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Mary Eastland
02-26-2008, 05:31 AM
Whenever a discussion on internal power comes up it turns into a fight about personalities.
Why do people seek internal power? Are we trying to beat each other up in a new way?

Here is my answer why I train in a style that focuses on devoloping Ki.
It is the path I was introduced to for starters. I didn't know this path was exactly what I needed but it was.
Maruyama Sensei stressed that Ki was the co-ordination of mind and body. It is not some magical power. He said O'Sensei could do it, Tohei could do it, He could do it and so could I. I believe him. We practice Ki exercises every class. We develop strength.
Along with this strength comes a compassion and understanding because we are practicing Aikido with a partner.
Having internal strength for the sake of beating another seems to have lost the point.
We read the ideas. Ron and I try what we like. It makes us think differently about old ideas. I appreciate this.
The cult of personailty and ego is distracting and meaningless. But it also seems like people are missing the point. Why become very strong in body if your mind and spirit are staying mean?
Mary

crbateman
02-26-2008, 06:16 AM
Well said, Mary. Aikido is about balance, so what could be better than recognizing the importance of balance between mind, body and spirit? But I do stress balance, because I have also seen training where ki is over-emphasized. Some might disagree in either direction; I view it as a component, but not the component.

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 06:25 AM
Along with this strength comes a compassion and understanding because we are practicing Aikido with a partner.
Having internal strength for the sake of beating another seems to have lost the point.

I could not agree with you more. There was a time, in my youth, that all I wanted to do was to find the secrets of the Indians, Tibetans, Chinese, Hebrew Kabala, Celts, Mayans and even the cult of Mithros for that matter. That was a time when I had the time to do it and I was young enough to remain centered almost solely on my self. There was also no wife, no house, my parents were healthy, and my full time job was a "work-a-day-thing".

Today, I instinctively know that I do not have the time to lead a balanced life and do Martial Chi Gung a la CMA properly. On top of this, I began to take more time in meditation that is more outward than inward.

My meditations tell me that we are currently looking at a world that really needs positive and compassionate energy. The world's political leaders need wisdom to weather a mighty big storm that is breaking "heavy" this year. In fact, watch the storm greatly magnify around March 15 in a very big way. At least that is what I am getting from my meditations.

I am praying for peace....along with my Mayan, Celtic, Hopi, Tibetan, Sioux, and other friends right now. I know our "morphic resonance" joins together in the ether and does more good than what I might be doing for my own body right now.

On the home front, many of our female family members are "stressing out" and even getting lupus, cancers, shingles, strokes, etc. as they go overboard trying to make things right during a time in earth-energy when things just cannot be made right. Other more Yang-energy family members are thinking that they will get through this time by grabbing their shotgun and "can of beans" - ready to ward off the world.

It truly is a time for balance. It is a time for cosmopolitan compassion. My way, (the way I mentioned above) is simply my way. Others must look deep inside and decide their own way. All I would suggest is that they look to find the "balance" in whatever they do. They will know they have the balance when the following emerges:

Goodness, Peace, Joy, Patience, Compassion, Empathy, Transparency, Trust....

Today,we have more connectivity than ever before. because of it, we are also more challenged in how we learn to engage each other. We have built a wonderful "Tower" that connects the world with cyber inclusion, express flights to anywhere in the world, and expatriate work forces that span the globe. Now we stand at the brink of its own potential destruction. What will destroy it? The confusion of our tounges.

Upyu
02-26-2008, 06:30 AM
We develop strength.
Along with this strength comes a compassion and understanding because we are practicing Aikido with a partner.
Having internal strength for the sake of beating another seems to have lost the point.

M2c... I think that kind of compassion only comes from having the ability to dish out serious harm to others. This stuff was kept close-vested because it gave you an edge in combat (ie the other person ending up more or less dead or battered).

Waxing philosophical is nice, but if you can't hold your own, its a moot point.

I don't think it needs to be pointed out that Takeda Sokaku was historically, (at least if you read interviews with Sagawa and others) a killer.
Even Ueshiba was a pretty uptight bastard before he joined the Omoto Religion.
Tohei - a pretty crude guy according to various annecdotes, but also pretty standard for guys that could walk the walk. You'll hear similar parallels in China. I think there was some Tai Chi dude who had a good rep, for his skills...and also for tearing through an entire brothel without losing his stamina ;)

So maybe we can leave the whole "but shouldn't internal guys be wide-eyed nirvana chasing lotus eating buddhas" image alone and just focus on the skills. :D

SeiserL
02-26-2008, 06:52 AM
IMHO, it isn't about beating some one up, its about a natural developmental evolution for hard to soft and external to internal.

But I do agree that a lot of good content gets lost in the personalities. Thats the same with any topic. Its a "where ever you go, there you are" thing.

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 06:54 AM
So maybe we can leave the whole "but shouldn't internal guys be wide-eyed nirvana chasing lotus eating buddhas" image alone and just focus on the skills.

I have seen people "turn the other cheek" out of fear and then try to acquire the acclaim of others as if they suffered humiliation for their "faith in some form of nirvana". If one turns the other cheek, it should be done without fear or it is really not pure compassion.

We should not negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate. Negotiation comes from strength. But strength must be balanced with compassion or it is some ugly form of bullying or self-acclaimed godship.

Rob John, I think I sent you the parts of the eopolitical world that I am currently meditating on. Come March 15, let's see how things develop.

gdandscompserv
02-26-2008, 06:55 AM
M2c... I think that kind of compassion only comes from having the ability to dish out serious harm to others.
Ever watch the TV programs entitled "Lockup" or "Lockup RAW"?

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 07:16 AM
The Movie Series "Kill Bill" probably insulted every martial sensibility I had, yet it was hilariously wise. One character, Pai Mei, was not sequestered on the mountain to purify his shen with "marrow/brain washing exercises. He was there because he had become so specialized that he could not relate to other people.

In retaliation, he became hard nosed and unfriendly...downright mean spirited. He was not an ascended master. He was just a lonely old man who probably was silently hoping for the death he was given by such an "ungrateful student".

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 07:22 AM
It was because Ueshiba had internal power skills that he could espouse a philosophy of peace (as Rob pointed out). When he realized what it made the body capable of doing without having to resort to "waza," he could just stand there and let his attackers harmlessly bounce off him, or he could choose to do something else with it, expressing it outwardly through whatever techniques he chose to "make happen" -- which were invariably more powerful than technique effected without an internal "force" behind them. The thing is, the internal skills gave him a choice.

Old saying: We bargain from a position of strength, not from one of weakness. We're not in a position to bargain for anything, only to beg for mercy, when someone else's boot is on our throat!

This sounds harsh, but it's Nature, and is true whether talking about a physical confrontation, or a business deal. You have to have an edge; having power -- whether it's physical power, legal power, financial power or psychological/emotional manipulation power -- is that edge, though the latter three apply mainly to society and culture more than to the "Law of the Jungle."

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 07:34 AM
Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Hildegaard of Tubingen, and Mahatma Ghandi all had this internal power and did amazing things with it. Neither did they negotiate from weakness. Yet, they had no martial training.

Whatever way we choose to build internal power, let's do it with balance and compassion.

gdandscompserv
02-26-2008, 07:41 AM
Old saying: We bargain from a position of strength, not from one of weakness. We're not in a position to bargain for anything, only to beg for mercy, when someone else's boot is on our throat!

This sounds harsh, but it's Nature, and is true whether talking about a physical confrontation, or a business deal. You have to have an edge; having power -- whether it's physical power, legal power, financial power or psychological/emotional manipulation power -- is that edge, though the latter three apply mainly to society and culture more than to the "Law of the Jungle."
What are you "bargaining" for Cady? And how does your internal power help you "bargain" for those things?

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 07:48 AM
Chris,
Inner emotional strength is one thing and is of enormous weight and great value. But the kind of internal power being discussed concerning Ueshiba is, alas, boringly physical in nature. It is mechanical, physical power generated internally, and expressed physically.

But it was this very plain, physical-mechanical skill that allowed Ueshiba -- a martially-minded man reputed to have something of a temper -- to cultivate the kind of internal power you refer to.

Saints often become saints because they were martyred -- physically destroyed. In the martial world, it is the physical that is being discussed, not the Higher Nature. Physical survival.

Gandhi took non-resistance and physical meekness as far as a man could, and it succeeded because he had the psychological/emotional manipulation power "bargaining chip" I mentioned above. It worked because he knew with whom he was dealing -- that the British had a moral conscience, and could thus be reasoned with. But Gandhi, when told about the Jews' plight in emerging Nazi Germany, suggested quite earnestly that the Jews should lie down in front of the Nazis in passive non-resistance, letting the Nazis do what they would, without complaint. Gandhi had no idea that Nazis and Hitler did not operate under the moral principles that the British did.

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 07:53 AM
Ricky,
Heck, not everyone is girding his or her loins for combat. ;)
I went into MAs initially for self-defense, which speaks for itself. Very plain and basic pragmatism. But I just plain fell in love with the nuances of the process and training, and the challenge of seeing how far I can take it in a lifetime. What can you do with it as you age? Evidence is -- seeing all the aged people who have enormous power, even in their 80s or 90s -- that it's the stuff of a lifetime pursuit. Look what Ueshiba could do in his 80s. Besides, it's a lot of fun.

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2008, 07:57 AM
Whenever a discussion on internal power comes up it turns into a fight about personalities.
Why do people seek internal power? Are we trying to beat each other up in a new way?

Interesting...none of the seminars or open sessions that I have gone to have had anything to do with people beating each other up in ANY way. So my question to you is, what venue have you gone to where Internal Skills (TM) were touted and people behaved that way? If you haven't gone to one of the venues, then how exactly are you qualified to speak to what was on display?

Internet discussions about where the weight should be (front or back foot), what is the angle of the feet, whether you should block or not, all show a great deal of personality and ego. Are you saying that it exists only for Internal Skill (TM) discussions? If so, I beg to differ...

It is not some magical power.

Ah, even in the internet discussions here, who said it was??? I think I smell a red herring...

The cult of personailty and ego is distracting and meaningless. But it also seems like people are missing the point. Why become very strong in body if your mind and spirit are staying mean?

I agree...and it seems the internet is full of personality and ego. Yet when I've taken the time to go and meet people face to face, I've seen very little of this. Strange, isn't it?

Best,
Ron

MM
02-26-2008, 08:30 AM
Whenever a discussion on internal power comes up it turns into a fight about personalities.
Why do people seek internal power? Are we trying to beat each other up in a new way?

Here is my answer why I train in a style that focuses on devoloping Ki.
It is the path I was introduced to for starters. I didn't know this path was exactly what I needed but it was.
Maruyama Sensei stressed that Ki was the co-ordination of mind and body. It is not some magical power. He said O'Sensei could do it, Tohei could do it, He could do it and so could I. I believe him. We practice Ki exercises every class. We develop strength.
Along with this strength comes a compassion and understanding because we are practicing Aikido with a partner.
Having internal strength for the sake of beating another seems to have lost the point.
We read the ideas. Ron and I try what we like. It makes us think differently about old ideas. I appreciate this.
The cult of personailty and ego is distracting and meaningless. But it also seems like people are missing the point. Why become very strong in body if your mind and spirit are staying mean?
Mary

Hello Mary,

Have you ever tried one of the demonstrations for internal power? If not, try this: Stand with feet side by side, shoulder width apart. Have someone push straight back on your chest. You can even have them start with a little push and then an all out shove for all they are worth. Were you able to stand there while they turned red in the face?

Not many can do that. Yet, I see quite a few people brush this off like it was not worth the effort to even read about it. But, if you take a moment to view what is going on, you can see some very practical applications here. One, you are able to manipulate an incoming force (in this instance, it can be a fairly powerful force) in a safe manner. Two, you aren't actually hurting the attacker. Three, you aren't really doing "something" to the attacker, rather you are just working "internal stuff" within you. Four, you aren't resisting anything. There is no resistance. Five, you are neutralizing an attack. Think of a simple wrist grab with more power. Six, you are working on a certain mentality which is entirely focused on you, rather than on an attacker. That means, spiritual-wise, you are making a better you without having to stoop down to the level of the attacker (remember, this is a static exercise, not a technique or waza.)

Those are just simple applications of what is going on in this static exercise.

So, why work on internals? Can you see any benefit to the above?

Also, as I've noted elsewhere for the Ki Society people. The exercises for internal work actually are training to accomplish Tohei's four principles. They are exercises which have a side benefit of getting one to relax completely (show me an aikido exercise that actually develops this), keep weight underside, keep one point, and extend ki. Actual exercises that elicit these principles.

As I've noted elsewhere, the internal exercises also develop a very relaxed but integrated upper body. It takes the muscles out of the shoulders. Show me aikido exercises that actually do this. Or do we just keep hearing ... relax. relax. relax more?

I'm getting long winded here. As a final note, I'll ask you and everyone else a question. Have you met Mike or Dan? Because I'll reiterate what I've said before ... once you meet them, their Internet posts take on a whole different conveyance. Not only that, but I have found both to be:

1. Very helpful.
2. Very nice.
3. Great teachers.
4. Very skilled.
5. Well worth travel, time, and money.

IMO,
Mark

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 09:05 AM
cady,

I came to the de ision early on that if I wanted to practice lunified motion" in my Tai Chi and Aiki, I would also need to practice unifying the spirit and my life as a whole. This was quite counterintuitive for my Cartesian mind and how corporate life wants to keep you compartmentalized. For me, this was the biggest win on the martial path. The microcosm of mechanical movement taught me about the macrosm.

George S. Ledyard
02-26-2008, 09:07 AM
It was because Ueshiba had internal power skills that he could espouse a philosophy of peace (as Rob pointed out). When he realized what it made the body capable of doing without having to resort to "waza," he could just stand there and let his attackers harmlessly bounce off him, or he could choose to do something else with it, expressing it outwardly through whatever techniques he chose to "make happen" -- which were invariably more powerful than technique effected without an internal "force" behind them. The thing is, the internal skills gave him a choice.

Strictly speaking, this isn't true. Plenty of people have made the commitment to a "philosophy of peace" with no martial capability whatever. Their "internal power" was just plain guts.

Gandhi had that kind of power, so did the first monk to burn himself alive at the beginning of the Viet Nam War. The civil rights workers who sat down at the integrated lunch counter, knowing that they'd be beaten, even killed, they had the power...

If you look at the folks who have attained the kind of "internal power" used in martial arts, it is very rare that you find this kind of non-violence. That's why O-Sensei was so radical. Power can be a trap. If you look at the folks who have it, most are "fighters". Why do people do martial arts in the first place? I think it is clear that most folks get into the arts because of fear. Many of the legendary figures one reads about were sickly as kids, or had some traumatic incident which made them feel powerless as children.

People who are obsessed with the power side of these arts, whose primary concern is being able to beat any opponent are often simply trying to paper over these fears with a facade of power.

The martial arts are full of these folks, as Rob mentioned. Folks who attained tremendous power to destroy but who were still so fear based in their fundamental thinking that they could barely interact with their fellows. I look around and I see folks I've known for 30 plus years who wouldn't hesitate an instant to go up against three attackers with sticks but who can't simply have a conversation with their peers for fear of being judged.

O-Sensei was a radical in his martial arts world in that he saw a way to take the training that he had done and create something that went beyond fighting. It was radical enough that many of his own students couldn't go there with him. If you look at a guy like Shioda Sensei, he wanted no part of the spiritual trappings which the Founder put onto the art as it developed. For him it was about the power.

I am not trying to say, in any way, that the "internal power" issue isn't important. If you want to attain the top level of skill in our art, that is an important component. I outweigh Saotome Sensei by 200 lbs and he can pulse me straight back onto my butt when I grab him. If you want to be able to relax like Yamaguchi Sensei or Endo Sensei, you can't do it without a strong structure, period. If you don't have the internal development, then the only other way to put structure into your form is through muscle tension. And if you are using muscle tension, you aren't doing aiki.

But I am saying that you can be highly skilled in "internal power" development and not be doing Aikido. It's not Aikido just because it has "aiki". Daito Ryu is not Aikido. Yanagi Ryu is not Aikido. Aikido is a creation of Morihei Ueshiba. He created our training out of what had gone before. It isn't about fighting, it's about not fighting. Period.

But folks use that fact as an excuse for having poor technique. Many of the folks one encounters who are most concerned with the peace and harmony side of the art have weak and deficient technique. They have almost no understanding of what "aiki" means as it relates to physical technique. Consequently, they really have no ability to actually connect their philosophical / spiritual ideas with their technique.

On the other hand, one sees Aikido people for whom "application" is everything. These folks have always been there, right from the beginning... How did the Founder "market" the art? With displays of technical skill and power. I think that most of the folks who started Aikido after seeing him did so because they wanted to be able to do what he could do. That was "the hook". Some, as they trained with the Founder, were able to go far beyond that simple desire and see the larger picture which O-Sensei was outlining. Others never did. They just wanted the power. I think that the majority of the deshi fell somewhere in between, finding O-Sensei's deep spirituality compelling but obscure and they still wanted the "power" m,ore than anything else.

There is a lot of discussion about what O-Sensei meant when he said that "no one was doing his Aikido". There have been attempts to maintain that this was due to the fact that no one was training the way he and and martial skills were falling short. I see absolutely no evidence that this was the case. What I see as O-Sensei's great concern was that no one understood the spiritual foundation upon which he based his art. Everybody just wanted the power...

These streams have to be brought together if Aikido, as O-Sensei envisioned it, is to be preserved. Sure, go take what you can from Dan H, Akuzawa, and Mike S or anyone else who has the goods in the "internal power" area. Train with folks who understand "aiki" like Kuroda, Angier, Threadgill, Okamoto, Popkin, or any other Sensei who can show you something. Every one of these people is better at what they do than 99% of the Aikido folks you will run into.

But then I say, bring it home. Take what you have learned and bring it back into Aikido. Don't devolve Aikido into something it was not intended to be in an attempt to rediscover its fighting roots. If that's what you want, go do Daito Ryu, it's a better version of that than Aikido is.

At the same time do not content yourself with technical mush overlaid with platitudes. Holding hands and singing Kumbaya is not Aikido. Being nice to people is not Aikido. Finding a way to get along is not "aiki". The kind of understanding of how peace and love relate to Budo comes with hard training. If you want to understand O-Sensei's Aikido, you better start doing technique with "aiki" . O-Sensei's Aikido was about an understanding of the fundamental energetics that govern the universe. If the energetics of your practice are fundamentally false from the start, you have no hope of discovering what the Founder's message really was.

O-Sensei was unique in that he took a background in fighting arts and discovered for himself the truth of not fighting. The reason that no one is doing "his Aikido" is that people either fall into one of two camps.

The fighters are simply worried about how they can use Aikido to defeat some ill defined set of threats that exist in their world; imminent and threatening enough that they will spend their adult lives preparing for these encounters. Most will never actually have the encounter, but they will be ready when they do...

The idealists do Aikido as some sort of dance of Peace. They have little or no interest in how Aikido technique is applied. Most have no background in other martial arts, in fact if they weren't doing Aikido, they wouldn't be doing martial arts at all. They do strikes but can't actually strike, they do throws but can't actually throw. Anyone who shows them this fact is labeled as "unharmonious" and is pressured out of the community so that the collective illusion that something is actually going on can be maintained.

None of this was O-Sensei's Aikido. O-Sensei trained with the attitude of shin ken shobu, the live blade encounter. For O-Sensei understanding of the spiritual could be made manifest in the physical through his waza. It was through an understanding of what kind of "connection" was required to defeat an opponent with "aiki" that he discovered for himself the underlying connectedness of all things. If you don't understand that through your technique you don't understand it the way O-Sensei understood it.

Aikido is in danger of losing any connection with what the Founder taught and did himself. Fighting isn't it. But training properly will simultaneously increase your ability to do so and reduce your need or desire to. Training should increase your sense of connection to other human beings, if it doesn't it's not Aikido. Training should make you less fearful. if it doesn't it's not Aikido. Training should develop a sense of how to meet conflict expansively rather than by contracting. If it doesn't, it's not Aikido. You should be able to demonstrate every aspect of your understanding of spiritual principles on the mat via physical technique. If you can't, you are not doing Aikido.

These discussions of internal power are about an aspect of Aikido technique that is lacking. They are not about Aikido as a whole. Attaining these skills does not mean you can do or even understand Aikido. That is a far larger issue and can't be done without actually practicing... Aikido.

Aiki1
02-26-2008, 09:34 AM
George - the finest post I've seen. Excellent. Excellent.

To me, this why I don't practice an art called "the power of Ki-do" or Aiki-jujutsu or Aiki-jutsu. Aikido is a "whole nother thing" and I agree, it is getting lost.

Excellent.

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 09:58 AM
Thanks Sensei Ledyard...

I have met and trained with a few people that have "internal power" in a variety of arts including Aikido....

It's just a natural result of thier practice and like one Senior Yudansha told me... "It's right in front of you can you see it?"

Funny thing is to a person they don't see internal power as the be all end all "focus/goal" in practice. They see as a step along the path to becoming a better human being...

It is true the some reach that step faster than others and like Roshi said once along time ago "It very is dangerous to cling to Satori and imagine the result is you're something more than human...You will cease to "grow" until you can let go of it."

