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Budd
12-26-2007, 10:20 AM
NOTE:Though posted in the Non-Aikido forum, this workshop is intended for interested aikido practitioners.

Mike Sigman visits Itten Dojo in Enola, PA, on Saturday and Sunday, February 9th and 10th, 2008, for an informal workshop devoted to an examination of the theory and practice of training internal skills, specifically in the context of aikido.
Two practice sessions are planned each day: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Using predominantly two-person exercises, kokyu/jin will be developed for all directions, and then practiced in a number of Aikido applications. Breathing and structural-development exercises will be taught in terms of Misogi and kokyu/jin progress. Developmental and practice exercises for later use and suggested training approaches will also be part of the syllabus.

The registration fee for this workshop is $125.00. Martial arts uniforms are not required — recommended training attire is gi pants, sweat pants, or gym shorts, and a t-shirt or sweat shirt.

At this time there are only a limited number of spaces remaining for this workshop. If you are interested in attending, please send a private message to Budd Yuhasz with your email address and, space allowing, a registration form will be sent for you to complete.

happysod
01-08-2008, 04:43 AM
Budd, I want video clips of this or I'll refuse to believe Mike exists outside of a UK Tai-chi seminar where he inadvertently convinced one woman she could breath through her hand.

Mike Sigman
01-08-2008, 08:03 AM
Funny you should mention videos, Ian... I was just talking to someone about that very thing, in relation to the workshop. A lot of my motivation has been inspired by the challenge of trying to formulate a succinct, Aikido-oriented approach that gives everyone demonstrable skills that they didn't have when they walked in the door. The other part of the challenge is to do it in such a way that 2 months from now everyone won't be back to doing the same old normal-movement stuff in class. So I've got 3 things I'm going to do:

1. A clearly articulated how-to with results for everyone. No "train this for 3 years and it will come upon you like the Holy Ghost, my son."

2. A set of notes that include the syllabus and suggested daily and dojo practice regimens.

3. A video of some of the workshop aspects for attendees to use as reference.

In other words, I'm trying to get pretty extensive results, even if it's only a 2-day workshop, but I'm also trying to do everything *I* can do to make sure it sticks. I'm tired of feeling guilty about how everyone does great in workshops but they tend to have back-slid within a few months. This time I'm making sure that I don't feel the least amount of guilt.

Working on ki/kokyu skills is like going to heaven... everyone loudly proclaims that they want to do it. But not yet. ;)

The short of it is that there ain't gonna be any spectacular vids to show on the web. Sorry. :p

FWIW

Mike

happysod
01-08-2008, 09:04 AM
But, but you promised me I'd learn how to walk properly again...

Sounds good, I may have to ask for the videos to be sent under a plain brown-paper wrapper and claim all the good bits came to me while meditating on a picture of Tohei, but I know you're big enough to understand that it's just you're not a one true aikidoka...

Mike Sigman
01-08-2008, 09:20 AM
Sounds good, I may have to ask for the videos to be sent under a plain brown-paper wrapper and claim all the good bits came to me while meditating on a picture of Tohei, but I know you're big enough to understand that it's just you're not a one true aikidoka...Interestingly enough, I was recently looking at that early Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido film (it's now on YouTube in 5 sections). I hadn't seen that film in many years and I only had a fuzzy memory of even seeing some of it at all. But my point is that when I saw that film years ago, even though I thought I was a clever dick at the time, I really didn't understand what Tohei was actually showing. At the risk of being a clever-dick again (although allow for the fact that I now have more experience doing these things than Tohei did at the time), let me make a couple of comments about what I can see in the vids. BTW... it's worth taking a look at the vids on YouTube.

The main thing I'd say is that Tohei had better-developed skills than I thought (during his prime). I.e., he must have done a *lot* of practice to develop his powers to the levels I can see them on that old film. He does try to do one or two things that I think he fails to pull off very well, but on the whole his powers are pretty well developed, within the spectrum of ki/kokyu skills in Aikido. Now I'm curious to see some big-dog from the Ki-Society who has the level of power that Tohei had at that time. I'm not aware of anyone, but then I'm fairly ignorant about the Ki Society. Anyone got a name?

Regardless, the first 2 sections of that series on YouTube are worth looking at for anyone in any style of Aikido. At the time the film was made, the split between Shin Shin Toistsu and Hombu Dojo was not all that pronounced, so it wouldn't be heretical for someone from another style to look. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-08-2008, 09:28 AM
I'm pretty easily impressed in this field, but Terry Pierce really impressed me about 10 years ago or so. He's in NJ though, and I know how you hate the east coast! :D

B,
R

MM
01-08-2008, 11:28 AM
Sounds like it'll be a good workshop/seminar. :)

The Tohei vids were interesting. First time I saw them. I wonder where he got the idea of letting people push on him. ;)

The funekogi (aka rowing exercise) was cool. He looked like he had some power going on at the end of each movement.

Mark

Budd
01-08-2008, 11:44 AM
Friends don't let friends push each other . . . they make them ;)

SeiserL
01-08-2008, 12:11 PM
IMHO, many things are "hidden in plain sight" because I didn't have the frame of reference to see it.

I like the tell them what you are going to show them, show them, and tell them what you showed them. I would also suggest if they showed us again, we might just see it now that its been pointed out what I am looking for/it. Not a great thief (steal this technique).

I look forward to your video.

dbotari
01-08-2008, 01:14 PM
Budd,

I sent you a PM.

Thanks,

Dan

Mike Sigman
01-08-2008, 01:16 PM
IMHO, many things are "hidden in plain sight" because I didn't have the frame of reference to see it. True for me, too. I certainly saw some explicitly "kokyu" things when I took karate on Okinawa. However, I never heard the word "ki" in the martial context (bearing in mind that "ki", as I heard it in Japanese and Hogan, is a common expression) until I started taking Aikido many years later. So I also immediately interpretted what I saw in terms of what I knew about physiology, etc.

On the other hand, as much information-exchange as there is nowadays, I don't think everything falls into that same category. I was commenting to a friend of mine about how aptly Saul Bellow's quote could be applied to a lot of the martial arts: "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep." ;) I like the tell them what you are going to show them, show them, and tell them what you showed them. I would also suggest if they showed us again, we might just see it now that its been pointed out what I am looking for/it. Not a great thief (steal this technique).

I look forward to your video.No video coming out, Lynn. I'm going to have some of the workshop stuff videoed as an additional memory-support for the attendees, but hopefully they'll keep it to themselves. At least for the traditional week or two. ;)

Best.

Mike

gdandscompserv
01-08-2008, 07:45 PM
True for me, too. I certainly saw some explicitly "kokyu" things when I took karate on Okinawa. However, I never heard the word "ki" in the martial context (bearing in mind that "ki", as I heard it in Japanese and Hogan,
Did you mean Hogen?

Kevin Leavitt
01-08-2008, 07:52 PM
Mike,

I will be there. Any thing I (We) can do in the interim that will make it more productive for us once we are there?

MikeLogan
01-08-2008, 08:22 PM
If by any chance this seminar is moved 1 week earlier/later I would greatly appreciate the chance to attend. On the 8th & 9th I am out of luck.

Enjoy, and perhaps next time.

michael.

SeiserL
01-09-2008, 06:57 AM
I will be there. Any thing I (We) can do in the interim that will make it more productive for us once we are there?
I look forward to your review.

SeiserL
01-09-2008, 06:59 AM
No video coming out, Lynn. I'm going to have some of the workshop stuff videoed as an additional memory-support for the attendees, but hopefully they'll keep it to themselves. At least for the traditional week or two.
Our loss.
I'll have to content myself with your old push hands tapes.
Perhaps another day.

Mike Sigman
01-09-2008, 08:09 AM
I will be there. Any thing I (We) can do in the interim that will make it more productive for us once we are there?
Not really, Kevin. Just come in with the idea that it's some new topic, not an adjunct of something you already know. My main worry is brain fatigue and trying to download a lot of information before that brain fatigue begins to win out. Keeping blood sugar up, even though we won't be working physically hard, will help keep the brain-fade at bay.

Everyone will have some demonstrable skills when they leave, but of course those will just be on a par with any new martial skills.... they're not going to be up to any really useable level until the person takes them home and works on them for a while.

There are usually two kinds of demanding workshops. One would be a couple of days on the mat, new "techniques", lots of hard work, and a gi that weighs 20 pounds every day, just from the sweat-soaking. The other kind of hard workshop would be, for instance, learning and memorizing an entire weapon form, say about 3 times the length of the 31 jo-kata; your brain simply fries.

However, both of those workshops involve people working within more or less known skills. This workshop is going to work, for almost everyone, with new skills and at the same time build those skills up to fairly sophisticated levels of usage. It's the newness stacked on newness that tends to get a lot of people, although the people who are overly patterned with hard muscular usage can simply run into a wall sometimes, too.

So I'm suggesting that people prepare for being relaxed, alert and also think over the idea of defeating any strongly-patterned muscular habits. But I'll do as much as I can to point out where the muscle problems lie, as we work our way through a logical approach.

Just for fun, here's a simple exercise for people to try; the general principle will be very germane to the workshop. Stand on one leg, well-balanced, near the corner of a wall. Put your fingertips against the wall and push with the fingertips so that there is about a half-pound of force going to each wall. Try to push solely with the grounded foot and not let the shoulders kick in. Watch how much the shoulders kick in, because that's the way you're used to doing things. That's just an illustration of the kinds of muscle patterning that can interfere with learning. ;)

http://www.neijia.com/FootPush.jpg

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-09-2008, 08:12 AM
Our loss.
I'll have to content myself with your old push hands tapes.
Perhaps another day.Good god... if you have those, you have some collectors items. I can't remember....aren't they on wax cylinders? ;)

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
01-09-2008, 07:25 PM
Thanks Mike, that believe it or not is very helpful! Expectations and preconceptions are important to understand and manage!

Walker
01-10-2008, 12:16 AM
Working on ki/kokyu skills is like going to heaven... everyone loudly proclaims that they want to do it. But not yet.
I can't believe no one's commented on this. I thought the quote was, "everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die." At least as far as Ark's stuff goes, that seems more apt... :yuck:

cheers everyone, have fun storming the castle

Mike Sigman
01-10-2008, 07:33 AM
I can't believe no one's commented on this. I thought the quote was, "everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die." At least as far as Ark's stuff goes, that seems more apt... :yuck:

cheers everyone, have fun storming the castleIncidentally, from what I heard/read about Ark's workshop, I'd have to note that the PA workshop will be completely and radically different. There is more than one path up Hua Shan mountain. ;)

Best.

Mike

gdandscompserv
01-10-2008, 06:35 PM
Incidentally, from what I heard/read about Ark's workshop, I'd have to note that the PA workshop will be completely and radically different. There is more than one path up Hua Shan mountain. ;)

Best.

Mike
Interestingly, it would seem that Mike, Dan, and Ark are all on different paths yet acquiring similar "internal" skills. Makes me wonder how many different ways there are to understanding these elusive skills. Also makes me wonder if it would be beneficial to mix and match training methods acquired from the three or if it would be best to pick a "style" or teacher and stick with that method. For those of you who have trained with all three, what think ye?

Mike Sigman
01-10-2008, 06:37 PM
There is more than one path up Hua Shan mountain. Dammit... I can't believe I used that trope. Out of fairness, let's remember that not all paths on the sides of Hua Shan lead to the top. ;)

Mike

aikilouis
01-11-2008, 02:33 AM
Mike,
Is there a chance that you might return to Germany in the future ?

Ron Tisdale
01-11-2008, 08:12 AM
Hi Ricky,
I do think you have to make intelligent decisions on what you pick and choose based on certain criteria

1) Who can expose you to what in terms of reliable methods to train the different skills; who is in your area or is available by travel, what is their specialty, what can they help you with long distance if needed, etc.

2) What does your primary art call for; as in what aspects do YOU find most usefull in your art, what can you integrate, what does not fit in terms of your current basics or postural requirements

3) What are you willing to work on

Personally at this point, I've been most exposed to issues of correcting my "Frame" to be able to begin to access some of these skills. I am most interested in learning to capture someone's balance by absorbing their power and then feeding it back to them. Power releases are also of interest to me, but not as much.

I think each person has to look at these things and utilize the training methods as best they can.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-11-2008, 08:46 AM
Personally at this point, I've been most exposed to issues of correcting my "Frame" to be able to begin to access some of these skills. I am most interested in learning to capture someone's balance by absorbing their power and then feeding it back to them. Power releases are also of interest to me, but not as much.It's sort of like a study of electricity. There are guys who do house-wiring, there are people who are into designing transformers, there are people who design Op-amps, and so forth. Sounds like different topics, but really it's all the same topic. The question is whether you should go to a vocational school and learn how to fix TV's or whether you're happier going to engineering school so that you can understand the theory that applies to everything. So I guess that while I nominally understand "different approaches", my mind doesn't work that way.... all of these *legitimate* approaches are simply variations of the same basic principles. There is only one electricity. There is only one ki/jin. ;)

Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-11-2008, 09:51 AM
I'd have to say that my limited experience says that Mike is right. My problem is getting enough of a foot in the door to understand enough to know what "specialties" will best meet my needs. And for that to be any use, I have to understand the basics first.

That's where I'm at...trying to get the basics...

Best,
Ron

gdandscompserv
01-11-2008, 10:31 AM
It's sort of like a study of electricity. There are guys who do house-wiring, there are people who are into designing transformers, there are people who design Op-amps, and so forth. Sounds like different topics, but really it's all the same topic. The question is whether you should go to a vocational school and learn how to fix TV's or whether you're happier going to engineering school so that you can understand the theory that applies to everything. So I guess that while I nominally understand "different approaches", my mind doesn't work that way.... all of these *legitimate* approaches are simply variations of the same basic principles. There is only one electricity. There is only one ki/jin. ;)

Best.

Mike
That seems a good analogy there Mike. Not because I understand internal body connection principals very well but because I understand electronics. And ohms law is ohms law is ohms law. The devil's in the details. But if one understands basic electricity, one can understand most any application of it. I suppose the same applies to basic ki/jin, in-yo, or whatever you call it.

MM
01-11-2008, 10:38 AM
Uh, yeah. What Ron and Mike said. :)

Mark

gregstec
01-15-2008, 03:07 PM
Hi Mike,

I have been following your threads here on Aikiweb and on Aikido Journal for a while now and it appears that your views on Ki principles are closely aligned with those I learned from my training in the early Ki Society back in the late 70s.

I was really looking forward to having the chance to train with you, but unfortunately, I have been informed by Bob & Budd at the Itten dojo that the workshop is full and there is no more room for anyone else. Consequently, I was wondering how long you were going to be in the area and if there may be a possibility of getting together informally for a short period of time. If not, do you have plans of coming back to the east coast some other time, and if so, what would be the chances of getting together then.

Also, your recent articles on Ki and Aikido on the Aikido Journal site are excellent. Like you, I grabbed an Aikido shihan about 30 years ago and have been searching for the secret that would lead to that same internal feeling ever since.

With your permission, I would like to quote your articles as views on Ki we agree with on our Aiki group's web site at aikikurabu.org

You can private email me if you like and I look forward to your response.

Best Regards

Greg Steckel

Mike Sigman
01-15-2008, 03:38 PM
Hi Mike,

I have been following your threads here on Aikiweb and on Aikido Journal for a while now and it appears that your views on Ki principles are closely aligned with those I learned from my training in the early Ki Society back in the late 70s.

I was really looking forward to having the chance to train with you, but unfortunately, I have been informed by Bob & Budd at the Itten dojo that the workshop is full and there is no more room for anyone else. Consequently, I was wondering how long you were going to be in the area and if there may be a possibility of getting together informally for a short period of time. If not, do you have plans of coming back to the east coast some other time, and if so, what would be the chances of getting together then. Hi Greg:

Well, the workshop cap is my fault; I simply have to have time to get around and feel what is going on inside of each person and there's a limit to how many people I can cover for each exercise. So the capped attendance was due to my insistence, I'm afraid.

I've already made my flights in and out of "The Sprawl" (hat tip to William Gibson), as the east coast is known, so unfortunately I'm not going to be there very long. I only do workshops sporadically and whimsically (it's not how I make a living) so I have no idea when I'll be back out that way. Also, your recent articles on Ki and Aikido on the Aikido Journal site are excellent. Like you, I grabbed an Aikido shihan about 30 years ago and have been searching for the secret that would lead to that same internal feeling ever since. Thanks. I used that "feeling" to judge/compare things for a number of years. It's good yard stick when trying to find a teacher.With your permission, I would like to quote your articles as views on Ki we agree with on our Aiki group's web site at aikikurabu.org If you think it will help someone, please feel free to use them as you wish. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

gregstec
01-15-2008, 05:12 PM
Hi Greg:

I've already made my flights in and out of "The Sprawl" (hat tip to William Gibson), as the east coast is known, so unfortunately I'm not going to be there very long. I only do workshops sporadically and whimsically (it's not how I make a living) so I have no idea when I'll be back out that way....


Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply - hopefully someday I will be able to attend one of your workshops somewhere.

Have you given any consideration to putting out a training guide or summary of your approach to understanding these principles? I am sure there are many folks in the Aikido community that would be willing to part with a few dollars for something like that.

I wish you success in your endeavors and look forward to your continued thoughts via these forums.

Best

Greg

HL1978
02-10-2008, 07:13 PM
anyone have a seminar report?

Kevin Leavitt
02-10-2008, 08:12 PM
Yes. It was very eye opening and a great time. We learned many, many exercises that Mike feels will help us develop our aiki skills and power.

The report I can tell you is that it was probably the best use of my time spent an "aikido" seminar ever.

I don't think I could answer any specific questions as it will probably take me a long time to figure out what the hell I am doing! I will get back to you in about a year! :)

Also, I will probably have many more questions than opinions for a long while.

Kevin Leavitt
02-10-2008, 08:15 PM
oh yea. Mike, it was a pleasure meeting you and working with you. I appreciate the patience, time, and your enthusiasm in working with me! I hope I can pay you back a little by learning some of what you gave us!

Mike Sigman
02-11-2008, 07:33 AM
oh yea. Mike, it was a pleasure meeting you and working with you. I appreciate the patience, time, and your enthusiasm in working with me! I hope I can pay you back a little by learning some of what you gave us! Completely my pleasure, Kevin. It was good to finally put a face to some of the names and to meet a bunch of good and smart people. I've talked to Fred Little and Ron Tisdale on the web since at least the mid-90's and finally got to meet them. It was fun all around. Many thanks also to Budd Yuhasz and Bob Wolfe for accomodating me and going to so much trouble.

I'm still stuck in the airports on the way back home, due to delays, so more when I get back.

Best..

Mike

Ron Tisdale
02-11-2008, 09:40 AM
Hi guys, Sorry for the delay!

I'm going to be typing up some thoughts on this whole deal, but I have to thank a lot of people first...

Bob Wolff and the Itten dojo
Budd and Co.
Everyone who was patient enough to work out with me

And foremost Mike Sigman, for one of the best seminar experiences I've ever had, in terms of content and opening my eyes. :D

Just for kicks and giggles, a quote from the past (Mike in bold, otherwise me, from Oct. 2002):

About grabbing...sniff. In real time, you already know most of the top tier don't grab anyway...they enter and *cut*. Its that whole sword thing.

Remind me to show you sometime what I did to someone who entered on me recently and wasn't aware of some ancient Chinese body technology. :^)
Good thing neither one of us was serious... it might or might not have worked (either side) in a real fight.

