a lot of things get shot to ""$t, and having control over your upper cross tends to be more beneficial in this scenario. Well, I disagree with that, Rob, and I think I can convince you pretty easily, but since I'm pressed for time I'll let it go and pm you later when I have more time. ;) The one comment I'd make is that a lot of what you know you only know now because you conditioned your body to a certain point. Maybe your perspective would change if you conditioned it more, slightly differently, etc. That's the unfortunate truth I have rediscovered about a dozen times. :)

Best.

Mike

DH
03-05-2007, 09:46 PM
P.M.ed
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 10:03 PM
I don't taiji or CMA at all so I have no clue what Mikes talking about.OK, so pick any traditional Japanese text on martial arts and see if they don't emphasize the hara/tanden/whatever. No need to publicly post that the middles locus is just some Chinese idea. ;)

I'm unclear why the importance of the middle should have escaped you, if you've looked for the whole picture of the relationships. The "cross" is the minor one, not the major one.

Regards,

Mike

DH
03-05-2007, 10:21 PM
OK, so pick any traditional Japanese text on martial arts and see if they don't emphasize the hara/tanden/whatever. No need to publicly post that the middles locus is just some Chinese idea. ;)

I'm unclear why the importance of the middle should have escaped you, if you've looked for the whole picture of the relationships. The "cross" is the minor one, not the major one.

Regards,

Mike
What? When did the "importance" of the middle escape me?
Where? I was talking about a "relationship" in grappling, not the engine
The upper cross remains significant in grappling and bujutsu, but there are different ways to use it.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-05-2007, 10:39 PM
I give up. You said you didn't understand what I was saying and the discussion was about cross versus dantien and I said the dantien is more important and........ well, nevermind then.

;)

Mike

DH
03-05-2007, 10:53 PM
I was just keying into a discussion Rob and I had about that very thing the other night. I guess I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't saying I "knew" what you were alluding to or were stressing.

Cheers
Dan

Pete Rihaczek
03-05-2007, 11:06 PM
You bring up some really good points Pete.
I think a good deal why Ark stresses the upper cross, and not so much the Dantien and ground power is when you're moving chaotically in a fight, a lot of things get shot to ""$t, and having control over your upper cross tends to be more beneficial in this scenario.

Hi Rob, like I said it's pure speculation on my part only because I don't know how the uber ground power guys do their footwork. I know what you're saying about not fighting their fight; look at the success BJJ had just timing entries, and that's without having anything threatening in the striking arsenal. It *is* pretty hard to stay away from somebody, especially if you're attacking. So a powerful bridging technique is something I would expect. But it's another blank area to be filled in, and something I need to ponder until I get more info.


Its just another one of those "IHTBF" things, which I'm sure we'll get around to soon enough if I can drag Ark's ass to the westcoast. :D

That would be great. Also gives me some motivation to get off the couch a bit more, never know who's going to be in town when. ;)

DH
03-05-2007, 11:24 PM
Just a small point But I'm not sure I'd raise up the entering tactics of BJJ as their stellar attribute over wrestlers or judo guys who mixed it up. BJJ's real early game was combining a sphisticated relaxed ne waza with 'stalling" thus wearing out an uninformed and agressive opponent as well as their drilled specialized submissions. Something which Shamrock finally got in their long tied bout. He finally wised-up to playing the stall game instead of creating undending openings and gasing-out.Overall it was BJJ just doing the classic "find a fight they can't do well" and then specialize in bringing them there. To which the MMA crowd has responded to with; better stand -up, take down defenses and strikes. I think its interesting that the stand up is more Muay Tai and the clinch more greco roman. The shoot getting ever more simplified to western wrestling and the grond is BJJ or ground and pound. And the Japanese aint doing so well.
I don't know what I'd say about your earleir "western boxing" comments. Many of the top guys have pretty unconventional striking methods. Its the tough thing about MMA. You would like to say how would one of these unconventional strikers do against a conventional boxer, but then they'd just submit him. And so it goes.
One whopping kit of base-line skills though. The staying away from someone while attacking has some interesting tie-ind to internal skills. The more powerful you hit- the more you should be into yourself. It is the same with kicks. So there isn't as much leaning and dedication. There is more power with less effort as well- which helps prevent the gassing issue. Then you have stability and casting off. It would be interesting to see what a group of guys could do with it who trained it. Tim Cartmell is doing well with BJJ.
Cheers
Dan

Pete Rihaczek
03-05-2007, 11:39 PM
Just a small point But I'm not sure I'd raise up the entering tactics of BJJ as their stellar attribute over wrestlers or judo guys who mixed it up.

Hi Dan, that's why I carefully chose the word "had" in "the success BJJ had". ;) They had a good run with it, but all the top BJJ guys will freely say no one art can get the job done these days, that ship has sailed. I think there's still lots of room to grow in each aspect of MMA, and the future will see some scary athletes.

Upyu
03-05-2007, 11:43 PM
Well, I disagree with that, Rob, and I think I can convince you pretty easily, but since I'm pressed for time I'll let it go and pm you later when I have more time. ;) The one comment I'd make is that a lot of what you know you only know now because you conditioned your body to a certain point. Maybe your perspective would change if you conditioned it more, slightly differently, etc. That's the unfortunate truth I have rediscovered about a dozen times. :)

Best.

Mike
Maybe I should restate that then, I didn't mean that as an ultimate, "the upper cross is better for fighting period", (^^ );;
But rather, in the short term, better control of the upper cross can give you access to certain abilities that you can quickly and naturally use in a fighting context.
Of course what you said is true, I know only what I know right now because my body is conditioned the way it is.
I also won't disagree at all that as it continues to change my perception on all this will most likely change. I'm already workin on how to bring the dantien more into play in things I do even though it's weak right now.
Just to be clear that even though I say the "upper cross" is useful in fighting etc, I'm not dismissing the fact that the lower & dantien useage isn't useful...its quite the contrary.

DH
03-06-2007, 12:40 AM
A small example I can offer is the end of the Ten Chi Jin exercise where you are squatting. If you "pull" youself up, stretching the spine, but you draw your dantien down resisting, you'll feel what I was talking about about the dantian drawing the upper cross. Now..if you remember our phone conversation the other night about winding? As you draw down... wind in. Don't do open/close side to side. Do it in/in with a gentle pull into your center....when your mind has a tough time holding that..imagine you are being unwound up and out whiile winding in. You have sagital, vertical and horizontal all at once. Over time- in grappling if they are trying to separate a chest shoulder and lift- it gives a left or right upper quandrant draw around and axis as the whole body draws. Then you can compress the breath or bounce the bubble;) at will.
In fighting I think its slower then a more bujutsu feel but in grappling it has awesome stability against an opponents fast change up when
a. You can't get away
b. They're changing
I don't think its as sharp, its more rubbery. But it works.
There are ways to move it with the breath. A fun thing is to have someone push on your chest while you use your breath to rotate your dantien...and in an Aikisage or Aikiage direction.. they tell you they feel your center move their center. while you're just standing there. Then have them dig there fingers into your stomach and jamb them sharply back so they hurt. Explode, relax, explode or roll and they sink. Its great once again in grappling if they start punching your gut and you just smile...and nail em.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-06-2007, 07:58 AM
Maybe I should restate that then, I didn't mean that as an ultimate, "the upper cross is better for fighting period", (^^ );;
But rather, in the short term, better control of the upper cross can give you access to certain abilities that you can quickly and naturally use in a fighting context.
Of course what you said is true, I know only what I know right now because my body is conditioned the way it is.
I also won't disagree at all that as it continues to change my perception on all this will most likely change. I'm already workin on how to bring the dantien more into play in things I do even though it's weak right now.
Just to be clear that even though I say the "upper cross" is useful in fighting etc, I'm not dismissing the fact that the lower & dantien useage isn't useful...its quite the contrary.Well, these are the good and necessary discussions that help everyone learn, form opinions, etc., so I like them.

None of the dantiens work in isolation. The 3 body power ones are the lower dantien above the perineum, the middle/main dantien, and the chest dantien that has the "cross". The two two major power ones in an "internal arts" sense are the Lower and Middle dantiens. The chest/cross dantien is a subset of the main dantien and only moves as a subsidiary of the main dantien. The point to understand is that these dantiens are not just arbitrary points in a mystical nomenclature of the body.... they are actual and powerful muscular nexi that interconnect with each other. One of these days I'll post a vid clip showing how the controls work.

Best.

Mike

Dennis Hooker
03-06-2007, 08:43 AM
I always liked this analogy when referring to the tanden "Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub; It is the center hole that makes it useful." --Tao Te Ching, Chapter Eleven

O-Sensei did a calligraphy called the cross of Aiki. I have a beautiful rendition done by Saotome Sensei hanging in the tea room. I believe many of Dan’s points referring to the dantiens are seen in that calligraphy.

I am not trying to hijack the thread here but do you believe there is a connection with these exercises and with the calming of the belly brain. This has fascinated me every since I learned of it.

http://www.2012.com.au/Second_brain.html ?

Many of the breathing and movement exercises I have studied over the years seems to revolve to some degree around calming that part of the body and letting power flow form the center. It moves first and controls everything.

Mark Jakabcsin
03-06-2007, 05:19 PM
But perhaps now you sense MY frustration in following this thread. ALOT of words but nothing I can really apply in my own training. I do not doubt for a minute that Mike, Dan, Rob or others have these internal skills...it's just that they're not helping me to understand or acquire them. Just telling me how inadequate I am isn't very helpful.

Ricky,
You might want to pick up a copy of 'Zen Body-Being' by Peter Ralston. In chapter 5 or maybe 6 he explains out a few drills you can work on, although to have any chance of properly understanding the drills I think you need to read the preceeding chapters. Of course this is not a substitute for hands on experience but it might give you a few things to think about. Peter has other more complex books but this one is probably the easiest to start with. How or if it relates exactly to Mike's, Dan's and Rob's methods is, is for them to say. I will say Peter uses lots of visualization.

Take care,

Mark J.

Upyu
03-06-2007, 09:17 PM
It moves first and controls everything.

Controls maybe, but I disagree with the notion that it "moves first."
I don't think the tanden powers it so much as controls.
Motion should still iniate from the legs.
Anyone else want to chime in?

eyrie
03-06-2007, 09:41 PM
Mind moves first... then legs... then arms, controlled via the tanden... :D You know, the General, The Commander, and the rest of the army...

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-06-2007, 10:21 PM
I'll go along with the power coming from the ground directly through feet, legs, hips, and further up while controlled by center. I'm starting to feel how the center can only control this power/connection when there is that "suit" and/or "piano wire" connection throughout the body, and then admittedly it may be a bit difficult to tell what "moves" first, as it's not so much the movement as the ability to put the ground at a point you choose instantaneously that's important. And then using that facility to move. It's easier to tell when bits "move without connection to the rest" though, or even where the breaks in connection occur (all for some arbitrary level of connection, seeing as I'm a beginner).

gdandscompserv
03-06-2007, 10:30 PM
From my Greco-Roman wrestling days I remember the phrase, "shoot from the hips." I use to think that meant move your hips first, but now I am not so sure. Nowadays, I believe it to be most efficient to move one's center and legs in unison with all of your other body parts, including one's breath, ki and ultimately-the universe. But I do agree, the mind moves first.

gdandscompserv
03-06-2007, 10:51 PM
However, Hooker sensei brings up a very intriguing point. If the stomach is a "second brain," and the mind moves first, then isn't it possible that we should really be moving from our center first? Very fascinating indeed. Thanks Hooker sensei.

DH
03-06-2007, 11:11 PM
Everybody and anybody can "move from the center."
It's what moves with it, how its connected and when, that matters.
Hell I'll add whether or not you can actively "move" your own center -as an entity-to begin with, even while standing still. Took me years!
And on top of all of that what you can do with an active center.
I've seen any number of artist from abysmal to really good who all claim they are "moving from their center." Tenkaning in a 3' circle can be a "pirouette from center."
So was Wang Chu Shin throwing Draeger and wrecking Bluming's hand by bouncing it off his.... "active center."
They are not......the same thing.

And the brain in the center thing?
Then we all have total control right?
All our hands our in our centers and our centers are in our hands.
We're done.....it was just a simple act of "thinking" with our belly brain...sure.;)

I'm just slow......I had to take the long route.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-07-2007, 04:11 AM
I've been in these conversations before. The problem is that there are only so many buzzwords and buzz-phrases in all the books that everyone has read/heard and there are enough talkers to spread 'em around thin. :)

I have to feel someone before I put much weight to what they say. I remember on the old Neijia List reading some guys discussing some pretty obscure things and thinking to myself, "These guys are da bomb". Then I met them and found they only had rudimentary skills, but they were smart enough to have extrapolated accurately the logic of how these things work and were saying all the right things.

So...... mebbe, mebbe not. ;)

Mike

gdandscompserv
03-07-2007, 08:08 AM
Then I met them and found they only had rudimentary skills, but they were smart enough to have extrapolated accurately the logic of how these things work and were saying all the right things.
So what do you suppose prevented them from making the leap from; 'extrapolating accurately the logic', to putting it into practice. Since it begins in the mind, perhaps they were just at a different point in their progression. Maybe when they're older they will "get it."
And perhaps I just want to defend those like myself who really only have "rudimentary" skills.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

DH
03-07-2007, 08:36 AM
Ricky
Thats true.....BUT!

I've had guys "explain" what I just showed them -back at me- far better than I just did. But all they had were words. A favorite joke in my place is when someone says "Ohhh! I do this and this. And then the idea is to do that ....." And we all watch......
But they can't do.....squat.
There are a whole bunch of guys reading this right now...laughing.

Its hard enough one-on-one. Words and explanations help. But its all about the work, and training. Much like learning any other budo's waza. These skills are a skill that needs to be trained and built upon.
I had a very good teacher say to me
Everyone talks
you? Shugyo
years go by
everyone's still talking
then you get up to demonstrate
then everyone knows the truth

Its a great model and admonition to research, and then do the work, because in the end, no one can stand.. for us, not our teacher, not our school, not our arts rep...or our words.
In the end our understanding... is in our hands.
Its no different than giving a book report on koryu bujutsu. Reciting all the right lingo and sounding like an expert!!
That's why Mike says meebee meebe not

Dan

Mike Sigman
03-07-2007, 10:03 AM
So what do you suppose prevented them from making the leap from; 'extrapolating accurately the logic', to putting it into practice. They didn't have the incentive to work hard and consistently. They wanted to talk about it, to be part of the "group", but they didn't have the drive to follow through.

Working hard to research and practice Aikido correctly is like going to Heaven. Everyone wants to go there....... but not yet.

;)

Mike

gdandscompserv
03-07-2007, 10:33 AM
They didn't have the incentive to work hard and consistently. They wanted to talk about it, to be part of the "group", but they didn't have the drive to follow through.

Working hard to research and practice Aikido correctly is like going to Heaven. Everyone wants to go there....... but not yet.

;)

Mike
It would seem we agree on something after all.;)
Hard work and consistency are key. An often heard phrase in our dojo was; "shut-up and train."

Regarding the heaven thing, I heard it a little differently:
Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to do what it takes to get there.

Regarding wanting to be part of the group; I know very little about that.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

ChrisMoses
03-07-2007, 11:05 AM
Controls maybe, but I disagree with the notion that it "moves first."
I don't think the tanden powers it so much as controls.
Motion should still iniate from the legs.
Anyone else want to chime in?

I'd say it depends a lot on what you're doing and what your goal is. Most would agree that whatever movement happens, it will initiate separate from the point of contact. Beyond that I don't believe there is or should be a hard and fast rule where you always need to move from. This is one thing that newaza really hammers home. If you only know how to root from your legs, you're screwed. If you need to begin all of your movements from your hips, what happens if they're trapped? I think it's actually more important to know how to move intentionally, stabilizing some areas of the body, and intentionally relaxing others all while maintaining sensitivity at whatever points of contact you have.

Dennis Hooker
03-07-2007, 11:44 AM
OK, so pick any traditional Japanese text on martial arts and see if they don't emphasize the hara/tanden/whatever. No need to publicly post that the middles locus is just some Chinese idea. ;)

I'm unclear why the importance of the middle should have escaped you, if you've looked for the whole picture of the relationships. The "cross" is the minor one, not the major one.

Regards,

Mike

Hello Mike. For me the power and movement of the tenden was drove home with much clarity by my sword teachers than by my Aikido teachers. Perhaps it is just that I understood the concepts better with a sword in my hand. I can tell you that in real combat moving from the center and keeping the upper cross still gives you a much better view of the action going on around you. Moving with a stable center like floating along the ground kept me quite aware and controling the center kept me clam under duress.

Best to you
Dennis

Mike Sigman
03-07-2007, 11:49 AM
Hello Mike. For me the power and movement of the tenden was drove home with much clarity by my sword teachers than by my Aikido teachers. Perhaps it is just that I understood the concepts better with a sword in my hand. I can tell you that in real combat moving from the center and keeping the upper cross still gives you a much better view of the action going on around you. Moving with a stable center like floating along the ground kept me quite aware and controling the center kept me clam under duress. Hi Dennis:

Well, as I noted before, this sort of thing is just an impossible discussion because in my experience everyone talks about their "center" and how they use it, but almost invariably I've found that everyone is talking about different things, even though they're using the same limited repertoire of words. ;)

Best.

Mike

Dennis Hooker
03-07-2007, 12:01 PM
Hi Dennis:

Well, as I noted before, this sort of thing is just an impossible discussion because in my experience everyone talks about their "center" and how they use it, but almost invariably I've found that everyone is talking about different things, even though they're using the same limited repertoire of words. ;)

Best.

Mike

I know Mike. I don't have the word skills to inter act well here. I would Love for all of us to get together in a big room some place. I heard some scuttlebutt that you may be visiting your daughter latter this year and the possibility of a little workshop. Is that true? I believe she resides on the east coast don't she?

