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Adam Alexander
01-27-2007, 06:40 PM
Alright girls, over the last couple years, I've learned a little about forum etiquette. One of my most severe deviations of form has been posting 'me too' posts. (Those are where you're just adding your agreement to a preceding opinion. I guess if one feels the need to express their opinion in this way, a poll is in order instead of a post.) Another of my severe deviations is cross-talking or posting off-topic. Since I found no thread that tackled the issue...

Well, I thought I was very clearly being facetious.

Like Michael posted above, when two people are generally equal in their skillset, the larger/stronger/more athletic person will usually win. It's true in boxing, wrestling, whatever. Yet for some reason some people tend to think that somehow martial artists are immune to this. It's why the UFC/MMA have weight classes and why a bigger person generally beats a smaller person. Flying crane eye-gouge throat-knee double strikes are fantasty.

When I was growing up, I used to get those super balloons that were huge and had a big rubber band attached. I also would get the little ones with a string attached.

Neither ever seemed to care how hard I hit them. When I became bigger, they still didn't care. They just continued as if my size didn't matter.


When I try to move something big, I use a handcart. If it's very big, I use a bigger handcart.

That's a change in technique to adapt to something stronger. I go for the longer lever.

That's what I get out of Aikido...levers.

Size and strength does matter...You might have to have a different lever.

Roman Kremianski
01-27-2007, 07:09 PM
I think grip (that's used to get leverage, like in sankyo) does unfortunately matter with strength differences I've just never seen a 95 pound girl apply a iron grip sankyo.

Adam Alexander
01-27-2007, 07:23 PM
I don't know the picture that you have for that situation, so I can't comment. Would you say that since you don't know what picture others have, you couldn't comment on their position?

charyuop
01-27-2007, 08:15 PM
That's the good part of being 5'7" and training in the USA...you get used to facing always bigger people coz it is very hard to find someone smaller than you.

And as per Sankyo...if it is done properly you don't need strength. A good Sankyo is hard to break coz the position of arm and wrist make so that you can't apply strength to break it thus you don't need strength to hold someone in Sankyo...

Freerefill
01-27-2007, 09:09 PM
There's much to be said about the size/strength relationship. Several in my dojo are small and don't have the most incredible arm muscles (I know it's not about muscles) so when we're practicing a technique, it's often easy for me (and others) to just stand there while they crank and get nowhere.

Size, strength, flexibility.. all of that matters. But it all matters situationally. Aikido involves choices, and the more we learn the more choices we have. If you don't have much arm strength and can't seem to make sankyo work, try something that doesn't require arm strength, like iriminage. If you're small like one girl in my dojo and you have to hop in order to perform a shomenuchi ikkyo against a tall person, perhaps ikkyo isn't for you, try something low like kotegaishi (tall people hate that one). If you're a big guy going up against a little person, you'll be hard pressed to get low enough to get under their arm for sankyo, so try something that will really knock them off balance: a feint atemi going into any number of throws (atemi from large burly men is quite a distraction). One can say, therefore, that size does matter in that the way you do things will be different and specialized to your size. However, one can also say that size does not matter, as no matter what your size, with training you will be able to perform efficient aikido.

Mike Sigman
01-27-2007, 09:40 PM
I think grip (that's used to get leverage, like in sankyo) does unfortunately matter with strength differences I've just never seen a 95 pound girl apply a iron grip sankyo.Well, I've seen some small women apply some fairly outrageous sankyo's. The do it by turning their body instead of using their grip. As long as they connect the hand well to the body, the body does the work and the hand just needs to transfer the force, not initiate it.

FWIW

Mike

Adam Alexander
01-27-2007, 09:51 PM
...no matter what your size, with training you will be able to perform efficient aikido.

Mark, Refreshing post. However, I would change "will be able to" to "can increase the liklihood of."

Still, very nice.

Lorien Lowe
01-27-2007, 10:43 PM
"I've just never seen a 95 pound girl apply a iron grip sankyo."

I think it has less to do with strength than with hand size. I'm consideraby larger than 95 lbs, but all of the largest men I've ever met train in my dojo. Some of them have wrists as big as my arms, and I flat out can't get my hands (yet? I hope) into the right positions to do some wrist locks, especially nikkyo, on them.

eyrie
01-28-2007, 02:50 AM
Boys...boys... boys.... as some women are likely to tell you... size does matter.... :D

BUT... if you know how to use it, they don't seem to complain... ;)

FWIW, some of my 8 year olds can throw a 140kg (308lb) guy around like a rag doll... when they get the lines right.

Meh... I prefer uke to do all the work... ;) The harder they resist, the more they put the lock on....

batemanb
01-28-2007, 02:51 AM
........ The do it by turning their body instead of using their grip. As long as they connect the hand well to the body, the body does the work and the hand just needs to transfer the force, not initiate it.......

