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Aikibu
06-24-2008, 01:12 AM
Wow... just wow... your google-fu is strong... now can you please explain in your own words, in Aikido terms that people here understand? :) * says with extra humility and a cherry on top *

Well here's a truth I have found in my own personal practice...

The Power of Aikido is best expressed when you are completely relaxed.. are breathing with your whole being... and have calmly accepted your opponent as a part of you....

The breath can be understood in one practice but can take along time to completely understand how to apply it depending on the desire of the student to practice it. O'Sensei practiced Misogi diligently everyday for sometimes hours on end

The relaxation "part" is the baseline for understanding how to use your entire body and your senses.The simplest way to learn how to practice Aikido is when you are physically exhausted... Then with proper guidance you will discover how useless pure physical effort is in Waza and may begin to experiance the first stages of how to relax under duress and blend with the energy of your opponent using your posture and center properly....Much to your surprise you may find your Atemi starts to be allot more effective and that you move more economically with less effort in blending with an attackers "intention."

Our Aikido's footwork and movement is radically different than either the Hombu or Iwama styles...We half step and use small circular blending movements which with good posture and breathing can generate tremendous power...We also give Uke several opportunities inside each "teachnique" to stop the fight and reconsider his actions...

There's a start for you my friend and I will gladly go from there when I get the chance....:)

William Hazen

eyrie
06-24-2008, 04:11 AM
Thanks, William Michael (coindentally, also my son's name)... :)

I dunno... it's too vague for me and sounds too much like the off-repeated mantra of keep training hard and one day you'll get it. Perhaps you could be a little more specific?

I have a couple of problems jiving with your explanation:
1. "Completely relaxed", to me, is an oxymoron... when I'm completely relaxed (a couple of cones would do that nicely)... I'm pretty much legless and useless. So how do I remain "completely relaxed" without going off into la-la land?

2. How do I "breathe thru my whole being"? What does that mean? What's involved?

3. OK, assuming that I can somehow "completely relax" and can "breathe thru my whole being", and my opponent and I are One with the Universe (have another bong, bro)... where then does this "Power" (of Aikido) come from and how does it manifest itself?

4. I ain't no spring chicken and I'm getting on in years... everything I do is physically exhausting... why, just walking up the stairs is enough to wear me out... so how can I apply Internal Strength™? Is there a way to learn AikiPower™ without being physically exhausted first?

5. What do you mean by "using your posture and center properly"? Can you be more specific?

I guess what I'm asking is how do I get good at this Internal Strength™ in Aikido quickly? And how do I get "stronger", faster? Which I presume everyone else contributing and/or lurking would want to know as well.

I see Rob L. has beaten me to it with his other thread... basically, I need you to fastrack me.... friend... pal... buddy... so I can practice Aikido™/Aiki..do NOW and not when I'm physically exhausted, gasping for breath (yeah, I know I know... gotta give up those bongs) and at the point of keeling over from being completely relaxed.

Aikibu
06-24-2008, 12:13 PM
Thanks, William Michael (coindentally, also my son's name)... :)

I dunno... it's too vague for me and sounds too much like the off-repeated mantra of keep training hard and one day you'll get it. Perhaps you could be a little more specific?

Ok Let me give it a try...

I have a couple of problems jiving with your explanation:
1. "Completely relaxed", to me, is an oxymoron... when I'm completely relaxed (a couple of cones would do that nicely)... I'm pretty much legless and useless. So how do I remain "completely relaxed" without going off into la-la land?

Ok I will give this a shot despite the sarcasm which I will pass off as being due to my limited articulation on the topic.

The next time you do randori or aliveness training try if you can to note where the muscle tension is in your movement. Is it in your upper body or arms. Do you find your self pushing through a throw ending up with your hips back and your head forward? Perhaps it may be better to check this and see first

2. How do I "breathe thru my whole being"? What does that mean? What's involved?

Ahhh I think I mentioned Misogi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogi

I don't know...It's what O'Sensei did and it seemed to have helped him. :) We don't have it as a regular part of our practice but I notice those who practice some type of Misogi seem to be more relaxed. :)

I have been practicing Zen for the last 20+ years or so and that personally helps me too with my breathing.

3. OK, assuming that I can somehow "completely relax" and can "breathe thru my whole being", and my opponent and I are One with the Universe (have another bong, bro)... where then does this "Power" (of Aikido) come from and how does it manifest itself?

"Have another bong bro" LOL...

You do practice Aikido right??? Are you telling me your never "felt" a physical connection with your Uke? Been too busy being focused on technique and imposing your will have you? Well one thing that is exciting about this whole IMA deal is the idea that what took me years to discover about Aiki Power can simply be practiced with a few basic exercises...and I am looking forward to learning them from these guys...

4. I ain't no spring chicken and I'm getting on in years... everything I do is physically exhausting... why, just walking up the stairs is enough to wear me out... so how can I apply Internal Strength™? Is there a way to learn AikiPower™ without being physically exhausted first?

See A & B above

5. What do you mean by "using your posture and center properly"? Can you be more specific?

Sure but it will take a whole new post which I will have to get to later. Ask your Sensei about Shikko Dachi & Zengtsu Dachi...If your Sensei does not know what those mean... Then ask his Sensei If he/she doesn't know then I will try to explain it in a later post.

I guess what I'm asking is how do I get good at this Internal Strength™ in Aikido quickly? And how do I get "stronger", faster? Which I presume everyone else contributing and/or lurking would want to know as well.

I am afraid I can't help you there but I may be a bit confused by your question ( and heck I have not even had my bong hits for the day). Our Aikido and my experiance is that when done properly our expression of our Aikido not require you become progressivley stronger or faster. Our expression does not rely on this things. Shoji Nishio was your average height and weight for a Japanese person and handled men twice his size with ease. I personally found that very inspiring especially when I took Ukemi from him. The second he touched me my "power" simply left. I can't speak for the others here as far as internal strength goes which is why I look forward to learning from them. As for Nishio Shihan as far as i knw he shared everything he knew and focused on the proper expression of Aikido He had no secrets.

I see Rob L. has beaten me to it with his other thread... basically, I need you to fastrack me.... friend... pal... buddy... so I can practice Aikido™/Aiki..do NOW and not when I'm physically exhausted, gasping for breath (yeah, I know I know... gotta give up those bongs) and at the point of keeling over from being completely relaxed.

I don't see how I can use the web to fast track you... but if you ever show up to class I can show you what limited experiance I have on the subject and I welcome the opportunity to meet another friendly face. Don't bring a bong however I have been clean and sober for 20 years. I have already used up my lifetime supply of bong hits. :)

Namaste'

Williamc Hazen

eyrie
06-24-2008, 07:06 PM
@William Hazen:

Thanks for taking the time to reply... in case people aren't aware... my questions were phrased as a beginner possibly would and are firmly tongue in cheek... ;) So please take it in the light-hearted, semi-serious, jovial manner in which it was asked. Yes, and in case anyone is wondering... the answer is NO... unlike the other Bill, I never inhaled...:D

I'll not address individual aspects of your post which, I feel, superficially glosses over the real meat of the topic... and that is... how has Aiki...do impacted one's Aikido™ (for Ricky... you can also hold down the Alt key and type 0153 on your numeric keypad).

Suffice to say, I did not find anything new or ground-breaking in your posts, although I do appreciate the time you have taken to address my inane questions... really. :)

I can see the karate influence, but... shiko dachi and zenkutsu dachi tells me very little about how these training postures are used to generate AikiPower.... much less how "using your center correctly" even whilst in shizentai can generate power. I don't know if the superficial treatment of these is reflective of not wanting to do so on an open forum, or because you don't know me from Adam's or something else.

Perhaps you could speak to some of these "basic exercises" (in Aikido™) which are used to develop AikiPower™, with a little bit more exposition on the "what" one should be looking for within the practice of these exercises.

TIA

Aikibu
06-24-2008, 07:39 PM
No worries IT all in good fun.... But before we proceed let me ask you a few questions....

What do you know of Misogi? How long have you practiced it? How much time each day do you devote to practice? How many of the few things I have mentioned do you or have you practiced?

You see I am puzzled by folks who expect Aikido to perform miracles for them when they have not put in the work or only practice at the dojo twice a week. Folks want enlightenment but they do not want to sit Zazen...They want Kokyu but they do not practice Misogi or any breathing exercises for that matter. They want to move effortlessly but they never train tenkan They want knowledge but they do not want to study themselves to get it. They want it handed to them.

I have never experianced any shortcuts or simple way to achieve these things Now perhaps Dan or some have some tried and true methods which make the task simpler and easier to achieve Kokyu power and for that I am all ears and eager to take ukemi....

So how about it Mr IT? You say you're frustrated with your practice and your not getting any older

Start with Misogi and we'll talk in 6 months :) If you don't notice a distinct differance in your efforts at practice Well then... The stinky Puna Purple Haze be on me Brah!

Take Care IT. :)

William Hazen

I wish the good Reverand Barrish would contribute to this thread on the importance of Misogi to Aikido practice...Hopefully he feels so inclined when he reads this. :)

eyrie
06-24-2008, 08:27 PM
What do you know of Misogi? How long have you practiced it? How much time each day do you devote to practice? How many of the few things I have mentioned do you or have you practiced?
Enough... Every moment - even lifting a teacup takes effort and "practice"... All of the above.

You say you're frustrated with your practice and your not getting any older Did I say that? Where? :D

Start with Misogi and we'll talk in 6 months :) If you don't notice a distinct differance in your efforts at practice Well then... The stinky Puna Purple Haze be on me Brah! Well... I think I'm a little bit past that... ;) It's always interesting to see the assumptions people make BUT it still doesn't address the question... telling someone to go practice something without saying what "IT" is that they are supposed to be practicing or why, is... not very helpful. :)

I don't disagree that time, effort and commitment to practice everyday is required. But that's not the point of the question....

I can show someone in 2mins how to throw a bigger/stronger person simply by standing in hanmi, with arms outstretched. Usually takes them about 5mins to actually "get it", depending on how fast they can create and maintain the necessary synaptic and proprioceptive pathways. Sure it might take them a few months or years (depending on how much and how often they practice) before they can do it at will and on-demand, but at least they get the gist of it up front - not after years of hit-and-miss self-discovery.

So if you believe that Aikido™ already has this AikiPower™, and that this IMA/Aiki...do is no big deal, why not share what you think "it" is... for everyone's edification?

Gernot Hassenpflug
06-24-2008, 11:29 PM
Shaun Ravens has made a couple of excellent posts these last few days on misogi. I'd like to comment from my own experience, and I think it is related to the thread topic:

Assumption: I've seen and trained the commonly-taught misogi under Abe Seiseki shihan and his deshi, and pretty much the same thing physically under direction of both the of the Italian Aikikai and the British Aikido Federation. So I think I'm talking about the mainstream-taught and commonly-known misogi here. Therefore I merely ask the readers to refer to Aikiweb threads discussing misogi for a general overview.

Falsifiability: if there are other misogi I don't know about, or methods to do them that I don't know about, I'm prepared to reconsider my statements below.