I am reminded of this every time I grasp the hand of some 5th Kyu and he/she remains unimpressed with my magical powers. LOL He/She just wants to learn. :)

You can focus on any aspect of the Martial Arts you wish too but once you acheive your "goal" What then???

WIlliam Hazen

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 10:30 AM
George,
Internal "guts" and the higher nature are, as I agreed earlier, of great value and weight, but, as I also pointed out, they work on the assumption that others can be swayed through reason and/or emotion, and will yield. In Gandhi's case, the British yielded because they were malleable. Because of their value system, they could be moved. Nazis, on the other hand, were not bound to that morality or value sense, and no amount of passive resistance would work on them. They would just shoot the passive bodies where they lay.

In some aspects of life, it is necessary to be physically powerful, because the opponent cannot be reasoned with nor swayed through his values and emotions. That is where the martial arts sphere exists, and why physical power and capability are crucial in Nature.

Pleading for and attaining mercy, and the acceptance of one's subordinant position may be a survival strategy, but one must be content with accepting -- rather than forging -- the terms of the "agreement."

Mike Sigman
02-26-2008, 10:35 AM
In reading this thread, I think different people are defining what they mean by "internal power" in whatever way they see fit. Probably, if everyone understood what "internal power" was, there wouldn't be this mishmash of statements equating "strong personal strength" and various other things as "internal power".

I agree (and have said numerous times) that someone who can use ki/kokyu power is not necessarily doing Aikido. Aikido takes practice and knowledge. On the other hand, I don't see how anyone who does not have ki-power can be said to do Aikido or even "aiki". The idea that the ki skills are some side-issue to Aikido, like whether you wear a hakama or not, really highlights what a problem there is in Aikido today. And in other arts, as well, I should add.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 10:39 AM
Sensei Ledyard,

Again, cudo's to you. A true scholar and wise leader.

jennifer paige smith
02-26-2008, 10:49 AM
Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Hildegaard of Tubingen, and Mahatma Ghandi all had this internal power and did amazing things with it. Neither did they negotiate from weakness. Yet, they had no martial training.

Whatever way we choose to build internal power, let's do it with balance and compassion.

Hello Mr. Parkerson ( or Chris:) ),

I'm gentled to read your well spoken posts. They are truly wonderful and I'm glad you didn't jump ship when the online 'resistance training' began in relation to your thoughts....not that you would.
I could try to paraphrase what I'm hearing from you in my own terms, but it would simply serve to say that I independently have reached the same platform or bridge,if you will, of understanding. I too hear and feel the resonances of the times and know that our production of good ki is an essential ingredient in the recipe of world preservation.

And, perhaps my own ego is speaking here when I say, if one would look back at some of the posts that I've written about self-defense they would find a discussion about men and women defending the health and the lives of women by tuning up our vibrations in practice. Not to say men don't need it. I'm just watching women I love suffer at unprecendented rates and then die. It almost got me, too.

So our thoughts must change by whatever balance each one of us needs to strike. Each one. Not by arguing, right, but by turning our own cheeks by turning to our practices again and again.


And if y'all would indulge me for just another second about this turn the other cheek thing I would like to say that the Christian point of turning the other cheek is to demonstrate to another person that they cannot hurt you and therefore that person remains innocent due to our ability to connct to our fortified core. Again, this isn't an idea; It is a product of practice. It is a product of peace.



thanks,
jen

Mike Sigman
02-26-2008, 10:59 AM
I remember visiting a dojo one time on my travels because I wanted to practice. The technique was a shomenuchi-kokyunage. I attacked my woman partner and as my slow, cautious shomenuchi came down she turned off to the side, turning, and pointed to the mat in front of me. I stood there confused. She became angry (as so many "spiritual" people are wont to do when the world doesn't do what they'd like to make it do) that I wasn't conforming and rolling myself away. I like to think that she had a bit more of the "internal power" that some of the posters are talking about in this thread. But that's not the traditional sense of what it means. :rolleyes: Perhaps people should define how the "internal power", the "ki" they're talking about works in an actual technique of Ueshiba's Aikido, so that we can get a baseline definition going of what "internal power" is?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 10:59 AM
I realize that many people practice aikido as a vehicle for the development of spiritual and character qualities. As long as no one gets the idea that they are practicing a -martial- art, that's fine. And if that's the case, the quest to develop pragmatic physical defense skills is not necessary. If your environment doesn't include violent people who are unresponsive to emotional/spiritual appeals, such as those with drug-induced psychosis, hardened street criminals, or such, then you will never need those skills. Actually, I assume -- and am glad -- that none of you live in such an environment. I had to for some years, and wouldn't wish it on anyone.

But you know, Ueshiba could kick butt. ;) He retained the -physical/mechanical- internal skills he learned from Takeda in Daito-ryu, but applied them to advance his later-obtained spiritual purposes. Re-acquiring them into your own aikido would allow you to do the same, and would open up a window to a whole new world that will amaze you with its potential.

Just sayin'.

jennifer paige smith
02-26-2008, 11:07 AM
I remember visiting a dojo one time on my travels because I wanted to practice. The technique was a shomenuchi-kokyunage. I attacked my woman partner and as my slow, cautious shomenuchi came down she turned off to the side, turning, and pointed to the mat in front of me. I stood there confused. She became angry (as so many "spiritual" people are wont to do when the world doesn't do what they'd like to make it do) that I wasn't conforming and rolling myself away. I like to think that she had a bit more of the "internal power" that some of the posters are talking about in this thread. But that's not the traditional sense of what it means. :rolleyes: Perhaps people should define how the "internal power", the "ki" they're talking about works in an actual technique of Ueshiba's Aikido, so that we can get a baseline definition going of what "internal power" is?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

the word 'magnet' comes to mind.

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 11:09 AM
Beautiful thoughts Jen,

I have always wondered how misrepresented the word "meek" became in the Christian tradition. The "meek" that Jesus was talking about were not mindless sheep being lead to the slaughter.

They were hard-scrabble farmers, shepherds, fishermen, and street urchins. Their survival skills were honed through a life of overbearing taxation, no social security system and the threat of becoming a slave or gladiator if they fell into the wrong hands.

Yet, they had "overcoming" spirits. They were willing to focus on an internal kung that developed "Shen" or "spirit" rather than just the powers of the lower Dantien. This is the unification that I also practice building.

MM
02-26-2008, 11:12 AM
I have met and trained with a few people that have "internal power" in a variety of arts including Aikido....


Just wondering if you'd care to list some of them? I find myself in various places at times and training with any of them would be helpful.

Thanks,
Mark

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 11:17 AM
George,
Internal "guts" and the higher nature are, as I agreed earlier, of great value and weight, but, as I also pointed out, they work on the assumption that others can be swayed through reason and/or emotion, and will yield. In Gandhi's case, the British yielded because they were malleable. Because of their value system, they could be moved. Nazis, on the other hand, were not bound to that morality or value sense, and no amount of passive resistance would work on them. They would just shoot the passive bodies where they lay.

With all due respect Cady Please... Can you use a better logical fallacy that this one? I have heard it a hundred times and no... you can't compare the two anologies at all...

In some aspects of life, it is necessary to be physically powerful, because the opponent cannot be reasoned with nor swayed through his values and emotions. That is where the martial arts sphere exists, and why physical power and capability are crucial in Nature.

Again a false choice...It is not the differance between having or not having physical power It is the matter in which one uses it. The choices one makes...O'Sensei created Aikido to align with nature not in opposition to it...How does one "reason" with or "Kiai" a Tsunami?

Pleading for and attaining mercy, and the acceptance of one's subordinant position may be a survival strategy, but one must be content with accepting -- rather than forging -- the terms of the "agreement."

This is even stranger...Another thread Topic talks about how Budo prepares you for death...citing your anology how many times did Ghandi plead for mercy or "agree" to "accept a subordinate position"??? and how many Martial Artists do you know can survive being gassed or a bullet in the back of the head?

I agree with George...Internal Power is not the sole domain of the Martial Arts. Jesus died on the cross and look at the result. I wonder what would have happend had he used his internal power to destroy his enemies instead? I have said a hundred times It's takes more courage to love than to hate...for you (as you indirectly suggest) must sometimes put your own life on the line to connect with the "other"... Aikido is one of the few "Martial" Ways I know where I can practice that connection. If one develops internal power to do nothing but to have as a tool to destroy then I would suggest that the same person has allot more to learn about Aiki.

Again Cady my apologies in advance if I am a bit harsh I do enjoy reading your posts and have learned some good things too. So forgive me. You post is part of a conversation that those who would use the politics of fear use to exploit and color the debate about how best to connect with the "other." So hopefully I parsed this right. :)

WIlliam Hazen

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 11:30 AM
Beautiful thoughts Jen,

I have always wondered how misrepresented the word "meek" became in the Christian tradition. The "meek" that Jesus was talking about were not mindless sheep being lead to the slaughter.

They were hard-scrabble farmers, shepherds, fishermen, and street urchins. Their survival skills were honed through a life of overbearing taxation, no social security system and the threat of becoming a slave or gladiator if they fell into the wrong hands.

Yet, they had "overcoming" spirits. They were willing to focus on an internal kung that developed "Shen" or "spirit" rather than just the powers of the lower Dantien. This is the unification that I also practice building.

Chris,
"Meek" doesn't necessarily imply "weak," however, the kind of "internal power" you and Jen, and George, are talking about is not the internal power being discussed in the threads that perplexed Mary Eastland and caused her to open this thread.

Turning the other cheek is noble to those who understand the meaning of the gesture, but if the person you are turning it toward intends to kill you, and enjoys the prospect of killing you, he will kill you. Your noble gesture of calm defiance will still result in your death. And if the killer has no morals, nor understanding of the meaning of your gesture, it will have been lost on him. At best, you will have had the satisfaction of making that gesture before you died. Perhaps that would be of sufficient value to you, but wouldn't it be nicer to be able to subdue the would-be killer (maybe even without seriously harming him), and continuing your life on Earth? :)

William,
The internal power that is discussed in threads about the things Mike, Rob et al.discuss, is a tangible, physical-mechanical process that one trains within one's body. It's "simply" a physical tool that makes the body structurally more stable and able to receive and re-transmit energy from an attacker if one so chooses.

The reason why it causes such a cacophony whenever it hits the forums, is in part because few have been exposed to it and know what it is; because of its controversial presence in Ueshiba's own personal practice of aikido (and how, later in life, he used it to advance his philosophical leanings); and the even more controversial argument advanced by some that it is absent in most present-day aikido, even at the highest levels.

Again, it's not "inner strength" as in personal spirit and moxie, or spiritual strength. It is a basic, physical condition. Additional confusion churns up when the two different things get mixed and discussed together. ;)

jennifer paige smith
02-26-2008, 11:33 AM
Chris,
"Meek" doesn't necessarily imply "weak," however, the kind of "internal power" you and Jen, and George, are talking about is not the internal power being discussed in the threads that perplexed Mary Eastland and caused her to open this thread.

Turning the other cheek is noble to those who understand the meaning of the gesture, but if the person you are turning it toward intends to kill you, and enjoys the prospect of killing you, he will kill you. Your noble gesture of calm defiance will still result in your death. And if the killer has no morals, nor understanding of the meaning of your gesture, it will have been lost on him. At best, you will have had the satisfaction of making that gesture before you died. Perhaps that would be of sufficient value to you, but wouldn't it be nicer to be able to subdue the would-be killer (maybe even without seriously harming him), and continuing your life on Earth? :)

William,
The internal power that is discussed in threads about the things Mike, Rob et al.discuss, is a tangible, physical-mechanical process that one trains within one's body. It's "simply" a physical tool that makes the body structurally more stable and able to receive and re-transmit energy from an attacker if one so chooses.

The reason why it causes such a cacophony whenever it hits the forums, is in part because few have been exposed to it and know what it is; because of its controversial presence in Ueshiba's own personal practice of aikido (and how, later in life, he used it to advance his philosophical leanings); and the even more controversial argument advanced by some that it is absent in most present-day aikido, even at the highest levels.

Again, it's not "inner strength" as in personal spirit and moxie, or spiritual strength. It is a basic, physical condition.

hmmm

gdandscompserv
02-26-2008, 11:34 AM
She became angry (as so many "spiritual" people are wont to do when the world doesn't do what they'd like to make it do) that I wasn't conforming and rolling myself away.
Mike,
Would you please provide a baseline definition of "spiritual?" I envision myself as a spiritual person but I don't ever remember getting angry because someone didn't take a fall for my lousy technique.

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 11:39 AM
Again Cady my apologies in advance if I am a bit harsh I do enjoy reading your posts and have learned some good things too. So forgive me. You post is part of a conversation that those who would use the politics of fear use to exploit and color the debate about how best to connect with the "other." So hopefully I parsed this right. :)

WIlliam Hazen

Sorry my edit time limit was up before I could give this a proper going over. What I meant to post is

Again Cady my apologies in advance if come across a bit harsh. I do enjoy reading your posts and have learned much from you too. So please forgive me. Your post is a small example of an ongoing dialog I have been having with those who would use the politics of fear to exploit and color the debate about how best to engage with and connect with the "other" in the present world we live in.

Personally I have chosen Aikido to accomplish this task. :)

Namaste, :)

William Hazen

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 11:40 AM
Unified Internal Power and the Bourne trilogy

I am constantly in awe when I think of my good friend and Judo teacher "Hal" . He was sought out in the 1950's to be in the 10th Special Forces when many of the 10th were comprised by ex-German SS troops inducted to teach the Army how to do it.

Sheep-dipped into the CIA, he survived Easter Europe, Hungary and then had his Bourne Identity experience on a mission to kill Fidel Castro.

He encountered his Bourne Supremacy experience soon after, losing his home, his family, his aeroplane, and everything else he held dear. All he had when I met him in 1992 was his love of Judo/Aikido and his well honed "shen". He would say, "That which does not kill me, makes me stronger." He legally fought the U.S. government to a standstill and did so without spilling blood, even though he obtained several battle scars (bullet wounds and knife cuts) in the process. The U.S. government assessed him as a threat and simply did not fight fairly.

For the rest of his life (he is now 72) he is experiencing a "stand-off" by way of his personal version of the Bourne Ultimatum. Again, he remains unstained by blood.

Hal is the guy that taught this martial arts student about an overcoming life is and what "meek" really means.

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 11:40 AM
Sounds the same to me.

:)

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 11:43 AM
But William,
This stuff IS aikido! lol!

And it's certainly not about fear or politics, not sure why you see it that way. It's about pragmatism, which comes in handy when you live in the world. :)

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 11:49 AM
Chris,
William,
The internal power that is discussed in threads about the things Mike, Rob et al.discuss, is a tangible, physical-mechanical process that one trains within one's body. It's "simply" a physical tool that makes the body structurally more stable and able to receive and re-transmit energy from an attacker if one so chooses.

The reason why it causes such a cacophony whenever it hits the forums, is in part because few have been exposed to it and know what it is; because of its controversial presence in Ueshiba's own personal practice of aikido (and how, later in life, he used it to advance his philosophical leanings); and the even more controversial argument advanced by some that it is absent in most present-day aikido, even at the highest levels.

Again, it's not "inner strength" as in personal spirit and moxie, or spiritual strength. It is a basic, physical condition. Additional confusion churns up when the two different things get mixed and discussed together. ;)

I understand Cady and believe me I was not confused. The Martial Way is just one of many "skillfull means" to achieve internal power whereby you can control and retransmit a physical "attack". There are many many others. :)

Namaste'

William Hazen

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 11:52 AM
But William,
This stuff IS aikido! lol!

And it's certainly not about fear or politics, not sure why you see it that way. It's about pragmatism, which comes in handy when you live in the world. :)

Keep reading. :)

William Hazen

Chris Parkerson
02-26-2008, 11:53 AM
The reason why it causes such a cacophony whenever it hits the forums, is in part because few have been exposed to it and know what it is....

I fully support Nei Gung training a la CMA for those who wish to experience it. But if you do it, you may want to read the warning label..

1. Best results come when taken at 3:30 - 4:30 am

2. Few results anticipated if done in the afternoon or late evenings

3. When your body stores enough chi that is breaks through a blockage, aggressive whipping actions may occur via nerve impulses and relaxed limbs while asleep. Make sure you do not hit your significant other or you may develop a lack of "trust" with your sleeping partner.

4. Before you train too deeply with iron palm, determine how many children you may wish to pat on the back.

jennifer paige smith
02-26-2008, 12:01 PM
I fully support Nei Gung training a la CMA for those who wish to experience it. But if you do it, you may want to read the warning label..

4. Before you train too deeply with iron palm, determine how many children you may wish to pat on the back.

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha...that is flippin' great.

Aiki1
02-26-2008, 12:01 PM
4. Before you train too deeply with iron palm, determine how many children you may wish to pat on the back.

Hahahaha - very funny Chris. :)

Going back to George's post - generally, what I see in "Aikido" is the attempt to use "aiki-like techniques" to Dominate another person, thus having an "ego-satisfying" experience = winning over someone else.

I believe that Aikido - without quotes - is not this - that it is, instead - Transforming, or, Transformational. In a particular way. At a Much deeper level.

Lyle Bogin
02-26-2008, 12:06 PM
I think the most interesting aspect of "internal" martial training is the denial of initial reflexive conditioning on the premise that conscious thought should remain embodied within our actions.

In this way our techniques are dictated by a more complete and (hopefully) more "correct" response, even as they approach what appears to be reflexive action.

RonRagusa
02-26-2008, 12:39 PM
The internal power that is discussed in threads about the things Mike, Rob et al.discuss, is a tangible, physical-mechanical process that one trains within one's body. It's "simply" a physical tool that makes the body structurally more stable and able to receive and re-transmit energy from an attacker if one so chooses.

Cady,

I don't know your martial arts background so I won't make any assumptions regarding your familiarity with Aikido training methods and goals. I was taught that Aikido training develops the whole person; the integrated mind/body person. Our training from day one incorporated both waza and Ki development on equal footing, a practice that we continue today.

In Aikido mind(spirit) and body are non-differentiable. Mind and body distinction is learned at an early age and via Aikido training we discover how to reintegrate mind and body. From an Aikido perspective to state that internal power is "simply a physical tool that makes the body structurally more stable and able to receive and re-transmit energy from an attacker if one so chooses" is only partially correct. Development of internal power via Aikido training must by definition strengthen both mind and body since they are two sides of the same coin.

Mike, Rob et al may use training methods and metaphors that differ from those used in, say, Ki Society or other styles of Aikido that emphasize Ki development, but the power being spoken of is the same.

Just for the record, don't confuse training to engender peace in one's own life with the Christian tenet of turn the other cheek. The two are not necessarily synonymous.

Ron

Mike Sigman
02-26-2008, 02:27 PM
Your post is a small example of an ongoing dialog I have been having with those who would use the politics of fear to exploit and color the debate about how best to engage with and connect with the "other" in the present world we live in.Yet Cady didn't make a slam like that to anyone, William. Reminds of the woman who got upset because I didn't see/do what she wanted me to in the Shomenuchi/Kokyunage. Is name-calling not the politics of hate?

So far, I haven't seen a single definition or explanation to back up what anyone means by "internal power".... other than the implication that it means what we want it to mean, it means "the way we do it at our place", and we can assert it's what Ueshiba (or insert your authority-name of choice) wanted us to do. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

John Connolly
02-26-2008, 02:58 PM
Without the Black Panthers and the Black Muslim movement, Dr. King's peaceful alternative would have been laughed at. The same holds true for Ghandi's peaceful protests as a counterpart to violent insurgency in India.

Dr. King and Ghandi may have been the ultimate examples of non-violence, but they were the other side of the coin, totally co-dependent on the threat of violence by their counterparts for their success.

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

I seek internal power, such as that demonstrated by the various greats in CIMA and Daito Ryu, etc (to clarify what I mean by internal power), just as I seek a refinement and strengthening of abilities I've already learned. I want to be strong enough in any encounter so that I have the ability to show mercy AND survive. Without that strength/ability I could be limited to seriously harming my attacker in order to protect myself. Might not be Aikido, straight from O Sensei's concept, but it holds true to my personal ideals.

Plus, learning is fun.

Mike Sigman
02-26-2008, 03:02 PM
Shioda and Tohei both considered this form of strength and investment that pays off when you get old, because when your normal strength declines, your ki/kokyu powers don't. This has little to do with some of the implications in the thread.

If your internal power is up to snuff, even closing your fist is done with it. That's worth thinking about.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2008, 03:17 PM
Hey Mike,

It's the implications that get to me...usually without bothering to get a valid point of reference.

Best,
Ron

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 03:31 PM
Yet Cady didn't make a slam like that to anyone, William. Reminds of the woman who got upset because I didn't see/do what she wanted me to in the Shomenuchi/Kokyunage. Is name-calling not the politics of hate?

So far, I haven't seen a single definition or explanation to back up what anyone means by "internal power".... other than the implication that it means what we want it to mean, it means "the way we do it at our place", and we can assert it's what Ueshiba (or insert your authority-name of choice) wanted us to do. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Two things.

Read the quote you spliced out in context to my entire post. I was referring to the tired Gandhi/Nazi Anology Meme not personally attacking him...I noticed you followed up your question by painting me with your own brush aka name calling...

There are plenty of posts and threads referencing the various definitions of Internal Power including some written by you....

I meant no disrespect to anyone and to suggest or infer that I did does not contribute to the discussion at hand.