Well, here's my poll "I agree" answer.

All techniques in aikido should be applied with the whole body, not just the hands/ grip/ muscles etc. You should focus on moving your body in such a way as to unbalance uke before trying to do anything else. If you do this first, techniques will manifest themselves as part of that movement. Depending on which way you move your body depends on which technique will appear.

If you just focus on trying to apply technique, many other things get forgotten, consequently you can get into a "fight" and will often resort to using grip and muscle because that is all you remember.

So in answer to the original question, size does not matter if you move your body. Size does matter if you just focus on technique and are "fighting" with uke to apply it.

Michael Douglas
01-28-2007, 04:17 AM
As Lorien pointed out, size (here, how big your arms are) matters awhole lot when applying hand-wrist-arm-grip techniques. This even matters when using the whole body leverage, just less so.

In general though, I'd say MASS matters more than size. (Of course mass is proportional to size, as is strength) There's only so much leverage to be found in every situation. Even if you get the maximum leverage possible there is still a limit where the mass/strength of the uke can prevent a technique. (Kuzushi notwithstanding)

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2007, 07:26 AM
Just to throw a cat into the fray, I'd add that being shorter than your opponent gives you better leverage.

NagaBaba
01-28-2007, 09:48 AM
Size doesn't matter in aikido cos it is non-competitf environment. So 100 lb 'master' can hit 380 lb uke in the throat and get excited about his efficiency, but his uke can't hit him back like that - it will be against etiquette.....

Also 100 lb girl can do a sankyo on 250 lb politically correct uke, however uke would let her set up sankyo helping her with all his will.....Later he is very impressed.Nobody explained him however that set up is way more important then sankyo itself !!!

and 'size doesn't matter' legend continue, from generation to next generation....

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2007, 09:55 AM
But if the 100lb. girl were using "aikido" on a non-PC 250lb uke, enacting the original Daito-ryu aiki priniciples that M. Ueshiba actually knew (but which most post-WWII aikido lacks today), she could very well be able to control him whether he wants to be controlled or not. S. Takeda was a small person who was able to control and "trash" jujutsuka and judoka much larger and heavier than he, and in fact stated that women and children could learn and execute these principles.

But modern aikido? I agree that uke would need to cooperate.

Alec Corper
01-28-2007, 10:02 AM
Of course size matters, if you know how to use it, and that applies to being big or small. The same applies to strength. If you can do a perfect sankyo using only 5% of your available full body power then 50% would be interesting to say the least. Speed matters, timing matters, awareness matters, anticipation matters, focus matters. Matter,matter, mutter, mutter.........

L. Camejo
01-28-2007, 10:50 AM
Stronger always wins. Period.

When waza is executed by a smaller, weaker person utilizing elements that weaken the stronger person (e.g. kuzushi, atemi, timing etc.) at the point where the waza is executed the "weaker" person is in fact stronger.

Kano had a note about this somewhere online about 10 units of strength (stronger person) against 7 (weaker person) but that strength becoming 6 after kuzushi (10-4=6) making the smaller person's 7 units of power more powerful than the now off balanced, larger person's 6 units.

LC:ai::ki:

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2007, 02:12 PM
You're talking about "on the mats," between two people of comparable skill-level. Because "on the streets," there is more involved than brute strength and size.

The weaker may beat the stronger with:
- superior strategy and tactics
- superior martial skills
- dumb luck :D

If this were not so, then the species would have died out a long time ago, I suspect. Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) out-stripped H. sapiens neandertal (Neanderthal humans) despite compelling evidence that Neanderthals were much larger and stronger than H. sapiens sapiens, yet possessed comparable intelligence. Why didn't Neanderthals just beat the crap out of Sapiens and steal their wimmin? ;) We'd all be big, honkin' hybrids today. Frankly, I wouldn't want to think about what this might mean when it comes to hirsuteness for the women...

L. Camejo
01-28-2007, 02:23 PM
You're talking about "on the mats," between two people of comparable skill-level. Because "on the streets," there is more involved than brute strength and size.

The weaker may beat the stronger with:
- superior strategy and tactics
- superior martial skills
- dumb luck :D

If this were not so, then the species would have died out a long time ago, I suspect. Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) out-stripped H. sapiens neandertal (Neanderthal humans) despite compelling evidence that Neanderthals were much larger and stronger than H. sapiens sapiens, yet possessed comparable intelligence. Why didn't Neanderthals just beat the crap out of Sapiens and steal their wimmin? ;) We'd all be big, honkin' hybrids today. Frankly, I wouldn't want to think about what this might mean when it comes to hirsuteness for the women...
Cady, is this in response to my post above? If it is you have misunderstood severely. You are actually supporting my point with your post.

It is through superior technical skill etc. that the weaker person is placed in a position where he/she becomes stronger than the physically stronger/larger individual. In this case technical or other strength compensates for lack in size and physical strength. However with this compensation the physically "weaker" in fact becomes stronger than the person who is physically larger/stronger, hence the stronger person always wins.