Best

Mike Sigman
03-07-2007, 12:07 PM
I know Mike. I don't have the word skills to inter act well here. I would Love for all of us to get together in a big room some place. I heard some scuttlebutt that you may be visiting your daughter latter this year and the possibility of a little workshop. Is that true? I believe she resides on the east coast don't she?
Well, I just got back from there, Dennis. Might be a little while before I return.... I'm still in shock from the Beltway traffic. ;) If I get onto the east coast again anytime soon (may have to visit one of my best friends in SC later this year), I'll let you know.

Best.

Mike

MM
03-07-2007, 01:13 PM
Just slightly off topic, but I found it slightly funny (in an ironic humorous way).

Posted by Josh over on another thread, he quoted some words about Ueshiba and André Nocquet


[One day] I said to Ueshiba Sensei, "You are always praying, Ueshiba Sensei. Then aikido is a religion."

"No, that's not true. Aikido is never a religion, but if you are a Christian, you will be a better Christian because of aikido. If you are a Buddhist, you will be a better Buddhist."


Well, some have said that these baseline skills apply to everything and that it makes what you are doing better. I guess Ueshiba thought that the baseline skills would make you better in your religion, also. :)

Mark

Fred Little
03-07-2007, 01:19 PM
Hi Dennis:

Well, as I noted before, this sort of thing is just an impossible discussion because in my experience everyone talks about their "center" and how they use it, but almost invariably I've found that everyone is talking about different things, even though they're using the same limited repertoire of words. ;)

And as the videotape controversies have shown, while a picture may be worth a thousand words, eyewitness accounts aren't much help either.

But reports of reliable individuals with hands-on experience are another matter entirely, and in that regard Mike, your trip East and Ron's trip north were worth more than either the words or pictures that have been out there on the boards to date.

For what it's worth, Beltway traffic is really much, much worse than traffic around New York. ;)

FL

Mike Sigman
03-07-2007, 01:30 PM
But reports of reliable individuals with hands-on experience are another matter entirely, and in that regard Mike, your trip East and Ron's trip north were worth more than either the words or pictures that have been out there on the boards to date. Well, (and this is just a rhetorical comment, not an effort to gainsay your comment) let me note that I have met up with various people, visited various places, etc., to see and feel various people myself, simply because I'm not willing to give credence to "reliable individuals". In the cases of these ki/kokyu skills, a "relable individual" may have a limited ability to deal with some fairly simple manifestations of jin/kokyu/ki skills and therefore his reportage may still leave me unsatisfied. Now if someone like Terry Chan or Forrest Chang or Mark Reeder were to post his impression of some people, I wouldn't feel constrained to travel so much because I can gauge from what I know their skills and perspectives. Joe Schmoe, the 30-year Yondan "reliable individual" reporting on me or Dan or Ushiro or Tohei, etc., can't be assured of giving a necessarily accurate picture.

In other words, Fred.... I can't do beans, but I baffled 'em with bullshit, smoke, and mirrors. Ask 'em about the qigong I led everyone through where I mixed sounds (like the ones in the Kotodama) and emitted qi. Get it from reliable individuals. ;) For what it's worth, Beltway traffic is really much, much worse than traffic around New York. ;) Yeah, right.... remind me to tell you some of my experiences while driving around NYC during rush hour. :)

Mike

Fred Little
03-07-2007, 02:14 PM
In the cases of these ki/kokyu skills, a "relable individual" may have a limited ability to deal with some fairly simple manifestations of jin/kokyu/ki skills and therefore his reportage may still leave me unsatisfied.

In other words, Fred.... I can't do beans, but I baffled 'em with bullshit, smoke, and mirrors. Ask 'em about the qigong I led everyone through where I mixed sounds (like the ones in the Kotodama) and emitted qi. Get it from reliable individuals. ;) Yeah, right.... remind me to tell you some of my experiences while driving around NYC during rush hour. :)

Mike

Mike,

I'm getting like you about traveling. So for me, the "reliable individuals" test is the first one to decide whether the trip is worth making.

Of course, the train from the plane gets you from Newark Liberty to University Heights, Newark in about thirty minutes with no driving at all.

Ditto from NJIT to Midtown.

Oh how I do hate driving.....

FL

Erick Mead
03-07-2007, 06:40 PM
I've been in these conversations before. The problem is that there are only so many buzzwords and buzz-phrases in all the books that everyone has read/heard

And as the videotape controversies have shown, while a picture may be worth a thousand words, eyewitness accounts aren't much help either.

But reports of reliable individuals with hands-on experience are another matter entirely...

Well, as I noted before, this sort of thing is just an impossible discussion because in my experience everyone talks about their "center" and how they use it, but almost invariably I've found that everyone is talking about different things, even though they're using the same limited repertoire of words. No, it is is not impossible.. It is just impossible if one becomes stuck on one and only one measure of perception in what is happening. As Fred notes, your eyes tell you what you see, your body tells you what you feel and words and the concpets they represent manipualted by the mind, help to relate those utterly different means of perception that otherwise have nothing in common to some possible common factors in the given event.

You cannot trust your eyes to see what you must feel. You cannot trust your body to feel what you must see. You cannot trust your own internal perceptions of movement in judging objective movement. Internally, you have no independent frame of reference from which to observe.

Your perceptions can be fooled -- by your own perceptions, as well as by the midn that is receiving them. Too many pilots have augured into the smoking holes trusting the "seat of the pants" to prove that point. It is no different here.

Video shows you some of the truth. "Feel" of you partner shows some of the truth. Your own internal perception of movement shows you part of the truth. Only by careful, skeptical stitching of those bits of truth together is going to get you anywhere near a passing whole-looking truth with the strength to stand some wear. And ultimately it will fail too, and then you stitch them back together in some other useful way.

Some of you mock my efforts at description with a certain rigor of language (which is not math, nor operative experiment, despite the continued objections on those points.) That rigor is absolutely necessary to avoid the traps of description you yourselves identify. Without it, you are exactly correct in your position that it is "impossible."

You see a video and you often interpret it on the basis of what you feel when you do something similar, and then describe it thus. I simply describe what a given video actually shows happening. My imagining my own feeling of doign the same thing is not appropriate to the viewing of the video, because it has an objecitve frame of reference, which my internal feelgin do not and cannot have.

One can understand how these things relate in intuitive, subjective ways that are as different as the people involed. But a subjective intuitive understanding cannot be relaibaly communicated, As Mike and Fred both note. It must be made objective to meaningfully communicate it to another person. It must be objective to test whether one or more of your senses may be lying to you. And they do, with fair frequency.

They can only be reconciled, objectively, by later examining what I felt when I do something similar, or feel it fdone to me and what the video ( or teacher or student performing the movement) actually shows happening when I see it. That "feel" may well and very often does demonstrate something to me that is really happening and that cannot be easily seen in the videos. But equally, the feel does not put the lie to the video -- or vice versa.

I cannot do this task in the moment., I can only only do it afterward. But I can by doing so, I can correct the next "moment" when I might be called upon to perform the action, and refine or correct its function.

These completely different forms of information must be reconciled on a basis that is inherent to neither one. It must be done on a conceptual basis, in the mind. It is the common repository of all the perceptions, and yet it has none of its own, at least none physical.

You can do that in a very loose, changeable fashion -- that is metaphor and poetry, and O sensei's preferred mode. You can also do it with a rigor of meaning and distinction, with a neutral and detailed vocabulary suited to do the job. I am not much of a poet, so thatis my preferred mode. Both have their place, and using one to the exclusion of the other is not the road to truth either. O Sensei explicitly recognized this, back in 1933.

There is not one single trustworthy type of evidence for anything. There are reliable conceptual means to compare and test the sense data and give them an objecitve reliable framework and operating vocabulalry about which we can meaningfully talk and make close distinctions -- without incessantly debating the terminology in (at least) three languages.

DH
03-07-2007, 07:34 PM
There is not one single trustworthy type of evidence for anything. There are reliable conceptual means to compare and test the sense data and give them an objecitve reliable framework and operating vocabulalry about which we can meaningfully talk and make close distinctions -- without incessantly debating the terminology in (at least) three languages.
So we don't know what we see..........
and we can't see what we feel..........
And we can't trust what we felt or see..........
So we don't -know- what we know and see...........

But -you- tell -us- what we and or Ueshiba are doing at length?
That is an example of -your- confusion and lack of knowledge.
Not ours.
Don't drag me into your confusion.

Lets consider
1. Dozens of men have come and felt us. We taught them.
2. In my case many men were shown AND taught....by my students
.....Students Eric. Not just me.
What does that make of your model?
a. I know what I do
b. I teach it, and students do it
c. They can show it and teach it

Your aiki web folks have felt it and in some measure had it taught to them and they then did things as well. And no one...not one... mentoned rotational dynamics.;)

Years are going by and we are making a group of men who now know, Eric. And among the things they know- is that you... do not.
You can't do these things, and you don't know these things. Your writing shows it. Your looooong, overanylized, convoluted, and meandering explanations have not been able to disguise that one simple fact.
Just go learn Eric. Come have fun. You're yakin with a bunch of Budo bums like yourself. I'll show you what I know and we can laugh. You can even try to do Aikido...to me....I'll wear a keikogi and Hakama for the occasion.I just don't have any chaulk boards and calculators in the Dojo.:D
Cheers
Dan

Fred Little
03-07-2007, 08:15 PM
Two Data Perspectives:

http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/13/4/8

http://www.stradivariusmusic.com/music/track_01.mp3

With any luck, there's something for everybody there.

DH
03-07-2007, 08:50 PM
No Fred its just more B.S to muddy the waters.The ways to do these basic things are known. Nothing is as funny as reading loooong diatribes that are really just so much drivvle, from folks who can't do this stuff in the first place. Why bother talking? I'd rather read opinions from those who thought they knew-then realized they didn't know. Or their views of how it is relevant to creating Aiki in Aikido.

Its nothing new though. Not pointing to Eric or anyone in particular.
Budo has always had its share of Eggheads who are full of theories and histories and facts who talk really, really, well. "We need to revew the Data. Can I have more data?" ..... but can't do shit.
Also teachers in love with the sound of their own voice who bore you to tears and leave a fraction of the class to learn. Sure explanations are rellevant, but last time I checked Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba, and Mifune weren't knee deep in physics models. Find someone who will show and teach and learn.

Dan

Mike Sigman
03-07-2007, 09:20 PM
Pachelbel Canon in D. Stradivarius is Ueshiba? ;)

Erick Mead
03-07-2007, 09:54 PM
Two Data Perspectives:

http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/13/4/8

http://www.stradivariusmusic.com/music/track_01.mp3

With any luck, there's something for everybody there.Thanks, Fred. Excellent on both scores :D Human beings stand on two legs for a reason.

eyrie
03-07-2007, 10:03 PM
*sigh*.... it's just more "noise" which is completely unrelated to the thread topic... on both counts.

Erick Mead
03-08-2007, 10:48 AM
But -you- tell -us- what we and or Ueshiba are doing at length? I am not telling you anything about what you do. I know what I do not know. Rather precisely.

That is an example of -your- confusion and lack of knowledge.
Not ours.
Don't drag me into your confusion.
You have your opinion, and you presume to make judgment through my writing. My writing is directed to a purpose with which you admittedly do not concern yourself. You say, essentially, that only "feel" determines anything. Your judgement has little weight by your own standards, especially when as you and Mike have both suggested that a common vocabularly is hard for you to find -- in the way that you understand these concepts. I am respectfully suggesting that there are other ways, and other vocabulary that do not suffer from that problem, and certainly not to that degree.

Doubting your perspective of truth does not make me confused about my own -- or truth itself, of which we each have only a limited perspective. It also does not require me to deny your claims, which I never did. I only question the objective function of what is actually occurring, or more correctly, why it is happening.

In looking at basic skills, the whole of the secret is in the shape of the omote/kihon forms of movement, because that framss the ability to connect. The power lies in eventually making it small. Starting from large movement to small to infinitesimal movement is more basic to my mind, and apparently others here also, than the other way. Sensitivity and control have to be developed. Start small and very small errors in shape may be missed, and when enlarged they become unworkable, or require force or resistance to apply, which is a different principle. Once shape is fundamentally correct it can be reduced or enlarged to arbitrary scales as sensitivity and control improve. You seem uninterested in shape or form of interaction as a conceptual matter. Better defining essential shape and form of fundamental movement at arbitrary scales is my focus.

You are not interested or concerned with that aspect. I am not interested in making value judgements about which of these approaches is the right hand and which is the left hand. Both have their place, and I know which place each belong to. Doing it -- that I leave to training, and no amount of my writing will demonstrate what I do or do not do in the dojo, as if I cared to try. You fundamentally mistake what I am working on in this place and with these ideas.

Years are going by and we are making a group of men who now know, Eric. And among the things they know- is that you... do not.
You can't do these things, and you don't know these things. Your writing shows it.
Neither I nor anyone should judge anyone's physical ability from writing. Last I saw there are no written examinations in this art. But writing has its purposes, nonetheless. Abe Sensei and hosts of others before him emphasized the fundamental connection between writing out ideas in a proper form and expression, and the martial pursuits.

Bunbu ichi. The western mode and form of writing our ideas is different -- the principles of connection between them and martial arts is not. In writing, I only question or criticize conceptual application or accuracy of observation. That is all one can really do here, but I try to make the best of these limitations because that effort it has its place.

Your looooong, overanylized, convoluted, and meandering explanations have not been able to disguise that one simple fact. I think out loud. Mainly becasue I have practice and comfort in doing it, and it is good practice to do it. I am not concerned with criticism that engages my points, because if I did not want it -- I would not write it.

So, I write a lot and therefore know nothing, and while you know a great deal and therefore write poorly? Unfair on both counts, and a non sequitur.

You can even try to do Aikido...to me.... You come to these arts in a spirit of play. Which is fine. But you touch on a very important and fundamental disconnect underlying much of the (admittedly friendly) challenges you lay down, and the two basic perspectives on these points. It is worth some "loooogng, over analyzing ..." and any criticism it may garner.

At this point I have come to an understanding: I do not DO aikido to anybody. I certainly do not TRY to do this or that to anybody. Aikido is just what happens in the proper spirit of meeting -- whether the occasion is a handshake, a wrist grab -- or punch to the face.

Uke and nage meet for practice in that spirit, and neither one DOES aikido to the other. They do Aikido together -- or not at all. This is, to my mind the most fundamental lesson of aikido. It seems to me that the failure in this lesson is the reason for both the muscling and cranking as well as the whirly-twirly things you legitimately criticize. In the first case there is no meeting, there is a collision -- in the second case, there is no meeting because there is no connection at all.

Someone hauls off to deck me -- then I know I have a proper spirit of meeting to work WITH outside the dojo, not a target to DO something to. It is my sincere hope that he will know it too, or come realize it -- sooner rather than later. Meanwhile we will both do aikido, likely me more aware of what WE are doing than he who is merely TRYING to do something TO me. Not because I am inherently more skilled, stronger or more powerful -- far from it, those things are simply irrelevant.

Some of you talk about internal ukemi on contact. Ukemi can occur before there is ever any physical contact at all. Once you have determined to take ukemi of an attack that has formed you have immediately gained connection and can do aikido with him.

If you are already connected before you make contact how can one NOT be moving as the attack is coming? This is the essential point I have dwelt upon in analyzing the movements noted in all the videos offered so far, and a perspective that you seem to find wanting. You say you strive to remain "uninvolved,"and "not moving" is your frequent testing measure. This is perilously close to "not connected," if not identical to it.

Not moving is an indication of "not connected," because one cannot be connected and be not affected by the thing you are connecting with, and if it is moving, you must also, somehow, move as well.
But without connection, musubi, there is no aikido.

With that musubi we do aikido together, according to the fundamental form, large, small or infinitesimal, whatever he chooses to do. If irimi is proper, and his attention is on the aiki of the moment -- he should also immediately be in ukemi, then he will not be injured. If he does not, well -- his mistake. He stopped doing aikido with me. I have not stopped doing aikido with him, because he is still intent on meeting with me.

His attention is on something else - ME (his perceptions are leading him astray). He is more likely to make a mistake in the complete aiki of that moment of what WE are actually doing, than I am, because I am paying attention to joining that moment and dynamic, and not trying to do somehting TO him.

That dynamic is what makes aikido a strategic, not tactical, art. His is a strategic mistake because his attention is misdirected. However strong or skilled he may be, it is ineffectual because it is misapplied.

Aikido is surfing -- "doing to" is swimming. Some swimming is involved in getting to the point of surfing, but surfing is not swimming. You cannot surf without a wave. No amount of swimming will teach the dynamic of surf. Not moving to meet the wave when it is forming will prevent you from surfing. However strong a swimmer either of us may be, that dynamic we have both entered is more powerful than either of us. Joining with it in a critical shape and attitude is more vastly more effective than resisting or trying to counter it. If I prevail it is not because I am an inherently superior person, but because I made the better choice.

I have found that mistakes are generally more dangerous in aikido than proper technique For that reason I do not come to aikido in a spirit of play. Play is basically a matter of indifference, because the consequences do not matter. Nothing about aikido does not matter. Mistakes in aikido matter tremendously.

Paraphrasing Hannah Arendt, the opposite of indifference is either love or hate. I choose not to hate. I definitely choose not to be indifferent. That leaves only one choice, as O Sensei realized, and that choice is "joining with" in a proper spirit, not defeating or "doing to."

Erick Mead
03-08-2007, 11:04 AM
*sigh*.... it's just more "noise" which is completely unrelated to the thread topic... on both counts. Bad analogy. Random noise is actually helpful to amplify a faint signal. Or, do you think that the only important signals are those that tend to squelch out those nearby ?

Erick Mead
03-08-2007, 11:09 AM
Also teachers in love with the sound of their own voice who bore you to tears and leave a fraction of the class to learn. ...
Dan Actually, Dan, I share with you so I don't have to talk much at all in class. :)

Thanks again.