I believe what Mike is referring to is that shoulder strike he does...I can now say that there is no way in H_e_double_hockey_sticks I want to EVER get hit with that. :D And I do believe it would work in a fight. Very well. :eek: :crazy:

Best,
Ron ;)

Robert Wolfe
02-11-2008, 10:23 AM
Ron,

All thanks should go to Mike and to Budd -- Mike for the exceptional presentation of complicated material (and the astonishing amount of prep work he invested up front to insure that result), and Budd for 95% (or more) of the leg work on our side. I just made the registration form and cashed checks...

In addition to being an especially capable instructor, Mike is one of the most user-friendly guest instructors we've ever hosted.

My very deep thanks to Mike, and an ippon! to Budd for seminar coordination.

-- Bob

MM
02-11-2008, 10:41 AM
Whatever you did or didn't do, Bob, I'll still say thanks for the seminar. No matter the level of commitment, you have been and are a very gracious host.

And definitely thanks to Budd and Mike. If you ever get a chance to meet Mike, don't pass it up.

It was a great workshop and I'm really glad that someone else thinks Budd is like a tank. :)

It was also nice to put more faces to names. Although the dinner conversation tended "to go there", it was still interesting. LOL.

Mark

Franco
02-11-2008, 10:46 AM
I was going to start a new thread with the title "Mike Sigman's reign of terror is over" ;), but I guess I'll just post here. Thanks to Mike for taking the time to teach and to Budd and the rest of the organizers for putting the event together. It was great. I find it strange that threads on the topic of "internal strength" ended up in a forum named "non-Aikido martial traditions", as if internal strength were some miscellaneous subject not really pertinent to Aikido.

Ron Tisdale
02-11-2008, 11:03 AM
Franco, I have to agree...I have come to believe that these training methods should be part and parcel of aikido, and the skills should be considered part of the basics. I don't know how that should happen, and I don't think I'm very far along that path...but the training and skills are needed, without a doubt.

As usual, Bob is too modest. It is rare indeed for a dojo cho to be as open to new material (BJJ, Ellis's material, Mike's material) and also to be so willing to intrust such important matters to one of their (relatively) new students. You deserve so much credit for fostering the level of serious dedication that your students display on a daily basis. All the best to you, and my hat is off...

Best,
Ron (Hey Mark, I promise not to go "there" for at least 1 week! :D)

Robert Wolfe
02-11-2008, 12:41 PM
"...so willing to intrust such important matters to one of their (relatively) new students."

Or maybe I'm just getting lazy…

I agree that the skills Mike presented need to be considered fundamentals, and we have to figure out the best means to introduce such consideration to our practice. That's going to be very tricky, not so much due to the nature of the skills as to the nature of the practitioners. Think of how many times Mike had to remind us to be proper uke in the context of this particular training, providing live but "stiff" resistance to allow nage an opportunity to sense the forces at work. Even without dealing with these internal skills, teaching students to be proper uke is in my opinion the most difficult aspect of aikido training. Trying to get people to provide proper, focused attacks, with follow up when appropriate, with serious mental intent, without being compliant or colluding when inappropriate, or just trying to defeat a technique they know is coming rather than trying to nail nage with the attack, is hard enough. Think of adding internal skills to this mix.

I'm reminded of Joe Simms' favorite quote, "Early success leads to further research." The opposite is true as well, and I can see students becoming very frustrated with an apparent lack of success with internal skills when the real problem is uke. Based on what we experienced over the weekend, my perception is that for most people the internal forces will be incredibly subtle to sense at first and will manifest only under really optimal training conditions (meaning a clued-in uke who knows how to provide an appropriate training platform).

But, hey, nobody said this was going to be easy.

-- Bob

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2008, 12:57 PM
Bob you bring up a good point concerning "proper uke". It was interesting the difference in Mike's methodology vice what I have considered in aikido in the past.

Prior to this, I would have said that this type of Uke was "incorrect" as it was not "responsive" in the nature of a "real attack".

You are correct that it is a challenge. It represents what I consider to be a huge difference. Many might interpret it as not being a "true attack" or "true pressure" therefore, invalidating the "reality" of our art.

Communicating and understaning the difference in this way of training is going to be a challenge. My partner and I had to be reminded many times that we were not doing it correct over the weekend!

ChrisMoses
02-11-2008, 02:06 PM
Prior to this, I would have said that this type of Uke was "incorrect" as it was not "responsive" in the nature of a "real attack".

You are correct that it is a challenge. It represents what I consider to be a huge difference. Many might interpret it as not being a "true attack" or "true pressure" therefore, invalidating the "reality" of our art.

Communicating and understaning the difference in this way of training is going to be a challenge. My partner and I had to be reminded many times that we were not doing it correct over the weekend!

Great points. I think a lot of people mistake what's going on during class as scenario based training as opposed to lessons to get glimpses at some deeper more fundamental truths/lessons. I did a one night guest instructor thing recently at a local Aikido dojo and we were working a very slow systematic cross hand grab kotegaeshi. One student called me over to ask about the ukemi. He asked if he should be grabbing and yanking, or grabbing and pushing or grabbing so that he could sucker-punch or kick nage. I responded that he might just grab as if it was an exercise in Aikido class and try to connect to his partner's center through the grab. No momentum, no tricks, just solid physical connection so that nage could really see when what he was doing worked, and when he had nothing. That's surprisingly hard for most folks (in my experience anyway).

I wasn't there for Mike's seminar, so hopefully that's along the lines of what you were saying. If not, apologies for the misunderstanding.

:)

Ron Tisdale
02-11-2008, 02:30 PM
I just added the issue mentioned above to the outline of my review...give me a couple of days to complete it, since work is a little crazy.

This is an important issue...and it should be understood first that this is a mode used to begin to understand and develop the entry level skills...so please, no critiques about it not being UFC ready... :D

Best,
Ron

Franco
02-11-2008, 03:00 PM
Hey Chris:

If I understood Mike correctly, he wanted uke to make a "solid" grab so as to allow nage to get a feel for the connection between uke's and nage's centers, and then be able to affect uke's center. Usually the grab had to be "stiff" but with a small force, not at all with the intent of actually overpowering nage, but just to connect. Whenever Mike went around and grabbed you, he was very gentle, but the connection was right there.

Somebody asked "what if uke's grab is limp?" and Mike's answer was along the lines of "then I step on their foot".

ChrisMoses
02-11-2008, 03:18 PM
Hey Chris:

If I understood Mike correctly, he wanted uke to make a "solid" grab so as to allow nage to get a feel for the connection between uke's and nage's centers, and then be able to affect uke's center.

Thanks, cool. Sounds like what I was talking about.

Somebody asked "what if uke's grab is limp?" and Mike's answer was along the lines of "then I step on their foot".

Even for slow 'static' interactions, there has to be an attack. A lot of times for us, that 'attack' is just uke trying to get into nage's spine through the limb(s). Even in this context, someone has to be attacking. If uke isn't going to attack, nage might as well do it! :D

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2008, 03:45 PM
In the context of the exercises he presented, I would be hesitant personally to even use the word "attack", or even consider them in the context of "martial". they were simply exercises to develop certain physical responses.

It could have been Alexander Technique, Yoga, or a multitude of other things.

You could do this stuff and never even become "martial".

I think this is the challenge you face when coupling it with martial training. We immediately want to get to the martial.

ChrisMoses
02-11-2008, 03:49 PM
Sorry, I was probably using the term "attack" a bit too broadly. You could substitute the word "connection" if you prefer.

Robert Wolfe
02-11-2008, 03:56 PM
Kevin,

That's it, exactly. My earlier post was incomplete. What I was trying to say is that we expect a lot of different things from uke -- some things are vastly different depending on the context, some might even be apparently contradictory, but optimal training depends on uke being up to whatever is needed.

I believe Mike also mentioned at least once something along the lines of, "Training isn't fighting."

-- Bob

George S. Ledyard
02-11-2008, 04:41 PM
I was going to start a new thread with the title "Mike Sigman's reign of terror is over" ;), but I guess I'll just post here. Thanks to Mike for taking the time to teach and to Budd and the rest of the organizers for putting the event together. It was great. I find it strange that threads on the topic of "internal strength" ended up in a forum named "non-Aikido martial traditions", as if internal strength were some miscellaneous subject not really pertinent to Aikido.

It's a simple fact that the folks who have the most to say on this subject are not Aikido folks, although Mike has an Aikido background. This is one of the problems, I think. It is folks from outside our art who have the most to say on the issue. While the subject is definitely pertinent, it is much cleaner to have the discussions in which the primary source of information is from outside the art take place under this heading. That way we can skip all of the "what are your credentials in Aikido that you are telling us what we should and should not be doing?" nonsense.

The whole point of these discussions is that Aikido as an art has largely lost the exercises which develop the kind of internal power the Founder and many of the old time deshi had. Putting the discussions here lets the Aikido folks who want to know a place to share the ideas and those who don't want to know can be happy talking the art in other ways. It just leaves people less upset this way.

I am glad the seminar went well... wish I could have gone but I was teaching elsewhere the same weekend. To much I want to do and too little time to do it...

Budd
02-11-2008, 06:46 PM
It was fun all around. Many thanks also to Budd Yuhasz and Bob Wolfe for accomodating me and going to so much trouble.


Mike - no trouble here whatsoever. It was an absolute blast to meet you and it was a privilege to help coordinate the workshop. Thank you so much for coming in to do it.

My very deep thanks to Mike, and an ippon! to Budd for seminar coordination.

Sensei, thanks for your sacrifices to set the example, make sure we have such an amazing place to train and access to such quality instruction. Can't ever be said enough.

such important matters to one of their (relatively) new students.

Oh, I'm gonna get you for that one, Ron ;)

Everyone else - it was a pleasure getting to see you on the mat . . .

Upyu
02-11-2008, 09:46 PM
In the context of the exercises he presented, I would be hesitant personally to even use the word "attack", or even consider them in the context of "martial". they were simply exercises to develop certain physical responses.

You could do this stuff and never even become "martial".

I think this is the challenge you face when coupling it with martial training. We immediately want to get to the martial.


It'll be interesting to hear if your ground game changes Kevin :D
There's some funky stuff you can do on the ground once your body has been conditioned for a year or two...

Mike Sigman
02-11-2008, 10:10 PM
The whole point of these discussions is that Aikido as an art has largely lost the exercises which develop the kind of internal power the Founder and many of the old time deshi had. Putting the discussions here lets the Aikido folks who want to know a place to share the ideas and those who don't want to know can be happy talking the art in other ways. It just leaves people less upset this way.Hi George:

Well, I came into Aikido looking for how to do these specific things, many years ago. If there had been a ready access to them, I would not have left and of course people in Aikido would not now also be looking outside for a source of this type of information. Q.E.D. ;)

I feel like I tried to cover too much information at the workshop, but on the other hand, I think the "big picture" was better served by covering a number of the facets in such a way to give a flavor of how things hang together as a whole.

As Kevin L. pointed out, these are mainly training exercises. The points about Uke's importance in helping Nage learn, at first, are critical (IMO), as several people have already noted. As the skills increase, of course Nage will begin (over time... not immediately) to be more fluent with the skills and will be able to utilize them as the core of techniques, rather than just as training devices. And of course, ultimately, the blend of mind-directed Ki skills should become automatic, so that ki-no-musubi manifests itself in response to any attack.

But anyway... I'm hoping the workshop kicked a few people into focusing their gaze and practice on developing those skills. I think that going back and reading much of the writings of Aikido now will turn on a few lights and help increase the appreciation of the depth of O-Sensei's art.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-11-2008, 10:53 PM
I believe what Mike is referring to is that shoulder strike he does...I can now say that there is no way in H_e_double_hockey_sticks I want to EVER get hit with that. Hi Ron:

I just wanted to point out that there is a very good chance that Shioda, if he had been closer to my weight, etc., would have done a shoulder-strike that was at least *similar*. He used a shoulder strike, but he was so diminutive (hey.... mass counts, most definitely, even when using the ki of Heaven and Earth. ;) ) that it may not have been so obvious. Plus, he certainly wouldn't be trying to kill his Uke's, so I'd put him down as a definite maybe. Secondly, I'd note in a quote by Miyamoto Musashi that he mentioned a shoulder strike capable of knocking someone far away, as a fighting technique.

Best.

Mike

Ecosamurai
02-12-2008, 04:51 AM
It's a simple fact that the folks who have the most to say on this subject are not Aikido folks, although Mike has an Aikido background. This is one of the problems, I think. It is folks from outside our art who have the most to say on the issue. While the subject is definitely pertinent, it is much cleaner to have the discussions in which the primary source of information is from outside the art take place under this heading. That way we can skip all of the "what are your credentials in Aikido that you are telling us what we should and should not be doing?" nonsense.

The whole point of these discussions is that Aikido as an art has largely lost the exercises which develop the kind of internal power the Founder and many of the old time deshi had. Putting the discussions here lets the Aikido folks who want to know a place to share the ideas and those who don't want to know can be happy talking the art in other ways. It just leaves people less upset this way.

I am glad the seminar went well... wish I could have gone but I was teaching elsewhere the same weekend. To much I want to do and too little time to do it...

FWIW, I agree with all of the above completely. However it does leave one area out. The folks in aikido who have made special effort to have internal strength placed squarely at the heart of the aikido that they do. Can't think of anything more irritating than being told you've lost something you haven't :)

Of course what then happens is that the guys from outside come along and say you're not doing this, I reply, actually yes I am and it gets assumed that I can't possibly be talking sense as, after all "aikido has lost this". Lots of arguments as a result.... so I'd be careful abut blanket statements such as aikido has declined and lost internal strength. Makes me want to re-hash the old phrase 'aikido works, yours doesn't but aikido does'.... Aikido has internal strength, yours doesn't, aikido does.

In any case, there are a few things Mike S has said lately that are really interesting so if you get a chance to go see him I imagine it'd be really worthwhile.

Just my 2pence

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-12-2008, 06:15 AM
FWIW, I agree with all of the above completely. However it does leave one area out. The folks in aikido who have made special effort to have internal strength placed squarely at the heart of the aikido that they do. Can't think of anything more irritating than being told you've lost something you haven't :)

Of course what then happens is that the guys from outside come along and say you're not doing this, I reply, actually yes I am and it gets assumed that I can't possibly be talking sense as, after all "aikido has lost this". Well, isn't that what a lot of these conversations are for..... describing the how's and why's of doing things, establishing a baseline discussion level, etc? I know full well what you mean about some un-named outsider coming along and not realizing how great and perceptive you already are, but in my experience the real problem is far more often that some guy has self-perception disorder (SPD) about what he can really do.

During a workshop, I will have felt the movements of everyone, and pretty thoroughly, during the first 15 minutes. I pretty much know what they can do because I can feel their level of using "Earth and Heaven" for power, how well-connected their body is, and whether or how much they can actually use the dantien as an automatic control point. I won't bore you with the statistics of what I usually encounter, but I will say that during and after a workshop the number of people who have successfully done most of the exercises and who decide that "they could already do that when they got here" can be staggering. And what's so funny is that it's not just me that catches sight of it.... so do a number of the cold-eyed other attendees.

So my comment would be that this forum would be good place to lay out some basic and original commentary if someone wants to establish his status of "already knows this stuff". Go for it. And yes, the reason I'm being a little acerbic about the subject is that I find (IME) that not only can a lot of people do much less than they think they can, they also put the weight of that faulty perception on their own students and convince those students "you don't need to go anywhere outside of this dojo to get all there is".

In short, my point is that if you want to discuss about how much is already known, not known, whatever, please do it freely an openly within the Aikido community. Tell what you know; show what you know; get out and meet people and most of all, encourage your students to be aggressively collecting all that they can. All that openess will do wonders toward correcting an error that has been allowed to get out of hand in Aikido.

Best.

Mike

guest945984
02-12-2008, 06:42 AM
I want to echo Mike's remark.

I attended his seminar this weekend and found it quite worth-while, even having already a beginner's level practice in Wu Taiji and various forms of bagua. Some of the exercises he taught us I had seen in the context of Wu Taiji and could adapt myself to quickly, but in those cases, it was using skills from taiji, and not anything I had ever been shown in practicing a mix of kempo, judo, and aikido with bits of Daito-ryu waza thrown in (which is what I did for the first part of my martial career). The idea of using peng jin (groundpath) was totally alien to me when I started bagua and taiji.

Even knowing a little bit of neijia (and I unconsciously muscle things a lot because I am so big and my center is pretty high up off the ground), there was a lot to see and learn from, especially how Mike stores energy and releases it from the lower back. That skill ("bend bow and shoot arrow") is something I have not had any practice at, and some of the drills he taught Saturday gave me a lot to think about.

I would be quite surprised if even 1 out of a 1,000 people practicing aikido or modern jujutsu derived from aikido can exhibit the power release ability (e.g. pole shaking or shoulder strikes) that Mike was easily able to show -- while keeping completely balanced. [And I am not claiming that taiji in general has better pedagogy for this, either. Given that over a million people practice taiji, I would say 1 in 10,000 for taiji...]

When you encounter skilled people such as Mike, regardless of your background there is always something to learn. Sometimes, things of great value. The real trick is in integrating these lessons into one's daily practice. I think people who are off on their own as opposed to part of a dojo have a slight advantage in that regard, because while they don't have a lot of bodies to work with, they also don't get corralled back into the old way of doing things due to external factors -- if they do, they only have themselves to blame.

Also, with teachers of martial arts, it might be difficult to adapt on another level -- when switching modes to a new way of generating force (vs isolated musculature or isometric tension), you might for a while actually get worse at what you teach, and lose the confidence of your students. But, you have to look past that for the longer-term goal of your development. That is probably a downside of being a teacher in an existing organization, where you still have to pay lip-service to the powers that be if you want to go-along to get-along and advance, be recognized for your contributions, etc.

Mark Raugas
http://www.innerdharma.org

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2008, 07:39 AM
Not saying that there are not people that have these skills in AIkido. I am sure they are there. What I found interesting was how concentrated, distilled, focused, and "1,2,3 this is how you do it" Mike layed this stuff out for us.

I suppose I could have spent the rest of the year going to seminars, summer camps etc and getting blips of what he was teaches and probably not really get too far in my practice as I would have never "holistically" looked at some of the problems I am having.

Mike layed it out in a very coherent, logical way.

I don't think that our higher, proficient shihan in aikido are trying to keep it a secret, maybe they simply do not have teaching skills to transmit it efficiently or something like that??? I don't know.

What I do know is that Mike possibly has saved me a lot of time. The key is that I now have to practice and exercise what he presented, and get with people that are competent such as him from time to time to expand my understanding.

Isn' that what we are all looking for anyway?

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2008, 07:48 AM
Rob,

Yes I am excited actually more about my BJJ/grappling than I am concerning my aikido practice. My BJJ partners, as you know, tend to put alot more committed feedback, pressure, and the grounding feedback is more solid and moves around from point to point in your body.

I don't know if I will make any gains in my ability to transmit/project the way Mike was showing me anytime soon, but I am certainly trying, and even this morining working my open guard and butterfly it seemed as if uke was a little lighter/lifting if I focused on some of the things/feelings that Mike presented. It is hard to tell.

One of the challenges I had in talking with MIke was trying to really grasp conceptually/cognitively in terms of my current reference/perception system. I kept finding myself asking Mike "In grappling I do this...is it the same concept?" Or in Yoga terms, they talk about "This"?

Mike would demonstrate the difference or explain the concept again, and show me the difference.

It was sort of like trying to describe an Elephant to a man that has not concept of an elephant. :)

So, the only thing I know to do is to do what he said do. Keep getting with guys in the area that are doing it, and then get back with Mike to see if I can see that Elephant a little more clearer in a few months!