LC:ai::ki:

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2007, 02:39 PM
Larry,
Guess I did misinterpret your post! Sorry. :)
I so agree with you about the weak becoming "strong" with principle-based martial skills. Again, brute strength is not the card that trumps all, by itself. However, I don't believe that they are an equalizer when you pit said person against a larger, stronger person with comparable skills. But fortunately, off the mats the weaker are more likely to encounter those who do not have their skills. That's why, historically, small, weak people have been encouraged to train in martial arts. ;)

Chris Li
01-28-2007, 04:55 PM
S. Takeda was a small person who was able to control and "trash" jujutsuka and judoka much larger and heavier than he, and in fact stated that women and children could learn and execute these principles.

Of course, how many people are at the level that S. Takeda was?

For the rest of us, size is very much a factor. It may or may not be the deciding factor, but there are very few people for whom it doesn't figure into the equation at some point or another.

Best,

Chris

Adam Alexander
01-28-2007, 05:11 PM
Of course, how many people are at the level that S. Takeda was?

For the rest of us, size is very much a factor. It may or may not be the deciding factor, but there are very few people for whom it doesn't figure into the equation at some point or another.

Best,

Chris

That, I believe, is an underlying stipulation when anyone says 'size doesn't matter.' It's a high level that someone must attain to reach that. However, there's plenty of situations where size wouldn't matter at a lower level of training. The hard part, I'm sure, is maintaining the positioning to prevent strength from coming into play.

Keep in mind, 'absence of strength' in Aikido is a misnomer.

L. Camejo
01-28-2007, 05:31 PM
Larry,
Guess I did misinterpret your post! Sorry. :)
I so agree with you about the weak becoming "strong" with principle-based martial skills. Again, brute strength is not the card that trumps all, by itself. However, I don't believe that they are an equalizer when you pit said person against a larger, stronger person with comparable skills.Totally true. Interestingly up to yesterday we dealt with this issue in one of my Jujutsu classes where a beginner male student was getting problems with a technique due to excessive use of upper body strength, while a girl, who was smaller than him and also a beginner of the same level, was able to get it because she was able to grasp the technique and use of total body power quicker than the guy. The waza being practiced was much like Kaiten Nage in Aikido.But fortunately, off the mats the weaker are more likely to encounter those who do not have their skills. That's why, historically, small, weak people have been encouraged to train in martial arts. ;)Regarding off the mat reality I agree absolutely. In fact in my self protection classes I usually tell my students to assume that the attacker they will most likely encounter will be larger, armed or in greater numbers since in a serious attack the aggressor is not aiming to fight/struggle, but to quickly dominate and make their victim submit to their demands. They will of course start out with force multipliers that they hope will make the attack as easy as possible for them, be it size, strength, weapons etc.

Also regarding the size differential in actual attacks, aggression goes a long way towards assisting the smaller person as well. There are a couple RBSD systems that teach their people to literally explode on their aggressors, making a good, sudden, severe, continuous offense their main form of defence. Often the sheer animal aggression and severity of the response catches larger attackers of guard, placing them on the defensive. With a little bit of training in basic striking etc. this psychological advantage can be exploited to make sure that the attacker never returns to an offensive position as the smaller attacker does not stop until the other is down and no longer moving or has escaped. Of course this may be outside the Aikido realm and more into the RBSD approach to things. In SD it is often said that attitude and mindset is a lot more important than technique.

Fwiw.
LC:ai::ki:

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2007, 05:44 PM
Of course, how many people are at the level that S. Takeda was?

For the rest of us, size is very much a factor. It may or may not be the deciding factor, but there are very few people for whom it doesn't figure into the equation at some point or another.

Best,

Chris

Yes, it's true that Takeda and certain of his students (including but not limited to Ueshiba, Horikawa and Sagawa) attained skill levels that most of us may only dream of.

But the thing is, we can aspire to and train for those levels, If we fall short, we will still be far superior in skill to our likely opponents. Skill and attitude go hand-in-hand. ;)

Erik Calderon
01-28-2007, 06:37 PM
Size does not matter.

aikido shinkikan
www.shinkikan.com

Rich Stephens
01-28-2007, 09:41 PM
Strength and conditioning matters in everything. Even if a weaker person has enough strength and stamina to complete a certain task, a stronger person performing the same task will be using less of his strength moving his/her body and therefore have more energy free to dedicate to other body processes, for example balance and even thinking and concentration. Of course weaker people can still 'beat' stronger folks, but the weaker person must have some other advantage in order to do so (better balance, better technique, better concentration, etc.).