Fred Little
03-08-2007, 11:11 AM
Pachelbel Canon in D. Stradivarius is Ueshiba? ;)

In general, yes, though if I were to pin the metaphor down a little bit with a nod to one of the arguments Dan has long made it might be more precise to see Takeda Sokaku as Stradivarius and Ueshiba, Sagawa, and Kodo as senior apprentices in his workshop who attempted to transmit what they learned with varying degrees of success. Of course metaphor and analogy almost always break down if pushed too far.

Developing the baseline skill set is making the body an appropriate instrument.

Playing a tune or using the baseline skills are related but somewhat distinct skill sets.

Where I see a consensus in this discussion -- and in offline discussions I've had with individuals who have trained with both you and Dan -- is that the only way the information can be effectively transmitted without a lot of error creeping in is in small groups where there's hands on contact and immediate feedback.

That would be the master class model in music. In Japanese martial arts, it would be the typical koryu practice model: one teacher with a comparatively small number of students. And lots of solo practice.

Best,

FL

Alfonso
03-08-2007, 11:15 AM
Dear Erick San.

I have considered your discussions carefully , and I see that there is much good thought in them. It is presumption from my part to try to tell you the reason you're running into so much miscommunication, why there's such a great disconnect in your conversation. Your explanations are being met with frustration because they are not addressing a set of definitions which make a lot of sense with a lot of the elements you bring on into your discussion which you use to a different effect, or to support a different meaning than it does to the others.

For example you mention Abe sensei and writing as an example of reflecting over practice. And yet, Abe sensei's comments about calligraphy make a lot of sense when you 're aware that the act of writing in that manner shares the same engine , movement mode as in many internal-powered martial arts. Including sword. This is not even a speculation of my part.

Or the meaning of certain Doka; which make a lot of sense when certain metaphors are read in the context of training for internal skills. And which may or may not relate to strategy and philosophy as well (intended puns?)

In any case I thought this was relevant
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=695

Mike Sigman
03-08-2007, 11:34 AM
Where I see a consensus in this discussion -- and in offline discussions I've had with individuals who have trained with both you and Dan -- is that the only way the information can be effectively transmitted without a lot of error creeping in is in small groups where there's hands on contact and immediate feedback.

That would be the master class model in music. In Japanese martial arts, it would be the typical koryu practice model: one teacher with a comparatively small number of students. And lots of solo practice.I dunno, Fred. To me this whole thing is a gamble with no one really able to predict what is happening or going to happen.

First of all, the skill-levels of ki/kokyu between Dan, Ushiro, Abe Sensei, me, Ki-Society, and others are disparate. It is possible to do these skills coarsely, incompletely, too-muscularly, and so on, so that's going to factor into who is studying what with whom (love that phrase!). Not everybody is going to be doint it right and/or not everyone is going to be doing it in a way that feeds back correctly into Aikido the way Ueshiba would have approved.

The trick is to not worry about the subtleties and nuances, but to get people started with a whatever it takes and hope that things straighten out. I'm worried more about the ABC's. You seem to be worried about whether people will understand the difference between a sonnet and a ballad. ;)

My suggestion is that we all focus on the ABC's (and their permutations) and then we'll focus later on sonnets, ballads, and Pachelbel . In other words, we need to make rough, useful instruments... and a number of them... with the hope that better instruments will develop and the tunes will ensue.

And frankly, I think you'll find that only a small percentage of Aikido teachers/schools/organizations are going to be flexible enough to go this route. Ultimately, everyone will be forced to go this route or peel off and claim that they have some different, self-styled goals (Ki Society has pretty much already done this).

But it's all interesting as hell to watch. And I wish I'd had access to some of these discussions when I started out in Aikido.

Best.

Mike

Michael McCaslin
03-08-2007, 01:32 PM
At this point I have come to an understanding: I do not DO aikido to anybody. I certainly do not TRY to do this or that to anybody. Aikido is just what happens in the proper spirit of meeting -- whether the occasion is a handshake, a wrist grab -- or punch to the face.

Uke and nage meet for practice in that spirit, and neither one DOES aikido to the other. They do Aikido together -- or not at all. This is, to my mind the most fundamental lesson of aikido. It seems to me that the failure in this lesson is the reason for both the muscling and cranking as well as the whirly-twirly things you legitimately criticize. In the first case there is no meeting, there is a collision -- in the second case, there is no meeting because there is no connection at all.

Someone hauls off to deck me -- then I know I have a proper spirit of meeting to work WITH outside the dojo, not a target to DO something to. It is my sincere hope that he will know it too, or come realize it -- sooner rather than later. Meanwhile we will both do aikido, likely me more aware of what WE are doing than he who is merely TRYING to do something TO me. Not because I am inherently more skilled, stronger or more powerful -- far from it, those things are simply irrelevant.

Some of you talk about internal ukemi on contact. Ukemi can occur before there is ever any physical contact at all. Once you have determined to take ukemi of an attack that has formed you have immediately gained connection and can do aikido with him.

If you are already connected before you make contact how can one NOT be moving as the attack is coming? This is the essential point I have dwelt upon in analyzing the movements noted in all the videos offered so far, and a perspective that you seem to find wanting. You say you strive to remain "uninvolved,"and "not moving" is your frequent testing measure. This is perilously close to "not connected," if not identical to it.

Not moving is an indication of "not connected," because one cannot be connected and be not affected by the thing you are connecting with, and if it is moving, you must also, somehow, move as well.
But without connection, musubi, there is no aikido.

With that musubi we do aikido together, according to the fundamental form, large, small or infinitesimal, whatever he chooses to do. If irimi is proper, and his attention is on the aiki of the moment -- he should also immediately be in ukemi, then he will not be injured. If he does not, well -- his mistake. He stopped doing aikido with me. I have not stopped doing aikido with him, because he is still intent on meeting with me.

His attention is on something else - ME (his perceptions are leading him astray). He is more likely to make a mistake in the complete aiki of that moment of what WE are actually doing, than I am, because I am paying attention to joining that moment and dynamic, and not trying to do somehting TO him.


The statements above outline one of the fundamental problems with the way aikido is often practiced today. If you have advance knowledge of the attack, and you "get out of the way" and then go along for the ride while uke breaks his own balance and launches into a beautiful roll, you're not connecting with anything. You're dancing. While adding your own power or pretending to irimi while uke collapses out of the way is slightly better, it's still not aikido. This kind of practice will never lead to the development of real skill, because in the real world you will not have a priori knowledge of your attacker's intentions.

Aikido *is* something you do to someone. Connecting and taking someone's center is something you actually do to a person. Uke doesn't necessarily need to do anything-- you can take his center, upset his structure, and down him. Even if he is just standing there.

I've been debating whether to share some thoughts about the fact that, "Aikido is absolute non-resistance." This is true, but it is often misunderstood. Much like the Chinese equivalent "I know the opponent, but the opponent does not know me."

My sensei can often throw me in such a way that I don't feel anything. One instant I'm standing there, fully intending to prevent him from accomplishing his objective. The next, I am horizontal.

I think this works because he applies his power in a direction which I can not offer resistance. If you aren't in a position to resist it, you can't feel it. Conversely, if you are "full of ki" and can offer resistance equally in every direction, you can always feel what your opponent is doing. And this feeling will move you-- no advance knowledge of the attack required. This may appear to "just happen" but it doesn't depend on knowing in advance what the opponent is going to do. It doesn't lead to the injuries you get when uke zigs when he should have zagged-- your movement is truly a response to his rather than the result of a pre-arrangement, and vice versa.

Yes, the baseline skills are developed with a form of resistance training. This is done to build power. But this power is not applied in a resistive, head-on collision in actual practice. If it were, it could be resisted, and the whole thing becomes a wrestling match. This power is ideally only used in a way the opponent cannot resist, and it's not always used to "speak" but also to "listen."

If you look at the baseline skills as developing a strong telescoping strut (indeed I think Mike has used this exact analogy), then the strut always expands in a direction your opponent cannot resist and therefore doesn't feel. If you issue force in a direction he can feel, he can send force back along the strut to affect you. This would be "the opponent knowing you," or resistance. Ueshiba was not the only person to understand this is not a good idea.

Does this help tie it all together?

Mike Sigman
03-08-2007, 01:53 PM
Developing the baseline skill set is making the body an appropriate instrument.

Playing a tune or using the baseline skills are related but somewhat distinct skill sets.Fred, let me mention another thought that is often in my mind.

While we have filmclips of O-Sensei, Shioda, and others performing in public, we don't have films of everything they could do. Some of Ueshiba's off-film deeds we find in the occasional anecdote, some of them sounding almost godlike, but not necessarily all of his power(s) are known or recorded..... traditionally, he would have reserved some things. My point goes something like this: We know Ueshiba obviously used ki/kokyu skills that most westerners are not using in their Aikido (because it's on film, in writing, anecdotes, etc.), but we don't know the full usage of his "musical instrument".... i.e., we don't know for sure what techniques we could arguably say, "this is a valid use of the ki/kokyu skills because Ueshiba used it".

One of the things I've done is go over the available filmclips of Ueshiba to see what powers he evinced so that I could generally define which of the ki/kokyu powers are in the Aikido of Ueshiba. As an example, the shaking-power fa-jin releases found in some Chinese martial arts are not seen in Aikido (even though they use the same basic ki/kokyu skills), so I wouldn't consider Aikido techniques to properly contain those types of power releases. Would you agree with me in that position, or would you debate it?

What I'm getting at is that I personally don't think that powers outside of what Ueshiba could do (and that is a question mark) legitimately belong in Aikido. Yet, if you have the instrument, there is this possibility that you might play a new tune rather than just the old traditional ones. See what I'm worried about?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Fred Little
03-08-2007, 03:01 PM
i.e., we don't know for sure what techniques we could arguably say, "this is a valid use of the ki/kokyu skills because Ueshiba used it".

One of the things I've done is go over the available filmclips of Ueshiba to see what powers he evinced so that I could generally define which of the ki/kokyu powers are in the Aikido of Ueshiba. As an example, the shaking-power fa-jin releases found in some Chinese martial arts are not seen in Aikido (even though they use the same basic ki/kokyu skills), so I wouldn't consider Aikido techniques to properly contain those types of power releases. Would you agree with me in that position, or would you debate it?

What I'm getting at is that I personally don't think that powers outside of what Ueshiba could do (and that is a question mark) legitimately belong in Aikido. Yet, if you have the instrument, there is this possibility that you might play a new tune rather than just the old traditional ones. See what I'm worried about?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike --

I see what you're driving at. I don't think it's a huge issue, except for preservationists and scholars who need neat dividing lines.

Some folks think that Ueshiba created a complete and self-contained system called Aikido. In that view, things that he didn't do don't belong in it.

Me? I'm less concerned about the possibility that someone will play a new tune than about the possibility that no one will play a new tune.

Best,

FL

Mike Sigman
03-08-2007, 03:52 PM
I see what you're driving at. I don't think it's a huge issue, except for preservationists and scholars who need neat dividing lines.

Some folks think that Ueshiba created a complete and self-contained system called Aikido. In that view, things that he didn't do don't belong in it.

Me? I'm less concerned about the possibility that someone will play a new tune than about the possibility that no one will play a new tune. Dang, Fred. You're a gol-durned post-modernist!!! :p Everything is relative.

Imagine your recording of Pachelbel's Canon in D morphing into Nellie Furtado singing "Maneater". ;)

Well, what I'm saying, to be simplistic, is that in my opinion everything can be done in Aikido pretty much as it is, allowing for these power refinements. I don't agree that it's OK if Aikido turned into, say, Kempo Karate. I do have my standards, y'know.

Mike

Fred Little
03-08-2007, 04:11 PM
Dang, Fred. You're a gol-durned post-modernist!!! :p Everything is relative.

Well, what I'm saying, to be simplistic, is that in my opinion everything can be done in Aikido pretty much as it is, allowing for these power refinements. I don't agree that it's OK if Aikido turned into, say, Kempo Karate. I do have my standards, y'know.

Mike

See, that's what I mean. They used to call me a degenerate pre-Socratic, now I'm a gol-durned post-modernist.

Every "baseline skills improvement" I've encountered so far has been a "power refinement" and not an alternative principle, so I would agree. If my experience changes, I'll send up a weather balloon.

In either case, I do draw a line well short of Ed Parker style American Kempo Karate satin gis with stripes down the leg and enough patches for a NASCAR driver.

FL

Joe Jutsu
03-08-2007, 05:40 PM
OK, I'll quit lurking here for a moment....

First, this thread seemingly had sooo much potential, but trying to catch up on a thousand and some odd posts takes a bit more time than I have at my disposal, especially when so much of it is little more than bickering.....

I don't know, have we all finally agreed on the fact that there is a set of baseline skills from which to build aiki waza on top of?? I lost track at about the twentieth page, I mean come on guys, I'm training for a ranking test here, I don't have time for all of that! :) But I was hoping to come across some basic exercises to mess around with, although believe me I know how absolutely imperative it is to find a teacher who knows and can demonstrate this sort of thing in person. Instead, I see alot of semantics being ridiculously argued over, such as the word "resistance" and how it does or does not apply to aikido. FWIW, I don't think you would have ever caught Tohei sensei using this term as it relates to ki tests (although I know it is still an essential part of ki society training to do techniques in a "kaisho" fashion, from a static position with uke's complete resistance-not very aiki-fruity, I know, and my apologies :rolleyes: ). I think that in regards to a front push to test the student's stability, Tohei sensei most likely would have used vocabulary along the lines of "accept the push." In my limited experience, proper ki extension involves not only correct physical but correct mental posture as well, you know, that whole mind and body are one thing. Thinking of actively resisting the push creates a fighting mind which is directly in contrast to the fudoshin we should all be striving to attain as budo practitioners. Shaner sensei spoke at length about the profound gratitude that we should have both for our teachers and for our fellow students. If someone grabs you like hell, great! What an opportunity to learn. If someone can help illustrate that you have attained some mind and body coordination but have a long way to go, what a great gift, perhaps a frustrating one but hey, I don't know about you all but budo has been the most fun way that to feel uncoordinated and frustrated that I've ever come across! :)

That said, I do sometimes worry about dogma in aikido. Some of it is necessary, of course, such as the respect for your dojo and your classmates. But dogma has also gotten in the way. I'm so far removed from the situation, but it seems to me that dogma was a major reason that Tohei sensei left the Aikikai. It seems that it is because of dogma that we see many sensei's teach just like their teacher taught, if their sensei never talked about ki then it must be something that can't be taught, right? :rolleyes: It seems like my generation of aikido practitioners has the opportunity to break through alot of these barriers, and I think the internet actually may be a major factor in getting the "blinders off," for good and sometimes for ill. I think that it's great that, for instance the Boulder Aikikai Summer Camp is hosting Ushiro sensei for the second consecutive year. I certainly hope that I can attend (and I had a wonderful time at the noon class at the Boulder Aikikai a few weeks back, and thanks again if any of you are reading this). That speaks volumes for the maturity of those involved with the admistration of the seminar, IMHO. But I can't help but hear that little voice in the back of my head, saying, "isn't it at least a little unfortunate that they have to go outside of aikido to get a "ki master" to help guide their practice? Would they ever invite Shinichi Tohei sensei to help? I think not, but of course on the flipside of that coin, would a Ki Society dojo ever host an Ikeda sensei, for instance? I think not.

I think this dogma goes further into the vocabulary that is used when principles of aikido are taught. I wonder too if there are more effective ways to teach ki/kokyu than the dogmatic way that is approached within Ki Society. I'm such an aikido baby that I honestly don't have a clue. I feel as if I'm finally beginning to scratch the surface on some of these "baseline skills," but constantly wonder if there might be other ways that I can give myself a boost. I guess Ki breathing for hours a day would help, but, as an instance of dogma, it's never really been explained how this develops kokyu/ki etc, just that it develops a calm mind and, in the words of Tohei sensei, "do this at night when all is quiet and calm and you will be fulfilled with the supreme ecstacy with the knowledge that you are the universe, and the universe is you." Sorry, that was off of the top of my head, not sensei's exact words. But I'm young, antsy and busier than most people I know. I wish I could take the time to ki breath for hours a day, but outside of being an uchi deshi I don't see myself with that much time (ok, I play in too many bands, I admit! :) )

What keeps me going are the examples that I see. I've traveled around a bit, and have seen a cross section of Ki Society aikidoka. I've seen some marvelous aikido, and some, in my not so humble opinion, crap. I guess aiki-fruity would be the term. But take ukemi for Kashiwaya sensei, and man, that will do wonders for one's motivation! Definitely not an aiki-fruitcake (I fear for my life even mentioning that term in the same context as sensei! :D ) I have the extreme privilige in studying under Tsubaki sensei here in good ole' Lawrence, KS. Apart from the benefits of having one of the few aikido dojo's in the US with a Japanese native Head Instructor, I have to say that sensei obviously "get's it," (whatever that means, which is I guess what has been up for debate throughout this thread). I was an assistant in an "Aikido in Japanese" class that he taught at KU over the past two months or so, and during the last class sensei was demonstrating the correct ukemi from katadori ikkyo irimi. He had me be nage, and I could tell, if it came down to it there is NO way that I could really throw sensei at this point in my fledgling career. And I get to toss around much bigger guys than me all the time, assisting in Ki Aikido classes at KU for as long as I have. Yes, there's something there that Tsubaki sensei has that just isn't muscle or rotational vectors or purely correct posture. And I'm SO thankful that it's not rotational vectors that I have to understand to get my aikido to where I'd like it to be, because I slept through college physics! There for a minute, I thought that I was going to have to hang up my hakama and pick up a physics book! :D To say that it is just force vectors and spirals and such, to me, is to say "Ueshiba was wrong, Tohei was wrong, Abbe was wrong, Shioda was wrong, etc. etc."

Well I've been rambling for a bit without much of a point. I guess talking about "internal skills" is pretty much preaching to the choir. Thanks to those that have given an effort to elaborate on this subject, I'd love to spend some matt time with you in the future! Enough rambling, my shodan exam is in a few days. Yikes! I need to get to practice.