Mike Sigman
02-12-2008, 08:10 AM
I don't think that our higher, proficient shihan in aikido are trying to keep it a secret, maybe they simply do not have teaching skills to transmit it efficiently or something like that??? Hi Kevin:

I agree. Some of the shihans have good skills in these things, some have only a smattering, and so forth. But it's certainly there, even if only in bits and pieces.

The main thing that happened this weekend is that a number of people got to see and work with something that many westerners considered mythical. But they got to see it, do it, feel it, consider it in terms of Aikido's tenets and principles.... so suddenly they know what it is, at least to a reasonably extent. So there's no longer this question of "does such a thing exist?". That means they can see which way to go in their own explorations instead of wasting years wondering anymore if it even exists.

Another point is that they now have enough feel and experience behind them that they'll know who, when they touch them, really has ki/kokyu skills, who just has a few rudiments that is being passed off as the Full Monty, and so forth. In other words, a lot of the confusion about which way to go will have cleared up.

In terms of techniques, it's now going to be possible to tell who simply "does good external technique" (no matter how 'subtle' those external techniques are) and who can do good technique while also using Ki skills. It will probably be both a boon to Aikido and a curse, because it's going to take some of the Santa Claus away from the idea that all shihans are equally capable or equally "have these skills". Now some people know what to look for and they're going to start doing what the informed martial artists in Asia do all the time.... go around looking for who knows what about these skills. ;)

But you know, it's a ray of sunshine (IMO) for Aikido.

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2008, 08:32 AM
Mike wrote:

In terms of techniques, it's now going to be possible to tell who simply "does good external technique" (no matter how 'subtle' those external techniques are) and who can do good technique while also using Ki skills.

This was the tough one for me this weekend. Trying to distingush between external technique and internal. The exercises and uke's "pressure" pretty much eliminated the ability to use external technique, to do things such as shift weight offline, irimi, establish fulcrums, pivot points etc. Once you remove these things from the equation you are left with using grounding, aiki, ki, chi or what not. Guys like me, as you felt, become befuddled when attempting to access the ground and result to what we know by using shoulder/arm strength, or torsion or leaning at the trunk to generate power. It is hard, because big guys like myself can be successful in this way, but as you demonstrated, it doesn't really generate much power in the same way.

So, the challenge is distingushing between the two types of power/advantage strategies. You can be successful with both strategies for sure, and for guys like me, it can definitely be a challenge to distingush the difference in yourself.

Mike Sigman
02-12-2008, 08:42 AM
This was the tough one for me this weekend. Trying to distingush between external technique and internal. The exercises and uke's "pressure" pretty much eliminated the ability to use external technique, to do things such as shift weight offline, irimi, establish fulcrums, pivot points etc. Once you remove these things from the equation you are left with using grounding, aiki, ki, chi or what not. Guys like me, as you felt, become befuddled when attempting to access the ground and result to what we know by using shoulder/arm strength, or torsion or leaning at the trunk to generate power. It is hard, because big guys like myself can be successful in this way, but as you demonstrated, it doesn't really generate much power in the same way.

So, the challenge is distingushing between the two types of power/advantage strategies. You can be successful with both strategies for sure, and for guys like me, it can definitely be a challenge to distingush the difference in yourself.Exactly. Now you see what I mean about how difficult the changeover can be, particularly for someone who has trained hard and diligently to use their body in one mode for many, many techniques. The changeover to ki and dantien can be a completely different planet.

However, the ability to use the earth, gravity, "suit", and dantien as the source of "natural" power isn't that hard to grasp academically (even though the changeover to a different mode of movement can seem to be almost impossible at first).

The point I'd make to you, Ron, and some others is..... can you now begin to see how Aikido, using this sort of power, could be dynamically effective as a martial-art in itself, rather than needing some other art to complement it? Once you begin to see the level of power that Aikido is supposed to use, rather than just simple waza, Aikido (at least in my opinion) ain't so shabby. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
02-12-2008, 09:11 AM
Not shabby at all!

I've always been concerned about going outside for things like striking, close in grappling, etc., because you have to be careful not to adopt things whose principles actually conflict with what we are SUPPOSED to be doing in Aikido. That is why I would look at an art like Daito ryu, as opposed to modern kickboxing, for example, if I wanted to do more striking.

I am still very wary however, of fooling myself. The level of sophistication available with this material is daunting. And it is way too easy to THINK you are connecting, connected, and supporting from the ground when you are not.

Mike has said several times that the approach the Ki Society's use of seperate tracks is a good one, and I can see why, since it keeps the martial side seperate from the skills in this area. Something to definately examine.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-12-2008, 09:18 AM
Mike has said several times that the approach the Ki Society uses of seperate tracks is a good one, and I can see why, since it keeps the martial side seperate from the skills in this area. Something to definately examine.Exactly, Ron. Tohei's systemization of Aikido waza and Ki skills turns out to not be bad at all. Of course, I'd argue that if he took as explicative an approach as I tried to do over the weekend, it would help tremendously (although we did a wider range of skills than Ki Society uses)..... but that's just my opinion about the *details*. The important part to note is that it suddenly becomes easy to see how Ki Society, ASU, Aikikai, etc., suddenly become reconciled when/if they all use the core Ki principles, whereas if all you see is waza, etc., the factions of Aikido look separate indeed.

Best.

Mike

Jim Sorrentino
02-12-2008, 10:21 AM
Greetings All,

The seminar was excellent on all counts! Bravo to Mike Sigman, Bob Wolfe, Budd Yuhasz, and the Itten Dojo for making it work.

The comments of Kevin Leavitt and other participants brought to my mind the following passage from Stan Pranin's interview with Seishiro Endo-sensei in Aikido Journal #106. I hope others find it useful as well.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

AJ: I understand your aikido underwent a change as you entered your 30s?

Endo: When I was 30 years old I dislocated my right shoulder. That event brought me to a turning point. Seigo Yamaguchi said to me, "You've been doing aikido for 10 years now, but now you have only your left arm to use, what are you going to do? Up to then I hadn't trained very much under Yamaguchi Sensei, but after he said that I made it a point to get to his classes as much as possible. I started to realize how much I was relying on the strength in my upper arms and body during training. I asked myself whether I could go on doing aikido like that for the rest of my life. Yamaguchi Sensei's question was just the thing to send me into a tailspin, into the next level of training that I needed to pursue. I took the opportunity to turn my approach to aikido around 180 degrees. I'm sure everybody remembers being told on at least one occasion to "take the strength out of your shoulders." Yamaguchi Sensei also talked about this - about doing aikido without relying on strength. It's more easily said than done, of course. When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it! That's to be expected.

You might draw an analogy with learning to ski. When you follow a skilled teacher you seem to improve rapidly and to swish smoothly down the slopes. But things start to fall apart the moment you try skiing on your own with no teacher to guide you. I experienced something similar in trying to rid my aikido of strength. I could do it when Yamaguchi Sensei was around, but as soon as I went somewhere else, I found myself suddenly incapable. It was very frustrating and I'd always end up falling back on powering my way through techniques. I struggled with that problem for nearly six months.

I think it was Shinran [1173-1263, founder of the Jodoshin sect of Pure Land Buddhism] who said, "Even if what my teacher Honen tells me seems mistaken; even if it seems I am being misled, I have absolute faith in what I have been doing and so I follow my master's way, even if it leads to Hell." I thought, well, why not? If I'm going to be misled by Yamaguchi Sensei then so be it! Yamaguchi Sensei told me the same thing, "Even if you don't understand it, just take my word for it and do it. Just give it 10 years or so." So that's what I did. Rather than trying to get rid of strength and then falling back on it when the techniques didn't work, I resolved to explore the no-strength way exclusively, no matter what. But, even though I'd made up my own mind, the training environment hadn't changed. It didn't take long to realize that my training partners weren't simply going to fall for me when I tried throwing them without using strength.

I had no alternative but to say to them, "Look, I can't really do these techniques right now, but can I ask you fall anyway?" It was a highly unusual thing for a 4th dan to ask. People were a bit surprised. Anyway, that's how I began my "squishy" approach to training. I took extreme care to avoid getting frustrated, because I knew that doing so would send me right back to relying on strength. When I was taking ukemi for Yamaguchi Sensei he would murmur things under his breath like, "The more you let go of your strength, the more your ki will concentrate," and "Focus your strength in your lower abdomen." I tried to remain acutely aware of what was going on when taking ukemi, no matter what was done to me, and after a few years I began to understand what he was talking about and what he was doing. I knew I had finally found an approach to training that would work for me.

From then on I worked to intensify that feeling by doing one technique exclusively for a certain period of time. For example, I would do nothing but shomenuchi ikkyo for six months, no matter what dojo I was at. Training like that gave me a deeper understanding of each technique. It helped me realize how to approach each technique in different situations, and also how the principles from one technique could be applied to other techniques. When I'm teaching these days, I often say things like, "Look closely at yourself and feel what you're doing," or "Feel your partner and know the relationship between yourself and your partner." By self I mean both your state of mind and the physical balance of your body, as well as the relationship between the two. There's an expression, "mind, technique, and body are one" (shingitai itchi). When your mind is in disarray, your body isn't able to move efficiently and effectively. Likewise an unbalanced body can agitate your mind to the point where you will be unable to correctly understand your relationship with your partner, and this will prevent you from doing the technique you need to do. Once you've made the initial encounter (deai), shifted your body appropriately (taisabaki), and unbalanced your partner (kuzushi), it is essential to then instantly perceive what technique will naturally spring into being given the set of conditions emerging between the two of you.

O-Sensei talked about "becoming One with the Cosmos" or "being at one with Nature." One way to interpret this is that, rather than simply forcing your way through techniques according to your own one-sided will, you should perceive what techniques come into being naturally. That is, the techniques that arise naturally, given the relationship between you and your partner. We usually learn aikido by going through the techniques one by one, repeatedly practicing whatever the teacher shows us. That means we have to do that particular technique no matter what, even if it involves unnecessary effort and movements that don't arise entirely naturally. It's important to be able to monitor yourself and recognize such unnatural effort. You need to be perceptive and objective enough to say to yourself, for example, "My last technique was good, but the meeting (deai) between my partner and me is no longer working." It's important to constantly check yourself to make sure you maintain an awareness of whether or not the movements you're doing are truly natural ones.

It was only after I began training without using any strength at all that I was able to instantly change whatever technique I happened to be doing into some other technique. It makes sense, of course, that the less effort there is involved, the easier it is to switch to something else. As I was working through that concept, I also recalled that O-Sensei often used to say, "When it's like this, you do this, when it's like this other way, you do this other thing," all the while never doing the same thing twice. I thought, "Ah, I think I know what he meant by that!" With that sort of approach you never end up using excessive effort because one thing simply changes into another as needed.

Imagine a river full of stones. When the water encounters small stones it flows over them. When it encounters larger ones it flows around them. Even if you dam the river the water doesn't really stop; the potential energy is still there swirling around and building up behind the dam, trying to break through or spill over the top. Aikido is the same. It's no longer a "living" path if you limit yourself to meeting an encounter with a specific technique. It's important to be able to change and move on to something else the instant the conditions change and what you're doing ceases to have the desired effect. It's not just a matter of flowing into something different when you find yourself blocked; it's also necessary to investigate how to "store up energy." We all have possibilities we're unaware of, so we need to think about how we might draw out, amplify, and apply that latent energy.

In the "Tora no Maki," a work said to contain quintessential secrets of martial arts and strategy, it says, "What comes is met; what goes is sent on its way; what is in opposition is harmonized. Five and five is ten; two and eight is ten; one and nine is ten. In this way should things be harmonized. Distinguish appearance and reality, grasping both true intent and concealed strategies and deceptions; know unseen potentials and hidden implications. Understand that which is of the grand scheme and attend to details and particulars as necessary. When a situation of life or death is at hand, respond to the myriad changes taking place and face situations with a mind free of agitation."

This passage has provided me with vast food for thought. Those words are probably applicable not only to aikido training, but also to many other aspects of life. Certainly, we learn such things through our aikido training but, realistically speaking, most of us spend more time outside the dojo than in it, so it would be strange not to acknowledge that what we learn in the dojo extends to other aspects of life as well. It's not altogether appropriate to speak of winning and losing when talking about aikido, but the best kind of winning, I think, is when you have achieved harmony with your opponent, and both you and your opponent have felt that harmony.

In my view, the best technique is one in which neither party experiences feelings of having won or lost, but rather of having "met successfully." Such a thing does exist, even if it happens only one time in a million. Our goal in training is to make that occurrence one time in half a million, one time in a hundred thousand, and so on. Whether or not a person has faith that that one time will come, and whether or not they overlook it when it does, depends on how seriously they approach their training. I place great importance on this kind of thing. The person who maintains a diligent awareness of his or her self will realize it when that one time comes around. With that sort of awareness you can scrutinize yourself and feel your relationship to your partner. When a given technique turns out perfectly, it is perfect only at that moment; when the meeting between you and your partner is flawed it won't turn out perfectly. When that happens, you shouldn't necessarily try to avoid it but accept the imperfection and consider how to make the best of the relationship.

ChrisMoses
02-12-2008, 11:11 AM
It was sort of like trying to describe an Elephant to a man that has not concept of an elephant. :)

So, the only thing I know to do is to do what he said do. Keep getting with guys in the area that are doing it, and then get back with Mike to see if I can see that Elephant a little more clearer in a few months!

Hey Kevin, this reminded me of the discussion we were having over in the sankyo-armbar thread. You made a comment that I decided to just leave alone at the time:

Why does ikkyo work? (actually mine doesn't so well these days!)

I think ikkyo works only because uke is moving to avoid pain, or the potential of pain. This is why it does not work so well on beginners I am finding today. They don't understand the dynamic of ikkyo so they can learn soon to counteract it! However, through in atemi (pain), then it works.

Nikkyo. Nikkyo only really works, I think, if uke is moving appropriately to avoid pain.

Sankyo. If uke does not back out around his center as you drive through it, well then he gets pain.

Yonkyo. Suprisingly I don't really like the whole radial nerve pressure point thing, but concur that it is best to drive the arm back into uke's center. But what keeps uke in position for you to affect his center? Avoidance of pain.

Same with the rest.

You cannot remove the potential for pain. However, as you state, simple reliance on it is not enough. I agree. Primarily the principle is about controlling center.

I'd encourage you to think about our conversation and your above assertions possibly given some of the new stuff you've worked with at the seminar. Did the stuff Mike showed hurt or did it simply move you regardless of your intent to be moved? This is one of the really frustrating things with discussing 'aikido' online. What you described above, I wouldn't consider to be 'aiki'. It's just jujutsu kansetsu waza. Also, I'm not saying that aiki can't cause injury or pain, but the idea that aiki comes from the threat of pain shows a lack of experience with (what I consider to be) real aiki. It's my belief that most (90% or more) of folks studying Aikido in the US, have never actually felt real aiki, just good clean jujutsu. Anyway, I really hope you take my comments as just something to think about now that you might have some new information. :)

Ron Tisdale
02-12-2008, 12:54 PM
In the "Tora no Maki," a work said to contain quintessential secrets of martial arts and strategy, it says, "What comes is met; what goes is sent on its way; what is in opposition is harmonized. Five and five is ten; two and eight is ten; one and nine is ten. In this way should things be harmonized. Distinguish appearance and reality, grasping both true intent and concealed strategies and deceptions; know unseen potentials and hidden implications. Understand that which is of the grand scheme and attend to details and particulars as necessary. When a situation of life or death is at hand, respond to the myriad changes taking place and face situations with a mind free of agitation."

One of my favorite sayings! One of my teacher's faves as well.

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2008, 05:51 PM
Chris,
Thanks for bring that up. Good points.

I am certainly open to a new outlook, and I still have lots to process for sure, so I would not say definitively this is my final answer. BUT.

I would still stand by my original assertion concerning the concept of pain making those things work. That is the rote techniques of jiujistu.

However I would also agree based on what Mike taught, that it is not aiki, but good jiujitsu.

We did not do much in the way of joint locks, but we did work on nikkyo a little. Mike reinforced to me that it does not work without positional dominance, moving or pain. He could ground out the technique and bounce me back. I could do the same, that is ground out the technique, although I could not bounce it back. Regardless, you were not going to get Nikkyo.

My impression is this:

You can root or access center from just about any position or technique....the technique is not what is important. the hand/arm could be in any position it does not seem to matter. So based on what I saw, i'd throw out those techniques all together when discussing the aiki part, AND I'd contend that to make those techniques work as the techniques they were designed to be, that they require either pain or the threat of pain/avoidance to make them work.

Combining the aiki(accessing power) and the jiujitsu (Positional Dominance) though and you have a much broader range of options to affect the situation.

Jiujitsu becomes much more adaptive for sure!

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2008, 06:02 PM
Another thought. I am not sure what anyone's impression is concerning "controlling center" is after this weekend. My impression is that while apart of the aiki thing, that it is incomplete when discussing aiki. There is much more to this than simply accessing uke's center and controlling it.

I think I would also put that into the category of "good jiujitsu" or "a part of aiki", but not aiki in and of itself.

Ron Tisdale
02-13-2008, 07:42 AM
Good thoughts Kevin.

I found when training with Dan, that the kind of power he displayed is what makes Aikido as jujutsu work against all kinds of stress. Putting the Aiki back in the Do, so to speak.

I re-affirmed that with Akuzawa and Rob John.

And now with Mike, though his perspectives and training differ somewhat.

Some combination of correct body structure, the ability to return uke's power along the same line of force (effectively bleeding their strength and then responding with power in the gap created), issuing even more power from the ground as needed (as with the heel bounce)...these things, to me put the Aiki back in the Do, and bring jujutsu alive. Understanding that the waza is not the important part is a HUGE step.

I hope in a review of the seminar to put together some thoughts regarding the 3 experiences, and to maybe get a jump on plotting at least my own course forward in my training.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-13-2008, 07:43 AM
We did not do much in the way of joint locks, but we did work on nikkyo a little. Mike reinforced to me that it does not work without positional dominance, moving or pain. He could ground out the technique and bounce me back. I could do the same, that is ground out the technique, although I could not bounce it back. Regardless, you were not going to get Nikkyo.Hi Kevin:

Just to clarify a little, I was only using a limited approach to nikkyo as one of the examples to teach people to bring jin/kokyu-power where they wanted, at will. We also did "unbendable arm" and a few others simply to get people used to bringing jin where they wanted it. The actual challenge strength to the body was not enough to say that we seriously attempt an attack. I.e., it was just a training thingy. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-13-2008, 07:55 AM
I hope in a review of the seminar to put together some thoughts regarding the 3 experiences, and to maybe get a jump on plotting at least my own course forward in my training.Hi Ron:

BTW, I was telling some people on QiJin how impressed I was about the *speed* of the learning by the Aikidoists. It was very noticeable.

I'd like to recommend that the people at the workshop take a look at the exercises Tohei does in the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nj_7ctIWbM

They're good exercises.... and how/why to do them should be fairly clear now.

Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
02-13-2008, 08:07 AM
Hey Mike, be carefull with compliments! ;) They tend to go to my big head! :D

I have mixed feelings on the idea that our training has in some ways prepared us for this step. Sometimes I think so...other times I'm not as sure. Did you see how quickly I reverted to shoulder use on sumi otoshi? (I know you did!) lol

Ah well, more training...

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-13-2008, 08:21 AM
Did you see how quickly I reverted to shoulder use on sumi otoshi? (I know you did!) lol
The important thing is that *you* can see it, Ron. Because I'm not going to be there. The worry is about guys who use their shoulders but who are convinced they don't! ;) And hey.... I have to monitor myself constantly, too. My general rule of thumb is: "I'm sure I'm doing something wrong... what is it this time?"

Best.