Adam Alexander
01-28-2007, 10:19 PM
Strength and conditioning matters in everything. Even if a weaker person has enough strength and stamina to complete a certain task, a stronger person performing the same task will be using less of his strength moving his/her body and therefore have more energy free to dedicate to other body processes, for example balance and even thinking and concentration. Of course weaker people can still 'beat' stronger folks, but the weaker person must have some other advantage in order to do so (better balance, better technique, better concentration, etc.).

I think you're changing the definition of strength. I believe we're all using it in respect to the strength behind an attack, not as it relates to endurance, etc.

Kent Enfield
01-29-2007, 12:01 AM
There are a couple RBSD systems that teach their people to literally explode on their aggressorsEwwwww. That'd certainly get me to stop an attack. Though it does seem like that cure would be worse than the disease.
explode |ik?spl?d| verb [ intrans. ] 1 burst or shatter violently and noisily as a result of rapid combustion, decomposition, excessive internal pressure, or other process, typically scattering fragments widely

DonMagee
01-29-2007, 06:19 AM
The longer I train in martial arts, the more I respect physical strength. Size does not matter, but being able to use that size does. I am not a big strong guy. I'm about 5'10" 160 pounds and I could stand to lose a few more. I am confident in my technique and I do great in judo and bjj competitions.

The last few weeks I've spent an increasing amount of time with people 200+ pounds. Most of them stone cold beginners. I've never been pushed so hard. I've had to change how I do a lot of things, my strategy, my technique, my mindset. And even more then that I find these new strategy's don't work nearly as well with guys my size. For example you don't pull guard on a 240 pound man, his weight alone can stop all hip movement and crush your cup into your body so hard you might have trouble walking. You are not going to hit harai goshi on a guy 220 pounds and 6 foot tall at least not without a few more years practice. And I've even been arm curled out of an armbar. Which means that guys arm was stronger then my entire freaking body. The worst part is most of the tactics I use in bjj to beat these larger guys will get me killed on the street. I would be beat into a pulp.

I've discovered that superior technique and tactics can take you a long way. All other things being equal that will take you a leap ahead of any conflict. But the gap can be bridged quickly with speed, strength, and the proper will/mindset. This is why I think physical fitness is just as important as good technique. Step one to good self defense, lose that excess body fat, get good muscle tone. You have a greater chance of dying from heart disease anyways. This is why I feel body weight exercises and cardio training should be stressed just as important as a proper ikkyo. If you are paying someone to teach you self defense, first order of business is to make sure you can walk up a flight of stairs.

L. Camejo
01-29-2007, 06:27 AM
Ewwwww. That'd certainly get me to stop an attack. Though it does seem like that cure would be worse than the disease.Lol. Hey they say in SD u gotta fight nasty right? :D

DH
01-29-2007, 07:10 AM
The longer I train in martial arts, the more I respect physical strength. Size does not matter, but being able to use that size does. I am not a big strong guy. I'm about 5'10" 160 pounds and I could stand to lose a few more. I am confident in my technique and I do great in judo and bjj competitions.

The last few weeks I've spent an increasing amount of time with people 200+ pounds. Most of them stone cold beginners. I've never been pushed so hard. I've had to change how I do a lot of things, my strategy, my technique, my mindset. And even more then that I find these new strategy's don't work nearly as well with guys my size. For example you don't pull guard on a 240 pound man, his weight alone can stop all hip movement and crush your cup into your body so hard you might have trouble walking. You are not going to hit harai goshi on a guy 220 pounds and 6 foot tall at least not without a few more years practice. And I've even been arm curled out of an armbar. Which means that guys arm was stronger then my entire freaking body. The worst part is most of the tactics I use in bjj to beat these larger guys will get me killed on the street. I would be beat into a pulp.

I've discovered that superior technique and tactics can take you a long way. All other things being equal that will take you a leap ahead of any conflict. But the gap can be bridged quickly with speed, strength, and the proper will/mindset. This is why I think physical fitness is just as important as good technique. Step one to good self defense, lose that excess body fat, get good muscle tone. You have a greater chance of dying from heart disease anyways. This is why I feel body weight exercises and cardio training should be stressed just as important as a proper ikkyo. If you are paying someone to teach you self defense, first order of business is to make sure you can walk up a flight of stairs.

Being continually hit and pressed, to being physically lifted off the floor, tossed, and then taken apart by a large guy who is trained well- can be a very stunning experience. Many trained men are easily overcome by sustained, trained, aggression. Meeting someone with a measure of internal strength in the 200 + catagory who also trains MMA may be one of the toughest opponents out there.
What to do?
1. Internal power building
2. which leads to real technical ability
3. Stop doing just martial arts and go fight-which leads to learning how........ to fight

Once you gain power, you reach a point where your sensitivity can increase and you are able to think, read, and listen to an opponents strength directed at you. If their most powerful direct thrust, or throw attempt is easily handled by you without you needing "to do" much you can then redirect it incrementally. Which leads to learning way to use your power that's real and viable. Maybe for the first time truly connecting to their center at touch and controling them. Maybe for the first time having more of your mass in your hands and feet to do nasty things to them. Then.....you simply have to leave the martial arts for a while and go fight. Learn to BE a martial artsits instead of DOING martial arts.