Domo arigato gozaimashita!

:ki:

Mike Sigman
03-08-2007, 06:10 PM
OK, I'll quit lurking here for a moment.... Nice post, Joe. Good luck on your test.

Erick Mead
03-08-2007, 10:17 PM
If you have advance knowledge of the attack, and you "get out of the way" and then go along for the ride while uke breaks his own balance and launches into a beautiful roll, you're not connecting with anything. You're dancing. Which is not the aikido I was taught. Irimi, irimi, and when in doubt, irimi. Oh yes. Tenkan where necessary to make the irimi more effective.

Uke doesn't necessarily need to do anything-- you can take his center, upset his structure, and down him. Even if he is just standing there. Respectfully, I disagree. Aikijujutsu maybe, not aikido. I can however provoke him him to actually do something, and then we are doing aikido. A difference of intent perhaps, but an important one. People go to jail or not over much less, so, not a small thing, I think.

Yes, the baseline skills are developed with a form of resistance training. This is done to build power. But this power is not applied in a resistive, head-on collision in actual practice. A point typically lost on the newbie as much or more than the kihon non-resistance mode is also lost and ends up in muscle or avoidance. This would not be a problem were it not that the advocates for the paradigm intend to start with these things as foundation rather working towards them, through kihon, which puts the newbies square in the middle of a resistive practice as the introduction to aikido. Problematic, as I have said.

If you look at the baseline skills as developing a strong telescoping strut (indeed I think Mike has used this exact analogy), then the strut always expands in a direction your opponent cannot resist and therefore doesn't feel. If you issue force in a direction he can feel, he can send force back along the strut to affect you. ...Does this help tie it all together?Mechnically, the only direction that is responsive to your point, with which I agree, is either perpendicular to that line of force or tangent to its arc and adding to its moment or rotation. These are the mechanics I am looking at.

Erick Mead
03-08-2007, 10:32 PM
... Abe sensei's comments about calligraphy make a lot of sense when you 're aware that the act of writing in that manner shares the same engine , movement mode as in many internal-powered martial arts. Including sword. This is not even a speculation of my part. By no means. You are entirely correct. The point is that Aikido is as much or more a movement of mind and spirit as it is of body. Calligraphy, which I have done, and occasionally still do, in the Chinese mode, places great value in the expression evident in the forms of bodliy movement recorded. Western penmanship once did the same thing as well.

Western writing has since taken a different path. That does not make its path irrelevant to budo, but decidely different in its perspective. The calligraphy of Abe Sensei and his tradition exemplifies the movement of the body in expressing the state of mind. The writing of the West tends now toward expressing the mind as the ultimate motivator of the body. They are the obverse of one another.

Neither should denigrate the other, and I am careful not to, since I value both. The persective I speak from is simply not well represented in budo circles, and understandably suffers from its lack of familiarity. It is no harder, it is just not as familiar.

Erick Mead
03-08-2007, 10:43 PM
Some folks think that Ueshiba created a complete and self-contained system called Aikido. In that view, things that he didn't do don't belong in it.I view his principles as fundamentally evolutionary, not static. They establish certain criteria and kihon as "scales" and tunings (in your metaphor) for introduction to practice, and for better observing refinements or adaptations as being consistent with principles, and then the thing is fairly open-ended within the principles that guide it. It is actually rather comforting that enough peole are concerned about basic things (from what ever perspective) that they devote this level of interest to the issue.

DH
03-09-2007, 09:24 AM
I posted this in the open discussion Rob and Mike thread and thought it speaks to issues here as well.

I don't like seeing the new form of ignorance being spouted by folks just "discovering grappling" now who are mixing in a little BJJ or Judo ne-waza with their aikido.
Grappling is a specialty game with its own weaknesses and strengths-just like any-other- traditional art. And guess what? They- just like everyone else- had to learn. Even BJJ has had to evolve and learn the truths of MMA.
As much as the traditional arts-of all kinds- were shocked to see how easily they could be taken apart by a good grappler and taken to the ground and then tuned to a fair-thee-well by those intimately aware of that venue gapplers had to learn too. Grapplers (more particularly wrestlers) were equally shocked to see themselves screwed up, stymied, knock out by good strickers, or unable to "postion- for-a-submission"
Funnier still was watching wrestlers trying in vain to get locks or chokes and all while they were in a superior ground and pound postion!! They simply didn't know what the hell to do with it didn't strike once. I've seen and also experienced a wrestler giving me thier back and being unconcerned with a rear choke. Or they hit with amazingly weak power from the ground.
I've lost track of the wrestllers and Judoka I've played with who were euqually unprepaired for folks trained in resisting and reversing takedowns and kicking and punching the shit out of them for their efforts.
For the newly minted "true believers of grappling" I'd suggest you review the progress of the UFC from submissions to more and more TKO and KO's.You need to spend just as much, if not more, in your stand up as rolling and takedowns. I'd tell any BJJ'er to go ask Lidell, or Crokop what they think.
MMA is superior to just mat work, and will always be.
But mat work rocks!!
There is a reason I argue on two fronts here. The first proirity, and the most superior game, is stand up. In Japanese bujutsu as well as modern warfare or LEO, you don't, by choice; roll around on the ground in web gear, or close quarter grapple wth a weapon belt. You learn and truly undestand the ground game and concentrate on being better able to avoid it. You don't go there as a first choice.
In Bujutsu and JMA you focus on standing up thoughout an encounter and to stay mobile. Most tradional martial artists I have met simply can't cope with that envronment with grapplers fighting back. Grappling and MMA win as they are single greatest equalizer. Period. But the goal was and is to remain standing and move
As for internal skills they make any single person stronger, more sensitive and responsive and in any equal setting pound-for-pound- a better striker and grappler -for their current level.
But they don't teach you how to fight.
Combine the two? Very potent stuff.

Internal skills in Aiki-do. They are the source of aiki. The moving for "blending" and moving from bigger to smaller circles and all the shapes and timing like Erice mentioned in the basline skills thread....isn't. THats just more waza stuff. The internal skills are the single thing needed to give Aikido back what it needs- both in power and sensitvity to create Aiki- for it to be anything more than just another weak and palid jujutsu.

In many ways Ueshiba-ha Daito Ryu shares a common understanding of combatives with its roots-remain upright and be mobile- that he got from Takeda. The engine to make it a reality? Its internal skills he got there as well. Bujutsu is not about expending maximum energy in single encounters. It is about minimul effort spread out to stay on your feet. So Ueshiba's change in vision to go further with that model and create Aiki-do, was a way to both remain upright and not harm the opponent while still remaining tactictly mobile and aware. His choice to send away instead of the characteristic DR grappling basic of bringing them and keeping them in is now easily understand by those who have felt Mike Rob and I. They have told us so. The cast out makes more sense to them now. And all of it was done through internal skills. Cast off is not my choice in reality its just fun for aiki-do.
I'd go so far as to say for the level of attack usually offered in Aiki-do? If you had these baseline skills-you wouldn't even need waza- not one.
Your body would take care of itself through connection.
Waza would happen naturally.
You would only have to fight- if you met a fighter.
Dan

Erick Mead
03-09-2007, 12:59 PM
I posted this in the open discussion Rob and Mike thread and thought it speaks to issues here as well.

I have stayed off the "Rob and Mike" open thread. I did not attend, and so that is not really my discussion. I appreciate their willingnness to share in that forum. To be clear, as always, I am not challenging that you all do what you do or how you view yourself in doing it. I am just hunting the physics and any countering views for what you all describe about it. If you are honestly and accurately reporting your impressions, as I believe you are, I have noted some points in your opbservations that speak to some of the mechincial prinicples I have worked on so far. I hope that you, and the participants will equally be willing to share your additional perspectives in this forum, in the same spirit, for this purpose, whiihc is a bit different from that for which you met.

In that light, since Dan opened the door to that discussion, here:

[ ... And I had Rob kick me using muscle and then using whole body. The difference is amazing. I was holding a pad, no less, and I still felt the whole body kick go through me. Hunter mentioned later that it's like a wave going through one's body. Maybe because it IS, actually.

[Regarding pushing Mike] -- It's more like a solid hole. yeah, weird. I can feel I'm pushing but I don't get much feedback and it feels like all my energy is going into a hole, yet there's definitely something there because my hands say I'm pushing against something. A standing wave has a counterpart -- a standing trough -- and for which "solid hole" is a very apt impression.

[speaking of Mike]He has a very clear way of illustrating and practicing Hiroshi Ikeda-sensei's oft-repeated admonition to "put the weight on" the place where uke makes contact. The body's kinesthetic sense does not perceive "weight;" it perceives acceleration, and it does not matter what the orientation or source of that aceleration is. (One of the reasons why anyone's subjective appreciation of their own motion is suspect.)

Taking you at your word: Putting "weight" in the hands is the perceptual description that is proper in letting a wave of angular momentum flowing from the center, concentrate and accelerate angular velocity there by becoming an almost infinitesimal rotation -- by the mechanisms I have described. It is illustrated or felt more grossly by things such as tekubi furi, where the fingers are very definitely perceived as heavier, even when you project them horizontally, rather than downward.

He also was able to "merge" with incoming force immediately with no apparent effort. It is about minimul effort spread out to stay on your feet. The mechanism of dissipation would be the precise reverse of concentration illustrated by "weight in the hands." A point force is addressed (musubi) so as to create a wave in the receiving body of ever larger size and by the mechnism I have described it geometrically spreads out the energy through the receiving body until it is either ineffective, or whatever is left may be returned the same way.

So Ueshiba's change in vision to go further with that model and create Aiki-do, was a way to both remain upright and not harm the opponent while still remaining tactictly mobile and aware. His choice to send away instead of the characteristic DR grappling basic of bringing them and keeping them in is now easily understand by those who have felt Mike Rob and I. They have told us so. The cast out makes more sense to them now. And all of it was done through internal skills. Cast off is not my choice in reality its just fun for aiki-do.

Internal skills in Aiki-do. They are the source of aiki. The moving for "blending" and moving from bigger to smaller circles and all the shapes and timing like Erice mentioned in the basline skills thread....isn't. That's just more waza stuff. As mentioned by others, this particualr aspect is a debate far more about methodology in training than about ultimate performance. O Sensei was a genius whos did not systematize. Saito had the idea (under whose lineage I trained most intensively, if not for the longest period of my training) to perpetuate this -- of steadily leading people up in stages, where the things you are discussing should and do happen naturally, as one thing builds on another. Saito was most critical of those who skipped ahead onto the moving ki-no-nagare before having a firm grasp of the more static kihon waza and the lessons in kokyu that they represent. I am firmly convinvced of the value of that paradigm.

But Saito also reportedly said "It's just physics" or words to that effect, underlining the importance of the study of prinicples of what is actually happening. Saotome, to my mind and his lineage, where I started and have returned, are in my experience committed to that study and its exposition. I am trying to blend the two to a degree. I want to build a firm foudation on the physics to inform a Western understanding of principles in aikido that help to explain or simplify the grasp of the kihon -- and the kokyu that makes it live.

If you had these baseline skills-you wouldn't even need waza- not one.
Your body would take care of itself through connection.
Waza would happen naturally. That was plainly what O Sensei believed that aikido is. Takemusu aiki. No kokyu - No aikido. We agree. So let's better define that, and the principles governing it. Maybe it will help the effort you are making.

Let's also seriously discuss not only the positives reported by the participants, but also the potential negatives of the training methods you use to issues in Aikido that are problematic. Nothing is ever gained without sacrificing something else. So let's be clear what may be lost (or may be redirected) in getting something the way you suggest, as opposed to other ways, that might involve different sacrifices, that are less problematic. There is pushing, for instance -- as JIm Sorrentino noted. Or resisting, as concerns me in advocating such an approach to people who have no foundation at all.

You acknowledge that what Ueshiba did, and intended for his students to do, with the underlying principles you demonstrate is different from what you choose to do with it. There may be ways to accomplish the same thing by less problematic means in aikido. Let's just be clear about the distinctions in both practice and purpose.

Joe Jutsu
03-10-2007, 04:33 PM
Nice post, Joe. Good luck on your test.

Thanks Mike! The test was pushed up to last night, and went pretty well. At least Tsubaki sensei was pleased, 'cause if sensei ain't happy ain't nobody happy! :D

I'll try to post a pic or two. Hope this finds you well.

Joe

Mike Sigman
03-11-2007, 03:15 PM
Just to grab one of several possible examples:

[Regarding pushing Mike] -- It's more like a solid hole. yeah, weird. I can feel I'm pushing but I don't get much feedback and it feels like all my energy is going into a hole, yet there's definitely something there because my hands say I'm pushing against something. A standing wave has a counterpart -- a standing trough -- and for which "solid hole" is a very apt impression. What actually happens is that I have a trained skill of combining forces from the ground (and/or the weight and a couple of other things) with the 'opponent's' incoming force, which results in a "resultant force" that leads to a place of no support for the opponent. He feels, in these cases (there are other scenarios that can be implemented) that there is a "hole". "Standing wave" has nothing to do with it... it's nothing but a guess on a 'maybe' and it's quite simply wrong. Most of the physics in these kinds of skills are not any more difficult to do than riding a bicycle, but they're just as difficult to teach via writing and 'physics' as how to ride a bicycle. They have to be seen and experienced.

Frankly, at this moment I feel like there is a viable population of people working on these things and it's futile to continue the debate once that population size has been reached.

One thing I'd note is that the discussion/debate, fraught with its bickering and wounded feelings, would not be taking place if a number of teachers in the last 10-20 years had not been so successful in repelling discussions about the ki/kokyu skills.

Those teachers helped create the problem within the current generation and some of the current generation would repell these conversations and repeat history again. But I'd suggest that some of the current readers should remember that there are several recorded/archived examples of Aikido hierarchical figures stopping any conversations that implied they didn't know everything and complaining about "lack of respect" while not being able to engage knowledgeably in a topic they should know if they "teach".

I think the snowball has begun to roll. Most of the real results will be in the next generation who will start putting ki/kokyu skills back into Aikido and other arts. A number of today's teachers, schools, students, etc., will continue with the external approaches and ultimately be discredited, simply because the import of the skills is unavoidable, in the long run.

But why keep debating the same issues with the same people who are doing little more than trying to stymie the discussion? I'd suggest that going to a Ki-Society dojo and learning but examing the physics, going to see Ushiro but analysing the physics of what he does, going to see Abe Sensei, Sunadomari, Akuzawa, Dan, or whoever, and always analysing the physics and comparing with as many input sources as possible... that's the way forward, along with committed practice. That's what Ueshiba did: many sources; lots of practice.

Chris Moses asked a question that generally asked if more focus on these basics of ki/kokyu shouldn't be implemented in most Aikido practice. I agree, FWIW. Chris didn't think the basic practices in most Ki-Aikido, while generally in the right direction, was very effective. I agree, generally, with that observation. And I think it ultimately helps to start a dissension/discussion about what works or doesn't work if it results in better action in the future. That's essentially what's going to happen in a few dojos/schools now. Those will be the goats. In a lot of schools, they'll keep going with the externally-based practices, "Aiki-speak", and all that. Those will be the sheep. There will be some separation of the sheep from the goats in the near future, I suspect. ;)

My 2 cents.

Mike

Tim Mailloux
03-11-2007, 03:52 PM
Thanks Ron
Remember the dinner conversation about size? Where you were expecting someone bigger? Dan

WTF, I didn't get invited to stay for dinner!

I am hurt Dan, really hurt.

Tim

statisticool
03-11-2007, 03:54 PM
I always hear about perceived problems, but have yet to see actual problems that are more real than the current generation talking about their lack of skills compared to a previous generation (which typically is human nature and is seen in almost any endeavor, regardless if such a lack is real or just false modesty).

If there are real problems, I'd suggest it is probably more effective to become an actual aikido or taijiquan teacher and correct the (perceived) problems from within the aikido/taijiquan/etc. community by using accurate teaching as an example rather than trying to approach it from the outsider viewpoint as a teacher of skills that (supposedly) underly all these martial arts. That is what I would do if I perceived problems and had the skills; it just seems like a more effective and direct route.

Or, one could simply make a list of such problems, and send them to the big aikido organizations so they can correct the problems by using ones's suggestions on improvements for better teaching cirriculum. They'd have the resources to implement these corrections, rather than one or at most a dozen, people.

Re: Mike's:


In a lot of schools, they'll keep going with the externally-based practices...


Isn't


What actually happens is that I have a trained skill of combining forces from the ground (and/or the weight and a couple of other things) with the 'opponent's' incoming force, which results in a "resultant force" that leads to a place of no support for the opponent.

external? Forces, ground. Sounds like basic body mechanics and physics to me and a bit of waxing romantic to call it internal.

If by ki/kokyu skills, one simply means proper alignment, body mechanics, standard physics, timing, etc., then I'd have to ask why one believes they are missing in the first place.

DH
03-11-2007, 04:03 PM
WTF, I didn't get invited to stay for dinner!

I am hurt Dan, really hurt.

Tim

Well you pansy Judo guys are such lightweights you gas out and go home early. Ron and Murray looked around and said where did all the tough guys go? Couldn't take it? They only invited the "real martial artists" to dinner!:D
I think were gonna be having a repeat performance soon enough Bud. In the mean time try running or lifting dumbells... I hear it helps.;)
Hope to see ya soon.
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-11-2007, 04:05 PM
external? Forces, ground. Sounds like basic body mechanics and physics to me and a bit of waxing romantic to call it internal.

If by ki/kokyu skills, one simply means proper alignment, body mechanics, standard physics, timing, etc., then I'd have to ask why one believes they are missing in the first place.Justin, nobody on the forum has met you. You simply snipe, follow around trying to discredit my posts for some bizarre reason, etc., and ask rhetorical, always negatively-indexed questions which, when answered, you simple use to leverage into prolonged bickering, ultimately closing down threads.