Mike

ChrisMoses
02-13-2008, 08:22 AM
Another thought. I am not sure what anyone's impression is concerning "controlling center" is after this weekend. My impression is that while apart of the aiki thing, that it is incomplete when discussing aiki. There is much more to this than simply accessing uke's center and controlling it.

I think I would also put that into the category of "good jiujitsu" or "a part of aiki", but not aiki in and of itself.

Well said. I don't think you can distill 'aiki' down to any one thing. It manifests when numerous things all come together.

Also to be clear, I'm not saying "aikido good, jujutsu bad." I think that jujutsu is the foundation for (at least the external side) of aiki, and that without a solid foundation in good old fashioned jujutsu, one's aiki will always be lacking. When we get new folks, particularly those with Aikido backgrounds, we start them with Judo (and now the Aunkai basics too). If you look at how Daito Ryu intellectualizes their curriculum, they have three overlapping types of waza: jujutsu, aikijujutsu and aiki no jutsu (at least that's how I've seen it explained from several sources). I really appreciate that distinction, even though they still make it clear that even the jujutsu portion can be done "with aiki". Sorry, kinda wandering this morning... :crazy:

Mike Sigman
02-13-2008, 08:35 AM
I'd like to recommend that the people at the workshop take a look at the exercises Tohei does in the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nj_7ctIWbM

They're good exercises.... and how/why to do them should be fairly clear now.

Best.

MikeI should have included this Shioda video. Starting around 1:21 he uses fairly good and clear examples of kokyu/jin and "holes":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIowy89IXco

Best.

Mike

clwk
02-13-2008, 08:37 AM
We did not do much in the way of joint locks, but we did work on nikkyo a little. Mike reinforced to me that it does not work without positional dominance, moving or pain. He could ground out the technique and bounce me back. I could do the same, that is ground out the technique, although I could not bounce it back. Regardless, you were not going to get Nikkyo.

Kevin, I wasn't there so take this for what it's worth.

Just to clarify a little, I was only using a limited approach to nikkyo as one of the examples to teach people to bring jin/kokyu-power where they wanted, at will.

I think Mike is being polite (and therefore oblique) here, but it's worth belaboring the point. If you just learned how to 'stop' the technique using the ground, Mike (or someone else skilled) would still be able to slap that puppy on you if he actually wanted to. I mention this as something possibly worth considering as you wander in a new direction.

What do you have to do to make locks work as controls when someone can 'block' them? Someone good enough (I experienced this definitively with Chen Xiao Wang) can block that too, but I think there's more to it than just 'step 1'. Don't take that as a criticism, just a suggestion that you may not have exhausted the mine of joint locks just yet. Keep digging, there's more in there.

-ck

HL1978
02-13-2008, 09:48 AM
The important thing is that *you* can see it, Ron. Because I'm not going to be there. The worry is about guys who use their shoulders but who are convinced they don't! ;) And hey.... I have to monitor myself constantly, too. My general rule of thumb is: "I'm sure I'm doing something wrong... what is it this time?"

Best.

Mike

This element is absolutely crucial to ones own training. You have to be able to feel it in yourself when you switch over from one mode to another. You have to be able to feel it in your training partner too.

It helps, assuming if you train with a partner who is familiar with the sensation to have them tell you if they feel you muscling it, because sometimes you forget, concentrating on something else, etc.

This isn't addressed to anyone in particular:
On a side note, the reason why everyone in martial arts has always been told "to relax" (and many many other things) makes a lot more sense, doesn't it?

gregstec
02-13-2008, 01:32 PM
I'd like to recommend that the people at the workshop take a look at the exercises Tohei does in the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nj_7ctIWbM

They're good exercises.... and how/why to do them should be fairly clear now.

Best.

Mike

Looks like the standard Aiki taiso from the Ki Society, at least the ones I remember from my training during the early days of the Ki Society. I am not sure if current Ki Society dojos here in the states still do them all, but I have noticed some of the exercises are performed in the AAA, AWA, Iwama & ASU dojos I have been at recently.

Learning the movements are easy, however, the hard part is doing them while applying Tohei's four principles of mind and body coordination - extend ki, keep one point, keep weight underside, & relax totally - which, of course, is the purpose of the exercises.

Greg

jim312uav
02-13-2008, 02:22 PM
The worry is about guys who use their shoulders but who are convinced they don't!
For me this is really going to be incredibly hard. I can't tell you how many times this weekend I thought I started to make progress (mind you very minor progress) and would then catch myself using my shoulders.

Mike Sigman
02-13-2008, 03:14 PM
For me this is really going to be incredibly hard. I can't tell you how many times this weekend I thought I started to make progress (mind you very minor progress) and would then catch myself using my shoulders.Hi Jim:
Well, as someone who has gone through it all himself, let me say that your observations are crucial to correcting yourself. It's when someone uses a lot of shoulder, yet they convince themselves that they "were almost doing that jin/kokyu stuff already" that they're doomed to failure. I could feel the guys who were already doing some of it or almost already doing it... and they're not the ones who thought they were already doing some of it! ;)

And really, I say this caution not to chastise anyone or put them in their place... I say it because I know from experience that the new guys who think they are "already doing this to some real degree" are doomed. But I don't say a lot to try and change their minds when I hear them say those potentially suicidal words because it seldom changes their minds. And besides, people have to be responsible for what they do, themselves.

Did I mention "been there, done that myself"? The best assumption is that you're doing it wrong and based on that, critically look for the flaws. I know. I wasted a lot of time *at more than one stage* because I thought I was doing things right when I wasn't.

Best.

Mike

Ecosamurai
02-17-2008, 05:04 PM
Hi Ron:

BTW, I was telling some people on QiJin how impressed I was about the *speed* of the learning by the Aikidoists. It was very noticeable.

I'd like to recommend that the people at the workshop take a look at the exercises Tohei does in the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nj_7ctIWbM

They're good exercises.... and how/why to do them should be fairly clear now.

Best.

Mike

Those are the standard ki soc warmup exercises, we do them most lessons here, they're also a large proportion of the ki test movements, assessed at various levels for mind and body coordination and ki.

I'd be very curious to hear a more detailed explanation of them from you Mike, meaning, how you see them from your point of view and how you'd explain how to do them correctly. Mostly because I've been teaching them for years and am always looking for new and better ways to explain them with regards to ki skills, I'm sure you have interesting insights :)

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-17-2008, 05:26 PM
Those are the standard ki soc warmup exercises, we do them most lessons here, But then again, most Aikidoists have seen those exercises at some time and most Ki-Society dojos have them as part of their syllabus. Most people don't understand them, do them wrong, or do them with some major gaps. I pointed them out numerous times on this forum as being fine exercises, once someone knows how. Your position has always been that you already know and do all this stuff, so I say "go for it".

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
02-18-2008, 02:49 AM
But then again, most Aikidoists have seen those exercises at some time and most Ki-Society dojos have them as part of their syllabus. Most people don't understand them, do them wrong, or do them with some major gaps. I pointed them out numerous times on this forum as being fine exercises, once someone knows how. Your position has always been that you already know and do all this stuff, so I say "go for it".

Yes, thats been my position. Your response to me saying that has almost always been to lump me into a category of people who say they do these things but don't actually do them. Until we happen to meet up somewhere I doubt it'll ever be resolved and I certainly have no interest in arranging a 'Workshop with Mike Haft on Ki in Aikido' and promoting it on the internet as I'd mostly see that as a self-promoting exercise, and I've no interest in that really, I'd net even be particularly interested if someone else wanted to arrange it and invite me, its just not me. However I understand you have your reasons and that they aren't bad ones either.

In this case however, I am genuinely interested to hear your thoughts on say, funakogi undo, the first exercise demonstrated by Tohei Sensei in that clip after the wrist exercises (IIRC that is). I figure you've been doing this stuff longer than me and even though you're primarily a CMA guy and so there are some differences between ki-aikido and what you do, it'd be interesting.

Best

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 07:52 AM
Yes, thats been my position. Your response to me saying that has almost always been to lump me into a category of people who say they do these things but don't actually do them. Or do them at some ho-hum level. Don't forget that you've also spent a fair amount of time disparaging others, on top of giving an impression of what you can do. There's no free pass on that. In this case however, I am genuinely interested to hear your thoughts on say, funakogi undo, the first exercise demonstrated by Tohei Sensei in that clip after the wrist exercises (IIRC that is). I figure you've been doing this stuff longer than me and even though you're primarily a CMA guy and so there are some differences between ki-aikido and what you do, it'd be interesting.Undoubtedly there are differences. My thought is that by telling people (and showing them) the core skills, it's fairly easy to custom-build the content of any good taiso with kokyu and ki content. Probably within the next 6 months or so, you'll see more and more Aikidoists posting who are moving ahead with these things and who can probably post with a fresher perspective than I've got. These are interesting times to watch.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
02-18-2008, 08:14 AM
Or do them at some ho-hum level. Don't forget that you've also spent a fair amount of time disparaging others, on top of giving an impression of what you can do. There's no free pass on that.

Actually, I've only ever said that I agree with much of what you have said, I've never doubted your ability. I've described what I can do at times as its been appropriate to the discussion to do so. I've never boasted or bragged about my level of skill in these things. If I've been disparaging its only ever been about the enourmous ego it takes to go and tell someone from another art that they're doing their art wrong. I'd not go to a Tai Chi or Bagua or BJJ website and behave the way you and others have. But, like I said, you have your reasons and they're not all bad ones either.

Undoubtedly there are differences. My thought is that by telling people (and showing them) the core skills, it's fairly easy to custom-build the content of any good taiso with kokyu and ki content. Probably within the next 6 months or so, you'll see more and more Aikidoists posting who are moving ahead with these things and who can probably post with a fresher perspective than I've got. These are interesting times to watch.

So, in other words, no you're not going to give a detailed answer? Well, that's a shame really I'd have been interested to hear your thoughts.

Regards

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 08:37 AM
I'd not go to a Tai Chi or Bagua or BJJ website and behave the way you and others have. Bear in mind that I have a respectable number of years of training in Judo, Uechi Ryu karate, Aikido, taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi. I have never visited a BJJ site. Bear in mind also that I tend to post useable how-to information (with drawing and diagrams). There's quite a difference between all of that and the inference that some outsider goes and posts troll-droppings in arts where he has no background. But you can't imagine yourself going to some website of an art that you don't know anything about and posting that people are doing it wrong. Fair enough. I can't imagine insulting anyone and then expecting them to teach me anything.... nor would I have the balls to insult anyone and then later ask their advice. A little too weird, even for bien-pensant Aikido. ;)So, in other words, no you're not going to give a detailed answer? Well, that's a shame really I'd have been interested to hear your thoughts. I've given that particular answer at times in the past. It's pointless to keep posting the same stuff.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
02-18-2008, 08:59 AM
Bear in mind that I have a respectable number of years of training in Judo, Uechi Ryu karate, Aikido, taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi.

And my 'respectable amount of years' in Tai Chi perhaps should also be considered, espcially in light of my comment that I wouldn't go to a Tai Chi forum and attempt to enlighten them.

I can't imagine insulting anyone and then expecting them to teach me anything.... nor would I have the balls to insult anyone and then later ask their advice.

Boy did you read that one wrong.... :eek: I'm not asking for you to teach me or give me advice seeing as I have a perectly good teacher and, as you yourself have said in the past, you need to learn this stuff hands on really. So quite why you decided that I was asking you to teach me anything is a bit of a loss to me. A telling assumption methinks. Perhaps I was right about that ego thang after all :D j/k, that was prolly a bit harsh... I may not have been clear in my original post, but it was really just idle curiosity on my part rather than some sincere desire to learn at your feet, accompanied no doubt by various sycophantic hyperbole and a good old fashioned keppan :)

Catch you later.

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 09:07 AM
Well, good luck with your search. Since your teacher already has everything, I'm not even sure why you hang around these boards.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
02-18-2008, 09:17 AM
Well, good luck with your search. Since your teacher already has everything, I'm not even sure why you hang around these boards.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

If he had everything I wouldn't be learning kendo and iaido with other people (especially seeing as he also teaches iaido)... no need to be snide. Perhaps you should stop taking yourself too seriously :)

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 10:28 AM
I think I'll close this thread myself and save you the trouble of mucking it up even further, Haft.

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
02-18-2008, 10:37 AM
I think I'll close this thread myself and save you the trouble of mucking it up even further, Haft.

Mike Sigman

I came to this thread with a positive contribution and a genuine question born out of curiosity which you didn't deign to answer simply because it was me who posted it. I'd say it was an equal partnership in 'mucking it up', Sigman.

MH

Dan Austin
02-18-2008, 12:08 PM
I came to this thread with a positive contribution and a genuine question born out of curiosity which you didn't deign to answer simply because it was me who posted it. I'd say it was an equal partnership in 'mucking it up', Sigman.

MH

As a random observer and connoisseur of egotistical Internet postings, I would say no. I can see how Mr. Sigman's posting style would ruffle feathers, but he does answer questions and people did say he provided excellent material in person. It seems he can walk the walk. I've yet to see anyone who's met one of the Internal Guys(tm) come back and say they already knew what they did, so your implicit claims are rather dubious. All you've done from the get-go is intimate that you know everything he knows. The most suspicious and illogical part is that since you've never met him, you can't even know what his set of skills actually consists of, ergo there is no logical basis for your position. So, implying that you know them is rather silly and puts the ego squarely on your end, if you're interested in keeping score. ;)

Perhaps when there are people who have met you in addition to the Internal Guys(tm) then we'll see the names Dan, Mike S., Rob, Akuzawa, and Mike H all mentioned in the same breath. ;)

Ron Tisdale
02-18-2008, 12:20 PM
Hi Dan,

What folks should understand is that it just doesn't matter. People will do what they will do. People can do what they can do. This ceaseless picking on the board goes nowhere. One day folks might get that...but by then there will be newbies along shortly to start it all over again.

So what counts? What folks can or cannot do, in person. How much or how little and whether or not they are open to learning.

Best,
Ron (if they are not, don't waste time, it's fairly precious)

Ron Tisdale
02-18-2008, 12:32 PM
PS

Actually, after reading today's threads, I think I've changed my mind about posting a review.

Best,
Ron

Ecosamurai
02-18-2008, 12:32 PM
As a random observer and connoisseur of egotistical Internet postings, I would say no. I can see how Mr. Sigman's posting style would ruffle feathers, but he does answer questions and people did say he provided excellent material in person. It seems he can walk the walk. I've yet to see anyone who's met one of the Internal Guys(tm) come back and say they already knew what they did, so your implicit claims are rather dubious. All you've done from the get-go is intimate that you know everything he knows. The most suspicious and illogical part is that since you've never met him, you can't even know what his set of skills actually consists of, ergo there is no logical basis for your position. So, implying that you know them is rather silly and puts the ego squarely on your end, if you're interested in keeping score. ;)

Thats just plain wrong. I've usually been known to imply that Mike is probably better at this stuff than me by virtue if nothing else that he's been at it longer, same for other guys too. I've also got no interest in promoting myself as being some great IMA master, nor have I done so. My point is however, often that it takes a large ego to tell someone from another art that they're doing their own art wrong. Its not something I'd do.

Perhaps when there are people who have met you in addition to the Internal Guys(tm) then we'll see the names Dan, Mike S., Rob, Akuzawa, and Mike H all mentioned in the same breath. ;)

Thats not a list I'd particularly want to see my name on.

Mike

Dan Austin
02-18-2008, 12:37 PM
Hi Dan,

What folks should understand is that it just doesn't matter. People will do what they will do. People can do what they can do. This ceaseless picking on the board goes nowhere. One day folks might get that...but by then there will be newbies along shortly to start it all over again.

So what counts? What folks can or cannot do, in person. How much or how little and whether or not they are open to learning.

Best,
Ron (if they are not, don't waste time, it's fairly precious)

Hi Ron,

Oh trust me, I know. I find ego amusing. It is annoying because the sniping can make people unwilling to share. Mike Haft hasn't shared anything, so he's no loss, but Mike Sigman is obviously willing to share what he knows. I think it's going to be a typical reaction. The writing on the wall appears to be that these skills are valid and not well known, so the people who are currently teachers in Aikido have a choice of reaction. Some will get excited about it, as the people who have gone to see these gentlemen show, while others will be vested in their teacher status and not want to start from square one. Of the latter there will undoubtedly be a subset who will claim that they knew these skills all along, and who will be furiously training to try to get them before anyone discovers that they didn't know them all along. ;) Such is the state of humanity with all that peace, love, and harmony stuff. ;)

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 12:42 PM
Actually, after reading today's threads, I think I've changed my mind about posting a review.There are some reviews and discussions on QiJin, with suggestions, training, etc., too, if you're interested in seeing more complete, less tangential discussion, Ron.

Best.

Mike

Dan Austin
02-18-2008, 12:42 PM
PS

Actually, after reading today's threads, I think I've changed my mind about posting a review.

Best,
Ron

See? I'm sure many people would have loved to read it, especially people like Mike H. who could use some drills and buzzwords to add to his list. ;) That sort of thing can't be stopped, so you really have to consider what matters and is of the greatest benefit.

Dan Austin
02-18-2008, 12:57 PM
I've usually been known to imply that Mike is probably better at this stuff than me by virtue if nothing else that he's been at it longer, same for other guys too.

LOL. Do you really not see how egotistical that statement is? It's not that Mike S. could *know* anything you don't know, it's just that he's been *practicing* longer! So, what are the foundation exercises that Mike S (and you of course) do, and what specifically do they accomplish in western, English terms instead of handwaving eastern mysticism? Oh wait, you just asked Mike S to do that, which makes no sense because you say you know the stuff he knows. Nevermind the logic, I look forward to your one-line non-response.

Once again you make a post where the only purpose is to say "me too!" without any substantiation whatsoever. Which, I predict, is exactly what your next post will say, in slightly different language, while dodging any specifics, and then the one after that, and after that. ;)

Kevin Leavitt
02-18-2008, 01:08 PM
Dan Austin wrote:

I've yet to see anyone who's met one of the Internal Guys(tm) come back and say they already knew what they did, so your implicit claims are rather dubious.

This is not the best analogy in the world, but what the heck....

Sort of like making trying to make Cinnabon rolls at home. We can make cinnamon rolls....but for whatever reason we just can't seem to get them to taste the same!

It was interesting working with Mike Sigman. You realize that you come to the table with the ability to do various "things", You even have elements of it in your training, however when working with him in what I call a "very narrow/concentrated area" of aiki skills, you find that you cannot simply produce the same results as him, as powerful, or as easily. He can simply replicate things over and over again with much more ease than ANYONE I saw in the room those two days.

Ron (who now won't write a review) Tisdale, I am betting would say the same thing, as will others.

i cannot attest to Mike Sigman's ability to "do aikido" since we never really "did aikido" we simply worked on exercises that were designed to produce or develop certain things.

In my 15 years of martial arts training all over the world, I have NEVER met anyone that has spent that amount of time in this area. I could attribute that to a couple of things. One, I have not met the right teachers. Two, I met the right teachers and they did not see it as crucial to spend that time with me, or they did not really understand how to convey these skills in such a way.

So, all I can say is this. The weekend I spent with Mike gave me more than enough material to work on and a "road map" to at least get on the right road in this area.

Will it guarantee success? No, I see this as a long, and difficult journey, but at least now I know where to begin and what I am looking for.

In coming back from that seminar, I have studied with some people in my organization. It is interesting, they have many of the skills that Mike teaches, I realize that now. I see what they are doing in a different light though. Things such as "use your hips", "get in good Hamni", and "put your hand like this". Just are not helpful enought to get you there.

I feel a little more encourage that I might be able to "steal" from them now that I have "felt it better", AND I have a methodology and process to better "steal" it.

