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Nafis Zahir
05-15-2007, 12:38 AM
Interview with Henry Kono:

Showing me another quote from Bob Nadeau’s article in Aikido Today Magazine, which says: “Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret,” he said. “You can do what I do in three months.”

Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be?

Upyu
05-15-2007, 02:51 AM
Interview with Henry Kono:

Showing me another quote from Bob Nadeau's article in Aikido Today Magazine, which says: "Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret," he said. "You can do what I do in three months."

Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be?

Do a search for Mike Sigman or Dan Harden's posts ;)

I think he meant you could do what he does to a smaller scale (emphasizing again that he's doing something almost completely different body wise), but it'd take much longer than three months to match what he'd built up over the years :)

Yann Golanski
05-15-2007, 02:59 AM
Yes, it's called training.

You train.

Lots.

dps
05-15-2007, 04:05 AM
Kuzushi, knowing how to and when your opponent is unbalanced.

David

aikilouis
05-15-2007, 04:29 AM
"There is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido".

Peter Seth
05-15-2007, 07:14 AM
Maybe being in the correct place, at the correct time, in the right rhythm (out of your opponents time/rhythm), becoming their centre, all at once. Capturing their balance and energy, controlling direction and momentum - 'becoming one with'.
What do you think?
Easy to say!! wish I could do it.
Pete:)

Edward
05-15-2007, 07:32 AM
Coming from someone who spent an entire lifetime practicing, it must surely be a metaphor or something. If it was true, I would have gotten the secret of aikido many years ago, or maybe I've got it and I don't know yet :D

MM
05-15-2007, 07:51 AM
I'll echo what Rob John said. :)

gdandscompserv
05-15-2007, 08:52 AM
I'll echo what O-sensei said.
If I knew it I could do aikido like O-sensei.

Stefan Stenudd
05-15-2007, 09:13 AM
Interesting thread!
Tamura sensei told me that Osensei had said to him about learning aikido: "Three days should be enough."
Then, there's the Japanese saying: 'Three years on a stone.' Even if you want to learn something as simple as sitting on a stone, it takes three years. On the other hand, after those three years you can do it.
I believe it to be true, sort of. After three years you don't know it all, but you know how far it can get you. So, you should reconsider whether to continue on this path, or search for another. You can also use it about teachers: After three years you should know what your teacher can give you, and you can decide to remain with that teacher or find another one.

Three days, three months, or three years. It's all the same - time is relative ;)
The most intriguing question is what to learn, specifically, in order to learn aikido - quickly or in a lifelong quest.
I think it is possible to comprise the essence of aikido into a few factors that may or may not be possible to learn quickly. Maybe they are:
1 Find one's center, and let it govern one's action.
2 Extend ki - or breath, or intention, or inspiration, or what you want to call it.
3 Join with the attack, instead of resisting it.
4 Treat your partner with compassion.

Comprising them into one:
Show compassion from your center.

Just my three cents...

Larry Cuvin
05-15-2007, 10:40 AM
"Show compassion from the center."
This is so universal and is applicable to anything! Worth so much more than three cents Stenudd sensei. Spoken like a true champion of aikido.

Best regards,
Larry

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-15-2007, 10:50 AM
I seem to recall that a prominent aikido teacher once replied to this sort of question,

"There is no 'secret teaching' in aikido! You were told all the 'secrets' in your first month of classes!"

Grain of salt, as always. Especially with what was probably a response meant to spur further thought, rather than resolve the issue.

SeiserL
05-15-2007, 11:29 AM
Perhaps the secret is that there is no secret,
nothing hidden,
just unseen.

I am glad I don't know the secret.
It keeps me curious and training.

Dan Rubin
05-15-2007, 01:17 PM
Excerpt from "Interview with Koichi Tohei (2)" by Stan Pranin, at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=127

Eventually I also met Tempu Nakamura Sensei, from whom I first heard the words, “The mind moves the body.” Hearing this I thought, “That’s it! That’s all there is to it! It’s so simple!” I started looking more closely for that kind of thing and indeed discovered that Ueshiba Sensei would move his opponents’ bodies by leading their minds (kokoro). And he did it while completely relaxed. It would have been good if he had simply taught us that, but he never did.

SeiserL
05-15-2007, 03:01 PM
“The mind moves the body.”
Rei, Domo.

Alfonso
05-15-2007, 03:09 PM
I asked Kono sensei what was it that O-sensei could do that you could do if you learned the secret of Aikido. But he told me how, not what.

So what could he do that was based on "the secret of Aikido"? The only possibility I have in mind appears in this interview:

O-Sensei: Yes. I met him when we were making the rounds after a celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the government of Manchuria. There was a handsome looking man at the party and many people prodding him on with such comments as, “This Sensei has tremendous strength. How about testing yourself against him?” I asked someone at my side who this person was. It was explained to me that he was the famous Tenryu who had withdrawn from the Sumo Wrestler’s Association. I was then introduced to him. Finally, we ended up pitting our strength against each other. I sat down and said to Tenryu, “Please try to push me over. Push hard, there’s no need to hold back.” Since I knew the secret of aikido, I could not be moved an inch. Even Tenryu seemed surprised at this. As a result of that experience he became a student of aikido. He was a good man.

Is that a clue?

Erick Mead
05-15-2007, 05:21 PM
Interview with Henry Kono:
"Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret," he said. "You can do what I do in three months."

Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be? Well, if anyone told you, it wouldn't be a secret, now would it? :p

Do a search for Mike Sigman or Dan Harden's posts ;) Of course, they don't tell you any secrets either ... ;)

If I knew any secret, which I can neither confirm nor deny -- it seems to me that there is a clue in the "if" and the "catching" ... If I knew, that is ... :)

DH
05-15-2007, 05:32 PM
I asked Kono sensei what was it that O-sensei could do that you could do if you learned the secret of Aikido. But he told me how, not what.

So what could he do that was based on "the secret of Aikido"? The only possibility I have in mind appears in this interview:

Quote:
O-Sensei: Yes. I met him when we were making the rounds after a celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the government of Manchuria. There was a handsome looking man at the party and many people prodding him on with such comments as, “This Sensei has tremendous strength. How about testing yourself against him?” I asked someone at my side who this person was. It was explained to me that he was the famous Tenryu who had withdrawn from the Sumo Wrestler’s Association. I was then introduced to him. Finally, we ended up pitting our strength against each other. I sat down and said to Tenryu, “Please try to push me over. Push hard, there’s no need to hold back.” Since I knew the secret of aikido, I could not be moved an inch. Even Tenryu seemed surprised at this. As a result of that experience he became a student of aikido. He was a good man.

Is that a clue?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last edited by Alfonso : Today at 04:12 PM.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alfonso Adriasola

*****************************
Yet so many deny and others continue to fail to understand- the impact of the above advice offered by the arts very own founder.
Their reply has been "what good is, a. resisting, and b. pushing."

Takeda said the best reason to learn martial arts was to become strong. Ueshiba in the above example discussed strength.
Neither one was discussing muscle.
But true, clear, power
The best martial art training is done in preparation, alone. Then the rest becomes much easier.

Student of Ueshiba I trained with
"This is Ueshiba's Aikido. They don't teach this anymore you know-it's not in modern aikido."
To the question of those in aikido not believing this is in fact the way he was pointing?
What do they know? Have they trained with Ueshiba?

Again and again through demonstration and example he pointed the way.

None are so blind as those that refuse to see
None so deaf as those who refuse to hear.

heathererandolph
05-15-2007, 11:02 PM
Maybe, Aikido is daily life?

Tijani1150
05-15-2007, 11:31 PM
"There is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido".

Amen to that

dps
05-16-2007, 12:17 AM
Interview with Henry Kono:

Showing me another quote from Bob Nadeau's article in Aikido Today Magazine, which says: "Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret," he said. "You can do what I do in three months."

Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be?

I found this statement.

The secret to Aikido

"I think of Aikido as a study in physical blending. Much of the "secret" of Aikido is in learning how people move, and how to coordinate in one way or another with that movement. It is sort of like horse riding, or rafting; there's this force that you're interacting with, and if you're good, you can -- to some extent -- control or direct that force. The sneaky part is that what you're really doing is learning to control yourself, which is much more difficult."
by Sean Russell

David

Tony Wagstaffe
05-16-2007, 04:52 AM
There is no secret! Seek an ye shall find!!
Its all in the beginning...... (If you find a good teacher) Then just keep training.... if you stop... you lose the "secret"
Tony

M. McPherson
05-16-2007, 05:49 AM
Of course, they don't tell you any secrets either ... ;)

True, but if you go out of your way to actually meet them, they'll demonstrate it all clearly enough.
As for the secret of aikido, I'd have to guess that's a combination of anything that comes out of Anno Motomichi's mouth, mixed in with all the ditto'ing that Rob John, Mark Murray, and - oh, yeah - that Dan Harden fellow are doing.

Tom Fish
05-16-2007, 06:56 AM
My favorite secret to Aikido is Practice,Practice, Practice. (second favorite is what Rob John said)

Nafis Zahir
05-16-2007, 07:16 AM
Isn't it possible that the Shihan who trained with both the Founder and Ni Doshu have figured out what the "secret" is? Isn't it possible that it can't be put simply into words and that if it were, we still would not understand?

Haowen Chan
05-16-2007, 08:37 AM
Something like this?

"My aikido continued to progress as I continued with my misogi and zazen. After six months or so I was even sent to teach at places like the military police academy in Nakano and the private school (juku) of Shumei Okawa. No one except Sensei could throw me. It took me only half a year to be able to achieve that degree of ability, so I think taking five or ten years is too slow." - Koichi Tohei, interview in Aikido Journal.

I would take this kind of statement with a grain of salt... if a natural talent like Koichi Tohei can get something after a lifetime of foundations in the martial arts + ki breathing/meditation and full time training in aikido for 6 months, a normal mortal starting late in life taking several decades in part-time training is not too shabby.

It's like Lance Armstrong saying that since he can win the Tour de France seven times, you should be able to win it at least once.

By the way in the interview he IS talking about developing ki-power, not some kind of technical secret.

aikilouis
05-16-2007, 10:38 AM
Lance Armstrong's secret lies in blood samples.

Dirk Hanss
05-16-2007, 10:50 AM
Doka of the Day - May 16, 2007
Except for blending with the void,
There is no way to understand
The Way of Aiki.

- Morihei Ueshiba
That is all the secret. There might be someone, who can get it in 2 weeks, some will need some 10, 20, 30, or 40 years, and for most of us it is just unreachable, we just can continue to proceed on our Way of Aiki.