Here's what you can do. Go visit Jim Sorrentino, like some of us have, and show him what you can do. Show him your best shot at "body mechanics and physics" and ask him if that's all the other people are doing. Sorrentino is honest and blunt... he'll give you a truthful answer. But the other side of the coin is that you have to have the courage to put your own reputation on the line, rather than just sitting behind a keyboard and sniping. Kibbitzers are sort of a joke in martial arts.

My money is on you dissimulating and continuing to stalk and snipe. Anyone want to bet against me?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

DH
03-11-2007, 04:12 PM
Well theres a thought. Some folks have been none to polite here about us.
How about the dozens of folks who have felt varous combinations of all three or two asking Eric and Justin to come......show?
They have thier views on base line skills. and counter ours at every turn. If they have something to actually show that will benefit aikido instead of yaking....lets see it.

Dan

statisticool
03-11-2007, 05:18 PM
You simply snipe, ...


You did not answer any of the questions.

Again, what are the problems you perceive, why do you feel that your approach is better than becoming an aikido and taijiquan teacher and correcting that way, and how is talking about forces and the ground different than external?

I'm trying to get a handle on the specific problems which are claimed by a few to exist in the aikido and taijiquan teaching community.


Go visit Jim Sorrentino, like some of us have, and show him what you can do.


I think people can see that a desire to have me visiting Jim, whos dojo I already have visited and sat in on some classes and found impressive, and don't have any disagreements with, has nothing to do with my questions.

Justin

statisticool
03-11-2007, 05:36 PM
They have thier views on base line skills. and counter ours at every turn.


I go by what the founders of the arts have written about them and my interpretations of them, and what current long-term masters of the respective arts state.

As far as I can tell, no founder of aikido, taijiquan, etc., has written about force vectors and the like, or about specific skills that are supposedly the basis for an entire collection of martial arts.

So when I ask people making claims who are not teachers or even current practitioners in the respective arts, for evidence, or state that I respectfully disagree, it is not a 'my view vs. yours' type of thing, but me asking for where the founders of these arts said such things.


If they have something to actually show that will benefit aikido instead of yaking....lets see it.


You've seen it. Asking people who make grand claims and checking out their responses does in fact benefit aikido.

Justin

Kevin Leavitt
03-11-2007, 05:37 PM
Justin,

Who are you studying with in the Northern VA area?

I will be returning in July to DC area for a couple of years. I will be studying once again with Jimmy and our dojo and ANV. I will also be splitting my time with Lloyd Irvin's school there in Arlington as well.

Not sure where your martial interest lay, but I am happy to get with you and explore whatever realm you'd be interested in.

I don't think I'd be much help on isolating Ki per se or doing things like push hands, as that is not my strength, and frankly there are much better people out there than me on this.

However, if you are interested in learning grappling, or seeing how some aspects of aikido apply to non-compliant situations, I would be happy to meet with you and work through some of these situations...keeping in mind of course that I am no expert, nor profess any in the area of aikido or grappling...hence why I will study with people that are better than me (Jimmy Sorrentino, and Lloyd Irvin's peeps).

I am however, a guy that has an interest in exploring concepts openly and with whatever resistance/compliance you wish to explore.

DH
03-11-2007, 06:26 PM
I go by what the founders of the arts have written about them and my interpretations of them, and what current long-term masters of the respective arts state.

Justin once again raises points about the history of the art of Aikido. A history that has shown Ueshiba talking about pushing and many, of his students testimony to that effect and then there is the overwhelming video evidance.


As far as I can tell, no founder of aikido, taijiquan, etc., has written about force vectors and the like, or about specific skills that are supposedly the basis for an entire collection of martial arts.
Well thats not true either. There are writings in CMA on various specifics uses of jins and applications of force vectors in motion, and how to do them. And depending on which master level teachers you have met and trained with they most certainly will talk to you about specifics. Maybe their sharing just depends on -your- skill level.

Asking people who make grand claims and checking out their responses does in fact benefit aikido.
Justin
Well, so far I have had the benefit of some fairly rude behaviour and "challenges" by way of invitation. I have stepped-up with about a dozen people from here who have all written in that the claims (which are not grand claims in my estimation) are in fact as I stated them, and more. So have others.
Now after all that, with smoe pretty substantial testimony- instead of hubris- you see the writing continually pointing to a balance. Stating that these skills are potent and can greatly benefit to aikido but they, like allot of other things, still have to face MMA or Judo.
Something whcih I also show. The last two groups here were all asked if they would like to try and toss me Judo or jujutsu style without me doing a damn thing by way of technique back to them.

Folks here should at least ackowledge credibility to the good men and women, your peers, who came and felt me and Mike and Rob.
Why do you want and choose to hold untenable position against so many witnesses. Forget us, what about all of them?
I have noticed the naysayers never chastise or harrass these folks when they write. They go after Mike, or me.
If the interests were truly in researching skills that benefit Aikido and are foundational as the source of Aiki- why not talk or write about these peer reviews too. Go back and read all the testimony and honestly assess their diverse experiences and opninions.
Are they all wrong too?

A peer review thread could be the collected works of the testimony of the Aikidoka who have felt these skills. The skills that are the source of this seemingly controversial topic. I've not read a detractor yet. But sadly nore have I read of any support for their efforts from the naysayers. Its as if they don't exist as the nay sayers go after us or our views instead. I've not seen the like. It makes Ikeda's words seem all the more timely and needed.
Cheers anyway
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-11-2007, 06:26 PM
I go by ... my interpretations of them,
[[snip]]
So when I ask people making claims ...it is not a 'my view vs. yours' type of thing, Your own words say it is your interpretation, yet you don't want to demonstrate "your interpretation".

"Jin" can certainly be interpretted as a "force vector" or trained-force skill. In the generic and common usage, "jin" and "qi" are used interchangeably, so any discussion of "ki" or "qi" has umbrella coverage of "force vector".

In the "Thirteen Chapters" that Cheng Man Ching wrote (and I've told you this at least 2 times in the past, so this innocence flies in the face of the archives) Cheng details in Chapter seven, the physics discussion, a fairly straight-forward discussion of the physics of the forces. They are forces with direction; hence, they are vectors. So when you say that no one else discusses force vectors you are wrong and you are being wrong despite having had the same question answered before.

I've provided a reference to this website several times in the past, indicating from a recognized expert that jin (the basis of kokyu force) is indeed a force-vector skill ("Kraft" auf Deutsch):
http://www.taiji-qigong.de/info/articles/jumin_transljin_en.html

But this has already been answered several times in the past, so let's make this the last time. Be upfront the way Ricky Wood was... have the grace to admit you have some idea of "getting under my skin" and let's not pretend that continued passive-aggressive attacks are not really attacks because of wording issues. Reminds me too much of the disguised dominance issues encountered sometimes on the mat and the wide-eyed surprise when someone gets called on it.

Mike Sigman

Tim Mailloux
03-11-2007, 06:54 PM
Well you pansy Judo guys are such lightweights you gas out and go home early. Ron and Murray looked around and said where did all the tough guys go? Couldn't take it? They only invited the "real martial artists" to dinner!:D
I think were gonna be having a repeat performance soon enough Bud. In the mean time try running or lifting dumbells... I hear it helps.;)
Hope to see ya soon.
Dan

Dan,
Thanks for the advice. But right now I am working on strenghtening my grip. After 8 years of iai and 10 plus of aiki-ken it was pretty embarassing having a boken knocked out of my hands and fwatching it fly across your dojo.

I have been concidering adding to this thread, detailing my experiences with you & your students, what I felt, what I couldn't do to you and so on. But what would it really do. After reading this entire thread it is apparent that many people have already made there minds up. Nothing you will say or do will change their minds. So why bother? Personally I would love nothing more than for you to keep this stuff to yourself and those of us that are training with you ;)

Tim

MM
03-11-2007, 07:39 PM
Well theres a thought. Some folks have been none to polite here about us.
How about the dozens of folks who have felt varous combinations of all three or two asking Eric and Justin to come......show?
They have thier views on base line skills. and counter ours at every turn. If they have something to actually show that will benefit aikido instead of yaking....lets see it.

Dan

Sure. I'd be up to meeting anyone.

Mark

DH
03-11-2007, 08:15 PM
Dan,
Thanks for the advice. But right now I am working on strenghtening my grip. After 8 years of iai and 10 plus of aiki-ken it was pretty embarassing having a boken knocked out of my hands and fwatching it fly across your dojo.

I have been concidering adding to this thread, detailing my experiences with you & your students, what I felt, what I couldn't do to you and so on. But what would it really do. After reading this entire thread it is apparent that many people have already made there minds up. Nothing you will say or do will change their minds. So why bother? Personally I would love nothing more than for you to keep this stuff to yourself and those of us that are training with you ;)

Tim

Hi Tim
Have you read Kevins stuff? I have to keep it firmly in mind when I read the ilk from Kevin L. "That I don't know weapons, I'm ignorant, I don't understand distance...and now I'm spouting garbage, I'm not martially effective what dojo he hails from. Its a repeat performance.
Isn't it odd that these guys are now summarily dismissing you, guys as well? Now couple that with that teacher from Japan telling me to not trust these people. They are smiling to my face all the while with an agenda.

You know what -every- one of you guys has asked me to leave and go back into hiding. You all seem to share both the humor and the pointlessness of even talking to someone who hasn't felt it.
What do I say to you know who so elequently prodded me into considering sincere folks...like you guys?

I'd say write anyway, Tim. The naysaers never challenge you guys. Its really pointless to call dozens of you liars now isn't it?
What it will do is speak to the hundreds of earnest readers. As my buddy advised me and I shared with you?
Write the letter here as is you are writing to help.... you.
And let the naysayers go back to endless repetitions of waza waiting to get peices of something, anything here and there.

I have about a dozen emails for another get together and I think it will be a private one like the last two.
See ya soon
Dan

MM
03-11-2007, 09:18 PM
Folks here should at least ackowledge credibility to the good men and women, your peers, who came and felt me and Mike and Rob.
Why do you want and choose to hold untenable position against so many witnesses. Forget us, what about all of them?
I have noticed the naysayers never chastise or harrass these folks when they write. They go after Mike, or me.
If the interests were truly in researching skills that benefit Aikido and are foundational as the source of Aiki- why not talk or write about these peer reviews too. Go back and read all the testimony and honestly assess their diverse experiences and opninions.
Are they all wrong too?

A peer review thread could be the collected works of the testimony of the Aikidoka who have felt these skills. The skills that are the source of this seemingly controversial topic. I've not read a detractor yet. But sadly nore have I read of any support for their efforts from the naysayers. Its as if they don't exist as the nay sayers go after us or our views instead. I've not seen the like. It makes Ikeda's words seem all the more timely and needed.
Cheers anyway
Dan

Wow. And how true your post is.

Mark

MM
03-11-2007, 09:24 PM
What do I say to you know who so elequently prodded me into considering sincere folks...like you guys?

I'd say write anyway, Tim. The naysaers never challenge you guys. Its really pointless to call dozens of you liars now isn't it?
What it will do is speak to the hundreds of earnest readers. As my buddy advised me and I shared with you?
Write the letter here as is you are writing to help.... you.
And let the naysayers go back to endless repetitions of waza waiting to get peices of something, anything here and there.

I have about a dozen emails for another get together and I think it will be a private one like the last two.
See ya soon
Dan

To the prodder, Dan. I'd say thank you very much. :)

And Tim, I would like to see you post your experiences, too. As with Dan, it isn't for the naysayers who seem to never quit or get a clue. It's for those who are looking and so that they don't just see all the naysayers words, so that they can see there is something out there.

Dan, I hope you keep me in mind for the next get together.

Thanks,
Mark

statisticool
03-11-2007, 10:07 PM
There are writings in CMA on various specifics uses of jins and applications of force vectors in motion, and how to do them.


Which writings are you thinking of? Modern books, or the 'taiji classics'? Because I know a small group of people, most of which probably do not have grasp on translating Chinese, take things written in them like 'receive the earth's qi' to mean 'ground vector', which can be quite a stretch.


Now after all that, with smoe pretty substantial testimony- instead of hubris- you see the writing continually pointing to a balance.


I'm sure your and others' skills are impressive, that was never in question. I'm interested in what the founders of these martial arts have said in regards to the grand claim being put forth of certain so called internal things being the basis for taijiquan, aikido, etc.


Folks here should at least ackowledge credibility to the good men and women, your peers, who came and felt me and Mike and Rob.


I'm glad people got something out of the seminar.

statisticool
03-11-2007, 10:13 PM
Who are you studying with in the Northern VA area?


I mainly practice fencing and taijiquan, and lift a lot of weight. I don't see though how specifics pertain to the topic under discussion.

statisticool
03-11-2007, 10:42 PM
"Jin" can certainly be interpretted as a "force vector"..


If you're drawing a vector on a piece of paper, you're really saying you'd call it a 'jin' in Chinese? Or a 'qi', since you claim they are interchangable?


So when you say that no one else discusses force vectors you are wrong and you are being wrong despite having had the same question answered before.


I'd be wrong if I said that no one else discusses force vectors, but I didn't say that. Obviously you are one person who is discussing vectors.

I said no "founders". But there was more to it. I additionally said that none of these founders have stated that such vectors or so called internal skills are the "basis" of these arts as is being claimed.


indicating from a recognized expert that jin (the basis of kokyu force) is indeed a force-vector skill ("Kraft" auf Deutsch):


Yet again, not from any founder. And, again, you assume jin is the basis of kokyu.

Of course, there are other taijiquan people, Chinese ones too, recognized experts too, who translate jin differently. The examples are too numerous to list, but even in the book reference you gave above it is different. And other native speakers and martial artists, for example http://www.itcca.it/peterlim/pjcf.htm have a different take.

And actually, from the link you provided, it describes jin as a skill gained over time, after practice. Therefore, it cannot be the basis, the building block, if it is what one gets after practice, not before it.

Will you share what problems you perceive in the aikido teaching community?


What are the problems you perceive, why do you feel that your approach is better than becoming an aikido and taijiquan teacher and correcting that way, and how is talking about forces and the ground different than external?


Justin

ChrisMoses
03-12-2007, 10:47 AM
Chris Moses asked a question that generally asked if more focus on these basics of ki/kokyu shouldn't be implemented in most Aikido practice. I agree, FWIW. Chris didn't think the basic practices in most Ki-Aikido, while generally in the right direction, was very effective. I agree, generally, with that observation.

Just to be clear, I'm not actually advocating an increased discussion on ki within aikido. I am advocating more focus on developing internal structures and sensitivities. I don't particularly care if one uses chi/ki speak or very specific internal structure/feedback models. I believe (although I suspect Mike will disagree) that they are different ways of getting to the same place. I find that if the structure isn't in place, one will never achieve any of the sensations associated with ki/chi flow, but personally I find an effect rather than a cause. Since there is so much baggage already associated with the term "ki" I'm fine leaving it on the side for a while and coming at this stuff from a different angle, probably one of the reasons that I found the Aunkai stuff so approachable.

MM
03-12-2007, 11:05 AM
Just to be clear, I'm not actually advocating an increased discussion on ki within aikido. I am advocating more focus on developing internal structures and sensitivities. I don't particularly care if one uses chi/ki speak or very specific internal structure/feedback models. I believe (although I suspect Mike will disagree) that they are different ways of getting to the same place. I find that if the structure isn't in place, one will never achieve any of the sensations associated with ki/chi flow, but personally I find an effect rather than a cause. Since there is so much baggage already associated with the term "ki" I'm fine leaving it on the side for a while and coming at this stuff from a different angle, probably one of the reasons that I found the Aunkai stuff so approachable.

Hello Chris,

I found that there are three training methods that can be used:
1. Structural
2. Pathways
3. Structural and Pathways at same time.

Having been in DC with Mike and Rob, I found that Rob's exercises worked quite a bit on structure while Mike's exercises worked quite a bit on pathways. (noting that there was little time for anything but basics with Mike and Rob, so I'm sure there are a lot of other exercises designed for other benefits.)

It seems that a lot of the ki society exercises fall under #2 in some form but rarely on #1 as it pertains to internal skills being discussed here.

I'm not sure which methodology works the best since I'm a beginner at this. :) But, I think that if you're breaking things down, then you'd have to at least do training exercises for #1 and #2.

IMO anyway,
Mark

gdandscompserv
03-12-2007, 02:03 PM
I have come across a website that some might be interested in.
http://www.dynamicbalancingtaichi.co.uk/index.htm

Michael Douglas
03-12-2007, 05:10 PM
And actually, from the link you provided, it describes jin as a skill gained over time, after practice. Therefore, it cannot be the basis, the building block, if it is what one gets after practice, not before it.
No, you are completely wrong here.
A basic skill needs to be learned.
Once the time and training has been invested in learning a basic skill then further skills can be learned that build upon that foundation.

statisticool
03-12-2007, 05:35 PM
A basic skill needs to be learned.
Once the time and training has been invested in learning a basic skill then further skills can be learned that build upon that foundation.

I'm still wondering where the founders of the respective martial arts make such a claim about a physical skill needing to be learned before one can truly master, or even be said to be practicing, the given martial art.

HL1978
03-12-2007, 06:09 PM
I'm still wondering where the founders of the respective martial arts make such a claim about a physical skill needing to be learned before one can truly master, or even be said to be practicing, the given martial art.

I have Yukiyoshi Sagawa's Clear Power (透明な力) book right infront of me right now and it says exactly that on pages 72-73 (assuming you can read japanese). I picked it up in japan right now and it is a good read (and good practice for language learning). its ISBN number is 4-06-207077-4.