Statements:


1. I do not think---at this stage---that misogi were or are the first stage of penetrating to the heart of aikido. I think that they are too indirect and can only deliver real results once the first stage has been passed. I think this has become clear from past posts that some people have developed very rapidly using misogi practice once they had broken through a certain barrier. I think that barrier is a purely physical one (regardless of what mental development might also be associated with the practice of aikido and misogi).
2. I further think that stage one is more in the stance and posture used in training---for example, Abe shihan had us stand with arms and legs straightened---and more direct, but not direct enough. In particular, I think the vertical axis should be emphasized more, so that greater benefits can accrue to be used in the standard posture, and later in the practice of the misogi exercises where the hands are held horizontally or lower. Otherwise, I doubt that proper development of the connections of the arms to the back via the shoulders will take place in ordinary students who are forced to work in poor postural circumstances for many hours a day and have perhaps one or two hours a day maximum to devote to martial arts practice. Perhaps, on the other hand, it was sufficient in the past, and perhaps even now sufficient for those who do professionally spend many hours each day practicing and/or teaching the art.
3. Additionally, I speculate that such direct teaching was expected to have been manifested in the student before their joining in aikido practice, since originally students needed to have gained experience, which implies certain body development, in other arts. If the bodily basis is the same at a low level, then they will thus have the necessary foundation and can use the misogi and breathing exercises, perhaps something special in aikido, to advance to a much higher level.

Any comments most welcome.

Best regards,
Gernot Hassenpflug

Aikibu
06-25-2008, 12:02 AM
Enough... Every moment - even lifting a teacup takes effort and "practice"... All of the above.

Did I say that? Where? :D

Well... I think I'm a little bit past that... ;) It's always interesting to see the assumptions people make BUT it still doesn't address the question... telling someone to go practice something without saying what "IT" is that they are supposed to be practicing or why, is... not very helpful. :)

I don't disagree that time, effort and commitment to practice everyday is required. But that's not the point of the question....

I can show someone in 2mins how to throw a bigger/stronger person simply by standing in hanmi, with arms outstretched. Usually takes them about 5mins to actually "get it", depending on how fast they can create and maintain the necessary synaptic and proprioceptive pathways. Sure it might take them a few months or years (depending on how much and how often they practice) before they can do it at will and on-demand, but at least they get the gist of it up front - not after years of hit-and-miss self-discovery.

So if you believe that Aikido™ already has this AikiPower™, and that this IMA/Aiki...do is no big deal, why not share what you think "it" is... for everyone's edification?

I just got back from teaching a class with emphasis on Kokyu and so after reading your most excellent post I have deduced that....

Gosh IT I have done my best to explain it and I guess I just don't know what I am talking about.... :)

As such there is nothing further to explain "it" and it seems like it might be time for you to look elswhere for the answers you seek from me...

I leave you with a story which illustrates my feeble attempt to convey the awesome internal power of Aikido to you via the World Wide Web. :)

"The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patriach Huineng, "I have studied the Mahaparinirvana sutra for many years, yet there are many areas I do not quite understand. Please enlighten me."
The patriach responded, "I am illiterate. Please read out the characters to me and perhaps I will be able to explain the meaning."
Said the nun, "You cannot even recognize the characters. How are you able then to understand the meaning?"
"Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon's location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger..."

Namaste IT. :)

William Hazen

eyrie
06-25-2008, 04:58 AM
I just got back from teaching a class with emphasis on Kokyu and so after reading your most excellent post I have deduced that....

Gosh IT I have done my best to explain it and I guess I just don't know what I am talking about.... :) I guess not... and I hope I'm not being as blunt as Rob J... BUT it does make me wonder how you can actually "teach" kokyu... if you can't even explain "it" to me here.

I leave you with a story which illustrates my feeble attempt to convey the awesome internal power of Aikido to you via the World Wide Web. :)

"The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patriach Huineng, "I have studied the Mahaparinirvana sutra for many years, yet there are many areas I do not quite understand. Please enlighten me."
The patriach responded, "I am illiterate. Please read out the characters to me and perhaps I will be able to explain the meaning."
Said the nun, "You cannot even recognize the characters. How are you able then to understand the meaning?"
"Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon's location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger..." Wow... just wow... I ask about internal strength in Aikido™ and you quote Zen... :rolleyes:

Aikibu
06-25-2008, 10:42 AM
I guess not... and I hope I'm not being as blunt as Rob J... BUT it does make me wonder how you can actually "teach" kokyu... if you can't even explain "it" to me here.

Being blunt is ok as is the right to question I am just bored with trying to explain myself in terms where you get "it" I have done my best and fallen short in your and some others eyes...

Let's review... Aikido's internal strength comes from

Misogi
Tenkan
Irimi

Ohhh and it's important to learn how to relax...LOL :D

Not good enough of an explaination for an accountant I guess... You want the technical details...I looked back to through my archives and other than doing what O'Sensei did and following the encouragement of Shoji Nishio to look outside for ways to better Aikido...I don't know how many times I can repeat myself...

Now if you want a technical explaination then perhaps you should wait until I attend a seminar with one of the fine folks here...Then maybe I can gather enough information to "proof my arguement" in writing...

Wow... just wow... I ask about internal strength in Aikido™ and you quote Zen... :rolleyes:

Wow just wow I guess you'll go to bed tonight knowing you've slayed another windmill in your quest for the truth of "it" or perhaps someday you'll come to understand the real meaning behind this parable. :D

William Hazen

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-25-2008, 02:37 PM
Assumption: I've seen and trained the commonly-taught misogi under Abe Seiseki shihan and his deshi, and pretty much the same thing physically under direction of both the of the Italian Aikikai and the British Aikido Federation. So I think I'm talking about the mainstream-taught and commonly-known misogi here. Therefore I merely ask the readers to refer to Aikiweb threads discussing misogi for a general overview.

Any comments most welcome.



Hi Gernot,

Hmmmm, I guess a good place to start here is by asking a few simple questions to level the playing field.
Given the three sources you mention, would you say that the methodologies were basically the same?
Given the same three methods, are the "stated" goals for the practice basically the same?
In your opinion, or from what you have been told (please specify) what are the phase one goals of Misogi-no-Gyo
If you care to speculate, or speak from your own experience, (seperate from the first few phase changes) what is/are the long time goal/goals of Misogi-no-Gyo?



Statements:

I think that they are too indirect and can only deliver real results once the first stage has been passed.

what is the first stage to which you are referring?

I do not think---at this stage---that misogi were or are the first stage of penetrating to the heart of aikido.

I can't really speak to the totality of your point until I am clear about what "at this stage" means. However, I would like to be clear about what I mean when I say "understanding the art of the founder." For the sake of simplification (and this is very over-simplified) the art of the founder has two basic components - one that is physical and another that is non-physical. I am not going to get specific at all as to what I mean by non-physical, but I will say that it is not "spiritual" in nature as Westerner's minds might understand it. I am not saying that Aikido is not spiritual, or doesn't have a spiritual component, just that spirituality is not part of the basic elements I am describing here. Let's face it, anything can be spiritual, and at some level, everything is. As in any math problem, if all parts have one element in common, that element can be divided out from the equation. So, spirituality, for all that it is worth will not be part of this explanation.

My sense is that every person who steps into a dojo starts off with the physical aspect of the art. This is how it should be. From a physical perspective we have techniques (waza) and various sorts of movement (sabaki - te, tai, ashi, koshi... etc.) These are the outer forms, or empty forms of Aikido. Misogi, too, has an outer form - all of the specific practices (gyo) from which it is comprised. The gyo are, in an of themselves empty. They are often seen as spiritual, or even worse, religious in nature. Religion is also an outer form, in and of itself empty, but that is another thread in another forum so I will not address that here. I do not believe that practicing misogi as a spiritual or religious form is either needed, desired or will assist someone to understand the art of the founder. I say this because the founder said it, and also because in the manner in which it was taught it was entirely devoid of those elements. However, I think we can safely say that a person can practice techniques for decades and be as far off from discovering even the deeper physical aspects of Kokyu, moving with Kokyu, and throwing with Kokyu, but again these things are all (mostly) physical in nature. They are not what lies at the heart of Aikido because, just as the sign says, "There are no techniques at the heart of Aikido." This is where misogi-no-gyo comes in. However, I believe it important to say that I don't think misogi is, or should be used as a substitute for training, rather it is a supplement to the training, and in this manner should be approached at the very beginning of one's path in order to both augment and deepen it in a way that would not be otherwise possible.

I think this has become clear from past posts that some people have developed very rapidly using misogi practice once they had broken through a certain barrier. I think that barrier is a purely physical one (regardless of what mental development might also be associated with the practice of aikido and misogi).

Again, I am not sure what "barrier" it is to which you refer, but I am wondering if there is an assumption that someone must run into the wall over and over before they realize that there is and that they should use the door... There is no reason someone must struggle to find peace, nor must they suffer to find enlightenment. There is a Sanskrit word "Anupaya" which literally means, "no means" and can be interpreted to mean, "spontaneous self realization without effort" This is Takemusu Aiki achieved through the process of Masakatsu-Agatsu-Katsuhayahi. Interestingly, katsuhayahi may also be interpreted as "spontaneous self realization without effort." perhaps you are saying that one needs a fair level of understanding, say 5 years of training in the physical elements along with a similar depth of experience in the transformative aspects of misogi in order to properly integrate the two over some period of time. If that is what you meant, then I would tend to agree. I would be curious to hear Kinoshita Sensei's opinion on that, so much so that I will ask him when I next have the honor and opportunity.

I further think that stage one is more in the stance and posture used in training---for example, Abe shihan had us stand with arms and legs straightened---and more direct, but not direct enough. In particular, I think the vertical axis should be emphasized more, so that greater benefits can accrue to be used in the standard posture, and later in the practice of the misogi exercises where the hands are held horizontally or lower. Otherwise, I doubt that proper development of the connections of the arms to the back via the shoulders will take place in ordinary students who are forced to work in poor postural circumstances for many hours a day and have perhaps one or two hours a day maximum to devote to martial arts practice. Perhaps, on the other hand, it was sufficient in the past, and perhaps even now sufficient for those who do professionally spend many hours each day practicing and/or teaching the art.

Hmmm, here I could say a lot, but I feel I might lose anyone, okay everyone else who may still be reading along. My investigation of the outer form of both Aikido waza and misogi waza lasted about 10 years. It was at that point that both Abe Sensei and Kinoshita Sensei individually began breaking my form after not having made one point about it verbally. I guess about two years later into my training I realized why - THERE IS NO FORM! However, and this must be said, you can't start out that way, without form I mean. Then again, there is all this effort to try and raise the "vertical axis" (no pun intended) and its relation to a ground path to be the pinnacle of internal focus. While I am sure that these are very important elements, they are basic elements at best. I believe that ground path becomes (mostly) irrelevant at some point. I say this because of some of the things I have been able to experience first hand, things I won't go into here. I definitely agree that these things take years to develop and decades to master.

Additionally, I speculate that such direct teaching was expected to have been manifested in the student before their joining in aikido practice, since originally students needed to have gained experience, which implies certain body development, in other arts. If the bodily basis is the same at a low level, then they will thus have the necessary foundation and can use the misogi and breathing exercises, perhaps something special in aikido, to advance to a much higher level.

I would say yes, but... Yes, in that any prior training will be helpful to a point, but could just as easily get in the way of advancing to the next level, forget about a much higher level. In my case, I truly thought Aikido was supposed to hurt, so much so I concentrated strictly on how to make each and every movement as painful as possible on Uke. As you might imagine, I was not really appreciated at that time. My senpai adjusted my sense of things, but I really couldn't see their point. I mean I understood that they didn't want me hurting them, or worse, beginners, but I didn't, couldn't, wouldn't see that Aikido is not wrist twisting and body throwing. Had I not sought out Misogi I do not think I would have changed my focus, and probably would have hurt a lot more of my training partners. There are many people on this very board who think they have come a long way on their aikido/martial path. However, it is quite obvious from an outsiders perspective that they can't see that they haven't moved forward at all from a beginner's level understanding of either. Oops! Did I just say that out loud? Its okay, I'm not talking about anyone who actually read this far in my post. No, really, I'm not...

.