What is interesting is that for the most part, I have not found "completeness" to the degree that I felt in Mike in any of the people I have trained with in the past couple of weeks. Some more than others. ALL WAAAY past my level of skill. Yet, I am starting to see "gaps" in their skills.

Maybe it is sort of like getting a "encrypted code" and someone giving you "almost" a complete cypher. You can decrypt the message to a point, but can't quite get the whole thing decrypted, which is important!

Anyway, I have found myself in the past "barking up the wrong tree". It is easy to get stuck conceptually and mentally trying to process what we know and what others know...then make this huge jump to saying we know it physically.

I think this is a big issue when dealing with physical knowledge. Again, I go back to the elephant analogy.

Keep an open mind, it is best!

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 01:29 PM
The writing on the wall appears to be that these skills are valid and not well known, so the people who are currently teachers in Aikido have a choice of reaction. Some will get excited about it, as the people who have gone to see these gentlemen show, while others will be vested in their teacher status and not want to start from square one. Of the latter there will undoubtedly be a subset who will claim that they knew these skills all along, and who will be furiously training to try to get them before anyone discovers that they didn't know them all along. ;) Such is the state of humanity with all that peace, love, and harmony stuff. ;)This is a very good point, Dan. I see/saw a lot of this happen in the Taiji, Xingy, and Bagua community. Essentially, in the real world, there begins to be a dichotomy (using the Taiji world as an example). The wannabelievers begin to get isolated and continue on with what they've been doing. It is the beginning of the end for their brand of an art (might take a generation or two, but it's a done deal).

On the other hand, of the people that move forward, or try to give the appearance of moving forward, the ones who "knew these skills all along" are something of a problem to me personally because I've seen what happens to their students further down the road. It's a problem.

My personal thought is to go around the people who "already know this stuff" and to make sure that bona fide enthusiasts get more information, in order to level out the playing field (or to even give the advantage to the bona fide enthusiasts). If nothing else, a game of catch-up is really not bad for any art because it fosters some quiet but earnest competition.

Several scenarios come to mind. One is that the guy who "already knows this stuff" has to be careful because he puts himself into a dead-end where nobody will give him any information (or any more information, if he does happen to know some aspects of the skills). So he has to be careful that he doesn't cut his own throat with his self-bragging. Anyone with common-sense recognizes the constraint and begins to settle in to the serious pursuit of acquiring these skills, so it tends to work itself out.

Another scenario is where there is someone with real skills, let's say at a national gathering. If a number of people show up who can do the elementary ki/kokyu skills he's been using to establish his credentials (or his "come worship me" status), he's forced suddenly to show higher-level stuff, almost invariably. It becomes a game of one-upmanship which is, once again, simply a form of competition that is in actuality good for the art.

But the guys who "already know this stuff"... I'm always willing to look or listen and if they've got 'em I'll be the first person to admit it. The guy who is bluffing and trying to learn how things work while at the same time pretending he's known it all along... pass. Not because it's a pecking-order thing, in my perspective, but because I have a bad feeling about what he's passing on a "Truth" to people who are his students. I.e., I just don't see any benefit to allowing the "already can do it" people to play their game while never showing their hand to anyone.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 01:39 PM
i cannot attest to Mike Sigman's ability to "do aikido" since we never really "did aikido" we simply worked on exercises that were designed to produce or develop certain things. No question about it, Kevin. I "learned" Judo, Uechi Ryu karate, and Aikido at various times in my life. I can't do or teach any of them. (A.) Because I don't practice them. (B.) Because what I learned was wrong. I didn't know and understand these skills. Can I demonstrate a number of Aikido techniques, etc.? Yes. But I'd do it wrong. It's up to you guys to take the ki/kokyu skills and put them into real Aikido; I missed that boat and will never catch it. In my 15 years of martial arts training all over the world, I have NEVER met anyone that has spent that amount of time in this area. I could attribute that to a couple of things. One, I have not met the right teachers. Two, I met the right teachers and they did not see it as crucial to spend that time with me, or they did not really understand how to convey these skills in such a way. In terms of people who focus on just the ki/kokyu skills in a martial art, I think it's a unique niche, Kevin. In respect to me, it's because like you, I could never find anyone who would answer my questions and show me (in most cases, almost no one really had a full spectrum of skills, anyway)... so lacking a dancing teacher, I had to find out how to be a dancing teacher, and by the time I learned how to do the skills, it was too late to be a good dancer, for me. ;) So, all I can say is this. The weekend I spent with Mike gave me more than enough material to work on and a "road map" to at least get on the right road in this area.

Will it guarantee success? No, I see this as a long, and difficult journey, but at least now I know where to begin and what I am looking for.

In coming back from that seminar, I have studied with some people in my organization. It is interesting, they have many of the skills that Mike teaches, I realize that now. I see what they are doing in a different light though. Things such as "use your hips", "get in good Hamni", and "put your hand like this". Just are not helpful enought to get you there.

I feel a little more encouraged that I might be able to "steal" from them now that I have "felt it better", AND I have a methodology and process to better "steal" it.

What is interesting is that for the most part, I have not found "completeness" to the degree that I felt in Mike in any of the people I have trained with in the past couple of weeks. Some more than others. ALL WAAAY past my level of skill. Yet, I am starting to see "gaps" in their skills.

Maybe it is sort of like getting a "encrypted code" and someone giving you "almost" a complete cypher. You can decrypt the message to a point, but can't quite get the whole thing decrypted, which is important!

Anyway, I have found myself in the past "barking up the wrong tree". It is easy to get stuck conceptually and mentally trying to process what we know and what others know...then make this huge jump to saying we know it physically. Good points. I think you're doing exactly the right thinking, Kevin. To be honest, I had misjudged you, prior to the workshop. I was impressed watching you puzzle things out.

Best.

Mike

akiy
02-18-2008, 02:41 PM
Hi folks,

Can you all just please drop all of the personal stuff? It's unnecessary here and I'm frankly sick and tired of seeing it all.

-- Jun

Kevin Leavitt
02-18-2008, 04:30 PM
Thanks, Mike.

I agree with Jun, that we need to probably drop the personal stuff.

However, the pointed and heated discussions that have taken place in the last two years on this topic have been good ones I think.

I for one don't think I would have spent the time that I have spent in this area if it would not have been for such discussions.

I think it gets personal because our art is very person in nature to us. Along comes new ideas, concepts, paradigms that upset of conflict with what we believe (dissonance), and we start to take it personal as the information we are being presented with conflicts with that which we believe!

I know this has happened to me many, many times in my martial career. It is also dangerous to your progression.

My biggest leaps have been when I have butted up against the "wall" that represents what I think I know, and challenged them. It typically results in a combination of fear, anger, denial and a feeling of wasted time as I learn to cope with it.

This happened to me when I went to BJJ and MMA type training from Aikido. It happened when I went from Karate to Aikido, and now with this "internal stuff".

In all cases, I had to relearn new ways of doing and reacting to what I previously did.

Anyway, one reason I posted the quote from Patton about 18 months ago, was to remind myself of these things when I found myself getting too critical of things!

In doing some of my post graduate work for the military, we actually spend a fair amount of time studying things such as this. that is, learning how to think outside of the box and avoiding simply defaulting to success in the past without taking into account new information and concepts.

Just something to think about!

Mike Sigman
02-18-2008, 05:12 PM
However, the pointed and heated discussions that have taken place in the last two years on this topic have been good ones I think.

I for one don't think I would have spent the time that I have spent in this area if it would not have been for such discussions.

I think it gets personal because our art is very person in nature to us. Along comes new ideas, concepts, paradigms that upset of conflict with what we believe (dissonance), and we start to take it personal as the information we are being presented with conflicts with that which we believe!The interesting thing about the ki/kokyu stuff is that it's not really "new stuff", not in the sense of BJJ or Systema or something that "might add to someone's Aikido". The ki/kokyu stuff is in a separate category. It's in a category of "stuff you're already supposed to know", which makes it very weird indeed. ;)

The polite thing to do would be to never question anyone with established and official rank in Aikido (this same comment could apply to a number of other arts, too). But then, what would that be doing to Aikido? What would that be doing to the droves of present and future newbies? In order to be polite and not make waves, the art itself would be sacrificed for the sake of a few "seniors" and the lives and learning of scads of newbies would be arbitrarily defrauded for the sake of "not making waves". It's a fascinating subject to think about.

I noted earlier that I don't have any expertise in Aikido and that part of the reason for that was because I learned it wrong. I learned a bunch of techniques, etc., (no matter how subtle, how well I 'entered', etc., etc.). At one point I had a teacher who had some rudimentary kokyu/jin skills that he could use in set situations in Kokyu-ho and some kokyu-nages.... but he never taught anyone how to do those things because those were his "edge". I knew that what I was looking for in Aikido was missing and western Aikido was too often a political/social game based on technique, etc., so I folded my hand and went to look elsewhere for those skills... and I don't have any compunction saying that the Aikido I did was arguably not Aikido-enough to be called Aikido.

But supposed I'd stayed in Aikido. By now I might be a Rokudan or some such. Would I be doing Aikido, though?

If I was a Rokudan, I'd be incensed at anyone suggesting that I was not a certified Grand Poobah. And I'd let them know what I thought. The question is, who has the greater personality problem.... the outraged Sigman Rokudan or the guy who points out to him that he's missing something crucial? Fascinating subject. And personally, if I was a Rokudan, I'd appreciate the moderators of various internet forums being on my side and relegating outlaw discussions about Ki to "non-Aikido Martial Traditions". :D

The point I'm getting at is that there are so many facets to this subject and so many ramifications that it deserves a complete airing. Personal remarks need to be left out, of course, but there seems to be some confusion on this forum about what the difference between a clinical discussion that "hits close to home" is and a real "ad hominem" attack.

If the topic is too sensitive for AikiWeb, then some of the more serious practitioners need to find another place to discuss the topic... no discussion forum is more important than this topic. And I'm serious about the need to thrash out the subject, even though a lot of people still would like to see it die, for largely (I suspect) personal reasons. The longer this topic gets muffled, the more of a disservice is being done to a number of members of the Aikido community, particularly the up-and-coming rank and file.

Best.

Mike Sigman

akiy
02-18-2008, 05:31 PM
Hi Mike,

Just to clarify, I am not speaking about the topics being discussed, but the rather personal tone that some people are employing which derails from the topics at hand. I welcome the discussions (and workshops and such) like that going on in this thread; I do not, however, welcome some of the tone that I have perceived.

-- Jun

dbotari
02-19-2008, 10:15 AM
PS

Actually, after reading today's threads, I think I've changed my mind about posting a review.

Best,
Ron

Ron,

If you have a review done I'd be interested in reading it. If you don't want to post it you can PM me. As a fellow yoshinkan guy, I am interested in your review because I know you have been to seminars/training sessions with Ark, Dan and now Mike and I'd like to hear your comments about similarities, differences an which approach you find fits best with your yoshinkan background.

I've been to see Ark and want to go see Mike and Dan in the next year. You insights will no doubt provide me with some encouragement and food for thought.

Thanks,

Dan.

Ron Tisdale
02-19-2008, 10:26 AM
Hi Dan,

I am working on the review still. I'm sorry I lost it above...I just have too much on my hands to deal with the pointless bickering. Please be assured that is not a personal dig at anyone.

As a result, I am going to post the review and my progress on working on these skills in my blog on this site. Anyone interested in discussing these things with me can do so there. HEADS UP...I will summarily cut off discussion with anyone not interested in honest discussion. Simply don't have the time or energy for it.

Best,
Ron (the seminar was wonderfull, as were the other two I went too...)

Kevin Leavitt
02-19-2008, 08:16 PM
Thanks Ron, I will definitely be reading it and I am interested in your progress as I proceed in my own training. Maybe I should do the same so maybe we can all work through this together!

Keith R Lee
02-19-2008, 09:42 PM
Damn. Sounds like this was a really good seminar. Wish I could have made it!

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 06:13 AM
I'd like to make a comment about the discussions of some of these workshops, from my perspective. But first I'd like to note that not everyone who teaches the so-called "internal" skills is doing the same thing in the same way, the same skills within, the same level, etc., so some of the implications that every instructor in "internal" skills is interchangeable is simply wrong. That has to be born in mind when these topics are talked about.

I went to see Ushiro Sensei in Glenwood Springs a couple of years ago because I was curious about what he could do at what level, but mostly I was curious about his teaching method and the clarity of his exposition. Part of my worry about whether he was explaining things clearly was fostered by the very vague-but-positive remarks from people who had seen him demonstrate/teach, etc. After seeing him teach, I understood what he showed and to what level, but I could also see that things weren't clear enough for most people to get something in the sense that they could describe it clearly and kick-off a good thinking-conversation that would benefit people in the Aikido community, or at least on AikiWeb. The point being that whatever people may or may not have derived from Ushiro's workshops, there's not much in the way of explication on public forums about what it really is, how it works, or how to train it.

Rob John has attempted to articulate Akuzawa's approach to some degree. I met up with Rob and I listened and I felt, but to be honest I was listening once again more for how well the definition and articulation of Ark's process. Rob articulates pretty well on QiJin when he posts, but the people who have been to see him or Akuzawa have really posted very little (other than about their muscle burn) on any forum that I've seen. The theory, perceived usages, etc., are not discussed. Again... same problem.

Dan is his own category and regardless of his original suggestions that his stuff couldn't be talked about because it involved "koryu secrets", yada, yada, yada, the end-result is the same, if not a little worse. People who have been to see Dan and learned whatever are under a constraint to not talk about the how's, why's, training methods, etc. I'm always leery of that sort of approach, personally, because I know that so many things, not necessarily always good, can be hidden within that approach. But regardless, the point is that the discussions among the Aikido community about the basic information aren't coming out from that source either.

Personally, I don't see any reason why the basic skills can't be broadly talked about. It's tough to get started and a lot of cross-talk, competition, discussion of theory, etc., is good for everyone, in my opinion. It's very hard to get much from the discussions alone (it has to be felt, etc.), so there's not much danger of any major secrets getting spilled. For someone to learn some of the more advanced stuff, even if they know some basics they'll still have to be personally shown, so there's no real worry about the "secrets" being divulged in a written forum.

The point of my comment is that I'm encouraging everyone who was at that workshop in Pennsylvania to feel free and write things. Try to articulate what you learned and how you're practicing it, and so on. The more you talk and question each other (and outsiders), the more you'll be forced to think and to examine what it is that you're trying to do. I'm certainly not going to be upset that you're revealing the "secrets", so I'd be quite happy to see discussion on AikiWeb or Aikido Journal that openly discuss these things. It would help everyone in the community, in my opinion. If you want these skills to blossom out in Aikido, you've got to be part of the process.

Best.

Mike Sigman

gdandscompserv
02-25-2008, 07:14 AM
Thank you Mike. That was one of your best posts ever!:cool:

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 09:46 AM
so I'd be quite happy to see discussion on AikiWeb or Aikido Journal that openly discuss these things. Sorry, I should have mentioned TWK's new website:
http://www.internal-aiki.com/ also. And other sites. What I meant was "sites dedicated to the Aikido community", as opposed to rec.martial-arts, Bullshido, etc. ;)

Best.

Mike

ChrisMoses
02-25-2008, 10:09 AM
Rob John has attempted to articulate Akuzawa's approach to some degree. I met up with Rob and I listened and I felt, but to be honest I was listening once again more for how well the definition and articulation of Ark's process. Rob articulates pretty well on QiJin when he posts, but the people who have been to see him or Akuzawa have really posted very little (other than about their muscle burn) on any forum that I've seen. The theory, perceived usages, etc., are not discussed. Again... same problem.

It sounds like you're associating the lack of specifics posted online with a lack of specifics with how Akuzawa instructs his system. IMHO this would be a mistake. Rob and Ark are excellent at exposition, particularly at bridging terminology across people with varying experience. I don't post many specifics about my own training (either WRT Neil's stuff or the Aunkai methods) because I know there are people on these forums in much better positions to comment *and with greater ownership over the material* than I have. I think it would be absurd for me to start expounding in detail on the training methods of the Aunkai online. That would imply a greater understanding than I would ever claim to have. Further, I think it would be quite rude. The only info I would feel comfortable discussing online, would be those concepts and exercises that Rob has already posted. In that case, why should I comment when his text would likely be a better resource for someone who was interested?

I do not believe in an open and completely free exchange of ideas *online*. There are some things you can talk about, and others that I feel face to face contact is required. When I teach, I will answer any question asked of me to the best of my ability. But that's because the person asking the question has made some effort (even if it's just coming to class) to interact with me personally. As an added bonus, it negates many of the negative issues of this kind of medium: perceived skill vs. actual skill, questions of legitimacy, verbal confusion. I believe people should have to work for something if they actually want it. Everyone who comes into the TNBBC is on probation, if they don't work out after a few months, they don't come back. In my sword line first you have to be willing to get up and make it to class at 7am on Saturday, even then most people do nothing but basic pre-kata movements for six months or more. Then before they're shown any of the inside kata, they have to achieve shodan (~3-6 years). Partly that's preserving the tradition of private and public teaching within the ryuha, but it's also a way of making sure that a student has the skills necessary to actually accomplish/appreciate the inside material.

It might sound like I'm being elitist here or making excuses, but that's really not my intention. I've never been paid a cent for any instruction that I've done including multi-week private lessons or workshops. I've also never turned down a request to train or to help someone get ready for an exam or just work on something they've been struggling with. But there's a LOT that I simply won't talk about in public forums.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 10:17 AM
It sounds like you're associating the lack of specifics posted online with a lack of specifics with how Akuzawa instructs his system. I'm not, if you'll read it. But there's a LOT that I simply won't talk about in public forums. Well, if someone posts useful information, I hope you'll have the grace to not read it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
02-25-2008, 10:56 AM
Sounds to me like Mike's criticism is thinly veiled baiting in the hope that he'll glean new information from sources that currently are not broadcasting such tidbits openly across the 'net. ;)

Nothing wrong with desiring that, but why would anyone be so foolish as to cast something of value -- and which is potentially "dangerous" information in the wrong hands -- into the wind that way, not knowing where it's going to land?

The approach being taken thus far seems wise -- to let it be known that there is more to aikido (and other martial disciplines) than is being taught, that there are people who can teach it, and that if one is sincere and dedicated and takes the initiative to advance their own knowledge, one can approach and train with those people and obtain the skills.

Besides, talk is talk, and can easily be misinterpreted and misunderstood. You can discuss till the cows come home, but that will not transmit skill. As has been stated so many times, hands-on experience and transmission is the only real way to learn.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 11:05 AM
Sounds to me like Mike's criticism is thinly veiled baiting in the hope that he'll glean new information from sources that currently are not broadcasting such tidbits openly across the 'net. ;) Well sure... that's why I check into AikiWeb all the time, because of the mountains of pointers! ;) Nothing wrong with desiring that, but why would anyone be so foolish as to cast something of value -- and which is potentially "dangerous" information in the wrong hands -- into the wind that way, not knowing where it's going to land?

The approach being taken thus far seems wise -- to let it be known that there is more to aikido (and other martial disciplines) than is being taught, that there are people who can teach it, and that if one is sincere and dedicated and takes the initiative to advance their own knowledge, one can approach and train with those people and obtain the skills.Y'know, I think I see the problem... you and Chris actually think this very basic stuff is higher-level than it is, Cady. It ain't. If you think the basics are a big deal, then sure, you think they should be protected and only allowed to a "few".... like you, for instance.

Personally, none of the stuff I've seen publicly posted or even the "I can do" stuff, is very high level. You're worried about anybody getting hold of the alphabet and my position is that letting the alphabet be talked about isn't going to make someone an essayist or poet.