William Hazen

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 03:52 PM
Without the Black Panthers and the Black Muslim movement, Dr. King's peaceful alternative would have been laughed at. The same holds true for Ghandi's peaceful protests as a counterpart to violent insurgency in India.

Dr. King and Ghandi may have been the ultimate examples of non-violence, but they were the other side of the coin, totally co-dependent on the threat of violence by their counterparts for their success.

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



With all due respect John. This part of the thread should be moved don't you think? I would love to dicuss this with you if Jun decides to move or if you opened up a thread on the topic.

For now...I humbly ask you to reread what you wrote and ask you what logical fallacy you represented...

William Hazen

John Connolly
02-26-2008, 04:11 PM
I'd be fine with it being moved, if all references previous on the same topic would also be moved. This is not a statement made in a vacuum. I was responding to the previously posted assertions about power, internal or otherwise, intrinsic in pacifism.

lbb
02-26-2008, 04:22 PM
If you don't train for "internal power" (by some definition), that doesn't mean you train for fighting or aggression. The persistence of this false dichotomy is very unfortunate.

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 04:25 PM
Ueshiba realized that internal body skills (in addition to the mental training) made him able to truly "Stop the Spear" -- the very essence of the Budo, and the acknowledgement that internal power makes one capable of -not- fighting or being aggressive.

John Connolly
02-26-2008, 04:39 PM
Mary,

I don't believe that anyone has stated that not training for internal power means you are training for aggressive response or fighting.

I think what many people are saying is that with internal power, you can better make the choice to be aggressive or gentle.

I think you can do that without internal power development too. However, I also believe that the capacity to not harm one's attacker in a self-defense scenario is commensurate with one's personal ability/strength (however defined).

Aikibu
02-26-2008, 05:13 PM
I'd be fine with it being moved, if all references previous on the same topic would also be moved. This is not a statement made in a vacuum. I was responding to the previously posted assertions about power, internal or otherwise, intrinsic in pacifism.

As was I... However to illustrate the logical fallacy of comparing two seperate historical groups as a rational proof using the above mentioned analogies may require a bit of time and digital space and it may not apply to the thread discussion.

I would welcome anyone who wishes to proof this rational argument using the referanced historical anologies. :)

William Hazen

lbb
02-26-2008, 05:31 PM
Mary,

I don't believe that anyone has stated that not training for internal power means you are training for aggressive response or fighting.

I think what many people are saying is that with internal power, you can better make the choice to be aggressive or gentle.

Maybe so. What I'm not so sure is that people understand the different possible meanings of "not training for internal power", and the differences between a non-goal and an anti-goal.

George S. Ledyard
02-26-2008, 09:07 PM
It was because Ueshiba had internal power skills that he could espouse a philosophy of peace (as Rob pointed out). When he realized what it made the body capable of doing without having to resort to "waza," he could just stand there and let his attackers harmlessly bounce off him, or he could choose to do something else with it, expressing it outwardly through whatever techniques he chose to "make happen" -- which were invariably more powerful than technique effected without an internal "force" behind them. The thing is, the internal skills gave him a choice.

Old saying: We bargain from a position of strength, not from one of weakness. We're not in a position to bargain for anything, only to beg for mercy, when someone else's boot is on our throat!

This sounds harsh, but it's Nature, and is true whether talking about a physical confrontation, or a business deal. You have to have an edge; having power -- whether it's physical power, legal power, financial power or psychological/emotional manipulation power -- is that edge, though the latter three apply mainly to society and culture more than to the "Law of the Jungle."

Cady,
Look, this position is fine and can be justified by looking at normal reality. On some level the majority of people might very well accept some or part of this world view.

But O-Sensei fundamentally did not accept this view. In fact he outright stated in many places that this type of world view leads to destruction. I am not saying you are wrong... I am simply stating that O-Sensei did not believe this to be true and he created Aikido specifically to give us an alternative to this type of thinking. If you belive this is true then Aikido is not the art for you...

Can you do Aikido without buying into O-Sensei's vision? Sure you can. But why would you want to? If that is the world I am living in, then I would do a combat art of some sort. Why in the world would anyone who believes that its all about prevailing over others, that its really about the Law of the Jungle, why would anyone pick Aikido to do? If that's what I believed, I'd call up Ellis Amdur Sensei and ask him to accept me back into the Araki Ryu. That's an art that fits that world view perfectly... that's the precise environment in which it evolved.

O-Sensei had a fundamentally different view. He specifically outlined a "new budo" that was completely different than this in orientation. I can't see any reason one would wish to do Aikido if it wasn't to try to understand his vision... There are certainly styles of Aikido which are not directly concerned with O-Sensei's spiritual ideals. But to the extent that one believes that they are more martial, more geared to towards real confrontation, one has to ask why choose them? Wouldn't some other style be more effective? Wouldn't a focus on weapons training be more realistic since combat has been about weapons since the first cave man bashed someone with a rock? If it's really about fighting, then I ask why Aikido at all?

Chris,
"Meek" doesn't necessarily imply "weak," however, the kind of "internal power" you and Jen, and George, are talking about is not the internal power being discussed in the threads that perplexed Mary Eastland and caused her to open this thread.

I am quite aware what kind of internal power is being discussed. If I gave the impression that I thought that the power of the non-violent activists I mentioned earlier was of the same sort, then I apologize for being unclear.

It was because Ueshiba had internal power skills that he could espouse a philosophy of peace (as Rob pointed out)

What I meant to say was that there is no essential connection between his having internal power skills and his espousal of a philosophy of peace. There are plenty of people who attained great internal power and did not espouse this view at all and there are plenty of people, some of whom I referred to, who did not have any internal power of the type we are discussing and did choose a non-violent, philosophy of peace as their path.

Internal power is the product of proper training, which I believe Rob, Mike, and Dan have all stated on numerous occasions. Basically, internal power is value neutral, it is a skill but could be used for good or evil. I believe that this was one of the reasons O-Sensei said he didn't want outsiders seeing his art, for fear it would be misused. It is "style neutral" as well in that, as Akuzawa points out, developing these skills will make any martial art more effective.

Aikido as an art requires a kind of letting go of the mind of conflict. I think that Mary, quite correctly in my opinion, was commenting on the fact that these discussions about internal power, while valuable from a certain standpoint, also show that the "mind of conflict" is alive and well in posters from all sides of the debate. While this might be just fine for those folks partaking in these discussions who are not Aikido people, since they never made any protestations about all this peace and love stuff anyway, it certainly shows an issue with many folks vision of what their Aikido is about.

I take the gist of Mary's post as being that, internal power or no internal power, if it isn't about somehow dealing with our own "mind of conflict" than it isn't what she wants from Aikido. I would say that this would have been O-Sensei's position... The art is about fundamentally altering the way in which you see yourself and everyone around you. It isn't about fighting; it's about not even having an enemy...

Don't try to put me in the "non-believer" category on this... I am firmly of the belief that this is important. I've trained, far too briefly, with Mike S and am in awe of his skills. When Akuzawa Sensei cam to Seattle, the seminar was held at my dojo and I had a great, but painful, time with Ark and Rob. These guys are incredible, and as I stated before, are better at what they do than 99% of the Aikido folks one would encounter.

But I am stating that "internal skills" aside, Aikido is a different kettle of fish and that one doesn't understand it as an art simply because one has mastered these skills. On the other hand, without some understanding of these skills, I don't think one can say that ones Aikido has much depth, regardless of what else one can do.

Cady Goldfield
02-26-2008, 09:43 PM
George, Ueshiba ultimately was able to form his world view and espouse peace and harmony BECAUSE he had the physical skills and power, not in spite of or in rejection of them. Those skills allowed him to be peaceful BY CHOICE, not because meekness was forced on him because he was unable to physically defend himself.

If anything, internal conditioning skills allowed him to show how physical power could be used in a way that did not harm an attacker, but kept the attacker from harming him.

Ueshiba also seemed quite pleased and to have no depletion of glee in that physical power, or demonstrating it, as an elderly man. That is pretty evident in all of those YouTube videos of Ueshiba bouncing big, young men off his chest, knee or shoulder, and all that good stuff. ;)

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 05:47 AM
Cady,

Your position and choice of words is starting to head down a path of fundamentalist thinking, IMO.

I would agree that Ueshiba was able to effectively demonstrate the viability of aikido because of choice.

I think it becomes fundamentalist when you unequivocially state HOW he was able to demonstrate that.

I am not saying that he did not demonstrate or use internal skills to do this.

First, how would you know what he used, or what he felt like? Did you study with him?

Second, At what level of development or experience are you speaking from that allows you to pass judgement on what he is doing?

What I mean by that is this. Is it theory or assumption that you base your conclusions on? Or have you formed a hypothesis, and have developed a set of parameters and conditions upon which you can demonstrate or replicate what you think O'Sensei did?

If not, then you are basing your conclusion about what is going on by transpostion. That is, through the experiences or conclusions of others. That is, you are operating from a position based on faith that this is indeed what is going on, and then saying "I Know".

To me, this is fundamentalist thinking at it's best, and it can be dangerous to the yourself, society, and the art.

It represents, IMO, the kind of example that Mike Sigman was talking about when he was concerned about handing this out to "the wrong people".

That is, taking a little knowledge, and extrapolating it into something else before you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do so.

This can happen intentionally or unintentionally.

Anyway, not trying to slam you in anyway, just think you should look carefully at the logic you are submitting in many cases to support your arguments.

I think George Ledyard and William Hazen bring up some good points worth looking at deeply.

I'd also offer this to your last post.

I can demonstrate or replicate the same endstate that Ueshiba had, based on your premise/definition with a handgun. I can have great power and CHOOSE to not use it and deal from a position of compassion.

I think the endstate of understanding that Choice or making compassionate choices is really the goal of aikido. I don't think Ueshiba, assuming that he had truely internalized his message, cared how we reached that point of enlightment, as long as we did.

He simply used aikido as a methodology or an allegory to do so.

Did he use internal skills? I am sure he did! He certainly reached out to a bunch of people and continues to do so today!

I'd also offer this as a lesson I am learning more and more importantly everyday.

He intended, I believe, that we would "Make Aikido our own". That is, that is becomes a personal journey and we should study it hard, and interpret it for ourselves. That is, to obtain the experiences through our studies and figure out how they open the doors to new information, knowledge, and wisdom. bettter yet, Open our Hearts.

To say things like "I know this is the right way". "I know this is how he did it", "You don't know" "He did not use this or that" is dissappointing and discouraging to me.

It means the same thing as "There is only one way!"

It is counter to "Open your heart", "Make Aikido your own", "Aikido can encompass all....".

The endstate of the art to me is much more important than the path.

Just somethings to think about!

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 07:30 AM
First, how would you know what he used, or what he felt like? Did you study with him?

Second, At what level of development or experience are you speaking from that allows you to pass judgement on what he is doing?

What I mean by that is this. Is it theory or assumption that you base your conclusions on? Or have you formed a hypothesis, and have developed a set of parameters and conditions upon which you can demonstrate or replicate what you think O'Sensei did?

If not, then you are basing your conclusion about what is going on by transposition. That is, through the experiences or conclusions of others. That is, you are operating from a position based on faith that this is indeed what is going on, and then saying "I Know".

To me, this is fundamentalist thinking at it's best, and it can be dangerous to the yourself, society, and the art.

It represents, IMO, the kind of example that Mike Sigman was talking about when he was concerned about handing this out to "the wrong people". I'm not Cady and I'm neither one way or another on the philosophical worry about peace coming through force... but I hate to miss a good argument. ;)

Couple of things. Cady doesn't need to be there to actually see on film a number of the things Ueshiba was doing. One thing Ueshiba, Tohei and others did was to use a lot of standard, Asia-wide "ki demonstrations" showing they couldn't be pushed over, unbendable arm, same general store-and-release methods of power, and so on. All the while talking about ki and kokyu power. Unless you want to hypothesize that Ueshiba, Tohei, and others are and were doing the same demonstrations with some different mode of power (trust me, that would be an absurd position to take), then you should give Cady credit for stating the obvious, *if* you've got a vague idea how these demos/tricks worked. And now you do.

Secondly, Ueshiba's Douka and writings refer to the same Yin-Yang cosmology that is used by the Chinese, even though it's sort of artlessly dressed up as "Shintoism", in some respects. The religion he used derives from Vajrayana Buddhism and even uses the same hand gestures and other rituals (and undoubtedly, training methods) within it. The cosmology referring to "harmony with the universe" means harmony with the physical laws of the universe. If you grab me, Kevin, and I use my mentally-directed ki/jin to add to your push (in a simple example), thus moving you away, then your own attack took you away because of aiki. We "blended", but in the refined sense. This is the type of ki usage that gives the old meaning of "harmony with the universe".... not a peace and love meaning. At a well-trained, higher level, any attack by an opponent is simply blended with via "aiki" and thus it becomes impossible for an opponent to really attack. Theoretically. But you should be able to extrapolate that now.

I think many of the western "peace and love" and "Ueshiba was about harmony" are taking a small part of the things he said late in life and blowing them out of proportion. Either that, or their are a *lot* of the original Uchi-Deshi who missed the point that some westerners think they see, if you look at the actions and words of the deshi.

Generally, I don't disagree with Cady, although I've never seen what she can do (puportedly, she's going to throw me around like a red-headed step-child if we ever meet!). My comment about this thread is that no one I've heard argue the peace and harmony routine has ever had full support for that thesis, but Cady's general argument can be pretty well supported by the available films, etc., of and by O-Sensei.

YMMV

Mike

Cady Goldfield
02-27-2008, 08:29 AM
Kevin,
My posts addressed the nature of physical power, how it influences mental-emotional-spiritual power, and how it functions and serves "real world" application.

I'm surprised that you, as a military man, would be able to disassociate yourself from what you surely know to be true about the nature of power, to the point that you wouldn't apply that understanding to Ueshiba.

As for my ability to assess what I observe, I'd say that Mike has touched on it closely enough. In addition to that, I once spent some years in academe studying human/primate social behavior and power dynamics, as part of a larger study of primate evolutionary ecology. Gotta say that you can learn a lot about the nature (human and otherwise) of power and benevolence in that field. :)

lbb
02-27-2008, 08:31 AM
Aikido as an art requires a kind of letting go of the mind of conflict. I think that Mary, quite correctly in my opinion, was commenting on the fact that these discussions about internal power, while valuable from a certain standpoint, also show that the "mind of conflict" is alive and well in posters from all sides of the debate. While this might be just fine for those folks partaking in these discussions who are not Aikido people, since they never made any protestations about all this peace and love stuff anyway, it certainly shows an issue with many folks vision of what their Aikido is about.

I take the gist of Mary's post as being that, internal power or no internal power, if it isn't about somehow dealing with our own "mind of conflict" than it isn't what she wants from Aikido. I would say that this would have been O-Sensei's position... The art is about fundamentally altering the way in which you see yourself and everyone around you. It isn't about fighting; it's about not even having an enemy....

I try to approach aikido as I try to approach most other things in life these days: by removing as many of my filters as I possibly can (or at least being aware of them), and so trying to see what it actually is, rather than what my hopes or fears might make it. I think this has a lot to do with why I'm still training.

When I first started martial arts (taekwondo, back in 1990), I wasn't looking for self-discipline or a character-building experience or a peaceful spirit or the ability to kill the neighborhood drug lord with my bare hands. All I wanted was a form of exercise that wouldn't bore me into quitting. Other students started training at the same time I did, with various hopes and expectations -- of a spiritual breakthrough, of developing amazing physical skills in no time, of the rest of their life somehow falling into place around the seed crystal of martial arts training. I don't think it any coincidence that a year later, I was the only one still training.

The irony is that while I hadn't expected the kind of transformations my fellow beginners had hoped for, I nevertheless found them happening. They just happened in smaller and subtler ways, and much more gradually, than those who look for them are expecting. Physical changes happened, but also mental changes, life changes, and -- dare I say it -- spiritual changes too. I believe they happened through the alchemy that turns persistent practice into a form of gold, in which something is revealed that is beyond what you might expect. The exhausted mind isn't necessarily a peaceful mind, but the mind made quiet by the need to focus on one simple thing, combined with the body that is tired by honest effort, certainly provides the most important ingredients for being a restful, tranquil person. That personal, within-one's-own-body tranquility is peacefulness in its most atomic form. If individuals don't understand that peacefulness, can a larger peace even be possible? Fra Giovanni Giocondo said, "No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant." So I believe.

The struggle to reconcile learning fighting skills with peacefulness is a debate that I stay out of, for the most part. I tend to think that a fair amount of aikido "peacefulness" rhetoric is a shuck and jive, repeated as platitudes without a true sense of personal relevance -- but I recognize also that that's a judgmental attitude, so I try to keep a lid on it (not always with success). I do feel that some (many?) aikidoka fool themselves about their ability to use their techniques in a way that won't result in harm to their attacker. I believe if you use aikido techniques on a determined attacker, and you're successful, serious injury to your attacker is the probable result. I have no illusions about what it's like to be injured like that. I've had enough injuries, I know how much a dislocated joint hurts, and I know how long it takes to (incompletely) heal. If I train aikido, I have to be willing to accept the possibility that I will use it some day; if I accept that, I must also accept the possibility that I will seriously injure someone. I do not try to justify this before the fact, and I doubt I'd try to justify it after the fact. It wouldn't be okay, it would just be what happened, and I'd live with it. I'd have to live with having badly hurt another human being. I could not tell myself that he got hurt because of his own negative energies or some damn thing. He got hurt because I kotegaeshi'ed the bejesus out of his arm, and why that happened is another matter altogether -- it would not change the fact that I hurt him.

Likewise, I understand the logic of the argument that "true" peacefulness can only come from a position of strength, but I find that argument incomplete. Violence does not require power: look at powerless and disenfranchised people, and you will find plenty of violence -- towards self, towards others even less powerful, towards animals and inanimate objects and other things that cannot fight back.

I don't think aikido can claim any special ownership over the development of all this stuff. I think that a sincere practice of many things can bring you to this "present little instant" form of peace, and from there, everything's possible. I've been training aikido for less than two years now, so I try to avoid statements of what aikido is and isn't. I started training aikido not because it's "the art of peace", but because I moved to a new place where the only real dojo was an aikido dojo. I didn't expect (or want) to have Yoda for a sensei, or to achieve enlightenment, or anything like that. "Internal power", whatever that means, isn't a goal for me; it isn't an anti-goal for me. I just want to pursue my "present little instant" peace in a way that I'd found to work for me: within my body.

jennifer paige smith
02-27-2008, 08:58 AM
Honestly, I basically started Aikido to get out of the house and to focus my life when I was 21 ( yeah, I was a homebody even then!).
So every 'ki' / 'spritual'" bell or whistle that ever sounded internally or externally came of it's own accord and can be explained only by the name, Practice. I practiced, I learned, now there are labels for what I felt. whether they apply here or whether they apply to ki and spirituality is for someone else to parse, and it is simply for me to continue to practice and to feel and to recognize transitions inside and outside as an element of the path. I can guess, since this stuff had no name and no obvious expression in my life at the point I began aikido, that it emerged in the practice itself.But, maybe not. Either way, I still got it, get it, and am inspired of it.
that's me.

lbb
02-27-2008, 09:15 AM
I hear ya, Jennifer -- same here: the experience preceded the label, not the other way around.

Ecosamurai
02-27-2008, 09:25 AM
Have you ever tried one of the demonstrations for internal power? If not, try this: Stand with feet side by side, shoulder width apart. Have someone push straight back on your chest. You can even have them start with a little push and then an all out shove for all they are worth. Were you able to stand there while they turned red in the face?

That's one of the ones I have and on-off love-hate relationship with. I can do it to a degree but its difficult and I'm not too good at it at present, I keep having issues with the force getting directed towards my shoulders from time to time which is not the place it should go really, I need to be able to do it for my next aikido grading (one of our sandan tests involves a tester striking the chest before pushing against it while you stand with feet shoulder width apart, my understanding is that this is a common early to mid dan grade level ki soc test but I may be wrong), so time to start practicing!

Also, as I've noted elsewhere for the Ki Society people. The exercises for internal work actually are training to accomplish Tohei's four principles. They are exercises which have a side benefit of getting one to relax completely (show me an aikido exercise that actually develops this), keep weight underside, keep one point, and extend ki. Actual exercises that elicit these principles.

Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this but I'm of the impression here that you're saying Ki Society exercises do not teach relaxtion except as a side effect. My own personal expereince has been that this is absolutely not the case. Teaching the relaxation you speak of and using various exercises to accomplish this is at the very heart of ki training in ki-aikido (quick caveat that I'm not nor have I ever been a member of the ki society but we've always been independent ki aikido).

I'd therefore interpret your post above as having limited experience of ki aikido, or possibly lots of experience of bad ki aikido :eek: or perhaps I've missed the essence of what you were saying.

In any case the original question was:

"Whenever a discussion on internal power comes up it turns into a fight about personalities.
Why do people seek internal power? Are we trying to beat each other up in a new way?"

For me, I used to do Tai Chi, then tried aikido and found that the aikido teacher was far better at this stuff and better at explaining it than my Tai Chi teachers, I also liked the philosophy of aikido more, so off I went to aikido.

Aikibu
02-27-2008, 09:39 AM
It's so simple really and allot good things have been said....

I was taught not to mistake any particular aspect of my training as the be all and end all of practice....

If there is any "controversy" it is that some have held up internal power as this be all end all of practice....

Pracitice is the be all and end all of practice and I wish that were enough... but like most spiritual beings trying to have a human experiance I too have a hungrey ghost and there in lies the rub. :)

More "power" to you whereever you are in your practice. :)

William Hazen

Ron Tisdale
02-27-2008, 10:12 AM
Excellent post Mary M., thanks for that.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
02-27-2008, 10:18 AM
I'm not sure that statement is quite accurate, William. While some may have used the ki skills as a neccessary component to *really* doing pretty much *any* asian art, I have heard repeated statements about how timing, focus, movement, etc., are all a part of *how* this is used.

No one is saying study this to the exclusion of all else. There are some people who have said that in their particular journey, they want to develop these skills first, and then go to dojo or whatever to focus on a particular art. While that would not be my choice, I can accept their reasoning, and would not overtly critisize them for that choice.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 10:22 AM
I was taught not to mistake any particular aspect of my training as the be all and end all of practice....
I don't think "internal strength" (the ki/kokyu stuff) is the be-all and end-all of Aikido anymore than I think the alphabet is the be-all and end-all of English prose. The alphabet is just the building blocks that all the prose is based on. ;)

Timothy WK
02-27-2008, 10:37 AM
Also, as I've noted elsewhere for the Ki Society people. The exercises for internal work actually are training to accomplish Tohei's four principles. They are exercises which have a side benefit of getting one to relax completely (show me an aikido exercise that actually develops this), keep weight underside, keep one point, and extend ki. Actual exercises that elicit these principles.
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this but I'm of the impression here that you're saying Ki Society exercises do not teach relaxtion except as a side effect. My own personal expereince has been that this is absolutely not the case. Teaching the relaxation you speak of and using various exercises to accomplish this is at the very heart of ki training in ki-aikido.
IME, they both feed into one another. Concentrating on the principles makes the exercises easier, while at the same time, practicing the exercises makes the principles occur more naturally and spontaneously.

Aikibu
02-27-2008, 11:30 AM
I'm not sure that statement is quite accurate, William. While some may have used the ki skills as a neccessary component to *really* doing pretty much *any* asian art, I have heard repeated statements about how timing, focus, movement, etc., are all a part of *how* this is used.

No one is saying study this to the exclusion of all else. There are some people who have said that in their particular journey, they want to develop these skills first, and then go to dojo or whatever to focus on a particular art. While that would not be my choice, I can accept their reasoning, and would not overtly critisize them for that choice.

Best,
Ron

I understand both what you and Mike are saying and I agree with it. What I don't understand is why this aspect of practice or more accurately thier understanding of this aspect is used to bash the rest of Aikido because most Aikidoka don't understand the internal dynamic or don't practice it...and then extrapolate this premise to include that somehow if you are an Aikidoka then how can you practice or know anything about Aiki? LOL A circular argument at best. :)

That is the only psuedo-controversy that I can see here...Argumentum Ad Athoritium.

I do not doubt anyone who has the gift of Aiki but do they have to make such a gaudy display of it? LOL

Respectfully Ron & Mike,

William Hazen

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 02:24 PM
Cady,

Kevin,
My posts addressed the nature of physical power, how it influences mental-emotional-spiritual power, and how it functions and serves "real world" application.

I'm surprised that you, as a military man, would be able to disassociate yourself from what you surely know to be true about the nature of power, to the point that you wouldn't apply that understanding to Ueshiba.

As for my ability to assess what I observe, I'd say that Mike has touched on it closely enough. In addition to that, I once spent some years in academe studying human/primate social behavior and power dynamics, as part of a larger study of primate evolutionary ecology. Gotta say that you can learn a lot about the nature (human and otherwise) of power and benevolence in that field.

I am honestly not trying to be argumentative or challenging. Definitely NOT looking to "throw down" by any means.

As a military man, I deal with things in very clear and concise terms. That is Tasks, Conditions, Standards and clear defineable endstates.

I'd be happy to discuss at great lengths real world applications of such powers in a very objectifiable way. That is defining the parameters, conditions, constraints, and standards..that is a framework upon which we can discuss or demonstrate how these apply in the real world.

It can be anything from working with primates, mental applications, spiritual, or martially. I think martially is what most people are interested in.

I offer this in a geniune and honest way, not in a "prove it to me way". I am way past accepting this method of training as I have bought into it and I am trying to implement it.

My main goal is to synthesize it into my training and find practical real world application on a daily basis.

So naturally I am eager to meet and/or discuss with those that can provide me that insight.

Mike can attest that I am no where near being able to do or replicate these skills enough to do so, and I probably need to just shut up and do what he has very graciously spent time with me on and come back to him after I have done my homework (which I will).

But, when I hear that there are those that have knowledge, can articulate, and can demonstrate real world application it certainly gets my attention and I would love to see the endstate of where I am trying to go!

So, real world applications do intrigue me, and I tend to spend time dissecting or "war gaming" the situations, parameters, and conditions that surround them.

That's what military officers get paid to do, and that is how I am wired.

bkedelen
02-27-2008, 02:29 PM
Ki/Kokyu training continues to fail to bestow a sense of respect, etiquette, or humility upon its practitioners. This is an area where the non-ki/kokyu elements of nihon budo training seem to be much more effective. Aikido has more gokui than just aiki and kokyu, and they are just as important, even if they generate less enthusiasm on the internets.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 02:34 PM
Ki/Kokyu training continues to fail to bestow a sense of respect, etiquette, or humility upon its practitioners. This is an area where the non-ki/kokyu elements of nihon budo training seem to be much more effective. Aikido has more gokui than just aiki and kokyu, and they are just as important, even if they generate less enthusiasm on the internets.
Sounds like another spiritual slap at someone by Benjamin Edelen. Benjamin, do you have anything to contribute to the conversation other than that? Why don't you start another thread on the gokui in Aikido that you know about and let's see how many of them are not dependent on ki/kokyu skills. It would be an interesting conversation.

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 02:35 PM
Mary,

Good post. I appreciate your honesty and insight. My experiences and comments parallel yours very much.

The struggle to reconcile learning fighting skills with peacefulness is a debate that I stay out of, for the most part. I tend to think that a fair amount of aikido "peacefulness" rhetoric is a shuck and jive, repeated as platitudes without a true sense of personal relevance -- but I recognize also that that's a judgmental attitude, so I try to keep a lid on it (not always with success). I do feel that some (many?) aikidoka fool themselves about their ability to use their techniques in a way that won't result in harm to their attacker.

I would agree. Macroscopically I offer the same critique. However, I try too not to be judgemental and realize that there are different people in the world that come into this for many different reasons and endstates.

I think our responsibility and focus in the spirit of the art is to be honest and true with ourselves. If we do that then all this other stuff tends to take care of itself.

As Ghandi said, "be the change you want to see in the world". I think this is about the best we can do as human beings.

Ron Tisdale
02-27-2008, 02:44 PM
Hi Benjamin,

We've met, and enjoyed practice together. If I have failed to show a sense of respect, etiquette or humility, please be clear about where I have failed, and how I might improve.

Onigaishimas (spelling...),
Ron
Ki/Kokyu training continues to fail to bestow a sense of respect, etiquette, or humility upon its practitioners. This is an area where the non-ki/kokyu elements of nihon budo training seem to be much more effective. Aikido has more gokui than just aiki and kokyu, and they are just as important, even if they generate less enthusiasm on the internets.

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 02:46 PM
Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote:
Ki/Kokyu training continues to fail to bestow a sense of respect, etiquette, or humility upon its practitioners. This is an area where the non-ki/kokyu elements of nihon budo training seem to be much more effective. Aikido has more gokui than just aiki and kokyu, and they are just as important, even if they generate less enthusiasm on the internets.

Sounds like another spiritual slap at someone by Benjamin Edelen. Benjamin, do you have anything to contribute to the conversation other than that? Why don't you start another thread on the gokui in Aikido that you know about and let's see how many of them are not dependent on ki/kokyu skills. It would be an interesting conversation.

Mike Sigman



One thing that concerns me is that some take the conversations that we have here as a lack of respect for one another or lack of humility.

I don't see that as the case at all.

For most of us, I think we generally are trying to peel back the layers of the onion and are constructively debating various topics, concepts, and issues.

What I like about the conversations is the honesty. It is of great help to me.

What I really disdain is the pseudo harmony and peace crap that call for us to be polite to everyone's face only to talk about them behind their back, or to confirm our ego's quietly without ever even speaking a word.

This is not harmony or resolution or growth, but denial and avoidance.

I can have a debate with Mike Sigman, Cady, or anyone else. Still respect them as fellow human beings and marital artist, train with them in a civilized manner, yet still debate and discuss.

This is how we learn and grow.

Heck, everyone hear is a notch up in my book of respect because at least they are alive and thinking critiically. Most people I incur in daily life, get up, brush their teeth, go to work, and go home, and never really give much deep thought to such complex things as life!

"Why can't we all just get along" does not work for me!

bkedelen
02-27-2008, 03:04 PM
I actually agree that most if not all of aikido's gokui benefit from or even overlap with ki/kokyu. That is not relevant to my above post, however. The ability to crawl does not bestow the ability to walk. Lets work this thought experiment. Rei is an important aikido gokui taught seriously at dojos all around the world. You have made it clear that you, being the living litmus test for who does and does not have ki/kokyu skills, find majority of the aikido world wanting in these areas, yet the majority of aikido practitioners reflect a far better grasp of martial etiquette than you or me. The proof of this is that the majority of aikido practitioners are not tossing vitriol at each other on the internet, frantically refreshing the page to see who takes our bait. I know I am guilty of this, and it is not particularly my favorite part of myself. Do you think that if I study ki/kokyu skills harder, I will, over time, become less abrasive on the internet? My guess is that this prescription, while a valuable addition to any martial repertoire, will not cure what ails me.

bkedelen
02-27-2008, 03:17 PM
Ron, re-read my post. I did not call the character of any nihon budo practitioner into question. Quite the opposite. I merely implied that ki/kokyu power is no guarantee of a winning personality. You and many others here, not including me, are great folks who should not be subjected to the likes of me and those who share my proclivity for drumming up drama on the internet :)

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 03:17 PM
Benjamin,

I am assuming you are referring to Mike.

Actually Mike is a pretty darn good litmus test for what is or isn't Ki if you have worked with him.

There are many aikidoka, experienced ones who do agree with his crticial assessment that aikido as an overall institution is lacking much in this area. I would tend to agree. Mike is basing this not on a few seminars, but on a life time of study, AND he can tell you and show you why.

As far as Rei, you'd have to define exactly what you mean by this? "Drink the kool aid"?

In my experiences he has always qualified his criticisms constructively. It is never "this guy sucks, because I said so!" There is qualified critique.

What is an example of failure to demonstrate Rei?

bkedelen
02-27-2008, 03:28 PM
Kevin, I wasn't being sarcastic about Mike, I am aware of his abilities and that he knows what he is talking about. I find his criticism is often less than constructive. I suppose that is a matter of opinion. I'm no master of constructive criticism either.

bkedelen
02-27-2008, 03:35 PM
Internal power is the product of proper training, which I believe Rob, Mike, and Dan have all stated on numerous occasions. Basically, internal power is value neutral, it is a skill but could be used for good or evil.
Reading back, this is the exact point I was trying to make, admittedly made rather more elegant by Ledyard Sensei. No kind of power automatically makes you a good person.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 04:12 PM
You have made it clear that you, being the living litmus test for who does and does not have ki/kokyu skills, find majority of the aikido world wanting in these areas, Give me a cite, please.

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
02-27-2008, 04:15 PM
Kevin,
I did not, even for a moment, take any of your comments as being argumentative or that you were issuing a challenge. Likewise, my reply was not intended to sound as though I were interpreting you that way. That's the flaw of Internet communications, I guess -- no nuance, no vocal tone, no body language. Just silly smilies to convey any underlying "intent." Take your pick here: :crazy: :eek: :freaky: :rolleyes: :hypno:

Some help, huh?
;)

I, for one, enjoy this opportunity to engage in intelligent discussion of what are often sensitive and controversial subjects. AikiWeb is a good and easily accessible venue for it (thanks, Jun!).

That said, I would caution all here to keep a careful delineation between the moral/spiritual/emotional side of aikido and the physical stuff -- we can accept as a "given" that the two go hand-in-hand (though subject to different interpretations of just how, and what that means), so for the moment let's just talk about those separate components. For the sake of discussion, let's not confuse pragmatic, direct physical application of skills with the greater purpose of aikido (and yes, other forms of budo/bujutsu) in "building a better you" in all respects.

Cady,
I am honestly not trying to be argumentative or challenging. Definitely NOT looking to "throw down" by any means.

As a military man, I deal with things in very clear and concise terms. That is Tasks, Conditions, Standards and clear defineable endstates.

I'd be happy to discuss at great lengths real world applications of such powers in a very objectifiable way. That is defining the parameters, conditions, constraints, and standards..that is a framework upon which we can discuss or demonstrate how these apply in the real world.

It can be anything from working with primates, mental applications, spiritual, or martially. I think martially is what most people are interested in.

I offer this in a geniune and honest way, not in a "prove it to me way". I am way past accepting this method of training as I have bought into it and I am trying to implement it.

My main goal is to synthesize it into my training and find practical real world application on a daily basis.

So naturally I am eager to meet and/or discuss with those that can provide me that insight.

Mike can attest that I am no where near being able to do or replicate these skills enough to do so, and I probably need to just shut up and do what he has very graciously spent time with me on and come back to him after I have done my homework (which I will).

But, when I hear that there are those that have knowledge, can articulate, and can demonstrate real world application it certainly gets my attention and I would love to see the endstate of where I am trying to go!

So, real world applications do intrigue me, and I tend to spend time dissecting or "war gaming" the situations, parameters, and conditions that surround them.

That's what military officers get paid to do, and that is how I am wired.

Chris Parkerson
02-27-2008, 05:04 PM
What I really disdain is the pseudo harmony and peace crap that call for us to be polite to everyone's face only to talk about them behind their back, or to confirm our ego's quietly without ever even speaking a word.

This is not harmony or resolution or growth, but denial and avoidance.

I can have a debate with Mike Sigman, Cady, or anyone else. Still respect them as fellow human beings and marital artist, train with them in a civilized manner, yet still debate and discuss.

This is how we learn and grow.

Go Kevin....
That so needs to be said. I have an opinion, not an IMHO. I simply have an opinion as one human being talking with another.

There is an old saying, "there are no lies in Judo." Either you landed hard, you tapped out or you passed out. Even if a Judge called it, you probably knew who was really winning.

Aikido is just not quite like that. Few practice with the feel of being attached to "a wild dog at the end of the chain". If you do, it probably looks and feels allot like Judo.

So we are stuck with the Kata of "mutual respect" as we discuss portions of the art that can benefit overall waza. This kata should be honest, direct, sincere, and clothed in mutual welfare.

Actually Mike is a pretty darn good litmus test for what is or isn't Ki if you have worked with him.

I am 100% in agreement with your assessment. And I have never met the man. Nevertheless, I accept him as he is (his strengths, as well as his humanity).

The simple fact that he is willing to take time from his day to talk with others concerning an area of study that he has put much time in and that is not practiced in the majority of commercial and not-for-profit dojos, say much about him.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 05:08 PM
I, for one, enjoy this opportunity to engage in intelligent discussion of what are often sensitive and controversial subjects. AikiWeb is a good and easily accessible venue for it (thanks, Jun!).

That said, I would caution all here to keep a careful delineation between the moral/spiritual/emotional side of aikido and the physical stuff -- we can accept as a "given" that the two go hand-in-hand (though subject to different interpretations of just how, and what that means), so for the moment let's just talk about those separate components. For the sake of discussion, let's not confuse pragmatic, direct physical application of skills with the greater purpose of aikido (and yes, other forms of budo/bujutsu) in "building a better you" in all respects. I agree, Cady. If someone forgoes intellectual combat and fantasizes that they could hack it in real combat, they're sadly mistaken. The "Tao", the "Do", is more than just platitudes and frivolous ideas about "aiki-speak".

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 05:16 PM
Quote:
Actually Mike is a pretty darn good litmus test for what is or isn't Ki if you have worked with him.I am 100% in agreement with your assessment. And I have never met the man. Nevertheless, I accept him as he is (his strengths, as well as his humanity). Chris, please don't agree with Kevin. He has met me, you haven't. And I'm not even an expert... I'm a frackin amateur. I'm outside of any groups or styles and I don't want the idea of gamesmanship and partisanship associated with my name or ideas. Kevin does it well... he keeps challenging. And that's exactly what someone should do. Already Kevin thinks he could kick my ass in a fair fight and I don't think he can... and that's how it moves forward.

This idea that you stop and adopt some sort of fake "Oh, he's the master" crap or some other make-believe Asian protocol is alien to me (and to most Asians!), to Rob John, and many others. That's the way it should work. We don't name drop... we just try to get the drop. And these skills will help someone get the drop on someone else. The real question is "how many people do you show?"

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Chris Parkerson
02-27-2008, 05:29 PM
Mike,

You haven't met me either. I am not abdicating anything. Just giving you the respect I give to everyone who has trained hard. That respect includes, however, an open invitation for friendly rondori or push hands at any time.

Now for an objective question.

A training partner of mine, “Rob” was a regional champion wrestler and Arnold Classic Champion Escrimador (stick fighter). Not to be confused with Shawn, another Arnold Champion I have written about. He is a professional masseur, works out daily with Yoga and weights – a real Hercules.

Two years ago, he got involved with Internal Kung…. Stance work with similar tensions and breathing that Mike S. talks about. He recently demonstrated how he could stand on top of an exercise ball while holding 50 pound dumbbells in “iron cross” fashion. He is becoming more grounded and, as far as his spine is concerned, his skeletal structure is becoming more sound. His Kung practice is still static.

About a year ago, he began to try to resist my technique. Both situations concerned his shoulder socket and elbow. One was a form of Daito finishing hold performed on the ground. The other was a standing Yanagi-style Sankajo. On both occasions, I barely moved. He tried to root. In his rooting, his shoulder and arm became disunified, i.e. his arm was not unified with rooted his torso. On both occasions he was injured by his own rooting.
What can you recommend…

eyrie
02-27-2008, 05:34 PM
To address Mary Eastland's original post... and generally...

How you choose to interpret what "internal power" or "internal strength" means and how it pertains to the (general or specific) practice of Aikido is up to you (or what your teacher told you). Hence aiki-"do" and not "jitsu".

However, I believe the "internal power" under discussion is a learnt physical skill (i.e. jitsu). It is not character development nor has it any bearing or relation to the moral character of a person, although in one sense of the "ideal" of budo, one would hope that the acquisition of such skill leads to one becoming a better person. It doesn't - personalities and egos do not necessarily change for the better as a result of power acquisition - internal or otherwise. If anything, it's the other way round... for someone to begin to acquire such power and skills requires a progressively deep-seated change in one's innate being towards a sort of "egoless-ness".

Hence the reason why knowledge and transmission of internal skills development has traditionally been a closely guarded secret, particularly from persons "deemed" to be "not of requisite character".

The sort of "internal strength" that comes from acquisition of internal skills is not the same thing as having "intestinal fortitude", or strength of moral character, or the scope of compassion that would put the Buddha to shame. It is, in the context which it is mostly being discussed here, a physical "how-to" skill - like carpentry or skateboarding is a learnt physical skill - and specifically pertaining to physical combat and martial pursuits, which is but one aspect of internal power application.

In terms of why people seek such power varies according to each individual's personal reasons, the primary motives are usually to gain an added combative advantage, or to improve and maintain one's health well into old age. Again, based on whether you practice Aikido as budo or bujutsu... or both.

That such internal power can be (or should be) part and parcel of the (core) practice of Aikido, is beside the point. Whether one chooses to, given the choice, is up to them. Although, that choice is limited if you aren't being taught how to do it (properly). Based on the posts (and tone) so far regarding this general topic, it is clear that some know what they're talking about (to whatever degree), and some are trying to get a handle on it. And then there are some that think they already do it but are really in the category of most that don't have a clue.

Short of turning Aikiweb into a cyberdojo where everyone checks their egos at the login screen, I do think discussions, particularly those relating to the more "controversial" subjects, could be far more productive if people tried to focus on the topic at hand rather than the personalities.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 05:34 PM
You haven't met me either. I am not abdicating anything. Just giving you the respect I give to everyone who has trained hard. That respect includes, however, an open invitation for friendly rondori or push hands at any time. Having read your anecdotes, Chris, it's probably not going to happen... for the simple reason that I don't want to get involved with the Baron Munchausen side of martial arts. On both occasions he was injured by his own rooting.
What can you recommend… Why would he resist a technique? Not much I can say, Chris. He's your friend.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Aikibu
02-27-2008, 05:36 PM
I agree, Cady. If someone forgoes intellectual combat and fantasizes that they could hack it in real combat, they're sadly mistaken. The "Tao", the "Do", is more than just platitudes and frivolous ideas about "aiki-speak".

Best.
Mike

How true...But how does one apply this to the litmus test of "hacking it in real combat" if all one has ever experianced is the Dojo or a Few Fist Fights...

It's been a few hundred years at least since my incarnation as a Samurai during the Onin Wars...:cool:

It seems to me the the phrase "Hacking it in Real Combat" is an ego trap or a least a projection of how one with Aiki might possibly perform under the heat and stress of a "combat". Unless of course one has actually experianced using Aiki in Real Combat.