Learning to deal with kicks, punches, throws, chokes, locks, in a form that has no form is swimming at the deep end of the pool. Its also fun, rewarding and can be done safely.

Or
Just keep doing what you are doing till you meet that first guy in the opening example above


Of course size matters, if you know how to use it, and that applies to being big or small. The same applies to strength. If you can do a perfect sankyo using only 5% of your available full body power then 50% would be interesting to say the least. Speed matters, timing matters, awareness matters, anticipation matters, focus matters. Matter,matter, mutter, mutter.........
Actually I think this is one of the better posts-though I agreed with Cady's as well. Many people don't consider this ideal enough I think. To me it is ideal to train power (solo and paired exercises) and then activated power (paired exercises) so that.-when- in a heightened environment, you never need to use 100% power.
No one...not one- is at their best in conflict when they need all their power. The old budo guys knew this. You will be at your best when you only need to utilize a fraction of your power. You will be better able to think, read, and respond. The best way to achieve it is with power building and then fight training.
For most folks they are never going to deal with a trained fighter so power building is enough.
But even (proper) casual fight training is better then nothing and will give folks a significant step-up in preparedness. Thereby increasing the odds of not needing to ever go all out to deal with agression.

Much of the "Martial arts training" crowd usually makes for better pre-conditioned opponents to go play with. The smarter ones cross train. While learning to fight stdning and on the ground you then need to concrentrate on standing. Be well versed on the ground. Then learn to stop men from taking you there as its the last place you ever want to be in public.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
01-29-2007, 07:22 AM
I agree with your point on one hand, Dan, but on the other hand I think other perspectives are equally valid.

I dunno about the focus on "kick butt" stuff. I used to spend a lot of time doing just that and I've got a couple of judgements against me for doing just that... one of them cost me a few bucks. I just don't see most martial arts training as more than a pleasure in life, not as training for the next MMA match or whatever. No matter how hard you train, there's someone that can kick your butt and you get too old or too sick or whatever for it to matter much. The Shioda and Ueshiba comments about doing internal strength stuff in Aikido (or other arts) as an investment for your old age are equally valid goals, IMO, without having to worry about large people pounding you into the sand. ;)

Best.

Mike

DonMagee
01-29-2007, 07:34 AM
I can't say I would advocate stopping martial arts and going out and fighting. I would however say it is a good idea to get out and spar. Not just with guys in your club, with other clubs, friends, etc. Anyone you meet with the right attitude could help improve your ability.

For the record, I train in bjj 4-5 times a week, judo 1-2 times a week, a little boxing, the occasional MMA sparing (I try to get this at least once or twice a month), and an aikido class 2-3 times a month. This summer my focus is going to switch to getting a few fights under my belt in local mma shows (I spent most of last year preparing for this years round of sub grappling and judo tourneys).

I wish more people would adopt the training methods used in the sports I train in, but I do not think only sparing would improve your ability. You need someone who has been down that road to show you your mistakes and explain the things you can't wrap your head around. Would I learn to shrimp crawl properly with the shrimp crawl drilling? Proper armbar? How to setup a good overhand right? I highly doubt I would ever been able to pull off some judo throws I do if it wasn't for a million uchikomi. However, none of that would work at all if I wasn't sparing. It's about balance. Situation resistance based drills, and sparing.

I'm not a big believer in internal strength training though. I believe proper technique and physical fitness is enough. Even in old age. But maybe I'll have a sparing match that changes my mind someday. It's never too late.

DH
01-29-2007, 07:57 AM
Mike
Well I agree with that 100%. I acounted for that when I said most people are never going to get into a fight. So lets agree there....then consider this.

1. MMA training -IS- fun for most of the folks doing it. It is thee pleasure you just mentioned.
2. Most are not worried about kicking butt or getting kicked. Most of the guys I've met who like this sort of thing are the same white collar average Joe's that do Aikido. They are just doing something else. Granted most are physically fit and eat better and are generally healthier then the budo crowd. The mentality is the same though. Its just for fun. I think of MMA like physical chess, no more no less.

Last as for age, I think there are many misonception about aging. My wife is in geriatrics and attributes much of the degredation of the body to inactivity. There are profound studies of what continued physcial training does in old folks that were previously thought improbable. Of copurse nothing stops the process, but wieght training, and aerobics significantly increases mobility, bone density, balance, connective tissue strength and muscle tissue building in rates not thought possible in the elder population.
I'm 50 and very aware of limitations and recovery time. But I like the state of health I am in -for my age. It is my belief that internal training is the best thing in the world for whole body strength, power and health into our golden years. But I also see men in their 70''s power lift every week-who will tell you it keeps ell I know two elderly women who swear it keeps them young as well.

