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statisticool
01-28-2007, 01:22 PM
Here are my random thoughts on combat distance, or ma ai, that I was thinking about the other day, and made a webpage on.

Any comments/criticism are welcome,

http://www.statisticool.com/maai.htm


Justin

L. Camejo
01-28-2007, 01:31 PM
Is it just me or could that entire webpage, complete with mathematical expression be better explained in under 1 minute of actually attending an Aikido class where ma ai is explained?

LC:ai::ki:

Roman Kremianski
01-28-2007, 01:36 PM
Danger1 = [(((1/2) * [(-d+Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1-Leg2)(d-Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1+Leg2)]1/2)) / (pi*Leg12)] + [(((1/2) * [(-d+Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1-Arm2)(d-Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1+Arm2)]1/2)) / (pi*Arm12)]

Pretty sure this equation means jack to any Aikido practitioner.

Besides, since when do you need a mathematical formula to explain that a man with longer limbs will obviously have longer reach?

crbateman
01-28-2007, 01:47 PM
I'm sure that a great deal of thinking went into this, but I'm just a dumb ol' country boy, and if I was going to take any of that out onto the mat, I'd have to have my accountant strapped to my back... http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/fragend/confused-smiley-013.gif

SeiserL
01-28-2007, 02:19 PM
Fighting distance: close enough to be effective.
Combat distance: close enough to be lethal.

BTW, IMHO, who is behind the radius of the arm and the leg, and what is their intent and intensity is by far more important than the feet or inches of their reach.

Mark Freeman
01-28-2007, 02:20 PM
I'm sure that a great deal of thinking went into this, but I'm just a dumb ol' country boy, and if I was going to take any of that out onto the mat, I'd have to have my accountant strapped to my back... http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/fragend/confused-smiley-013.gif

I've have a monkey strapped to mine, I used to have an accountant, but I found him way too boring ;)

Justin,
the maths may or may not explain 'something' and I don''t see a reason to spend a moment exploring it, as I can't see how it would help me understand mai-ai better than normal training.

How would you find the time to utilize your 'mathmatical mind' when under full on attack?

regards,

Mark

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2007, 02:24 PM
Pretty sure this equation means jack to any Aikido practitioner.

Danger1 = [(((1/2) * [(-d+Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1-Leg2)(d-Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1+Leg2)]1/2)) / (pi*Leg12)] + [(((1/2) * [(-d+Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1-Arm2)(d-Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1+Arm2)]1/2)) / (pi*Arm12)]
Besides, since when do you need a mathematical formula to explain that a man with longer limbs will obviously have longer reach?

Good gawd, y'all. It's like Erick Mead, but using equations instead of long sentences! :p

P.S. Sorry, Erick! :D

George S. Ledyard
01-28-2007, 02:54 PM
Here are my random thoughts on combat distance, or ma ai, that I was thinking about the other day, and made a webpage on.

Any comments/criticism are welcome,

http://www.statisticool.com/maai.htm


Justin
Hi Justin,
As I stated in one of the other forums, Math is a disaster for me. While what you say in all these equations may be true? So what? Unless you are trying to program a robotic device to perform your Aikido techniques they have little use. You cannot actually use them to execute technique as doing the calculations would be far to slow. They don't serve to teach what is important about maai since what is important is being able to simply look at an opponent (and his weapons) and to "know" what his range is. No one, as yet, has been able to explain how the human brain performs this task but it is definitely not describable using this type of math.

The "critical distance" in martial arts is the distance at which the opponent has to move his body mass in order to strike you. If you let someone inside this distance, your reaction time will not be fast enough to defend. At or outside this point, the attacker will have to move his body mass to be able to reach you and this being a relatively slow process, you have time to execute a movement.

In other words, if someone is moving towards you for an attack, the "critical distance" or maai is the place in time and space at which you either make your move or back up. Failure to do either results in insufficient time to react and the opponent WILL strike you.

This is something you have to be able to measure in a look. You take in the perceived length of stride, the length of the arms, the length of the weapon, the whole picture in a glance and you should be able to estimate, in that single glance, what the reach is of their most committed attack. You should be able to do this within an inch or so.

Of course the opponent doesn't want you to be able to do this effectively so there are various ways in which he will disguise the visual factors you need to perceive what this distance is. An example would be holding the sword in such a way as to make its length invisible to the opponent.

I do not belive that there is any way to "teach" how one perceives the "critical distance". It comes through practice. One needs to have attackers of differing sizes and temperments. One absolutely has to have attackers who are REALLY trying to strike you or you will constantly be imprinting the incorrect distance and the cues associated.

I realize that you probably spent some not inconsiderable time working these things out... I appreciate your boldness in putting your thoughts out for public comment. If you were trying to program a robot or attempting to calculate the range for an artillery piece, some sort of machine or even a computer, these types of calculations might have some value. But they serve no practical purpose in making your Aikido better. For that you have to perform many attacks and receive many attacks until you just know, simply from looking, in an instant (not with conscious calculation), what the maai is.

eyrie
01-28-2007, 03:50 PM
Wait a minute, so, if I plug my Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 57063 MIPS/3.33 GHz cybernetic doodad into my puny brain, I could perform these ma-ai computations?

Worst case scenario, I could always dazzle my attacker with numbers... :D

raul rodrigo
01-28-2007, 04:09 PM
Wait a minute, so, if I plug my Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 57063 MIPS/3.33 GHz cybernetic doodad into my puny brain, I could perform these ma-ai computations?

Worst case scenario, I could always dazzle my attacker with numbers... :D


As in: "You do differential equations so well, i've decided not to hit you with this baseball bat."

Roman Kremianski
01-28-2007, 07:07 PM
Does all of this mean a math nerd could wipe the floor with all of us? :(

Imagine...the moment you throw a punch, he can calculate the angle, velocity, power, precision and distance of the attack, as well as efficiently arrive at the number of cm he would have to move to precisely avoid the punch and redirect your power in pounds² per surface area...

Better think about that next time you decide to jump an old nerd from highschool.

L. Camejo
01-28-2007, 07:13 PM
Does all of this mean a math nerd could wipe the floor with all of us? :(

Imagine...the moment you throw a punch, he can calculate the angle, velocity, power, precision and distance of the attack, as well as efficiently arrive at the number of cm he would have to move to precisely avoid the punch and redirect your power in pounds² per surface area...

Better think about that next time you decide to jump an old nerd from highschool.No worries there I think. As we see in randori, calculating the distance/position is one thing but actually being able to move the body where it needs to be is something else that requires much physical and mental training.;) Another reason why equations are useless in understanding this particular element of training except at an academic level.

LC:ai::ki:

Roman Kremianski
01-28-2007, 07:16 PM
I don't believe you. To take my Aikido to the next level, I'm cutting my mat-time and hitting the Trigonometry books.