Brings me back to my original point which Ledyard Sensei so aptly illustrated with his excellent posts regarding the reality of O'Sensei's vision for Aikido...

Sadly this to me illustrates the severe limitations of the internet. How I would love give this discussion some flesh and blood and pose these questions to you, Dan, and some others here after a night of hard practice and over a good dinner

Hopefully someday...If it's one thing I enjoy most it is meeting and practicing with folks who are passionate about thier practice. :)

Respectfully,

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 05:38 PM
How you choose to interpret what "internal power" or "internal strength" means and how it pertains to the (general or specific) practice of Aikido is up to you (or what your teacher told you). Hence aiki-"do" and not "jitsu". I dunno, Ignatius. The problem is that people are using the name of "Ueshiba" and the name of "Aikido" to suit themselves. Is that really a fair usage of "Aikido"? "It means what you want it to mean"? Is that really respect for Ueshiba, when you really think about it? ;) And I'm not speaking to you, really... I'm speaking to the people who want to do just that. Having read your stuff, I think your Aikido is probably pretty spot on.

Best.

Mike

Chris Parkerson
02-27-2008, 05:43 PM
Chris, it's probably not going to happen... for the simple reason that I don't want to get involved with the Baron Munchausen side of martial arts.

Then we are resigned to be those ships passing in the night you spoke of earlier.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 05:46 PM
How I would love give this discussion some flesh and blood and pose these questions to you, Dan, and some others here after a night of hard practice and over a good dinner

Reminds me of a story about Chen Fa Ke (that I posted before):
At that Beijing wushu contest, Shen San, the nationally known wrestler, was also present. After exchanging some polite remarks, Shen asked Chen: "What will a Taijiquan master do when he is confronted by a wrestler?" Chen replied smilingly: "How could you choose your enemy?" So the two agreed to have a try as an encounter between a wrestler and a Taiji master. Chen raised his two arms and asked Shen to grasp them. When Shen took Chen's arms and the onlookers were expecting to see a thrilling duel, it was no more than three seconds and the two laughed. The contest was over! On the evening two days later, Chen was teaching his pupils at his training centre. Shen called, bringing Chen an expensive present. Seeing Chen's pupils were perplexed, Shen San explained, saying: "Master Chen is not only good at wushu, he is even better in morals. That evening master Chen let me hold his arms. I intended to make use of Master Chen's momentum but I couldn't. When I tried to lift my feet, I again found I could not do so. I was immediately aware of the fact that Master Chen was much better than I. Yet, Master Chen neither put me off my feet nor told anyone else. That's great. Today I am coming especially to express my gratitude." Why all night? If someone is big and reasonably strong and you withold everything, then they will wear you out and eventually overpower you. If you can't make your point without an all-night engagement, it's not much of a point, probably. ;) Me, I don't make all these comments about contention when I'm trying to make a logical point and show it.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Chris Parkerson
02-27-2008, 05:51 PM
Chris, it's probably not going to happen... for the simple reason that I don't want to get involved with the Baron Munchausen side of martial arts.

The we indeed are those ships passing in the night, yet I have told no lies. Rob is real and so are his conflicts. Shawn and I are both concerned his Kan is overwhelming his li. He needs another (more removed) set of eyes on what he is doing.

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 05:55 PM
LOL, Mike have I ever implied I could kick your ass??? I hope not.

Sure, a part of me thinks that given the right situation, the right circumstances, luck, skill, and what not..yeah probably.

I still think I could hit you with a baseball bat and move your center! :)

I am also wise enough, I hope to realize that it goes both ways.

How would I know based on the little interaction we had? In a non-martial/semi martial environment which was very productive for what it was designed to do!

Besides, is this what it is about???

Keeping it honest and geniune and keeping it with in the context of what is being offered up is what is important.

What is important is that walking away from the training has helped me see a new side of things.

On Hacking it in Combat:

I am sure William can attest that under the stresses of combat pressure you learn things more about yourself that you probably don't really want to know about. A long time ago I learned somethings about myself and fellow human beings that I honestly hoped where not true, but were! I'm not talking about 5 minutes of combat pressure, a mugging, or a brief encounter, with a quick adrenaline spike followed by "phew, I am glad that is over!" but prolonged combat pressure over weeks and months.

Chris Parkerson
02-27-2008, 06:12 PM
A long time ago I learned somethings about myself and fellow human beings that I honestly hoped where not true, but were! I'm not talking about 5 minutes of combat pressure, a mugging, or a brief encounter, with a quick adrenaline spike followed by "phew, I am glad that is over!" but prolonged combat pressure over weeks and months.

Kevin,

That is why I trust you opinion on things.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 06:33 PM
Mike can attest that I am no where near being able to do or replicate these skills enough to do so, and I probably need to just shut up and do what he has very graciously spent time with me on and come back to him after I have done my homework (which I will). [[snip]] That's what military officers get paid to do, and that is how I am wired. Hi Kevin:

Don't get me wrong... I *want* you to argue the debate with me (and of course I want you to work on things and succeed/overtake, so don't get me wrong).

My comment is more that it should be clear exactly what is "internal power", at least as a baseline talking point. *I* think it's a pretty obviously beneficial addition to power and advantage when it's trained well. Obviously, so did thousands of year so Asian martial-artists, including Ueshiba. So my debate points are more along those lines and I try to at least physically demonstrate whatever I can to support my points, but I'm aware that I'm by no means a "great" like some of the famous martial artists. I'm just a player trying to make a point that I feel strongly is beneficial.

Let me shortstop this military issue, if you don't mind, from you and Hazen. I did my time in Vietnam in I-Corps: Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Con Thien, Khe Sanh, and Mother's Ridge. I've done my share. The military stuff has got very little to do with the debate at hand and I'd seriously appreciate it if we could leave it out. And yes, William, I'm aware that you're a very large guy. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 06:34 PM
I always like the saying "in God we Trust, all others pay in Cash".

And my belief in an omnipotent God are sketchy at best!

Thanks, though for the vote of confidence!

Kevin Leavitt
02-27-2008, 06:40 PM
Yeah your right, it has very little to do with the issue at hand.

Aikibu
02-27-2008, 07:25 PM
Hi Kevin:

Don't get me wrong... I *want* you to argue the debate with me (and of course I want you to work on things and succeed/overtake, so don't get me wrong).

My comment is more that it should be clear exactly what is "internal power", at least as a baseline talking point. *I* think it's a pretty obviously beneficial addition to power and advantage when it's trained well. Obviously, so did thousands of year so Asian martial-artists, including Ueshiba. So my debate points are more along those lines and I try to at least physically demonstrate whatever I can to support my points, but I'm aware that I'm by no means a "great" like some of the famous martial artists. I'm just a player trying to make a point that I feel strongly is beneficial.

Let me shortstop this military issue, if you don't mind, from you and Hazen. I did my time in Vietnam in I-Corps: Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Con Thien, Khe Sanh, and Mother's Ridge. I've done my share. The military stuff has got very little to do with the debate at hand and I'd seriously appreciate it if we could leave it out. And yes, William, I'm aware that you're a very large guy. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Understood Mike...You have my utmost respect. I am too large for my own good and your post now puts the "Real Combat" metaphor in it's proper perspective.:) Also I agree it should not "take" all night for me to know that all of you know what you're talking about I meant... That it might take me all night and then some to learn it. I am no longer the sharpest tool in the shed LOL

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 07:38 PM
That it might take me all night and then some to learn it. I am no longer the sharpest tool in the shed LOL
Oh, please... me either. I'm not as sharp as I was at anything. There's an old German saying, "Zu bald Alt, zu spaet Klug" (Too soon old, too late smart). What's happening here is that a some of the older hounds in the pack have spotted the fox, but they can't convince the rest of the pack. ;)

Best.

Mike

phitruong
02-27-2008, 08:56 PM
About a year ago, he began to try to resist my technique. Both situations concerned his shoulder socket and elbow. One was a form of Daito finishing hold performed on the ground. The other was a standing Yanagi-style Sankajo. On both occasions, I barely moved. He tried to root. In his rooting, his shoulder and arm became disunified, i.e. his arm was not unified with rooted his torso. On both occasions he was injured by his own rooting.
What can you recommend…

Don't know much about the internal stuffs. couldn't describe or demonstrate to save my own life. Don't know about Yanagi-style Sankajo, but if it is anything like the normal aikido sankyo, then did your partner tried to "root" after the sankajo locked in place? is "root" means grounding yourself? if i am not mistaken, sankajo lock when applied correctly would put the receiver on his/her toes and lock all the arm joins (wrist, elbow, shoulder) into one unit which then lock into the spine and offset the spine. if rooting (hoping that it meant grounding) after the lock is in place, then it would be the same as helping the other person to rip your own elbow and shoulder out of its joints, especially, if the other person's center is below your or somewhere around there. speaking from a reversal point of view, the time to deal with sankajo would be way before the lock is in place, preferably, at the moment of contact.

Don't know of a way to get out of a sankajo lock once it's on. would be interested to know. the only thing that i could think of, since you are on your toes, is to do an aerial scissor thing from the vovinam folks. of course, i probably lose my arm, but then the other person will lose some body part(s) too (that's just my nasty side speaking).

interesting problem for thought. damn! not like i don't have anything better to do.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2008, 09:35 PM
Don't know much about the internal stuffs. couldn't describe or demonstrate to save my own life. Don't know about Yanagi-style Sankajo, but if it is anything like the normal aikido sankyo, then did your partner tried to "root" after the sankajo locked in place? is "root" means grounding yourself? if i am not mistaken, sankajo lock when applied correctly would put the receiver on his/her toes and lock all the arm joins (wrist, elbow, shoulder) into one unit which then lock into the spine and offset the spine. if rooting (hoping that it meant grounding) after the lock is in place, then it would be the same as helping the other person to rip your own elbow and shoulder out of its joints, especially, if the other person's center is below your or somewhere around there. speaking from a reversal point of view, the time to deal with sankajo would be way before the lock is in place, preferably, at the moment of contact.

Don't know of a way to get out of a sankajo lock once it's on. would be interested to know. the only thing that i could think of, since you are on your toes, is to do an aerial scissor thing from the vovinam folks. of course, i probably lose my arm, but then the other person will lose some body part(s) too (that's just my nasty side speaking).

interesting problem for thought. damn! not like i don't have anything better to do.Good analysis, PT. That's the kind of discussion I like to read.

Best.

Mike Sigman

eyrie
02-27-2008, 10:44 PM
I dunno, Ignatius. The problem is that people are using the name of "Ueshiba" and the name of "Aikido" to suit themselves. Is that really a fair usage of "Aikido"? "It means what you want it to mean"? Is that really respect for Ueshiba, when you really think about it? ;) And I'm not speaking to you, really... I'm speaking to the people who want to do just that. Having read your stuff, I think your Aikido is probably pretty spot on.
People use the name of such-and-such omnipresent being or religion in vain too. You and I are not going to stop that anytime soon, so the answer is probably not... but that's not really important in the greater scheme of things. The only thing one can do is be true to yourself... and the proof, as you and i both know, is in "touching hands". As for being "spot on", I dunno... I might know some kewl buzzwords, but I know I also suck bigtime... even my 10yr old can occasionally push me over. :(

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-27-2008, 11:48 PM
First and foremost... Ledyard Sensei, I only wish I had the temperament and skill to speak in a manner that contained as much truth and contained as much understanding and compassion with which you did in your post in this thread. I hold your post up as an example to which I aspire to achieve, perhaps some 50 years from now should I continue to train daily, seeking O-Sensei's Aikido. I am truly inspired by your words, your heart and your way.

...and now to the thread...

Ueshiba realized that internal body skills (in addition to the mental training) made him able to truly "Stop the Spear" -- the very essence of the Budo, and the acknowledgement that internal power makes one capable of -not- fighting or being aggressive.

capable of, yes... but not necessarily desirable of not fighting or being aggressive as a "attained" state of being. While internal skills are necessary for even the most basic understanding of aiki, (and while this skill set is absent in many of the so-called advanced aikidoka of today) having all of the internal skills in the world has nothing to do with having even the most basic understanding of Aikido - the way of aiki.

Anyone who understands knows implicitly that any level of "aiki" is a physical manifestation of physical skills. You will find this a component, as Ledyard Sensei mentioned, in many Ryu. However, Aikido is not the manifestation of a physical skill set. In fact, it never has been. Had it been, O-Sensei would never have needed, nor would he have created a separate martial art from that of his teacher. Moreover, and unfortunately for those who are still stuck in the same place (so many moons after my departure from these forums) mastering any physical skill set - as important as that is, and as long as that may take - will never result in even the most basic understanding of Aikido (defined as the Way of Aiki).

If this were the case, then studying any of the other "aiki-based" arts would be a much more practical and straight forward way of achieving mastery of the physical control of an aggressive, non-compliant, drugged-up or any other version of (pick your most elusive, dominating or feared) attacker/opponent. In Aikido, there is no attacker, there is no opponent. There is no opposing force... no thing to learn to deal with, reconcile, master, control... etc. because there is no "him" or "I" component in the mix (being attacked) in the first place.

Why do people seek internal power? Are we trying to beat each other up in a new way?

Common sense tells me she is not really asking her question, wondering if people really are trying to beat each other up in a new way. However, she is asking, regardless of their undeniable mastery of internal skill sets, but no understanding of Aikido "why so many (non-aikido) people have been able to dictate what Aikido is really about on these and other Aikido forums. Of course, common sense also tells me that they can only do this when people don't really understand what Aikido is. This is not entirely harmful. In fact I would say that it is a good thing if they can accomplish the goal of teaching, sharing or encouraging others to seek internal martial skills. I would prefer this rather than teaching people that Aikido is mere "conflict resolution" or ki simple development. Again, not that either of these things in and of themselves are harmful, either. It is simply that these things are not, never have been, and never will be what O-Sensei's Aikido - The Way of Aiki - is about.

"Meek" doesn't necessarily imply "weak," however, the kind of "internal power" you and Jen, and George, are talking about is not the internal power being discussed in the threads that perplexed Mary Eastland and caused her to open this thread.

...and the kind of internal power you, mike s. dan h, robert j, etc. are talking about, important as it is to all martial arts is still not Aikido. I would agree that there is some confusion. However, the confusion you speak of is more likely caused by people who have not committed to spending the rest of their lives seeking O-Sensei's Aikido (as the highest level of martial arts) speaking from a place where they, themselves, have not yet resolved these very differences.

For now I can only say, ...where there is still time there is still hope.

.

hullu
02-28-2008, 12:03 AM
The world's political leaders need wisdom to weather a mighty big storm that is breaking "heavy" this year. In fact, watch the storm greatly magnify around March 15 in a very big way. At least that is what I am getting from my meditations.
So a time machine hah? Good for you.

Chris Parkerson
02-28-2008, 05:52 AM
there is allot of reading, mutual discussion with others, and yes, instinctive forecasting that goes i to it.

no one can predict with a solute certainty.

Chris Parkerson
02-28-2008, 06:23 AM
Don't know much about the internal stuffs. couldn't describe or demonstrate to save my own life. Don't know about Yanagi-style Sankajo, but if it is anything like the normal aikido sankyo, then did your partner tried to "root" after the sankajo locked in place? is "root" means grounding yourself? if i am not mistaken, sankajo lock when applied correctly would put the receiver on his/her toes and lock all the arm joins (wrist, elbow, shoulder) into one unit which then lock into the spine and offset the spine. if rooting (hoping that it meant grounding) after the lock is in place, then it would be the same as helping the other person to rip your own elbow and shoulder out of its joints, especially, if the other person's center is below your or somewhere around there. speaking from a reversal point of view, the time to deal with sankajo would be way before the lock is in place, preferably, at the moment of contact.

I will send you a message off line in order to respect Rob's world.
It does appear I will need to ask Sifu John Allen of Green Dragon to get some direction or support.

Don't know of a way to get out of a sankajo lock once it's on. would be interested to know. the only thing that i could think of, since you are on your toes, is to do an aerial scissor thing from the vovinam folks. of course, i probably lose my arm, but then the other person will lose some body part(s) too (that's just my nasty side speaking).

Two ways to neutralize Sankajo have some success...

1) Step underneath the technique protruding your belly until it is (a) close to Tori and (2) under your torqued hand. Now you have time to perform another technique with your other hand.

2) Quickly grab the fist of your torqued arm. Force it directly down into your belly.

Either way, make sure your posture is in alignment with the waza.

phitruong
02-28-2008, 06:55 AM
Two ways to neutralize Sankajo have some success...

1) Step underneath the technique protruding your belly until it is (a) close to Tori and (2) under your torqued hand. Now you have time to perform another technique with your other hand.

2) Quickly grab the fist of your torqued arm. Force it directly down into your belly.

Either way, make sure your posture is in alignment with the waza.

your description told me that the sankajo you dealt with involved only the wrist lock, which is more in line with pain complaint approach. the sankajo that i am in favor involved locking up most of your body skeletal structure, break your center line/shift your spine, and put your weight on the toes of your one foot. you won't feel pain unless you resist. also, your other arm would be useless as well. you would not be able to get close to tori or go under your wrist or any other thing. also the sankajo lock only happens for a second so i can use your arm to cut your head down to your feet then apply control. if i take the jutsu approach then cut your head down toward my rising knee, not pleasant.

i am still trying to find a way out of such lock. might be able to use the cut down motion to do a forward flip over my own arm, then sacrifice throw, then jump up and run on top of bamboo trees.... :)

Chris Parkerson
02-28-2008, 07:42 AM
your description told me that the sankajo you dealt with involved only the wrist lock, which is more in line with pain complaint approach. the sankajo that i am in favor involved locking up most of your body skeletal structure, break your center line/shift your spine, and put your weight on the toes of your one foot. you won't feel pain unless you resist. also, your other arm would be useless as well. you would not be able to get close to tori or go under your wrist or any other thing. also the sankajo lock only happens for a second so i can use your arm to cut your head down to your feet then apply control. if i take the jutsu approach then cut your head down toward my rising knee, not pleasant.

i am still trying to find a way out of such lock. might be able to use the cut down motion to do a forward flip over my own arm, then sacrifice throw, then jump up and run on top of bamboo trees.... :)

Just poor wroding. Efficient sankajo does not need wrist pain. It attaches the humerous to the clavicle and scapula to reach the center of gravity. The radial and ulna are what must give way. Often felt in the elbow, the attack, when completed as Koppo can result in a spiral fracture of both radial and ulna.

As I said, these defenses have "some" success. We have had some real fun with both of them. The principles on the first one have an Aiki element as well as a jujitsu element. Remember how Tohei would step inside someone's posture and then they could not lift him?

The second uses an Aiki principle as well. Munenori's sword posture. Your hands should remain aligned with and near your hara for optimum skeletal strength.

dbotari
02-28-2008, 07:56 AM
Aikido is not the manifestation of a physical skill set. In fact, it never has been. Had it been, O-Sensei would never have needed, nor would he have created a separate martial art from that of his teacher. Moreover, and unfortunately for those who are still stuck in the same place (so many moons after my departure from these forums) mastering any physical skill set - as important as that is, and as long as that may take - will never result in even the most basic understanding of Aikido (defined as the Way of Aiki).

If this were the case, then studying any of the other "aiki-based" arts would be a much more practical and straight forward way of achieving mastery of the physical control of an aggressive, non-compliant, drugged-up or any other version of (pick your most elusive, dominating or feared) attacker/opponent. In Aikido, there is no attacker, there is no opponent. There is no opposing force... no thing to learn to deal with, reconcile, master, control... etc. because there is no "him" or "I" component in the mix (being attacked) in the first place.
.

If Aikido has no physical component or requirement then you have negated the need to study waza or any of the physical principles that provide the basis of the art. You have, in my mind, made Aikido purely esoteric. If that is the goal, then to quote my sensei "go study Zen".


Common sense tells me she is not really asking her question, wondering if people really are trying to beat each other up in a new way. However, she is asking, regardless of their undeniable mastery of internal skill sets, but no understanding of Aikido "why so many (non-aikido) people have been able to dictate what Aikido is really about on these and other Aikido forums. Of course, common sense also tells me that they can only do this when people don't really understand what Aikido is. This is not entirely harmful. In fact I would say that it is a good thing if they can accomplish the goal of teaching, sharing or encouraging others to seek internal martial skills. I would prefer this rather than teaching people that Aikido is mere "conflict resolution" or ki simple development. Again, not that either of these things in and of themselves are harmful, either. It is simply that these things are not, never have been, and never will be what O-Sensei's Aikido - The Way of Aiki - is about.

...and the kind of internal power you, mike s. dan h, robert j, etc. are talking about, important as it is to all martial arts is still not Aikido. I would agree that there is some confusion. However, the confusion you speak of is more likely caused by people who have not committed to spending the rest of their lives seeking O-Sensei's Aikido (as the highest level of martial arts) speaking from a place where they, themselves, have not yet resolved these very differences.

.

In your above statement you have said Aikido isn't about physical waza or principles, its not about internal power, its not about conflict resolution etc etc. If it is none of these things, then just what is Aikido to you? What is your understanding of O-Sensei's Aikido?

Dan.