Yamazaru
06-25-2008, 02:38 PM
1. I do not think---at this stage---that misogi were or are the first stage of penetrating to the heart of aikido. I think that they are too indirect and can only deliver real results once the first stage has been passed. I think this has become clear from past posts that some people have developed very rapidly using misogi practice once they had broken through a certain barrier. I think that barrier is a purely physical one (regardless of what mental development might also be associated with the practice of aikido and misogi).


Gernot, I really agree with this. Years ago I was shown the usual misogi set including some cutting motions ("otakebi"? IIRC) and tried to train it diligently...but I realize now, from discovering some of the body paths etc via Aunkai and Roppokai training, that I had only the vaguest idea of what the misogi were supposed to be burning in....so it was of very little benefit to me at the time despite doing thousands of reps. Approaching the same movements now, even with my limited understanding makes them seem much richer in terms of internal training.



Shark tournament this weekend. Wish me luck !

Howard

Howard, please just resist the tempation to haul anything large up into the boat without SHOOTING it first, like the famous Mako incident..I don't know if aiki-age would work well enough to save you against "Jaws":D ...Good luck!!

ChrisMoses
06-25-2008, 02:54 PM
There are many people on this very board who think they have come a long way on their aikido/martial path. However, it is quite obvious from an outsiders perspective that they can't see that they haven't moved forward at all from a beginner's level understanding of either. Oops! Did I just say that out loud? Its okay, I'm not talking about anyone who actually read this far in my post. No, really, I'm not...

.

Maybe we just need to eat more brown rice? :D

Ron Tisdale
06-25-2008, 03:01 PM
;)

Hi Shaun,

Oh yes you are! And you are right...

Best,
Ron

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-25-2008, 03:16 PM
;)

Hi Shaun,

Oh yes you are! And you are right...

Best,
Ron

Well, I don't know... I am still trying to figure out how I got lured back out into the open after hiding myself away for the past two years.

On another note, I actually stumbled across Popkin Sensei's seminar this past Friday evening. (Hi Howard) I was only able to observe, so I really could not comment with any certainty as to the relevance to these discussions. However, what I will say is that it reminded me of the first class on the first day when I met Abe Sensei. My journal entry that night read, "Ah Ha! Magic does exist." I would imagine that these were merely basic DR-Aiki concepts filtered trough an aikido paradigm (so as to be easily absorbed by the uninitiated Aikidoka) rather than the mid or higher level DR techniques I would like to see and experience. Alas, I was a bit misty-eyed for those guys knowing what it was like to have my eyes snapped wide open for the first time. While it may certainly be humbling, especially given the number of years some of the participants have been on the mat, there is no time like the present to open oneself to enlightenment.

.

Howard Popkin
06-25-2008, 05:41 PM
Mr. Ravens,

I'm very sorry you didn't jump right in with us. In my opinion, the more the merrier.

You are correct, many people on the mat that night had more then 35 years of aikido experience.....and yes.. those were intoductory training tools.

Thanks for the nice words.

I will send you a PM.

Howard

Mike Sigman
06-25-2008, 06:16 PM
Hmmmm, I guess a good place to start here is by asking a few simple questions to level the playing field.
Given the three sources you mention, would you say that the methodologies were basically the same?
Given the same three methods, are the "stated" goals for the practice basically the same?
In your opinion, or from what you have been told (please specify) what are the phase one goals of Misogi-no-Gyo
If you care to speculate, or speak from your own experience, (seperate from the first few phase changes) what is/are the long time goal/goals of Misogi-no-Gyo?
[snipsky] You know, there are different approaches to how these things are done, but the core principles are the same and can be explained rationally. There are different mysticisms that have been mixed in as veneers to complement different religions (like Buddhism, Shintoism, etc.), but the core principles are the same and can be explained rationally. There are different visualizations used by different people/styles, but the core principles are (and must be) the same... and they can be explained rationally. The idea that Misogi-no-gyo or any form of misogi is somehow working on different core principles is simply a wrong idea and somewhat of an alarm-flag raiser to boot.

Think back to the interview of Tohei in Aikido Journal (I think it's the first of a 3-part interview) where he describes O-Sensei's idea of why the hungover Tohei shouldn't be able to do the "unliftable" demonstration. Regardless of O-Sensei's religious mysticism, Tohei could still do the "unliftable" demonstration by "dropping his center".... because the core principle is the same.

Now someone may want to keep some exotic or esoteric explanation because it's colorful, but if they can really do these things, the baseline discussions by a number of people should be easily understood, even if those descriptions are a little bit different from what one is used to.... because "dropping your center" or "using the groundpath" are pretty obvious contextually, if you really know the subject. The people who argue "their way" seem to be the people for whom the common conversation doesn't ring obvious bells, in my experience. "Misogi" is fine... but why not also show that you physically know how to do these things, if you really know how? It would create so much harmony. :p

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Aikibu
06-25-2008, 09:49 PM
If I may, it is on topic because it directly relates to points 3 & 4 on Dan's question list:
3. How do you see it impacting the art.
4. What happens next in your training or school?

At the outset, let me just say that I don't fundamentally disagree with anything William has said. So the issue, for me, is not whether Aiki..do is in Aikido™ or not. The issue and how it relates to points 3 & 4 is highlighted by Mike's post here (http://aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=209662&postcount=167)

As much as I enjoy the odd Zen parable, and can grasp the intent of fingers pointing at astral bodies, I think the vagaries and nebulous descriptions do little to help further bringing Aiki..do (back?) to the forefront of Aikido™ training - which I believe is what Dan rhetorical finger is fundamentally pointing at. Not everyone has the requisite Martial IQ threshold™ (no slight intended on Rob L or his teacher) to comprehend obtuse Zen whacking sticks... which I think has its place... but it's like a good joke - the punch-line delivery and timing is important, and unless it connects with your audience, it means nothing. If you're lucky, they might get the joke 5mins later, but it would have lost its initial impact.

So, despite the convoluted manner in which William has played a very sporting and unwitting part in my argument, I submit to you that knowing what "it" is, what it "feels" like is one thing. Being able to do it is quite another, but the crux of points 3 & 4 is being able to then transmit it to others so that it is replicable (on whatever level).

To which I point you to Mike's post #167. ;)

Vagauries and nebulous descriptions??? Unwitting??? LOL

What's not to understand????

Again

Misogi
Tenkan
Irimi

Are any of the "descriptions" of Aikido's Internal connections beyond your intellectual grasp??? According to most including you nope. So then where am I lacking??? A simple anatomical explaination of Misogi??? Tenkan???Irimi???? Does anyone here not know how to practice these correctly???

The problem with your line of questioning I would humbly submit is the assumption of a pre-determined outcome. Namely that because I cannot describe it I cannot have grasped it...because heck everyone else "in the know" can describe it and in simple terms too!!! So why can't you? LOL I don't know how many times I can say I have difficulty describing "it" but because I do I yawn through cheap shots via innuendo. I offer myself up to learn the concepts Honor folks for what they know and yet the boorishness continues...I will continue acting in the spirit of Aikido by humbly accepting some posters points of view that I am ignorant and silly...

Again

Misogi
Tenkan
Irimi

The man I learned this from and most of his senior students did not speak a lick of English... After almost 20 years of practice I barely know the Japanese names for Aikido Techniques and still can't fold the perfect Hakama...However it's been shared with me that I am not that bad when it comes to Aikido...:) and all I can say is words had very little to do with that...Hence my gift of the parable IT...When I first heard it It was to make this exact point... Though I did not know it at the time. I had to discover and experiance it for myself.

After years and years of Misogi & Zazen...I still don't understand what the hell I am chanting...I just follow direction and chant....That my friends can still open up the universe...

I may be in Kindergarten when it comes to this stuff but at least I still love to go to school

Anyone with any ability to teach "it" is more than welcome to show "it" to an eager audiance at our Dojo and we will humbly share what little we know.

In answer to Dan's set of questions... He and I are exactly alike in spirit and our spirits were embodied in Shoji Nishio Shihan. I am always seeking to discover more about "it" and to embrace "it" enough that I may share "it" with others. That is what Sensei wanted and he had O'Sensei's blessing to do so... I want help in anyway I can to contribute to the growth of Aikido... To nuture it's roots in Aiki to share it's spirit of love and harmony with others and there are dozens of Dans out there along with Abes.. Gleasons... Nadeaus... Tanakas...Yoshidas...Fowlers... ect ect ect All looking to grow Aikido and pass it on From the deepest root of Aiki to the highest branch of Harmony

So where are "we" at??? Standing right here rooted solidly to the ground... ready to learn and humbly share our oh so brief experiance with those who come after us. :) The Bodhisattva Way

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
06-25-2008, 10:22 PM
Anyone with any ability to teach "it" is more than welcome to show "it" to an eager audiance at our Dojo and we will humbly share what little we know.But isn't this a simple deflection, William, once again? Let me emphasize the once again part because there are a few posters who talk ambiguously, but with insistence, that they share the same views, etc. Logically it would seem that if the same "ki" is being talked about, that means the poster must be able to understand the conversation from the original poster. Hmmmm. What I don't get is the "we're doing the same stuff and I understand 'it' as you describe it, but I can't describe it". A conundrum indeed.

But what bothers me most is the idea (which you've floated before) that the topic cannot be engaged except in some sort of personal trial at your dojo. This is similar to a current poster who wants to see videotapes of everyone in combat, talk about his income and college degrees, etc. I.e., "what has this got to do with the topic at hand?". This is not the "Tao that can be named is not the Tao"... this is the baby steps to the Tao (it really is, BTW) and it can certainly be discussed functionally. If you want to see some drawings from Chinese and Japanese showing diagrams very similar to the ones I've used on this forum, let me know. The idea that a person who knows can't articulate the basics does not stand up except within a group who simply doesn't know the basics.

I gotta say that I'm a little disappointed with some of the levels of debate that I've encountered by too many "spiritual" people, in my life. And trust me, I don't have that attitude simply because I've never broken heads.

Regards.

Mike Sigman

eyrie
06-25-2008, 10:47 PM
Are any of the "descriptions" of Aikido's Internal connections beyond your intellectual grasp??? According to most including you nope. So then where am I lacking??? A simple anatomical explaination of Misogi??? Tenkan???Irimi???? Does anyone here not know how to practice these correctly???

The problem with your line of questioning I would humbly submit is the assumption of a pre-determined outcome. Namely that because I cannot describe it I cannot have grasped it...because heck everyone else "in the know" can describe it and in simple terms too!!! So why can't you? LOL I don't know how many times I can say I have difficulty describing "it" but because I do I yawn through cheap shots via innuendo. No William, it's not the finger of misogi, irimi, tenkan... ;) And BTW, I did not in any way imply, nor did I mean to imply, that because you can't explain it, doesn't mean you don't understand it or can't do it. If that's how you perceived it, then it's my fault for not communicating it well enough.

SO... what I AM saying is that repeating the same old tired mantra seems to be falling on deaf ears... find another way to get thru to the other person...

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-25-2008, 11:28 PM
Caution - HELL is freezing over... I am about to publicly agree with Mike Sigman - over and over and over! Well, mostly agree, anyway.

I gotta say that I'm a little disappointed with some of the levels of debate that I've encountered by too many "spiritual" people, in my life. And trust me, I don't have that attitude simply because I've never broken heads.

I would agree Mike. I am totally disappointed with some of the levels of debate, too - mostly yours, along with some others. Of course, this is because I actually believe that you have something important to say, have something important to teach and something important to do, but it mostly gets shrouded by your overt inconsideration of almost everyone, okay, everyone that doesn't completely agree with you. I don't know, nor would I be qualified to measure the level of spirituality in your life, and while you may never have broken any heads, you certainly get some kind of joy out of publicly breaking people's balls.