So again, Fighting is not always about meat heads and muscle boys. Actually I've met more ignorance of the body in more traditional martial artists then I have in the more physical -Judo, jujutsu, Wrestling, MMA crowd over the years.

Cheers
Dan

DH
01-29-2007, 08:09 AM
I'm not a big believer in internal strength training though. I believe proper technique and physical fitness is enough. Even in old age. But maybe I'll have a sparing match that changes my mind someday. It's never too late.

Hi Don
All due respect I dissagree.
I play with power lifters who are much stronger then me in lifting. Yet I can push them over and lift them off the ground when tossing them when they shove me. They can't do the same to me I stop them.
So, if we are a couple of MA'ers talking shop- I'd say that kind of power has merit in what "we" do. And you can't get it from lifting or sport training.
There are teachers in the CMA who are quite amazing at power generation. I trained with a guy who was 70 who was little and felt like getting hit by a truck. I'd say that was useful. As I mentioned I train and lift with guys in their seventies. There is no way, NO WAY, they can generate that kind of power.
In the fullness of time its having fun and being the best we can be. It also means I get to play with younger men and women, have fun in the sand box and keep learning.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
01-29-2007, 08:18 AM
Speaking of age, though, here's a story that is part of the oral history of Chen Village, having to do with an encounter between an old man and a young man:

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.

DH
01-29-2007, 08:29 AM
Nice story
But, my old man/ young man Chinese teacher example, was from a younger guy who WAS willing to listen, already saw through to the truth and wasn't challenging. Which resulted in a friendship and an exhange that was uplifting. And the old man left as he came. With a twinkle in his eyes, a smile that would light up a room and a spirit that was palpable and an invitaion for the younger man to come visit him in his home. People can be very open and nice to one another as well. ;)

Cheers
Dan

DonMagee
01-29-2007, 08:46 AM
Hi Don
All due respect I dissagree.
I play with power lifters who are much stronger then me in lifting. Yet I can push them over and lift them off the ground when tossing them when they shove me. They can't do the same to me I stop them.
So, if we are a couple of MA'ers talking shop- I'd say that kind of power has merit in what "we" do. And you can't get it from lifting or sport training.
There are teachers in the CMA who are quite amazing at power generation. I trained with a guy who was 70 who was little and felt like getting hit by a truck. I'd say that was useful. As I mentioned I train and lift with guys in their seventies. There is no way, NO WAY, they can generate that kind of power.
In the fullness of time its having fun and being the best we can be. It also means I get to play with younger men and women, have fun in the sand box and keep learning.
Cheers
Dan

I don't think it's a matter of agree of disagree. I simply don't believe it. The reasoning is I have personally not met any CMA guys who can do what you are talking about. My aikido instructor can but he is also a lot larger then I am. When I encounter someone who has these skills then I will believe, but without evidence, I can not believe. That said proper technique in sparing does improve the efficient use of the strength you have. I have seen proof in proper body mechanics I have learned in bjj, judo, boxing, and aikido. But because I have not met anyone who can prevent me from throwing them with internal strength, I have to discount it as not very useful to spend my time attempting to study. I can't deny there are people out there doing stuff I can not do or do not yet understand. But they do not live in my area.

I guess I'm just saying I'd rather spend my time productively building good technique and hard sparing, then hunting down the ever illusive guy with real internal strength. And then get him to teach it to me knowing I'm going to go use it to win tournaments.

Mike Sigman
01-29-2007, 09:10 AM
I don't think it's a matter of agree of disagree. I simply don't believe it. The reasoning is I have personally not met any CMA guys who can do what you are talking about. My aikido instructor can but he is also a lot larger then I am. When I encounter someone who has these skills then I will believe, but without evidence, I can not believe. I don't blame you, Don. Before I did Aikido, I did Judo and Okinawan karate (a lot of it in Japan and Okinawa, BTW). I never saw these skills. Actually, I did, but I didn't recognize them for what they were, so for all practical purposes I could have said..."I don't believe it... I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary or that couldn't be explained by just good physical training".

Right now, I know exactly what these things are... and yet I have to travel great distances to see people who have any of these skills. That's how uncommon they are. And there are all sorts of levels of these skills... someone can have perfectly respectable skills, yet they won't necessarily beat Chuck Liddell in a fight. On the other hand, there are some of the bodyguard-level fighters in China with these skills that I would feel safe in betting on against just about anyone.

In other words, I can't fault you for saying something I would have agreed with at one time.

In terms of using these skills, they are an advantage over normal strength... but as I said there are limits and levels of accomplishment and therefore how much of an advantage can be gained . A 95-pound female with these skills has an advantage. Does that fully negate size and strength? No. It depends on the circumstances, the people involved, etc., just as it always does.