See page 26 of this very thread for discussion on it.

gdandscompserv
03-12-2007, 09:07 PM
"Offering help is a good thing in principle but it is important to allow that it may not be required or appreciated. Not everyone wants to be helped. Some people are too proud. Too proud to accept. Perhaps too proud to ask. The latter is tricky. Or they may not realise that they need help or may genuinely not require it.
Other people like the challenge of difficulty. They would rather work it through for themselves. Whatever you do, be careful not to push your help on someone. If you offer help and it is declined, take no offence. You gave freely and should have no attachment to your advice. Easy come, easy go."
(Nick Waller)
http://www.dynamicbalancingtaichi.co.uk/Help.htm
:D

gdandscompserv
03-12-2007, 09:30 PM
"Conflicting practice
A cooker heats food and a refrigerator cools it.
They cannot be combined - the very notion is absurd and functionally not viable.
Each is separate and must be kept separate.
The same is true of internal and external martial arts systems.
Whilst many people cross-train or import ideas into tai chi, this is not conducive to progress.
To gain the shape of Yang style tai chi you must train Yang style tai chi.
There is nothing simpler than this.
Consider the use of the arms and shoulder.
In tai chi, the pathway of power must bypass the shoulder - moving from the middle to the extremity, with no real elbow and shoulder work.
Press-ups, weight training and other such arm-oriented exercises perpetuate the over-use of the shoulders and elbows.
All external martial art systems use the arms and shoulder in a manner that differs from tai chi."
(Nick Waller)
http://www.dynamicbalancingtaichi.co.uk/Shape.htm

eyrie
03-12-2007, 10:21 PM
Ricky,

Instead of simply pasting someone else's verbiage here... why not tell us what you understand that verbiage to mean, and more pertinently how you see it applicable/not applicable to the discussion.

;)

gdandscompserv
03-12-2007, 10:42 PM
Ricky,

Instead of simply pasting someone else's verbiage here... why not tell us what you understand that verbiage to mean, and more pertinently how you see it applicable/not applicable to the discussion.

;)
No disrespect intended Ignatius, but I'd rather not. I found the passages to be interesting and thought provoking and felt like sharing them. That is all.
Please feel free to share your thoughts with us though.

eyrie
03-12-2007, 11:17 PM
No disrespect intended Ignatius, but I'd rather not. I found the passages to be interesting and thought provoking and felt like sharing them. That is all.
Please feel free to share your thoughts with us though.

Well, if you found it to be interesting and thought provoking, then pray tell, do share, what was so interesting and what thoughts were being provoked. Frankly I don't see the point in cutting and pasting chunks of text from someone else without providing some sort of personal commentary as to how any of this provokes further thinking on my part or why it should be remotely interesting to me, much less to anyone else.

We can all read the link and keep our comments to ourselves too. ;)

Just a thought. :D

MM
03-13-2007, 06:58 AM
No disrespect intended Ignatius, but I'd rather not. I found the passages to be interesting and thought provoking and felt like sharing them. That is all.
Please feel free to share your thoughts with us though.

Personally, Ricky, if you don't fee like adding to the discussion of baseline skills as it relates to Aikido instead of just posting taichi quotes from someone else, then please keep them to yourself.

Thank you,
Mark

Aran Bright
03-13-2007, 07:40 AM
I found that there are three training methods that can be used:
1. Structural
2. Pathways
3. Structural and Pathways at same time.

It seems that a lot of the ki society exercises fall under #2 in some form but rarely on #1 as it pertains to internal skills being discussed here.

I'm not sure which methodology works the best since I'm a beginner at this. :) But, I think that if you're breaking things down, then you'd have to at least do training exercises for #1 and #2.



Hello Mark,

This is very pleasing to hear you say this as this is what I have been experiencing also. My background is Ki Soc and I have found the pathway/intention/ki development to be excellent but unless you do it very regularly it leads to little structural development. I have been very keanly following the ideas behind these base line skills and whilst not using the same excercises I have been using pilates/yoga exercises for a while now to try and obtain the structural side of things. What I think is so promising about these excercises (eg.aunkai) is that they offer both.

However, personally I feel the relaxed exercises of Ki Soc actually are better at 'pathway' because of the tension involved in obtaining 'structure'. (but then again without structure you can't use pathway)

Just my .02

Aran

gdandscompserv
03-13-2007, 07:56 AM
Now, settle down fellas. I think you misread me.
Fascinating art. Very informative website.
I am a little surprised that you took offense to my "cutting and pasting" of things that so obviously were very on topic. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Nick teaching pretty much the same principles that Mike is teaching?
I learned more in one afternoon abouth the art of Yang Cheng Fu style tai chi chuan by browsing Nick Waller's website than I have in the 2 months this thread has run. Some people are better at putting these things into words than other people. Nick is one of them. I noticed Mike Sigman's name given as a reference. The art as explained on Nick's website is obviously the real deal. Mike is obviously the real deal.
A couple things stood out for me though.
"A cooker heats food and a refrigerator cools it.
They cannot be combined - the very notion is absurd and functionally not viable.
Each is separate and must be kept separate.
The same is true of internal and external martial arts systems.
Whilst many people cross-train or import ideas into tai chi, this is not conducive to progress."
(Nick Waller)

Would cross training in tai chi be conducive to my progress in aikido? I'm not sure. Is aikido an internal or external art? I've always thought it to be a beautiful combination of both. I learned aikido from a small statured Japanese man who obviously was using something different than "external" strength. I am a fan of the internal principles for sure.
I AM going to be paying more attention to many of the principles as outlined by Nick. Hopefully I can "steal" some of that valuable information. If I can "steal" some stuff from anyone that understands it, you better believe I'll do it, Mike included.
Maybe you guys just need to work on your presentation a little bit.
And simmer down.:D
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

MM
03-13-2007, 11:29 AM
Hello Mark,

This is very pleasing to hear you say this as this is what I have been experiencing also. My background is Ki Soc and I have found the pathway/intention/ki development to be excellent but unless you do it very regularly it leads to little structural development. I have been very keanly following the ideas behind these base line skills and whilst not using the same excercises I have been using pilates/yoga exercises for a while now to try and obtain the structural side of things. What I think is so promising about these excercises (eg.aunkai) is that they offer both.

However, personally I feel the relaxed exercises of Ki Soc actually are better at 'pathway' because of the tension involved in obtaining 'structure'. (but then again without structure you can't use pathway)

Just my .02

Aran

Please keep in mind that I'm new to the internal skills/baseline skills area, so those 3 are just how I view things right now. It'll be interesting to find out how I view things in a year or more.

Mark

MM
03-13-2007, 11:37 AM
Now, settle down fellas. I think you misread me.
Fascinating art. Very informative website.
I am a little surprised that you took offense to my "cutting and pasting" of things that so obviously were very on topic. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Nick teaching pretty much the same principles that Mike is teaching?
I learned more in one afternoon abouth the art of Yang Cheng Fu style tai chi chuan by browsing Nick Waller's website than I have in the 2 months this thread has run. Some people are better at putting these things into words than other people. Nick is one of them. I noticed Mike Sigman's name given as a reference. The art as explained on Nick's website is obviously the real deal. Mike is obviously the real deal.
A couple things stood out for me though.
"A cooker heats food and a refrigerator cools it.
They cannot be combined - the very notion is absurd and functionally not viable.
Each is separate and must be kept separate.
The same is true of internal and external martial arts systems.
Whilst many people cross-train or import ideas into tai chi, this is not conducive to progress."
(Nick Waller)

Would cross training in tai chi be conducive to my progress in aikido? I'm not sure. Is aikido an internal or external art? I've always thought it to be a beautiful combination of both. I learned aikido from a small statured Japanese man who obviously was using something different than "external" strength. I am a fan of the internal principles for sure.
I AM going to be paying more attention to many of the principles as outlined by Nick. Hopefully I can "steal" some of that valuable information. If I can "steal" some stuff from anyone that understands it, you better believe I'll do it, Mike included.
Maybe you guys just need to work on your presentation a little bit.
And simmer down.:D
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

I liked this post better than the previous ones. At least here I can start to understand what you are trying to convey.

Cross training in taichi and aikido? Don't have a clue. :) But, at a guess, I'd say each individual will be different.

Aikido as internal or external? Like Mike stated, you'd have to define those two first before you could decide. It seems that people's definitions of them are different.

Mike is the real deal? Heh, I don't know that I'd go that far. ;) After all, I seem to recall Mike saying something about other people being better than him. Seriously, Mike's level in internal skills is far above mine. So much so, that I really couldn't tell anyone how good he is, except by comparison to how bad I am.

Best of luck on glimmering info from the Internet. I've found that it can't be done. This is one area where person to person training must be done.

Mark

gdandscompserv
03-13-2007, 11:53 AM
I liked this post better than the previous ones. At least here I can start to understand what you are trying to convey.
That's a relief.:D


Best of luck on glimmering info from the Internet. I've found that it can't be done. This is one area where person to person training must be done.
Most of my training is done person to person, so that's cool.:cool: But it is truly hopeless to "glimmer" any useful info from the internet I suppose I better but this whole forum on "ignore.";)
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

MM
03-13-2007, 12:17 PM
That's a relief.:D

Most of my training is done person to person, so that's cool.:cool: But it is truly hopeless to "glimmer" any useful info from the internet I suppose I better but this whole forum on "ignore.";)
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

LOL, point taken. Let me clarify. It's a lot of theory on the Internet and it isn't exactly useless. But personal experience is the only gateway into personally getting this stuff. So, theoretically, the Internet is fine. In reality, it's useless.

Mark

Erick Mead
03-13-2007, 03:52 PM
The art as explained on Nick's website is obviously the real deal. Mike is obviously the real deal.
A couple things stood out for me though.
"A cooker heats food and a refrigerator cools it.
They cannot be combined - the very notion is absurd and functionally not viable.
Each is separate and must be kept separate.The same is true of internal and external martial arts systems.
Whilst many people cross-train or import ideas into tai chi, this is not conducive to progress. Actually, the exclusive heating vice refrigeration metaphor is not true. Vapor compression heat pumps combine the two functions on one principle. Thermo-electric coolers/heaters do it on a completely different principle. I am not saying the point depends on the strength of the metaphor, but the metaphor is not actually true.

The metaphor of reversibility in heat flow may have some bearing on the relationship between internal/external sensibilities in training. That point may bear some thinking. People always want to assume that palpable temperature difference represents a difference in heat content, which is not true. Temperature just defines the passive, downhill heat gradient, it doesn't tell you how big each reservoir is. Heat can be moved anywhere by proper effort, it just takes more art to send it uphill.

mjchip
03-13-2007, 08:50 PM
Folks what do you folks think of this video? (try to overlook the cheesy music) :)

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

Thanks,

Mark

Upyu
03-13-2007, 09:52 PM
Folks what do you folks think of this video? (try to overlook the cheesy music) :)

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


Personally I hate that video...the Uke are obviously over reacting(dive bunnies anyone?), but that doesn't mean that Okamoto has nothing.
I recently met one of Ark's old friends who trains in Daitoryu under Takeda's Grandson up in Aizu. He showed me some of the more "orthodox" principles (I rack them up under more external technique than the core stuff we do). Anyways Okamoto apparently likes to use a chest wave (through the upper center) combined with use of the saggital circle to do most of his tricks. It looks nice when it works, but I think there's too much reliance on timing to get it to work.
There was a huge article in Hiden a couple of months back analyzing his use of the saggital plane to affect his Ukes, for those that follow that magazine.
Basically I don't think there's any "store release" mechnaism going on that you saw Ueshiba using, or use of what Mike refers to as groundpath.

There were rumors that some of his stuff didn't work on certain individuals when they held some overseas seminar...
That being said, he is trying to teach what he knows/accumulated over the years, and is being open. Be interesting to get to feel him sometime.:)

Mike Sigman
03-14-2007, 10:21 PM
This account of Nakayama Miki, who lived mainly in the 1800's contains feats of strength that sound exactly like the normal trained-kokyu/jin strength being used. Too close to be a coincidence, even allowing for embellishment. It's an unverifiable indicator that these sorts of strengths were certainly around Japan prior to Ueshiba going to China, etc.

To give a full account of Narazo Sensei's teacher would be a task well beyond the scope of this web site. So profound and extensive has been her influence on the very fabric of Japanese society, and indeed on the lives of people in other countries as well, that attempting to complete such a summary may be impossible. This discussion will therefore be severly limited in scope to the more martial aspects of her life and teachings.

Nakayama Maegawa Miki (1798-1887) was born in Sanmaiden Village, Yamato Province, the daughter of the samurai Masanobu Hanshichi Maegawa who was the head of a group of villages in the region. It is an understatement to state that Miki was an exceptional person, and she is famous for many different
things. One of these was her tendency to beat men who were high-ranking martial artists in combat. At the incredible age of 89 she achieved her most famous victory over Nakano Hidenobu, a man who was one of the great martial arts masters of the Koizumi feudal clan, who was at that time was in his prime. In the course of her long life Miki was never beaten by anyone, resulting in much embarasment as she tended only to fight with male
opponents. Many swallowed their pride, and Miki attracted the most extraordinary collection of experienced fighters as her students, including famous samurai like Masuno Shobei, a bodyguard of the Japanese Emperor, and Matsumura Eijiro, the head of the Matsumura samurai family who served the Lords of Yodo in a continuous unbroken line from the seventh century. One of her greatest students was the Japanese folk hero Hirano Narazo, founder of Koriyama Daikyokai, about whose extraordinary life action movies, tv series and books have been made and written.

Miki taught people for fifty years from 1838 onwards and there are so many events and extraordinary occurences in her life that a complete tale would fill several volumes. The following selection gives some idea of her character:

On one occasion in 1872 when Miki was teaching at the Matsuo residence, she said:
"Linen lets the breeze go through freely and does not stick to the skin. There is nothing cooler or better to wear in the summer. However, it is too cold to wear in the winder. After being worn for about three years it begins to discolour. If it becomes completely discoloured it is worthless. Even when it is dyed a darker shade, the colour is uneven. When it reaches this stage it is as useless as waste paper.
"Silk, whether made into a formal coat or a kimono, is elegant. It is
something that everyone wants even though it is very expensive. However, do not become like silk. It is nice while it is new, but when it gets a little old nothing can be done with it."
"Now, cotton is ordinary, but is used by everyone. There is nothing that is so useful, nor so widely used as cotton. It keeps us warm in the winter and it absorbs our perspiration in the summer. When it becomes dirty it can be washed over and over again. When its colour fades and it becomes so old that it cannot be worn anymore, it can still be used as a nappy, a cleaning rag, or even as sandals. To be useful until its original form no longer remains: this is cotton. That a man should have a spirit like cotton is the intention
of Kami."

The following incident is one of the reminiscences of Ueda Tamizo. It took place in 1878 when Tamizo was 18 and Miki was 81. One day when Tamizo visited the residence Miki said to him, "Tamizo, let's, you and I, have a contest to see who is stronger."
To give Tamizo an advantage Miki went up on the raised platform at the north end of the room while Tamizo stood on the ground below. Miki indicated that Tamizo should pull her down from the platform. They tightly gripped each others hands and with a shout of "one, two, three," began to pull. Though Tamizo pulled with all his might Miki did not move even an inch.

On a later occasion Miki said to him, "Tamizo, in this residence in the future,many people will be walking back and forth beneath the corridor." In later years Tamizo was again impressed as her prediction became true.

Three years later in 1881 when Yamazawa Tamezo was 25 he visited Miki with his brother Ryozo. They found her sitting on the high raised platform in the Tsutome-Basho building (which is still standing today, but not on exactly the same site). She stretched out her hands in greeting and called to them,
"Try to pull me down from here, the two of you together. I do not mind falling off."
The two men grabbed her hands and tried to pull her down, but instead the harder they pulled the more they were drawn towards her. Although they pulled with all of their youthful muscle, the old woman drew them towards her gently as a parent holds a child.

Izumita Tokichi, nicknamed Kumakichi or "Lucky Bear" was one of Miki's more famous students and was renowed as a hard man who liked to test the strength of his body and mind. He would often
bathe for extended periods in the freezing water of the Yodo River then climb up on the bank to dry himself in the wind, refusing to use a towel. He would generally do this when the cold North Wind was blowing strongly. He would also lie naked in the snow, or smash stacks of roof tiles with his fists. He hardened his knuckles by continually hitting a rock.

He had once been told that in order to help other people he must first suffer himself. However, on two occasions when he was with Miki she gave him two lessons that changed his thinking for the rest of his life. One day he found Miki smoothing out small pieces of crumpled paper on her knee.
"These crumpled pieces, if smoothed out gently like this, become neat and can be used again. Nothing is useless," she explained.

On another occasion she told him, "Lucky Bear, on this path you must not torture yourself."

One hot day in the early summer of 1879 Takai, Miyamori and some others were doing the threshing at Shoyashiki, wet with sweat under the blazing sun, when Miki came out and joined them with a towel wrapped around her head.
"I'll help you." she told them.
At that time two types of flails were in use, one was of a common type, while the other was heavy and oversized with handle and stick of roughly equal length. The latter type of flail was sometimes used by the young men so that they could demonstrate their strength and at the same time thresh more wheat. They were therefore rather surprised when the old woman picked
up one of the giant flails and began energetically threshing the wheat. By the end of the day she had threshed such a large amount that none of the young men could match.

Nakagawa Bunkichi was a native of Honden in Osaka, and a successful amateur Sumo wrestler. His arms bulged with muscles and he was renowned for his tremendous strength, of which he boasted habitually.
One day in 1880 Bunkichi visited Miki's residence. She greeted him warmly and immediately sugested, "Let us have a grappling contest."
Bunkichi could not refrain from smiling wryly at the old woman's words. However there were others present and he could not refuse her, so he took up his guard. At his first attack Bunkichi attempted to apply a hold to Miki's left wrist, but he was immediately seized by a sharp pain in his arm which felt like it was about to snap. The pain was so intense that he was forced to give up, and he asked Miki's forgiveness for doubting her.

Then Miki said, "You need not be surprised. If a child puts forth all his strength, the parent must also put forth strength. This is Ten-Ri. Do you understand?"

Though it is doubtful that Bunkichi understood fully at that time he was greatly impressed and subsequently became a loyal student of Miki.