You know, there are different approaches to how these things are done, but the core principles are the same and can be explained rationally.

Again, I agree with you completely there.

There are different mysticisms that have been mixed in as veneers to complement different religions (like Buddhism, Shintoism, etc.), but the core principles are the same and can be explained rationally. There are different visualizations used by different people/styles, but the core principles are (and must be) the same... and they can be explained rationally.

Wow, Mike - Three for three. You are on a roll.

The idea that Misogi-no-gyo or any form of misogi is somehow working on different core principles is simply a wrong idea and somewhat of an alarm-flag raiser to boot.

I have always said the exact same thing. When I hear mystical approaches to things, it is a clear indicator that the person most likely either doesn't want me to know he knows, or he doesn't know at all, himself. Fortunately for me, my teachers and personal influences never bandied about with anything even remotely mystical or overtly spiritual when it came to teaching, demonstrating, lecturing or instructing.

Think back to the interview of Tohei in Aikido Journal (I think it's the first of a 3-part interview) where he describes O-Sensei's idea of why the hungover Tohei shouldn't be able to do the "unliftable" demonstration. Regardless of O-Sensei's religious mysticism, Tohei could still do the "unliftable" demonstration by "dropping his center".... because the core principle is the same.

Well, I agree, but I wouldn't bandy about opinions about Tohei Sensei, as I have no personal relationship with him or his group at all. However, I do have some information about several of his teachers that isn't public knowledge. Maybe someday when you have another epiphany and realize that you may not have been "spot on" with your current understanding you will be open to seeing the bigger picture as you find these things out for yourself.

Now someone may want to keep some exotic or esoteric explanation because it's colorful, but if they can really do these things, the baseline discussions by a number of people should be easily understood, even if those descriptions are a little bit different from what one is used to.... because "dropping your center" or "using the groundpath" are pretty obvious contextually,

Esoteric - understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest. I couldn't really tell from the tone of your rant, but did you just say that there are no esoteric teachings, or just that all esoteric teachings must be colorful or clouded in mysticism?

if you really know the subject. The people who argue "their way" seem to be the people for whom the common conversation doesn't ring obvious bells, in my experience. "Misogi" is fine... but why not also show that you physically know how to do these things, if you really know how? It would create so much harmony. :p

Mike, I am not sure why you felt the need to completely misrepresent what I said, both here in this thread and everywhere else. I don't understand, nor do I wish to for that matter, why you felt it necessary to quote my questions and then not answer them, either, but you certainly are a master of making your own rules and then challenging everyone else who doesn't agree with them or follow them. For the record, I addressed specific questions to Gernot, someone who spent a few years training at Abe Sensei's dojo. He has also moved on, and unless I am mistaken he is now in Tokyo and training with some of the Anukai. He made assertions about which I desired to get some clarification. I could have just written him a PM and spared myself another attempted penetration by your dull wit woefully powered by your repetitive, unproven, sometimes way off the mark assumptions, but that would have beguiled the point that you, yourself, amongst others have made, that we should not hide the truth in the shadows but rather come together and build a consensus for the benefit of the coming generations. My questions, unlike most of your points, were not rhetorical, sarcastic, condescending or off the point. They are actually very important points that:
Most people who train in Aikido don't know they don't know.
Most people who practice Misogi don't know they don't know.
Both you and I would agree with on many levels
Directly explain in layman's terms how to seek the founder's art.


As for creating harmony - GET REAL, dude! While you may have great internal skills, your external skill set is still in its infancy. In any case, FWIW the spell checker thingy is right next to the submit button. Be well.

.

Aikibu
06-25-2008, 11:29 PM
But isn't this a simple deflection, William, once again? Let me emphasize the once again part because there are a few posters who talk ambiguously, but with insistence, that they share the same views, etc. Logically it would seem that if the same "ki" is being talked about, that means the poster must be able to understand the conversation from the original poster. Hmmmm. What I don't get is the "we're doing the same stuff and I understand 'it' as you describe it, but I can't describe it". A conundrum indeed.

It's not a conundrum for me... I am attempting to make a connection with (folks like) you in my own (clumsey way) and you are simply refusing it. Pretty simple really.

But what bothers me most is the idea (which you've floated before) that the topic cannot be engaged except in some sort of personal trial at your dojo.
This is similar to a current poster who wants to see videotapes of everyone in combat, talk about his income and college degrees, etc. I.e., "what has this got to do with the topic at hand?". This is not the "Tao that can be named is not the Tao"... this is the baby steps to the Tao (it really is, BTW) and it can certainly be discussed functionally. If you want to see some drawings from Chinese and Japanese showing diagrams very similar to the ones I've used on this forum, let me know. The idea that a person who knows can't articulate the basics does not stand up except within a group who simply doesn't know the basics.

Sorry Mike but again you're looking at what I am saying through a very screwed up set of filters. You seem to be looking for and creating conflict with me by associating me with someone else who has a dispute with you...I have done nothing but honor you and what you know and I am eager to learn from it. I respect everything you have to say on the subject too.

Please with all due respect Sifu Sigman

Drop the Rock...

I gotta say that I'm a little disappointed with some of the levels of debate that I've encountered by too many "spiritual" people, in my life. And trust me, I don't have that attitude simply because I've never broken heads.

Regards.

Mike Sigman

Sorry you feel that way about some spiritual people Mike...They don't sound so spiritual to me...How I fit inside that bias does not interest me either. Thats your deal... Again one more time... I respect and honor your experiance and what you have to offer and I hope to learn from it. The invitation to my Dojo was not in any way shape or form a challenge but simply asking permission for you to share what you know with a group of willing and eager students. If you still don't trust what I am saying then I humbly refer you to a prior post by me here where I link to a Sister Dojo in Berlin Germany where they are also studying IMA for the purpose of making thier expression of Shoji Nishio's Aikido better.

Anyone else who shows up to teach us will get the very same respect and friendly atmosphere in the spirit of love and harmony. We only ask that you leave your ego at the door in the same bag we leave ours in before we bow and enter. :)

Sincerely,

William Hazen

Gernot Hassenpflug
06-25-2008, 11:36 PM
/../ a good place to start /../ is by asking a few simple questions /../.
Given the three sources you mention, would you say that the methodologies were basically the same?
Given the same three methods, are the "stated" goals for the practice basically the same?
In your opinion, or from what you have been told (please specify) what are the phase one goals of Misogi-no-Gyo
If you care to speculate, or speak from your own experience, (seperate from the first few phase changes) what is/are the long time goal/goals of Misogi-no-Gyo?


Hello Shaun, I think you read part of my post wrong (see Rob McPherson's reply below yours), I'll mention where below. So to your list:

1. Yes, the same. Since you're spent upward of 10 years with Abe shihan and I only three, you can judge for yourself if and how the teaching changed over time. All I know is that on the one hand Abe sensei's closer deshi say that he teaches far more, and more explicitly, than say 10 years ago; and on the other hand, the misogi training for students has effectively been stopped even at gasshuku owing to various political correctness and social problems (first the ladies', and finally even the men's). Maybe I could say that the dojo-cho's instructions on o-takebi/o-korobi and torifune's three variants was more detailed than at some of the other places, but it was not any more so than the training in general: emphasis on the center, stopped breath, sounds, etc.

2. Stated goals: well, this has been unclear to me from whichever source. Not only to me, but to others in the dojo too, except in extremely general terms which again do not provide concrete and specific useful tools to work with. Concentration on and lowering of center, relaxation of shoulders and so on. This is partly what I mean about not being stage one.

3. Oops, this is where I think you misread my post. I wrote that I think misogi *is* not stage one, rather than what its goals might be. I have now a particular view of what the goals of misogi are and how the practice achieves them, but I do not think that they qualify as stage one or entry-level methods of training.

4. I am not qualified on this point since I do not have detailed instruction over a long period of time, and I believe I am currently training stage one with other more direct methods which are akin to the direct method which I believe Abe shihan was implicitly teaching
by having us always stand in the straight arms and straight legs posture for the entire class. I will therefore only say as pure speculation on the *physical* aspect (leaving aside owing to inexperience that I think physical and spiritual cannot be divided) that misogi-no-gyo will have in the long term extremely strong effects on the connective tissues of the body, including the skin, making the body extremely strong and pliable with very good connection and inter-control of all parts. I think your body shows very good evidence of that, as does Abe shihan's, although I am afraid I cannot say the same for the vast majority of his students except insofar as they are still young.


what is the first stage to which you are referring?


I think you mistook my mention of first stage as referring to an initial effect of misogi training? But what I meant was, as Rob McPherson states, that the first stage is something related to the structure and mechanism of the more obvious solid elements of the body: the skeleton and the muscles working around and through the various joints, independent from breathing. The basic stance that Abe shihan teaches us to stand in---arms straight at the elbows and knees (he is adamant that they must not be bent, and almost every time he corrected someone trying to do a technique to him it was to straighten the elbow; the other main correction was to made sure the stance was even and stable against push or pull). Without the upward stretching of the body and the straightening of elbows, there is no chance that the back muscles will begin to do the actual work of moving the arms, forearms, wrists and fingers, instead of local muscles. And similarly the connection from the back muscles down to the ground. This I believe is stage one, and depending on how well people realize this and manage to change their own bodies to work in such a fashion, determines how much they can use at the next stage misogi to improve their mechanism and conditioning.

The above is my opinion, I am not claiming that it is correct, nor the only way forward.

/../

My sense is that every person who steps into a dojo starts off with the physical aspect of the art. This is how it should be. From a physical perspective we have techniques (waza) and various sorts of movement (sabaki - te, tai, ashi, koshi... etc.) These are the outer forms, or empty forms of Aikido.

I can agree completely with the above.

Misogi, too, has an outer form - all of the specific practices (gyo) from which it is comprised. The gyo are, in an of themselves empty. They are often seen as spiritual, or even worse, religious in nature. /../

I think I can see what you mean with empty form, but I personally do not agree with that view. I prefer to think that the physical action must have a physical benefit if the person practicing it knows what it should be---and I do not mean repetition training, I mean reforming the body as stage one described above.

However, I think we can safely say that a person can practice techniques for decades and be as far off from discovering even the deeper physical aspects of Kokyu, moving with Kokyu, and throwing with Kokyu, but again these things are all (mostly) physical in nature.

This is a bit unclear to me, probably owing to the medium, since what you said to me when we were training together was never unclear nor difficult to understand when felt! I prefer to think, at this point, that kokyu is physical, related to changes in the body and the use of such new body structure, with or without breath: remember that Abe shihan used to say while demonstrating (and letting us feel his stomach and groin(!) musculature) that he can do the same things with a full breath, while breathing in, while breathing out, or with no more breath left in his lungs just with the trained musculature. The breath can add power he said, but it is not the essential part.

They are not what lies at the heart of Aikido because, just as the sign says, "There are no techniques at the heart of Aikido." This is where misogi-no-gyo comes in. However, I believe it important to say that I don't think misogi is, or should be used as a substitute for training, rather it is a supplement to the training, and in this manner should be approached at the very beginning of one's path in order to both augment and deepen it in a way that would not be otherwise possible.

I can agree with what you say here, even that misogi should be done from the start (in aikido). It is so far removed from stage one that even if done "wrong" there are more advantages than disadvantages---I think owing to the softness of the approach. I think the problem for me is that there is a disconnect between the supplementary training in misogi and the basic training that is needed to get real benefit from the technique-based training in aikido. You see, when training with Abe-shihan, the emphasis was not the technique, it was the stance, and that I believe is the stage one method which in my opinion can be made much more explicit and direct. Then, as you say, supplementary training with misogi can give more benefits to those that practice it.