Best.

Mike

DH
01-29-2007, 09:13 AM
I don't think it's a matter of agree of disagree. I simply don't believe it. The reasoning is I have personally not met any CMA guys who can do what you are talking about. My aikido instructor can but he is also a lot larger then I am. When I encounter someone who has these skills then I will believe, but without evidence, I can not believe. That said proper technique in sparing does improve the efficient use of the strength you have. I have seen proof in proper body mechanics I have learned in bjj, judo, boxing, and aikido. But because I have not met anyone who can prevent me from throwing them with internal strength, I have to discount it as not very useful to spend my time attempting to study. I can't deny there are people out there doing stuff I can not do or do not yet understand. But they do not live in my area.

I guess I'm just saying I'd rather spend my time productively building good technique and hard sparing, then hunting down the ever illusive guy with real internal strength. And then get him to teach it to me knowing I'm going to go use it to win tournaments.
Well I guess I understand. But, I wouldn't let my lack of understanding of quantum mechanics get in the way of my believing the physicist who do.
Here you have me, Mike, Rob, Wrote about it, and were pretty much written off. Then folks who came out to meet us; The many who met Rob and Ark in Paris, then Chris Moses, Gernot, George L. who met Mike (plus the many who have attended Mike's seminars). Then Mark Murry, Murry Mcpherson, Rob Liberti, Stan baker and Tom Holtz who have all met and trained with me. And the fact that Tom H. has met Ark Mike and me. And all these guys? Pretty much all saying the same things.
I understand your meeting CMA guys who don't have it. So have I. Dozens in fact. But thats the same as in any art. Most of us actually don't get it.
Oh well.
These skills remain a signficant advantage to anyones game and they should be the foundation training in any martial endevour. What we make of them after that is up to us. I mean, learning boxing doesn't mean anyone can box either.


Cheers
Dan

Cady Goldfield
01-29-2007, 09:50 AM
I agree with your point on one hand, Dan, but on the other hand I think other perspectives are equally valid.

I dunno about the focus on "kick butt" stuff. I used to spend a lot of time doing just that and I've got a couple of judgements against me for doing just that... one of them cost me a few bucks. I just don't see most martial arts training as more than a pleasure in life, not as training for the next MMA match or whatever. No matter how hard you train, there's someone that can kick your butt and you get too old or too sick or whatever for it to matter much. The Shioda and Ueshiba comments about doing internal strength stuff in Aikido (or other arts) as an investment for your old age are equally valid goals, IMO, without having to worry about large people pounding you into the sand. ;)

Best.

Mike

If I may add some comments here...
The true underlying motivation for the serious student is the need to focus one's mindset and attitude 100% on being "real" in what one does. This means "believing" -- committing to any undertaking as though it were a matter of life-and-death, not because you expect to fight to the death one day, or because you want to "kick butt," but because in keeping that mindset, you train authentically, not as a caricature or charade of what the art represents. As a a result, you -are- authentic, even if you never get into even so much as a bar fight.

Call it "method acting." ;)
Or more accurately, train the way you would want to fight, because, you will ultimately fight the way you've trained. Even if you never intend to fight, ever.

Some people don't want to undertake a discipline unless they can "become one" with it. As Dan worded it, don't -do- the martial art; -be- it.

And, again to echo what was already said by others, if you train this way, then you have the 100% power you need, and have the luxury of choosing what percentage of your power to use in any given situation. The skills come with the mindset.

Even while you're doing this, there is never the delusion that you are anything but your unremarkable "Joe Blow" self. It's just that you do something that is not ordinary and which is remarkable, utterly cool (at least to you), amazing and fun to do.

Beard of Chuck Norris
01-29-2007, 10:38 AM
Being that I am quite a big guy, around 6'3" 266lbs ish, I am inclined to say that size does matter.... but that is neither a positive nor negative statement.

Yeah I could swing my erm... one point around and use my weight to become more or less rigid but what I gain in strength I lose in aiki and resposivity (is that the right word?). what would I gain by this? A swift one way ticket to the mat face down usually! Closing ones body off and becoming strong is quite natural for some people, like me but i am trying to learn, whereas blending into the background is more natural for others.

One is not better than the other. Weakness and strength is found in all forms of the human body. It is the choice of a person what they choose to do with the body they have which could lead to a 5'5" powerhouse or a 6'8" wall flower.

peace and love

jo

DonMagee
01-29-2007, 11:06 AM
Well I guess I understand. But, I wouldn't let my lack of understanding of quantum mechanics get in the way of my believing the physicist who do.
Here you have me, Mike, Rob, Wrote about it, and were pretty much written off. Then folks who came out to meet us; The many who met Rob and Ark in Paris, then Chris Moses, Gernot, George L. who met Mike (plus the many who have attended Mike's seminars). Then Mark Murry, Murry Mcpherson, Rob Liberti, Stan baker and Tom Holtz who have all met and trained with me. And the fact that Tom H. has met Ark Mike and me. And all these guys? Pretty much all saying the same things.
I understand your meeting CMA guys who don't have it. So have I. Dozens in fact. But thats the same as in any art. Most of us actually don't get it.
Oh well.
These skills remain a signficant advantage to anyones game and they should be the foundation training in any martial endevour. What we make of them after that is up to us. I mean, learning boxing doesn't mean anyone can box either.