Whatever I think I understand, is void a few months of training later. i used the same word, but it is not nearly blending with the void as above. Maybe it is as close as it sounds and it is just me to be too blind to see it. ;)

best regards

Dirk

Nafis Zahir
05-16-2007, 02:09 PM
Besides the fact that the time of understanding may vary from person to person, can it be explained in words?

Erick Mead
05-16-2007, 03:33 PM
Besides the fact that the time of understanding may vary from person to person, can it be explained in words?
Except for blending with the void,
There is no way to understand
The Way of Aiki.
That is all the secret.
What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing. It is not included in man's knowledge. Of course the void is nothingness. By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.
...
With your spirit settled, accumulate practice day by day, and hour by hour. Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.... Then you will come to think of things in a wide sense and, taking the void as the Way, you will see the Way as void.

My take on the Void is this.

To mobilize force (offensively or defensively) for your body to act your mind must will to move. That will is not merely an expression of the mind but equally an expression of the body, and without which one cannot really be said to have willed anything. Knowledge and action are one. (I would deny that will is primarily conscious, for what it is worth).

To mobilize force, I must concentrate energy in some areas and necessarily diminish it in others. I create holes from which I draw that energy and create structure to express it in a particular direction, or create structures so as to receive energy, and have empty places to dispose it.

If I will not to be moved I dispose energy equally, everywhere, with no holes. There is no break in symmetry and therefore no opening or line of relative advantage (and consequently no concentration of my energy anywhere, either). Anywhere within that field one cannot easily, except with enough energy to lift you bodily, be moved.

There is a debate, referenced above, about whether the latter or the former is aikido or the "true budo".

"To move" or "not to be moved" -- that is the question?

Not actually. The fact is that neither one of them is, although the necessary place can be reached from either perspective of practice.

There is a third regime, a vanishingly small, infinitesimal regime precisely between the two of them.

It is the tangent, the place neither within nor outside the curve or the circle. It is the normal (right angle) to the curve, neither adding to nor taking away, directly, from the magnitude of energy in the curve, but capable of fundamentally changing its shape, and by that means profoundly altering its energy as well as its structure.

There are an infinite number of arbitrarily close approximations of the tangent and the normal to the curve, and they are all actually wrong. However closely they do approximate, there remains a place where your opponent and you are in conflict and therefore -- in that place -- you may be overcome by a superior concentration of force, timing or distance.

There is one, and only one, true tangent but it can be formed anywhere along the entire curve. There is one, and only one, normal (right) angle, and it can be formed anywhere along the entire curve.

When you understand this, when you see this occurring, when you perceive it in your body and can move in response to its call -- you can move infinitely within those infinitesimal, empty spaces.

It is the Void.

There is, quite literally, NOTHING there with which your opponent can possibly oppose you, and every move you make within that vanishing space profoundly alters every move he makes outside of it, even though you never oppose him at all. There is lots of it lying around in the opponent's structure and energy. With training you see and find more and more of it without having to even look for it. You begin to know it at a touch or a glance, and you get better and better at that perception.

The more I train -- the more I realize nothing at all. ;)

statisticool
05-16-2007, 07:52 PM
Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be?

Check out my sig. I think that is the secret. ;)

Mark Uttech
05-16-2007, 08:12 PM
Actually it is a good idea not to be greedy for secrets.

In gassho,

Mark

dps
05-16-2007, 08:17 PM
I "Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret," he said. "You can do what I do in three months."

Maybe the joke is on us. Maybe there is no secret and O-Sensei just said that to keep us all guessing.

David

SeiserL
05-17-2007, 07:51 AM
IMHO, there is no secret. It is simply the synergy of everything being opnely taught applied at the same time on a physical, mental, and spiritual level.

DH
05-17-2007, 08:01 AM
Maybe the joke is on us. Maybe there is no secret and O-Sensei just said that to keep us all guessing.

David

Or the joke is still on most everyone -in that it is not taught or even known in most places.
Here's a thought.
1. If you don't know, how do you know you don't know?

Which leads most to thinking there isn't one in the first place.

Which leads me back to either
2. Aikido was never really that effective in the first place and it was all just bullshit all along.
or
3. It was effective and there is a way to do it far more effectively as it WAS done in the first place.

Thinking that only Ueshiba got it and no one else can is the first mistake.
I'd say if you can't stop an equal in judo or jujutsu or at least give them one hell of a hard time-you are in the #1 group. Overall, it is quite clear that most can't and therefore there is something they don't know. Hence its at least a secret to them.

It may be safe to say if one doesn't have an extensive solo regimen then they don't know what they're missing in the first place and never will.
Learning it though Kata is the source...........

of all the problems.

dps
05-17-2007, 08:16 AM
1. If you don't know, how do you know you don't know?

I made a list of all the things I don't know.:)

I agree with Lynn Seiser, " IMHO, there is no secret. It is simply the synergy of everything being opnely taught applied at the same time on a physical, mental, and spiritual level."

If you do the practice the rest will follow. The "secrets" will be revealed, because they are not hidden, some of us just haven't learned them yet.

David

Jim Sorrentino
05-17-2007, 12:17 PM
Hello Dan,

Welcome back!Thinking that only Ueshiba got it and no one else can is the first mistake.

I completely agree with you about this.

I'd say if you can't stop an equal in judo or jujutsu or at least give them one hell of a hard time-you are in the #1 group. Overall, it is quite clear that most can't and therefore there is something they don't know. Hence its at least a secret to them.

Please define "equal". Does it really make sense to compare the experience an aikidoka, who does not participate in matches, with that of a judoka/jujutsuka, who does? If so, why? And if so, why should the comparison be limited to whether the aikidoka can "stop" or at least slow down the judoka/jujutsuka? Why is that the only evidence we should accept of the aikidoka's understanding of "the secret" of aikido? Further, if one judoka/jujutsuka stops or slows down another "equal" judoka/jujutsuka, does that automatically mean that he or she possesses a deeper understanding of the secret? Why?

It may be safe to say if one doesn't have an extensive solo regimen then they don't know what they're missing in the first place and never will.
Learning it though Kata is the source...........

of all the problems.

I assume that by kata you mean what Dianne Skoss says in Footnote 2 to Uchidachi & Shidachi, by Nishioka Tsuneo (freely available at http://koryu.com/library/tnishioka1.html#b2):

This term [kata bujutsu] is Japanese shorthand for old-style martial arts that are practiced using kata (see Karl Friday's "Kabala in Motion" (Sword & Spirit, page 151) for a complete discussion of the kata training method) as the primary teaching tool. Unlike karate kata, in which moves are practiced solo, kata bujutsu consists of kata practiced in pairs, one attacking (shidachi) and one receiving (uchidachi). This can be done with the same weapons (i.e. tachi versus tachi) or different ones (jo versus tachi, naginata versus kusarigama, etc.). The classical Japanese arts tend to focus almost exclusively on kata-style training, while many of the modern budo incorporate kata as only one component of a larger curriculum.

If my assumption is correct, then I ask you, what do you make of the accompanying article by Nishioka-sensei? For the convenience of the reader, I have excerpted the relevant parts of the article below. What if we aikidoka were to substitute uke for uchidachi, and nage for shidachi, and then practice in the spirit that Nishioka-sensei urges? (From my own experience, I learned a lot by being thrown by Saotome-sensei, Ikeda-sensei, and other teachers and fellow-students who, in my opinion, train with this spirit.) This kind of kata practice is not a substitute for solo training (which I agree is crucial), but is a complementary part of our study.

Also, I note that Nishioka-sensei's teacher "constantly took the role of uchidachi.". As both Ellis Amdur and Stan Pranin have stated elsewhere, the failure of aikido teachers to continue to take ukemi as part of their teaching and training poses problems for the present and future of aikido.

Below are the excerpts of the article by Nishioka-sensei. Brackets enclosing ellipses indicate text that I have not included. Text in brackets is my paraphrasing of Nishioka-sensei's words.

I look forward to your comments.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

One of the most profound expressions of rei lies in the interaction between uchidachi, the one who receives the technique, and shidachi, the one who does the technique. Unfortunately, even teachers often misunderstand the subtleties of uchidachi and shidachi in kata training. They fail to pass on to their students the difference in intent inherent in these two roles. Particularly in the classical traditions, the roles of uchidachi and shidachi are quite distinctive. Each has its own unique psychological viewpoint. It is essential that this distinct quality always be maintained. I believe that the difference in these two roles is the defining characteristic of kata training. Recently, I've come to the realization that it is not even worth training unless both partners properly understand this.

When an outsider watches kata, it appears that uchidachi loses and shidachi wins. This is intentional. But there's much more to it than that. Uchidachi must have the spirit of a nurturing parent. Uchidachi leads shidachi by providing a true attack; this allows shidachi to learn correct body displacement, combative distancing, proper spirit, and the perception of opportunity. A humble spirit is as necessary as correct technique for uchidachi. Deceit, arrogance, and a patronizing attitude must never be allowed in practice. Uchidachi's mission is vital. In the past, this role was only performed by senior practitioners who were capable of performing accurate technique and who possessed the right spirit and understanding of the role. Uchidachi must provide an example of clean, precise cutting lines and correct targeting, and must also convey focused intensity and an air of authority.

If uchidachi is the parent or teacher, then shidachi is the child or disciple. The goal is to acquire the skills presented by uchidachi's technique. Unfortunately, students often act as though they want to test their skills against those of the higher-ranked uchidachi. They consider this competition to be their practice. In fact, this leads to neither better technique, nor greater spiritual development, because the correct relationship between uchidachi and shidachi has been obscured. It is the repetition of the techniques in this parent/child or senior/junior relationship that allows for the growth of the spirit through the practice of technique.

The roles of uchidachi as senior and shidachi as junior are preserved regardless of the actual respective experience levels of the pair. Kata must be practiced so that trainees learn both to give and to receive. This is what makes technical improvement and spiritual development possible. Unfortunately, in jo practice, people sometimes think that they practice both roles merely to memorize the sequential movements of the two different weapons, tachi and jo. There are even some instructors who teach that the aim of Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu is to learn how to defeat a sword with a stick. This is an error. If it continues, kata bujutsu may die out, because both the technique and the spirit of uchidachi will not improve.

These days there are fewer people who can perform the role of uchidachi correctly. I believe that bujutsu evolved into budo only by maintaining the idea of uchidachi and shidachi. This idea is a fundamental characteristic of the classical bujutsu. Although the Japanese arts, such as kenjutsu, iaijutsu, and jojutsu, have been transformed from "jutsu" into "do," if the proper roles in training are not preserved, the "do" arts will veer off in the wrong direction. Obviously, there is a difference between attempting to preserve the proper distinction between uchidachi and shidachi yet not achieving perfection, and a complete lack of effort or understanding about the distinction. The existence of the intent or the quality of the intent is manifested in daily practice and actions. Those who have the eyes and experience to see can tell the difference.