Again, I am not sure what "barrier" it is to which you refer, but I am wondering if there is an assumption that someone must run into the wall over and over before they realize that there is and that they should use the door... /../ perhaps you are saying that one needs a fair level of understanding, say 5 years of training in the physical elements along with a similar depth of experience in the transformative aspects of misogi in order to properly integrate the two over some period of time. If that is what you meant, then I would tend to agree. I would be curious to hear Kinoshita Sensei's opinion on that, so much so that I will ask him when I next have the honor and opportunity.

Yes, something like what you write in the second part of the above. I meant a literal physical barrier, a barrier comprised of body structure which needs to be transformed. I know it will eventually happen using Abe shihan's postural training method, but it is very very slow compared to more direct methods of doing the same thing (which, admittedly, again qualify as supplemental I suppose). That means that progress is not only measured in terms of practice time, but in terms of how damaged an individual's structure was when they started. I would not hesitate to judge that someone with a more damaged body in the structural sense needs to train to break through that damage (correct the structure) and this might not even be possible without knowing more painful/direct methods. I might go so far as to speculate that that is why individuals went outside aikido to look for better methods, because some standard method with very little variation cannot help the variety of needs of its practitioners. It would be interesting to hear opinions from you about this in the future. I am afraid I was blown off too many times when asking direct questions that it would probably not be a good idea to try again.

/../ My investigation of the outer form of both Aikido waza and misogi waza lasted about 10 years. It was at that point that both Abe Sensei and Kinoshita Sensei individually began breaking my form after not having made one point about it verbally. I guess about two years later into my training I realized why - THERE IS NO FORM! However, and this must be said, you can't start out that way, without form I mean. Then again, there is all this effort to try and raise the "vertical axis" (no pun intended) and its relation to a ground path to be the pinnacle of internal focus. While I am sure that these are very important elements, they are basic elements at best. I believe that ground path becomes (mostly) irrelevant at some point. I say this because of some of the things I have been able to experience first hand, things I won't go into here. I definitely agree that these things take years to develop and decades to master.

I appreciate your perspective here, and I agree that the points I raised are very very basic. I believe though that so many people miss then (for example the vaster part of the students in Abe shihan's dojo), and also most have no way of getting past stage one owing to the indirectness of the methods. For example, the most common side-effect of the specific stance used was stiffness. Now, with a lot of individual instruction on the mat (which was not propagated to other students) some long-time students "got" that connection through the arms to the back and the ground and could "lift" their partner with straight arms. However, this was against partners who did not "get" it yet, and I believe the overall level is very low even if in my opinion the achievement of that first stage is the most important (in the sense that if you don't get there you aren't going to go anywhere else either with more advanced training tools).

/../Had I not sought out Misogi I do not think I would have changed my focus, and probably would have hurt a lot more of my training partners. There are many people on this very board who think they have come a long way on their aikido/martial path. /../

I have no doubt that misogi has been of great use to you personally, and it will continue to benefit many people. That is after all why it is somewhat of a stnadard. However, the problem I think is exactly that because it was a perfect method for one person after trying and amalgamating tons of other things, it may not be so good for others who have to mash together their own regimes once they understand what they are trying to achieve. Abe shihan too trains differently from his teacher. He also does other things than misogi, which he does not talk about publicly because publicly he wants to preserve the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba. I agree that it is better to try to preserve one true path than to change it and teach one's own thing if one is trying to propagate a baseline (regardless of what one chooses that baseline to be, the founder's one is possibly the best choice in a martial art style model).

I hope this long-winded post does not elicit an equally long response :D

Best regards,
Gernot

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-26-2008, 12:24 AM
I hope this long-winded post does not elicit an equally long response :D

Best regards,
Gernot

Hi Gernot,

Well, I planned this one to be very short. Only because a full reply would take me half a day to compose. In any case, while the value in my opinion would at some point be good for many who have not been exposed to the depth of Abe Sensei's instruction, I will only reply to the general tone of your last post.

I just want to say that I truly appreciate both the humility and honesty with which you replied.

I mean, I just about fell out of my chair when you said:
I am afraid I was blown off too many times when asking direct questions that it would probably not be a good idea to try again.

My only response would be, ...but of course - It could not have been any other way. After all, that is the culture of the dojo. No matter how you slice it, Abe Sensei is so "old school" that there weren't any schools around when he came up. We, the outer-deshi, were not bound by the same restrictions by which dojo students found themselves limited. We always wondered why people would move to Japan, join the dojo and expect to get anything of any real value when there were students, some training for twenty years or longer who were still waiting in line for their comeuppance. But, hey, to each his own. I once asked Abe Sensei about all that. His answer was quite funny on one level, and actually the single most intimate thing I have ever heard from someone outside of the person with whom I was in a relationship. Suffice it to say that when you enter the maze, there is only one path to follow, and there are many dead ends. A few of us just discovered that, like techniques, there really was no maze for us. Abe Sensei just smiled and responded metaphorically with, "See, now you get it." When the four of us finally visited at the same time a few years ago, Abe Sensei did the oddest of things. We had asked him to share an aspect of the misogi-no-gyo that he hasn't taught to anyone in about thirty years. He agreed to do so. At the end of our visit, he passed along a secret message to each of us, exactly the same one, wondering if any of us would get it. The thing is, he can and is so direct when he chooses to be. All we needed to do, all along, was just listen. I am still reeling from many of the completely candid things he said in private. On a daily basis I think to myself, Like the Sun in an Alaskan Winter, I miss him completely.

.

DH
06-26-2008, 07:06 AM
Hi guys
We seem to have once again successfully gone beyond debating the reality of "it," So, instead of debating each other can we stick to the thread and talk about how folks are training it and how they are trying to incorporate it into their aikido.
Shaun
You raise some interesting points. I think the straight arm / straight leg method is so rudimentary that I wouldn't even consider it.
a) How long would he train people to do that before he moved them forward?
b) How did he move them forward?.
c) What do you do internally when you do your misogi?
d) Is it in line with Abe sensei or different?

Just how does Abe's misogi or other methods affect his technical expression of aikido? In what manner?

To another point. I'd probably be careful of sensei comparisons. They remain a hot button of who got what and whether or not the tescher changed and when, and each students own perception of the quality of that expression.
Example: There are those that are abso-freaking-lutely convinced that Kannai was the bomb and had it all. You don't want to know my opinion. And one of his students told me it was because I never saw the "real deal" from him.' I said "er....oookay." and never talked about it again.
I had a bagua teacher try to toss me and instead he bounced himself off of me in front of his student. The student defended himself and his teacher. I have seen that same student singing the praises of that teacher all over the net about how awesome he is. How do you have a successful and meaningful discussion with the student on the internet? You can't. Students are convinced their teacher has it or they wouldn't be there would they?

So if we want to talk about teachers, why not just skip to technical discussion instead of teacher / student relationships; who got what and when and so forth, and instead lets focus the discussion on:
What 'it" was, and if it was worth the having. Otherwise I'd just as soon skip the teacher thing all together and talk about what WE are doing.
Thanks

eyrie
06-26-2008, 09:10 AM
Actually, Mike does have a point... if you can't describe the basic parameters of what "it" is, all of which has a direct bearing on HOW to train "it" and the thrust of this thread.... then any credibility of what you say next basically amounts to little more than saying "just keep doing X for Y years and you'll figure it out" OR "yeah, we already do that...".

A very simple question was asked of me when I first broached the question... can you do aikido in the weightlessness of space? The next question was... can you do kokyu in space and if so, how? If not, why?

It doesn't take a physics major or even astronautical expertise to describe this in simple lay-person's terms... and I guarantee if you can answer this simply... (K.I.S.S.) - without reference to misogi, or some such rotational esoterica, you will kick yourself at how "simple" the whole thing is and yet how complex it can be to actually do "it". [OK, you don't have to post your answer... it's like a joke... either you get it and laugh to yourself or you don't. If you don't get it, don't worry... but keep it to yourself lest your Martial IQ be exposed even further... ;) ]

Not only that, you will also see why certain people understand what others "in the know" are saying, and why it appears like some people seem to be "bashing" others over the whole thing....

And then maybe we can all get on with discussing how one trains "it"....

Mike Sigman
06-26-2008, 09:14 AM
The invitation to my Dojo was not in any way shape or form a challenge but simply asking permission for you to share what you know with a group of willing and eager students. If you still don't trust what I am saying then I humbly refer you to a prior post by me here where I link to a Sister Dojo in Berlin Germany where they are also studying IMA for the purpose of making thier expression of Shoji Nishio's Aikido better.William, I think an invitation to your dojo still evades the point. And let me not that I can think of a number of posts of yours where you've bragged on AikiWeb and Aikido Journal about how people visit your dojo and how poor they look in comparison, yada, yada, so the dojo comments you set yourself up for. Other people have noticed that same sort of smuggery in your posted comments (and commented to me about it), so I don't think you should dissemble too much about why you invite people to your dojo.

My point is that if you can drop "IMA", like you just did above in your quote, and you can talk about how it is practiced in your very dojo, there's logically nothing wrong with asking you to explain what you mean. The vague phrases "Misogi", "Tenkan", etc., are pretty obviously not to the point of the asked questions.

These things are all the same thing. The evasions and personal attacks when asked direct questions are one of the curious responses I've seen on this forum when someone doesn't really know the subject. That's why discussions on these internal topics get stymied... there's a certain group of people who want to insist that they know, teach, and are familiar with these things, but they too obviously can't factually support their discussion. Take a look at Shaun's post (a couple back from this one) and notice the immediate recourse to personal attack. That's part of the stuff that makes so many of us tired of portions of the Aikido community.

Incidentally, as a side note about how protective a lot of "sensei's" are about their status and how they'll play the "I know it, too" game even when it's become obvious that they don't really understand the topic.... this is why I tend to be selective about who gets on the QiJin list. The last thing I want to do is to provide ammunition (through what people post on QiJin) to some "sensei" who will simply turn around and use the information to draw students and notice to himself. These issues should be fairly clinical discussions without the constant resorting to esoterica, personal accomplishment, personal attack, and pseudo-spirituality. It's the game-playing that keeps the martial arts bogged down in the trenches.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
06-26-2008, 09:28 AM
Gernot and Shaun,

Thank you for letting us listen in on your conversation. It was extremely informative.

Best,
Ron

Aikibu
06-26-2008, 11:32 AM
William, I think an invitation to your dojo still evades the point. And let me not that I can think of a number of posts of yours where you've bragged on AikiWeb and Aikido Journal about how people visit your dojo and how poor they look in comparison, yada, yada, so the dojo comments you set yourself up for. Other people have noticed that same sort of smuggery in your posted comments (and commented to me about it), so I don't think you should dissemble too much about why you invite people to your dojo.

I will admit that early on I was a bit of a jerk but that was a few years ago. Some here may still be holding on to that... which is thier perogative... but I have decided to mature and move on. I challenge anyone here to present me with any story where someone has visited our Dojo and not been treated with the utmost respect and reverance or in reverse where I have visted them and not respected them...You won't find one negative experiance out there... Not One.. For you to even mention this when you personally have no experiance with me says quite a bit about you.

My point is that if you can drop "IMA", like you just did above in your quote, and you can talk about how it is practiced in your very dojo, there's logically nothing wrong with asking you to explain what you mean. The vague phrases "Misogi", "Tenkan", etc., are pretty obviously not to the point of the asked questions.

And my point is that I have explained it as best I can.. There are reams of documentation and personal experiance written here and one only need to look for themselves

These things are all the same thing. The evasions and personal attacks when asked direct questions are one of the curious responses I've seen on this forum when someone doesn't really know the subject. That's why discussions on these internal topics get stymied... there's a certain group of people who want to insist that they know, teach, and are familiar with these things, but they too obviously can't factually support their discussion. Take a look at Shaun's post (a couple back from this one) and notice the immediate recourse to personal attack. That's part of the stuff that makes so many of us tired of portions of the Aikido community.