Like I said, the stuff I covered at the Pennsylvania workshop, pretty basic and necessary stuff for Aikido... anyone who was there, feel free to discuss it publicly. It won't give anyone the ability to do it, just reading it, but it will certainly begin to tune the ear of Aikidoists in general to the "ki" side of Aikido.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 11:24 AM
...and that if one is sincere and dedicated and takes the initiative to advance their own knowledge, one can approach and train with those people and obtain the skills.Good heavens, Cady. Does one "approach" on bended knee, kowtowing, banging the head obsequiously, etc.? And if one is worthy, one gets to study with who? A well-known master of all aspects of internal skills or perhaps one runs into the same old game that is found in the rest of martial arts.... a person with incomplete knowledge acting like they are a master? The more things change, the more they remain the same. One has to be careful that in seeking the secrets he doesn't wind up with Bupkis mit Kuduchas. ;)

Best.

Mike

Timothy WK
02-25-2008, 01:11 PM
Mike might be coming on a bit strong right now, but I appreciate his sentiment. I also appreciate Chris' attitude that he doesn't want to speak beyond his experience.

I won't fault anyone for not wanting to talk, but I am a fan of open discussion. I believe the rarity of quality information makes it easier for frauds and non-qualified teachers to make false claims. If the curious have no way to reference the information they receive, how can they know what to look for when they seek instruction?

Cady Goldfield
02-25-2008, 01:54 PM
Since when does "sincere, dedicated" and "taking the iniative" amount to kow-towing? It's just a state of interest that means that the individual will make an effort to seek out a source and take an active role in his own training.

There's a reason why teachers have been careful of whom they teach; for one thing, the onus is on them if a student abuses his acquired skills. Would you want your knowledge to end up in the hands of a sociopath or someone who would use it to do harm, or for exploitation? This is a very old story, and shouldn't have to be rehashed.

But as far as I know, anyone who has taken an interest and had the motivation, has been able to train with you, Ark, Dan and Ushiro. It's not like they had to offer their first-born into indentured servitude. :)

Detailed discussions may be fruitful among those who have already had a reasonable amount of exposure to these skills, but such conversations can take place in a private venue. I just don't see any value to such things being openly discussed on a public forum.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 02:38 PM
Since when does "sincere, dedicated" and "taking the iniative" amount to kow-towing? It's just a state of interest that means that the individual will make an effort to seek out a source and take an active role in his own training. And who is to make the judgement about which people are qualified and qualified for what? I understand your point, but I've already diagrammed and explained a lot of the material I'm talking about on this very forum, yet no major city has burned to the ground. ;) Would you want your knowledge to end up in the hands of a sociopath or someone who would use it to do harm, or for exploitation? I think the point is more along the lines of which I spoke: basic knowledge should be available in a wider forum... your idea of "basic knowledge" is probably different from mine. If I remember correctly, you were offering to move me around at will, once upon a time, and here I've been doing seminars on this stuff since the early nineties; is it possible you're overestimating a few things? Here's a vid clip someone found that's a part of tapes I've had out since the mid-90's, Cady. How many sociopaths other than me are now wreaking havoc on the martial-arts world because of this exposing this dangerous knowledge?
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-490520230360622262
But as far as I know, anyone who has taken an interest and had the motivation, has been able to train with you, Ark, Dan and Ushiro. It's not like they had to offer their first-born into indentured servitude. :) My corral is full enough of first-born, already, Cady. I actually restrict the workshops I do, for some people. One of the reasons I restrict the workshops is partially because I don't want any select few people to monopolize this kind of subject and set themselves up as essentially one-eyed kings in the Country of the Blind. I don't do workshops for a living and I abhor "followers" of any kind, so I tend to do what I want in this regard.

Detailed discussions may be fruitful among those who have already had a reasonable amount of exposure to these skills, but such conversations can take place in a private venue. I just don't see any value to such things being openly discussed on a public forum.Tush and Piffle! But each to his own opinion. Send the sheriff for me if I've broken any laws. ;)

Best.

Mike

Cady Goldfield
02-25-2008, 02:48 PM
Well then, I'll sit here with rapt attention, waiting for you to start dishin' out them vittles: heaping helpings of specific step-by-step details on how to attain, develop and effect the most sophisticated applications of these internal skills, Mike! :D

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 03:11 PM
Well then, I'll sit here with rapt attention, waiting for you to start dishin' out them vittles: heaping helpings of specific step-by-step details on how to attain, develop and effect the most sophisticated applications of these internal skills, Mike! :DWell, if I understand you aright, Cady, all I'd have to do is lay out some basic concepts and you'd be satisfied that they were "sophisticated". ;)

Actually, even on QiJin, which is a closed list (although I understand Dan seemed to be OK with receiving information from it from anyone who would pass it on), there are whole areas of discussion I don't go into. But no one is even aware that I do it because there're just too many areas of these topics to even discuss already. The reason QiJin is a private list is that other contributors are loathe to discuss what they know, etc., and I have to respect that wish and restrict the membership and the privacy of posts by others.

But even with a pretty-much wide-open discussion on how these things work, there are still many factors that prevent people from acquiring a lot of useable information just by reading it.

Similarly, there are a number of ways to do Aikido training in these areas specifically. Ueshiba's method was not a train-by-tension-postures method, so a person has to be careful about the fact that "ki" is in Aikido, but not every approach to ki is the same variant that Ueshiba used. In other words, an Aikido-specific discussion about ki/kokyu skills might be a good thing so that the replication of skills is more in line with what Ueshiba intended, rather than winding up doing the equivalent of Southern Mantis training and calling it Taiji.

Best.

Mike

Cady Goldfield
02-25-2008, 03:38 PM
Ah, so you're not gonna dish, even after promulgating that there should be open and free discussions of such things on these forums? Tsk. How disappointing!

Now you're saying that you'd hesitate to do so because "even with a pretty-much wide-open discussion on how these things work, there are still many factors that prevent people from acquiring a lot of useable information just by reading it," which is pretty much what I said several posts ago.

But you are, of course, happy to take whatever kernels of goodness might be dropped in open discussion -- so you'll keep encouraging others to dish while you take notes. But then, you've always been pretty open about stating that you're looking for information wherever you can get it; you never said you'd be willing to give in kind. ;)

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 03:51 PM
Ah, so you're not gonna dish, even after promulgating that there should be open and free discussions of such things on these forums? Tsk. How disappointing! I've already "dished", Cady. It's in the archives. Very explicative how-to's and theory. And let's not spin it... I've already said very clearly "basics". Now you're saying that you'd hesitate to do so because "even with a pretty-much wide-open discussion on how these things work, there are still many factors that prevent people from acquiring a lot of useable information just by reading it," which is pretty much what I said several posts ago. In which case, you should quit with the elitist stuff and agree that open discussions of basics are a good thing. But you are, of course, happy to take whatever kernels of goodness might be dropped in open discussion -- so you'll keep encouraging others to dish while you take notes. But then, you've always been pretty open about stating that you're looking for information wherever you can get it; you never said you'd be willing to give in kind. ;) What are you saying, Cady? The kind of stuff I've gotten from the Aikido forums is pointers to historical methods and perspectives (and I've said that before) on ki/kokyu development. Certainly you've never dropped any actually functional "kernals" and Dan has simply dropped out of sight everytime things have gotten specific or an error of his is pointed out. Once again, I think your perspective of what and how much you know is somewhat skewed. I'm not the one trying to get information through the back-channels on QiJin discussions... Dan is. ;)

Best,

Mike

Haowen Chan
02-25-2008, 03:54 PM
In the interest of open discussion I'd point out what Mike's already dished right here on Aikiweb. You can find the info if you have the mind-numbing patience to sort through pages of ridiculous flames and collect the nuggets like I tried to do earlier in my search for info...

But here's an incomplete listing of some stuff. Incomplete since I didn't actually trawl through all the archives, just about a year or so of posts... given that Mike has been active for decades there's potentially a lot of useful info already floating around for hunters and gatherers.

Big thanks to Tim Fong's martial movement wiki which is another great open repository of knowledge.

Martial Movement Wiki (http://unleashingfong.com/martialmovement/index.php?title=Public_posts_on_Aikiweb_and_other_Aikido_places.).

Also refer to Mike's articles on Aikido Journal and his tutorial written for Internal Strength magazine which are still online somewhere, they're easily googled.

Cady Goldfield
02-25-2008, 04:10 PM
Mike, I've already given my take on why discussion of such are not likely to be fruitful, and why it's not wise to be so open in public. It's not about being "elitist," it's about not being so free with knowledge in places where you can't monitor or control where it's going or how it will be used, or even know if it's being understood for what it is. That's just plain good sense.

It's very nice that what you consider to be important, detailed information is already available and archived here and open for discussion. If people pull it up and ask you questions here about how they're training it according to your explicit instruction, and could you give them some coaching, then great. Even so, you'd probably have to say that they'd be better off coming and training with you to actually learn how to do any of it.

Discussion can be fun and makes for something different to do when most folks should be working, but again, it's of limited use and value unless you already have a common point of reference and experience to relate to. It's like those kata books you can buy in any martial arts store. The photos tell you nothing if you have never done the kata; they only hint that something is being done.

Tom H.
02-25-2008, 04:13 PM
It's in the archives.Do you (or does anyone) have a collection of links to the various tidbits buried in the archives? Not just your stuff--Rob John, for example, has some excellent material buried around here somewhere. Then again, if someone isn't willing to put in the hours necessary to sort through all the aikiweb archives, are they really hard-core enough? :-)

(EDIT: Thank you, Haowen Chan.)

... QiJin discussions...It almost pisses me off that someone is willing to join your closed forum and take information from that forum, against the guidelines to which that person agreed, and pass that information on to someone outside that space who has not agreed to those guidelines and is not a member of that forum.

Actually, it almost pisses me off because: I will not even log on to QiJin (it's been maybe a year) in order to avoid the situation where I have useful information which I am bound to withhold from people who could use it (either from Dan to QiJin or vice versa). I don't want even the appearance of impropriety. And, I guess, someone else doesn't have that compunction. Arrg. :-|

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 04:18 PM
Getting into the hands of the wrong people? What would they do with it? Heck, I have been end to this stuff for like 15 years now, and I don't know what to do with it.

Somehow I think the "wrong people" tend to self select themselves out of the process as the payoff simply isn't there for what they would want to do with it!

Maybe someone could provide some examples of what kind of things the "wrong people" would do with these internal skills, it would be helpful.

I think this could be done without giving away any trade secrets.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 04:23 PM
Mike, I've already given my take on why discussion of such are not likely to be fruitful, and why it's not wise to be so open in public. It's not about being "elitist," it's about not being so free with knowledge in places where you can't monitor or control where it's going or how it will be used, or even know if it's being understood for what it is. That's just plain good sense. Perhaps your perspective about "koryu secrets" colors your perspective, Cady. I think your threshold of "this should be secret" is set a lot lower than mine. I think this basic information should be more available in Aikido. So did Tohei, BTW. Regardless, the core of the art is being witheld from the art in general, at the moment, and that doesn't work for me. It cost me years of my life trying to hunt this stuff down in the Aikido corpus and I finally had to go out and look for training (as did Tohei and others). My opinion is that it should be available more easily to the Aikido community.
It's very nice that what you consider to be important, detailed information is already available and archived here and open for discussion. If people pull it up and ask you questions here about how they're training it according to your explicit instruction, and could you give them some coaching, then great. Even so, you'd probably have to say that they'd be better off coming and training with you to actually learn how to do any of it. Well, I'm not very anxious to show what I know to a lot of people, but that's because I'm lazy, I don't have a "school" of any sort, and I don't do martial-arts or seminars for any appreciable part of my income... and I value my free time. Regardless, I think it's a necessary step for information to be available to the people that want it, particularly to the up and coming yudanshakai. Discussion can be fun and makes for something different to do when most folks should be working, but again, it's of limited use and value unless you already have a common point of reference and experience to relate to. It's like those kata books you can buy in any martial arts store. The photos tell you nothing if you have never done the kata; they only hint that something is being done. First you think the information is too valuable to allow out in public and now you sour-grapes it? ;)

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 04:24 PM
A few years ago when I first got stationed in Germany, a couple of my fellow officers knew that I studied aikido. They were interested in learning. So I said "yes" I'd work with them on the basics.

Ever try and teach aikido with people when you have no one else that has even seen it or done it.

It is like trying to explain an duck billed platypus without the aid of pictures or pen and paper!

I stopped as it was not going very well at all!

I found the same with BJJ with beginners. You can't move on to teaching open guard, x guard etc, until they understand the basics AND have developed the ability to use core muscles and MOVE on the ground properly.

I think the same goes with this stuff. Not that you need to withhold information, but what are you going to do with it, if you don't have the base or have developed physically to do the stuff!

Those that think that it is, or should be some big secret are missing the point I think.

Cady Goldfield
02-25-2008, 04:42 PM
Not "secret," Mike. Just valued.
If you value something, you don't broadcast it into the wind like grass seed, without knowing where it's going to land.

If we were talking daughters, would you want yours "giving it away" to every joe, because every man deserves to enjoy her womanly charms? Wouldn't you be sitting by the front door with the shotgun? ;)

I'll have fun perusing the archives this weekend, but I don't expect to see anything earth-shaking. Detailed explorations of the deeper applications of very basic things you might offer ain't gonna see the light of day here (or find their way out of your QiJin site, if they ever see the light of day even there). And it's perfectly understandable why that is.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 04:43 PM
Maybe someone could provide some examples of what kind of things the "wrong people" would do with these internal skills, it would be helpful.

I think this could be done without giving away any trade secrets.Personally, the main thing I see that can happen "in the wrong hands" is that the wrong-hands people will try to parlay the knowledge into power. I've seen it happen many times in the past and, IMO, it's the greatest threat to the general martial-arts practitioner. The questionable people who get a few bits and pieces of this stuff tend to start lording it over other people and attracting students based on it. That's their right, of course, so I don't begrudge it... I simply try to offset them where I can by showing what little I know to other people so that a balance develops.

And don't get me wrong. From my perspective, I'm slogging through this stuff and I've spent 30 slow years collecting information and working my way through it, sometimes right and sometimes wrong, because I know it's the core of Asian martial arts. There is enough supporting literature, etc., to easily assert that part of it. So I'm an amateur. I've met some real professionals and I'm not silly enough to present myself as an expert because I know the story wouldn't fly with a real expert and I'm not into impressing beginners. The problem is that as an amateur I keep running into "seasoned instructors" that don't have any skills in these basics, so there's a disconnect. I understand the disconnect and I want to work within the system to help fix it, but I don't want to put up with a lot of political infighting in the process.

But in terms of turning some "Ki Terrorist" loose on the population, I don't think it's a worry (well, there's always the thought of Cady running amuck on the MTA, I guess). ;)

Notice how that even after Tohei started giving special instruction on Ki things to Hombu instructors... how many of those post-war instructors wound up being mind-blowing ki-specialists? Having the information out there doesn't mean that it's going to be used. It takes too much work. Granted, I think that at some time in the future all of this stuff will become more codified, but then too, so is gymnastics... and what part of the gymnastics community is world-class?

Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 04:49 PM
Not "secret," Mike. Just valued.
If you value something, you don't broadcast it into the wind like grass seed, without knowing where it's going to land.

If we were talking daughters, would you want yours "giving it away" to every joe, because every man deserves to enjoy her womanly charms? Wouldn't you be sitting by the front door with the shotgun? ;) My, my. How sexist, Cady. I wouldn't want my son to "give it away" either, but the analogy in relation to ki/kokyu skills simply fails, so I'll drop this part of the repartee. ;) I'll have fun perusing the archives this weekend, but I don't expect to see anything earth-shaking. Detailed explorations of the deeper applications of very basic things you might offer ain't gonna see the light of day here (or find their way out of your QiJin site, if they ever see the light of day even there). And it's perfectly understandable why that is. We're talking basics, Cady... so your complaint about "the advanced ain't here" doesn't really fly. Still, I appreciate hearing your opinion.

Best.

Mike

gdandscompserv
02-25-2008, 05:00 PM
Also refer to Mike's articles on Aikido Journal and his tutorial written for Internal Strength magazine which are still online somewhere, they're easily googled.
Definitely good stuff there.
http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/peng-index.htm

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 05:08 PM
Definitely good stuff there.
http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/peng-index.htm
I don't think it's so good. In fact, it's pretty amateurish. But we all have to start somewhere, as much as we'd like to think (or pretend) that we were born with knowledge of this stuff in our DNA. Well... maybe we'd like to think that our teachers were born with it in their DNA. Nah.... all of that is fantasy. Hard work and access to knowledge is involved.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 05:26 PM
Mike Sigman wrote:

Personally, the main thing I see that can happen "in the wrong hands" is that the wrong-hands people will try to parlay the knowledge into power. I've seen it happen many times in the past and, IMO, it's the greatest threat to the general martial-arts practitioner. The questionable people who get a few bits and pieces of this stuff tend to start lording it over other people and attracting students based on it. That's their right, of course, so I don't begrudge it... I simply try to offset them where I can by showing what little I know to other people so that a balance develops

I would agree. I think we have seen this in general with MA coming to the West post WWII to present. I think about everyone that hung up a shingle in the 70's with "American Kickboxing/Karate". To day you'd be hard pressed to attract students as we have more informed people out there with MMA coming of age. (Although, it still amazes me that you can still find this stuff out there with followers!).

In the U.S. at least I think "caveat emptor" applies. Certainly, with things like internal skills it can be difficult at best to quantify who has want and what constitutes quality.

The catch I think is, that it seems that attempts to quantify it, (contest, test, and competitions), can be a catch 22 as you know.

I think your approach is best. It is confrontational, and may not be comfortable or "polite", it does attempt to shed light, and hold some degree of accountability.

This is how I approach all my training these days. If you tell me what you do, or can do, then define the parameters or end state and show me. I will then judge for myself if this is correct.

For example, if you tell me that these skills will improve your ability to fight in UFC type venues, then I will expect you to demonstrate that ability under the same set of conditions.

Failure to be able to do this, may not mean that you do not have any modicum of skill, however you get a big "F" in my book for what you held yourself out to be able to do.

It could be that what you do does apply, but until you can "put up" it is just speculation on your part.

I don't think you can stop people from taking a little bit of knowledge and then parlay that into something more.

On a same parallel the Modern Army Combatives Program takes heat from outsiders because we are doing a MMA type of paradigm for training these days. Typical opponents are the "old school" TMA guys or the Fairburn-Sykes advocates.

Couple of reasons why they hate the program, one they really do not understand fighting. two, they no longer have a vehicle to say they have something to offer the military. three, they are having an increasingly hard time of using "former teacher of seal team 6" as a resume builder because they trained with a Seal at a seminar for an hour.

The model we use holds people alot more accountable for their skills and knowledge...We took an "Open Source" focus like MMA and vice a "Microsoft" approach.

It certainly is more difficult to do this with IMA stuff as it can be hard to quantify success. However, I think your approach (Mike's) to this being more "Open Source" and encouraging synthesis back into your current art with those of us in arts like aikido is a good strategy.

Hopefully there will be enough out there with an open mind to complete this synthesis without getting ego or politics involved.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 06:40 PM
In the U.S. at least I think "caveat emptor" applies. Certainly, with things like internal skills it can be difficult at best to quantify who has want and what constitutes quality. I agree. To some extent the student has to be smart enough to think things through and discern what is real/functional and what's not. If they're not smart enough to do that, they're not smart enough to go on a "Tao/Do". A Tao/Do involves these skills as part of the Way; it is mentioned and referred to in all the classics, although many westerners thought it was just "Asia-speak". I think your approach is best. It is confrontational, and may not be comfortable or "polite", it does attempt to shed light, and hold some degree of accountability. Y'know, one tries to be polite, but after a while it's a matter of realizing that not everyone is cut out for (or interested) in these things. So you try to cut out the emotion, the "rank", the "status", the "protocols", etc., and cut to the chase. ;) This is how I approach all my training these days. If you tell me what you do, or can do, then define the parameters or end state and show me. I will then judge for myself if this is correct.