However, my concern is that these days fewer people understand this concept. In the future there will be fewer still. People seem no longer to recognize that the existence of uchidachi and shidachi is the essence of budo training.

[…] There is no way to transmit the kata of the Japanese classical traditions without a proper understanding of this spirit of giving and receiving. It is not right for seniors in the uchidachi role to mistreat, bully, or torment their juniors. On the contrary, their job is to guide and educate. In the same sense, it is also terrible to see shidachi assume an attitude that is essentially patricidal, and attempt to destroy the uchidachi. I can only say that such a spirit should never exist.

[…] [My teacher] constantly took the role of uchidachi. Even with beginners, he never relaxed his attention. He was always serious with everyone. He was never arrogant and never lorded it over another person. I believe that this attitude is the most important teaching of kata bujutsu, and [my teacher's] training was a wonderful example. This spirit is difficult to nurture, not only in jojutsu but in other situations as well. It is entirely different from a senior student or teacher showing off his skills to his juniors by treating them with arrogance and condescension. It is so easy to become trapped in a cycle of interaction that causes shidachi to react by attempting to compete with uchidachi. The guidance of a master teacher is absolutely essential to avoid this situation.

Uchidachi teaches shidachi by sacrificing himself, training as if he were going to be killed at any moment; this self-sacrifice embodies the spirit of teachers and parents. Kata training is of no use without understanding this. It is this spirit that allows shidachi to grow and polish his or her own spirit. Kata bujutsu teaches neither victory nor defeat, but rather how to nurture others and pull them to a higher level. That is budo.

I earnestly hope that everyone, particularly those who practice jojutsu, remember this axiom: "Do not be jubilant in victory; do not become servile in defeat. Lose with dignity." This is the spirit we must emulate.

Jim Sorrentino
05-17-2007, 12:52 PM
Greetings All,

Just to clarify, I did not include the first six paragraphs of Nishioka-sensei's article, nor the first sentence of the seventh paragraph.

Jim

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-17-2007, 01:05 PM
Please define "equal".

Well, if you've both trained regularly for a few years, and they can throw you around/pin you easily while you can't do anything like that to them...that might be a sign that you're on the wrong track.

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2007, 01:11 PM
Hi Jimmy,

That is one of my favorite passages... Nishioka Sensei embodies what our Aikido training should develop. He is an absolute gentleman, truly an elegant person. One of the more impressive people I have trained with.

I remember when he was at our school teaching a jo workshop along with Relnick Sensei... He asked me to hold my bokken while he demonstrated the proper way to do a particular deflection. I did my usual strong extension, trying to give him good energy. He did this movement that was absolutely effortless, fifty years of practice had made it perfect. Anyway, he hit my bokken so hard it made my hands feel numb... with not an ounce of effort or tension. He smiled and said, "You need to let it go..."

I think that this is a point that continues to be misunderstood in our training. If you train with a fighting mind, you will become a fighter. Aikido training is about something different than that. I think that there is a range of opinion about what that might be, but I think it is abundantly clear that O-Sensei never intended to create "fighters".

That doesn't mean that the things that Dan says about how we might better understand the training we need to do to perfect our art aren't true. Training the internal structure is important for developing really high level technique. But as Aikido people we need to understand this in the proper context of our overall training. We don't want to misunderstand the lesson here. Dan and others have done a good job pointing out an area in which modern Aikido has perhaps lost something when compared to what was there in the earliest days. It is our job to find how we can incorporate the training needed to correct this fact into our art without losing what is at its heart. Nishioka Sensei, even though he is not an Aikido practitioner, does a beautiful job expressing what the training is all about. I don't think we want to lose sight of that or we throw the baby out with the bath water.

Nafis Zahir
05-17-2007, 02:21 PM
Hi Jimmy,

That is one of my favorite passages... Nishioka Sensei embodies what our Aikido training should develop. He is an absolute gentleman, truly an elegant person. One of the more impressive people I have trained with.

I remember when he was at our school teaching a jo workshop along with Relnick Sensei... He asked me to hold my bokken while he demonstrated the proper way to do a particular deflection. I did my usual strong extension, trying to give him good energy. He did this movement that was absolutely effortless, fifty years of practice had made it perfect. Anyway, he hit my bokken so hard it made my hands feel numb... with not an ounce of effort or tension. He smiled and said, "You need to let it go..."

I think that this is a point that continues to be misunderstood in our training. If you train with a fighting mind, you will become a fighter. Aikido training is about something different than that. I think that there is a range of opinion about what that might be, but I think it is abundantly clear that O-Sensei never intended to create "fighters".

That doesn't mean that the things that Dan says about how we might better understand the training we need to do to perfect our art aren't true. Training the internal structure is important for developing really high level technique. But as Aikido people we need to understand this in the proper context of our overall training. We don't want to misunderstand the lesson here. Dan and others have done a good job pointing out an area in which modern Aikido has perhaps lost something when compared to what was there in the earliest days. It is our job to find how we can incorporate the training needed to correct this fact into our art without losing what is at its heart. Nishioka Sensei, even though he is not an Aikido practitioner, does a beautiful job expressing what the training is all about. I don't think we want to lose sight of that or we throw the baby out with the bath water.

But how can we translate that into our training today? How can we understand this theory and still figure out the difference between muscle and power (through relaxation)? Can this be a part of the secret and do we need 50 years to figure it out?

Chuck Clark
05-17-2007, 02:43 PM
But how can we translate that into our training today? How can we understand this theory and still figure out the difference between muscle and power (through relaxation)? Can this be a part of the secret and do we need 50 years to figure it out?

Find a teacher that teaches that way, pay attention, work hard, don't quit and receive the transmission. You will begin to show reasonable ability in eight to ten years or so and will continue to polish your skill and understanding as you continue to train.

Good joss...

Chuck Clark
05-17-2007, 02:55 PM
Comparing Nishoka Tsuneo Sensei's comments about the role of uke and tori is useful up to a point in judo or aikido but the ukemi in koryu weapons work is different that the ukemi in arts where your body lands on the tatami a substantial number of times each practice. I've been doing it for 54 years and still fall really well but I don't/can't do it as often as I used to (l love doing it, by the way) due to arthritis, etc. If you don't have arthritis to deal with then the falling isn't so bad, it's the getting up numerous times that wears you out and exacerbates any old injuries, etc.

I have experience over the past twelve years of receiving for Nishioka Sensei and then feeling him receive whatever I'm giving him and the lessons are huge. My "body memory" is filled with sensations that I continue to learn from. People like this are becoming more scarce and every day I long for those lessons. Funny thing is, I know he still feels the same way about Shimizu Sensei, his teacher.... funny how that works.

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2007, 08:39 PM
Comparing Nishoka Tsuneo Sensei's comments about the role of uke and tori is useful up to a point in judo or aikido but the ukemi in koryu weapons work is different that the ukemi in arts where your body lands on the tatami a substantial number of times each practice. I've been doing it for 54 years and still fall really well but I don't/can't do it as often as I used to (l love doing it, by the way) due to arthritis, etc. If you don't have arthritis to deal with then the falling isn't so bad, it's the getting up numerous times that wears you out and exacerbates any old injuries, etc.

Hi Chuck,
Of course you are right that it's different in the koryu. We don't have a set role as uke or nage, we alternate roles. However, as a model for what I would call "right intention" I think it is applicable to what we want to see from both practitioners. Our training is alway about trying to find mutual benefit. I can help you be better by being better in my role but it should never be about my seeking to make you less by me being more nor is it about my seeking after my own ends at the expense of my partner. I think that is the core of the attitude expressed by Nishioka Sensei and it is what I think we should be striving for in our training.
- George

Chuck Clark
05-17-2007, 11:48 PM
I agree with you a hundred percent George. That is the major part of the yakusoku that we have when train. I think it is an ongoing thing that many of us have with each other all the time...no matter how far apart we are, etc. We recognize it in each other and it is one of the great treasures that can never be taken away. Several of us were discussing this very thing tonight at dinner.

Luc X Saroufim
05-21-2007, 03:41 PM
if there's a secret, i don't know it. guess i'll have to keep showing up to class. :o

Albert Oktovianus
05-21-2007, 10:22 PM
Secret of Aikido? In my opinion, Three is The Magic Number...:D
The secret(s) of Aikido for me is always there in the words of Ai Ki Do.
Maybe that's why O'Sensei say something about the THREE days, or some sage say it's THREE years....

A coincidence? Maybe....:confused:

Well, just a thought.....:rolleyes:

Peace & Respect,

Albert O

donplummer
05-21-2007, 11:45 PM
the secret sounds alot like a joke I once heard..."how do you keep an idiot in suspense?...tell you tomorrow." in the mean time TRAIN!

DH
05-22-2007, 06:53 AM
Hi Chuck,
Of course you are right that it's different in the koryu. We don't have a set role as uke or nage, we alternate roles. However, as a model for what I would call "right intention" I think it is applicable to what we want to see from both practitioners.
1. Our training is alway about trying to find mutual benefit.
2. I can help you be better by being better in my role
3. but it should never be about my seeking to make you less by me being more
4. nor is it about my seeking after my own ends at the expense of my partner.
I think that is the core of the attitude expressed by Nishioka Sensei and it is what I think we should be striving for in our training.
- George
George
I numbered your comments for clarity in discussion

1. Isn't MMA training or even boxing also about mutual benefit. To that end they resist and offer uncooperative actions with quick change ups in order to...
2. Help you better by the other guy being better in his role- as resister. Thus it is about....
3. Them seeking to help make you more, by offering more reistence. Which is not done at the others expense, but rather both parties....
4. Seek out their own ends, which are to win, and in doing so they mutually assist and help each other find and build the best in each other.

So where does MMA training diverge and become less then aikido training? or even different in it goals?
The physical aspects of resistance I think are in fact MORE life affirming and character building. I've had full grown men tear-up in frustration at continually being hit or stymied on the ground in my classes but each one will tell you it helped build them and move them forward. I guess at a certain point we have to question just what is truly being accomplished when the challenges are increasingly .........less.
When does the cooperation meant to build in fact becomes self defeating. At what point are we just the 21-century parents patting little Johnnie on the head and telling him what a great job .......14th place is. The martial arts are more and more playing to the lowest common denominator as everyone hugs everybody, and assures they feel "empowered." They really aren't "empowered" and never will be that way. But these days as long as little Mary "feels" empowered we all count it a success.
Perhaps this is the reason so many hippies with communal notions, empowerment, and tribal animist quasi-religious mumbo jumbo have successfully infiltrated and ruined Aikido as a true Budo. Making it a mockery in the martial arts.