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 08:24 AM
...and the kind of internal power you, mike s. dan h, robert j, etc. are talking about, important as it is to all martial arts is still not Aikido.No one has said that it *is* Aikido. For about the third time in this thread. Aikido is much more complex than that. However, without that kind of internal skills, what most people are doing is not Aikido, either. Like Ushiro Sensei said, "No kokyu, no Aikido". But that's true of all Asian arts. For people who have no kokyu/ki skills to sit their and talk about "outsiders" who "don't do Aikido" gets to be a fascinating study in logic and human behavior. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 08:26 AM
It does appear I will need to ask Sifu John Allen of Green Dragon to get some direction or support. Fabulous. I'd already mentioned to someone offline that you must be part of that group.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Demetrio Cereijo
02-28-2008, 08:58 AM
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. Without offering your opponent the slightest opening or allowing a break in the flow of kokyu and ki, you must be enlightened to the essence of "striking."

Conversely, when the enemy strikes, always remain positive, calm,
settled, and full of power, centered in the great spirit of the universe,
and attuned to the will of the gods. Like this, even when you are surrounded by a host of enemies or other obstacles, you can anticipate any attack and shift direction to the left or right to escape.

Taken from "Budo. Teachings of the Founder of Aikido". Translation by J. Stevens.

I think O Sensei saw kokyu as a very important element of Aikido.

Chris Parkerson
02-28-2008, 09:01 AM
Fabulous. I'd already mentioned to someone offline that you must be part of that group.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Actually I am not. But since he is in Ohio and my friend needs ongoing assistance, I will definitely reach out to him.

Is he also not an acceptable resource in your opinion?

Cady Goldfield
02-28-2008, 09:44 AM
No one has said that it *is* Aikido. For about the third time in this thread. Aikido is much more complex than that. However, without that kind of internal skills, what most people are doing is not Aikido, either. Like Ushiro Sensei said, "No kokyu, no Aikido". But that's true of all Asian arts. For people who have no kokyu/ki skills to sit their and talk about "outsiders" who "don't do Aikido" gets to be a fascinating study in logic and human behavior. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

I would say that it's part of what made Ueshiba's aikido -his- aikido. And to all who would embrace this concept, it could become once again an integral part of aikido -- this time, though, -everyone's- aikido.

Maybe think of it as a healthy part of a nutritious breakfast that is aikido. ;)

TAnderson
02-28-2008, 10:05 AM
It is simply that these things are not, never have been, and never will be what O-Sensei's Aikido - The Way of Aiki - is about.

Shaun,

This begs the question, do you think one can be actualizing O-Sensei's aikido without these internal skills?

Best,
Tim Anderson

Blake Holtzen
02-28-2008, 10:23 AM
Actually I am not. But since he is in Ohio and my friend needs ongoing assistance, I will definitely reach out to him.

Is he also not an acceptable resource in your opinion?

I really like his "Iron Vest" program. It is one of the few qigongs I really enjoy doing consistently.

Also, he emphasizes stance training. Anyone who emphasizes stance training is good in my book. This usually shows that one is willing to "eat bitter" and is commited to patient progress.

However, his ideas on qi/chi and internal strength have been hotly contested by some. Even his method of proper structure is confusing (why is he puffing his chest and sticking out his butt?).

But, I am just a newbie with an opinion...

-Blake

Chris Parkerson
02-28-2008, 11:36 AM
I really like his "Iron Vest" program. It is one of the few qigongs I really enjoy doing consistently.

Also, he emphasizes stance training. Anyone who emphasizes stance training is good in my book. This usually shows that one is willing to "eat bitter" and is commited to patient progress.

However, his ideas on qi/chi and internal strength have been hotly contested by some. Even his method of proper structure is confusing (why is he puffing his chest and sticking out his butt?).

But, I am just a newbie with an opinion...

-Blake

I have the same concern. I have read that some Chi Kung systems get that "muscular effect" only to experience major degerration in later life. This is not my way either. When I practiced regularly, I was relaxed about the whole process and just let nature do its thing with focused meditation.

But I suspect that he knows allot about regulating the fire (Kan) since he develops so much of it. He may be able to help in this manner. I guess I will see unless there are alternative resources I can point my buddy to.

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-28-2008, 02:15 PM
Shaun,

This begs the question, do you think one can be actualizing O-Sensei's aikido without these internal skills?

Best,
Tim Anderson

Tim,

Thanks for the well thought-out question. Let me start out by saying that anything I might say is based solely upon my current understanding of these matters.

My answer is to your question is, categorically no ...and yes. The way of Aiki is not concerned with techniques at all. O-Sensei said, "Aikido is misogi..." Common sense tells me that if I am to understand Aikido, then I must seek misogi. Misogi, like Aikido has a physical component. Of course, no one would say that the ultimate purpose of misogi is to master funakoki-undo. Would they? I sure hope not. Misogi-no-gyo are the physical components, the forms of misogi, if you will. However mastering the gyo are not the objective of the form. In this sense, the physical components of Aikido, the waza are the form. However, just as with misogi, mastery of the waza is not the objective of the waza. If it were, oh how empty such a lifelong pursuit would be. I see it like comparing the gas in the gas tank of your car and the gas gauge. One gives you a representation about the other, but it is not the other in any way, shape or form. You get feedback from the gauge, and this gives you information that you can reliably use to better understand how much potentially you could travel, give or take a small percentage. For me the waza is like the gas gague. I can use my waza to tell me potentially how much further I have to travel down the very long path of Aikido.

Those who know me well understand that I see Aikido as a martial art. This to me means that it contains both physical and non-physical components. Both of these are to be mastered over a prolonged period of intense and varying training methods. However, in my opinion mastery of these components is not the goal for the Aikidoka, it is the path of the Aikidoka. If you asked me what would happen if I tried to follow a path without an understanding of where it was I was trying to end up, I would tell you that most likely I will get very lost.

I feel it important to address the thread and say that I spend upwards of 80% of my (training) energies towards gaining an understanding of internal power. I have been exposed to several different teachers, approaches, points of reference and art forms. In my opinion each spoke towards very similar concepts when broken down into their various component levels. I use the places where these things overlap as a starting point and work my way out from there. I have gained some basic knowledge as a result of over 30 years of effort. I have a pretty okay method of sharing this information because I share it the way it was shown to me and to the level at which I am able to understand these things. I have no doubt of their importance to me as a martial artist. More importantly as someone who tries to share my limited understanding of these things with anyone that I may come in contact with on the mat. I would feel derelict if I ignored this type of training, even more so if I did not encourage others to seek out every avenue where these things may be found that speaks to them. If you get this at your dojo - GREAT. If you do not, well... less than great. Hopefully at some point it will become important if you are seeking a deeper sort of understanding of yourself, your training and what to do with yourself after 20 or 30 years of training. If spending time with Mike, Robert, Cady, Dan, Sensei Angier... etc. moves you closer to that - GREAT!!! I would recommend it and them every time.

Of course, this still has nothing really to do with O-Sensei's Aikido and that is the point (I believe) why the thread was opened in the first place.

...oh, while it may not be the be all end all of your Aikido training, it most certainly is on the path, so stop putting it off. Really...

.

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-28-2008, 02:38 PM
If Aikido has no physical component or requirement then you have negated the need to study waza or any of the physical principles that provide the basis of the art. You have, in my mind, made Aikido purely esoteric. If that is the goal, then to quote my sensei "go study Zen".

With all due respect to those who practice or study Zen, I am neither a practitioner or proponent of Zen. I also believe that it has less than nothing to do with Aikido in that one need not even know it exits to practice, understand or even master Aikido. That said, it might help others, so for them I say, bully!

In your above statement you have said Aikido isn't about physical waza or principles, its not about internal power, its not about conflict resolution etc etc. If it is none of these things, then just what is Aikido to you? What is your understanding of O-Sensei's Aikido?

Dan.

to the first point...

I think any answer of any value could only be sought out training together on the mat. I am in NY, Long Island to be exact. Please let me know when you are in the area and have some time to explore the question.

to the second point...

please see above and my previous posts for any relevant information that might help. The only caveat is that some of my understanding has changed over the past few years, so it may be quite outdated.

.

Cady Goldfield
02-28-2008, 02:40 PM
Of course, this still has nothing really to do with O-Sensei's Aikido


What, exactly, is O-Sensei's aikido, in your opinion?

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 03:19 PM
However, Aikido is not the manifestation of a physical skill set. In fact, it never has been. Had it been, O-Sensei would never have needed, nor would he have created a separate martial art from that of his teacher. Moreover, and unfortunately for those who are still stuck in the same place (so many moons after my departure from these forums) mastering any physical skill set - as important as that is, and as long as that may take - will never result in even the most basic understanding of Aikido (defined as the Way of Aiki). Hi Shaun:

Did you read that quote from Inaba Sensei that I posted the other day? How about the quote from Tohei about ki skills and how they were physically-based, in the interview from AJ? They were good things to read and I'd recommend them to you.

If this were the case, then studying any of the other "aiki-based" arts would be a much more practical and straight forward way of achieving mastery of the physical control of an aggressive, non-compliant, drugged-up or any other version of (pick your most elusive, dominating or feared) attacker/opponent. In Aikido, there is no attacker, there is no opponent. There is no opposing force... no thing to learn to deal with, reconcile, master, control... etc. because there is no "him" or "I" component in the mix (being attacked) in the first place.

Common sense tells me she is not really asking her question, wondering if people really are trying to beat each other up in a new way. However, she is asking, regardless of their undeniable mastery of internal skill sets, but no understanding of Aikido "why so many (non-aikido) people have been able to dictate what Aikido is really about on these and other Aikido forums. Of course, common sense also tells me that they can only do this when people don't really understand what Aikido is. This is not entirely harmful. In fact I would say that it is a good thing if they can accomplish the goal of teaching, sharing or encouraging others to seek internal martial skills. I would prefer this rather than teaching people that Aikido is mere "conflict resolution" or ki simple development. Again, not that either of these things in and of themselves are harmful, either. It is simply that these things are not, never have been, and never will be what O-Sensei's Aikido - The Way of Aiki - is about.

...and the kind of internal power you, mike s. dan h, robert j, etc. are talking about, important as it is to all martial arts is still not Aikido. I would agree that there is some confusion. However, the confusion you speak of is more likely caused by people who have not committed to spending the rest of their lives seeking O-Sensei's Aikido (as the highest level of martial arts) speaking from a place where they, themselves, have not yet resolved these very differences.

For now I can only say, ...where there is still time there is still hope. Those poor misguided lads. Tsk. please see above and my previous posts for any relevant information that might help. The only caveat is that some of my understanding has changed over the past few years, so it may be quite outdated.. Well, wait a minute, Shaun. The last time I was reading you, you seemed just as certain as you do now that you had it pretty well sussed. What part of your "understanding" has changed? :)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt
02-28-2008, 03:21 PM
Comment on the gas gauge. It assumes that the gauge is funcitoning correctly as a feedback mechanism. It also assumes that we know what exactly is meant by "half a tank". It also requires that we are not looking at another gauge like the oil gauge.

In discussing the realitive value of the output, say "half a tank". It also assumes that the two people are indeed looking at the same gauge at the same time.

I think this is a huge issue we deal with in aikido. We apply reductionism to the various parts of the whole, then we assume that the feedback we are getting is correct, then when we discuss it, we assume that ours is correct, and the other is wrong..or vice versa.

George S. Ledyard
02-28-2008, 07:34 PM
However, without that kind of internal skills, what most people are doing is not Aikido, either. Like Ushiro Sensei said, "No kokyu, no Aikido".

Mike, I would disagree a bit here. There are a million people doing Aikido world wide now and maybe thirty to forty thousand in this country.

Now it would be my understanding that, since hardly any of us has what you would call "internal skills" or would be using kokyu power the way it is understood in the internal arts, you are saying we aren't doing Aikido.

I simply disagree with that statement. We are still doing Aikido; it's just not very good Aikido. If you want to say our Aikido sucks, then fine... I am on record in a number of places on this and other forums as being in agreement with that. Some of us are trying to fix that issue by looking outside for input.

But I stand by my statements about folks who don't do Aikido not understanding the art, it's purpose, or what the Founder meant it to be. I have been on the mat virtually every day for 31 years doing this art. I will concede that I do not have the skills I would like to have and I am taking steps to remedy that situation. But I also know from direct experience what the art contains that is independent of the skills you are talking about.

The skills you are talking about should be there and they aren't for the vast majority of folks in this art. If I can believe what you have said in past posts, this is true of martial arts in general, including the so-called "internal arts". I do not have the impression very many people measure up to your standard in this respect, which from our brief exposure together, I know to be very high.

You, at least have trained for some time in Aikido... This make you very valuable, just as Ellis Amdur is, because you know the form our movements take and have a sense of the practice. But the relatively short time you spent in Aikido comparatively speaking does not give you the level of deep insight into the art which you have in the area of internal power. As you yourself have conceded, the art is much more than that. Whereas, we are mostly lacking in the skills required to duplicate O-Sensei's technical skills, there is still a lot going on here, even in our "bad" Aikido.

If someone who trained directly with the Founder, who has many years of training over me, who can do things on the mat that I simply can't do, tells me I'm not doing Aikido or what I am doing is not what the Founder intended, then I will listen... But I don't concede that same authority to anyone else. And I do not think that folks who have spent their entire adult lives doing this art need to either. I know what I have gotten out of my training thus far and I see every day what the art has given to the many thousands of folks out there. We may be doing "bad Aikido" but it's still Aikido. Some of us would like to take our art to where we are doing good Aikido. We appreciate the fact that there are now sources of information out there which were not previously available... that may allow us to get back to an Aikido that technically was more like what the Founder could do. But as we muddle along, doing our inadequate Aikido, there is still something happening in our art which is unique, which has benefit despite the fact that we have not mastered some important technical issues. People from outside can, quite correctly, point out that none of us can do what the Founder could do... I don't know anyone who would dispute that. But those folks don't get to define our art for us, to tell us that what we are doing isn't Aikido.

Aikido is far more than just the skills we have been discussing. The folks who are possessed of these skills tend to write off or demean the different skills and insights attained by the folks who may not have these same skills under discussion. I don't concede their authority to do that. I concede that we must be better at what we do. I concede that you guys know some of what we need to do that. I do not concede that you understand to any great depth what we are doing or what the Founder intended his art to be.

Thanks to all of you for being willing to assist us being better. Thanks to Akuzawa and Rob for teaching at my dojo, thanks to you for giving so generously of your time and skill in Colorado, thanks to Dan for doing his workshops on the East Coast and helping us be better at what we do. I want to be as clear as possible about this... thank you all, it is important.

I think that Aikido folks get this... When I saw the folks at the Akuzawa seminar, most were Aikido folks or at least former Aikido folks. I see the same thing at the seminars Howard Popkin does... It was Aikido folks who brought Ushiro Sensei over the first time and have continued to invite him over each year. The Systema folks have seen that when they do open seminars, many of the new folks who show up are Aikido folks. Aikido is changing and it is for the better.

But its still that case that folks who have put thousands of hours, if not tens of thousands, on the mat, who have spent the majority of their adult lives trying to connect the teachings of the Founder with the physical training they do, have a far better idea of what the Founder's message was, what he wanted the art to be, what it can give to a committed practitioner, than anyone from outside or someone who did the art and left because he was looking for something else. There are thirty or forty thousand of us doing our Aikido, it may be bad Aikido, but it's Aikido and it's our Aikido. Hopefully we'll make it better Aikido.

Aikibu
02-28-2008, 08:19 PM
Excellent Post Sensei Ledyard and I said much the same thing to Mike a few posts back. The only difference is that using Mike's criteria We seem to be practicing Aikido. :)

Once more with feeling. :)

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 08:38 PM
Mike, I would disagree a bit here. There are a million people doing Aikido world wide now and maybe thirty to forty thousand in this country.

Now it would be my understanding that, since hardly any of us has what you would call "internal skills" or would be using kokyu power the way it is understood in the internal arts, you are saying we aren't doing Aikido. George, before this goes too far or even before I read any further, let me note (as I have before) that if you look at my post in context, it was in response to the idea that I and others "don't do Aikido", with the obvious connotation that the argument begins and ends with Shaun's idea of who does Aikido. My rebuttal, even though it's oblique, is meant to say "let's don't go there, because there are a lot of arguments if you want to circumvent the issue and just trivialize things." I simply disagree with that statement. We are still doing Aikido; it's just not very good Aikido. If you want to say our Aikido sucks, then fine... I am on record in a number of places on this and other forums as being in agreement with that. Some of us are trying to fix that issue by looking outside for input. I understand, George. My point is that if someone wants to box-in what "isn't Aikido", though, they need to understand that boundary-conditions can get tricky. For instance, what is "not Aikido"? Who determines it? Is everything that is not really Aikido also "not very good Aikido"? ;) But I stand by my statements about folks who don't do Aikido not understanding the art, it's purpose, or what the Founder meant it to be. I have been on the mat virtually every day for 31 years doing this art. I will concede that I do not have the skills I would like to have and I am taking steps to remedy that situation. But I also know from direct experience what the art contains that is independent of the skills you are talking about. Well, my position is that the techniques, "aiki", etc., are dependent upon the very ki/kokyu skills that have been the subject of much discussion. Be glad to debate it with you, but it would probably be in another thread. For instance, how is a "kokyunage" acceptable as Aikido if the person really doesn't have any kokyu? You know me, I'll take the opposite side of any argument. :D The skills you are talking about should be there and they aren't for the vast majority of folks in this art. If I can believe what you have said in past posts, this is true of martial arts in general, including the so-called "internal arts". I do not have the impression very many people measure up to your standard in this respect, which from our brief exposure together, I know to be very high. George, it's true. And I've now been around long enough to hear some pretty good experts (from Asia, and not just Ushiro) say the same thing. How is a kokyunage a kokyu throw if the person doing it doesn't have any kokyu power? Even if there technique and timing, etc., is "smoothe"? It gets very tricky, but it's a topic that merits discussion. Too often an attempt is made to shortstop the discussion with the idea of "oh your knowledge/debate has no credibility because "you don't do Aikido". And that opens the debate. You, at least have trained for some time in Aikido... This make you very valuable, just as Ellis Amdur is, because you know the form our movements take and have a sense of the practice. But the relatively short time you spent in Aikido comparatively speaking does not give you the level of deep insight into the art which you have in the area of internal power. As you yourself have conceded, the art is much more than that. Whereas, we are mostly lacking in the skills required to duplicate O-Sensei's technical skills, there is still a lot going on here, even in our "bad" Aikido. I'll be glad to debate that, George. I disagree with you, more or less along the lines of my last-above reply. No emotion; I just like factual debates. However, logically there is an impasse when it comes to "Ai-ki-do" but there is no ki.
If someone who trained directly with the Founder, who has many years of training over me, who can do things on the mat that I simply can't do, tells me I'm not doing Aikido or what I am doing is not what the Founder intended, then I will listen... But I don't concede that same authority to anyone else. And I do not think that folks who have spent their entire adult lives doing this art need to either. I know what I have gotten out of my training thus far and I see every day what the art has given to the many thousands of folks out there. We may be doing "bad Aikido" but it's still Aikido. Some of us would like to take our art to where we are doing good Aikido. We appreciate the fact that there are now sources of information out there which were not previously available... that may allow us to get back to an Aikido that technically was more like what the Founder could do. But as we muddle along, doing our inadequate Aikido, there is still something happening in our art which is unique, which has benefit despite the fact that we have not mastered some important technical issues. People from outside can, quite correctly, point out that none of us can do what the Founder could do... I don't know anyone who would dispute that. But those folks don't get to define our art for us, to tell us that what we are doing isn't Aikido.

Aikido is far more than just the skills we have been discussing. The folks who are possessed of these skills tend to write off or demean the different skills and insights attained by the folks who may not have these same skills under discussion. I don't concede their authority to do that. I concede that we must be better at what we do. I concede that you guys know some of what we need to do that. I do not concede that you understand to any great depth what we are doing or what the Founder intended his art to be.

Thanks to all of you for being willing to assist us being better. Thanks to Akuzawa and Rob for teaching at my dojo, thanks to you for giving so generously of your time and skill in Colorado, thanks to Dan for doing his workshops on the East Coast and helping us be better at what we do. I want to be as clear as possible about this... thank you all, it is important.

I think that Aikido folks get this... When I saw the folks at the Akuzawa seminar, most were Aikido folks or at least former Aikido folks. I see the same thing at the seminars Howard Popkin does... It was Aikido folks who brought Ushiro Sensei over the first time and have continued to invite him over each year. The Systema folks have seen that when they do open seminars, many of the new folks who show up are Aikido folks. Aikido is changing and it is for the better.

But its still that case that folks who have put thousands of hours, if not tens of thousands, on the mat, who have spent the majority of their adult lives trying to connect the teachings of the Founder with the physical training they do, have a far better idea of what the Founder's message was, what he wanted the art to be, what it can give to a committed practitioner, than anyone from outside or someone who did the art and left because he was looking for something else. There are thirty or forty thousand of us doing our Aikido, it may be bad Aikido, but it's Aikido and it's our Aikido. Hopefully we'll make it better Aikido. There's more people "doing Tai Chi" than that, George. By a long shot. There is a diplomatic nod to the people who do Tai Chi choreography, etc., but frankly I either say nothing or I give my honest opinion when someone doing choreography asks me what I think. It would be a lot easier if I just said, "Great! That looks so good. Keep going.. you're getting there!". Personally, I feel like if I'm going to really respect someone, I don't consign them to the diplomatic-speak. Of course, that's what Asians tend to do... tell somebody what they want to hear so that they'll feel good... but I'm just not there yet.
;)

Just out of curiosity, why do you think someone like Ushiro Sensei said something as blunt as "no kokyu, no Aikido"? Do you think he was trying to be helpful or that he just didn't understand the full depths?