Cheers
Dan

I think you got me a little wrong. Its not that I don't believe in internal strength. I acknowledge force redirection and structure and the physics involved. My aikido instructor is a big believer in ki, and he does a lot of that kind of stuff, the mechanics behind what he shows are sound. I don't believe in mystical power, but I don't believe you are referring to that. What I do not believe is that it is important to stress the training of that vs the training of proper technique and good old fashioned physical fitness. Good old fashioned sports training has built effective skill for me way faster then any other way I've tried to date. I learn how to better use my body everyday to get the most power for the least effort. It's a byproduct. It might not be as good as it could be, but I just don't see value in perusing it further.

If I met someone who could stop me dead in my tracks, I'd would no doubt listen to what they have to teach me. That's the reason I love my bjj coach, and my judo teacher. I just can't afford to travel around the world trying to find that guy. So I train hard, and compete in many tournaments. I have a long way to go before I reach my peak in that area alone. So I'm not too worried about it.

jonreading
01-29-2007, 11:13 AM
This question drives me crazy. In every other competitive sport size, strength, and physical condition play vital roles in the outcome between particpants. Why would anyone think differently of aikido? Because aikido is not a sport?

Either we are talking fighting or we are not. Either we are talking budo or we are not.

The human body and its physical condition play important roles in the fighting prowess of a martial artist. Stronger muscles, stronger bones, heavier weight, taller frame, these characteristics are beneficial to fighting. Aikido is more than fighting, this is why strength does not necessarily matter. As budo, you are the opponent seeking victory over yourself. Your fight is not dependent on your strength and so we say, "strength does not matter in aikido."

Some people misinterpret, "strength does not matter in a aikido," as, "strength does not matter in a fight." This misinterpretation leads to the fantasy that one will win fights even if they are not strong.

Adam Alexander
02-01-2007, 07:06 PM
This question drives me crazy. In every other competitive sport size, strength, and physical condition play vital roles in the outcome between particpants. Why would anyone think differently of aikido? Because aikido is not a sport?

Either we are talking fighting or we are not. Either we are talking budo or we are not.

The human body and its physical condition play important roles in the fighting prowess of a martial artist. Stronger muscles, stronger bones, heavier weight, taller frame, these characteristics are beneficial to fighting. Aikido is more than fighting, this is why strength does not necessarily matter. As budo, you are the opponent seeking victory over yourself. Your fight is not dependent on your strength and so we say, "strength does not matter in aikido."

Some people misinterpret, "strength does not matter in a aikido," as, "strength does not matter in a fight." This misinterpretation leads to the fantasy that one will win fights even if they are not strong.

I think you're arguing a different subject. I think what's being said by some of us is that regardless of the power of an attack, a well performed Aikido technique will diffuse the power.

I don't think anyone would disagree that physical conditioning plays a major role beyond that exchange.

The discussion appeared to me to have no relation to Aikido as budo. Only Aikido as technique.

Basia Halliop
02-02-2007, 10:00 AM
I think what's being said by some of us is that regardless of the power of an attack, a well performed Aikido technique will diffuse the power.

How well performed? One of the reasons I would say that it does matter, even if it's not the only thing that matters or even the most important, is that I've been in situations where someone was doing a technique 'mostly' right or even 'sort of' right, but it was very 'effective' because they were much heavier or stronger than me. On the other hand, if I did the same technique in the same way on that person, it wouldn't really be very 'effective'.

I suppose you could argue that that isn't real Aikido, but it somehow makes it seem very abstract if we're only talking about the prototypical 'perfect, flawless' Aikido.

As I get more skilled, I can do it on more people, of course, and I certainly don't always find the the most difficult or (effective) people are the biggest, and I've certainly heard of various very slightly built high ranking Aikidoka who could take on practically anyone... but sometimes someone who's bigger seems to require a bit less skill to get a similar 'effectiveness'.

Cady Goldfield
02-02-2007, 10:26 AM
I believe the crucial thing is for one to train for excellent technique, particularly if you don't have the brute strength to fudge it. It just means that the smaller and less muscular have to really shugyo the heck out of themselves until they can act effectively in the most stressful circumstances.

Strength, in nature, is an advantage. But clever human beings have come up with ways to provide an edge for those who are of lesser strength -- guns/weapons, martial arts. But for etiher to be effective, one must train to excel.