Off course your tone and language have nothing to do with it right? We can throw throw Pathos and Ethos right out the window.:eek:
Again you lump me in with everybody else I would bet the house that if this discussion were done 'fact to face" we would reach a better understanding....

Incidentally, as a side note about how protective a lot of "sensei's" are about their status and how they'll play the "I know it, too" game even when it's become obvious that they don't really understand the topic.... this is why I tend to be selective about who gets on the QiJin list. The last thing I want to do is to provide ammunition (through what people post on QiJin) to some "sensei" who will simply turn around and use the information to draw students and notice to himself. These issues should be fairly clinical discussions without the constant resorting to esoterica, personal accomplishment, personal attack, and pseudo-spirituality. It's the game-playing that keeps the martial arts bogged down in the trenches.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

I understand your point of view...But I think you should look in the mirror... It won't be me staring back at you. I have offered to make a connection with you here... accept my ignorance... and give you the opportunity to teach and you have chosen to step on me and use me as a soapbox to complain about 'certain portions of the Aikido" community...ect ect ect....

Again...all I know is I have done my best to make a connection with you over the last few months and for the most part you have refused it...

I'll just keep on trying I guess. LOL

Namaste' (Gee do I have to technically explain Namaste too LOL)

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
06-26-2008, 12:10 PM
There are many, many valid ways of expressing the concept of an irreducible concrete reality. I don;t think any one here is contending there is any different concrete reality we are talking about -- and the resort to ad-hom assumptions about people's bonafides of understanding (vice levels of skill in performance, which are not at issue here, given Dan's framing of the topic) doesn't change that.

Some ways of approach are mythopoetic and more ritualized (Abe, for example, and Shaun follwoing himon that particular theme of O Sensei). Some adopt the mythic elements lose the ritualized components (losing a significant functional component of that scheme, IMO, and enter a slippery slope to aiki-bunnydom). I feel like your argument is a another one of those fallbacks to "there are many valid approaches" idea that is usually the first signal of trouble. There are many paths... but there are many wrong paths, too, it must be recognized. The chances of a wrong path are much greater than a correct path. There are, as I said, a few simple concepts like the ground and weight (aka "the ki of earth" and "the ki of heaven" and other perspectives about the same thing) that anyone who really knows these things will spot right away. That's been the case, in my years of experience, over and over again. I've never seen anyone who really had these skills that couldn't pick up the basics in the sort of simplified conversations we've had. So the idea that there are some westerners, raised in the world of western-technology and forces, *not* native or ancient Japanese, who are grooving on "mythopoetic" and vague directions... yet who are deriving substantive results that they just can't explain... Well, I'll leave that one to you. Some are relentlessly pragmatic (Dan) to the near exclusion of conceptualized expression. Some are able, but self-critical open ended inquirers (Rob L.). Some are knowledgeable of a body of non-western empirical systematic understanding, (Mike S.) That is so comprehensive in its own terms, it does not easily make room for alien concepts, like physics. I think we've been through this a couple of times. I don't know what Dan thinks, since I've never seen him really explain much. The simplified cross-paradigm approach I tend to use tends to try to highlight the classical Asian ki/qi-perspective, but it's matched against reasonably clear vector physics and practical explanations. Your personal opinion that the explanations should conform to pure equations, etc., I simply reject because it would be as meaningless as describing how to ride a bicycle using angular-moment, inertia, and so forth. While you continue to *demand* that descriptions suit your criteria, you must be aware by now that many people seem to be making great strides without the math and they're well-beyond you in understanding now.

But regardless of all the arguments and "here's my way", the basics are easily attainable through fairly simple discussion. If someone really knows these things, there are never any of these endless arguments. If someone doesn't know, but wants to pretend that he does, there are invariably endless arguments, personal attacks, and no real specifics.

In the case where some specifics have been offered in the past by the "I know it, too" people, a few specifics have been clear enough to allow those with some grasp of basics to understand that the basics weren't understood by the "I know it, too's".

The problem is that the conversations devolve into bickering and tangents because of a few people who publicly want to maintain their facade. Almost every time. And these are such simple and productive topics to be having, if it weren't for the games-playing. Maybe that's why it takes outsiders to Aikido to get anything done in Aikido?

YMMV

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
06-26-2008, 12:17 PM
Off course your tone and language have nothing to do with it right? We can throw throw Pathos and Ethos right out the window.:eek:
Again you lump me in with everybody else I would bet the house that if this discussion were done 'fact to face" we would reach a better understanding....

I understand your point of view...But I think you should look in the mirror... It won't be me staring back at you. I have offered to make a connection with you here... accept my ignorance... and give you the opportunity to teach and you have chosen to step on me and use me as a soapbox to complain about 'certain portions of the Aikido" community...ect ect ect....OK, so again no facts, but a lot of personality stuff. I'm well aware that a lot of people want to play some sort of ritual "us warriors in Aikido with our Hagakure etiquette" stuff and that it's offensive if someone doesn't want to play. Maybe a good discussion that merits debate; but not here and now. You've started a loop going where you have vague non-answers tied in with personal attack again. Instead of worrying about how anyone looks in the mirror, try to do the hard stuff and stick to facts, physical principles, and so on. If someone doesn't like you because you're not playing the proper role-playing games, you can still be satisfied that you're having a productive and factual discussion. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-26-2008, 03:02 PM
Gernot and Shaun,

Thank you for letting us listen in on your conversation. It was extremely informative.

Best,
Ron

Hi Ron,

Well judging by one particular poster, you would think it a bad thing. In any case, my sense is that others like yourself, can appreciate or public inquiry for what is meant to be - a public inquiry.

It may only have been every few years, or so, but I always enjoyed the time I got to spend on the mat with Gernot. His command of Japanese and his willingness to translate some of the longer conversations were always very helpful. I look forward to being able to train together and see how his time in Tokyo has enhanced his core basics.

If you are interested, you can read my response to Dan Harden's interesting line of questions.

.

Ron Tisdale
06-26-2008, 03:06 PM
Always interested, while often incapable of worthy contributions.

Best to you,
Ron

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-26-2008, 03:10 PM
Shaun You raise some interesting points. I think the straight arm / straight leg method is so rudimentary that I wouldn't even consider it.

Hi Dan,

Rudimentary is an interesting word in that it could be taken in a good way to mean basic, or elementary, or it could be taken in a bad way to mean simple or childish. I want to make it clear, I do not speak for anyone but myself. I certainly do not want someone thinking that my anecdotes regarding any particular teacher or my publicly stated thoughts on a particular teacher's methodology amount to an endorsement of me or my thoughts by that particular teacher. I teach Aikido. Period. I do not teach Misogi-no-Gyo. While I am considered a sincere seeker of O-Sensei's Misogi, I do not consider myself qualified to teach it. In my opinion only Abe Sensei is qualified to teach O-Sensei's misogi. That is why I introduce my students directly to Abe Sensei. I certainly share my thoughts on the subject. I certainly have opinions about the subject. I certainly know what I have been told I can and can not share about the subject. However those things are a matter for personal contemplation, not political or egotistical debate. I, like you, simply want people to make up their own minds based upon what they see feel and hear. That is why I have always given my students direct access to all of my current martial influences. What they choose to do with that is their own thing and not a reflection on what I have chosen to do with the same access over the years.

Having said that, with regards to the straight leg/arm model, I would say, what's wrong with starting (most everyone) with a rudimentary concept and allowing them to move forward from there at their own pace? We all have to start somewhere. Unfortunately many will for one reason or another not move forward much at all, so why show everyone something most will never end up absorbing?


a) How long would he train people to do that before he moved them forward?
b) How did he move them forward?.
c) What do you do internally when you do your misogi?
d) Is it in line with Abe sensei or different?

a) & b)
Be it far from me to criticize or even think I know enough to judge why Abe Sensei chooses to move anyone forward. For all I know he may have chosen to keep some people back. I can only speak for myself. My feeling is that, by and large, dojo members move forward at their own pace inside of the typical hierarchical system expected to be found at traditional Japanese dojo. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. I honestly believe that all things being equal it is the individual's attitude, aptitude and ability (in that order) that determine whether they find an open door through which to move forward. How far forward, and when depends upon where there is a breakdown in the sequence of those three traits. As for how Abe Sensei moves someone forward, again only speaking for myself, he showed me other things when I was ready for them.

c)
Well, Dan, now you are getting kind of personal... Should I ever come to know you directly I would have no issues telling or showing you most everything that has been shared with me. However, I could more than likely write several books on the subject. The first one might be the "What I am doing when I do X" of misogi. The second might be the "The importance of O-Sensei's misogi. The third, more of a memoir, might be my personal path via misogi. Suffice it to say that it is very similar to much of what you or Mike might be doing, in whole or part, in that it is physical, repeatable, and designed for prolonged growth, health and maintenance of the head/heart/hara (mind/spirit/body). At the physical level the gyo integrate dynamic stimulation, tension and relaxation of various body systems, breathing methods, visualizations, mantras ...etc. It also involves manipulating the blood, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels within the muscles, organs (lungs, kidneys, stomach and brain, and let's not forget the largest one, the skin) so as to create a instantly flexible, expandable, contactable, mesh or framework upon which connectivity, movement and techniques may be built. At the non-physical level the gyo integrate the power of will, intention, fortitude and direction. Where these two paths cross can be said to be where kotodama comes into play. However, kotodama-no-gyo is not something anyone here is talking about and that would be because there isn't anyone so qualified.

d)
I used to think so. Then sometimes I realize that there are subtleties which I have yet to discover. I also believe that some of the ones I have discovered for myself may be ones that Abe Sensei could not broach given our different cultures and personalities. In any case, I am only beginning to deepen my understanding of how to apply these things to my practice. I am sure mike, akuzawa or yourself could all help me move forward quite a bit in that department.

Just how does Abe's misogi or other methods affect his technical expression of aikido? In what manner?

I couldn't possibly know this. However, venturing an educated guess, I would have to say that Abe Sensei is in a unique place in that he is one of the highest ranking living masters of two completely different traditional art forms, Aikido and Shodo. I would say that he is the Micheal Jordan of Shodo and the Yoda of Aikido, combined. My sense is that given the way in which he is known for teaching the two arts at the same time, that Misogi is the place at which they overlap in terms of both the physical and non-physical elements. I know of certain situations where students who were too close to him when he was writing larger calligraphic scrolls had their breath stopped and couldn't move until he completed the brush stroke.

To another point. I'd probably be careful of sensei comparisons. They remain a hot button of who got what and whether or not the teacher changed and when, and each students own perception of the quality of that expression.
Example: There are those that are abso-freaking-lutely convinced that Kannai was the bomb and had it all. You don't want to know my opinion. And one of his students told me it was because I never saw the "real deal" from him.' I said "er....oookay." and never talked about it again.

I completely agree with you there. As I said in my last post, I know that students go to Abe Sensei's dojo hoping to feel something, learn something or steal something, but come back wondering why they missed it completely. I know of one person on this very board who showed up, didn't get what he thought he should get, and then had only bad things to say about his experience.

I had a bagua teacher try to toss me and instead he bounced himself off of me in front of his student. The student defended himself and his teacher. I have seen that same student singing the praises of that teacher all over the net about how awesome he is. How do you have a successful and meaningful discussion with the student on the internet? You can't. Students are convinced their teacher has it or they wouldn't be there would they?

I had quite a few of those, myself over the years both inside and outside of Aikido. But anyone can beat someone, or be beaten by someone else on any given day, so I am not putting too much stock in this or that instance for me, you or anyone else for that matter.