Best.

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
02-28-2008, 09:51 PM
Just out of curiosity, why do you think someone like Ushiro Sensei said something as blunt as "no kokyu, no Aikido"? Do you think he was trying to be helpful or that he just didn't understand the full depths?[/QUOTE]

I think I understand what he means and I also believe I understand you. But Ushiro is less an Aikido person than you are; you at least have Aikido in your background. This is no slight on Ushiro Sensei, he has been instrumental, amongst others, in helping me take my own Aikido to an entirely different level. I understand some of what he is doing and others parts, not yet.... What he does definitely involves a deep understanding of "aiki".

But it is still the case that he doesn't do Aikido, didn't train with O-Sensei, isn't particularly conversant with the works on Aikido by the Founder or his son Kisshomaru, or Tohei or anyone else for that matter. Ikeda Sensei connected with him on a deep level because he has a systematic method for explaining and teaching what Saotome Sensei has been demonstrating all these years but had no developed methodology for transmitting.

But Ikeda Sensei is an Aikido guy. He is taking what Ushiro Sensei has taught him and used it to develop his Aikido. His Aikido contains far more than what Ushiro has helped him with. What Ushiro Sensei has taught me has helped me understand far better what Saotome Sensei has been showing us all these years. I can, at long last, do what my teachers are doing. I don't do it as well as they do certainly, but I can do it. I have trouble with the terminology on what I do. I have been developing my own description of it because neither Ikeda Sensei nor Saotome Sensei use words to describe what they do to any large extent. So I incorporate whatever seems fit, whatever seems helpful to get others to be able to do what I do.

So in these discussions when you get to the technical elements of how to talk about the issues of internal power, I have no common terminology for discussing what I do. So I can only go by what happens on the mat. I can reproduce what my teachers are doing at this point. It took far too long in my opinion but I can. Since I actually never thought I'd get to that point, I guess I am happy but there's a long way to go. Every step I make forward seems to increase my sense of what is ahead. So not only am I focused on continuing to go forward myself, but I am concerned with helping other folks make the jump to where they can understand what our teachers are doing as well. Then these folks can direct their training in such a way that it may actually get them towards their goal of mastering, at least on some level, what their teachers have been doing.

I'd love to have some time with you where I could pick your brain and show you stuff that I am doing and get you to tell me what it is in your terms. It would help a lot in being able to discuss it.

But, back to the point... the art isn't in necessarily attaining or not attaining certain skills. The art is the practice. How we practice, the proper mindset, the proper relationship with the partner, the outer form of what we do is an important part of what we are doing. People who don't have experience training this way can't understand that. So, no, I don't concede Ushiro Sensei any more authority to dictate when there is Aikido and when there isn't than I do any other non-Aikido practitioner.

Anyway, it isn't really worth debating this point... It is in some ways about talking about Faith with someone who is religious... I know from my own personal experience what training in this art can do and O-Sensei and his spiritual and philosophical teachings are an integral part of my experience of the art. I "know" from my own personal experience. It is almost impossible to explain in some convincing way to explain what I know to someone else who doesn't have the same kind of relationship with it. That doesn't make you wrong and it doesn't make me right... it's far too personal for much of an exchange between folks who aren't already on the same page.

As you and others keep getting around and folks from my end of things get more exposure, at some point there might be more common means of expression developed. I think a much more precise explanatory method is important for Aikido. It's kind of a joke right now. I do stuff that I have no way of describing except through methods I develop myself cobbled out of things I have heard, read, gotten from a myriad of teachers. Much of this is probably due to Aikido making a jump into non-Japanese cultures which had no descriptive terminology for these things. I notice that you use far more Chinese terminology to describe this stuff than Japanese... I expect because they have taken it deeper, longer than anyone else. Anyway, that's an on-going discussion and will take time to evolve.

My point here is that what makes Aikido, Aikido is a very complex mix of things. There is a difference between the journey and the destination.
Aikido is the journey. The journey is made up of all sorts of experiences which are determined by the path that each practitioner takes. There are people who will spend their entire lives doing this art, finding the utmost satisfaction in the journey, deriving tremendous satisfaction from sharing the journey with others, getting all sorts of insight from treading the Path, who will never arrive at any of the destinations we are discussing.

There are people, like yourself, who have arrived at various points by different paths. While you do understand quite well these various destinations, you have taken different roads to get there. An Aikido person may or may not arrive at some of these destination points but they are still on their path and that path is Aikido. Those who arrive at these destinations via this path of Aikido will understand these places differently than those who arrived via different roads. There's nothing wrong with that but it does not mean that people who have arrived at one or more of these points by different roads will understand each other very well. They will be able to talk about the point itself, but their journeys, their paths, their arts are still different.

Cady Goldfield
02-28-2008, 10:05 PM
Aikido is ours, I tell you. OURS! No one outside aikido could ever, ever have a clue, even if they come from the art from which aikido was directly derived. Because aikido is just too complex for your non-Aikidoka selves to ever, ever understand.

Oh, and you're not Japanese, so you couldn't possibly understand "things Japanese." It's just not in your being! So don't go thinking you could ever, ever understand aikido if you're not Japanese. Aikido is a Japanese Thang!

;) ;) ;)

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 10:18 PM
Just out of curiosity, why do you think someone like Ushiro Sensei said something as blunt as "no kokyu, no Aikido"? Do you think he was trying to be helpful or that he just didn't understand the full depths?

I think I understand what he means and I also believe I understand you. But Ushiro is less an Aikido person than you are; you at least have Aikido in your background. Hi George:

The point I'm arguing (in the debate sense) is that "ki" is core to Aikido and that you can't jump around the ki part and still have "Aiki"-do. Your argument seems to be (as I understand it; you have posted the thought in various ways a number of times) that you can have Aikido and that ki is something extraneous to understanding Aikido. In my perception of ki/qi, it's the alphabet from which the words are written. In your perception (pardon the hyperbole and attribution, but I'm having fun), you can write pithy prose and you can get to the alphabet later, to sort of round out your version of prose. ;)

Ushiro's understanding is not of Aikido, I agree. But to understand Aikido is not what Ikeda Sensei is trying to do. Ikeda is attempting to resolve a basic skill that he knows is common to many/most Asian martial arts. So in that sense, the discussion is about a skill that is the core of Aikido, of karate, of jujitsu (ki-strength is what the "ju" refers to, not just "soft")of iaido, of shodo, of Noh dancing, of the tea ceremony, and so on. It's a *big* deal, these skills. That's why Ueshiba devoted so much time in his writing to the assurances (obliquely) that he was using these keystones of Asian martial arts.

Similarly, Tohei separates out, to a noticeable extent, these same skills as the very baseline of all Aikido techniques. He did so before he parted ways with Hombu Dojo and he did so while Ueshiba Morihei was alive. That gives the focus on ki and kokyu as separate from the techniques somewhat of the imprimatur of Ueshiba Sensei himself, IMO.

I understand your perspective about the understanding of techniques growing with sophistication after years of practice... but just where do you put the ki/skills in terms of importance, not to you or to me, but to the upcoming ranks of Aikidoists? Is it really only "somewhat important"? ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-28-2008, 10:31 PM
Aikido is ours, I tell you. OURS! No one outside aikido could ever, ever have a clue, even if they come from the art from which aikido was directly derived. Because aikido is just too complex for your non-Aikidoka selves to ever, ever understand.

Oh, and you're not Japanese, so you couldn't possibly understand "things Japanese." It's just not in your being! So don't go thinking you could ever, ever understand aikido if you're not Japanese. Aikido is a Japanese Thang!

;) ;) ;)Um, that's a pretty subtle point, Cady. Let me work on it a while. ;)

However, let me use the workshop a few weeks ago in Pennsylvania to make a point somewhat related to the "understanding Aikido" meme. No one who was there at the Pennsylvania workshop is going to be able to understand, exercise, and condition to the point where they will catch up to my ki/qi skills in the very near future... I've got a pretty good head-start. But I can easily see that some of those senior people who were there grokked enough that they could have already begun to apply some of the general principles/strengths into a few Aikido techniques. Since they "understand Aikido" better than me (and in terms of waza, I'm sure they do), then their combination of ki/kokyu skills and their Aikido knowledge conceivably puts them beyond my ability to do the same techniques. I.e., once again the point is that the discussion is not really about Aikido, but about a strength system on which Aikido is based. Who "understands Aikido better" is not really the issue, IMO.

Best.

Mike

Cady Goldfield
02-28-2008, 10:45 PM
Perhaps, but a syllabus of codified waza is only the tip of an iceberg, as so many here have passionately argued about the complexities of aikido. However, were aikidoka to receive and re-introduce the full range of internal training that exists in their art's ancestral form -- as Ueshiba applied it -- they might find that it would transform their present syllabus of aikido -technique- into something quite "new," and that their present syllabus might no longer be necessary to memorize as "a thing."

It would give a whole "new" understanding of the meaning of Ueshiba's frequent (post-WWII) roarings, upon entering the dojo after an absence, that "This is not MY aikido!"

George S. Ledyard
02-29-2008, 02:25 AM
I understand your perspective about the understanding of techniques growing with sophistication after years of practice... but just where do you put the ki/skills in terms of importance, not to you or to me, but to the upcoming ranks of Aikidoists? Is it really only "somewhat important"?

No, I think that it is of crucial importance. And I would change the entire way Aikido is taught. I am amazed that the few folks who really have the goods managed to do so the way they trained.

I would turn Aikido on its head if it were up to me. In fact that's what I am doing in my own dojo. But my own Aikido is evolving so fast, I keep adding new elements so quickly that I can't at all predict where I will end up with it, either personally or how I teach it.

You are absolutely right that it's ridiculous that most folks doing Aikido can't even tell you what Aiki is much less do their technique with aiki. I'm still looking at the various people whom I believe have the goods and trying to see what they have in common. I just don't have enough information yet to come to any conclusions. I can do things now that 2 or 3 years ago I simply couldn't conceive of doing, that sort of thing was just stuff my teacher could do but none if us had a clue about. You seem to have a very detailed descriptive set of terminology to outline the various elements of ki, internal power, aiki etc. I haven't directly encountered anyone in Aikido who has that.

Anyway, it is helpful that you guys are interested in giving Aikido folks your input. I think that between the input from outside folks that Aikido is getting and the innovative ways that Aikido folks are incorporating that information into the art, everyone's Aikido will be better than it is currently. And maybe then it won't take 25 years for someone to start having a clue.

Talk again soon...
- George

Ecosamurai
02-29-2008, 04:15 AM
Just out of curiosity, why do you think someone like Ushiro Sensei said something as blunt as "no kokyu, no Aikido"? Do you think he was trying to be helpful or that he just didn't understand the full depths?

While the question wasn't addressed to me. I'll venture to add that Tohei Sensei is known to have said "no unbendable arm, no aikido" and similar phrases for at least the last 50 years. I'm betting he understood the full depths and was trying to be helpful. So I can only imagine Ushiro Sensei was doing the same.

For myself, I usually tell my students that if they're not trying to learn about ki then they're not doing aikido, they're doing something else that looks a bit like aikido on the outside. But thats according to my own definition of what aikido is, I'm quite happy to accept others definititons and recognise their efforts, ranks etc, even if they know nothing about ki and mind and body development (so long as they're trying to learn it, but then surely thats what anyone would ask of people who come to study with them?)

Best

Mike

eyrie
02-29-2008, 04:21 AM
Given that 99% of people practicing aikido spend the majority of classtime practicing technique of some form or another, I would hazard to say that technique (physical or otherwise) is a major component of the practice of aikido - a lot more than the claim that Aikido, as an art-form is broader in scope and more complex than a limited subset of physical technique.

The fact that there are a multitude of factors (physical or otherwise) also being trained/practiced within (and without) the structure and practice of technique, is neither here nor there. Sure, the training focus may be different to other more sport/competition-oriented martial arts, but I seriously doubt that such integrated practice is any different to other integrative martial practices.

IMO, the spiritual/philosophical difference argument is moot - the doctrine of Aikido merely serves to inform and guide the physical/mental/spiritual practice (whether on or off the mat) - just as other MAs with a spiritual/philosophical doctrine do. The argument is akin to whose God is the true God - it doesn't leave much room for everyone else outside that particular religion or denomination. So much for Aikido as a religion to complete all religions and to unite the world...

I am not entirely certain that aikido needs to be turned on it's head. Perhaps the way the practice is approached, taught and learnt needs to be addressed. Certainly, the "how-to" of ki/kokyu and by extension, "aiki", needs to be addressed at a foundational level. By that I mean, black belt, white belt, or the average Joe/Jane that walks in off the street into their first class.

IMO, without this foundation, it is simply "empty" practice - whether it be Aikido or some other MA.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-29-2008, 05:00 AM
It would give a whole "new" understanding of the meaning of Ueshiba's frequent (post-WWII) roarings, upon entering the dojo after an absence, that "This is not MY aikido!"

I suppose O Sensei roaring "This is not my akido" was absolutely unrelated to his previous

"From this conscious attitude, the defense against and repulsion of an attack should be accomplished by means of kokyu, in accordance with this truth. When this is achieved, wisdom, kindness and courage naturally flow from within you and will give form the only and true Yamato damashii, then you will be able to use your entire your body as if it was a sword and can enter into a state of "not being" (Mugano Kyochi). Budo can develop this profound internal spirit, in proportion to your own development from one (level) of satori to another."

Probably there are better translations. You can find the original paragraph in Budo Renshu.

dps
02-29-2008, 07:53 AM
So I can only go by what happens on the mat. .

That is how O'Sensei learned it.

David

Stefan Stenudd
03-01-2008, 01:53 PM
To me, it's not only internal, but external, too. Flows of intention, both from tori and uke.

Actually, I feel increasingly that what is going on in aikido is the whirling and turning of those flows of intention. The bodies and their movements are mere shadows of this.

The essence of an attack is the flow of intention from the attacker, and the essence of the defense is how the defender's flow blends with it, and redirects it. Their bodies follow.

jennifer paige smith
03-01-2008, 10:28 PM
I think, as a matter of fact, I was discussing with a San Soo Choy Li Fut (excuse the spelling) Sifu at the Pub earlier tonight, that people must experience Ki/Qi even if they don't get it because we are all animated and created of it. We both were commiserating on how impossible it is to teach and explain ki, at times, to people who 'don't get it.' In this context I shared a way that I sometimes teach ki 'recognition'. I assist them in seeing, 'where is ki operating identifiably in my life or culture or understanding?'. I often work with young people and young adults and they flinch when you reach out to touch them even when they physically haven't seen you move.I use this as a way to show them they felt movement on an 'invisible' level. Now, I know that this is neural, but it is a stepping point to ki for people who don't know how to identify it. Folks like the sophisticated ( ahhh-hmmm) people on this website look for more or would like to see more evidence of ki, but simple everyday events provide opportunities where we can help peoplestart to make the most basic of ki connections.
I also use the 'ever get the feeling you were being watched and you were? question to help inspire the mind and the person into the 'unknown' aspects of connected energy ( ki musubi).
Anyhow, I'm just a hack, but that works for me and it does help my students perk up their senses.
Maybe they don't totally get it, but the little ground we break makes their instructor feel more hopeful for her practice and for others' at the end of the day. Plus, the students like it.

carry on.

Tim Fong
03-02-2008, 11:09 AM
Folks like the sophisticated ( ahhh-hmmm) people on this website look for more or would like to see more evidence of ki, but simple everyday events provide opportunities where we can help peoplestart to make the most basic of ki connections.
I also use the 'ever get the feeling you were being watched and you were? question to help inspire the mind and the person into the 'unknown' aspects of connected energy ( ki musubi).
Anyhow, I'm just a hack, but that works for me and it does help my students perk up their senses.
Maybe they don't totally get it, but the little ground we break makes their instructor feel more hopeful for her practice and for others' at the end of the day. Plus, the students like it.

carry on.

Jennifer,

It's really too bad that you couldn't make it to the Aunkai seminar at Stanford. I think it would have cleared up a lot of things for you.

Best,
Tim

Dan Rubin
03-02-2008, 01:49 PM
Aikido is ours, I tell you. OURS! No one outside aikido could ever, ever have a clue, even if they come from the art from which aikido was directly derived. Because aikido is just too complex for your non-Aikidoka selves to ever, ever understand.

Oh, and you're not Japanese, so you couldn't possibly understand "things Japanese." It's just not in your being! So don't go thinking you could ever, ever understand aikido if you're not Japanese. Aikido is a Japanese Thang!

;) ;) ;)

Why does this attitude disturb you, Cady? Why not just ignore us?

Cady Goldfield
03-02-2008, 02:08 PM
Doesn't disturb me at all. It's just the way 'tis. Hence, the "winkies." I once trained in aikido, many years ago, and saw a lot of good in the people I met and the earnestness of their practice, but it was hard not to note the irony of the Japanese cultural sense and what, among some, has become its Western equivalent.

Mike Sigman
03-02-2008, 02:22 PM
Why does this attitude disturb you, Cady? Why not just ignore us?

Sic transit threadii mundi.

Cady Goldfield
03-02-2008, 02:42 PM
When you get sic in transit, they have those great little paper bags... :D

Mike Sigman
03-02-2008, 02:46 PM
When you get sic in transit, they have those great little paper bags... :D
In hoc signo winkies. ;)

Cady Goldfield
03-02-2008, 02:51 PM
Better winkies or vinces, than vonces (vonts/bedbugs)!

Aikibu
03-02-2008, 03:11 PM
I think, as a matter of fact, I was discussing with a San Soo Choy Li Fut (excuse the spelling) Sifu at the Pub earlier tonight, that people must experience Ki/Qi even if they don't get it because we are all animated and created of it. We both were commiserating on how impossible it is to teach and explain ki, at times, to people who 'don't get it.' In this context I shared a way that I sometimes teach ki 'recognition'. I assist them in seeing, 'where is ki operating identifiably in my life or culture or understanding?'. I often work with young people and young adults and they flinch when you reach out to touch them even when they physically haven't seen you move.I use this as a way to show them they felt movement on an 'invisible' level. Now, I know that this is neural, but it is a stepping point to ki for people who don't know how to identify it. Folks like the sophisticated ( ahhh-hmmm) people on this website look for more or would like to see more evidence of ki, but simple everyday events provide opportunities where we can help peoplestart to make the most basic of ki connections.
I also use the 'ever get the feeling you were being watched and you were? question to help inspire the mind and the person into the 'unknown' aspects of connected energy ( ki musubi).
Anyhow, I'm just a hack, but that works for me and it does help my students perk up their senses.
Maybe they don't totally get it, but the little ground we break makes their instructor feel more hopeful for her practice and for others' at the end of the day. Plus, the students like it.

carry on.

Jen your hack is beautiful. I forgot that Sifu John Woo told us much the same thing we he compared San Soo to Aikido. "The point of practice is to discover and reconnect with the Chi/Ki you already have"... That blends nicely with The "secret is right in front of you can you grasp it?"

Hope this post finds you nabbing a few at Indicators or Stockton Ave. :)

William Hazen

Aiki1
03-02-2008, 05:32 PM
I would turn Aikido on its head if it were up to me. In fact that's what I am doing in my own dojo.

You and me both brother.

Erick Mead
03-02-2008, 08:22 PM
You are absolutely right that it's ridiculous that most folks doing Aikido can't even tell you what Aiki is much less do their technique with aiki. I'm still looking at the various people whom I believe have the goods and trying to see what they have in common. You seem to have a very detailed descriptive set of terminology to outline the various elements of ki, internal power, aiki etc. I haven't directly encountered anyone in Aikido who has that. There is a reason for this. In Chinese thought underlying the aspects of Ki we address, yin knowledge and yang knowledge are understood in certain ways. In our culture, our most powerful yang knowledge is (for lack of a better summary) -- rocket science -- the hard sciences are the yang aspects of what we know. For most people, they read what is written and hear what is said about aiki in traditional terms and it sounds very yin in our terminology. So they end up applying it that way, Of course it isn't: it is balanced knowledge, in-yo ho. And because it does not key into our quintessential yang sensibilities -- voila -- you get oodles of aiki-bunnies.

So, to avoid that problem, either one gets to the point of having a sufficiently in-depth knowledge of Eastern culture so as to be able to see the yang knowledge in balance with the yin knowledge, sans the Western cultural bias, or we find a way to transmute portions of the knowledge into Western hard science terms, making the yang aspects explicit in our terms.

Mike has done the former, it appears, and bully for him. I did my undergraduate thesis on Wang Yang-ming. So I see the value in that. It is not really approachable for most people since they have no foundaiton to work from. That is a problem.

The only other yang mode apart from hard science in our culture is the competitive one, which judo and jujitsu have adopted to great effect. Mike's approach does not lead there, Dan's I am not so sure, and Rob's is unclear in that regard. But some strains of thought in this debate do tend that way. That is fraught with problems, or so says the Founder, and I tend to agree. So that really leaves only the other two as working options. I am pursuing the latter.

And maybe then it won't take 25 years for someone to start having a clue. Or, maybe it will simply take that amount of time, no matter what one does ...