On the occasion of the Chestnut Festival (9th September) Miki said to Masui Rin, "The Chestnut Festival is for troubles to disappear. The bur of the chestnut is rough and prickly. Take away the bur and inside it there is a shell and then there is a bitter coating. Shell it, then peel the coating, and you will find a tasty nut. If a man discards his bur and his bitter coating, his spirit will become indescribably delicious."

On May 14th 1881 Miki was entertaining and offering some instruction to Uehara Sasuke and his sister Ishi over a meal of bamboo shoots, young taro and burdocks cooked in soy sauce. Sasuke was known as a vigorous man, and was at that time in his thirties. Miki was trying to explain the meaning of leaning on the Kami for help, rather than simply helping oneself. However
Sasuke was proud of his strength and thought that he could help himself quite ably without such assistance.

Quickly and lightly Miki gripped his wrists and said, "Now, help yourself. Try to shake them loose."
Even before he could attempt to move Sasuke felt his body grow numb, and he could not move at all. With a huge effort he managed to bow crying, "Mercy, please."

Like several others, this convinced Sasuke that Miki was indeed a great teacher and he became her loyal student after that. Some years later, Ishi (who had by then married into the Tsujikawa family) was asked about this episode. "Her solemn appearance at that time can in no way be expressed with words. I was awestruck and I instinctively bowed my head," she explained.

George S. Ledyard
03-14-2007, 10:31 PM
This account of Nakayama Miki, who lived mainly in the 1800's contains feats of strength that sound exactly like the normal trained-kokyu/jin strength being used. Too close to be a coincidence, even allowing for embellishment. It's an unverifiable indicator that these sorts of strengths were certainly around Japan prior to Ueshiba going to China, etc.

To give a full account of Narazo Sensei's teacher would be a task well beyond the scope of this web site. So profound and extensive has been her influence on the very fabric of Japanese society, and indeed on the lives of people in other countries as well, that attempting to complete such a summary may be impossible. This discussion will therefore be severly limited in scope to the more martial aspects of her life and teachings.

Nakayama Maegawa Miki (1798-1887) was born in Sanmaiden Village, Yamato Province, the daughter of the samurai Masanobu Hanshichi Maegawa who was the head of a group of villages in the region. It is an understatement to state that Miki was an exceptional person, and she is famous for many different
things. One of these was her tendency to beat men who were high-ranking martial artists in combat. At the incredible age of 89 she achieved her most famous victory over Nakano Hidenobu, a man who was one of the great martial arts masters of the Koizumi feudal clan, who was at that time was in his prime. In the course of her long life Miki was never beaten by anyone, resulting in much embarasment as she tended only to fight with male
opponents. Many swallowed their pride, and Miki attracted the most extraordinary collection of experienced fighters as her students, including famous samurai like Masuno Shobei, a bodyguard of the Japanese Emperor, and Matsumura Eijiro, the head of the Matsumura samurai family who served the Lords of Yodo in a continuous unbroken line from the seventh century. One of her greatest students was the Japanese folk hero Hirano Narazo, founder of Koriyama Daikyokai, about whose extraordinary life action movies, tv series and books have been made and written.

Miki taught people for fifty years from 1838 onwards and there are so many events and extraordinary occurences in her life that a complete tale would fill several volumes. The following selection gives some idea of her character:

On one occasion in 1872 when Miki was teaching at the Matsuo residence, she said:
"Linen lets the breeze go through freely and does not stick to the skin. There is nothing cooler or better to wear in the summer. However, it is too cold to wear in the winder. After being worn for about three years it begins to discolour. If it becomes completely discoloured it is worthless. Even when it is dyed a darker shade, the colour is uneven. When it reaches this stage it is as useless as waste paper.
"Silk, whether made into a formal coat or a kimono, is elegant. It is
something that everyone wants even though it is very expensive. However, do not become like silk. It is nice while it is new, but when it gets a little old nothing can be done with it."
"Now, cotton is ordinary, but is used by everyone. There is nothing that is so useful, nor so widely used as cotton. It keeps us warm in the winter and it absorbs our perspiration in the summer. When it becomes dirty it can be washed over and over again. When its colour fades and it becomes so old that it cannot be worn anymore, it can still be used as a nappy, a cleaning rag, or even as sandals. To be useful until its original form no longer remains: this is cotton. That a man should have a spirit like cotton is the intention
of Kami."

The following incident is one of the reminiscences of Ueda Tamizo. It took place in 1878 when Tamizo was 18 and Miki was 81. One day when Tamizo visited the residence Miki said to him, "Tamizo, let's, you and I, have a contest to see who is stronger."
To give Tamizo an advantage Miki went up on the raised platform at the north end of the room while Tamizo stood on the ground below. Miki indicated that Tamizo should pull her down from the platform. They tightly gripped each others hands and with a shout of "one, two, three," began to pull. Though Tamizo pulled with all his might Miki did not move even an inch.

On a later occasion Miki said to him, "Tamizo, in this residence in the future,many people will be walking back and forth beneath the corridor." In later years Tamizo was again impressed as her prediction became true.

Three years later in 1881 when Yamazawa Tamezo was 25 he visited Miki with his brother Ryozo. They found her sitting on the high raised platform in the Tsutome-Basho building (which is still standing today, but not on exactly the same site). She stretched out her hands in greeting and called to them,
"Try to pull me down from here, the two of you together. I do not mind falling off."
The two men grabbed her hands and tried to pull her down, but instead the harder they pulled the more they were drawn towards her. Although they pulled with all of their youthful muscle, the old woman drew them towards her gently as a parent holds a child.

Izumita Tokichi, nicknamed Kumakichi or "Lucky Bear" was one of Miki's more famous students and was renowed as a hard man who liked to test the strength of his body and mind. He would often
bathe for extended periods in the freezing water of the Yodo River then climb up on the bank to dry himself in the wind, refusing to use a towel. He would generally do this when the cold North Wind was blowing strongly. He would also lie naked in the snow, or smash stacks of roof tiles with his fists. He hardened his knuckles by continually hitting a rock.

He had once been told that in order to help other people he must first suffer himself. However, on two occasions when he was with Miki she gave him two lessons that changed his thinking for the rest of his life. One day he found Miki smoothing out small pieces of crumpled paper on her knee.
"These crumpled pieces, if smoothed out gently like this, become neat and can be used again. Nothing is useless," she explained.

On another occasion she told him, "Lucky Bear, on this path you must not torture yourself."

One hot day in the early summer of 1879 Takai, Miyamori and some others were doing the threshing at Shoyashiki, wet with sweat under the blazing sun, when Miki came out and joined them with a towel wrapped around her head.
"I'll help you." she told them.
At that time two types of flails were in use, one was of a common type, while the other was heavy and oversized with handle and stick of roughly equal length. The latter type of flail was sometimes used by the young men so that they could demonstrate their strength and at the same time thresh more wheat. They were therefore rather surprised when the old woman picked
up one of the giant flails and began energetically threshing the wheat. By the end of the day she had threshed such a large amount that none of the young men could match.

Nakagawa Bunkichi was a native of Honden in Osaka, and a successful amateur Sumo wrestler. His arms bulged with muscles and he was renowned for his tremendous strength, of which he boasted habitually.
One day in 1880 Bunkichi visited Miki's residence. She greeted him warmly and immediately sugested, "Let us have a grappling contest."
Bunkichi could not refrain from smiling wryly at the old woman's words. However there were others present and he could not refuse her, so he took up his guard. At his first attack Bunkichi attempted to apply a hold to Miki's left wrist, but he was immediately seized by a sharp pain in his arm which felt like it was about to snap. The pain was so intense that he was forced to give up, and he asked Miki's forgiveness for doubting her.

Then Miki said, "You need not be surprised. If a child puts forth all his strength, the parent must also put forth strength. This is Ten-Ri. Do you understand?"

Though it is doubtful that Bunkichi understood fully at that time he was greatly impressed and subsequently became a loyal student of Miki.

On the occasion of the Chestnut Festival (9th September) Miki said to Masui Rin, "The Chestnut Festival is for troubles to disappear. The bur of the chestnut is rough and prickly. Take away the bur and inside it there is a shell and then there is a bitter coating. Shell it, then peel the coating, and you will find a tasty nut. If a man discards his bur and his bitter coating, his spirit will become indescribably delicious."

On May 14th 1881 Miki was entertaining and offering some instruction to Uehara Sasuke and his sister Ishi over a meal of bamboo shoots, young taro and burdocks cooked in soy sauce. Sasuke was known as a vigorous man, and was at that time in his thirties. Miki was trying to explain the meaning of leaning on the Kami for help, rather than simply helping oneself. However
Sasuke was proud of his strength and thought that he could help himself quite ably without such assistance.

Quickly and lightly Miki gripped his wrists and said, "Now, help yourself. Try to shake them loose."
Even before he could attempt to move Sasuke felt his body grow numb, and he could not move at all. With a huge effort he managed to bow crying, "Mercy, please."

Like several others, this convinced Sasuke that Miki was indeed a great teacher and he became her loyal student after that. Some years later, Ishi (who had by then married into the Tsujikawa family) was asked about this episode. "Her solemn appearance at that time can in no way be expressed with words. I was awestruck and I instinctively bowed my head," she explained.

Hi Mike,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.

- George

gdandscompserv
03-14-2007, 10:33 PM
Thanks Mike.
I enjoyed that.
And FWIW, I'm glad you're still around.:D

statisticool
03-14-2007, 10:37 PM
This account ...contains feats of strength that sound exactly like the normal trained-kokyu/jin strength being used. Too close to be a coincidence, even allowing for embellishment.


So being unable to be pulled off a platform, making it so others are unable to steal nuts, giving someone a sharp pain in their arm; these things are supposedly a basis now for aikido, taijiquan, and other martial arts.

Dare we ask for a reference?

Mike Sigman
03-14-2007, 10:37 PM
Hi Mike,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.They are from an old website that is no longer in existence, but which was undoubtedly from some group that practiced Tenrikyo religion. She was the founder. I see Wikipedia has some stuff on her.

Best.

Mike

gdandscompserv
03-15-2007, 08:10 AM
The thing that strikes me about Osensei and Nakayama Miki, is their deep spiritual connection to the world around them. Could this be coincidence? Perhaps that is the true source of great "internal" power. Perhaps it's not "our" power at all, but a higher power manifested through us.
Ah...but I wax mystical.
Don't want this post to get "relegated along with one of thos e "And Ueshiba dissapeared from in front of us...only to appear behind us with a nekkid Jessica Alba!"" posts.

Now, excuse me while I disappear.
:D

Michael Douglas
03-15-2007, 02:11 PM
...Ah...but I wax mystical.
Don't want this post to get "relegated along with one of thos e "And Ueshiba dissapeared from in front of us...only to appear behind us with a nekkid Jessica Alba!"" posts.

Now, excuse me while I disappear.
:D
Hi Ricky,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.

They are from an old website that is no longer in existence, but which was undoubtedly from some group that practiced the Jessica Alba religion. She was the founder. I see Wikipedia has some stuff on her.

Only joking!

Thomas Campbell
03-15-2007, 06:51 PM
Hi Ricky,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.

They are from an old website that is no longer in existence, but which was undoubtedly from some group that practiced the Jessica Alba religion. She was the founder. I see Wikipedia has some stuff on her.

Only joking!

BLASPHEMER!! The Jessica-Alba-as-Goddess religion has many adherents. :mad:

Actually, Mike Sigman's reference to Nakayama Miki and the Tenrikyo religion is pretty interesting . . . first time I'd heard of Nakayama.

I don't recall a comparable example from Chinese martial arts history of a woman showing instances of great internal strength skill. With weapons, there is Yueh Nu and her straight sword (jian) . . . and of course Disney taught us about Mulan. :)

Mike Sigman
03-18-2007, 09:43 PM
Here's a story that is interesting, perhaps somewhat fanciful, perhaps not... but the interesting thing is the initial throw that is talked about and the subsequent "analysis". Is this the idea of "aiki" or not? An attack is blended with and a reaction... which could just as easily been a standard Aikido technique rather than a power release... ensues. This is the traditional idea of the highest level of martial arts and Ueshiba's Aikido follows those lines very well, thank you very much. ;)

Chen Xiaowang
carrying the burden of taiji legacy
by C. P. Ong, Ph. D.

"Hidden Jin"
The only thing memorable was the humdrum. The days were always the same. If anything, long. Nothing much of note ever happened growing up in Chenjiagou (the Chen Village) in the early 1950s. One day, eight-year-old Chen Xiaowang found himself surrounded by commotion. Wherever he turned, the Village was abuzz with how the "little ninth uncle" dealt a stupendous martial feat on his burly older nephew. They were talking about his father's remarkable hidden "jin" or force. Though filled with pride and excitement, he did not feel it was anything special, as there were abundant tales of his forbears' skills in taijiquan. Moreover, his grandfather, Chen Fa-ke was already a living legend in Beijing at that time. The incident nevertheless left an inspirational mark on him and thrust on him the taiji legacy he was born into. The illustrious masters of yesteryears and their lore that he had heard so much about suddenly seemed less remote. He resolved to scale the heights of the past masters.

Some twenty years later, Chen Xiaowang, by now quite accomplished, was still intrigued by his father's hidden jin that threw someone bigger in size over ten feet up. He was not satisfied with the witnesses' accounts of how the jin worked. So in 1977 he went to see Chen Lizi, the person who had suffered the throw, to find out first-hand about the incident.

The Prank on the "Little Ninth Uncle"
The event occurred in 1953 when Chen Zhaoxu, Chen Xiaowang's father, was in his early 40's. Although Chen Lizi was older than Chen Zhaoxu, he was of a generation younger. He would thus address the latter as "little ninth uncle." As it turned out, Chen Zhaoxu was attending a ceremony for a group of visiting Chen descendents whose forebears had left the Village a few generations ago. They had come to pay respects to their ancestral home and to re-establish their lineage. The gathering took place at the home of Chen Lizi's family, as it was one of the few houses large enough to accommodate the many guests.

Now, accomplishments in taijiquan skills are things that the Village folks talk about, just as you would talk about great sports plays. Chen Xiaowang's father's taiji skill was already well known at that time. But only a few had actually seen his skills, since he did not take any students. Chen Lizi, himself a taiji practitioner, was piqued by this mysterious reputation. As Chen Zhaoxu was greeting one of the guests, Lizi, close behind, could not resist his penchant for mischief. He furtively closed in, unceremoniously grabbed hold of Zhaoxu's right arm, locked the wrist and upper arm, and then teased, "Little ninth uncle, if someone came from behind and held you, what w-?" Before he could finish, he was thrown three meters up. As Lizi's head came crashing down, Zhaoxu extended his arm in time and caught his shoulders, saving him from injury. "Are you looking to kill yourself?" Zhaoxu chided.

The visitors were visibly shaken by the commotion. The local guests, also taken aback, were nonetheless delighted by such a treat of martial feat. The seasoned observers did not see Chen Zhaoxu betray any martial maneuver. They were amazed. The nephew was larger and of stronger build. They did not expect that such a throw could be executed in the tightness of the hold. So the feat of the hidden jin was instantly broadcast to the entire Village. It is now said in Chenjiagou, "If not for the prank that Chen Lizi played on his little ninth uncle, Chen Zhaoxu's skill might not have been revealed."

Anatomy of the Throw

Chen Xiaowang caught up with Chen Lizi and asked him for a first-hand account of the incident. The latter recalled his mischief. He was locking the uncle's arm from behind. In the next instant he went blank, and found himself landing safely in the uncle's arms. Hearing the admonishment, he realized he had done something he should not have done. Chen Lizi demonstrated the same hold he had used on Chen Xiaowang. The son figured that his father must have changed the direction of the attacker's grappling force, causing the latter to slip and lunge forward. His father's upper arm -- catching the prankster's body -- gave out a short burst of twisting force. The force must have then sent Chen Lizi's body flipping, feet up and hitting the ceiling.

Chen Xiaowang confirmed his own analysis of the throw's anatomy when he spoke to two other persons who also experienced his father's jin power. Li Junshen and Wang Changtai, both about eighteen then, went to see Chen Zhaoxu about the incident that the Village was talking about incessantly. They were most curious and wanted to feel his "jin." Chen Zhaoxu asked them to hold his outstretched arms as strongly as they could, one on each side. When they signaled that they were satisfied with the hold, he gave out a short burst of fajin, sending both of them up into the air. With the left hand, he caught hold of Li by the front shirt, and seated him on top of the fire hearth by the side, and Wang on the other hand, seating him on the table. Chen Zhaoxu had used a short fajin with his upper arms on the students. It was this same upper-arm fajin that got Chen Lizi.

The ability to react naturally to ward off an attack and at the same time counter-attack in a real-life unpredictable situation is a highly developed martial skill. It comes from cultivating the "gong" of the art, and not just from practicing the techniques. To learn techniques and even be proficient at them without absorbing-- bodyand mind -- the principle of the art is not full mastery. Chen Xiaowang had heard often the admonition, "Lian quan bu lian gong, dao lao yi chang kong" (To train in boxing techniques but not train the "gong" of the art, till old the gongfu may still be hollow).

Chen Taiji enters the World Stage

In March 1981, a group of Japanese taiji practitioners descended upon the Chen Village where taijiquan has its roots. The Village, which had not changed over the centuries, was hardly ready for the visit, and certainly not ready for the intense onslaught of the media that came with it. But ready or not it was dragged into the modern world. Chen Xiaowang's trademark fajin power and qinna (joint-grappling), and the taiji skills of the other masters, were exposed to an international audience for the very first time.

In dramatic footage of the preserved tape, four Japanese practitioners were seen hand-locking the arms of Chen Xiaowang, two on each side. It seemed that you would need Houdini's magic tricks to escape the human chain on his arms. But with a short burst of force, which appeared like an easy jerk, Chen Xiaowang was free and all the handlers were seen falling off from him. This performance, which included other martial feats, effectively ended the debate on whether taijiquan was still a form of martial arts. Fame attracts attention of sorts.