So if we want to talk about teachers, why not just skip to technical discussion instead of teacher / student relationships; who got what and when and so forth, and instead lets focus the discussion on:
What 'it" was, and if it was worth the having. Otherwise I'd just as soon skip the teacher thing all together and talk about what WE are doing.
Thanks

Well, Dan, perhaps this is where we differ, but only time will tell. As for the importance or value in discussing teacher/student relationships, I am surprised that you, or Mike weren't one of the first to say, "Don't wait, go directly to those who know." Let's face it, for most students that isn't the teacher they have now. As for technical discussions with regards to different teachers, I believe we need to level the playing field. Mike likes to talk about Tohei, Shioda, O-Sensei and the like with quite a bit of authority. Interestingly, he never met any of them. But according to the rules of Mike, he didn't really need to. While I would agree with him on some basic level, I disagree with him completely about most of the conclusions he has unfortunately jumped to. Not the baseline ones about similarities. Heck, anyone who knows already understands where these things meet. However, there just seems to be some issue with acknowledging the importance to where styles, teachers and paths differ. As an example, what if you felt the same way about Tohei Sensei as you do about Kanai Sensei? And then up comes Mike spouting his many half-baked conclusions based upon someone that you have a very low opinion of? Or the opposite, what if Mike came up and started telling you all about your teacher and how he really meant this when he said that, and he was really showing that when he did this, but he never actually talked to your teacher, or studied with him or any of his close students? Which might be worse, the disservice Mike might be causing with his continuously tapping keyboard, or the disservice you might be causing if you didn't properly respond with what you know to be true from firsthand experience? I mean we all are trying to bring about a consensus here, I know. However, I am wondering how do we do that when the minds of the most outspoken people in the discussion are obviously closed? Tell me. Please.

.

Mike Sigman
06-26-2008, 03:42 PM
In my opinion only Abe Sensei is qualified to teach O-Sensei's misogi. Are you saying that Abe Sensei learned his Misogi-no-gyo from O-Sensei? Mike likes to talk about Tohei, Shioda, O-Sensei and the like with quite a bit of authority. Interestingly, he never met any of them. Excuse me... can you give me a cite for this "quite a bit of authority"? No, wait, there's a couple of people who like to characterize things I've said and then who go quiet when asked for a cite. So let's not re-hash the proven. But when you make an assertion like that, Shaun, you shouldn't get excited when called out. But according to the rules of Mike, he didn't really need to. While I would agree with him on some basic level, I disagree with him completely about most of the conclusions he has unfortunately jumped to. .Well, great, Shaun. Why don't you state what you have a problem with and support it with a logical rebuttal, etc., instead of vague character attacks? Give us and example of a statement I made, then tell us what you think is wrong with it and why. This is a logical step, believe it or not, in a lot of debate in the civilized world.

Reading your comments on Misogi-no-gyo, you've dropped some of the completely wrong comments about breath and breathing from a couple of years ago, but the rest of your assertions seem to be the old "I can't tell you because it's a secret; give me a call and we'll set up a meeting at my dojo". In reading your recent posts, you seem to still set yourself up as an expert, but you give no credentials other than "some secret stuff Abe told me". That's fine, but if I set myself up as some sort of expert like that, I'd expect people to question me. Yet you take offense.

The way I read some of these posts is that someone wants to represent themself to the world as something of an expert and yet they face-savingly want to get some information. Dan's motives appear to be *completely* different from mine, so let me be clear that I separate myself from him or what he knows.

Me personally, I consider these skills to be fairly deep and worth serious discussion of the facts, the how-to's, different approaches to the basis skills, and so on. That happens to be pretty much the only way I'm going to do it. Am I going to play some sort of fake-Hagakure etiquette or play-Budo games, trying to make the topic some role-play aspect? No. Is that going to hack off a few people who are deeply into role-play or other absorptions? Of course.

But what happens is that the more clinical thinkers will get involved in a no-nonsense approach and discussion. They will also see the justification for some of the questions I ask when I question some of the role-play assertions. So if you want to keep worrying about some imagined personal contention between you and me or me and a very few other people, please feel free to do so. Frankly, when you start a critical and clinical discussion of facts, how-to's, etc., I think you'll find that all your personal problems with me tend to go away. The problem seems to happen when you claim facts or an approach or a status but you can't support it with facts. So try a few hard facts.... I've mentioned probably the best entre' baseline several times, if you'll go back and read my posts.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Dan Austin
06-26-2008, 08:43 PM
I know of certain situations where students who were too close to him when he was writing larger calligraphic scrolls had their breath stopped and couldn't move until he completed the brush stroke.

Come again?

rob_liberti
06-26-2008, 09:55 PM
I know of certain situations where students who were too close to him when he was writing larger calligraphic scrolls had their breath stopped and couldn't move until he completed the brush stroke.

Come again?

I buy it. Almost everyone stopped posting just reading about it. :)

Dan Austin
06-26-2008, 10:19 PM
I buy it. Almost everyone stopped posting just reading about it. :)

Dang, you're right! WoooooOOOOOOoooooo..... ;)

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-27-2008, 11:32 AM
I know of certain situations where students who were too close to him when he was writing larger calligraphic scrolls had their breath stopped and couldn't move until he completed the brush stroke.

Come again?


I have had quite a few interesting experiences that lead me to guess that most of us will ever really only know some very low level stuff. I have had my heart stopped dead in my chest, pounded into and held down on the ground by someone standing several feet away, seen someone get their mind scrambled almost to the point they were salivating, have experienced the real one inch punch, more like one inch touch (it lifted me straight up off the ground and threw me back 10 feet in mid air.) These are merely experiences which open students up to higher level possibilities. Wish I could do them, though...


.

DH
06-27-2008, 11:39 AM
Come on guys
What on earth does this have to do with my thread?
Both of you have made great points on topic and off. Can you leave your great on-topic ideas and views here, and take the rest to maybe a Misogi thread? I'll most certainly follow it.:D

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-27-2008, 11:43 AM
Come on guys
What on earth does this have to do with my thread?
Both of you have made great points on topic and off. Can you leave your great on-topic ideas and views here, and take the rest to maybe a Misogi thread? I'll most certainly follow it.:D

Sorry Dan,

I respect your wishes. Nuff said, I removed it.

Did you really want me to post it in a new thread?

Seriously?

.

DH
06-27-2008, 11:51 AM
Yes
Actually I was hoping Jun would do his voodoo magic.
I think the argument/debate you two keep having is enlightening for many people for a host of reasons.
FWIW, I also think the two of you are talking past one another and reading too much into the motives behind the answers. Not my argument though,,,,;)

Mike Sigman
06-27-2008, 11:53 AM
It would be wonderful if you stated your point instead of just asking open-ended questions that smack of something sinister behind it. In any case, here is what Abe Sensei has said about it: (snipped for relevance) Here's what you said, Shaun. And it's been discussed before, if you'll look in the archives:
In my opinion only Abe Sensei is qualified to teach O-Sensei's misogi. As you're aware (or aware in the past, but seem to have forgotten) Abe Sensei openly stated that there were parts of the training and rituals that O-Sensei did not show him. Your claim for Abe as being the only person qualified to teach O-Sensei's misogi is your own claim, not Abe Sensei's. You may think that you're doing him a favor, but you're not, when you make claims that he does not for himself.

Insofar as the rest of your lengthy spiritual discussion... pass. I still have not seen any direct facts from you yet that relate to the topic at hand. Erick Mead fairly accurately indicated the ways that facts can be presented; your contribution has not fitted in any category. As I've noted several times, all of these things are the same thing.

Even Ueshiba's misogi had to conform in terms of the general baselines, as all these approaches to ki/kokyu must. My suggestion several times has been that if you want to claim that you have special knowledge about these things, surely you can contribute a little about the basics to establish the a foundation for your remarks? And frankly this is the same sort of suggestion I've made for a number of years, Shaun. It's not an insult in a debate to ask someone to establish the basis for his position.

Either you have some facts or you don't. If you don't have any facts, then perhaps you'd consider the possibility that your anger is misplaced if you blame the person asking for the facts?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-27-2008, 12:28 PM
As you're aware (or aware in the past, but seem to have forgotten) Abe Sensei openly stated that there were parts of the training and rituals that O-Sensei did not show him. Your claim for Abe as being the only person qualified to teach O-Sensei's misogi is your own claim, not Abe Sensei's.
Regards,

Mike Sigman

Once again, Mike, you have misread and misquoted me. I clearly said, IN MY OPINION, Abe Sensei is the only person qualified to teach it. I did not say Abe Sensei said he is the only one qualified. Of course, you are didn't come out and say it, but are you implying that there is someone else that is qualified? Or is this merely a case of you, once again saying, "Mikey don't need no Misogi, everything the same."

Oh, and since you are all about stating facts and citing references, for once please give us the exact citing where Abe Sensei says, O-Sensei didn't show me the "X" of the misogi-no-gyo he refined and transmitted. PLEASE!!!!!!

Best of luck...

.

Misogi-no-Gyo
06-27-2008, 12:48 PM
The moving of these posts to this thread came just after I posted the following Looooooonnnnnnnnggggggg post. I removed it from the other thread as Jun was creating this one and it was lost (intentionally) in the mix. I want to qualify what I am choosing to repost it, as although some of you have it via email, it would not have shown up or be maintained here on Aikiweb. Dan hinted that Mike and I may be reading past each other and misreading each other's motivations. That is a fair statement, and one that should be addressed. As far as motives, I don't think anyone could really say what Mike's are, but Mike. As far as mine, well, truthfully, its simply about pointing out long-term misconceptions about both Misogi and Aikido.

For years there were many misconceptions that there was some great divide between "Do" of say, Aikido and the "Jutisu" of say Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu. Some of these were proffered up by Don Dreager or his contemporaries. Later we come to everyone and their sister repeating axioms like "if you want to learn the art of martial arts, study the "DO" but if you want to learn the martial of martial arts, study the "Jutsu." Now of course we realize that this is only the westerner's misunderstanding of something that in fact is not separate at all. Just like every tenkan has irimi, and yin and yang or heads and tails, these are only relative concepts to one another. Aikido is Misogi. That is what makes this discussion not merely important, but key in understanding the art of the founder. Mike and I agree on many things, but we do so from very different perspectives. Mike's point seems to be that these "baselines" which he has determined to be the important ones are the only way through which he will approach the subject, and that noting the uniqueness of the founder, his art form and his methodologies would be irrelevant to his preferred baselines. I would agree with him in that once you are interested in commonalities, uniqueness has no place. However, I strongly disagree with the idea that only commonalities matter. So, in an effort to flush out more ideas from this "Contentious Debate" as Mike seems to see it, here is the post...

,

Are you saying that Abe Sensei learned his Misogi-no-gyo from O-Sensei?

Hi Mike,

It would be wonderful if you stated your point instead of just asking open-ended questions that smack of something sinister behind it. In any case, here is what Abe Sensei has said about it:



ENCOUNTER WITH MISOGI
It was there that I found my growth as a calligrapher moving toward to an impasse. It was about that time that I first encountered Kenzo Futaki's Misogi no Renseikai (Misogi Training Society). Kenzo Futaki was a Doctor of Medicine and a pre-war student of Morihei Ueshiba. This Misogikai was a group dedicated to exploring and teaching methods that could be used to draw on a kind of "psychological" or "spiritual" strength beyond mere physical strength --what we might now call misogi (purification) to draw out" ki". It sounded like exactly what I needed. The application date had already passed, but they made an exception for me and I was able to join the first session, which was conducted as kind of "training camp" consisting of about a week's worth of seminars.

Was the Misogikai the creation of Futaki Sensei himself?