For example, if you tell me that these skills will improve your ability to fight in UFC type venues, then I will expect you to demonstrate that ability under the same set of conditions. Well, we've had this discussion before. To use a worst-case approximation, you're saying that an 80-year-old Ueshiba, Takeda, etc., wouldn't have substantive information for you because they couldn't cut it on the mat with Chuck Liddell. I disagree. I think you have to be more cautious, analyse (this will truly determine whether you're really smart or not) the applicability, and so on. Just the fact that Asian martial artists have said "this is the optimal way to go" for thousands of years should tell you something. Of course, they could be wrong and you might be smarter than generations of them. On a same parallel the Modern Army Combatives Program takes heat from outsiders because we are doing a MMA type of paradigm for training these days. Typical opponents are the "old school" TMA guys or the Fairburn-Sykes advocates.

Couple of reasons why they hate the program, one they really do not understand fighting. two, they no longer have a vehicle to say they have something to offer the military. three, they are having an increasingly hard time of using "former teacher of seal team 6" as a resume builder because they trained with a Seal at a seminar for an hour.

The model we use holds people alot more accountable for their skills and knowledge...We took an "Open Source" focus like MMA and vice a "Microsoft" approach.

It certainly is more difficult to do this with IMA stuff as it can be hard to quantify success. However, I think your approach (Mike's) to this being more "Open Source" and encouraging synthesis back into your current art with those of us in arts like aikido is a good strategy.

Hopefully there will be enough out there with an open mind to complete this synthesis without getting ego or politics involved.I like MMA because it is another of the steps forward from the Fairburn/Sykes stuff, boxing, early judo, Karoddy, etc., progressions. On the other hand, I don't think it is the end of all forward progress, either. I often hear MMA guys put down the Chinese because they don't compete in MMA stuff. Of course, in the present day, China doesn't have the ranks of fighters it did in the days (like in the Tang Dynasty) when your position in the army depended a lot on how well you could fight. In those days, the ki/kokyu skills were the top, in addition to the subtleties and techniques. You threw someone or you hit them very hard. Most of the MMA stuff I've seen depends on submission.... but submission was an alien concept because if you were that close to someone, the rule was to maim, rip out flesh (hands were often trained to pulverize the porcelain in a cup between the fingers!), take out eyes, rip out sternocleidomastoids, etc., etc. The idea that a close encounter went to a "submission" was alien.

Secondly, and you can get an inkling from some of the elementary stuff we did at the workshop (remember, I'm essentially an amateur), I don't think most MMA guys can really hit very hard and the ones that can are only generalists. The really big-dog CMA guys could shake buildings, put fingers through metal, etc. I think we're on the road to re-discovery, but I don't think our soft western culture is as tough as the MMA guys would have us believe yet. But we're headed in the right direction, IMO.

P.S..... I don't want to turn this into a MMA versus Internal discussion. ;)

YMMV.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 07:43 PM
Mike wrote:

Well, we've had this discussion before. To use a worst-case approximation, you're saying that an 80-year-old Ueshiba, Takeda, etc., wouldn't have substantive information for you because they couldn't cut it on the mat with Chuck Liddell. I disagree. I think you have to be more cautious, analyse (this will truly determine whether you're really smart or not) the applicability, and so on. Just the fact that Asian martial artists have said "this is the optimal way to go" for thousands of years should tell you something. Of course, they could be wrong and you might be smarter than generations of them.


Of course not! I think 80 year old Ueshiba would have wisdom enough not to make categorical and broad statements of this nature. He would also probably have a much more complex view of things and offer proper guidance and advice.

However, if he made such a claim, he or someone he trained should be able to qualify said claim.

No I don't think MMA is the end all of everything either, that is, the endstate of the path. My hope is that there is a maturation or synthesis, further progression, or refinement.

I will be sorely disappointed if this turns into a MMA versus thread, that was not my intent in using MMA paradigm as an example. The conversation should be much more evolved than this.

I would tend to agree with you on the hitting power these days. However, all the exercises and CMA stuff I have seen or been exposed to tends to take place in a limited and constrained way. Hence my frustration when people offer conjecture that it applies to "X" or "Y".

My questions would be how do achieve the same power when so many variables are going on?

I think if and when synthesis takes place, we might have some new issues to deal with WRT to safety and rules.

Yes, headed in the right direction!

I think it is simply wonderful that there seems to be people coming forward that want to see this synthesis happen.

What I like about what you have said is that if someone says that they can do this or that...you visit them and see if they can do it better.

All I am really saying is the same thing. If someone says they can hit harder than Chuck Liddel then I would expect them to define EXACTLY what you mean by that. one, in general in a CMA context, or in the ring. If they mean in the ring, then I would expect them to do so under the same conditions.

PS...for those that read only the beginning and the end of a post and don't pay attention to the salient points...this IS NOT intended to be a discussion about MMA vice Internal MA.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 08:00 PM
Of course not! I think 80 year old Ueshiba would have wisdom enough not to make categorical and broad statements of this nature. He would also probably have a much more complex view of things and offer proper guidance and advice.

However, if he made such a claim, he or someone he trained should be able to qualify said claim. But what if in your neighborhood in Northern Virgina you are introduced to some skinny old guy who tries to tell you that he has a "better way"? I.e., he can't compete in the MMA, etc. You should be able to see what he does, analyse the feel of it, and think how it might be applicable to generating forces, overcoming an opponent's position, etc., without having to "get it on". That's what I mean. In other words, the primary analysis is done with the mind, not the bout in the ring.

Similarly, if we're lifting weights and I show you how to use pressure, groundpath, and the back-bow to increase the amount of lift in a military press, you should be able to calculate the addition to available forces and realize that such a tactic indeeds adds forces to the total-force-chain without making me do a press of 500 pounds in order to prove it. ;) That's what I mean about seeing the truth through thought and analysis (based, of course, on your own wisdom and experience).

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 08:21 PM
Sure, I did that except it was a fat old guy in PA a couple of weeks ago! :) (couldn't resist!)

I agree and I think I feel that what you offer MAY be of value.

Where I stop short is saying that it does have value. I think it would be absurb at this point for me with a limited exposure to a few exercises to start with rhetoric that says "wow, this is great stuff and it has application here and here and here!"

The challenge is for me to approach things honestly with a beginners mind and work through this in attempt to learn and synthesize it in what is useful to me.

Hence, alot of my questions to you in person trying to relate things back to things I already had concepts of, BJJ, grappling, Aikido, yoga.

My cynicism rears it's ugly head when people start making claims or speculations, yet cannot adequately demonstrate application. This seems to happen alot in Martial Arts.

I like your weight lifting analogy, it is a good one. Better than MMA, and less emotionally wrought. Weight lifting is quantifiable.

I agree that you should not have to demonstrate that you can lift 500 lbs. Wouldn't you think though if you showed me how to do this, and assuming that I could do it correctly, I should see some improvement in the amount of weight I could lift or efficiency.

I think the weight lifting example is indeed what you did for us at the seminar. Which is okay. Again, what would be wrong would be for someone to attend, then walk away and say it will improve your weight lifting, yet they cannot show how!

Jimmy keeps saying to me, "we are going to learn this stuff, no matter how much it is going to hurt you!" :)

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 08:28 PM
back to primary analysis being done with the mind, not in the ring.

Key to being able to perform the analysis is experience. You could do the analysis with the mind if you have experience upon which to base this on.

So, a more direct answer to your post is this:

"Yes, it would be possible for Chuck Liddell to meet an 80 year old man and learn somethings from him, and Chuck Liddell could evaluate mentally how this might be helpful."

Could an aikidoka with no experience in the ring make that same conclusion. My submission is No. It is simple conjecture on his point since he lacks the necessary experience to make a qualified evaluation.

We see this alot in martial arts.

The key is to keep the synthesis within the boundaries of your own experiences, or try and broaden them to allow you to make more qualified ones.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 08:42 PM
Where I stop short is saying that it does have value. I think it would be absurd at this point for me with a limited exposure to a few exercises to start with rhetoric that says "wow, this is great stuff and it has application here and here and here!" Well, clinically, I'd suggest that you saw some demonstrations of a few things that would be of imaginable benefit martially. If you didn't see forces, etc., at work that had *potential* you would have simply shrugged it off and I wouldn't blame you. But that's where you have to start.. potentially useful ways of using forces that seem perhaps more efficient than just muscular use of strength. My cynicism rears it's ugly head when people start making claims or speculations, yet cannot adequately demonstrate application. This seems to happen alot in Martial Arts. Obviously, I should have hit someone a little harder or thrown somebody in an impressive way, but unfortunately I was mainly interested in leading everyone through a chain of logic. And everyone was brain-fried enough without us going into side issues. Maybe another time.

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 08:53 PM
No, you hit me hard enough to get my attention.

Yes, most certainly I saw from my limited point of view, that I can conject at this point where it might have martial value.

What you do is certainly NOT out of line with the principles that I have learned in the past, both from TMA, MMA, and from stuff such as proper shooting postures close quarters battle that I learned in the military environment.

At this point though, I would not offer to say how it translates, nor start talking about applications in those environments. It is premature for me to do so and possibly dangerous.

right now, I am going to Aikido and BJJ classes and stumbling around like an idiot, running into people, hitting them too hard, off balance, getting choked out, and all that fun stuff.

Also this, please don't think my comments are directed at you in anyway. When I speak of cynicism, it is of a general nature and speaking in macroscopic terms.

What I saw and experienced with you...was not that at all, but of surprise and validation!

Nothing like I expected!

I guess what got me started on this tangent tonight was all the talk about secret techniques and why we have to protect others from themselves and the power of what this "can do".

that is all!

Been a good discussion and helped me think about a few things!

Thanks

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 08:58 PM
Key to being able to perform the analysis is experience. You could do the analysis with the mind if you have experience upon which to base this on.

So, a more direct answer to your post is this:

"Yes, it would be possible for Chuck Liddell to meet an 80 year old man and learn somethings from him, and Chuck Liddell could evaluate mentally how this might be helpful."

Could an aikidoka with no experience in the ring make that same conclusion. My submission is No. It is simple conjecture on his point since he lacks the necessary experience to make a qualified evaluation.

We see this alot in martial arts.

The key is to keep the synthesis within the boundaries of your own experiences, or try and broaden them to allow you to make more qualified ones.I agree. But it works both ways. For instance, submitting someone is cool, but it's an alien concept to many fighters in the world. In the very old days of Chinese martial arts, close-in fighting was meant to be ended quickly, hence the studies of Dian Xue, muscle grabbing tricks, joint locks, training the hands to rip out flesh, and so on. Not to mention many other things, all of which are not allowed in a UFC cage. Different strokes for different folks. If you're saying that someone has to play by MMA rules for it to count, I'd point out that you would object if I told you an MMA fighter had to fight a Pigua fighter on their rules. All of which becomes nonsensical.

On the other hand, if you boil down the techniques that are important to the most effective in terms of survivability in combat, then it's a different animal entirely, isn't it? In which case, all the extraordinary strengths, neutralizations, tactics, etc., change... and the way you evaluate things has to change, too. I think more along those lines, not MMA. I don't want someone to mangle me in a bar and have him walk away with everyone murmuring, "Wow, that guy is a nasty fighter!".... I want to walk away from the bar with everyone saying about me, "Wow, that guy is a nasty fighter!". ;)

BTW, my groundwork is limited, but I still did a fair amount of it in judo, etc. And I watch all the MMA fights (because my wife makes me sit there with her). There are some comments I could make about some of the skills that would be applicable, but I just don't want to go into it in this thread. There's more than we had a chance to cover in that workshop, but let me emphasize that my focus for many years has been how to acquire these strengths and I don't want to get off into a martial-arts comparison because I'm not offering to do that. I can show you how to do some things, but you'd have to practice if you wanted to learn how to apply them in your favored arts.

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-25-2008, 09:13 PM
I agree that it becomes nonsensical.

boiling things down to what works in combat doesn't work either. Re tried that with Fairburn Sykes type mentality and look what that did for us!

It would be a shame to get down to a technical martial focus with what you are teaching. How would that work anyway???

I think it is up to individuals to interpret applications based upon a sound base of principles. When you start teaching technically, you start having issues.

Mike Sigman
02-25-2008, 09:20 PM
I agree that it becomes nonsensical.

boiling things down to what works in combat doesn't work either. Re tried that with Fairburn Sykes type mentality and look what that did for us!

It would be a shame to get down to a technical martial focus with what you are teaching. How would that work anyway???

I think it is up to individuals to interpret applications based upon a sound base of principles. When you start teaching technically, you start having issues.I agree. I would be such a complex subject and I'm frankly not qualified to do it, as I tried to say. There are guys who can train and demonstrate the way these skills are used in combat, but heck, I had to waste about 30 years just being focused on how to get to these skills, so I don't claim anything martially except what I can do for myself.

Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2008, 07:36 AM
And the applications we did work on were great as a starting point for how to realize the skills in our chosen art.

Frankly, anyone with a brain can figure out applications, between their own experience and just trying things out. Enjoyed the conversation!!

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-26-2008, 08:03 AM
In line with the whole discussion, let me re-post some of the comments by Minoru Inaba about ki and aiki. It's a very good and important interview and it's found at:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=107

First a quick comment in the interview about what should be obvious; this form if "ki" power is used throughout Japanese martial, including koryu like KSR:

How do you separate or unify the technique of Kashima Shin-ryu and aikido?

For each art I teach the basic form. But I always keep flexibility in mind and am not trapped by the form, while at the same time I do not neglect technique.

In my limited experience, I have felt that while teaching the technique, the important point is self-control, calming the mind, and "ki" energy.

Then a comment/discussion about ki and aiki:


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

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

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

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

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


Then a further re-statement about aiki itself in relation to the technique/waza that is jujutsu (althoug of course the waza is also done with the ki-power imbued in Nage):


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

When power meets power on the battlefield and you think about what aiki technique is, how can we overcome the opponent's power and make it zero? I think this is the point of aiki technique. Make the opponent's attack zero; take away the opponent's way to attack again, and overcome the opponent's fighting spirit. These points are important when you think about "jujutsu." Daito-ryu uses the term aikijujutsu. Aikijujutsu is the correct expression. Initially, aiki neutralizes the opponent's attack; then jujutsu is used to remove the means to attack thus also defeating the opponent's fighting spirit. That's why they say "aikijujutsu." If the technique reaches a high-level, these two elements will occur at the same time. When the opponent attacks, he will be immediately thrown. That's the level of an expert.

Originally jujutsu had both elements. If you look at "aiki" and "jujutsu" and you want to polish aiki technique, the point is that you receive several types of attacks and, at the same time, you make the opponent's power zero. If you practice only one pattern of attack, then you lose the ability to apply techniques in different ways and they will become mere form. You must be able to respond to several types of attack. The crash of sumo, the punch of karate, and even the contact in rugby and soccer can be counted as types of attacks. A thrust from a small knife is the same. You have to respond. With each passing generation, the way to attack changes.

These are the endpoints that I wanted the workshop participants to have an insight into and a few starting abilities in that direction.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Robert Wolfe
02-27-2008, 08:05 AM
A day or two ago, Mike asked for some comments from those who participated in the seminar at Itten Dojo, particularly with regard to experiences in aikido practices since the seminar.

Let me start by mentioning that I had real concerns prior to the seminar. After reading the frequent comments in various threads very explicitly stating that acquisition of internal skills requires extensive, daily solo practice outside of regular training, I figured I would be pretty well screwed to begin with. Most weekdays, I have barely an hour between the office and the dojo, just enough time to get home, grab a bowl of cereal and my gear, and head out the door. I get home late and get up early the next day to start the cycle again, never getting anywhere near eight hours sleep. I'm already maxed-out.

I was also very concerned to read statements that gaining these skills demands, essentially, a total rewiring of all movement patterns, extending even to routine activities. I was thinking, "Okay, it's bad enough if there's going to need to be an ‘alien' movement pattern imposed on my aikido; what's going to be the effect on the koryu iaido we also practice?"

Happily, both concerns proved to be exaggerated.

Absolutely — internal skill acquisition demands daily, solo practice. But that doesn't have to mean hours of specialized exercises. From what I can see, at least at this beginning level, sufficient daily practice of specialized exercises is needed to recognize and internalize the basic movement patterns, sense of forces, and power generation, but the really key requirement appears to me to be to start trying to apply the skills in all daily activities, right from the beginning. In that way, rather than getting a discrete fifteen minutes, or an hour, of specialized exercises, you're getting additional minutes of conscious patterning and application, minutes that can add up to hours over the course of a day. Make everything training.

I was also relieved to discover that many of the most fundamental movement patterns in these internal skills aren't so alien after all. Sure, there are some esoteric aspects and applications of internal skills — some of which were witnessed at the seminar by those paying close attention — but the basics appear to be primarily mechanical and mental, completely understandable, and are in many cases things fairly common to a wide variety of arts. I've seen, and been instructed in, many pieces of the internal skills, in arts ranging from karate to aikijujutsu, to kenjutsu. However (and it's a BIG "however"), I only ever received disjointed pieces of the puzzle, never a comprehensive picture, and as I came to recognize at the seminar it only takes one missing piece to queer the deal with respect to active application of the skills.

There's no question that integrating internal skills requires an "extreme makeover," but the good news is that most students of traditional arts with any significant length of training will recognize things they've done in bits and pieces and have a good basis on which to start their physical reprogramming. Integrating the movement patterns and power generation is not going to be quick, and it's not going to be easy, but getting started in training the internal skills should not be seen as an overwhelming challenge.

More good news can be found in the fact results are apparent immediately. Obviously, anyone still trying to figure out which foot goes where in basic aikido techniques isn't going to see a lot of benefit from adding the requirement to focus on subtle alignments, weighting, breathing, imagery, sequencing, and force paths, but anyone with reasonable body skills and coordination (i.e., the ability to move intentionally) will see appreciable improvement in the effectiveness of techniques, right out of the box.

It's simply not the case that months or years of intense, solo practice need be invested prior to seeing any tangible results. I'm sure that decades of practice are required for high-level applications of internal skills, but I'm very encouraged and much more likely to make such an investment knowing I've got a better ikkyo today than three weeks ago, the consequence of only utterly superficial exposure to a concise and comprehensive explication of the basics of internal skills. It may not be in high definition, but I've gotten at least a peek at the bigger picture.

My recommendation is to investigate the internal skills, with an instructor who is willing to present a thorough grounding in the basics, in the context of the art in which you're primarily training. You may decide you already do all this stuff, or are at least doing enough to be satisfied, or you may have opened to you a far wider range of possibilities for your practice than you ever imagined.

And, best of all, adding this element of training isn't going to screw up your iaido.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 09:00 AM
My recommendation is to investigate the internal skills, with an instructor who is willing to present a thorough grounding in the basics, in the context of the art in which you're primarily training. You may decide you already do all this stuff, or are at least doing enough to be satisfied, or you may have opened to you a far wider range of possibilities for your practice than you ever imagined.Hi Bob:

At the moment, there is no complete expert available to westerners who "knows all the stuff" and who is teaching how to do things. The amount of knowledge and the method of presentation vary, but you put your finger on it with the idea of "basics". No matter how good some instructor thinks they are (and maybe some of them have up into "moderate" range on some areas), my opinion is that aside from "basics", that's about all anyone can expect to get at present. The skills are ancient, but this generation of instructors is a very small pool and the upper level of skills is limited. Yeah, I'm an iconoclast. ;)

So that being said, I'd agree with all that you said and I'd caution about anyone assuming that they "already do this stuff", even to a small degree. Over the many years of many time-wasting mistakes, I've learned that the safest approach to training is to constantly have the thought in mind, "What am I doing wrong?". Anyone who dismisses that analysis with a "well, I've already got part of it, so I don't need to concentrate so hard" is suicidal, IMO.