Qinna Test in Singapore

In Singapore, Mr. Tan (or Chen Shilu, full name in Pinyin), a local boxing master of the Shaolin tradition, had read of Chen Xiaowang's prowess and of how qinna locks were unable to hold him. As a qinna expert who had subdued everyone he had tried his skill on, he was naturally made curious by what he read, and longed for a chance to test this taiji master. The opportunity came in April 12,1987 when Chen Xiaowang, representing the taiji school, and Shi Yongshou, the Shaolin, came to Singapore to conduct a wushu tour in the country, at the invitation of the Singapore National Wushu Federation (of which Mr. Tan was an official). To promote the tour, the local TV interviewed the two Chinese masters, accompanied by Mr. Tan. The masters gave an impressive demonstration, the fast and dramatic Shaolin, balanced by the graceful and soft appearance of taijiquan. During the interview, the Singapore master expressed marvel at Chen Xiaowang's escape from the arm locks of the Japanese students, and further conveyed his wonder in a manner clearly to invite a demonstration. Holding back his smile, Chen Xiaowang, taking the cue, gestured to him to try. Mr. Tan arm-locked him, bending his arm behind his back like a twisted chicken wing as securely as he could. Chen Xiaowang effortlessly wriggled his wrist and freed himself. The 103-kg Singapore master was amazed at how easily Chen Xiaowang undid his qinna lock. To be sure, he tried it four times, and each time the escape was as easy as the last. Warming up, Chen Xiaowang then beckoned the assistants there to come forward. Four persons held Chen Xiaowang's arms, two on each side. They each separately hand-locked his finger joints, wrists, elbows and upper arms. He did not resist and allowed each person to muster the best hold possible. Then Chen Xiaowang gave a short burst of jin from his arms and all the students were thrown off from him, some falling to the floor. The promoters were delighted with such a live performance of martial skills on TV. This publicity would attract yet another encounter.

An Intrusion boosts the Tour

Two days later, to cap off the official welcoming, several hundred guests were invited to a banquet to honor the Chinese masters and their entourage. Among the guests were dignitaries from the country's sports organizations, local martial arts masters and aficionados. The dinner went smoothly with the usual long toasts. Just at the close of the dinner, three of the guests approached the elevated platform of the honored guests. They openly asked if what they saw about his martial skills on TV was true. They said that they were longtime judo practitioners and asked if they could test it. Chen Xiaowang, having eaten and drunk heartily, was not inclined to oblige but did not know how to decline. Invoking a well-lined belly as an excuse would be silly. A martial artist should be ever ready. So he beckoned them to come. Two of them proceeded forward and were allowed to do twisted chicken-wing locks on each of his arms behind his back. Without drama, Chen Xiaowang freed his arms. Dismayed and hardly content with this abrupt and anticlimactic end to their challenge, they nevertheless bowed to salute and thank the master. But as Chen Xiaowang turned to return to his table, the third judo person, who was standing by his side, suddenly grabbed Chen Xiaowang's right arm from behind, and tried to execute a judo throw on him. The dignitaries and guests were aghast with their jaws open. In unison they gestured, their eyes glued to the scene. The admonishment they exclaimed seemed stuck in their throats. In a flash, to the great relief of the organizers and guests, the attacker was seen flying and falling several feet away. The anxiety that had built up to a pitch in that brief moment gave way instantly to a thunderous applause of approval and appreciation to witness such a real-life martial feat.

Chen Xiaowang had responded with his natural reaction upon feeling a sharp force tugging to lift him. The sinking of his dantien energy and "kua" broke the attacker's lifting force and at the same time unsettled the attacker's center. Then he issued a fajin with the back of his shoulder, which struck the attacker close behind, sending him reeling to the floor. The adverse publicity would have doomed the tour had the local judo person succeeded in throwing the master. The organizers were thus doubly grateful to Chen Xiaowang for saving the tour and for generating even more media stories. The attacker, Mr. Lim (Lin Jinping in Pinyin), apologized for the unmannerly interruption, but was nevertheless thankful to have experienced the efficacy and power of taijiquan.

Speaking with fists

Two years earlier in 1985 Chen Xiaowang had also been put on a spot. That was during his first trip abroad to Japan, accompanied by Chen Zhenglei and Chen Guizhen. They had just finished dinner and were by themselves as the tour organizer and the translator had left a little earlier. As they were leaving, someone approached them in the front of the restaurant. None of the Chens spoke any Japanese and the intruder did not speak any Chinese. All they could make out was something about boxing. From the fighting posture and upheld fists it became clear that he wanted a dialogue of martial skills. Uncertain of the proprieties of assenting to what appeared to be a sort of challenge, and unable to communicate, Chen Xiaowang did the next best thing, holding his arms up in a similar gesture, intending to elicit a friendly exchange. But a fist flew right into Chen Xiaowang's face. Chen Xiaowang guided the fist off with his right hand, consciously holding back an offensive return. The attacker seeing his punch foiled, in the next instance closed in and followed with what seemed to be a well-practiced move, an elbow strike to Chen's body. Xiaowang's cultivation of Taijiquan "gong" came into play. He received the elbow strike with a small rollback "chan" to deflect it, which weakened and dissipated the impact. At the same time he issued a burst of offensive "lie jin." As Chen Xiaowang's hands had remained glued to the attacker's arm, the "jin" caught him and threw him several feet away, falling face down. Later it was found out that the attacker was a local martial arts instructor who wanted to test the skills he had read about. The following year he went to Zhengzhou, China, to seek out Chen Xiaowang and learn from him.

The basis of Taiji's Martial Skills

What is this skill to defend and attack at the same time in a real-life situation? The obvious view is that it is the conditioned reflex acquired by training at a combination of successive techniques, like the block-and-punch or kick drills. The skill that Chen Xiaowang exhibited in the above situations is more than a conditioned reflex. It is also more than an instinctive skill, as the body and mind are trained to such an extent that the response to an attack is almost a natural state. Think of a well-trained body as a basketball. When you strike at such a body, you cause no more harm than you do to a basketball. The skill of response is a natural state in this sense, without it doing anything. This pressure-like body resiliency is only a manifestation of the concept of "peng jin" in a taiji master.

Let us look at another application of this concept. A taiji master of sufficiently high level has well-developed "peng jin." When you push at the body of such a master, it is like pushing against a pressurized ball, which is changeable. You will find your force dissipating, and unable to do anything. The master's "peng jin" does two things to your line of force. First, it weakens the power of your thrust at the point of contact and, second, redirects your force to the ground. Eight people, one behind another and pushing, only looks dramatic; but the effect is the same as the front person's work on the body. Chen Xiaowang can be so cool that -- standing and keeping balance on one leg -- he takes a drink of water with a free hand while a hefty guy pushes at him with all his brawny might, as performed live on TV several times.

"Peng jin" in a taiji body offers a lot more. The peng jin in the master's arm glues onto an opponent's, binding it like a rubber band, on contact. It measures the opponent's intent. This "listening" creates a dynamic liveliness relative to the opponent's actions. With this the master can adjust his or her own body to impair the opponent's structure. Once the opponent's structure is compromised, the taiji master can call on his or her arsenal of taiji techniques to attack the opponent effectively.

The cultivation of "peng jin" in a taiji body is the "soft training" of internal martial arts or "neijia quan." The deliberately slow movements in taiji training are but a means to temper the body, and the slowness is by no means an end in the training. The slow motion allows the practitioner to discern tenseness and so to avoid it. This gradually rids the body of "jiang jin" or tense energy when executing movements. The body and mind tempered by this soft training can deliver force unimpeded through the joints. In the process, a player will also come to understand "qi" by experiencing it.

Taiji training endows a practitioner with a calm body and mind - a quietness that can spring to crisp action in an instant: "Action is born of stillness, and in the action resides stillness." The trained action of a martial artist with this calmness has a focused quality, as opposed to being scattered. This calmness is also the source of the practitioner's sensitivity, which responds to the slightest tug. Chinese kungfu movies showing a bird unable take flight from the palm of a taiji master depict this sensitivity.

Because many of the skills of an internal martial artist are invisible to an untrained eye, and also because their applications are unexpected, it is easy to ascribe mysterious hidden power to them. There is also a tendency to exaggerate these skills when they seem unfathomable. However, the mystery peels away when you undertake a journey in the training and practice of the art.

Silk-reeling Energy

Chen taiji training is distinguished from the other styles of taiji by its specific requirement to train the fundamental "chansi jin" ("silk-reeling" energy). Chansi jin drives the motion in Chen taiji and is responsible for the art's signature coiling movements. You have actually come across this central concept in your own martial arts training. For example, when you block a punch, your intercepting arm turns a little at the point of contact with the attacking arm to deflect it. This slight rotation is a use of "chan" or coiling that greatly reduces the impact as opposed to a straight block. Indeed, the application of chansi jin in martial arts is as prevalent as the use of the screw in the mechanical world of leverages. In fact, it can be said that if there is no chansi jin, there is no Chen Taijiquan. Without chansi jin, there would not be the efficacy of Taijiquan as a martial art.

The basic exercises of chansi gong are beguilingly easy to do. The practice is nothing like the physically demanding moves of wushu or gymnastics. Anyone, young and old, can follow the exercises and cultivate chansi jin. However, its mastery is more elusive, requiring time, effort and patience. The guidance of an accomplished master is also essential.

Attaining Mastery

Of mastery, Chen Xiaowang, who studied under his uncles Chen Zhaopi and Chen Zhaokui, said that it was only in his early thirties that he allowed himself attainment of the level, albeit in a crude form. Earlier his teacher Chen Zhaopi had told him that to progress further in the art he would need his uncle, Chen Zhaokui, to check his "quan" (meaning boxing skill in this context although its transliteration is fist). Then in 1966 the Cultural Revolution came and turned the whole nation upside down, during which anything of yesteryears' culture was denigrated. The remote little Village was not spared its ravages. In that period, Chenjiagou seemed to have lost its soul as taiji practice ceased. It was only in 1973, after the death of Chen Zhaopi, and after the misguided fervor of the Red Guards subsided, that he was able to learn from his uncle, Chen Zhaokui.

Of his generation, Chen Xiaowang was considered preeminent in the art within the local taiji circle. He had no opportunities to exchange his skills with the outside. In 1977 he was sent to participate in the National Wushu Competition in Xi'an. Hungry to test his own skills against others, he engaged in several informal but serious plays with his contemporaries of other martial systems. Although satisfied with his own effectiveness, he remained uncertain how comprehensive his own understanding was. He was pushing at the edge of his own frontier. He felt an overpowering urge to seek what was beyond, where his father and grandfather had been.

Lonely Quest and Insight

Sadly he could not turn to his father, who had passed away some seventeen years earlier. He thought of his grandfather's legendary skills and the burden of his legacy. He decided to seek out his grandfather's surviving students for guidance and inspiration. In 1978 he was happy to meet with two of them in Beijing, who were delighted to meet their master's grandson. From the exchanges he had with them, he could not discern that they had traversed beyond where he himself had been in the taiji terrain. He felt disappointment at the prospect that his quest would have to be a lonely one.

For the next three years he applied himself single-mindedly to refine his own comprehension of the essence of the art. He searched for some irreducible concept, a principle that would form the basis of the art, "to which all the ten thousand techniques would return as one" (wan fa gui yi). When the realization of the principle dawned on him, he found it was nothing spectacular or new. Remarkably, it had always been there. He examined and analyzed all the techniques and skills he knew and found that, without exception, their efficacy flowed from that single principle. He had experienced its insight. He remembers clearly this momentous awakening. He had run wildly through the factory where he worked, looking for his cousin Chen Zhenglei to share his breakthrough.

"Yundong Guilu"

Chen Xiaowang calls this the "Yundong Guilu" (the Principle of Movements) and expresses it as:

Yi dantien wei hai xin.
Yi dong quan shen bi dong.
Jie jie guan chuan.
Yi qi guan tong.

Dantien is at the heart of the body's motion
Once a part moves, the whole body moves
Joint by joint energy threads through
Thus the force transmits unimpeded in one action

To practitioners who have been around, the phrases are nothing new. You have heard of them or their variants many times before. Like the beguilingly simple ideas of meditation, their deep meanings sink in only after you have experienced the insight.

The phrases in the "Yundong Guilu" convey a state of the body to be maintained during a practitioner's motion. If this state is compromised, it exposes a weakness in the body that can be exploited. The training in terms of time and effort (gongfu) to cultivate the essence of an art is to develop its "gong." The power of this "gong" is referred to as "gongli." If the level of the "gong" achieved is high enough, it is said that you have gongfu (the skills you have trained so hard for).

To illustrate some of the implications of "gongli," witness Chen Xiaowang handling the students at the workshops. He is so at ease in felling or throwing the students about, like playthings. There is a huge difference in the "gongli" between him and his students. To see this point, think of yourself handling a young child. You do not consider yourself challenged in any way by the child, so your guard is always intact. You can dispose of whatever the little kid throws at you. In this sense, your "gongli," limited as it is, is superior to that of the child's. Chen Xiaowang's gongli far exceeds that of the students. When students test his skills, his dantien balance is not perturbed, his "Yundong guilu" not violated. So he could literally play with a student like a little kid.

It is easy to see a breach of this Principle and its ramification. When struck by a sudden fear, your breath would rise and be arrested in your chest. This condition, caused by the fear, would be a violation of the Principle. Take a simpler example. Let someone twist and bend your index finger at the joint. What happens when it hurts? The pain causes your inside to hollow as your body rises. You lose your root or your guard. You know how vulnerable you have become in this off-balance situation. The body state is in violation of the "Yundong Guilu."

Why is it that Chen Xiaowang could easily free himself from the qinna locks even by kungfu masters proficient in the qinna art? You might say he did not let someone twist his index finger. Master Chen Xiaowang, Kam Lee (a kungfu master from Jacksonville), and the author were discussing "Yundong Guilu" at lunch, and Kam asked if the Principle also applied in the case of qinna. In answer, Master Chen let Kam qinna his index finger. Kam bent and twisted the finger at the joint in multiple directions, trying his best to hurt him. Chen Xiaowang was not the least affected as his finger yielded to Kam's efforts like a rubber stub. Then, after a while, he did a counter-qinna on Kam, forcing him to the ground in pain. Chen Xiaowang's "Yundong Guilu" remained intact throughout, allowing him to respond accordingly.

"Goujia Gaoji Jiaolian"

Chen Xiaowang, born Oct 20, 1945 in Chenjiagou, first learned the "laojia yilu" (old frame 1st routine form), the core routine of the Chen Taijiquan system, from his father when he was seven or eight. He could not say that he got much then at that young age. However, he remembers vividly and fondly watching his father practice in those days. His mother would often ask him to fetch his father for dinner. Patiently he would wait until his father finished his practice before calling him to dinner. Unfortunately, his father was swept up in the political turmoil of the times. He was tortured and imprisoned in 1955 and his health suffered greatly. He passed away in 1960 at age 48 in dire circumstances, a great loss to taiji.

The political turbulence and the poverty of the 1950s were not very conducive to the propagation of Taijiquan. The tradition of the art, however, was not entirely lost, as there were always some master-practitioners in the Village. It was not until 1958 that Chen Zhaopi, Chen Xiaowang's distant fifth uncle, returned to the Village and sparked a taiji renaissance. Chen Zhaopi had been away for some thirty years, teaching in Nanjing and elsewhere. After Chen Zhaopi died in December 30, 1972, Chen Zhaokui, the third son of Chen Fa-ke, came to the Village to further raise the level of skill among the burgeoning young masters in the Village. Most of the currently-known Chen Taiji masters were trained by one or both of these two Chen 18th generation patriarchs. They include the now renowned "Four Great Jingangs (Diamonds)," Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Wang Xi'an and Zhu Tiancai.

MM
03-19-2007, 07:33 AM
An interesting read, thanks Mike.

jennifer paige smith
05-06-2007, 12:10 PM
[QUOTE=Mike Sigman;165011]That's a great observation and I've heard a number of people suggest that relationship where the body is a tensegrity structure.

Okey Dokey. tensegrity:yes
Buckminster Fuller; beautiful.
As a mtter of fact those who enjoy the mystical associations ( oh, don't groan) with aikido and take musu aiki can find a movement form called Tensegrity, developed by Carlos Castaneda, of all people, to get people in touch with the shamanic dimensions he had experienced (whoa there, little missy). He explicitly describes it as an Aikido influenced form. Just for interest. Not that we do that kind of thing around here, as they say.

For those who are interested in aiki tai chi here is a link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp0s6vxD1vQ

gdandscompserv
05-06-2007, 03:10 PM
For those who are interested in aiki tai chi here is a link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp0s6vxD1vQ
:cool:

Ron Tisdale
05-07-2007, 09:31 AM
Carlos Castaneda

Who? Oh, you mean the guy that was found to be a fraud?

Best,
Ron (inquiring minds, and all that...hmmmm)

M. McPherson
05-07-2007, 10:46 AM
Who? Oh, you mean the guy that was found to be a fraud?

Best,
Ron (inquiring minds, and all that...hmmmm)

Great. Thanks, Ron. There goes this afternoon's scheduled peyote-fuelled vision quest. Next you're going to tell me Alan Watts didn't know a damn thing about Zen.
At least we still have other Boomer spiritual icons to cling to, like D.T. Suzuki, and Herrigel. Luckily their credentials are beyond reproach...

See ya tomorrow.

Ron Tisdale
05-07-2007, 12:08 PM
Hi Murray,

Well, that's part of the problem with some of this stuff...people want to believe all sorts of things (me too), and a lot of them are half truths, non truths, out right lies, etc. Then they get quoted, or refuted based on "O-Sensei said", etc. etc. Then people get snippy when you correct them, so they don't sound foolish or like some aiki fruit. Oh, well...life goes on, pretty much the same as before.

Yeah, so far tomorrow looks good...nothing else intruding, and the weather should be great! time to work up a sweat...

Best,
Ron

Walker
05-07-2007, 01:28 PM
Castaneda's Kung fu teacher:
http://www.thelightoflife.com/eng/interviews_eng/dimitri.php