...Even if you train everyday all the while innovating yourself, it will take at least 20 years. Ten years or so isn't nearly enough time. Your body has to truly be ready; otherwise no matter what you do you won't be able to do "Aiki."
...

jennifer paige smith
03-02-2008, 09:35 PM
Jen your hack is beautiful. I forgot that Sifu John Woo told us much the same thing we he compared San Soo to Aikido. "The point of practice is to discover and reconnect with the Chi/Ki you already have"... That blends nicely with The "secret is right in front of you can you grasp it?"

Hope this post finds you nabbing a few at Indicators or Stockton Ave. :)

William Hazen

Ha, Brilliant my friend.

Stockton is going offfffffffff! Hope the swell is pushing 'ocean qi' your direction.

Best to ya,
Jen

Mike Sigman
03-03-2008, 09:41 AM
Anyway, it is helpful that you guys are interested in giving Aikido folks your input. I think that between the input from outside folks that Aikido is getting and the innovative ways that Aikido folks are incorporating that information into the art, everyone's Aikido will be better than it is currently. And maybe then it won't take 25 years for someone to start having a clue.Hi George:

I don't think there's anything special about any of us feeding information from the outside. Think of it more of a few hounds in the pack spotting the fox a little before the rest of the pack does and baying, trying to get the attention of the rest of the pack. ;)

But I think you'll find that only a few people are going to respond and see the importance of these things. Already there's a lot of people trying to convince themselves and others that they already do and teach this stuff, and so on. It's to be expected.

The big difference with Aikido is that it has a number of representative Japanese teachers who are somewhat aware of these skills (I mean as in "in various degrees") and to whom the topic is not really alien. That's a better situation than in, say, some style of karate or other art where the main "name" practitioners are all westerners who think they know everything. Those guys are self-defeating and it's probably impossible with them.

What it boils down to is that enough people are beginning to see the basics of these things and how they tie in with all the old comments about "ki"... and suddenly they see that there's something substantive there. So some people are already beginning to work on it. Some are still in denial or are trying to bluff that they already have all that. Some people aren't sure what to do, so they do nothing... and the years are creeping by so many of them will end up with nothing. But each person makes his own choice. The information has gotten out there and that's about all anyone can ask for. It's a far better situation than 3 or 4 years ago. And as more of the skills are discovered and worked on, it's going to get better for the few who actively go that route. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
03-03-2008, 09:59 AM
Hi George:

I don't think there's anything special about any of us feeding information from the outside. Think of it more of a few hounds in the pack spotting the fox a little before the rest of the pack does and baying, trying to get the attention of the rest of the pack. ;)

But I think you'll find that only a few people are going to respond and see the importance of these things. Already there's a lot of people trying to convince themselves and others that they already do and teach this stuff, and so on. It's to be expected.

The big difference with Aikido is that it has a number of representative Japanese teachers who are somewhat aware of these skills (I mean as in "in various degrees") and to whom the topic is not really alien. That's a better situation than in, say, some style of karate or other art where the main "name" practitioners are all westerners who think they know everything. Those guys are self-defeating and it's probably impossible with them.

What it boils down to is that enough people are beginning to see the basics of these things and how they tie in with all the old comments about "ki"... and suddenly they see that there's something substantive there. So some people are already beginning to work on it. Some are still in denial or are trying to bluff that they already have all that. Some people aren't sure what to do, so they do nothing... and the years are creeping by so many of them will end up with nothing. But each person makes his own choice. The information has gotten out there and that's about all anyone can ask for. It's a far better situation than 3 or 4 years ago. And as more of the skills are discovered and worked on, it's going to get better for the few who actively go that route. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Hi Mike,
You won't see any large scale change until a few of the senior folks in various organizations start to work on these things and the rank and file can see the results. Individuals will get stuff on their own but , sadly it can a threat to the seniors if someone below them starts to have more skills than they do. Initiative is not always rewards by established organizations.

But if a few seniors in each group start changing, then I think you will see the larger picture start to change. Not everyone of course... I think the average person already feels quite overwhelmed by what he or she has been shown, doesn't feel like he can train enough to master that, much less start thinking about things in a whole new way and add various new elements in to his training. But the seniors who have already made the commitment but whom are willing to change some things in order to be better, there you will see some results. And once that happens the juniors will get better training right from the start and things will change.

gdandscompserv
03-03-2008, 10:10 AM
And then aikido will become the SUPERPOWER of MA!
:D

Mike Sigman
03-03-2008, 11:23 AM
Hi Mike,
You won't see any large scale change until a few of the senior folks in various organizations start to work on these things and the rank and file can see the results. Individuals will get stuff on their own but , sadly it can a threat to the seniors if someone below them starts to have more skills than they do. Initiative is not always rewards by established organizations.

But if a few seniors in each group start changing, then I think you will see the larger picture start to change. Not everyone of course... I think the average person already feels quite overwhelmed by what he or she has been shown, doesn't feel like he can train enough to master that, much less start thinking about things in a whole new way and add various new elements in to his training. But the seniors who have already made the commitment but whom are willing to change some things in order to be better, there you will see some results. And once that happens the juniors will get better training right from the start and things will change.I dunno, George. My take on it is that people will go around the current "seniors" at the drop of a hat, once it becomes clear what they have and don't have in the case of these skills. There are some pretty smart and savvy upcoming leaders who have already grasped what's going on and are beginning to move hard and fast. If I had to bet my chips, I bet that there will be some factionalization to some extent, but ultimately everyone will start trying to pick up these skills, if nothing else because they're so obvious that it's not really a choice. A lot of the outlying "independent" schools may be in for a bit of trouble, in terms of their longterm existence, but we'll all just have to wait and see. Ultimately, it will be a good thing, IMO.

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
03-03-2008, 08:13 PM
I think the pareto principle applies to aikido as well as everything else. 20% of those doing aikido may be interested in putting in the hard work necessary. The rest are happy showing up and putting in the mat time in a recreational manner, to feel good about themselves, spend some time in a social group of sorts, and to get "something" out of it. Nothing wrong with that,

I don't think we will see sweeping change throughout the art. Again, maybe that 20% that has been wanting "more" but didn't know where to look. Sure, some stuff will trickle down, out, over as these guys figure it out and take it into the norm.

But again, how many people are really willing to put in the time that this will take?

Mike Sigman
03-03-2008, 08:26 PM
I think the pareto principle applies to aikido as well as everything else. 20% of those doing aikido may be interested in putting in the hard work necessary. The rest are happy showing up and putting in the mat time in a recreational manner, to feel good about themselves, spend some time in a social group of sorts, and to get "something" out of it. Nothing wrong with that,

I don't think we will see sweeping change throughout the art. Again, maybe that 20% that has been wanting "more" but didn't know where to look. Sure, some stuff will trickle down, out, over as these guys figure it out and take it into the norm.

But again, how many people are really willing to put in the time that this will take?You know, it's an interesting question. For instance, my opinion is that Tohei's Ki-Society stuff would have changed Aikido as we know it, if there had been more people getting more substantive results, back in the day. As it was, the Ki-Society stuff was sort of underwhelming and/or tenuous, back in the early days, because there was nothing explicitly shown. It was more of a "feel your way" approach. And the waza at most of the Ki-Society dojo's was pretty loose, in addition. With a more explicit approach, more of Aikido than we might suppose could easily hop on board.

Certainly, I think that a lot of the "ki tests" are going to be far more accessible to newcomes, etc., so there will probably be a lot more retention of people due to that.

I also don't think that it's unreasonable to see some of the smart, younger crowd put in the time to become fairly formidable. More power can be generated than is obvious, Kevin, although I don't think that's what should be focused on so much at first. There is a real detriment in going to quickly for "power", rather than building up the basics over a couple-three (or more) years.

FWIW

Mike

jennifer paige smith
03-04-2008, 09:46 AM
Jennifer,

It's really too bad that you couldn't make it to the Aunkai seminar at Stanford. I think it would have cleared up a lot of things for you.

Best,
Tim

When one is speaking of the left hand it doesn't mean they aren't aware of the right, as it were.
When contemplating the inner I often refer to the outer and vise-versa. It comes together at the center.

Fred Little
03-04-2008, 11:47 AM
George & Mike:

Both of you have used the word "seniors."

George's usage had no quotes and included the conditioning phrase "in various organizations"

Mike put the word in quotes.

At the risk of triggering a digression, I wonder if each of you would take a moment to clarify what you meant by "seniors."

Best,

FL

MM
03-04-2008, 11:59 AM
George & Mike:

Both of you have used the word "seniors."

George's usage had no quotes and included the conditioning phrase "in various organizations"

Mike put the word in quotes.

At the risk of triggering a digression, I wonder if each of you would take a moment to clarify what you meant by "seniors."

Best,

FL

Hi Fred,
Isn't seniors or "seniors" those old guys? You know, the ones over 30. :D :D

Mike Sigman
03-04-2008, 06:26 PM
George & Mike:

Both of you have used the word "seniors."

George's usage had no quotes and included the conditioning phrase "in various organizations"

Mike put the word in quotes.

At the risk of triggering a digression, I wonder if each of you would take a moment to clarify what you meant by "seniors."
Hi Fred:

Think of my use of the quotation marks to mean that "seniors" is a vague term and I reserve the right to say "I don't mean 'senior' in necessarily the same way you do". It's a common ideosycratic caveat that I use.

Best,

Mike

Upyu
03-05-2008, 07:21 PM
When one is speaking of the left hand it doesn't mean they aren't aware of the right, as it were.
When contemplating the inner I often refer to the outer and vise-versa. It comes together at the center.

I dunno Jennifer,
You keep on coming into these discussions of Ki/Kokyu, but the fact is, like a lot of others you never bring up anything pertinent with relation to physical skill. (The silk reeling article comes to mind) Myself and a couple of other people that can do some of these things have seen video of you at work, and nothing you do would tip me off to the fact that you have ki/kokyu based movement, much less conditioned body.
Harsh as that sounds, for someone that can do this stuff its pretty tell tale.

Its not so much a "hey you don't have ki/kokyu! you don't belong here!" thing so much as, like Mike pointed out earlier, they're people that are trying to get a grasp on these things and way too many, otherwise bright people that have wasted years following the wrong track.

Stefan Stenudd
03-06-2008, 03:24 AM
Myself and a couple of other people that can do some of these things have seen video of you at work, and nothing you do would tip me off to the fact that you have ki/kokyu based movement
Didn't you say the same thing about me?
(In this thread: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14073)

I must tell you that I find it rather rude, calling people incompetent with things that they themselves value in their training.

Also, it seems that you are attacking the person instead of the argument. Even if you regard us as unskilled, wouldn't it be much more intreresting if you could relate to what we say, instead of declaring us unfit to speak on the subject?

About videos, maybe you can give us some links to videos where you show ki and kokyu in what you regard as the right way? I am curious.
I promise not to be impolite about what I see in them ;)

Ron Tisdale
03-06-2008, 07:22 AM
Uh, he was one of the first to provide video of himself and his teacher demonstrating what they speak of.

I was somewhat put off by some of the attitudes...until I looked under the hood, and discovered an attention to detail and success in teaching these methods, instead of the "train 20 more years", "you need to take more compliant ukemi", "everyone's opinion is valid" kind of arguement.

My own teacher had spoken in some of the same terms that they used, but it wasn't manifesting itself in my body at anywhere near the level that I've found by going around and feeling what others could do. So I set my own personal bar higher in terms of these skills, and I am working on it.

I think many people would benefit from a similar approach. Look under the hood, see if what you find is of value, get beyond the personal, and get to work.

Best,
Ron (platitudes are nice and all that, but in the end, as Mike once asked me...what can you do?)

Demetrio Cereijo
03-06-2008, 08:07 AM
About videos, maybe you can give us some links to videos where you show ki and kokyu in what you regard as the right way? I am curious.
I promise not to be impolite about what I see in them ;)

You have some here:

http://es.youtube.com/user/Upyu

And his master:

http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=UtYDJ_XDVRU

http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=MDCbZhTFAkU

Stefan Stenudd
03-06-2008, 08:11 AM
Ron (platitudes are nice and all that, but in the end, as Mike once asked me...what can you do?)
Or: "What can I do?"
I would hesitate to make statements about what others can't do.

Mike Sigman
03-06-2008, 08:40 AM
Or: "What can I do?"
I would hesitate to make statements about what others can't do.It's a good question/comment. I think someone has to earn the right to be taken seriously and to be considered competent. In that sense, I think a minimal first step would be the static ability to replicate Tohei's (Ki Society) "ki tests". That should be the threshold before someone can even talk about "expertise". Secondly would come moving well with ki. Lastly would be moving well, using the hara (and it's a lot more than just words and fantasy, to do that) *and* having Aikido skills that mesh with the ki/kokyu skills. Basics first... then you're qualified to discuss someone else's basics. Upward in skills from there.

YMMV

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
03-06-2008, 09:23 AM
Or: "What can I do?"
I would hesitate to make statements about what others can't do.

Mike didn't make statements about what I **couldn't** do. He asked directly what I **could** do.

Completely different, in my opinion. Please also note, I don't make statements about what people **can't** do either. I will occationally note when something isn't apparent from their words, or in their documented movement. If they put evidence of such out in the public domain. I then assume they are open to intelligent commentary. Much like my own words.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
03-06-2008, 10:12 AM
You won't see any large scale change until a few of the senior folks in various organizations start to work on these things and the rank and file can see the results. ... and things will change.

Ledyard Sensei: With respect, I happened across a comment you wrote just about two years ago to the date: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=97549&postcount=36
I think that speculation combined with a lot of research is quite valuable in trying to understand this art which he created. Why? Because he was wise enough to create the art in the first place. Many of us care what he thought about it and what he intended for it. It matters to us what the individual contributions have been by the people who learned from the Founder and taken his art and made it their own. If I may ask, what, if anything, changed for you between that time and this? I have on my own done just exactly what your earlier comment suggests be done -- to make the art more OUR own in a Western sense in terms of what KI is physically. I have a substantial foundation in three lineages, and a passing familiarity with a fourth (none of them in any Tohei branch, FWIW). I will be the first to declare that my effort at research and reasonably informed speculation remains a work in progress -- to ground Ki and aiki in a physical basis that is sensibly Western.

My approach seems "odd" to the ordinary physics sorts because only a less common, but more concrete convention of physics works across the board for all instance of use of "KI" in traditional Asian terms -- the fact of cyclic or rotational motion and the potential for such motion. The more commonly used abstracts of linear force/vector/energy in physics conventions do not work to describe what the Chinese and Japanese mean to describe by the use of Ki. Hence "ki" has been largely relegated, by Western minds that are technically inclined, to the bin of mystical nonsense. It would seem so if you start with the wrong physical convention. It is not nonsense for anyone who understands how the Chinese and Japanese understand and employ it. It is not nonsense when put into terms of cyclic or rotational action/potential. That is, quite simply, what the Taiji-Tu illustrates. That aside, it is still very much a work in progress, even though I have come to that one very important and well-founded conclusion on the physics, which I have stated here or elsewhere. I am now trying to refine better ways to express it, and to apply the understanding in practical training.

Despite the change in terms, I remain tied to O Sensei's direct expressions and actions as my guide posts, together with the teachings of his students. I am just trying to translate them into a Western physics paradigm in this manner, without doing any injury to the knowledge on either side.

My effort in that regard continues, but yours seems to have taken a different direction from your earlier comment. Perhaps you do not perceive it so, which is why I asked.

Erick Mead
03-06-2008, 10:32 AM
It's a good question/comment. I think someone has to earn the right to be taken seriously and to be considered competent. ... Basics first... then you're qualified to discuss someone else's basics. Upward in skills from there.The topic is a martial art. If those here are anything like me, they ceased to care seriously about the unsupported criticism of others at just about the same time that I stopped caring so much if somebody took a swing with malice aforethought.

The only gate keeper here is Jun.

DH
03-06-2008, 10:45 AM
All due respect Eric, none of that is any issue the people here seen to have with you. Your writing is illegible and based on a false premise.
I state plainly and cearly that I believe you can not replicate anything that Ark, Rob, Mike or I do in any substative way. Why? You have openly stated you could not do the tests I outlined years ago and the rest of your models make little sense. The things I oultined were very basic stuff.
I believe you are hiding behind complex engineering models. I respectully challenge you to produce anything documented either on video or by the guys who have visited all of us, coming visitng you. You are no know as a person with these skills, by anyone. If you had them you would be known at least in your community. Let some pepople come down to test you.
Perosnally I think you theories are empty. Virtually without meaning or merit and not only do not benefit those in Aikido, they are a flase start leading to a dead end. I short you have no place on this conversation.
You contnual writing here states you know something others do not and can explain it and teach it. So...if you'r sure of your theories, how about trying to help then? But in a hands on substative way.
Step up, or shut up. Once you fail with those guys- And you will. Come up here. I'd be glad to stop you dead in your tracks and then actually show you how to do some things. I think your are a decent fellow, who just happens to be wrong about these things. I think we could have a llot of fun and great interraction with my group. Then you can go home and try to creat convulated models over what you felt, but then, over some good basic things you woud be doing to help yourself and others.
Hope to see ya soon.

jennifer paige smith
03-06-2008, 10:54 AM
Remember this?

Whenever a discussion on internal power comes up it turns into a fight about personalities.
Why do people seek internal power? Are we trying to beat each other up in a new way?

Here is my answer why I train in a style that focuses on devoloping Ki.
It is the path I was introduced to for starters. I didn't know this path was exactly what I needed but it was.
Maruyama Sensei stressed that Ki was the co-ordination of mind and body. It is not some magical power. He said O'Sensei could do it, Tohei could do it, He could do it and so could I. I believe him. We practice Ki exercises every class. We develop strength.
Along with this strength comes a compassion and understanding because we are practicing Aikido with a partner.
Having internal strength for the sake of beating another seems to have lost the point.
We read the ideas. Ron and I try what we like. It makes us think differently about old ideas. I appreciate this.
The cult of personailty and ego is distracting and meaningless. But it also seems like people are missing the point. Why become very strong in body if your mind and spirit are staying mean?
Mary

Not gonna go there with you guys either.

Perhaps this is now another good thread for the non-aikido martial traditions.

peace

Aikibu
03-06-2008, 11:04 AM
Didn't you say the same thing about me?
(In this thread: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14073)

I must tell you that I find it rather rude, calling people incompetent with things that they themselves value in their training.

Also, it seems that you are attacking the person instead of the argument. Even if you regard us as unskilled, wouldn't it be much more intreresting if you could relate to what we say, instead of declaring us unfit to speak on the subject?

About videos, maybe you can give us some links to videos where you show ki and kokyu in what you regard as the right way? I am curious.
I promise not to be impolite about what I see in them ;)

This is why I gave up these discussions. Some of the "experts" here seem to think that I or other serious students of Shoji Nishio know nothing about the "internal arts" as they are expresssed in Aikido so why bother. There are now more than a half dozen threads on the subject of "internal power" and all of them are running around in circles....

I sincerely respect those that expose this aspect of the Martial Arts but in my opinion that internet is not a good vehicle to get the "point" across.What the heck IS the point anyway? The only way that can be accomplished is to practice with these folks and to have them practice with me in the spirit of mutual respect and understanding and the hope that we can learn from each other.

and no... You Tube Does not cut it for me either though it does provide slight validation for visual proof of one's technique you cannot feel someones internal power visually. You have to experiance it.

One more thing....I don't think the Seniors of our style of Aikido have to change anything We continue to progress and are open minded towards all with regard to what they can teach us and how it can appy to our Aikido.

Have fun folks...

WIlliam Hazen

DH
03-06-2008, 11:27 AM
Well it seems there is a 100% agreement from those in aikido that have felt internal power that it is the underlying foundationon of it.


I ty to avoid the nonsense and ugly stuff myself anymore, but there is no disounting of people happening here, just the traiining ideas. And I think everyone can and shoud remain level headed while discussing it.

Upyu
03-06-2008, 11:29 AM
Didn't you say the same thing about me?
(In this thread: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14073)

I must tell you that I find it rather rude, calling people incompetent with things that they themselves value in their training.


Sorry if I hurt your feelings.
But I just call it like I see it. I'd rather someone be rude but honest, personally.


Also, it seems that you are attacking the person instead of the argument. Even if you regard us as unskilled, wouldn't it be much more intreresting if you could relate to what we say, instead of declaring us unfit to speak on the subject?

The problem is Stefan, that there's nothing to relate to. We are using a different way to move the body. Pure and simple.


I promise not to be impolite about what I see in them ;)

Feel free to criticize what you see ;) I promise I won't complain. Once those videos went up on the net, I accepted the fact that I'm open to criticism. Comes with the territory.
I will warn you that most vids up there are a) old (by a year and a half) and b) the good stuff is mostly in my private vid collection. If you want in, just subscribe to it and I'll hook you up.

If you ever make it to one of the seminars, and that goes for you too Jen, I'll at least buy you guys dinner to make up for putting you both on the spot and being a smart-ass.
And I promise training is completely free of Rob's smart-assedness (Not that I could get away with it with Ark there anyways ^^; )

Ron Tisdale
03-06-2008, 11:54 AM
Billl, please provide a quote where someone has called themselves an "expert", or post a retraction of that slur...

Thanks,
Ron

akiy
03-06-2008, 01:08 PM
Thread closed due to its degenerating into personal discussions. -- Jun