Anyone can learn weak approximations of the static or near-static starts of ki/kokyu usage in reasonably short order. Learning to actually do all these things while moving, and I mean true movement from the center, takes a lot of time and effort. The actual full-blown ability to do even the static level of the demonstration ki/kokyu takes longer than it first appears because the training of the body causes changes that a beginner has no concept of, at first.

I.e., I'm not trying to throw water on anyone, but I'm really trying to save people some wasted time and effort by pointing out (maybe too many times) that it's harder than it looks to get it right.

I will say that I was extremely encouraged, if not outright impressed, but the level of ability and focus I saw by some of the Aikidoists at the workshop. Whoever your student was who assisted me in the preliminary discussion on "unbendable" arm... he was bulletproof throughout the demo. I was impressed. At that rate of acquisition, I expect great things.... but I'll never compliment him needlessly because the last thing I want to do is potentially slow down his efforts by telling him "that was perfect!". ;) Because there's further that he can go.

Best.

Mike

Timothy WK
02-27-2008, 09:50 AM
I was also relieved to discover that many of the most fundamental movement patterns in these internal skills aren't so alien after all... [the basics] are in many cases things fairly common to a wide variety of arts.
I do think that traditional marital arts training (along with certain other activities) can help "prime" individuals for internal training. I know a few light bulbs lit up in my own head when I was shown how to *practically* apply those over-used platitudes that I've been hearing for years.

But like Mike said, you do have to be careful about assuming you know how something is done. I went from "I don't know how to do this...", to "oh, now I see how its done...", to "nope, I have NO friggin' clue how that's done."

I think the most important thing you can learn to get yourself ready for internal training is simply the ability to listen to your body. Which muscles are engaging or not engaging? Are you---correction: Where are you holding tension? Where's your balance? Can you feel your body alignment without looking? Can you feel all the subtle movements in your body when you breath? Etc.

HL1978
02-27-2008, 10:05 AM
I think everyone misses this and why they think they "already do this" when they see some of the various exercises.

Sure it might look familiar, but there is a different intent.

Timothy WK
02-27-2008, 10:26 AM
Sure it might look familiar, but there is a different intent.
YES. The first time this was evident to me was when some friends of mine who practice Chen Tai Chi were showing me their basic stance. I was struck by how they "tucked" their tailbones, similar to what I did when I was studying karate. But in karate, I was told to pull the pelvis up with the abs. But my friends explained that they were relaxing the lower back downwards.

Looked almost the same, but totally different feeling.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 10:38 AM
YES. The first time this was evident to me was when some friends of mine who practice Chen Tai Chi were showing me their basic stance. I was struck by how they "tucked" their tailbones, similar to what I did when I was studying karate. But in karate, I was told to pull the pelvis up with the abs. But my friends explained that they were relaxing the lower back downwards.

Looked almost the same, but totally different feeling.Well, this is a problem with going to so-and-so and being shown such-and-such about a certain martial art and then taking their word for it. Unfortunately, the Chen-style does not tuck the tailbone. Yes, the lower back is relaxed, but the tailbone is not tucked.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
02-27-2008, 10:40 AM
This is one of the points I continually have problems with. Relaxing the lower back and extending the spine does not require you to "tuck". But it is easy to get mislead with this.

Best,
Ron

Timothy WK
02-27-2008, 10:46 AM
Chen-style does not tuck the tailbone.
That's not what I meant to imply, though that was how I perceived it at the time. At the time I was unfamiliar with the language they were using to describe what they were doing, so I used my karate experience as a reference point. And I haven't seen them in a while, so I'm not sure if that's what were actually doing, or if it was just my perception.

Sorry for any confusion.

Robert Wolfe
02-28-2008, 07:13 AM
The two biggest surprises for me in the seminar were how many times something I'd been shown previously came close (in apparent form) to things Mike demonstrated, in some cases had been demonstrated and described with literally identical language, but missed completely in terms of the effects generated (or only foreshadowed in a very limited way what might be possible), and how many times in the seminar we were able to experience at least an initial measure of the effects we were looking for. Now, sure, the experience was within an artfully set up and carefully controlled, learning environment (both factors a measure of just how much thought and work Mike put into preparations for the seminar). And certainly there's an immense difference between "success" under highly controlled circumstances and being able to do anything similar under more dynamic or freestyle — let alone combative — conditions.

Nevertheless, it was very encouraging to discover that what we learned in the seminar could make a difference in our practice, right away. Something as "simple" and purely mechanical as into which area of my foot I direct my weight makes a difference. So what if something like that's the most rudimentary precursor to actual internal skills? It's effective, it's simple enough that beginners can comprehend and integrate the concept to technique and, quite frankly, that one tidbit alone would have for me been worth the price of admission.

And there was so much more.

I will say most definitely that the past five years of our training guided by Amdur Sensei, with his particular focus on vectors of movement and his plan that our training eventually move into investigation of internal skills based on that foundation, have provided a distinct advantage in starting this study. But I think anyone with a creditable background in traditional arts is going to see things on exposure to internal skills provoking a response of, "Oh!" Not in the sense of, "Oh, now I know exactly all about that!" but rather along the lines of, "Oh, so that's what that was about!" It's a starting point.

Our dojo tends to operate on the principle of, "More is better, and too much is not enough." We're never satisfied. So I'm interested if something adds even so little as a consistent 5% improvement in the effectiveness of a technique. From a going-in position of moderate skepticism, I'm more than willing now to concede that acquisition and incorporation of internal skills has the potential to increase the effectiveness of techniques very substantially, perhaps hugely beyond a happy 5%, to a degree probably limited only by the dedication of the student over an extended period of time and his access to quality, knowledgeable instruction ("close" clearly doesn't count in this area of study).

Based on more than 30 years exposure to a fairly wide segment of martial arts in the United States, I think there's only a very small percentage chance that most of the people saying "We already have that" with respect to internal skills really have anything at all to speak of. And — in consequence of that attitude — there's virtually a 100% chance they're never going to get it. But, again, so what? People train for a lot of difference reasons, and if whatever they have is good enough for them at the moment, great. Researchers like Mike are offering an avenue of study and training that has the potential to transform one's practice, even one's physical well being.

I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 08:47 AM
Based on more than 30 years exposure to a fairly wide segment of martial arts in the United States, I think there's only a very small percentage chance that most of the people saying "We already have that" with respect to internal skills really have anything at all to speak of. And — in consequence of that attitude — there's virtually a 100% chance they're never going to get it. But, again, so what? People train for a lot of difference reasons, and if whatever they have is good enough for them at the moment, great. Researchers like Mike are offering an avenue of study and training that has the potential to transform one's practice, even one's physical well being.
Hi Bob:

Well, "researcher" is probably a good term to apply to me because it indicates that I am indeed (and admittedly) outside of an formal affiliations with any person or style. And I try to stay that way, by choice. These skills and methods are also the basis for many qigongs, for sho-do, for iaido, for the tea ceremony, and so on, when they're done correctly. A lot of people don't realize all of that. But my interest is more along the path of "what's the full range of these skills for health and strength?", so while I enjoy some interest in the martial aspects, I'm too old to ever go in that direction again.

I'm quite happy to see people grab things and run and for me to simply be an information depot of sorts. Other than that, I'm out of it and curious to see what schools like yours wind up with in a few years. Probably, it's going to be more the school I wish I had been able to find when I was doing Aikido, complete with ki skills and practicality.

My suggestion would be to give it a while in order to get some initial practice of skills behind you and then begin to do events with other schools and Aikidoists (like Jim Sorrentino's) who are also working on these things (and who I think will also become very good). You guys are wonderfully situated geographically and people should make it a point to drop by and see what you're teaching and practicing. I'm actually looking forward to some good things happening and I'd like to see the results sometime.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Blake Holtzen
02-28-2008, 10:49 AM
Okay, I got a friendly quiz for everyone that attended Sigman's workshop (you lucky dogs...).

How does one establish a groundpath to neutralize an incoming push when there is no back leg? So if someone was in a parallel horse stance and someone pushed them at 90 degrees on their chest, how would one ground that?

Hopefully, Mr Mead doesn't read this thread and tell us that it is impossible because of the force vectors or the earth's rotation or something (kidding!).

But seriously, any takers???

Thanks

-Blake

Ron Tisdale
02-28-2008, 11:16 AM
Mike has already talked about that in different threads. If you start using the back leg, then you can move the front leg parallel, and then source the connection from there. Or probably share the load between the two.

The push on the chest is hard though...regardless. One thing that seems to help me is the imagery Dan provided about seeing their push as a rope, and pulling the rope down into your body and feeding it to the ground. I'm pretty lousy at this overall though...ask again in a year or so ;)

Best,
Ron

Tom H.
02-28-2008, 12:07 PM
How does one establish a groundpath to neutralize an incoming push when there is no back leg? So if someone was in a parallel horse stance and someone pushed them at 90 degrees on their chest, how would one ground that?I think it's the same thing, just a little bit more difficult. Your intention sends the incoming push straight to the ground; who cares what shape your body is in (Easy to say and hard to do).

Caveat: I wasn't at the workshop.

Try a progression like this:
* Start in 50/50 weighted hanmi
* Receive a push through an extended arm.
* Check to make sure you're relaxed and grounding.
* Take your arm out of the equation and receive the push directly on your chest. Make sure it's going to the ground.
* Shift your weight over your back foot. Keep receiving to ground.
* Lift your front foot off the ground. Keep receiving to ground.
* Set down your front foot parallel to the weighted back foot. Keep receiving to ground.
* You are now receiving a push in a parallel stance.

The idea is to find a progression of baby steps. Try this sequence or make up your own. Identify where you fail. Try to move the point of failure back; maybe it's when you shift your weight, or maybe you fail while lifting your foot because you can't lift without disturbing your spine. Those are examples. Keeping the force gentle will help isolate the mind control ("intent") component of the failure. Think of it as something akin to a mental block; you already know how to ground, just in limited circumstances.

Spend a couple hours working on this with a partner to see how far you can take it. Revisit again in a week or two. See how much force you can receive before you fail. See if you can push that limit back as well.

I think that once you get far enough along your body will kind of realize that it can remain connected (grounding can be a decent test of that connection) somewhat irrespective of where your limbs, your weight, and the incoming force are.

Like Ron says, particular imagery may help muster the proper intent. "Your imagine must be full," as one Chinese guy puts it.

MM
02-28-2008, 12:16 PM
Okay, I got a friendly quiz for everyone that attended Sigman's workshop (you lucky dogs...).

How does one establish a groundpath to neutralize an incoming push when there is no back leg? So if someone was in a parallel horse stance and someone pushed them at 90 degrees on their chest, how would one ground that?

Hopefully, Mr Mead doesn't read this thread and tell us that it is impossible because of the force vectors or the earth's rotation or something (kidding!).

But seriously, any takers???

Thanks

-Blake

From the seminar:

Mike showed how to stand in a sort of hanmi, right leg forward and right arm forward. So, uke pushed on the right hand. You grounded all of the force into the back left leg/foot/ground. Then Mike showed that if all the force is there, you can actually move your front leg. And then Mike moved his front leg backwards until he was standing with feet side by side, shoulder width apart.

Of course, there's also Ueshiba's version:
Use of the te-gatana [hand-sword] (or fist): in order to deliver a devastating blow to an enemy, one must be enlightened to the principles of heaven and earth; one's mind and body must be linked to the divine, and there must be a perfect balance between the manifest and hidden, water and fire. Heaven, earth, and man must blend together as a single unified force—in this case a te-gatana—and one must move in harmony with the cosmos propelled by the divine; heat and light should radiate from your entire body.

Now, if you think of heaven and earth as places where you are focusing your intent, it becomes a bit clearer.

As Mike stated, you are grounding the force coming in.
That's earth.

So, what's heaven? As those keeping up with these threads, you'll note that people talk about the head being pulled up by a string, stretching the spine upwards.
That's heaven.

enlightened to the principles of heaven and earth means understanding how to keep your intent going in both directions.

your intent to heaven, your grounding to earth must all blend within your body. "Heaven, earth, and man must blend together as a single unified force"

heat and light radiating means that when you do this stuff right, you start building up heat within and sweating your butt off.

Or so my theory goes. :)

Mark

Budd
02-28-2008, 12:40 PM
I'll just revisit my earlier words (which I think I've been fairly consistent on) . . . go see what people are doing . . . never assume you know much of anything. Make friends where you can.

Best,

Marc Abrams
02-28-2008, 01:13 PM
I wish that I could have made that seminar....

My 1-cent suggestion:

Feet parallel and shoulder width apart. Big toes should line up with the shoulder joints. The focus is to have the weight of the body centered in the mid-foot (ideally, where the ankle bones attach to the feet). Pretend as though you were going to sit back into a chair so that your hips relax towards your rear, leaving a light bend in your knees. Your shoulders should be entirely relaxed. Your spine should be naturally aligned so that the spine draws an imaginary line into the ground, in line with where the center of your weight is (where the ankle bone meets the foot). Your head should be held so that the spine maintains a natural alignment (neither tilted back or down). A push in your chest from this position should be grounded-out. At least that is what I experience when I can actually line it up properly.

Marc Abrams

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 01:43 PM
But why does it work? What is the physics part of it? The ground at your feet is the fulcrum. You are the lever. He provides the force against the lever. What can you do with your mind and body to artificially arrange a force that counters (comes in under) Uke's incoming force?

Best.

Mike Sigman

Marc Abrams
02-28-2008, 02:08 PM
Mike:

That is an excellent question that I am too new to fully understand. If I think about your question from how I experience the force (when I am actually aligned properly), I would say that in my mind, I am part of and connected to the ground and the person is simply pushing directly into the fulcrum point.

Any wisdom on your part would be greatly appreciated in helping me conceptualize why it actually works!

Marc Abrams

Blake Holtzen
02-28-2008, 03:24 PM
But why does it work? What is the physics part of it? The ground at your feet is the fulcrum. You are the lever. He provides the force against the lever. What can you do with your mind and body to artificially arrange a force that counters (comes in under) Uke's incoming force?

Best.

Mike Sigman

Blasted physics!! But me thinks Sigman gave us all a hint : "comes in under uke's force"

So, I am gonna make a wild guess, and if I am way off, I promise to sit in a corner for the rest of the day and talk to no-one...

In Sigman's videos, he talks about using a stick to connect one's dantien (hara) with the incoming force. So what if one uses that idea to come under uke's chest push so that the resultant force vector (Fx + Fy) is above you. Use the back bow to raise the force.

-Blake

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 04:43 PM
gave us all a hint : "comes in under uke's force" Sure. If your responding force is based on the ground and it comes up under the incoming force from Uke, then Uke is essentially pushing himself away. He is "floating". But to do that, you have to relax the upper-body and use the mind to rig the upcoming force.

If you want to fake it, you stick one foot behind you and use it as a "brace". If you want to do it with "ki", as Tohei, Ueshiba, and others have shown, then you will have to train the skill. It helps to have someone show you how and work with you on it. Particularly if you're going to really make it hard on yourself by standing with feet parallel or try to do it standing on one leg. But those are good ways to train... by pushing your limits.

Best.

Mike

Blake Holtzen
02-28-2008, 09:04 PM
Sure. If your responding force is based on the ground and it comes up under the incoming force from Uke, then Uke is essentially pushing himself away. He is "floating". But to do that, you have to relax the upper-body and use the mind to rig the upcoming force.

If you want to fake it, you stick one foot behind you and use it as a "brace". If you want to do it with "ki", as Tohei, Ueshiba, and others have shown, then you will have to train the skill. It helps to have someone show you how and work with you on it. Particularly if you're going to really make it hard on yourself by standing with feet parallel or try to do it standing on one leg. But those are good ways to train... by pushing your limits.

Best.

Mike

Sooo, was I way off and have to sit in the corner now...?

I seem to remember Chen Xiaowang performing the one leg thing but Im not sure if he was using the same ideas and mechanics.

Ah, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldH40uF_f28

Soo, if we can deal with a head on push with no "back leg", academically at least, can we do the same thing with a strike?

Somewhat on a sidenote: an iron vest qigong that I do, I was told that the movements increase the strength and thickness of the fascia, and the standing postures teach one to relax into the ground. So in theory, when one is hit with a strike, the fascia dispurse the force while your relaxed structure grounds the rest of the force. Is this similar to what we are talking about?

Where is Harden and Sigman when you need them... :D

-Blake

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 09:11 PM
I told you the exact truth, Blake. I told you more than you need to know in order to figure it out. The idea of "steal this technique" implicitly contains the idea that you have to be smart enough to understand it before you can steal it. I have great faith in you, Blake. ;)

Mike Sigman

Dieter Haffner
03-03-2008, 06:34 AM
How does one establish a groundpath to neutralize an incoming push when there is no back leg? So if someone was in a parallel horse stance and someone pushed them at 90 degrees on their chest, how would one ground that?I saw this exact trick performed on the National Geographic Channel in a documentary about the building of Chartres Cathedral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Chartres).
The architect used something that is called flying buttress (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_buttress).
So it is pure science. :eek:

Dieter Haffner
03-03-2008, 06:35 AM
Mike,

When does your European tour starts?

Mike Sigman
03-03-2008, 06:57 AM
Mike,

When does your European tour starts?Hi Dieter:

I have planned no workshops in Europe or the U.S. for the rest of this year. Usually if I go to Europe it is after the heat and tourists have left. ;) But this year, I have been busy with other things and have not done any planning. Sorry.

Best.

Mike

peengers
03-03-2008, 06:06 PM
Hi Dieter:

I have planned no workshops in Europe or the U.S. for the rest of this year. Usually if I go to Europe it is after the heat and tourists have left. ;) But this year, I have been busy with other things and have not done any planning. Sorry.

Best.

Mike

Hey Mike,

Is there a place where you post rough schedules for seminars when you do have them? When I read r.m-a a long time ago I would see you post on occasion and either you or others would mention when and where a seminar would be, and now that I have a little cash and the ability to travel more or less at will I would really like to sign up for one.

Also, I know that this is the aikido forums but are you still teaching them in a generic martial manner?

Mike Sigman
03-03-2008, 06:36 PM
Is there a place where you post rough schedules for seminars when you do have them? When I read r.m-a a long time ago I would see you post on occasion and either you or others would mention when and where a seminar would be, and now that I have a little cash and the ability to travel more or less at will I would really like to sign up for one.

Also, I know that this is the aikido forums but are you still teaching them in a generic martial manner?Hi Eric:

I'm fairly lax about posting workshops since I only have time to do a few of them. The only place I try to post personally is on the QiJin forum; generally I leave it to the host to do what he wants to do about advertising.

Functionally, there's no way to get around some aspect of generic approach, in my opinion. Since Aikido is to some degree regimented (much more so than various Taiji, Xingyi, etc., schools), I was able to push the envelope at the Pennsylvania workshop at Itten Dojo and get into some things I don't normally get into. I don't know if I'll be able to duplicate that at every succeeding workshop. The Pennsylvania one had a pretty smart lineup of people.

Along the same lines, I try to do a sort of "big picture" coverage of what the various skills and approaches are in the ki abilities. Since ki and qi skills don't really break down to any substantive differences in the styles (despite the beliefs of the ill-informed), a little cross-style genericism is simply a fact of life. ;)

Best.

Mike