Secret of Aikido as spiritual
Most of the talk of the superiority of "aikido in daily life" as a martial pursuit married to interpersonal relationships is without merit. I think someones aikido has little to do with how they express themselves in the world. Sure folks may have been made aware of better ways to communicate and function from martial arts. But in what proportion to other martial arts? As compared to what other activities? I have heard just as many testimonials from people who have learned to communicate and function better through coordinating boy scouts and community events. I have to organize and team-lead entire groups of committees and move their efforts forward in an often challenging community setting. But clearly the best way to learn to do that, is in doing that- not in a dojo.
In the end, the real world and human skills really have little to do with martial arts. One should consider how you would equate UFC chaps who are schoolteachers and volunteers, with AIkido?
MMA amateurs who are volunteers with DR men who were pillars of their communities with Aikido shihan who were drunks and notorious lechers with female students?
Where would the excellent men and women in Aikido stack up with the excellent men and women in any other pursuit? Probably about the same I'd bet. The real majority of the masses of MA ers are all nobody special. They are working stiffs just trying to make ends meet.
You can't make sense out of Aikido being a superior model in character building- because it makes no sense to begin with. People are people and you find all manner of men and women in all walks of life.

Secret of Aikido as budo
I guess for me the real issue is to to embrace the practical realities of replicable and demonstrable power, that one then chooses to use peacefully. That is the -real- mental and character building challenge. For openers attaining that kind of power takes serious long term solo commitment. Which knocks out most people before they even start..
The real secret to making Aikido work is in solo training. To build power in yourself. When you can capture and manipulate in-yo in yourself you are better able to make aiki happen. Trying to find it through waza is a slow boat to china. The single most inefficient manner to develop aiki in the world is through technique. When compared to solo training it is just plain dumb. It is expressed and trained in solo waza and then fully expressed in technique. The idea of developing Aiki in your self is anathema to most in Aikido. The framework of what aiki is to them is joined energy of two parties in motion. They cannot see it and it is the source of the continual frustrations in trying to understand where the founder was coming from with his “power.” In their view “power” and the use of it is antithetical to all that is aiki because they relate it to muscle. In fact in-yo ho is made in oneself and in this perfect state one moves. Moving with a developed body and mind makes aiki happen in all those who contact you, creating many openings and weaknesses in them. But at its core- it is about power.
It was never and will never be in helping someone help you in helping them in an energy exchange. Choosing the self-deluding cooperative energy exchange, will, in the end actually weaken both participants; physically and spiritually.

Perhaps today the real secret of Aikido- is that most everyone in it is not doing Aikido. Instead they are involved in a newly minted concoction of cooperative play that was at it's inception, a caricature. In true definition: an imitation or copy so distorted or inferior as to be ludicrous.. Players mimicing and playing out “roles” to actuate an empty copy of what the founder looked like. It will never get them to the state of power Ueshiba had.
Were Ueshiba’s skills the true goal-modern aikido is ill-equipped to get anyone there. And may in fact be the worst thing one could do were they trying to get to the founders skills. But many will feel warm and fuzzy and make allot of friends doing it.

Fred Little
05-22-2007, 07:51 AM
Perhaps this is the reason so many hippies with communal notions, empowerment, and tribal animist quasi-religious mumbo jumbo have successfully infiltrated and ruined Aikido as a true Budo. Making it a mockery in the martial arts.

Dear Dan,

Hippie was buried in San Francisco on October 7, 1967. It was said at the time that the cause of death was "overexposure and rampant commercialism."

What you are talking about it the kind of self-serving individualism, cowboy dressup posing, and feel-good gospel of wealth sociopathy that has been worshipped by the American Right since Ronald Reagan was President. Or maybe since he was the host of Death Valley Days.;)

Not that I disagree with the most of the rest of your screed.

Best,

FL

Chuck Clark
05-22-2007, 08:26 AM
1. Isn't MMA training or even boxing also about mutual benefit. To that end they resist and offer uncooperative actions with quick change ups in order to...
2. Help you better by the other guy being better in his role- as resister. Thus it is about....
3. Them seeking to help make you more, by offering more reistence. Which is not done at the others expense, but rather both parties....
4. Seek out their own ends, which are to win, and in doing so they mutually assist and help each other find and build the best in each other.

So where does MMA training diverge and become less then aikido training? or even different in it goals?

Dan,

I don't see anywhere in George's post that you quoted in your post and responded to with your points above that even mentioned MMA training or its methods. In fact, I don't see any reference to MMA in any of the recent posts leading up to George's post. As far as I'm concerned what is being discussed has nothing to do with MMA. If you want to discuss the differences between other training and MMA or the relative similarities of MMA and any other training, why don't you start a new subject thread?

DH
05-22-2007, 08:39 AM
Chuck
I was trying to state that cooperative training exists everywhere to a degree. Also that non cooperation in training is as uplifting and beneficial. As such, both can be done in aikido as they are elsewhere. So neither are an aspect of aikido that is unique to it, nor anything that is a secret of it.

Chuck Clark
05-22-2007, 08:42 AM
Chuck
I was trying to state that cooperative training exists everywhere to a degree. Also that non cooperation in training is as uplifting and beneficial. As such, both can be done in aikido as they are elsewhere. So neither are an aspect of aikido that is unique to it, nor anything that is a secret of it.

This post just did exactly what you intended to do. Thanks for claryifying. I agree with you.

DH
05-22-2007, 08:48 AM
Sorry about that
I deleted a substantial portion that expanded on that theme. and discussed more of what I think Aikido can be once again as a more viable martial oriented art with power. It was just too long. What to keep in what to keep out. You know how it goes. We can accomplish more in an hour in person then a year on the net. And be clearer, more expansive and with nuance, and a wink and a smile to boot!!

George S. Ledyard
05-22-2007, 09:39 AM
Chuck
I was trying to state that cooperative training exists everywhere to a degree. Also that non cooperation in training is as uplifting and beneficial. As such, both can be done in aikido as they are elsewhere. So neither are an aspect of aikido that is unique to it, nor anything that is a secret of it.

No disagreement on my part...
- George

MM
05-22-2007, 10:19 AM
Sorry about that
I deleted a substantial portion that expanded on that theme. and discussed more of what I think Aikido can be once again as a more viable martial oriented art with power. It was just too long. What to keep in what to keep out. You know how it goes. We can accomplish more in an hour in person then a year on the net. And be clearer, more expansive and with nuance, and a wink and a smile to boot!!

Yep, see what you get when you delete substantial portions and expansions on a theme? ;) That'll learn you. LOL! next time, maybe if you delete insubstantial portions? After all, if they're insubstantial, nobody will miss them, right? :)

Eh, back to topic, the thread has been a great read. I especially noted the gems in post #42. Clark sensei stated, "Find a teacher that teaches that way, pay attention, work hard, don't quit and receive the transmission."

Mark

aikilouis
05-22-2007, 11:42 AM
Post 49 was a joke, right ?

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 11:57 AM
Ah, no...it was not a joke.

Best,
Ron

SeiserL
05-22-2007, 12:27 PM
I was trying to state that cooperative training exists everywhere to a degree. Also that non cooperation in training is as uplifting and beneficial. As such, both can be done in aikido as they are elsewhere. So neither are an aspect of aikido that is unique to it, nor anything that is a secret of it.
Also agreed. Cooperation at early stages to learn and noncooperation at a later stage to train. Not unique in any art. Aikido is often criticized for only doing the first (perhaps there is too much emphasis on it) and seldom recognized for the later.

Also agree with the need for solo work to get your own part of the dance down before you connect, enter, and blend with another.

So far, no secrets.

Chris Li
05-22-2007, 01:34 PM
Perhaps this is the reason so many hippies with communal notions, empowerment, and tribal animist quasi-religious mumbo jumbo have successfully infiltrated and ruined Aikido as a true Budo. Making it a mockery in the martial arts.

Infiltrated? It was there to begin with - read just about anything written by Morihei Ueshiba.


Secret of Aikido as spiritual
Most of the talk of the superiority of "aikido in daily life" as a martial pursuit married to interpersonal relationships is without merit. I think someones aikido has little to do with how they express themselves in the world. Sure folks may have been made aware of better ways to communicate and function from martial arts. But in what proportion to other martial arts? As compared to what other activities? I have heard just as many testimonials from people who have learned to communicate and function better through coordinating boy scouts and community events. I have to organize and team-lead entire groups of committees and move their efforts forward in an often challenging community setting. But clearly the best way to learn to do that, is in doing that- not in a dojo.

Not at all clear, IMO. Christians spend time in prayer to improve them selves spiritually, Buddhists meditate - so for those millions (billions) of people it it is not at all clear that some kind of disciplined practice is a waste of time.

That leading boy scouts may be a valid way of making you a better person doesn't invalidate other methods of doing so.

In the end, the real world and human skills really have little to do with martial arts. One should consider how you would equate UFC chaps who are schoolteachers and volunteers, with AIkido?
MMA amateurs who are volunteers with DR men who were pillars of their communities with Aikido shihan who were drunks and notorious lechers with female students?

And if I equate Aikido chaps who are pillars of their communities with ministers and priests who were con-men and child molesters does it therefore follow that Christian values and ideas are of little or no worth?


Where would the excellent men and women in Aikido stack up with the excellent men and women in any other pursuit? Probably about the same I'd bet. The real majority of the masses of MA ers are all nobody special. They are working stiffs just trying to make ends meet.
You can't make sense out of Aikido being a superior model in character building- because it makes no sense to begin with. People are people and you find all manner of men and women in all walks of life.

With any large group of people it's pretty hard to beat the curve - I could make the above argument for just about any religion or discipline that you care to name, does that mean that all religions and spiritual disciplines are worthless? Does the existance of violence in India invalidate Ghandi's words and ideas?

Best,

Chris

aikilouis
05-22-2007, 01:50 PM
Chris, I congratulate you for being much more patient than me and taking the time to write an elaborate response to one of the silliest posts i've read in a while.

Erik Johnstone
05-22-2007, 01:59 PM
Chris, I congratulate you for being much more patient than me and taking the time to write an elaborate response to one of the silliest posts i've read in a while.

Perhaps you should have read Post # 52, and then Chuck Clark's and George Ledyard's replies in Post #'s 53 and 55, respectively.

Erik Johnstone

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 02:55 PM
Not to mention that calling the post silly is just...oh, I'm sure you can figure it out...

Best,
Ron :(

aikilouis
05-22-2007, 03:05 PM
I read it carefully and agreed with it. It was the rest of the content of post 49 about which I objected.
Looking for "the secret of aikido" does not involve, as Dan suggests, that aikido practitioners claim its superiority over other endeavours because of its spiritual component.
And concerning the budo part in the end, all I see is just general criticism of current practices, dismissal of people's efforts and research.

DH
05-22-2007, 03:26 PM
Christians spend time in prayer to improve them selves spiritually, Buddhists meditate - so for those millions (billions) of people it it is not at all clear that some kind of disciplined practice is a waste of time.
That leading boy scouts may be a valid way of making you a better person doesn't invalidate other methods of doing so.
And if I equate Aikido chaps who are pillars of their communities with ministers and priests who were con-men and child molesters does it therefore follow that Christian values and ideas are of little or no worth?
With any large group of people it's pretty hard to beat the curve - I could make the above argument for just about any religion or discipline that you care to name, does that mean that all religions and spiritual disciplines are worthless? Does the existance of violence in India invalidate Ghandi's words and ideas?

Best,

Chris
All you've done is restate my point Chris. Whether it be Aikido, Judo, DR, Karate, boy scouts, what have you, there is good and bad in all. I seriously doubt we would find statistical advantage of character building from one to the next. That the spiritual aspects are no more, no less than in other pursuits.
Hence there is no "secret of Aikido" there.

The other potential "secret" (the name of the thread) may be more of a kept or whitheld physical knowledge. Were one to be considering there was indeed some sort of secret- then it is the physical knowledge that may have more merit were it explored. In other words when placed in context of the larger point of there being "secrets" in Aikido I say there is knowledge to be found in Aikido that is not widely known..that being Ueshiba's internal skills.

I found this interesting
Infiltrated? It was there to begin with - read just about anything written by Morihei Ueshiba.

Except for the fact that his spiritual leaning were grounded in physical skills. I wonder if many or most are reaching for one while not very conversecent in the other-not that need or even care to be.

Jim Sorrentino
05-22-2007, 03:26 PM
Hello Erik,

Perhaps you should have read Post # 52, and then Chuck Clark's and George Ledyard's replies in Post #'s 53 and 55, respectively.

I am sure you agree that Dan's post # 52 is quite different, in both tone and substance, than what he said in #49. When one removes from post #49 Dan's paeans to MMA, his innuendoes against unnamed aikido shihan, and his diatribes against "most everyone" practicing aikido now, what is left? Praise of solo training exercises which he generally won't describe (although, in fairness to Dan, he has mentioned a couple of them, such as rolling the heavy bag across his back and outstretched arms).

Now if only Dan would deign to comment upon whether he believes that kata training, in the spirit that Nishioka-sensei describes in the article I quoted (in post #37), is part of the way one may acquire the skills of Ueshiba Morihei (in kind, if not in degree). He seems to think that it isn't:Learning it though Kata is the source........... of all the problems. But maybe I am misreading him.
We can accomplish more in an hour in person then a year on the net. And be clearer, more expansive and with nuance, and a wink and a smile to boot!!Yup. That's why my invitation to Dan is still open.:D

Sincerely,

Jim

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2007, 03:28 PM
Hi Ludwig,

Although I disagree with what you just said, I can respect it. It has content and merrit...unlike just calling it silly... ;)

I think in some ways you might misunderstand Dan. I don't believe he said (or at least meant) "that [all]aikido practitioners claim its superiority over other endeavours because of its spiritual component". O think he would say either some, or a lot...and there is clear evidence even here on this board that the word some is justified.

And concerning the budo part in the end, all I see is just general criticism of current practices, dismissal of people's efforts and research.

I guess my GF is right...I always see the glass as half full. ;) To me, that was an exhortation for us aikidoka to dig deeper, and go further...IN.

Best,
Ron

aikilouis
05-22-2007, 03:51 PM
Fair enough.
As for the secret of aikido, it seems to me it's one of those "hidden in plain sight" teachings. I exposed my own take on it in post 5, because I think that short sentence has very profound meaning, that has serious implications in physical training, mental state and philosophy for practitioners.

Chris Li
05-22-2007, 04:04 PM
All you've done is restate my point Chris. Whether it be Aikido, Judo, DR, Karate, boy scouts, what have you, there is good and bad in all. I seriously doubt we would find statistical advantage of character building from one to the next. That the spiritual aspects are no more, no less than in other pursuits.
Hence there is no "secret of Aikido" there.

I don't remember if anybody cited the spiritual aspects as a "secret" (maybe they did), but the spiritual aspects and concepts are certainly emphasized more in Aikido than they are in Judo, etc., and are quite a bit different in in many other respects as well. Note that saying something is "different" and "superior" are not the same thing. Christianity is certainly more "spiritual" than, say, bowling, but that doesn't necessarily make it better or worse, just something of a different nature.

Except for the fact that his spiritual leaning were grounded in physical skills. I wonder if many or most are reaching for one while not very conversecent in the other-not that need or even care to be.

Omoto-kyo is grounded in physical skill? Was he doing push-ups while he was reading "Reiki Monogatari"? If you're saying that theoretical study needs to be accompanied by some kind of discipline or practice then I agree, but that's not the same as saying that the theory itself is just "mumbo-jumbo".

Best,

Chris

DH
05-22-2007, 04:21 PM
I don't remember if anybody cited the spiritual aspects as a "secret" (maybe they did), but the spiritual aspects and concepts are certainly emphasized more in Aikido than they are in Judo, etc., and are quite a bit different in in many other respects as well. Note that saying something is "different" and "superior" are not the same thing. Christianity is certainly more "spiritual" than, say, bowling, but that doesn't necessarily make it better or worse, just something of a different nature.

Omoto-kyo is grounded in physical skill? Was he doing push-ups while he was reading "Reiki Monogatari"? If you're saying that theoretical study needs to be accompanied by some kind of discipline or practice then I agree, but that's not the same as saying that the theory itself is just "mumbo-jumbo".

Best,

Chris

Where did I say -omoto kyo- was mumbo jumbo______________"
Where did I say omoto kyo was a physical skill?__________________

I was addressing the composit, new age, hodge podge spiritual aspects you so often read about here and elsewhere.
No sense in going back and forth. None of the above was the central point.

CNYMike
05-22-2007, 05:04 PM
Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be?

Sifu Kevin Seaman once put it like this: "There is a secret to the martial arts and I'll tell you what it is: Train your butt off." It was at a JKD seminar, but some ideas are universal IMHO. :D

Erik Johnstone
05-22-2007, 06:38 PM
I am sure you agree that Dan's post # 52 is quite different, in both tone and substance, than what he said in #49.

Jim:

Hey there! Yes, his post was different; but I think that he clarified himself in #52 rather well .

Ron:

Nice post.

Respects,

Erik

Dan Austin
05-22-2007, 09:49 PM
The real secret to making Aikido work is in solo training. To build power in yourself.

Dan,

Very interesting comments, here and elsewhere. Can you describe the nature of this solo training, and where one can find information on it? Thanks.

Upyu
05-22-2007, 10:55 PM
Dan,

Very interesting comments, here and elsewhere. Can you describe the nature of this solo training, and where one can find information on it? Thanks.

Search function ;)
Shiko/Sumo Stomp, Silk Reeling, Iron Wire, San Chin, take your pick.

Nafis Zahir
05-22-2007, 11:07 PM
George
I numbered your comments for clarity in discussion

Perhaps today the real secret of Aikido- is that most everyone in it is not doing Aikido. Instead they are involved in a newly minted concoction of cooperative play that was at it's inception, a caricature. In true definition: an imitation or copy so distorted or inferior as to be ludicrous.. Players mimicing and playing out “roles” to actuate an empty copy of what the founder looked like. It will never get them to the state of power Ueshiba had.
Were Ueshiba’s skills the true goal-modern aikido is ill-equipped to get anyone there. And may in fact be the worst thing one could do were they trying to get to the founders skills. But many will feel warm and fuzzy and make allot of friends doing it.

I agree with this statement, however, what is the solution? If you are a yudansha, and give a more realistic and "non-cooperative" attack to another yudansha, they get upset and think that you are jerking them around. So then they decide to not cooperate when they are uke, and now you have a power (or should I say muscle) struggle.

How can we train and learn the "secret" under these conditions? There may be one or two people in your dojo that you can seriously train with, but you can't always partner up with them. I say this because, whatever the secret is, I'm sure that it is something we just can't know, but something we must be able to "feel" as well.

tarik
05-23-2007, 02:02 AM
I agree with this statement, however, what is the solution? If you are a yudansha, and give a more realistic and "non-cooperative" attack to another yudansha, they get upset and think that you are jerking them around. So then they decide to not cooperate when they are uke, and now you have a power (or should I say muscle) struggle.

Yes, but if you monitor your training and are explicit in the training intent with one another, it can be avoided (or reduced).


How can we train and learn the "secret" under these conditions? There may be one or two people in your dojo that you can seriously train with, but you can't always partner up with them. I say this because, whatever the secret is, I'm sure that it is something we just can't know, but something we must be able to "feel" as well.

Simple (but not easy). You stop training with people who won't train the way you've found to be productive.

Regards,

Nafis Zahir
05-23-2007, 05:10 AM
Yes, but if you monitor your training and are explicit in the training intent with one another, it can be avoided (or reduced).

Simple (but not easy). You stop training with people who won't train the way you've found to be productive.

Regards,

Easier said then done. We don't always get to choose who we can and cannot workout with. We often change partners, so it's hard to avoid certain people.

Ron Tisdale
05-23-2007, 10:15 AM
Another option is to do what works for the relationship no matter who you train with. So if I can do the strong, powerfull, resistant training with X, then soft, fluid, responsive training with Y, then coach a beginner Z, I can have the best of all worlds, no matter the training partner.

I think it's called "flexibility"... ;)

Best,
Ron

gdandscompserv
05-23-2007, 10:44 AM
I think it's called "flexibility"... ;)
Or "aiki?":)

Franco
05-23-2007, 11:02 AM
Dan Harden:

Why don't you organize a weekend-long seminar to teach people your methodology for solo training? You've said before that you prefer small groups, but you must have several guys who train with you and also have the knowledge of internal skill. You bring your guys with you to the seminar, and there should be a good student-to-teacher ratio.

Jim Sorrentino
05-23-2007, 11:11 AM
Hello Franco,Dan Harden:

Why don't you organize a weekend-long seminar to teach people your methodology for solo training? You've said before that you prefer small groups, but you must have several guys who train with you and also have the knowledge of internal skill. You bring your guys with you to the seminar, and there should be a good student-to-teacher ratio.

I and others have asked this in the past, and Dan has answered. Please see http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10287.

My invitation is still open, by the way.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

SeiserL
05-23-2007, 11:46 AM
Can you describe the nature of this solo training, and where one can find information on it?
Ellis Admur Sensei gave some great solo exercises at the last Aiki Web seminar.

I would say that it is hard to get these with direct instruction, indirect description may be impossible to do them justice. Look at a lot of the Chi Gung text and trainings.

Go to them. Find people doing this aspect. Train.

I don't think these are "secrets" so much as things that we haven't thought about before.

DH
05-23-2007, 05:23 PM
Dan Harden:

Why don't you organize a weekend-long seminar to teach people your methodology for solo training? You've said before that you prefer small groups, but you must have several guys who train with you and also have the knowledge of internal skill. You bring your guys with you to the seminar, and there should be a good student-to-teacher ratio.

Franco
I have had an entire series of training new people; Aikido, Daito ryu, Judo, Karate and MMA going on for a while now. Many from right here on Aikiweb others from E-Budo. I just don't talk about it openly.
Why?
I think most people are disengenous and full of it. They come feel me and my students, waste my time, go "Oooh and aah." And when they come back I can tell they don't do the real work-that being the at home, solo training, needed to make progress. So why waste MY time? I get nothing out of it. and neither do they and my people wind up wasting they're own training time for more half assed martial artists.

I now have a small group of about twelve from a myriad of arts I have been training with who are willing to follow up. We are having fun. Its a waste of time to teach this in open seminars. In fact If I were to do it I think it would be counter productive. Since I don't charge and do it as a volunteer service to help martial artists I do what I want, when I want. I am very selective about who I want to be in relationship with.

My own people help out at these seminars. And yes some of them are quite capable; including a 28 yr old who I think most well trained men would not have a clue what to do with. He can do, he can teach and he is a sweet guy. You can read some of the feedback of what men and women have thought of both me, and my folks in the Non aikido related section of the site. We have great fun and laugh continually.
You have written before. If your interested P.M me and I'll give you my numbers. We can figure out something.

Dan

Adam Alexander
05-23-2007, 05:59 PM
Interview with Henry Kono:

Showing me another quote from Bob Nadeau's article in Aikido Today Magazine, which says: "Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret," he said. "You can do what I do in three months."

Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be?

Yes. I know it.

The secret is more of a capstone of many secrets. You can't grasp the last without grasping those that precede. And it's all so beautiful. When you find it, you'll just giggle at all the genius.

There's a huge downside to knowing. Who do you look toward for guidance now? When all your peers and so many of your seniors lack your understanding, what do you do?

Maybe this is Aikido making you a better person? Forcing you to sever your dependance on others?

When he says three months, don't forget that's training long and hard. If you figure out the mystery, two hours of training a week is not going to make you the next Ueshiba.

DH
05-23-2007, 06:37 PM
I agree with this statement, however, what is the solution? If you are a yudansha, and give a more realistic and "non-cooperative" attack to another yudansha, they get upset and think that you are jerking them around. So then they decide to not cooperate when they are uke, and now you have a power (or should I say muscle) struggle.

How can we train and learn the "secret" under these conditions? There may be one or two people in your dojo that you can seriously train with, but you can't always partner up with them. I say this because, whatever the secret is, I'm sure that it is something we just can't know, but something we must be able to "feel" as well.

Nafis
Why try to learn under those conditions? Find a creative way to create your own "conditions." And before you begin find someone who is able and more importantly -willing- to teach you anything that will build pwoer in you.

First of all the real work does not requite anyone else but you in a room.
OK, so that takes care of most of the Martial art "personality" problems.;)

Second, after solo training for 6 months to a year. Go find anyone in your given art and train with them. If they don't stop, look you right in the eye, and say "Who are you? and "What do you do?" They go back to Step one
Because you're not doing it right.

I think the many folks have been training for so long in a technique or principle based fashion. Concentrating on "responding." Trying weekly to put real pieces together here and there, trying to find real things that are reproducable and stumbling into some "moments" but really don't have definitive, step-by-step, "how to put it together" building blocks to true power. Even their teachers don't really have much to offer in clear terms. Many people have magic nights where they are doing things more right than others but can't really tell you just what they were doing to make it magic. And how much of the magic was really just disguised cooperation and not real aiki.
What makes aiki? Where is it in you? What caused it?
Once you find someone who can do some things and show you defintive steps that are not technique or principle based, you are on your way. Techniques start to take care of themselves.
As far as folks attacking you and ending up in a muscle power struggle? Well in time that won't matter much. Their best efforts won't really matter much to you anymore. And that won't take you more than a few years. The real key is in walking away for while and rewiring and reworking. Sometimes the martial arts are their own worst enemy. Preconditioned, prearranged responses make unwitting dupes- who all the while think they are learning to fight.
Doubt it? In a few years of training you should be almost impossible to be thrown by any traditional arts methods- all while you are hitting, moving and throwing. And your strikes should be devestating.
How are you stacking up to that?
Maybe you need to change some things

Nafis Zahir
05-24-2007, 12:21 AM
Nafis
Why try to learn under those conditions? Find a creative way to create your own "conditions." And before you begin find someone who is able and more importantly -willing- to teach you anything that will build pwoer in you.

First of all the real work does not requite anyone else but you in a room.
OK, so that takes care of most of the Martial art "personality" problems.;)

Second, after solo training for 6 months to a year. Go find anyone in your given art and train with them. If they don't stop, look you right in the eye, and say "Who are you? and "What do you do?" They go back to Step one
Because you're not doing it right.

I think the many folks have been training for so long in a technique or principle based fashion. Concentrating on "responding." Trying weekly to put real pieces together here and there, trying to find real things that are reproducable and stumbling into some "moments" but really don't have definitive, step-by-step, "how to put it together" building blocks to true power. Even their teachers don't really have much to offer in clear terms. Many people have magic nights where they are doing things more right than others but can't really tell you just what they were doing to make it magic. And how much of the magic was really just disguised cooperation and not real aiki.
What makes aiki? Where is it in you? What caused it?
Once you find someone who can do some things and show you defintive steps that are not technique or principle based, you are on your way. Techniques start to take care of themselves.
As far as folks attacking you and ending up in a muscle power struggle? Well in time that won't matter much. Their best efforts won't really matter much to you anymore. And that won't take you more than a few years. The real key is in walking away for while and rewiring and reworking. Sometimes the martial arts are their own worst enemy. Preconditioned, prearranged responses make unwitting dupes- who all the while think they are learning to fight.
Doubt it? In a few years of training you should be almost impossible to be thrown by any traditional arts methods- all while you are hitting, moving and throwing. And your strikes should be devestating.
How are you stacking up to that?
Maybe you need to change some things

I agree with most of what you are saying, and I have found an instructor who is teaching me all of those things. But where can I see or read about the solo training methods you are talking about? Do you think the secret lies within this type of training? Thanks.

DH
05-24-2007, 05:42 AM
I agree with most of what you are saying, and I have found an instructor who is teaching me all of those things. But where can I see or read about the solo training methods you are talking about? Do you think the secret lies within this type of training? Thanks.

I don't expect many -if not most-to agree. Its simply not the way they train. The fact that the discussions of the real core of Aiki-do has been relagated to the "Non aikido Martial tradition" forums speaks volumes about the state of aikido and the understanding of the founders real work by those in the art. In that light, I would say the truths of the Aikido of Ueshiba Morihei can be more easily be found in the Non-Aikido section of the Aikido web site

I find it incredulous that your instructor can teach you "all of those things" I oultined- without solo training. It is not in technique.

Do I think the secret lies "within" Solo training?
My signature line states it implicitly

Nafis Zahir
05-24-2007, 09:45 AM
I don't expect many -if not most-to agree. Its simply not the way they train. The fact that the discussions of the real core of Aiki-do has been relagated to the "Non aikido Martial tradition" forums speaks volumes about the state of aikido and the understanding of the founders real work by those in the art. In that light, I would say the truths of the Aikido of Ueshiba Morihei can be more easily be found in the Non-Aikido section of the Aikido web site

I find it incredulous that your instructor can teach you "all of those things" I oultined- without solo training. It is not in technique.

Do I think the secret lies "within" Solo training?
My signature line states it implicitly

So where can I learn about Solo training?

jennifer paige smith
05-24-2007, 10:25 AM
Yes. I know it.

The secret is more of a capstone of many secrets. You can't grasp the last without grasping those that precede. And it's all so beautiful. When you find it, you'll just giggle at all the genius.

There's a huge downside to knowing. Who do you look toward for guidance now? When all your peers and so many of your seniors lack your understanding, what do you do?

Maybe this is Aikido making you a better person? Forcing you to sever your dependance on others?

When he says three months, don't forget that's training long and hard. If you figure out the mystery, two hours of training a week is not going to make you the next Ueshiba.

My response to the question what is the secret? does anyone know it? How do you capture it in a moment?

Laughter. Observe yourself while you are in deep humor and be in deep humor often. Not only does the genius make you giggle. But the giggle makes you genius. Draw out the moment and train to maintain.

Alfonso
05-24-2007, 11:00 AM
The spirit of aikido, the point of aikido, the heart of aikido, the essence of aikido. the special thing about aikido.. I don't think those are secret at all.

I don't see the need to get all defensive about perspective obtained "outside Aikido" about an "aspect of Aikido" which is pretty certainly not widely discussed and certainly was not abandoned by the founder over his entire life of teaching Aikido even as he did discard other things which he considered detrimental to his vision.

jennifer paige smith
05-24-2007, 11:26 AM
The spirit of aikido, the point of aikido, the heart of aikido, the essence of aikido. the special thing about aikido.. I don't think those are secret at all.

I don't see the need to get all defensive about perspective obtained "outside Aikido" about an "aspect of Aikido" which is pretty certainly not widely discussed and certainly was not abandoned by the founder over his entire life of teaching Aikido even as he did discard other things which he considered detrimental to his vision.

I'm sorry but I don't understand your point in the second paragraph. Could you possibly say it again in another way? What do you mean by the aspect that the founder didn't abandon? Thanks

Jim Sorrentino
05-24-2007, 11:32 AM
Hello Dan,I think most people are disengenous and full of it. They come feel me and my students, waste my time, go "Oooh and aah." And when they come back I can tell they don't do the real work-that being the at home, solo training, needed to make progress. So why waste MY time? I get nothing out of it. and neither do they and my people wind up wasting they're own training time for more half assed martial artists.Why did they not "do the real work"? (Mere laziness does not seem to me to be a satisfactory answer.) Instead of blaming the students for failing to learn, perhaps you should look at how you taught them, and how they learned "the real work". It seems to me that this would be a better use of your time than cultivating and expressing your apparent contempt for aikido and those who diligently attempt to learn it.

Again, while I agree with Sagawa-sensei that "aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training," in the various articles and interviews on Aikido Journal, Sagawa-sensei seems to suggest strongly that it is a necessary part of the training process, if one would acquire aiki skill, to feel aiki by repeatedly attacking someone who 'has it'.

What's your opinion?

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

dbotari
05-24-2007, 01:35 PM
You have written before. If your interested P.M me and I'll give you my numbers. We can figure out something.

Dan

Dan,

I know this was directed at Franco, but I would like to get out and see you before the end of summer. Can you provide contact info (via PM) to me so that when the time is right I can contact you to make arrangements?

Thanks,

Dan Botari

DH
05-24-2007, 02:41 PM
Dan,

I know this was directed at Franco, but I would like to get out and see you before the end of summer. Can you provide contact info (via PM) to me so that when the time is right I can contact you to make arrangements?

Thanks,

Dan Botari

Hi Dan
Some how you and Franco had fallen though the cracks when the initial meetings were arranged. I'm off to Niagra falls for the weekend. Franco wrote me, lets talk when I get back Tues. Maybe we can do a weekend thing for another newer group.

Nafis
Solo training cannot be taught via the internet..scratch that.. "I" can't help anyone that way. Maybe others can. It's tough finding those who can do,,,and show in a "rubber meets the road" usable and practical fashion, and then teach or in my case share what they know. Some times you just need to travel.
I can't stress enough that were you to find someone good-it will be the best thing you ever did for your Aikido, or whatever it is you do.;)

DH
05-24-2007, 03:07 PM
Hello Dan,Why did they not "do the real work"? (Mere laziness does not seem to me to be a satisfactory answer.) Instead of blaming the students for failing to learn, perhaps you should look at how you taught them, and how they learned "the real work".
Of course you would see it as my fault Jim. And I would never expect to offer you anything by way of a "satisfactory answer." Which is why I seldom respond to you. And I am also sure you have no experience with the type of training or menas to judge progress that I have either. Not too mention the honesty of those who tell me flat out that "Solo work is tough and they seldom do it."
But thanks for your comments.
It seems to me that this would be a better use of your time than cultivating and expressing your apparent contempt for aikido and those who diligently attempt to learn it.

As for "cultivating and expressing my contempt for Aikido and those who practice it?" Thats simply more of your method of communication to me. In fact I think Aikido has the potential to be an amazingly viable art in the modern era of MMA. Imbued with power. And I have said it here over and over.
Just not the way I see it being done.
Which is something I share with aikidoka who have gotten to know me.
The trouble is not, nor ever was, with Ueshiba, or Takeda. It's with those who have become technique and contact-reliant "principle" based- ruining the secret to the physical art. What most write and others demonstrate as "Aiki" isn't aiki at all. Its just external jujutsu and not even good jujutsu..


Again, while I agree with Sagawa-sensei that "aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training," in the various articles and interviews on Aikido Journal, Sagawa-sensei seems to suggest strongly that it is a necessary part of the training process, if one would acquire aiki skill, to feel aiki by repeatedly attacking someone who 'has it'.
What's your opinion?
Sincerely,
Jim Sorrentino
Actually you argued with the notion of solo training and power building for a long time.

a. I think a more accurate read is that it is the major component to creating aiki. Aiki is created in you long before anyone touches you.
b. Learning aiki by attacking someone and feeling them is not worth the effort. Its too slow. It is where most stop and start fishing around trying to develope and copy a feeling. You need to find someone who can talk in definitve terms and make you do it to them over and over... not them doing it to you.
Other then demonstrating at first meeting. I spend the rest of my time showing others how to do it to me. Taking falls is the slowest way to learn. Taking ukemi has little to do with learning how to do it. People need to spend their time doing, not recieving. Thats just a Japanese mechansm to preserve kata. Its also a great way to ruin your body.

Fred Little
05-24-2007, 03:09 PM
Hello Dan,Why did they not "do the real work"? (Mere laziness does not seem to me to be a satisfactory answer.)

Without claiming to be Dan or to offer any opinion as to what he has observed, I would beg to differ.

For a great many students, mere laziness is a more than complete answer.

It is my experience that many call, but few choose to do the work, and the more excited they are at the outset, the sooner they seem to slack off.

Best,

FL

Alfonso
05-24-2007, 03:36 PM
I'm sorry but I don't understand your point in the second paragraph. Could you possibly say it again in another way? What do you mean by the aspect that the founder didn't abandon? Thanks

sorry I wasn't trying to be mysterious. I meant the physical conditioning aspects of the "religious side" of his practice. He even would demonstrate what he could do. I think it's notable that Koichi Tohei was acknowledged as one who got it even though he did "it" differently and was fairly young when he became head instructor.

Jim Sorrentino
05-24-2007, 03:56 PM
Dan,The trouble is not nor ever was with Ueshiba, or Takeda. It's with those who have become technique and contact-reliant "principle" based- ruining the secret to the physical art.I agree in part. But if aiki is not a "principle", then what is it?

Actually you argued with the notion of solo training and power building for a long time.

Please provide a citation for this assertion. As I have told you, both publically and privately, I value solo training. I started martial arts with Uechi-ryu karatedo, and I have had some exposure to Iaido practice. What I take issue with is your assertion in post #35 that "Learning it though Kata is the source........... of all the problems."

Other then demonstrating at first meeting. I spend the rest of my time showing others how to do it to me. Taking falls is the slowest way to learn. Taking ukemi has little to do with learning how to do it. People need to spend their time doing, not recieving. Thats just a Japanese mechansm to preserve kata. Its also a great way to ruin your body.If you spend the rest of the time showing the students how to do it to you, and then they don't do their homework, then perhaps Fred is right, and it's just mere laziness on their part.

As for being a "great way to ruin your body", well, Sagawa-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Takeda-sensei that way. Kimura-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Sagawa-sensei that way. Again, I believe (like Nishioka-sensei in the article I cited) that it comes down to the spirit in which one pursues the uke-nage aspect of training.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

DH
05-24-2007, 05:19 PM
As for being a "great way to ruin your body", well, Sagawa-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Takeda-sensei that way. Kimura-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Sagawa-sensei that way. Again, I believe (like Nishioka-sensei in the article I cited) that it comes down to the spirit in which one pursues the uke-nage aspect of training.
Sincerely,
Jim Sorrentino
I think bringing that type of Uchite / shite model into this discussion is apples and oranges and doesn't fit. You see it as same/ same. We will never agree on that.
I see Kata as an Asian training device that has been blown up way out of proportion to its original intent in jujutsu. I'm not taking SMR or other weapon-based training models.
After teaching someone to fall, I teach people how not be thrown.
So where some do breakfalls and rolls over and over, I teach how to not be thrown over and over and over. I like my way better. I like what it does for producing relaxed power in people far better then other models.
I had a bunch of folks who know you up a while back and for the first time in many years I did aiki-no-jutsu. It was fun doing DR and Aikido waza again with folks flopping and flying about and getting rocketed off the ground with aiki-age, but its just not my interest. There are far more effective things to do be doing with that level of power.

In jujutsu taking breakfalls and rolls for twenty years is just not needed to learn Aiki, Further, continual Ukemi its not needed at all to learn power or how to fight. Moreover, the best way to learn to do is to do.
The best way to learn pwoer is to learn how to develop it and eminate. And you certainly don't need someone to fall down to practice on. In the end fighting back is the best form of Ukemi. The dynamics of fighting back protect the body in a far better fashion than recieving.
Then we have knife and twin stick fighting which do not require that type of ukemi and yet miralculously both parties still learn.

I think some people just got stuck in an Asian model and can't see past it. FWIW folks could spend the rest of their martial career learning to fight better then they do now, with far more power then they have now, all while learning better ways to absorb power with a focus on remaining standing. Then learning to fall in an enitirely different manner that continues the fight. And all of that while retaining every aspect of "Aiki."
Those folks will be more powoerful, more stable, healthier, and far more dfifficult to throw than an equal number who train to receive by falling down.

M. McPherson
05-24-2007, 06:28 PM
What I take issue with is your assertion in post #35 that "Learning it though Kata is the source........... of all the problems."

Hello Mr. Sorrentino,

Unfortunately, having a background in Uechi Ryu, too (in the Shohei Ryu line, but having broad experience to the other two lines, plus Gushi Sensei's interpretation), I would have to agree with Dan. But that's because I've been on the receiving end of what he does. Either one of you can correct me, of course, but I think your interpretation of kata is slightly different than his. I don't think Dan thinks of kata as just a single person form (as in the Chinese or Okinawan conception of it), but rather any method of prescribed movement. Even where that prescribed movement/form might allow for a varied range of responses between an attacker and defender. In other words, any encounter between two people that is not fully resistive, and does not allow for free-form attack can be considered a kata. In that light, aikido as it is practiced today is a kata based art. Solo kata, in this light, is equally as worthless. Unless, that is, it is an exercise that works the development of "internal" physical ability. Not as a means of combative visualization that serves to develop technique.
Although I have great respect for good Uechi Ryu, I wouldn't bother to use it as a reference for what Dan is doing. What I'm about to write could tarnish me as either highly arrogant, or extremely stupid, but here goes: none of what Dan is doing is found in UR today. At least not in 99.9% of what I've experienced. Subjective? Of course. But still true (I had a good friend who could do some of the things that Dan does, but he only "stumbled" into most of it by focusing solely on sanchin. One of the best I've ever seen, he left as a sandan because what he was doing didn't fit in within the UR paradigm), from my experience. What Dan's doing just isn't taught in the art today. Oh, I think it was - once. There's a reason Uechi Kanbun spent three or more years learning sanchin. But I think it died out with him. It's still a highly effective art, but it's not internal. I would say the same thing about aikido, but my experience there isn't as wide.
I've rambled on, and I apologize if this is too off-topic (although I'm starting to see that the "secret" of aikido probably happens to be the "secret" of Uechi Ryu, too...or judo, or kendo, etc). But I would once again strongly encourage you to make the trip up to MA. It's fairly evident that you and Dan are talking about two entirely different paradigms. You don't have to take it from me, because I know you know others who have made the trip up to meet Dan. But enough of us have travelled up there and have had our collective assumptions blown out of the water by the experience - no matter what art we were coming from - that you should give it strong consideration.
Also - and I say this with no malice what so ever - when you repeatedly post your "invitation" to Dan, you should realize that it could be construed as insulting to those people who have made the trip up to work with him. Some driving for three, six, or even nine hours to do so. Repeatedly. Whatever your intentions, it speaks to the worst aspects of our culture, the idea that, if I want it, it should come to me. For many of us, making the trip could have been the biggest waste of our time, but we realized that it was part of the shugyo (as contrived as that sounds), no matter what we found when we got up there. If that's the only price to pay (besides some long-lasting bruises, many ego checks, and having to endure a really fun time with great people), then it is worth it. But, please, try to consider why anyone should come to you to prove anything. If you want to know something, isn't there some hard work involved?

Sincerely,
Murray McPherson

Adam Alexander
05-24-2007, 08:23 PM
So where can I learn about Solo training?

I found a wealth of knowledge practing warm-ups by myself without any help from anyone else. Basic techniques also helped me a great deal.

I didn't have all this drama surrounding figuring out how to do this stuff. I just did it. I experimented in the dojo and out. If I lined up with someone who would not let me play around, I avoided lining up with them next time.

My experience was that solo-training in this respect was a major, major component of figuring it all out. In all, there were only three or four corrections/demonstrations that helped me outside of solo-training...(and then there was the 100's of corrections I seemed to receive that were hindrances...)

As far as hunting down "secrets" from others, I don't think most people pass them out that easy. Think of it like this. Are you quicker to pass a $1 or $100 bill to someone you hardly know? Look out for hucksters desperate for ego gratification.

If you follow arrogance, you'll become arrogant. Hard work tempers humility which is very hard to attain/maintain in any form. For me, the system of kata both showed me the techniques while keeping me somewhat grounded.

Be cautious of shortcuts.

Jim Sorrentino
05-24-2007, 08:49 PM
Dan,I think bringing that type of Uchite / shite model into this discussion is apples and oranges and doesn't fit. You see it as same/ same. We will never agree on that.Maybe we will, if you explain it to me. I have re-read the AJ pieces concerning Sagawa. I have also re-read several of the pieces on Takeda and Ueshiba, among other sources. Takeda, Ueshiba, and Sagawa all seemed to have a part of their practice which used an uke/nage model. How is this different than an uchite/shite method? Why did they use this model? And what is the "original intent in jujutsu" of this model? Original sources (such as interviews with Takeda et al), as well as reasoned arguments, would be welcome.I had a bunch of folks who know you up a while back and for the first time in many years I did aiki-no-jutsu.A long time ago, you lectured me about the difference between tatemae and honne. In my experience in the aikido world, this kind of comment ("I've played with people who know you, but I won't tell you who they are.") is what I expect from a child, not a mature adult. In short, it's irrelevant to your point whether the folks who visited you know me or not. If it's relevant, then state their names --- otherwise, why include this kind of thing?In jujutsu taking breakfalls and rolls for twenty years is just not needed to learn Aiki,Perhaps --- and yet, Kimura and Sagawa and Ueshiba all found it useful and informative to take feel their teachers as uke. What do you make of that?

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

DH
05-24-2007, 09:00 PM
Oh gees. Here we go again.
Jim
No harm or insult was meant by my comment. You continue to choose to read into things and almost invariably take a negative spin wherever you can find one. I told those mutual aquantences that I would give it another try because they thought you were a nice guy-and they wanted to see us stop this nonsense. This is what I get yet again from you.
You just continue to make a mess out of every attempt to try to communicate with me. The general tone of your replies, the language you decide to use make your feelings clear. No problems. Lets just stop. We just need to avoid each other both on the net and in person. It isn't working.

Jim Sorrentino
05-24-2007, 10:21 PM
Hi Murray,

Please call me Jim. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

I agree with you about Dan's interpretation of kata. I brought up the issue because I recently re-read Nishioka-sensei's article on the role of uchitachi and shitachi in SMR kata, and it seemed to me that it shed some light on the discussion of the use (and abuse) of uke/nage practice in aikido.

I have not been actively involved in Uechi-ryu since the early to mid-1990's. What little I see of it today is quite disappointing. I spent the summer of 1981 in Okinawa, where I trained at the UR headquarters under Kanei Uechi-sensei (who turned 70 that summer), and at the dojo of Ken Nakamatsu-sensei. I was a shodan in UR at that time, and I had not yet started aikido. Kanei-sensei was soft and powerful at the same time. I met other Okinawan teachers and students who were also quite accomplished. I am familiar with people who feel as though they are made of steel wrapped in rubber --- and who are quite competent at fighting. If you ever met Shinjo Kiyohide, I believe you would not conclude that Uechi Kanbun's skills no longer exist.

How do the solo exercses (kata, if you will) that you now practice work on "the development of 'internal' physical ability"?

As for whether my continued invitation to Dan is an insult to those who have gone to see him, all I can say is that I intend no offense. And I assure you, bringing someone (who I have never even seen!) to my dojo to teach is no small effort. If you have ever organized a seminar, you know what I'm talking about.

Thanks again for your observations! I hope to see you on the mat eventually.

Sincerely,

Jim

tarik
05-25-2007, 05:25 PM
Easier said then done. We don't always get to choose who we can and cannot workout with. We often change partners, so it's hard to avoid certain people.

Let me rephrase. It's easy to do, you just have to make the decision. That can be difficult. Most of us aren't willing because it would offend others to say, "I'm not interested in training with you."

Lest you misunderstand, I advocate training with people who are difficult or make you uncomfortable, but if the training is not productive in some fashion, why waste your lifespan on it? I'd leave the dojo first.

Partners in the dojo that are not capable of providing productive feedback in some fashion, no matter how new, should not exist. If they do, it's usually a problem that starts from the top. I imagine that a part of this stems from the opening up of aikido to 'all comers'. Truly, it should be qualified to 'all comers willing to do the work necessary to really learn and help their partners to learn, especially when it's uncomfortable and scary".

Naturally, even in an ideal environment, not everyone will be the provide the same quality of practice, but why not train with people who all agree to at least try to create that level of practice for one another?

Regards,

DH
05-26-2007, 05:13 PM
I found a wealth of knowledge practing warm-ups by myself without any help from anyone else. Basic techniques also helped me a great deal.

I didn't have all this drama surrounding figuring out how to do this stuff. I just did it. I experimented in the dojo and out. If I lined up with someone who would not let me play around, I avoided lining up with them next time.

My experience was that solo-training in this respect was a major, major component of figuring it all out. In all, there were only three or four corrections/demonstrations that helped me outside of solo-training...(and then there was the 100's of corrections I seemed to receive that were hindrances...)

As far as hunting down "secrets" from others, I don't think most people pass them out that easy. Think of it like this. Are you quicker to pass a $1 or $100 bill to someone you hardly know? Look out for hucksters desperate for ego gratification.

If you follow arrogance, you'll become arrogant. Hard work tempers humility which is very hard to attain/maintain in any form. For me, the system of kata both showed me the techniques while keeping me somewhat grounded.

Be cautious of shortcuts.
A couple other “words of caution” might be to recognize pitfalls working on your own. There are times when you could spend years going down a wrong road pursuing things internally that are dead ends. I know I did and I know several others who have as well. It can be on the one hand; a slippery slope, on the other, a slow boat to China with a compass off by one degree.

Cautions about secrets from others is good advice as well. Particularly when it involves money or some sort of advertising or aggrandizing of the central teacher. The few guys meeting here and there from aikiweb and ebudo have been doing so with no money and with little fan fair. But then you have the added fear of wasting time by following someone who doesn't know what they are doing either. I dunno I think I've seen more ego and wierdness from teachers who really don't have much skill. Most folks with real skills are rather chilled. Teachers I've met who really don't know the things we have been discussing here are honest about it and ask to learn. Again there is no ego or embarrasment.
So one may consider –in the balance- the arrogance or ignorance of teachers who have essentially not done a good job of teaching anyone the “real” secrets of aikido. and yet they still teach. And ask just why that is?

Kata can keep you grounded? Hmmm.. Actually I think it’s more wrought with a danger of hubris then grappling, Grapplers can have a healthy confident air about them. But its typically an earned confidence.
And last as far as arrogance goes.
Were one to be considering arrogance- one might ask themselves how arrogant it is to think they are able to rediscover what it has taken generations to put together. Or just how slow and really sad to spend so much time reinventing a wheel.
Fools tend to rush in
Where angels fear to tread.
I’d still try to find a teacher

Time to go have dinner by the falls..........
What a beautiful place

Adam Alexander
05-26-2007, 07:22 PM
There are times when you could spend years going down a wrong road pursuing things internally that are dead ends. I know I did and I know several others who have as well. It can be on the one hand; a slippery slope, on the other, a slow boat to China with a compass off by one degree.

I was under the impression that martial arts--do's-- are about the journey...not the destination.

Many times, as recently as a few days ago, I discovered I was doing something wrong. The regret I feel for doing it "wrong" is always tempered by the pleasure of "owning" what I've discovered.

How is it, if you've figured things out, you think you were shown the wrong way?

I dunno I think I've seen more ego and wierdness from teachers who really don't have much skill. Most folks with real skills are rather chilled.

Ditto.

I'd also add that one of the manifestations of ego that tears at me is the corrections that are disruptive to training. I've said it before, the best teachers I've encountered gave little direction.

Teachers I've met who really don't know the things we have been discussing here are honest about it and ask to learn. Again there is no ego or embarrasment.
So one may consider --in the balance- the arrogance or ignorance of teachers who have essentially not done a good job of teaching anyone the "real" secrets of aikido. and yet they still teach. And ask just why that is?

First, asking for direction is a sign of weakness.
Second, consistent with the previous statement, who I've considered to be good teachers didn't really "teach" in an American sense. I have never felt like I was being instructed in "internal" anything. Someone would get up there demonstrate a technique. Good instructors let me figure it out. Bad instructors oppressed me with their interpretations of foot here, hand there crap.

Kata can keep you grounded? Hmmm.. Actually I think it's more wrought with a danger of hubris then grappling, Grapplers can have a healthy confident air about them. But its typically an earned confidence.

I only know the effect on me. I tend to be arrogant. Solo-practice/kata has a quieting effect on me.

Were one to be considering arrogance- one might ask themselves how arrogant it is to think they are able to rediscover what it has taken generations to put together. Or just how slow and really sad to spend so much time reinventing a wheel.

I don't know. It hurts a little when you see others who's technique contains the things that you've discovered. Then you get over it and realize that you're a part of a special group who is able to make their own wheels.

No one is rebuilding from scratch the product of generations. We have directions that are vague and lead us to find the concept of the wheel.

For me, the question is whether you trust reputable organizations and instructors who have been entrusted with those directions to help mold you into a person who is able to handle possession of that wheel, or do you seek out a clearer set of instructions without regard to the harm that it might cause you?

I'd still try to find a teacher

Sure, but I'd be cautious of who promotes themselves as a teacher.

Martin Ruedas
05-27-2007, 09:25 AM
well, I believe there's no secret. only narrow views. so narrow we overlook the things that is thought to be a secret. it's just there waiting to be discovered through our own personal effort. my sensei tells us that aikido is also about self-discovery. through your every training, you discover something new and i think each discovery leads to another.

dps
05-27-2007, 12:02 PM
At 2:27 in the video the secret to all martial arts is revealed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkDBflFtPIw

David

Dan Austin
05-27-2007, 05:38 PM
At 2:27 in the video the secret to all martial arts is revealed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkDBflFtPIw

David

You missed the part at 2:46. ;)

dps
05-27-2007, 09:16 PM
You missed the part at 2:46. ;)
First good martial arts then best martial arts.:)
David