See you at the finish line of enlightenment, suckers!

crbateman
01-28-2007, 07:52 PM
Here we all are, climbing a mountain... when instead we could just level the damn thing! :D

eyrie
01-28-2007, 07:57 PM
To take my Aikido to the next level, I'm cutting my mat-time and hitting the Trigonometry books.

That would be substituting mat time for math time... :D

raul rodrigo
01-28-2007, 08:41 PM
That would be substituting mat time for math time... :D

One can imagine that in 1960, there were blackboards all over the old hombu dojo, and the uchideshi like Saotome, Chiba and Tamura would stand around with pieces of chalk in their hands arguing vehemently about the correct equations for ma ai. O-sensei just walks in exasperated and bops them all on the head with a bokken. "There! thats ma-ai!"

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2007, 08:44 PM
I think that Albert Einstein did that to Niels Bohr once.
:D

Michael Hackett
01-28-2007, 09:06 PM
On a similar note.....I once worked with a graduate engineer who was the epitome of a nerd. Bob and I stopped for lunch one day in a little dive that served sandwiches and beer. The joint also had a pool table and a pretty rough looking lunchtime crowd of biker types. Bob got up and placed his quarter on the table to challenge the winner, and when his turn came to play, pulled out his pocket calculator and "ran" a bunch of numbers before each shot. He ran the table several times and pocketed enough money to buy our lunches and beer a couple of times over. I asked him after we left what he was calculating and he explained that he grew up around pool halls in the midwest and paid his way through grad school shooting pool. The calculator was just for effect.

mathewjgano
01-28-2007, 09:32 PM
That would be substituting mat time for math time... :D
Yeah, well, like my name says "math -ewww"! :D
(Actually, math is awesome! And it's unfortunate that as a language, it's not more fully appreciated)
Take care,
Matthew

Chris Birke
01-28-2007, 09:40 PM
That's a gross and laughable oversimplification of maai. I feel guilty about being so harsh, but really, you ought to know.

You should get in a fight so you can see how wrong you are, really - the amount of explaining required to set this straight isn't justified. I hope no one else takes this seriously.

I should add, you could explain maai with math. This is just nothing like it.

xuzen
01-28-2007, 09:48 PM
Here are my random thoughts on combat distance, or ma ai, that I was thinking about the other day, and made a webpage on.Any comments/criticism are welcome,
http://www.statisticool.com/maai.htm
Justin

Good Gawd! Golly! Very good analytical thinking.

Now, GO do mathematical model of a No Touch Throw?

Boon.

statisticool
01-28-2007, 10:11 PM
A criticism of being "wrong" doesn't make much sense IMO. Of course, all models are wrong to some degree, since they are a model, by definition, of reality.

Simplification was, of course, the very goal, so I'm not sure why that would be a valid complaint. If one can explain ma ai analytically any simpler than overlapping circles of various radii, I'd be interested in reading it.


Justin

L. Camejo
01-28-2007, 10:46 PM
A criticism of being "wrong" doesn't make much sense IMO. Of course, all models are wrong to some degree, since they are a model, by definition, of reality.Then why try to make one using an approach that is obviously quite insufficient to explain the various elements of ma ai and what it is?Simplification was, of course, the very goal, so I'm not sure why that would be a valid complaint. If one can explain ma ai analytically any simpler than overlapping circles of various radii, I'd be interested in reading it.There is one in post 8 of this thread by Sensei Ledyard: The "critical distance" in martial arts is the distance at which the opponent has to move his body mass in order to strike you. If you let someone inside this distance, your reaction time will not be fast enough to defend. At or outside this point, the attacker will have to move his body mass to be able to reach you and this being a relatively slow process, you have time to execute a movement.Any more analysis needs to be done with a live person on a mat with an instructor. To oversimplify via modelling does not adequately adresss the subject.

LC:ai::ki:

Chris Birke
01-29-2007, 01:08 AM
A model so removed from reality lacks any utility. If you want to make a useful point about maai, you need have a basic understanding of the system you are attempting to model. Maai takes momentum, intent, and ability into account. It is not simply distance from point a to b.

A hypothetical example from Muai Thai: A right cross is strong, but short range. A left jab covers more ground but packs less punch. A thai roundhouse kick is generally ranged somewhere inbetween, but slower and far more powerful. These are often thrown as a 123 combo, jab to cover the initial distance, cross to raise the guard and eyes, and kick right above the now exposed knee.

You can avoid this by circling in away from the side of the cross and kick, because after throwing the jab that same side leg will be planted and the powerful attacks must come from the other side. Being out of position will nullify the attack somewhat, and leave you in good position to react.

The mistake would have been to back straight up, because the combo can continue moving in faster than you can back up. Your system might indicate that backing up is the safest option.

The outcome does not depend on the legnth of their limbs so much as an understanding of dynamic combat range (in this case nearer being safer). The assumptions of your system are wrong. The circle is dynamic.

If you'd like to create simple models of attacks along different vectors feel free, it has been done before and is of some utility. If you'd like to alter your model of ma ai you'll need to add the dynamic nature of the attacks, else it is not ma ai, simply distance with extraneous spheres.

"Note, however, that if Person1's leg attack fails, then Person2's arm attack is able to get to Person1's center first, barely." What does that have to do with anything? Really, is it like tag?

If you want to use math on martial arts, let me recommend you do a statistical study of mixed martial arts and document the success ratio of various individual techniques and combinations. What land's most often with most effect - does it come in combination or individually? Which techniques are highest percentage (really, not just claimed to be.) I don't think that's been done yet and it would be well received.

Bridge
01-29-2007, 02:57 AM
Couldn't really say I have the capacity for maths anymore (long time since I was at school) however, from your diagrams, you're doing better than this individual...

http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61491&page=1&highlight=greysky23

I've probably stuck my foot in it, it's not you is it?

statisticool
01-29-2007, 03:31 AM
Maai takes momentum, intent, and ability into account. It is not simply distance from point a to b.


That is all very well, and known, but beside the point. The simple geometrical model I showed comes from the assumptions I stated.


The assumptions of your system are wrong. The circle is dynamic.


They aren't wrong, they just are. You want to model a dynamic circle, momentum, intent, etc. Fine. But this creates a much more difficult model, a model that is probably beyond everyone's capabilities to actually model. So one has to start somewhere.

Thanks for your comments in any case.


"Note, however, that if Person1's leg attack fails, then Person2's arm attack is able to get to Person1's center first, barely." What does that have to do with anything? Really, is it like tag?


Yes it is like tag. A fist can "tag" a person quite well.

L. Camejo
01-29-2007, 05:12 AM
The assumptions of your system are wrong. The circle is dynamic.

They aren't wrong, they just are. I agree totally Justin. Your assumptions just are... wrong. Chris is correct even if his idea is taken in a static context like your model.

Using your exact model if person1 and person2 were fixed at precisely one point, within touch range of and facing each other without the ability to move forward from that position and both persons had exactly the same length of limbs but person2 had greater hip and leg flexibility it means that if both persons executed a side kick, the greater hip flexibility of person 2 would allow for greater hip extension and penetration, making a more effective kick. The "tag" you referred to would be more pronounced than that of person1 even though both persons' limbs are of identical length. At a slightly greater distance apart, person1 would not be able to touch person2, stopping just short of contact while person2 would be able to make contact due to better hip extension. This remains true to a point even if person2 has slightly shorter legs.

Ma ai is not just about distance it is "combative" distance hence the effects of ma ai must have a result that adds utility in a combative sense. Your model represents static distancing between 2 objects in a neutral sense, i.e. non-combative sense. In combat one cannot divorce movements or distance from goals, tactics and strategy, so to make a "model" that disregards these elements, regardless of how simple, is in fact useless. It's like designing a car model that has no wheels or propulsion system.You want to model a dynamic circle, momentum, intent, etc. Fine. But this creates a much more difficult model, a model that is probably beyond everyone's capabilities to actually model. So one has to start somewhere.The "one has to start somewhere" argument when something is proven inadequate is often used as an excuse for mediocre work/results from my experience. If you start from a place that is wrong from the outset, your best results will still be wrong, since your core concept has set you on the wrong path.

Justin, to be honest this looks to be an attempt to define/model something by someone who has read books and magazines on a subject but never experienced it for real. Is this the case with you? Would this explain the illogical assumptions? What is your experience with ma ai?

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

George S. Ledyard
01-29-2007, 08:34 AM
They aren't wrong, they just are. You want to model a dynamic circle, momentum, intent, etc. Fine. But this creates a much more difficult model, a model that is probably beyond everyone's capabilities to actually model. So one has to start somewhere.

Justin,
You are still missing the point... One does not have to start somewhere. Unless you are programming a machine, there is no function to modelling at all. It will help your Aikido not one iota.

This is not a "learning styles" issue with the whole auditory, tactile, visual styles set of distinctions. This is someone who is trying to think through a question that can't be thought through. In fact, in terms of function, thinking at all is your enemy. This is an issue of training your perception and developing your intuition. Math is useless.

If one wishes to investigate the principles which govern the martial interaction, the Japanese have the most complete set of descriptive terms of any culture. Ma-ai is the "critical distance" it is inseperably linked to De-ai "critical instant".

Then you have the issues of timing such as sen sen no sen, go no sen, etc. These basically fall out into: you initiate, he initiates, you strike him at the instant he initiates, you wait until the very last instant to strike him, etc

Someone mentioned intention and athletic ability as related to ma-ai. Athletic ability could be said to effect ma-ai (if someone can leap farther, it changes the ma-ai; if he can attack faster, it changes the de-ai) but intention is a different issue; not an unimportant one, but not effecting ma-ai.

- George

Steve Mullen
01-29-2007, 08:45 AM
On a similar note.....I once worked with a graduate engineer who was the epitome of a nerd. Bob and I stopped for lunch one day in a little dive that served sandwiches and beer. The joint also had a pool table and a pretty rough looking lunchtime crowd of biker types. Bob got up and placed his quarter on the table to challenge the winner, and when his turn came to play, pulled out his pocket calculator and "ran" a bunch of numbers before each shot. He ran the table several times and pocketed enough money to buy our lunches and beer a couple of times over. I asked him after we left what he was calculating and he explained that he grew up around pool halls in the midwest and paid his way through grad school shooting pool. The calculator was just for effect.

Now that is a funny nerd

Steve Mullen
01-29-2007, 08:49 AM
Danger1 = [(((1/2) * [(-d+Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1-Leg2)(d-Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1+Leg2)]1/2)) / (pi*Leg12)] + [(((1/2) * [(-d+Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1-Arm2)(d-Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1+Arm2)]1/2)) / (pi*Arm12)]

carry the 3 multiply by 2 to the power of diet cola and you get........... OH MY GOD, this proves, without any doubt that Kermit the Frog shot JR,

Erick Mead
01-29-2007, 09:29 AM
I am very interested in the mechanics of Aikido, for descriptive purposes, because they lead to better understanding (and closer observaiton) of correct and incororect movement in a given instance while training. I am as patient as anybody in trying to observe the particulars of actual interactions, with mechanical concepts. Having said that, this effort is off-base, in my view.

Assuming some generally effective combat range, maai (and deai, as Ledyard Sensei points out) are not operational components of tactical movement, they are strategic concepts that have any number of expoitable aspects. They are more about learning what parts are simultaneously in range of what targets as a range or pattern of choices (sometimes successive and continuous in application or combination) that are presented for action.

There is not one maai (or deai) in an given interaction but many times many of them at every moment. Maai as Justin is using it would be merely the recognition of one choice of action among a potential cascade of thousands of contingencies.

At one instant there is maai (to different targets, perhaps) in a single movement to use the fingertips, the palm, the fist, the back of the wrist, the forearm, the elbow, the shoulder, hip, knee, shin, or foot, and that's just one side of the body -- without turning around. In sword terms -- there is maai for mune, kissaki or tsuka -- all requiring different choices of movement or targets to effect, but all with some maai from the same locaiton. A very slight movement of either of you and all that changes -- instantly. You cannot spreadsheet that.

From the nage side the maai for the basic body dynamic of kotegaeshi, for instance, is simply whether I am connecting to apply it at the wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck or hip. Connection and flow of energy are more important that distance or timing.

This is the strategic point of aikido -- it does not matter what maai, (or what deai) or what linear cascade of tactical choices my opponent employs. If I simply harmonize with him at every moment -- they become irrelevant -- or more correctly, every spacing is maai for me, every moment is deai, every choice he makes is my sente in the engagement.

At a certain point, all I want is to receive is what he wants to give, which means he should always be "right where I want him." If he is not "right where" he is "supposed" to be, it is not a maai problem. -- it is my problem -- in my mind, not in my placement. I can recognize a need for more training on what ever seem not "right" about the interaction. I don't practice at the level where every action is "right" but I do know how to recognize in the interaction where my desires are interfering with it, and generally what I need to change.

Welcoming whatever comes, as it comes, and overcoming the calculating mind "If A then B and then C" -- that's the hard part.

Thinking, rigorously and critically, is for self-correction after the fact of training -- so as to plan better for more needed training.

Masakatsu agatsu.

happysod
01-29-2007, 10:44 AM
Ma-ai is the "critical distance"... but intention is a different issue; not an unimportant one, but not effecting ma-ai Just to be contrary for no other reason than 'cos - I'd hold that intention of the attacker/defender can affect ma-ai under several circumstances. If the defender was more interested in a specific place/person other than themselves, their intention would change ma-ai. Alternatively, an attacker who wished to confuse the issue of who had actually started the attack may close with their intended victim beyond the optimum for the attack.

caveat - I'm of course presupposing ma-ai means perfect distance for the purposes of combat only rather than being applicable to the entire range of social/situational interactions which may not be your intention George.

On the modelling side, the only problem with any model is that it has to be of some use and I can't see how this would help. As has been mentioned, you could use statistics to model strategies into high and low percentage, but even here you only have trends and very broad-brush identifiers useful for betting but not really applicable in the heat of the moment. Have you attempted to use this model as the basis for any sort of training methodolgy and how did it help?

Chris Birke
01-29-2007, 11:30 AM
"Ma-ai is the "critical distance"... but intention is a different issue; not an unimportant one, but not effecting ma-ai" - I'll have to assume George is right on this one - I was probably taught wrong definitions. But intention is important too (at a very similar moment)! =) Also, my specific broken down example was only that, not whole account of what I think ma ai is (just to be clear). Ma ai is that critical distance, and the process of maintaining it, which is holistic.

George S. Ledyard
01-29-2007, 11:53 AM
caveat - I'm of course presupposing ma-ai means perfect distance for the purposes of combat only rather than being applicable to the entire range of social/situational interactions which may not be your intention George.


As far as my understanding of ma-ai goes, it is a physical distance. It is the distance that forces the oponent to move his body mass in order to attack. In epty hand, this does vary much. If a guy can kick, and it would be generally wise to assume he can, then one prefers to keep him at such a distance that he has to move his body mass in order to reach you with his legs.

There are weapons with greatly variable ma-ai. In the Araki Ryu we used the kusari-gama to learn to deal with a weapon with variable ma-ai. The chain could be adjusted and the weapon could be wielded with one hand giving one a very long reach.

Also, with yari, one slides ones hands along the shaft to adjust the ma-ai. If an opponent starts to slide inside the tip, one slides the shaft back to put the enemy back on the outside the tip again.

But as with empty hand, it isn't the variations inside the critical distance that are the consideration in "critical distance" it is the place at which the initial contact is possible. It is this distance that has to do with the various timings for defense etc. But most importantly, if one doesn't control this distance, it won't matter what techniques you know how to do because you will not be able to do them due to insufficient reaction time.

The only weapon you have that extends beyond the "critical distance" is the Mind. One must absolutely extend ones attention out beyond ones own furthest physical range. If the mind is not already connected with the opponent, one will not be ready to move when the "critical instant" arrives.

Aikido folks, in general, do not really understand distance very well. Often, especially with weapons they get too close before they launch an attack. Often they are in range of the defender without knowing it before they attack. Rather than do the defense as shown in the form in qustion, the defender should simply strike them first.

In empty hand one sees both issues. Many folks are not comfortable engaging and attack from too far away. You can just stand there and they come up short by six inches. Other folks, because they can't move effectively, get too close before they try to strike. Once again, the defender should strike them as soon as they get that close rather than attempt a technique.

This lack of understanding how to effectively attack is one of the reasons that Aikido folks don't understand how to control the ma-ai as precisely as they should. You can't develop the requisite skill if one is traiing with unskilled attackers all the time.

crbateman
01-29-2007, 01:45 PM
I just tried again to understand the math formulae, so I input it into my computer, which promptly jumped off my desk, swept my legs from under me, and escaped out the front door, dragging my monitor along with it. It is now across the street mating with my neighbor's dog... :blush:

Ron Tisdale
01-29-2007, 02:48 PM
Hi Alfonso, you saw someone make sense out of that???? hmmm....I must be using the wrong browser...

Clark, you now owe me a new keyboard...thanks! :D

B,
R

Alfonso
01-29-2007, 03:02 PM
ok, I retract myself on the sense part. clearly its amazing though

Danger = hmmm.. plus divided multiplied by .. ..arms, legs

yes clearly this explains why facing three armed attackers is dangerous

Robert Rumpf
01-29-2007, 03:08 PM
Here are my random thoughts on combat distance, or ma ai, that I was thinking about the other day, and made a webpage on.

Any comments/criticism are welcome,
http://www.statisticool.com/maai.htm

Justin

I've read your model, and I understand it, but I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve, and I don't think that the model makes assumptions that reflect the actual dynamic of the situation, regardless of the simplifications in calculations that the assumptions enable.

Here are some points about the model:


The area of circular overlap does not relate uniformly to danger - and so why be concerned about this area?
The adversary does not and will not demonstrate the limits of their reach, skills, or intentions - so how would you determine these constants?
Skills, intent, and attention are not reflected in the model.
The circular (or effectively, cylindrical) nature of the areas to be modeled are not representative, and in fact inhibit modeling - so why make this an assumption?


I could keep going.. but I don't see the point.

I have some professional experience with doing mathematical modeling of physical phenomena. I don't see how anything with this gross of fidelity can be used for modeling physical encounters between individuals, or coming to meaningful conclusions beyond those that are obvious. In addition, some of the conclusions of this model conflict with my understanding of conflict (more overlap can sometimes mean less danger, or vice versa).

Justin - you should consider reading this: "Aikido in Everyday Life: Giving in to Get Your Way," by Terry Dobson, Victor Miller. It has some geometrical and behavioral insight into those old favorites :circle: :square: :triangle: that you might be able to get something from.

That said, I don't understand why people are so hard on Justin (or Erick Mead).

Justin (and Erick) seem to be doing what almost everyone else tries to do in Aikido (explicitly or not) at some point - take the contents of the art as they learn or perceive it and internalize it in a language that they understand more clearly internally. They then throw this out there for comment, which can lead to meaningful discussion (or not). Isn't that what Aikiweb is for?

The fact that the language is technical in nature causes them to be ridiculed - do Aikiweb people really need to be that stereotypical?

While I've taken issue with some of the attitude I've seen from a variety of people on this website (including Justin), that is not an issue that is at all isolated to him.

Justin is clearly inexperienced, and most likely young: he deserves more kindness.

Rob

crbateman
01-29-2007, 03:31 PM
Clark, you now owe me a new keyboard...thanks! :DI'll send you mine, Ron... It's all that's left...

Basia Halliop
01-29-2007, 03:49 PM
It looks like you're using the entire circle as the target area? I.e., defining the vulnerable body area as all the area swept out by the arms and legs?

I think I'm kind of with Robert, in that I don't think it's that useful or helpful, although I don't see what's so crazy about someone fiddling around with it if they happen to like math and find it interesting.

But with models of very complex phenomena there tends to be a trade off between accuracy and simplicity, and I think this is so complicated it can't really be mathematically defined that simply without making the margin of error so enormous as to make the predictions meaningless (or at least any prediction further than something like 'longer reach is an advantage, all other factors being exactly equal').

Charlie
01-29-2007, 04:09 PM
Since it was brought up that joint flexiblity would affect maai [as well as intent]...how about the person in this video? Is he covered by your equation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrYlNNy929Y&mode=related&search=

Charlie B.

Erick Mead
01-29-2007, 04:31 PM
That said, I don't understand why people are so hard on Justin (or Erick Mead). ... The fact that the language is technical in nature causes them to be ridiculed - do Aikiweb people really need to be that stereotypical?

Justin is clearly inexperienced, and most likely young: he deserves more kindness. --- "Oooh! Quite the Jailer's pet!"

-- "He spat in my face!"

--- "Oohh -- what I wouldn't give to be spat at in the face! "
.... "Nail 'im up! Nail 'im up, I say! Nail some sense into 'im!"

senshincenter
01-29-2007, 07:55 PM
For what it is worth, my own understanding of maai is pretty much the same thing as Erick's. This, in my opinion, is what makes a diagram or a charting of maai (as an abstraction or as something that can be taken in any kind of general sense), especially a two-dimensional one, problematic (i.e. not capturing enough of what is going on). However, agreeing here with Robert, I think Justin's attempts are quite natural and indeed part of his starting point/development/progress. The history of the martial arts is filled with these attempts. In fact, I'm sure one can do a search and find charts that are very similar to the one Justin drew up. Sure, such charts don't do everything for everyone, but they are a part of the something that a given person is doing at a given time. In that sense, let it be his beginning. It is not a waste of time - in my opinion. From there, as we can from all beginning, he can move on. There's nothing wrong with starting with simplifications, even over-simplifications, in my opinion. We all do that. In fact, we cannot NOT do that.

dmv

Tim Fong
01-29-2007, 09:17 PM
Justin,

Grudgingly, I have to say, you are sort of on to something. The Spanish had an entire sword system based on the circle and the chord. My understanding is they used analytic geometry. They were notorious as highly skilled duellists.

See: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~wew/other/magic_circle.html

I'm inclined to believe the Spanish had a very systematic method of weaponcraft....after all, they clearly had an influence in the development of weapon arts in the Philippines.

Of course, actually developing the system required people to fight it out, and , likely get hurt in the process. So get out there and check it out.

Kevin Leavitt
01-30-2007, 12:27 AM
You go away for four days to actually DO martial arts, and this happens!

This has GOT to be the thread of the year!

There are those the DO and those that Discuss.

Professors make a good living talking about economic theory....then there are the "C" students that could not tell you the first thing about economic theory...that make a million dollars selling widgets.

I suppose at some point you need to decide what balance you want to strike in understanding extrinsically and intrinsticaly. (implicit/explicit).

George S. Ledyard
01-30-2007, 12:27 AM
For what it is worth, my own understanding of maai is pretty much the same thing as Erick's. This, in my opinion, is what makes a diagram or a charting of maai (as an abstraction or as something that can be taken in any kind of general sense), especially a two-dimensional one, problematic (i.e. not capturing enough of what is going on). However, agreeing here with Robert, I think Justin's attempts are quite natural and indeed part of his starting point/development/progress. The history of the martial arts is filled with these attempts. In fact, I'm sure one can do a search and find charts that are very similar to the one Justin drew up. Sure, such charts don't do everything for everyone, but they are a part of the something that a given person is doing at a given time. In that sense, let it be his beginning. It is not a waste of time - in my opinion. From there, as we can from all beginning, he can move on. There's nothing wrong with starting with simplifications, even over-simplifications, in my opinion. We all do that. In fact, we cannot NOT do that.

dmv
Hi David,
Missed you when you weren't around much...

It may be my bias against math, but I just don't see how this helps at all. Most of the terminology that the Japanese have used over the centuries to delineate the martial interaction is descriptive. In other words it has something to do with what you do, when you do it, how you focus your attention, where you focus your attention, etc. I find that type of analytical work to be helpful in knowing what I want to work on, what issues to be paying attanetion to as I train, etc

I just don't see how any type of mathematical calculation would be helpful in any way. It is not how the human brain processes... All of the issues that go into the martial interaction can be described much better using verbal terminology which serves not only to list the various principles at work but also what you actually do with those principles. This is all about how you develop your physical reactions to the point at which they are automatic and how you develop your intuition to the point at which you are no longer "reacting" to an attacker's movement but rather controlling them before they even have a chance to come to fruition. I just don't see how some equations can be of any value whatever in accomplishing that.

I am big on principle based training. I use scientific terms when they serve to help people visualize what they need to be doing. May, the equations do that for some people, I don't know... But, even for someone who is so comfortable that he thinks mathematically, like it was a second language in which he was fluent, I do not think that anyone has been able to come up with a quantitative model that comes close to describing the intricacies of these issues. So, I guess I just don't get it. In the time it takes to work out some equations that still don't really describe anything terribly accurately, one could read several books on Japanese swordsmanship and come a lot closer to having some concrete areas to investigate in ones practice.

But as I said, perhaps its just me. If folks find it to be helpful, by all means go for it!

gnlj
01-30-2007, 01:14 AM
Even though I am a physical scientist I don't really find mathematical models of the physical activities I take part in very useful. But each to his own I suppose...

Robert Rumpf
01-30-2007, 06:29 AM
Professors make a good living talking about economic theory....then there are the "C" students that could not tell you the first thing about economic theory...that make a million dollars selling widgets.

I'm not sure what to tell you Kevin.. the only economics professor that I ever had was filthy rich. :D Teaching was something he did after he exercised his golden parachute.

It'll be good to see you back in NoVA this summer. You'll be happy about the fact that Mike Laskey is around much more often.

Rob

Basia Halliop
01-30-2007, 07:50 AM
I just don't see how any type of mathematical calculation would be helpful in any way. It is not how the human brain processes...

Maybe not the people you know... I have had more than one conversation in my life that went nowhere for a long time until I scribbled a one or two line equation down, and then everyone was like "ahhhh!... why didn't you just say so, if that's what you meant?"

A lot of people find description very difficult to make any sense of, but if you just give them a couple of numbers or a short equation, they get exactly what you were trying to say all along, because the equations show the basic logic in a way that's much harder to get across with words. There are times when with words sometimes you have to sort of dance in circles around the actual point and try to get it indirectly. Maybe you just have to be in a technical field before you start meeting these people...

Kevin Leavitt
01-30-2007, 12:52 PM
thanks Rob! Look forward to being back this summer.

I always figured that once those smart professors figured out how to do it, that they would just leave the numbers behind and do it!

There are always the exceptions to the rule though!

It'd be cool to figure out what the distance between our maái is right now. What is your 8 digit grid coordinate?

Robert Rumpf
01-30-2007, 01:42 PM
It'd be cool to figure out what the distance between our maái is right now. What is your 8 digit grid coordinate?

Great circle distance, small circle distance, rhumb line distance, or slant line distance? Hehe... I left my PLGR at my last job.

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
01-30-2007, 02:03 PM
PLGRs are soooo old school now.

Lan Powers
01-30-2007, 04:05 PM
I am a solid believer in Bowdeen'an mathmatics so I see the beauty of this system.
You know Jethro and his "gos-inta's"
1 gos-inta 2 , 2 goz-inta 4 You know, like that.
:)

Lan

senshincenter
01-30-2007, 06:44 PM
Hi George (and others),

Yes, I see what you are saying. Fully. I agree, you cannot learn art from a diagram; the map is not the territory; you cannot eat a picture of a cake – all true. One cannot master or understand the finer or defining points of maai via mathematical formulas. One has to do it to be it, and one has to be it to do it. All true, and all very problematic for anyone that chooses not to delve or that cannot delve into the depths of the experience of maai but expects comprehension nevertheless (which is not to suggest that this is what Justin is doing – he is not). Two points remain however (for me):

1) Does this mean that one cannot go backwards – from maai to math? Answer: I imagine in a general sense (i.e. What is maai?), this would be impossible. However, in a particular sense, dealing with a specific example (i.e. What is the maai for Shomen-uchi Kote-gaeshi when Jon is uke and Sam is nage and it is being performed in this dojo?), it does not seem that there is anything in maai that would resist a theoretical explanation of a given sample, be that philosophical or mathematical. Thus, I do not feel we should be so rejecting here. Perhaps, a better discussion could follow if we look for what such an analysis might capture – as opposed to all it will not or cannot.

On the positive side of things, models, while not good for birthing understanding can indeed further understanding. Theoretical models have always been part of the martial arts – even Osensei’s Aikido. A model I tend to use is In/Yo – in a general sense. For example, knowing there is always a bit of In in Yo, and vice versa, after assigning something In, or Yo, I look for the contrasting element within the former – knowing, theoretically, that it has to be there (even if I have not experienced, seen it, or felt it). So, for example, I look to find the irimi in my tenkan and the tenkan in my irimi. With the model, I look for it, before I experience it, but after I know it. This is a big plus of models.

All one has to do is be cautious of how a model might limit us or restrict us. Therefore, one has to be ready to subvert one’s model – always. However, this can be done with another model. For example, I may take a model of union and universals. Such that I may say (to myself), “While the art can be divided into In and Yo, ultimately a oneness marks everything – such that In and Yo do not exist.” If that is so, I ask, “Can it not be the case that my tenkan can be irimi and my irimi can be tenkan?” Asking that, I look for it, and there it is – a oneness, a mystical union of In and Yo, the absence of In/Yo – an irimi that acts like a tenkan and a tenkan that acts like an irimi. Then, I might take the triangle and the circle and look for ways in which the triangle can spin and resemble (i.e. act like) the circle, and ways the circle can be positioned/timed so that it resembles the straight lights and points of the triangle. Etc. Here is what that all might look like:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/tenchinage.html

Now, I imagine I could have trained and trained for 20 more years to solve what I never liked in the Tenchi Nage versions I was being taught (i.e. pushing or retreating in the omote version; tenkans that served no tactical purpose in ura versions, etc.), yada yada yada, but I was too plagued by the fact that there were folks training for forty years before me that still did those things and that wanted me too as well. In short, after a little experience has been gained, with experience, models can free us from ignorance as much as they can enslave us to it. They are not all, or only, negative. However, this is what I was hearing a lot of folks saying to Justin. When everyone was telling Justin that he was wasting his time, etc., I felt it more inclined to at the most say, “You might be wasting your time or you might not. It all depends upon what you want to do with it.” Or, “Hey, that’s a good start, let me know how it pans out for you as you work it into your real-life practice.”

2) The fact that experience is necessary for understanding, suggests, not rejects, that subjectivity is part of the goal of discovery. Thus, if a person is used to understanding his/her world mathematically (and I am not), it seems vital that that person include mathematics in his/her experience of Aikido. For me, this is no different from the musician that sees music in Aikido or the painter that sees color in Aikido or the architect that sees geometry in aikido or the singer that hears sounds in Aikido, etc. In other words, we use what we are to discover what we can be. We have no other choice than this when it comes to self-cultivation. In short, this is not a restriction to growth – it is the process of growth (as you well know). In the end, someone using a model similar to Justin’s might well discover that his position is similar to everyone else’s in this thread – thereby rejecting his previous inclusion of mathematics. However, he cannot do that until he first remains who he is. In other words, he has to try it to see if it works or if it does not work. Me, I applaud those efforts – knowing risks and mistakes are part of growth, not the end of growth. Thus, I felt inclined to speak up and suggest or hint at some more positive avenues for discussion. Here’s one:

For all that Justin’s model does not capture, it does indeed capture that there is a relationship – dynamic and relative in nature (represented by the circle) – between the “spinal ring” (i.e. the vertical core of one’s body when standing) and the extremities of the body. This is because graphically the concentric circles share the same axis of rotation. If you look at beginner practice, you do not often see this being realized. In relation to uke, beginners often relate more to the extremities of the attacker than they do to the relationship that exists between the spinal ring and (for example) the arm ring. This often has them moving too much or too little, as well as too late or too early. As a widespread issue, this has aikidoka moving way more or way less than is usually tactically practical (note: look at how many different angles you see generally in Systema vs. what you see generally in Aikido). Because of this, aikidoka tend to move like aikidoka and no one else when it comes to their angles of deviation. In my opinion, this is a result of aikidoka tending to think only in terms of single elements – e.g. the center or the arm and not in terms of relationships that remain dynamic and relative – which is “feasible” because of how controlled training environments are (for the most part).

This is all I was meaning – folks should be allowed, encouraged, to take their own stab at the art. When one reads rejection after rejection, it’s hard to keep sight of that. So I spoke up. J

My opinion,
d

statisticool
01-30-2007, 07:28 PM
I just don't see how any type of mathematical calculation would be helpful in any way. It is not how the human brain processes...


On the contrary, it is exactly how it processes. The brain is a computer, the most complex ever so far, afterall. The calculations are just done behind the scenes.

For example, http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060218/mathtrek.asp

statisticool
01-30-2007, 07:33 PM
However, this is what I was hearing a lot of folks saying to Justin. When everyone was telling Justin that he was wasting his time, etc., I felt it more inclined to at the most say, "You might be wasting your time or you might not. It all depends upon what you want to do with it." Or, "Hey, that's a good start, let me know how it pans out for you as you work it into your real-life practice."


The people who say "wasting time" have never bugged me, not even one iota. If they read the article, they will have read that I already said such thinking about distance has been personally useful to me.

I'm positive I will improve upon it in the future, too, and incorporate the good suggestions.

Chris Birke
01-30-2007, 10:46 PM
You should talk about your ideas for refining the model, perhaps we can reach a consensus. It's frustrating that I feel you are coming from a very different understanding as far as the nature of the system on which the model is based.

For example, my comment about "tag" - there are a lot of times and places I'm happy to let someone hit me, because I know theres no way they can generate any power (if they can even contact me). Sitting on top of someone, for example. I often invite people to punch me when I'm in mount, go for it. I once had someone tell me they could punch their way out of a rear naked choke... we tested that out; turns out I can choke better than they can punch over their own head (and no, eyegouges didn't work either, you can tuck and cover.)The places where optimal power transfers ("good shots") occur are very specific, and avoiding (and creating) those places is important - but they are more like the exception. The vast majority of places I could be with relation to an opponent are safe. This, to me, is such an important concept that to see the model lacking it was very confusing.

George S. Ledyard
01-31-2007, 01:15 AM
This is all I was meaning -- folks should be allowed, encouraged, to take their own stab at the art. When one reads rejection after rejection, it's hard to keep sight of that. So I spoke up. J

My opinion,
d
David, you are right. I should have kept my own opinion on the matter to myself. Apologies to Justin... I shouldn't have rained on your parade. If this stuff helps you, go for it.

SeiserL
01-31-2007, 05:37 AM
I am (politically incorrect) a western white boy, meaning I lead with my head. It is easy for me to get my body to move a certain way if my head is congruent and understands the concept/principle. The problem all too often is, I can get caught in the visual and auditory internal mental map and neglect feeling my way through the external kinesthetic territory of reality where the application is most appreciated.

BTW, I was once a math major and respect the effort that went into trying to explain reality mathematically. I just don't find people that congruent or consistent. I have never been hit by a math equation, though I have smacked myself while trying to solve some.

crbateman
01-31-2007, 05:43 AM
David, you are right. I should have kept my own opinion on the matter to myself. Apologies to Justin... I shouldn't have rained on your parade. If this stuff helps you, go for it.George Sensei, this is the place for opinions, and yours is always of great value. Please don't feel bad about putting it out there, because we want to hear it.

senshincenter
01-31-2007, 09:15 AM
Hi George,

Well, like I said, I agree with you as far as learning maai – this type of model is not going to cut it. Additionally, I can picture someone looking at it and start talking about long range, medium range, and short range weapons, etc., which would be quite problematic when it comes to Aikido kihon-waza, in my opinion. This is because any given weapon (i.e. tactical component of a given technique) could be delivered “up close” or “from afar” (making it both long and short range, for example), depending upon when in the spiral nage opts to deliver it. This all happens without the slightest variation, or should happen without the slightest variation, in extension. When extension doesn’t need to be altered physiologically because range can be modified geometrically, the concentric circle model tends to not only fall short, it seems to be talking about something else entirely (e.g. Karate, maybe).

Aside from that, echoing Erick’s post, maai for me is ultimately a spiritual matter. Meaning, for lack of better words, the training objective when it comes to maai is to loose all binary understandings of maai and non-maai. This puts me very close to what you are saying, because math is never going to get one to drop binary attachments. That is to say, the goal is to free the body/mind of its attachment to any given maai, such that non-maai ceases to exist. All that one is left with is the sense of being in the perfect place at the perfect time for whatever one is doing right then and there. When these three components exist, maai is present. Maai then is a uniting of what is given with what one wants/can use/is doing but with a person throwing out the chicken and egg issues once and for all. Maai is a total acceptance of the here and now. So, for me, maai, at a practical level, is about our capacity for non-resistance, our capacity for non-attachment, our rejection of egocentricism. It is about an emptiness of self.

Not sure, how to represent this mathematically, but if it is, with M equaling maai, M = 0, I’m not sure what one, anyone, can do with that equation. It seems you can only just look at it, the way we look at our teachers before we have any understanding of what they are doing – look at it and go, “Oh, okay.”

david

Erick Mead
01-31-2007, 11:33 AM
When extension doesn't need to be altered physiologically because range can be modified geometrically, the concentric circle model tends to not only fall short, ...
... Not sure, how to represent this mathematically, but if it is, with M equaling maai, M = 0, I'm not sure what one, anyone, can do with that equation. The expression of your intuition is very interesting. I firmly believe that intuitions formed from rigorous expereince, when put into a more general mathematical construct can sometimes lead to interesting obesrervations from seemingly unrelated areas and physical parallels that may not be always obvious in plain language description.
Aside from that, echoing Erick's post, ... the training objective when it comes to maai is to loose all binary understandings of maai and non-maai. This puts me very close to what you are saying, because math is never going to get one to drop binary attachments.Actually, the math of some fairly commonplace dynamics, suggested by your own words, does just that. There are situations where a dynamic component reaches a mathematical infinity in a finite time (practically it fails before that). It is called a singularity. Mathematicians, with dry understatement, describe regions of singularity as being "not well-behaved."

The most commonly seen examples of this dynamic singularity are a bouncing ball, a snapping whip, or, more suggestively for the typical shape of movement in aikido -- a coin spinning and rolling along its edge without slipping (Euler's disk). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_disk

That latter example precisely conforms to your description of "extension [that] doesn't need to be altered physiologically because range can be modified geometrically" And, in that case, the "concentric circles" literally do "fall short." In several versions of irminage, the dynamics are very similar to this in form and my own sense of the "feel." One difference is that irminage can concentrate as well as dissipate, which the coin cannot, but the shape is much the same.

I have discussed elsewhere the "snapping whip" or falling chain which similarly reaches a singularity where angular velocity at the end goes to infinity (practically, it is limited by the compression shock wave as it hits the speed of sound as the radius of the traveling loop or wave reduces to nothing.) Aspects of the ikkyo dynamic are similar in nature to this.

While Justin's approach may be wrong, it may well be a useful "wrong" that leads elsewhere.

senshincenter
01-31-2007, 12:43 PM
I knew I sucked at math. Nevertheless, what you say sounds reasonable to me (i.e. meshes with my experience). Thanks for sharing Erick.

I agree with the last comment on Justin's model.

take care,
dmv

George S. Ledyard
01-31-2007, 04:11 PM
Aside from that, echoing Erick's post, maai for me is ultimately a spiritual matter. Meaning, for lack of better words, the training objective when it comes to maai is to loose all binary understandings of maai and non-maai. This puts me very close to what you are saying, because math is never going to get one to drop binary attachments. That is to say, the goal is to free the body/mind of its attachment to any given maai, such that non-maai ceases to exist. All that one is left with is the sense of being in the perfect place at the perfect time for whatever one is doing right then and there. When these three components exist, maai is present. Maai then is a uniting of what is given with what one wants/can use/is doing but with a person throwing out the chicken and egg issues once and for all. Maai is a total acceptance of the here and now. So, for me, maai, at a practical level, is about our capacity for non-resistance, our capacity for non-attachment, our rejection of egocentricism. It is about an emptiness of self.

Well, that's it really. The most important thing about ma-ai is how the Mind reaches oustside the ma-ai to connect with the partner / opponent long before he comes into range. De-ai or critical instant means that the movement needs to be ALREADY happening at that instant, not starting at that instant. this is entirely an issue of how one projects and maintains his attention on the opponent.

Ma-ai doesn't really tell you when you have to start doing something, it tells you the point at which it too late. The Mind is the real weapon here and I have no conception of how one would try to quantify that.

senshincenter
01-31-2007, 07:03 PM
Ma-ai doesn't really tell you when you have to start doing something, it tells you the point at which it too late. The Mind is the real weapon here and I have no conception of how one would try to quantify that.

Perfectly said. Thank you George.

d

statisticool
01-31-2007, 07:10 PM
I agree with the last comment on Justin's model.


Ditto,


Justin

Erick Mead
01-31-2007, 08:28 PM
So, for me, maai, at a practical level, is about our capacity for non-resistance, our capacity for non-attachment, our rejection of egocentricism. It is about an emptiness of self.Ma-ai doesn't really tell you when you have to start doing something, it tells you the point at which it too late. The Mind is the real weapon here and I have no conception of how one would try to quantify that. Perfectly said. Thank you George.
Emptiness has shape -- defined by the positive space around it. We can quantify that shape and locate the edges of the hole. It is useful to define that -- as long as we also acknowledge that the emptiness has an expanse of depth that the surface it pierces can never fully reveal, however well-defined. The size of the formal opening on the surface does not betray the extent of space available to move within the formless center. That is what makes aikido so powerful.
Most technique, to my mind, is about finding that boundary very precisely, but not for the purposes of avoiding it. Aiki only works when one has fully committed to depart that boundary and then leaps in, like a diver -- with simultaneous abandon and precise control ...

senshincenter
02-01-2007, 12:42 AM
Hi Erick,

Do you think that changes if you are attempting to express the subjective experience of emptiness? Do we experience the formal opening or the edges of emptiness once we are fully committed to depart or once we are fully departed? Or, doesn't "fully departed" mean the experience of the opening or the boundary is no longer possible? For me, I would answer all of these questions in such a way that it would be suggested that the subjective experience of emptiness, which is what I think George and I (and you) were once talking about, beyond quantifying shape. Sure, from an outsider, "objective" point of view, we can identify shape and boundaries, but from the inside, subjective point of view, I would still feel that math is missing something (by suggesting too much).

My thoughts,
d

Erick Mead
02-01-2007, 07:51 AM
Do you think that changes if you are attempting to express the subjective experience of emptiness? The experience of emptiness as I would see it in this context (and perhaps others) is utter freedom, zero constraints, which may be both liberating, terrifying and potentially a temptation that is destructive in its own way. That freedom is perilously close to loss of control, and it must be, in order to be free. Singularity, again
Do we experience the formal opening or the edges of emptiness once we are fully committed to depart or once we are fully departed? Freedom and boundaries. A canonical paradox in every theology (and mechanical system) I know of. Take the leap and you are past the boundary. And free to act pretty much the way you want -- as long as you still respect the shape of the space that allows you that freedom. If the form is lost then inexorably the boundaries and the solidity that lies behind then reassert themselves, sometimes unpleasantly. I know this because it happens enough to me that I now see it when it happens. And generally I see what it was that caused my bit of empty space to collapse into solidity. Occasionally, I can make me not do that -- again.
Sure, from an outsider, "objective" point of view, we can identify shape and boundaries, but from the inside, subjective point of view, I would still feel that math is missing something (by suggesting too much). Another of my favorite aiki metaphors (also an incidence of singularity) is surfing. The breaking wave is in mathematical singularity, as the chaos of the breaking crest indicates. It is not "well behaved." You can surf there however, as long as you continue to be in the position of "falling in" and in harmony with both the chaos of the break and the linear curve of the swell. You have left the original boundary of static support, but that space you have entered is still defined by it.

If you do not resolve it to the boundary states of either "not falling" or "have fallen." you remain free in that empty place, where surfers are free to do pretty much what they want -- as long as they respect their boundaries. Hooker Sensei's focus recently on attention to uke waza even within the nage waza, calls up a great deal of this sensibilty for me.

It really is a universal paradox.

George S. Ledyard
02-01-2007, 08:11 AM
The experience of emptiness as I would see it in this context (and perhaps others) is utter freedom, zero constraints, which may be both liberating, terrifying and potentially a temptation that is destructive in its own way. That freedom is perilously close to loss of control, and it must be, in order to be free.

I used to practice occasionally by pretending I was O-Sensei. I tried to immitate that formless movement, the complete freedom of action. etc. One night I was teaching class and I was "in the zone"... no one could even touch me, I was experiecing that freedom you describe.

There I was, one with the Universe, when my uke punched me full force in the face. I couldn't decide which of the two guys I saw in front of me I should throw.

So, one with the Universe, total freedom of movement, lack of constraint is quite an experience... but the rules still apply and if you don't have them so programmed into your system on an unconscious level that you and the rules are inseperable, you still get some nasty surprises.

Erick Mead
02-01-2007, 10:01 AM
So, one with the Universe, total freedom of movement, lack of constraint is quite an experience... but the rules still apply and if you don't have them so programmed into your system on an unconscious level that you and the rules are inseperable, you still get some nasty surprises. Amen to that. Sometimes, no matter what, you just get caught inside the break, in which case you had better revert to strong swimming and not be in its way.

I did forget the third case between "not falling" and "have fallen" -- it is "fallen on."

If you have ever gotten caught inside, BTW, you will innately understand the criticality of both "last-chance" maai and prompt irimi. You will also gain far greater appreciation of the gift of breath.

Michael McCaslin
02-01-2007, 02:27 PM
I don't know. One of the first things I remember being taught in aikido was that maai could be thought of as the length of a person's leg extended from his center (excluding weapons). If a person is inside the circle delineated by that distance you had better be controlling him.

Justin, I think your model could be simplified if you dropped the arm terms. Once a person is in punching range, he is by definition inside maai. Perhaps this is an overly simplistic view, but it seems fairly functional.

Michael

senshincenter
02-01-2007, 02:33 PM
Well, I think, for the most part, some sort of consensus has been reached in regards to maai in the general sense. It's difficult to impossible to quantify without some sort of qualifications being given. But, what about in the particular. I suggested, as have others, that maai could be more or less calculated or modeled or described within a specific instance. Some of us may do that via math, some with sentences, etc. What about taking a shot at it. Could we take one example and use it as a platform to discuss maai in its particulars - ? That might be kind of interesting. Might any of the videos from our website do? Or is some other sample more suited? Please feel free to offer whatever, but let's get some video examples involved.

just a suggestion,
d