Yes, he was the one who set it up, although the training methods taught were derived from those formulated by Bonji Kawatsura [philosopher who organized and formalized Japanese misogi practices], which were taught at the Misogikai by one of Kawatsura Sensei's students, Ken Tatsumi.

What were some of those practices?

There are eight major ones. Standing under cold water (mizu no gyo) is one of the more well known. The eight include norito no sojo, mizu no gyo, furitama no gyo, ameno-torifune no gyo, chinkon no gyo, otakebi okorobi and ibuki no gyo, genshoku no gyo, and bunkon touitsu no gyo.

Are these practices related to the Omoto religion?

What Futaki Sensei and Kawatsura Sensei were doing was based not on religion, but on traditional Japanese customs and mores. Misogi practices are really nothing more than specific formalization of various customs commonly followed by the Japanese in their daily lives in ancient times. They are not, in other words, derived from Indian Buddhism or Chinese Confucianism, but from ancient Japanese practices that are clearly documented in works like the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters). Kawatsura Sensei's work involved casting these in accessible forms that anybody can pursue.

But when you make an assertion like that, Shaun, you shouldn't get excited when called out.

...are you calling me out, Mike? Gosh, you seem to have so much frustration. Why don't you just go ahead and ask me out, already?

Well, great, Shaun. Why don't you state what you have a problem with and support it with a logical rebuttal, etc., instead of vague character attacks? Give us and example of a statement I made, then tell us what you think is wrong with it and why. This is a logical step, believe it or not, in a lot of debate in the civilized world.

Mike, since you love to ask people to go back and do your work for you by citing your past remarks, I guess I'll just have to ask you to do the work. Go back and read my old posts, or my private messages and emails to you where I spoke very plainly about issues with which I held contention and why. In fact, you never replied to those, either. With regards to logic and debate, sorry, but I am not interested in debating you, nor interested in pursuing the logic missing from several of your martial, cultural and ontological hypothesis.

Actually Mike, here is a case in point. Two in fact. let's take a look, shall we?

Reading your comments on Misogi-no-gyo, you've dropped some of the completely wrong comments about breath and breathing from a couple of years ago,...

You should be careful Mike. You almost made it sound like I now know what I am talking about with regards to breath and breathing (although, I am sure you would probably just take credit for that, too, along with re-educating all of us KI-challenged, Aikido folk...) You see, I haven't dropped anything. I haven't changed anything. It was you who "stated" that I was wrong in the first place - all according to... you. But you never proved anything about your theories, nor mine. You did state that since mine were different than yours, that mine were, therefore wrong You did the same thing, twice just in the past few days. The first is where I made some statements about Misogi. You then went on some sort of rant about mysticism and esoterica. I never included anything with regards to those subjects in my post. You both, misread me, and misquoted me. Both indicate that you concluded that I must hold some opinion about misogi being mystical, so that you can dismiss my opinions outright. However, you are simply not correct. Say it with me... (Mike was wrong). The second instance, when you questioned from whom Abe Sensei learned misogi, or who knows, maybe even questioning if Abe Sensei was privy to O-Sensei's Misogi, is interesting on two levels. The first is that you truly believe that because you read a bunch of articles about the subject, maybe even this one (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=151) or this one (http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/INTERVIEW-E.html) that there isn't anything that someone else may know about the subject that you may not have been able to consider before coming to perhaps some very inaccurate conclusions, just like you did with regards to my thoughts and opinions about KI, Kokyu, Misogi and Aikido. The second level is that Abe Sensei's points seem to contradict things you have said on some levels as well as introduce other levels that are seemingly absent from your myopic approach to traditional Japanese Martial Arts training.

In any case, let's just leave it there for now.

but the rest of your assertions seem to be the old "I can't tell you because it's a secret; give me a call and we'll set up a meeting at my dojo". In reading your recent posts, you seem to still set yourself up as an expert, but you give no credentials other than "some secret stuff Abe told me". That's fine, but if I set myself up as some sort of expert like that, I'd expect people to question me. Yet you take offense.

Last things, first.
Mike. You are offensive. Worse, you don't really care that you are offensive. You park in someone's driveway, knock on their door, and then proceed to tell the homeowners your opinion about their Internal Decorating. I am not offended by you because you can't help yourself, treat everyone who disagrees with you the in the same manner, and ultimately have no clue as to the sorriness in which you are held. If you were incapable of growth I would pity you. But that is not the case, you just choose to be singular in dimension.

Next Item
I don't know the nature of your teacher/student relationships because you choose not to talk about them. Worse, you publicly invalidate the entire value of such relationships in Traditional Japanese Budo along with those who choose to publicly acknowledge the importance of it in their own training. However, in traditional Japanese Budo, and I suspect, many other cultural arts, there are ALWAYS secrets. However, there is a complete difference between having someone tell you to keep something they share with you to yourself, or to share it only with your senior students and wishing to choose to not share it with rude, dingleberries on the internet either because they "call you out" to do so, or threaten to invalidate your pedigree amongst themselves or their cohorts.

Secrets

Yes, I trained with Abe Sensei.
Yes, he shared things with me that are sensitive in nature.
Yes, he told me things and asked me not to repeat them.
Yes, he showed us Gokui, (secrets) with regards to Shodo, Aikido, Misogi, Kotodama, and other things.
and
Yes, we know you don't like it!


The bottom line is, Aikido is Misogi. Now, just to be clear, Do you claim to be an authority or expert on either?

The way I read some of these posts is that someone wants to represent themself to the world as something of an expert and yet they face-savingly want to get some information.

Okay, so that is the way you read it. Sorry, you are wrong. I tell everyone who comes to me for instruction the same thing, my role is to prepare you to meet my teachers. They are the experts. Please be ready when you meet them. When I share something that is mine, I say, "this is my current understanding." When I share something that someone shared with me, I say, "This is from Sensei so and so." I also say things like, "If you are worried about getting jumped, study Krav Magra. If you want to compete take MMA classes and most importantly that Aikido is the path that begins with first learning to control yourself, and depending on who you are, that may take a really long time."

If that is misrepresentation in any way please be so good as to be specific on how so. As for what you call face-saving, I call that being open to another person's point of view. I don't come into the picture having done all the research, having made up my mind. I am not the one who appeared to the IMA community saying, "...its all the same..." regardless of my theories, understandings or abilities I don't teach IMA seminars because;
I would consider that disrespectful to the masters of the art form
I might not be spot on when it came to my understanding, theories or ideas.
that would be considered rude to civilized people everywhere.


And for the love of god, please do go on any rants about how I am only trying to protect the aikido hierarchy, my groups handle on the thrown or the money flow. I have a small, private dojo who isn't interested in any of that.

Dan's motives appear to be *completely* different from mine, so let me be clear that I separate myself from him or what he knows.

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS STRIKES AGAIN!

Me personally, I consider these skills to be fairly deep and worth serious discussion of the facts, the how-to's, different approaches to the basis skills, and so on. That happens to be pretty much the only way I'm going to do it.

Mike, if you would only follow your own words you would do so much more to assisting those of us who, regardless of Art, skill, ability, understanding or personality have a sincere interest in IMA.

Am I going to play some sort of fake-Hagakure etiquette or play-Budo games, trying to make the topic some role-play aspect? No. Is that going to hack off a few people who are deeply into role-play or other absorptions? Of course.

But what happens is that the more clinical thinkers will get involved in a no-nonsense approach and discussion. They will also see the justification for some of the questions I ask when I question some of the role-play assertions.

I can't even begin to understand what is going on in your head that would have you spend so much time thinking about any of that enough to type it out on a keyboard, much less let on that these are your actual concerns in life in a public martial arts forum. As for your assertion about what other people may see about you, I would do a whole lot more investigating the opinions of those who openly can't stand you rather than anyone who might sing your praises or ignore you altogether. You will get much more honesty out of the former group than the later.

So if you want to keep worrying about some imagined personal contention between you and me or me and a very few other people, please feel free to do so.

Mike, sorry to have to inform you that you are not the subject of my thoughts or imaginations. I am not worried about you, what you say, what you do, who you talk to. As for imaginary contentions, I beg to differ. Remember, you decided to actually "call me out..." as you like to put it, even though it was based upon your incorrect assumptions about my thoughts on mysticism, esoterica, secrets, blah, blah, blah. If anyone is imagining anything, well that would be you.

Frankly, when you start a critical and clinical discussion of facts, how-to's, etc., I think you'll find that all your personal problems with me tend to go away.
Dr. Sigman, what are my problems, again? How do I solve them, again?

The problem seems to happen when you claim facts or an approach or a status but you can't support it with facts. So try a few hard facts....

You just don't like that I don't follow Mike's rules for debate. Are you really stuck at such a high-school level of debate. Have you even seen a high school debate lately? Bunch of silly, elitist, arrogant quasi-activists who speak so fast over everyone else's point just to try and make everyone (anyone, really) believe what it is they are saying. It would be nice if you elevated the discussion above debate. Be open to learning something from others - even people you may disagree with or (gasp) not even like much.

I've mentioned probably the best entre' baseline several times, if you'll go back and read my posts.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

That has to be my favorite McSigmoid of all time. I'll say one thing for ya, you certainly have mastered how to reveal so much about your strange, inner-self goings on in one sentence. Masterful!

.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-27-2008, 01:37 PM
Ravens Sensei,
wow, thanks so much for your recent posts on this topic (IMA, misogi, and "how to discuss it"....) ! Please continue!

tuturuhan
06-27-2008, 01:44 PM
There is an old spanish saying (paraphrased): Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are.

There are those who talk and their are those who do. There are those who see the glass half full and those who see it as half empty and every action has an equal reaction.

Some claim to have "It", others want "it" and many aren't aware that they already have "it". I for one look at the results of it. What is the by product of "it"?

As such, expertise/mastery/genius is most often proven by the results "of the technique in combat". For me and others of "like spirit" "it" is the ability to bring prosperity and protection to our families.

Obviously, some of us practice all the time. We attempt to get better. We try not to delude ourselves. We test our skills. We do. As a result...we are successful and prosperous. We are having fun given the fact that there is still water in our glasses.

Who are your friends?

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

tuturuhan
06-27-2008, 02:28 PM
Ravens Sensei,
wow, thanks so much for your recent posts on this topic (IMA, misogi, and "how to discuss it"....) ! Please continue!

Sensei Ravens,

I concur. Your responses were cogent, bold, humorous and insightful. You are a better man than I Gunga Din. :)

Sincerely
Joseph T.Oliva Arriola

Mike Sigman
06-27-2008, 02:28 PM
I have had quite a few interesting experiences that lead me to guess that most of us will ever really only know some very low level stuff. I have had my heart stopped dead in my chest, pounded into and held down on the ground by someone standing several feet away, seen someone get their mind scrambled almost to the point they were salivating, have experienced the real one inch punch, more like one inch touch (it lifted me straight up off the ground and threw me back 10 feet in mid air.) These are merely experiences which open students up to higher level possibilities. Wish I could do them, though...Ah well, I guess I've just been around Asian arts too long, Shaun. What you're describing, except for the punch, says more about you than anything else. That's why those demo's are referred to by so many Chinese as "psychological power". We used to ask people to try these things on us. But if this is where the conversation is going, I'm bailing. Arriola's your man. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
06-27-2008, 02:31 PM
There is an old spanish saying (paraphrased): Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are.There is another saying to the effect "you are known by your enemies". Some people will ruin your reputation if they are your friends or give you compliments. ;)

Mike Sigman

tuturuhan
06-27-2008, 02:35 PM
There is another saying to the effect "you are known by your enemies". Some people will ruin your reputation if they are your friends or give you compliments. ;)

Mike Sigman

Mike,

I thought I was on your ignore list???

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola