PDA

View Full Version : revelation "vs" intuited aiki


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


mathewjgano
08-18-2008, 04:43 PM
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it. My feeling is that with intensity of purpose one should be able to simply look inward to discover "it." I'm not saying teachers aren't a necessity. In fact they're crucial to time management, but I get the sense that these skills are being presented as if they're not innate to us and that seems silly to me.
I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have which might clarify this issue for me.
Take care,
Matt

Jonathan
08-18-2008, 05:22 PM
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it.


If I follow this thought back to the very first person to discover these "counter-intuitive" aiki principles and I ask myself how they figured it out without a teacher, I find myself very much in doubt about the notion that aiki must be taught. Is there some reason, apart from time and motivation, that would prevent me or you from making the same aiki discoveries without a teacher? I don't think so. Granted, having a teacher show me aiki would be much faster than divining the aiki way for myself, but actually figuring out aiki principles by oneself I believe can be done by anyone who has interest and time enough to do so.

raul rodrigo
08-18-2008, 05:50 PM
I believe in the need for aikido to be passed on "body to body". Of course we all express aikido waza and principles in our bodies in highly individual ways. But the initial jump in understanding, to my mind, requires body to body contact with someone more adept. As Mike Sigman and others say, it has to be felt, or else its just too easy to take a wrong turn. Take something as simple as suwate kokyu ho. I was doing it wrong for oh, eight or ten years, and it took hands on experience with several shihan to feel the difference between what i was doing and what they were doing. otherwise, it's just too difficult to figure out how to "float" someone at the first contact, without effort and by sourcing the power from the hara and not the shoulders and arms.

bkedelen
08-18-2008, 08:40 PM
It is not my understanding that the IMA guys think you have to learn internal skills directly from them, they are just saying that you have to have felt the application of the skillset so that you even know what you are pursuing. Basically it is like walking a tight rope. If you had never seen a person walk a rope and were asked if you thought it was possible, you would say probably not. Once you see that it can be done, nothing stands in your path other than practice (falling off a rope 1,000 times). You do not need to learn to walk a tight rope from a guy who can do it, you just need to know that it is possible.

JamesC
08-19-2008, 12:19 AM
Well said Benjamin.

MM
08-19-2008, 08:37 AM
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it. My feeling is that with intensity of purpose one should be able to simply look inward to discover "it." I'm not saying teachers aren't a necessity. In fact they're crucial to time management, but I get the sense that these skills are being presented as if they're not innate to us and that seems silly to me.
I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have which might clarify this issue for me.
Take care,
Matt

From personal experience, I have found that it is very, very hard to learn it without someone to teach it to you. Looking inward with intensity of purpose will not get you these skills. They are not "innate" in that you have to train in specific exercises to gain a specific martial body.

Look at it this way, if you wanted to be a pro cyclist, would having a 280 pound, 40% fat - body type help or hinder? Or do you need a lean, no fat body type to compete as a pro cyclist? And there are exercises for that. Okay, so you want to be a front guard (sorry, not a football person) for a football team. Will a 110 pound, 0% fat body type work? Or would a 300 pound sumo be better? Bulking up helps. And there are training environments for that. Can you do either with just looking inward with intensity of purpose? Why do you think the kata and all the training are there for in the first place? They are supposed to be exercises for building a martial body, not something you learn to do out in the real world.

If I follow this thought back to the very first person to discover these "counter-intuitive" aiki principles and I ask myself how they figured it out without a teacher, I find myself very much in doubt about the notion that aiki must be taught. Is there some reason, apart from time and motivation, that would prevent me or you from making the same aiki discoveries without a teacher? I don't think so. Granted, having a teacher show me aiki would be much faster than divining the aiki way for myself, but actually figuring out aiki principles by oneself I believe can be done by anyone who has interest and time enough to do so.

So, how do you know it was only one person? Since these skills date back to at least early China and possibly before then, how do we know it was one person. It's nice to sit and think that someone just invented this stuff, but realistically, I'd have to say it was more of a group effort over long periods of time. And it didn't have to be the same group.

Let me ask you this ... through time and motivation, have you discovered how to stand feet side by side, shoulder width apart, arms relaxed to your side and take a full force push from someone bigger than you to your chest and you just stand there without involving your arms and without readjusting your feet and without being bowled over? It is a very disconcerting feeling to be on the pusher's end of that. :)

This isn't the "aiki" of moving around an attacker and trying to "blend" with the person. This is the "aiki" that allowed Ueshiba, a small man, to resist Tenryu's, a very large man, attacks. This is the "aiki" that allowed Shioda to toss large men around. This is the "aiki" that allowed Tomiki to let Judo men grab his wrist and watch them fail miserably as they tried everything on him.

It isn't intuitive and it isn't easy. It takes direct teaching to get it. But, the good thing is that it doesn't take full time direct teaching. Just look at Takeda and Ueshiba. They didn't have a full time teacher-student relationship. Takeda taught Ueshiba and then traveled around. He came back and taught Ueshiba some more -- I'm guessing because Ueshiba actually worked on what Takeda told him. Repeat as necessary with some longer teaching intervals.

It is not my understanding that the IMA guys think you have to learn internal skills directly from them, they are just saying that you have to have felt the application of the skillset so that you even know what you are pursuing. Basically it is like walking a tight rope. If you had never seen a person walk a rope and were asked if you thought it was possible, you would say probably not. Once you see that it can be done, nothing stands in your path other than practice (falling off a rope 1,000 times). You do not need to learn to walk a tight rope from a guy who can do it, you just need to know that it is possible.

IMO, you have to study with someone who has the skills. Period. It is far too easy to not get things right. However, once you have a start, you can work on things by yourself. And that's where the time and effort come in. You have to do the work - solo and paired. It really isn't like walking a rope where you actually have a chance to do it without guidance.

Think about it ... if it was like that, then why isn't it prevalent? Ueshiba taught hundreds. Shioda taught hundreds. Tomiki, Tohei, etc, etc, etc. How many have had their hands on these teachers and felt what can be done? How many know and/or knew what could be done? Now, how many can actually do?

Ketsan
08-19-2008, 09:42 AM
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it. My feeling is that with intensity of purpose one should be able to simply look inward to discover "it." I'm not saying teachers aren't a necessity. In fact they're crucial to time management, but I get the sense that these skills are being presented as if they're not innate to us and that seems silly to me.
I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have which might clarify this issue for me.
Take care,
Matt

I could probably have developed all the skills I have now on my own, or with a partner. But it would have taken me a lifetime probably.
For me the most important thing my instructor has is the experience of Aiki. He knows what it feels like and he knows how he got where he is.
So he can make me do the same things he did until I feel something, get on the end of my technique and then he can say "Right, that's what you're looking for" or more often "No, try it again." If you like he just guides my intuition.

Erick Mead
08-19-2008, 10:05 AM
From personal experience, I have found that it is very, very hard to learn it without someone to teach it to you. Looking inward with intensity of purpose will not get you these skills. They are not "innate" in that you have to train in specific exercises to gain a specific martial body.
Look at it this way, if you wanted to be a pro cyclist,...... start riding a bike, stopping only when necessary to sleep, eat and attend to personal needs. That pretty much covers it.

They are supposed to be exercises for building a martial body, not something you learn to do out in the real world. Dealing out hard blows and learning to receive them with minimal impact used to be something one actually did out in that there "real world." Nothing has changed in regard to what is necessary -- only our sensibilities about what we consider "normal" in the "real world."

Think about it ... if it was like that, then why isn't it prevalent?Because we got out of the habits that developed the foundations -- like no longer doing heavy manual labor and discouraging people from hauling off and hitting one another on a fairly regular basis? Those are both facts. Nothing more is necessary to explain it, and Occam's razor cuts off the remainder of the supposition.

Have you studied what traditional uchi-deshi training entailed? The secret formula is as old as the hills -- Chop wood, carry water, scrub floors. Heavy, repetitive tasks build efficient basic movement and body carriage. There is no substitute for work. Dojo time was nothing but shape and polish.

Now the legitimate question is how, in our present environment, to have workable substitutes for those basics (or to engage in them in a modern setting) -- and then how to refine that raw material. No one should pretend at ancient secret principles that don't at some point involve something like hauling lumber and hacking brush.

Look at the IMA exercises -- actually look at them. Imagine loads where loads would be carried if you had them. Look at the kokyu undo, and imagine wielding tools where tools might be wielded in them. They are all little more than structured imitations of the effort of actual labor. For this reason they probably do work if done right. That is the only reason for having people to correct you in doing them, because keeping the illusion of actual loads is critical, and that takes some imaginitive focus. Kettlebells work wonders for most of them.

OR, you could chop wood and carry water. The skill is no secret, and the body will learn carriage and efficiency on its own if you are mindful in dealing with ACTUAL heavy repetitive loads and body extension tasks like cutting, tossing, lifting, sweeping, raking etc.

The better course for refinement from those basics in our culture I take different view of, and it can take a variety of forms, but the basics are not really in question, on either score, even if they may be misunderstood.

Me, I do and have done a lot of construction. I practice at not quite hitting people in aikido. IOW, 90% of my aikido is an atemi and the last 10% (or so) of every atemi I just leave off, in most settings. If pushed my innate and intuitive response it to hit the person pushing me. Why? Because like every other human being, I inherited the hindbrain of a killer ape.

We can pretend better but we do not alter nature, we only provide it another outlet. We have to work to restrain that. Most of the time we succeed only in waiting to hit him better. It is what we want to do and is innate and intuitive and left to its own devices we seem to kill pretty well, with minimal training, and technology has removed much of that restraint.

My considered sense of aikido is that it is best considered as a leash on a well-loved but very bad dog. That is why it is more necessary now in a technologically violent but physically passive culture than it was when those aspects were reversed in prominence. Nature has not changed merely because capabilities have shifted. This is as poorly understood among the "more power now" crowd as is the relationship between traditional labor and traditional budo.

Jonathan
08-19-2008, 11:27 AM
So, how do you know it was only one person? Since these skills date back to at least early China and possibly before then, how do we know it was one person. It's nice to sit and think that someone just invented this stuff, but realistically, I'd have to say it was more of a group effort over long periods of time. And it didn't have to be the same group.

Whether it was a group effort or a single person, the discovery or development of internal power at the very beginning was not taught by a teacher. Inasmuch as this is true, it is not impossible, then, to repeat this feat. That was my point.

Let me ask you this ... through time and motivation, have you discovered how to stand feet side by side, shoulder width apart, arms relaxed to your side and take a full force push from someone bigger than you to your chest and you just stand there without involving your arms and without readjusting your feet and without being bowled over? It is a very disconcerting feeling to be on the pusher's end of that.

Your above remarks and question are completely off my point. I made no comment on what it would be like to be unable to push someone over. I'm sure it is, as you say, "disconcerting."

This isn't the "aiki" of moving around an attacker and trying to "blend" with the person. This is the "aiki" that allowed Ueshiba, a small man, to resist Tenryu's, a very large man, attacks. This is the "aiki" that allowed Shioda to toss large men around. This is the "aiki" that allowed Tomiki to let Judo men grab his wrist and watch them fail miserably as they tried everything on him.

I've never suggested otherwise. What does this have to do with my original comment?

It isn't intuitive and it isn't easy. It takes direct teaching to get it. But, the good thing is that it doesn't take full time direct teaching. Just look at Takeda and Ueshiba. They didn't have a full time teacher-student relationship. Takeda taught Ueshiba and then traveled around. He came back and taught Ueshiba some more -- I'm guessing because Ueshiba actually worked on what Takeda told him. Repeat as necessary with some longer teaching intervals.

That's nice. I remain unconvinced, however, that direct teaching is absolutely necessary. That may have been your experience, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily every one else's. Figuring out aiki stuff can be aided in a multitude of ways these days: books, videos, weekend seminars, careful thought and experimentation. Yes, I'm sure its really cool and instructive to actually feel well-developed aiki ability, but for those who do not have ready access to such ability it is the other means upon which they will have to rely. I think it is untrue that such teacher-less folk will garner nothing positive from their efforts.

MM
08-19-2008, 11:56 AM
Whether it was a group effort or a single person, the discovery or development of internal power at the very beginning was not taught by a teacher. Inasmuch as this is true, it is not impossible, then, to repeat this feat. That was my point.


So, you're saying that you can, in one lifetime, repeat what a group or groups of people have done over many lifetimes? ;)

If not, then it does matter whether it was a group effort and how long it took. Since neither of us knows for sure, it's a moot point. Or it would seem. However, if it was an individual within a lifetime, then by that very nature, many, many people in the martial arts would have "rediscovered" it in their 20+ year career.

Since that hasn't happened (in essence, there have been no greats reproduced. Unless you know of someone of Shioda, Tomiki, or Tohei caliber), it's much more plausible to view it historically as something other than one individual in one lifetime.


Your above remarks and question are completely off my point. I made no comment on what it would be like to be unable to push someone over. I'm sure it is, as you say, "disconcerting."

I've never suggested otherwise. What does this have to do with my original comment?


It would seem that my view of "aiki" is certainly different than yours. Otherwise I dont' think your comments of confusion wouldn't have been made.


That's nice. I remain unconvinced, however, that direct teaching is absolutely necessary. That may have been your experience, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily every one else's. Figuring out aiki stuff can be aided in a multitude of ways these days: books, videos, weekend seminars, careful thought and experimentation. Yes, I'm sure its really cool and instructive to actually feel well-developed aiki ability, but for those who do not have ready access to such ability it is the other means upon which they will have to rely. I think it is untrue that such teacher-less folk will garner nothing positive from their efforts.

Granted, it is my experience. And, granted, someone, somewhere could possibly figure it out without a teacher. Personally, I'd say the chances of that are like winning the Powerball jackpot lottery, getting struck twice by lightning, and having a meteor hit you -- all at the same time. But, that's just my opinion. :) It's also my opinion that you won't get it from books, videos, seminars, thought, or experimentation -- until you get firsthand training experience in it.

But then again, Matt wanted some answers from people and I gave mine. If you think that my posts and answers sound way out of touch, then I would say that your definition of "aiki" and mine are not the same in any way, shape, or form. So, if that's the case, then when dealing with "aiki" from the "IMA" people, you might want to take a step back, throw out all preconceived ideas on what you know about "aiki", and take a good, hard look at what people are saying and doing.

What was Ueshiba supposed to have said when Tenryu couldn't push him over? I knew the secret of aiki. In a push test, the secret of aiki kept Ueshiba solid. Ueshiba's small 5 foot frame versus Tenryu's large 6 foot frame. So, we go back to the same question -- can you withstand a push? Because to do so requires the secret of aiki. No secret of aiki, then how are you doing "aikido"?

Jonathan
08-19-2008, 01:03 PM
So, you're saying that you can, in one lifetime, repeat what a group or groups of people have done over many lifetimes?


Hmmm...I thought my meaning was pretty clear. What I mean is what I said (or, more precisely, wrote).

If not, then it does matter whether it was a group effort and how long it took. Since neither of us knows for sure, it's a moot point.

What I may or may not be able to do doesn't necessarily limit what others may or may not do. Neither you nor I can be used as a universal standard of comparison. Thus, my point is not entirely moot.

However, if it was an individual within a lifetime, then by that very nature, many, many people in the martial arts would have "rediscovered" it in their 20+ year career.

Only provided they were looking for it, had "found" it, and were rigorously practicing it.

Since that hasn't happened (in essence, there have been no greats reproduced. Unless you know of someone of Shioda, Tomiki, or Tohei caliber), it's much more plausible to view it historically as something other than one individual in one lifetime.

My personal knowledge of the aiki abilities of all aikido teachers is hardly exhaustive. There may be teachers who are highly skilled in the use of aiki of whom both you and I are unaware.

It would seem that my view of "aiki" is certainly different than yours. Otherwise I dont' think your comments of confusion wouldn't have been made.

Oh, I don't know...I think how one may obtain aiki skills differs from yours, but that's all you can really comment on without doing so from ignorance.

Granted, it is my experience. And, granted, someone, somewhere could possibly figure it out without a teacher. Personally, I'd say the chances of that are like winning the Powerball jackpot lottery, getting struck twice by lightning, and having a meteor hit you -- all at the same time. But, that's just my opinion.

Its an opinion that is both hyperbolic and conflates disparate things. If developing aiki skill were really as difficult as you say, it would never have been discovered at all. Moreover, developing skill is completely unlike matters of chance. I could explain the difference, but I don't like explaining the obvious.

It's also my opinion that you won't get it from books, videos, seminars, thought, or experimentation -- until you get firsthand training experience in it.

Of course, you are entitled to your opinion - as I am to mine.

But then again, Matt wanted some answers from people and I gave mine. If you think that my posts and answers sound way out of touch, then I would say that your definition of "aiki" and mine are not the same in any way, shape, or form.

Uh, where do I say anything like this? I have only commented on whether or not one may develop aiki skills apart from the direct guidance of a teacher. You have repeatedly tried to expand the intent of comments to suggest far more than they do. Why is that?

So, if that's the case, then when dealing with "aiki" from the "IMA" people, you might want to take a step back, throw out all preconceived ideas on what you know about "aiki", and take a good, hard look at what people are saying and doing.

Nothing I've said warrants this comment at all. You know absolutely nothing about what I have or haven't considered, what my preconceived notions might be, or at whom I have or haven't "looked hard." Why are you so quick to make assumptions based on ignorance?

Timothy WK
08-19-2008, 03:10 PM
I think the truth is somewhere in the middle between what Mark and Jonathon are saying.

I think it's obvious that certain people HAVE learned *some aspects* of these skills by themselves. I can throw up a couple Youtube videos of people who, IMO, display low-level or proto-internal skill. I have also met a couple aikido-ka that displayed, IMO, a "relaxed solidness" that I now think indicates low-level or proto-internal skill.

But notice I said "some aspects"/ "low-level"/ "proto-skill". I don't believe those people are ever going to get much farther without a qualified instructor.

For one thing, I believe those people train rather inefficiently, as far as internal skill goes. Take those aikido-ka---the people I've met have enough skill that you take notice, but beyond that they're nothing special. And they've been at it for 15-20 years. I've been practicing overt internal exercises for 1.5 years, and I'll probably pass them up in another 6-12 months.

And the time issue is a big one. Even when you're on the "fast track", it still takes several years to condition the body before you can start attempting the more "mysterious" and "amazing" things.

Beyond that, there's some stuff that's almost unimaginable unless you have someone who can actually show you that, yes, it's possible. Maybe if you did a lot of experimentation you might stumble onto some of it---because obviously, someone at some time did stumble onto it, and then passed the knowledge on---but most people don't realize that there's anything beyond what they're already doing, so they don't even try.

RonRagusa
08-19-2008, 04:03 PM
What was Ueshiba supposed to have said when Tenryu couldn't push him over? I knew the secret of aiki. In a push test, the secret of aiki kept Ueshiba solid. Ueshiba's small 5 foot frame versus Tenryu's large 6 foot frame. So, we go back to the same question -- can you withstand a push? Because to do so requires the secret of aiki. No secret of aiki, then how are you doing "aikido"?

From Aikido Journal:

Mr. Saburo Wakuta: Sumo Champion Tenryu And Morihei Ueshiba

by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #76 (http://www.aikidojournal.com/articleindex?issueID=an76) (December 1987)

"Ueshiba Sensei brought Mr. (Noriaki) Inoue with him. After they showed some techniques, Ueshiba Sensei said: "You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us. Since you are all martial arts practitioners, if there is a man among you, come and test this old man." However, no one stepped forward. At 35 I was the youngest among them. I had recently arrived in Manchuria and several government officials were observing the demonstration. I thought that I should test my own ability and said, "Yes, I will try". Ueshiba Sensei replied: "You are Mr. Tenryu, aren't you? You too are probably imagining that an old man like me won't be able to throw you very well. However, budo is much more than what you think it is. He offered his left hand saying it was weaker than his right and continued: "You must be quite strong physically. I am not putting strength into my arm so you can do anything you want with it. Try!"

I thought that this old man was speaking nonsense and slapped his hand down as I grabbed it. But the moment I touched him I was startled. I felt as if I had taken hold of an iron bar. Of course, I knew very well from my experience in Sumo that it would be useless to struggle against him. I immediately knew I had been defeated. However, I couldn't just leave things like that and attempted to twist his arm up and out. He didn't move an inch. I tried again with both hands using all my might. But he used my strength against me and I fell down."

I see grabbing, slapping and twisting mentioned; nothing about pushing. Is there another test that occured between Ueshiba and Tenryu? If so I'd be interested in reading about it.

Best,

Ron

ChrisMoses
08-19-2008, 04:13 PM
I see grabbing, slapping and twisting mentioned; nothing about pushing. Is there another test that occured between Ueshiba and Tenryu? If so I'd be interested in reading about it.

Best,

Ron

From my favorite OSensei interview... (http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html)

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

Probably describing the same event, and both would have been translated, but OSensei describes the event as being unmoved while being pushed.

mathewjgano
08-19-2008, 06:30 PM
It is not my understanding that the IMA guys think you have to learn internal skills directly from them, they are just saying that you have to have felt the application of the skillset so that you even know what you are pursuing. Basically it is like walking a tight rope. If you had never seen a person walk a rope and were asked if you thought it was possible, you would say probably not. Once you see that it can be done, nothing stands in your path other than practice (falling off a rope 1,000 times). You do not need to learn to walk a tight rope from a guy who can do it, you just need to know that it is possible.

We basically agree (I think I would have said "yes" in your analogy:cool: ). I think the vast portion of learning takes place with the aid of a teacher of some kind or another and that direct interaction with the things we seek to learn is how people learn about them the best. Your example of falling 1000's of times basically describes the 1000's of times a person practices something and in so doing refines his or her approach approximately the same number of times. With no corresponding understanding, it seems likely those refinements will be done more or less at random, which takes a lot more time to find a way that works. You can either borrow a guide or hope you have enough correlating understanding of your own to make good guesses. Either way, it's always quicker if someone can just tell you specifically what you should be doing; the tricks they've acquired that make the task at hand work best for them.

Looking inward with intensity of purpose will not get you these skills. They are not "innate" in that you have to train in specific exercises to gain a specific martial body.
Here I mean that whatever the feeling we're looking for is, we should be paying the strictest attention to it. A lot of folks describe the need to feel it; that seems like an internal issue to me so I feel inside to get the internal shape of things and that takes consistent focus for me. Intensity of purpose just means always doing our best to pay fullest attention to the lesson before us.

dps
08-19-2008, 08:26 PM
OR, you could chop wood and carry water. The skill is no secret, and the body will learn carriage and efficiency on its own if you are mindful in dealing with ACTUAL heavy repetitive loads and body extension tasks like cutting, tossing, lifting, sweeping, raking etc.


Well put Eric.

Spending years of throwing 75 to 125 lb hay bales onto wagons and into hay lofts is good way to develope internal strength.

David

RonRagusa
08-19-2008, 08:37 PM
From my favorite OSensei interview... (http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html)

Probably describing the same event, and both would have been translated, but OSensei describes the event as being unmoved while being pushed.

Thanks Chris.

Best,

Ron

jennifer paige smith
08-19-2008, 08:37 PM
Well put Eric.

Spending years of throwing 75 to 125 lb hay bales onto wagons and into hay lofts is good way to develope internal strength.

David

Yay!:

MM
08-20-2008, 07:01 AM
Just seems kind of funny ... you have people who have experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying basically the same thing ... it's different and you have to train differently to get the skills. And then, you have all the people who haven't experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying just train more in what you're doing or do some heavy work.

So, I guess the decision is yours for which you think is going to clarify the issue ...

jennifer paige smith
08-20-2008, 09:37 AM
I think the decision is yours to decide what clarifies your issues for you.

Timothy WK
08-20-2008, 09:46 AM
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it.

Matthew, I wanted to speak about this a bit---internal skill is both intuitive and counter-intuitive at the same time. It is paradoxical. The big issue---in the beginning, at least---is that you have to quite literally re-learn how to use the body.

It is intuitive because exploring the body is inherently a deeply personal adventure. It certainly IS about looking inward, trusting your body, and learning to be honest with yourself. Words can be used to describe what you (approximately) feel, but ultimately, the kinesthetic experience is something that can never fully be communicated. As such, the task of the IMA student is to interpret what certain advice means on a physical, biomechanical level, within their own body.

But it is counter-intuitive because re-learning how to use the body means going against what we already know. IME, there are two issues that make self-study of IMA extremely problematic, if not outright impossible:

The first is that IMA involves not simply refining skills we already have, but it involves learning totally new skills. Thus we have no frame of reference for what precisely we should be doing. IME/ IMO, internal skill involves developing conscious control over biomechanical functions that normally are controlled subconsciously. Since these functions are normally subconscious, we quite literally have no intellectual concept of how to engage them, let alone what these functions can do. The various mental imagery and meditative techniques associated with IMA training---particularly all the "intention" talk---is designed to engage the subconscious and activate those latent abilities. (In time, as the student becomes familiar with these various abilities, they can discard the mental tricks and engage the function directly.)

The second issue is that we all have various bad habits that impede our practice that we are often unaware of, as well as misperceptions of what is or isn't a correct habit. IME, good form is the first step in developing internal skill, and if someone did have perfect posture/alignment/etc, they probably would intuit a baseline of internal skill rather quickly. (The "external-to-internal" paradigm that many JMAs use is to developed good form, and then use the personal insight and sensitive granted by that form to guide internal development.) But noone has perfect form, and as I said, most people have in fact a poor understanding of proper bio-mechanics. Without someone to point out these unseen issues---ie, a teacher---at best these habits will slow down progress, but at worst, the student might start reinforcing their bad habits and block any progress at all. Personally, I view the "it must be felt" sentiment as being less about feeling what others are doing, and more about having a teacher who can feel what you're doing, and can correct what you're doing physically.

Allen Beebe
08-20-2008, 11:54 AM
Kinda like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk9_340xqeU

Only IME the "trying" part usually lasts longer than the Hollywood version and the "doing" part usually would manifest as a dribble down the arm at first but I'd still be ecstatic. Both the doing trigger and the doing result are developed over time. (The wall is one aspect of "teacher" :uch: )

I liken the process to learning to wiggle your ears, or better yet, learning a musical instrument. At first one starts with the idea of what we want to do and the intent to do it. Then one fiddles around until one slowly builds the skills necessary to manifest the idea. During the process, experience and imagination mutually influence each other. At some point one can begin to "make music" without having to mind all of the particulars that they needed at the beginning of the process.

Now say a person heard of an instrument popular in the middle ages called a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD. Just having heard ABOUT it, one is rather unlikely to be able to reproduce in the original. Having seen one helps. Having seen and heard (experienced) one helps much more. Getting to work hands on with one, hear it regularly, and be instructed on how to play it oneself is obviously going to be, not only of great advantage, but also will greatly insure the fact that one is learning to play a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD and not ones personal conception of what a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD is based purely on here say.

Of course this can all be complicated if an individual or a group of individuals handed out TREFINGLEs, called them DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOODs, teaching folks how to play them. The students might set up DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD schools where they faithfully taught, as they were taught, the TREFINGLE, and so on and so forth. Until the schools spread throughout the world and everyone "knew" that a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD school teaches the TREFINGLE, what that looks like, what that sounds like, and what it takes learn it.

If that were to happen, someone actually playing a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD might not be recognized as such. In fact they might be told that they are doing something completely different. "That is no DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD that I've ever seen!" Or perhaps some would say, "We do that." Thinking that blowing an producing a sound is the same. It might be possible that other DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD players would recognize the sight and/or sound of a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD and come out of the shadows and reluctantly say, "That is what I was taught a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD is too." But then there would be so few of them that it would be difficult to be truly convincing.

I'm a slow learner and my teacher is dead so what does that mean for me?

BTW, for those of you interested, the DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD really is an instrument. If you think you can reproduce it on your own here is a descriptive "Doka" written by an anonymous monk to help you on your way!:

O Snude y-soune lyk a goose
Ichot be a rabyd vertyng moose
O sowne that verteth syc a blyster
A rabyd moose y-bitte my syster.

-Anon. Margarinalia Codex Digitalis

MM
08-20-2008, 12:05 PM
Rotfl!!!

MM
08-20-2008, 12:12 PM
Well put Eric.

Spending years of throwing 75 to 125 lb hay bales onto wagons and into hay lofts is good way to develope internal strength.

David

Dan answered this idea far better than I could have.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=214057&postcount=166


If you tried, you could not be more perfectly...wrong.

Since I was brought up by a farm boy turned contractor, into a family of contractors, taught how to carry and manage loads like shoveling all day, carrying 100lb shingles up a ladder, or bags of mortar or brick, long before I got out, I learned to do everything you just mentioned. I learned a much more practical means of shoveling and carrying than most guys ever would and used more lower leg and back power. Add to that- that I lived in the Gym mostly power lifting and wrestling for fun.
None...of which prepared me for meeting a little man from Japan with a different idea. Which he kept saying to me was "Danny...different" while showing me things to do with my body. And none of that I truly got till I STOPPED lifting and started training solo to change my body.
.
You are far, far from being the only one to have told me all this. I have yet to have a single guy walk through my door or train with me anywhere- who wasn't training internals- and could do anything we do. Most will tell you it feels unnatural and weird, and takes some getting used to. Just the way we train to carry our weight and walk or hit is counter intuitive. Even after being shown, they can't do it and default back to norms they and everyone else uses.
And *THAT* is the mistake in your idea of first training under heavy load. You default...every time.
Most experienced people already know that

Ron Tisdale
08-20-2008, 12:59 PM
Allen, that was PRICELESS!!!

You get the golden ring for the year!

Best,
Ron (and again it is funny how one group simply speaks what they have experienced, and another group claims the first group "has issues"...I had THOUGHT we'd gotten past all that)

gdandscompserv
08-20-2008, 01:18 PM
we'd
You got a mouse in your pocket?:D

rob_liberti
08-20-2008, 01:55 PM
(and again it is funny how one group simply speaks what they have experienced, and another group claims the first group "has issues"...I had THOUGHT we'd gotten past all that)

I tried many groups. I tried to take light ukemi, fully resistive ukemi, to just relax, to concentrate on my center, to flow, to be a dummy to be be thrown after attacking, to be "live" and make adjustments as I attacked, to let bjj people just randomly attack me, to trying aikido with kung fu type attacks, you name it, I probably tried it.

All of those groups of people had issues too. There is no escaping it. I can say that in my experience, the ones that are based in the feedback of the physical reality turn up to more "alive" tend to have fewer issues over all.

Rob

Ron Tisdale
08-20-2008, 02:07 PM
You got a mouse in your pocket?:D

?? sorry, my humor bone must be broken. That one went right over my head. :D

I used we simply because I thought most of the participants in this discussion had moved on from those attitudes. Then again, I've been away for a bit actually working, so... ;)

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
08-20-2008, 02:09 PM
Hey Rob, I know what you mean. I look back on my posts even on this topic, and shake my head. I **had** a background in kickboxing and wrestling, but I've become just as passive agressive as the best of 'em, at times.

I wonder if aikido will eventually stop breeding that?

Best,
Ron (probably shouldn't blame aikido for my own faults...)

mathewjgano
08-20-2008, 04:25 PM
Matthew, I wanted to speak about this a bit---internal skill is both intuitive and counter-intuitive at the same time. It is paradoxical. The big issue---in the beginning, at least---is that you have to quite literally re-learn how to use the body.

It is intuitive because exploring the body is inherently a deeply personal adventure. It certainly IS about looking inward, trusting your body, and learning to be honest with yourself. Words can be used to describe what you (approximately) feel, but ultimately, the kinesthetic experience is something that can never fully be communicated. As such, the task of the IMA student is to interpret what certain advice means on a physical, biomechanical level, within their own body.

But it is counter-intuitive because re-learning how to use the body means going against what we already know. IME, there are two issues that make self-study of IMA extremely problematic, if not outright impossible:

The first is that IMA involves not simply refining skills we already have, but it involves learning totally new skills. Thus we have no frame of reference for what precisely we should be doing. IME/ IMO, internal skill involves developing conscious control over biomechanical functions that normally are controlled subconsciously. Since these functions are normally subconscious, we quite literally have no intellectual concept of how to engage them, let alone what these functions can do. The various mental imagery and meditative techniques associated with IMA training---particularly all the "intention" talk---is designed to engage the subconscious and activate those latent abilities. (In time, as the student becomes familiar with these various abilities, they can discard the mental tricks and engage the function directly.)

The second issue is that we all have various bad habits that impede our practice that we are often unaware of, as well as misperceptions of what is or isn't a correct habit. IME, good form is the first step in developing internal skill, and if someone did have perfect posture/alignment/etc, they probably would intuit a baseline of internal skill rather quickly. (The "external-to-internal" paradigm that many JMAs use is to developed good form, and then use the personal insight and sensitive granted by that form to guide internal development.) But noone has perfect form, and as I said, most people have in fact a poor understanding of proper bio-mechanics. Without someone to point out these unseen issues---ie, a teacher---at best these habits will slow down progress, but at worst, the student might start reinforcing their bad habits and block any progress at all. Personally, I view the "it must be felt" sentiment as being less about feeling what others are doing, and more about having a teacher who can feel what you're doing, and can correct what you're doing physically.

Timothy,
Great post! Thank you. I found that very helpful.
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
08-20-2008, 05:09 PM
O Snude y-soune lyk a goose
Ichot be a rabyd vertyng moose
O sowne that verteth syc a blyster
A rabyd moose y-bitte my syster.

-Anon. Margarinalia Codex Digitalis

I had a music teacher mention this instrument once. I always wondered why anyone would want an instrument that sounded like a goose. :crazy:
My only disagreement would (possibly) be with the idea that we always begin from an idea and progress to intent. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to diminish your point; I think it represents the vast majority of formal learning (my chosen occupation due to the fact that I believe so much in the idea).

phitruong
08-20-2008, 06:00 PM
I tried many groups. I tried to take light ukemi, fully resistive ukemi, to just relax, to concentrate on my center, to flow, to be a dummy to be be thrown after attacking, to be "live" and make adjustments as I attacked, to let bjj people just randomly attack me, to trying aikido with kung fu type attacks, you name it, I probably tried it.

Rob

but I'd bet you have not tried aikido with folks who do aerial scissor kicks like vovinam. :)

Erick Mead
08-20-2008, 06:44 PM
Just seems kind of funny ... you have people who have experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying basically the same thing ... it's different and you have to train differently to get the skills. And then, you have all the people who haven't experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying just train more in what you're doing or do some heavy work.

So, I guess the decision is yours for which you think is going to clarify the issue ...There is an issue?

Look at this atricle by Tim Fong and Rob John (a good article BTW) on Aunkai and the first image of Akuzawa doing tenchijin. http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=699
He is in the posture of bearing under load. The second diagram below it shows two arches. What do arches do? Bear loads. Their use of tension to form continuous connection through the body is simulating the virtual bearing of such a load. ACTUAL bearing of load makes those connections without any complex or virtual simulation involved.

"Weight transfer" is a real body problem in a loaded condition -- not a construct of one. Tenchijin is even DESCRIBED as simulated weight bearing in Ark's interview http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=701.

If you squat to lift a fifty or 90 pound back of cement and then lift and toss it to one side -- you just did shiko - under load. Trust me, if you toss a couple or twenty of those puppies you'll feel the "piano wire" tension all through your body, no worries.

Look at this series of descriptions of the exercises: http://unleashingfong.com/martialmovement/index.php?title=Aunkai_Methods

Have you ever worked a post-hole digger in really hard soil in a deep hole requiring put your weight drop in to accelerate the spoons? -- You've approximated mabu.

Working the top of a ladder and needing to reach that spot JUST out of reach? So you raise the leg to prop it a toe against a wall while keeping your weight centered firmly on the ladder to get that LITTLE bit of extra distance to reach for the work in front or overhead ? Wobbling ladder bad, balance on ladder good. Congratulations -- that approximates Ashiage.

Just whacked the bejesus out of your thumb with the drywall hammer ? Wanna drive your (uninjured) fist with everything you got behind through that damn sheet of drywall (both to show it what-for AND regain the all important Symmetry of Pain :D )? Or try driving your fist through a sheet of drywall with your fist in contact, if you can make it go "pop" -- congratulations. You just approximated GO.

Lift a bucket of mortar to someone on the ladder pointing brick or laying block. Gee. -- Agete.

Pick up a sheet of plywood on one side, brace it over your head pivot forward to flip it over and drop it on the other side. tada -- Shintaijiku. (for this type of motion it could as easily be bags of rice, bales of cloth or better yet --- kegs of BEER.

It is not an argument -- you can simply see it. Moreover, anyone can do it -- there ain't no secret. If you do it enough, and do it to miminize effort so you are not so tired at the end of a day you are starting to learn efficient movement under load. And you get demonstrably better wiht great incentive. And do something useful into the bargain. That is the foundation.

IMA is trying to supply the lack of plain old lack of whole-body hard work that ALL martial traditions grew out of. Maybe even successfully, but that's the source of the lack they are addressing. Most people doing martial arts these days are urbanites, and the likelihood of having a a significant experience of heavy physical labor is very, very low unless they like it or have no otehr choice,m and let's face it martial arts are for most people a lifestyle choice and most people doing that kind of work these days don't think in terms like "lifestyle." Having a foot in both worlds is an increasing aberration.

Erick Mead
08-20-2008, 06:57 PM
Dan answered this idea far better than I could have. And is reputed to be fabulously talented, which I even believe to be true -- and illustrates my point for me, again. Could .. there... be... a connection .. between fabulous physical talent and a hard physical foundation ????

Since I was brought up by a farm boy turned contractor, into a family of contractors, taught how to carry and manage loads like shoveling all day, carrying 100lb shingles up a ladder, or bags of mortar or brick, long before I got out, I learned to do everything you just mentioned. I learned a much more practical means of shoveling and carrying than most guys ever would and used more lower leg and back power. Add to that- that I lived in the Gym mostly power lifting and wrestling for fun.
None...of which prepared me for meeting a little man from Japan with a different idea. Which he kept saying to me was "Danny...different" while showing me things to do with my body. And none of that I truly got till I STOPPED lifting and started training solo to change my body. The example cited cannot from his personal history disprove the point that the heavy work is the foundation. The Golden Gate Bridge may not seem primarily a mass foundation structure like the pyramid -- but then you get a upclose peek at the ANCHORS of those monster cables -- and whoo boy! They may be hidden from view -- but they are there or the whole thing doesn't work.

Many young men learn to work hard but not work smart. That takes time too, like in martial art. Mindless lifting doesn't do a soul or body any good. MINDFUL lifting on the other hand is whole different stripe of zebra. People who start that kind of work OLDER tend to learn to work smarter as they learn to work harder .

DH
08-20-2008, 07:30 PM
I think the decision is yours to decide what clarifies your issues for you.

That.also denies any empirical findings from a set group out looking. Aikiweb as a community started looking into this three years ago.
group a (aikiweb)
I can have any four guys lift and twist and turn or strike and test it against
group b (internal guys)
Four others doing it internally
and they will all observationally lift, twist, and turn.
No problem.

Then I can have them do a series of tests that can and has demonstrated one set -group b- (the internally trained guys) are doing things differently in their bodies that group a cannot do. Further, upon hands on experience group a (aikiweb) has determined 100% that thy are converting to training this way or pursuing it in whatever fashion they can manage.

If one were actually concerned with truth, one might find it odd that no one from group a, (aikiweb), having trained with group b., has come back and said "yup! I was doing that all along. Further, under certain martial testing, all have seemed to agree it is more of, or even THEE aiki they were looking for.

Since it is right now either a 100% or very, very close to that-conversion rate of group a switching over to group b's internal training based methods. Or if not due to difficulties, they at least openly acknowledge the superiority of the method. And this is on on actual experience.

It began small, and it certainly keeps growing person by person. It is simply...truth. That group a those who didn't know or never trained this way, have completely converted to believing in internal power as THEE way to improve their aikido and overall martial game. They consider it a superior way to train.
So...some might look at group a- those still lifting, turning, twisting with weights and externally doing aikido and say that as a whole they are talking like flat earth believers, rather then a group truly considering alternates to what they currently know.

It is interesting that out from among themselves right here at aikiweb, they themselves as a community just keep on embracing upon contact-internal training. One after another, after another.
This doesn't even take into account folks from ebudo or from some internal Chinese martial art boards who...magically..having trained this way and felt it, have made the same findings.

I find it odd to see people not only accepting it, thats fine, but not even ackowledging the incredibly strange conversion rate. In any social group-study, or sport training method study -these new and burgeoning findings would be off the charts.

For someone claiming to be interested in truth or empirical evidence, or personal testing of a training method, or those in search of truth in this movement-It's starting to read like simple denial, of any potential for truth at all.

gdandscompserv
08-20-2008, 07:35 PM
I am a convert.:D

DH
08-20-2008, 07:43 PM
And is reputed to be fabulously talented, which I even believe to be true -- and illustrates my point for me, again. Could .. there... be... a connection .. between fabulous physical talent and a hard physical foundation ????

The example cited cannot from his personal history disprove the point that the heavy work is the foundation. The Golden Gate Bridge may not seem primarily a mass foundation structure like the pyramid -- but then you get a upclose peek at the ANCHORS of those monster cables -- and whoo boy! They may be hidden from view -- but they are there or the whole thing doesn't work.

Many young men learn to work hard but not work smart. That takes time too, like in martial art. Mindless lifting doesn't do a soul or body any good. MINDFUL lifting on the other hand is whole different stripe of zebra. People who start that kind of work OLDER tend to learn to work smarter as they learn to work harder .
This almost completely reverses the point I made in rebutting your post on another thread. Was this intentional?
You have stated
If you want something more "gym-like" than warehouse, construction or farmwork maybe kettlebells -- but there really is no substitute for dealing with large loads like ungainly bales or sacks of stuff or that have long wobbly awkward moment arms quite like moving lumber or sheets of plywood or drywall by yourself
To which I replied
If you tried, you could not be more perfectly...wrong.

Since I was brought up by a farm boy turned contractor, into a family of contractors, taught how to carry and manage loads like shoveling all day, carrying 100lb shingles up a ladder, or bags of mortar or brick, long before I got out, I learned to do everything you just mentioned. I learned a much more practical means of shoveling and carrying than most guys ever would and used more lower leg and back power. Add to that- that I lived in the Gym mostly power lifting and wrestling for fun.
None...of which prepared me for meeting a little man from Japan with a different idea. Which he kept saying to me was "Danny...different" while showing me things to do with my body. And none of that I truly got till I STOPPED lifting and started training solo to change my body.
In other words a little man tossed my well tuned, hard worked, muscular and martially trained body....all over the freaking mats.
This is ridiculous. What dontcha get Erick? You completely reversed my opinion and years of hands on observation and teaching hundreds of people-not to mention hundreds of my posts to suit your point which I find to erroneous and without merit.
I find your opinion of how to train for power to be totally wrong. And would love to have you show me.
Your view of training for internal martial power, are simply wrong.
And one by one, as -you- from group a., go out and feel, keep switching over. Now in ever growing groups. Again either 100% conversion or close to it.

No one I know of is trying to talk about it to say "look at Ark" or "look at Mike." No one is making any real money, gaining anything remotely resembling a reputation worth the having. I challenge you to consider that we are only pointing to a truth that we have experienced. Thus are willing to point to anywhere it is at or can be found. As a community your own people keep pointing it out to you as well.

I think this is more in line with a group of us all playing and there is a group with enthusiasm running on ahead and really just looking back at their friends and saying "Hey look, this is great! Come look!"
Again how odd that it is not even discussed that
One, by one, they feel it, test it. they want it. that is just not seen in training of any type.
Oh well.

mathewjgano
08-20-2008, 08:21 PM
Just seems kind of funny ... you have people who have experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying basically the same thing ... it's different and you have to train differently to get the skills. And then, you have all the people who haven't experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying just train more in what you're doing or do some heavy work.

So, I guess the decision is yours for which you think is going to clarify the issue ...

You get better at what you do and not at what you don't do, so you definately have to practice something which engages the center in order to know how to power your movements by it. I don't think anyone would say not to check something useful out like all the IMA stuff coming to light. If you have the time and access, I think everyone would say check it out.
As for the matter of heavy lifting activities and aiki:
I work in construction and most people know how to use their muscles and not hurt their back. That's very close to the general extent of it, I would presume, so I can understand your skepticism there. And just to be clear: I'm not saying we all should just do more of the same to learn aiki. Learning revolves heavily around the idea of cross-referencing.
My Take on Aikido in terms of behavior:
Assuming I have some understanding of what aiki is, it could be described as a principle for coordinating the body for the purpose of moving an unwieldly force; that is not based in muscular effort. In a sense, muscles serve a coordinative function more than much anything else because it is the posture of the bones which allows for the greatest brunt of the force to be delivered and received. At least for me, that's a central point from which I intend all my technical Aikido training take shape from. After that it's things like "ki-tricks:" finding a way to make someone pushing on me feel like they're pushing against a wall; I feel like they're pushing against the ground...when I'm doing it. It's not always so easy, particularly the less I train and the more I use my muscles day after day (my wife doesn't mind the trade-off:) ). Today however I did think to try and engage my center/hara and relax my body as I roto-hammered through part of a support footing. I had better control and power over a greater range of angle of attacks (certainly tired less quickly at any rate). Beyond my grip efforts, I moved the hammer around by moving my center as best I could. I know I tensed my shoulders quite a bit toward the end in particular. I often think along these lines when I'm cutting things too. Everything with a little in/yo consideration becomes a little easier: quicker and a little more powerful per effort made. I'm not good at whatever it is I call aiki, but it makes a profound difference when it appears I've done it.
That said I have no experience with any IMA people yet. Until I can meet with people who can reveal a deeper sense of aiki, I'm stuck with my own intuitions based on whatever it is I've learned so far.

tuturuhan
08-20-2008, 08:46 PM
I'm sure those of you who are arguing about "how to get aiki" are aware that "ai" means harmonizing and "ki" refers to life force. I'm sure you are also aware that "do" refers to the "way" or the path.

Each of these terms comes from the Chinese. Ki is Qi in chinese and "do" is Tao.

The Tao, in my opinion (and each of us has his/her opinion based on their experiences, insights and results) is a passage that is unexplainable and unknowing. Though, you internally "you know" when you are not on the path.

Given the fact that ki/qi is the life force...all of us have it...

rob_liberti
08-20-2008, 08:52 PM
I don't think anyone would say not to check something useful out like all the IMA stuff coming to light. If you have the time and access, I think everyone would say check it out.

That hasn't been my experience, but I remain cautiously optimistic..

Rob

rob_liberti
08-20-2008, 09:07 PM
I'm sure those of you who are arguing about "how to get aiki" are aware that "ai" means harmonizing and "ki" refers to life force. I'm sure you are also aware that "do" refers to the "way" or the path.

Each of these terms comes from the Chinese. Ki is Qi in chinese and "do" is Tao.

The Tao, in my opinion (and each of us has his/her opinion based on their experiences, insights and results) is a passage that is unexplainable and unknowing. Though, you internally "you know" when you are not on the path.

Given the fact that ki/qi is the life force...all of us have it...

I disagree entirely with this definition. In computer science for example there is a the difference between a composite and an aggregate. Looking at aiki as a composite is a mistake in depth which makes it a bit ironic in that aiki also was used to describe the okuden level of a sword system (and okugi means "depth").

I keep reading this same surface level description of ai and ki, and that's just not what aiki means when you put it together - especially in the martial arts context.

It reminds me of the difference between keiko and renshu. They both mean practice. But keiko has the meaning to practice in such a way that you get in touch with original mind/intuition.

Rob

Erick Mead
08-20-2008, 09:18 PM
This almost completely reverses the point I made in rebutting your post on another thread. Was this intentional? No. I quite specifically said that handling awkward loads MINDFULLY leads to good things. As opposed to merely reveling in the reckless power of youthful, mindless energy -- unconcerned with efficiency -- as is typical of most young men. Even they might learn that way if regularly forced to work while plum wore out.

I knew a wiry little Seabee could take sheets of drywall up a ladder like a squirrel. I have no problem seeing the wiry Japanese guy mopping the floor with you. It ain't about strength -- its about something that starts just past strength. His body was smarter than yours at that point. Learning the alphabet was necessary to writing "War and Peace" -- it was not sufficient to do so, however.

Anything can be done badly or mindlessly. Some start doing things mindfully because it is in their nature. Others are led to it by wisdom, example or circumstance. Some never are. Like anything else. Sounds like you had an example.

DH
08-20-2008, 09:30 PM
That hasn't been my experience, but I remain cautiously optimistic..

Rob
I think there is good reason to be optimistic. More and more, folks with an open and research oriented mindset are looking or making plans to get out and check it out. I remain very confident that folks will continue just as they have been doing-test it, and end up adopting this training back into their art.

I think all of us- once we can get away from worrying about who is right, and on to focusing and caring about what is right, allows the personaility aspects; rank, style, loyalty through good friendships, or worse wearing blinders about our arts etc, to go away and to 'look fresh" at material presented and just play.
Once we get folks to do that-you know what happens next. "Hey....thats veeery useful, how'd you do that again?" And it's one more who can go back and reinvigorate their own art-whatever that may be on their own terms.
So, yeah, I am optimistic.

tuturuhan
08-20-2008, 09:56 PM
I disagree entirely with this definition. In computer science for example there is a the difference between a composite and an aggregate. Looking at aiki as a composite is a mistake in depth which makes it a bit ironic in that aiki also was used to describe the okuden level of a sword system (and okugi means "depth").

I keep reading this same surface level description of ai and ki, and that's just not what aiki means when you put it together - especially in the martial arts context.

It reminds me of the difference between keiko and renshu. They both mean practice. But keiko has the meaning to practice in such a way that you get in touch with original mind/intuition.

Rob

Pretty established historical fact. Qi/Ki is "life force" Tao is chinese for do. Read any books on taoism. Read any definition of Ai Ki do as separate characters.

Erick Mead
08-20-2008, 10:18 PM
That.also denies any empirical findings from a set group out looking. You have a queer use of the word "empirical."

Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis. b. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws. 2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine. In other words, "empirical" relates to testing a defined principle that makes a prediction that can falsify the principle if it fails.

SOOoo define your principle and tells us what it predicts, how you would test that prediction and if it fails how it will falsify your principle.

a series of tests that can and has demonstrated one set -group b- (the internally trained guys) are doing things differently in their bodies that group a cannot do. I've just watched two weeks of coverage of any number of people from all over the world doing all SORTS of things with their bodies that I either can't imagine doing or certainly can't do to that degree. What does that mean? As in this context -- not much.

Further, upon hands on experience group a (aikiweb) has determined 100% that thy are converting to training this way or pursuing it in whatever fashion they can manage....Since it is right now either a 100% or very, very close to that-conversion rate of group a switching over to group b's internal training based methods. It began small, and it certainly keeps growing person by person. It is simply...truth. That group a those who didn't know or never trained this way, have completely converted to believing in internal power as THEE way to improve their aikido and overall martial game. They consider it a superior way to train. ...It is interesting that out from among themselves right here at aikiweb, they themselves as a community just keep on embracing upon contact-internal training. One after another, after another.
This doesn't even take into account folks from ebudo or from some internal Chinese martial art boards who...magically..having trained this way and felt it, have made the same findings.
I find it odd to see people not only accepting it, thats fine, but not even acknowledging the incredibly strange conversion rate. In any social group-study, or sport training method study -these new and burgeoning findings would be off the charts. Eric Hoffer, that "know nothing" longshoreman said it better than I can. So here ya go: The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonizing he is shaping the world in his own image. And whether we are to line up with him or against him, it is well that we should know all we can concerning his nature and potentialities....
...
The urge to escape our real self is also an urge to escape the rational and the obvious. The refusal to see ourselves as we are develops a distaste for facts and cold logic. There is no hope for the frustrated in the actual and the possible. Salvation can come to them only from the miraculous, which seeps through a crack in the iron wall of inexorable reality. They ask to be deceived. ... They are easily persuaded and led.
A doctrine insulates the devout not only against the realities around them but also against their own selves. The fanatical believer is not conscious of his envy, malice, pettiness and dishonesty. There is a wall of words between his consciousness and his real self.
...
When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths.

...Add a few drops of venom to a half truth and you have an absolute truth.

... You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

MM
08-21-2008, 07:05 AM
Anything can be done badly or mindlessly. Some start doing things mindfully because it is in their nature. Others are led to it by wisdom, example or circumstance. Some never are.

Yep, couldn't agree more that there are people who do things badly or mindlessly. Unfortunately, some don't take the time to experience their mindlessness firsthand. Sad for them because as the years speed by them, so do the people who are training.

MM
08-21-2008, 07:14 AM
I'm sure those of you who are arguing about "how to get aiki" are aware that "ai" means harmonizing and "ki" refers to life force. I'm sure you are also aware that "do" refers to the "way" or the path.

Each of these terms comes from the Chinese. Ki is Qi in chinese and "do" is Tao.

The Tao, in my opinion (and each of us has his/her opinion based on their experiences, insights and results) is a passage that is unexplainable and unknowing. Though, you internally "you know" when you are not on the path.

Given the fact that ki/qi is the life force...all of us have it...

That expresses the most basic, first year level view of things. Really basic, straight out of the dictionary stuff. How about giving us some examples of how Ueshiba viewed "aiki" in regards to older koryu definition versus Daito ryu definition versus his own changed definition? That might help get some people on the same page when talking about revelation vs intuited aiki.

Thanks,
Mark

MM
08-21-2008, 07:21 AM
Pretty established historical fact. Qi/Ki is "life force" Tao is chinese for do. Read any books on taoism. Read any definition of Ai Ki do as separate characters.

I agree it's a fairly established definition that qi/ki is "life force". However, that isn't all there is to qi/ki, historically or definitively. Since you've got quite a bit of training and are teaching, can you share the other definitions from history?

Upyu
08-21-2008, 07:24 AM
That expresses the most basic, first year level view of things. Really basic, straight out of the dictionary stuff. How about giving us some examples of how Ueshiba viewed "aiki" in regards to older koryu definition versus Daito ryu definition versus his own changed definition? That might help get some people on the same page when talking about revelation vs intuited aiki.

Thanks,
Mark

Yah but that would be too easy :D

Erick Mead
08-21-2008, 07:27 AM
Yep, couldn't agree more that there are people who do things badly or mindlessly. Unfortunately, some don't take the time to experience their mindlessness firsthand. Sad for them because as the years speed by them, so do the people who are training. Speeding to WHERE, exactly? If you have never been to your promised destination -- should you be in a hurry to go, and are sure you will like what you find when you get there? The travel brochures always look good. The reality is always more grimy (and often smelly, which the brochures never seem to get across). Speed has many characteristics. Among others, it blurs perception, and induces overconfidence.

I think there is even a fable on this point.

MM
08-21-2008, 07:32 AM
You have a queer use of the word "empirical."

In other words, "empirical" relates to testing a defined principle that makes a prediction that can falsify the principle if it fails.

SOOoo define your principle and tells us what it predicts, how you would test that prediction and if it fails how it will falsify your principle.



For being a supposedly intelligent person, you sure pick and choose your own definitions in a queer way.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empirical


Main Entry: em·pir·i·cal
Function: adjective
Date: 1569

1 : originating in or based on observation or experience <empirical data>

2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory <an empirical basis for the theory>

3 : capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment <empirical laws>

4 : of or relating to empiricism


SOOoo, taken all together, Dan's usage of the word is apt. Your view is not. It's really that simple. But, if you want to debate any of this, please open another thread because you're off topic and I'd rather talk about the original poster's topic.

Thanks,
Mark

Timothy WK
08-21-2008, 07:34 AM
We're starting to cross-post between discussions (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=214105), but oh well...

Look at this atricle by Tim Fong and Rob John (a good article BTW) on Aunkai and the first image of Akuzawa doing tenchijin. http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=699
He is in the posture of bearing under load. The second diagram below it shows two arches. What do arches do? Bear loads. Their use of tension to form continuous connection through the body is simulating the virtual bearing of such a load.
I look at Rob's (very good) descriptions and illustrations of Ark's exercises and what little has been divulged here of the manner of doing others such as shiko. From that it seems, visually and intuitively that you are simulating the condition of the body in a loaded condition -- but without the load...

Erick, I understand why you would say that, but you're simply wrong about what the exercises are doing.

An issue you've had all along is that you keep making assumptions about what people are doing or what their descriptions mean, and then making conclusions based on those assumptions. Your logic is not necessarily bad, but you're starting with faulty assumptions, thus your conclusions end up wrong.

Case in point:

While it's true that the Aunkai exercises place the body under a certain amount of strain or load, that's more an accident or collateral consequence.(*) If you look at IMA other than the Aunkai, you'll find that many exercises don't place any (overt) strain on the practitioner. For example, check out the "Eight Piece Brocade" qigong (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KJeyZ43i-xY)---5 of the 8 sets are performed standing upright in a "normal" posture.

I would argue that it's the shape of the exercise that's important.(**) The exercise places the practitioner in a particular alignment or "frame" (as the Aunkai folks like to say) that---along with the mental stuff I mentioned in my earlier post---facilitates a certain (subconscious) biomechanical response.

The purpose of these exercises is to learn to activate and develop these (subconscious) biomechanical functions. It is worth noting that while opinions vary on the best way to train the internals, clearly some (high-level) practitioners have acquired their skill without using high-strain methods. Thus it would appear that unlike normal muscle, adding resistance does not necessarily affect the overall rate and/or depth of development of these alternative biomechanics.(***)
__________

(*) Caveat #1: The strain of the exercises do contribute something to the overall experience, but it's not fundamental to internal training.
(**) Caveat #2: External "shape" is only important in as much as it is an expression or manifestation of internal dynamics. As has been said many times, it's possible to emulate the outward shape without the proper internal dynamics.
(***) Caveat #3: There is a place for adding "resistance" for tactical or practical purposes, but that type of training is tangential to general internal strength building.

MM
08-21-2008, 07:35 AM
Speeding to WHERE, exactly? If you have never been to your promised destination -- should you be in a hurry to go, and are sure you will like what you find when you get there? The travel brochures always look good. The reality is always more grimy (and often smelly, which the brochures never seem to get across). Speed has many characteristics. Among others, it blurs perception, and induces overconfidence.

I think there is even a fable on this point.

You've obviously reached a point where you'd rather debate words than the topic at hand. As I've stated in my last post, if you want to debate the words, please open another thread somewhere else. The topic at hand, in case you've forgotten, can be found in the title of the thread and here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=213883&postcount=1

Thank you,
Mark

Erick Mead
08-21-2008, 08:36 AM
SOOoo, taken all together, Dan's usage of the word is apt. Your view is not. It's really that simple. Taken all together that usage was in support of an express ad populum fallacy and the offered "empirical fact" was a argument from popularity preference ("more and more people prefer brand X") -- but you see what you wish to see.

As to topicality, the points I have made are in support of the "intuited" position drawn from ordinary activity done in a mindful way, and emphasizing the commitment to hard work and thought -- not secret doctrine. It is someone else who is proselytizing The Revelation (tm) (the (tm) is his usage, not mine), so this is all OT.

Erick Mead
08-21-2008, 08:59 AM
Erick, I understand why you would say that, but you're simply wrong about what the exercises are doing.

While it's true that the Aunkai exercises place the body under a certain amount of strain or load, that's more an accident or collateral consequence.(*) If you look at IMA other than the Aunkai, you'll find that many exercises don't place any (overt) strain on the practitioner. ...

I would argue that it's the shape of the exercise that's important.(**) The exercise places the practitioner in a particular alignment or "frame" (as the Aunkai folks like to say) that---along with the mental stuff I mentioned in my earlier post---facilitates a certain (subconscious) biomechanical response. Then we are agreeing -- and not arguing. The shapes you mention, particularly the spiral asagao motions and what I ahve alos analyzed in (what are the same but merely flattened in one plane ) cutting and gathering motions , as well as and the same point about spiral in shiko. All of those are present in the Eight-piece brocade.

One approach is additive -- the other is reductive. One approach starts with the presumptively "correct" shape and then adds mass/power/force/momentum to the "right" shape.

The other starts with the mass/power/momentum problem and reduces down to the most efficient shape.

The first is revelatory -- your have to have a prior understanding of the "shape". The second is intuitive -- you find the shape.

It ought to be the same shape in both cases. And not surprisingly it is and it is, mechanically speaking found in both the "loose" forms of pendular motion and in the "tight" forms of torsional shear.

Really, I am not reinventing wheels here -- I am just pointing out that all the round things that roll on roads are properly called "wheels."

Thus it would appear that unlike normal muscle, adding resistance does not necessarily affect the overall rate and/or depth of development of these alternative biomechanics.(***)The purpose of loading and resistance in the manner suggested, is NOT to build muscle or strength -- but to initially defeat it -- so as to get to right form and action for efficient movement.

Timothy WK
08-21-2008, 09:29 AM
One approach is additive -- the other is reductive. One approach starts with the presumptively "correct" shape and then adds mass/power/force/momentum to the "right" shape.

The other starts with the mass/power/momentum problem and reduces down to the most efficient shape.

The first is revelatory -- your have to have a prior understanding of the "shape". The second is intuitive -- you find the shape.
Erick, you are again making assumptions and not listening to what I was saying.

The "shape"---in conjunction with the mental stuff, that's important---facilitates a certain biomechanical response. It is that biomechanical response that is important. The "shape" has no value in and of itself---as far as internal training goes---other than as a conduit for these biomechanical functions.

If you don't start with the proper "shape" (and mental stuff!), you won't get the desired response. The "shape" is only a starting point. If you have to "find the shape" as you said, then you haven't even begun the exercise. (And that's the complaint with the "external-to-internal" paradigm, you spend a ton of time developing form/technique before you even get to start the internal aspects.)

ChrisMoses
08-21-2008, 10:53 AM
I disagree entirely with this definition. In computer science for example there is a the difference between a composite and an aggregate. Looking at aiki as a composite is a mistake in depth which makes it a bit ironic in that aiki also was used to describe the okuden level of a sword system (and okugi means "depth").

I keep reading this same surface level description of ai and ki, and that's just not what aiki means when you put it together - especially in the martial arts context.

Actually, Joseph makes a legitimate point. If you look at my thread on "Aikido no Kokoro" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12803&), one of the basic assertions by OSensei's son was that his father abandoned the older strategic term "aiki" and created a new understanding "aiKi" meaning to join with the universal life energy. It was that specific shift, both as a concept and as a training paradigm, that defined Aikido, making it a distinct art from Daito Ryu. To be clear, I'm not advocating that world view, it doesn't work for me at all actually. But it is one of the reasons that I don't consider myself to be doing aiKido, but rather Aiki-budo, something of a return to the pre-Ueshiba concept of aiki.

Erick Mead
08-21-2008, 11:31 AM
Actually, Joseph makes a legitimate point. If you look at my thread on "Aikido no Kokoro" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12803&), one of the basic assertions by OSensei's son was that his father abandoned the older strategic term "aiki" and created a new understanding "aiKi" meaning to join with the universal life energy. It was that specific shift, both as a concept and as a training paradigm, that defined Aikido, making it a distinct art from Daito Ryu. To be clear, I'm not advocating that world view, it doesn't work for me at all actually. But it is one of the reasons that I don't consider myself to be doing aiKido, but rather Aiki-budo, something of a return to the pre-Ueshiba concept of aiki.I am not begging a Ki-war, here, but the distinction can be made without making them at all exclusive. It depends on what your understanding of KI is in both the microcosm of engaged conflict and in the macrocosm.

If they are, in fact, the same thing -- then there is no abandonment, only progression in comprehension of the same reality. This is a valid position to hold, and my concept of physical KI is about as concrete as they come. My considered thought on the matter is that tendency-around-center actually defines both. The physical concept is everywhere the same and as a spiritual concept transcends culture. "God is an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere." (Alain de Lille). The operative point, physically and spiritually being that my opponent has no more privileged claim to be THE center of action than I do, and vice versa, but the center nevertheless defines all action -- at all scales.

DH
08-21-2008, 11:38 AM
Actually, Joseph makes a legitimate point. If you look at my thread on "Aikido no Kokoro", one of the basic assertions by OSensei's son was that his father abandoned the older strategic term "aiki" and created a new understanding "aiKi" meaning to join with the universal life energy. It was that specific shift, both as a concept and as a training paradigm, that defined Aikido, making it a distinct art from Daito Ryu. To be clear, I'm not advocating that world view, it doesn't work for me at all actually. But it is one of the reasons that I don't consider myself to be doing aiKido, but rather Aiki-budo, something of a return to the pre-Ueshiba concept of aiki.

Chris Moses

Well actually I think Ueshiba was pointing to Daito ryu aiki when he said Aiki as one with the universe.
I think he was talking all the time about the very training you are doing right now.
Its why Ueshiba could say what appeared to be fruity stuff like that -and then go train right wing assassins and military men.
I think only the less informed deshi-who admitted openly that they didn't have a clue what he was talking about -morphed the idea into the aikibunny, peace, love and make your own sandals time quasi religous movement it became here and there.
Thus I believe many aiki bunnies stole and misrepresented the training method- Ueshiba's greatest message of all. Missing that aiki is a training that exists in you, and once you have managed and balanced the universe, (contradictory forces) in you, can you do balance their forces in you and join with them or negate them thus letting aiki happen and restoring balance to you both and interact correctly with the world.
I was just re-reading some of Stans work where he re-states that these famous deshi mostly maxxed out at 4 or 5 yrs of part time training as Ueshiba was traveling allot.
Overall I think we have been hoodwinked by the second generation into a vastly lower level aikido than what Ueshiba was pointing to.
Which is why everyone who encounters this training basically stands there and says "Damn! I missed it."
We went through all the same stuff all these newer guys are going through ourselves. Truth is truth.
I'll be the first to say it cam to me by revelation. only after years was I capable of intuiting my own path and direction.
Which again is why all of Takedas amazing big 5 ;Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba, Hisa, and Tokimune all stated they too added to their 'revelation" from Sokaku and intuited their own paths from his excellent method.
I just don't see Ueshibas skills as different from them. Just a different "expression" from them.
Its all....aiki. Just not THAT aiki.

Erick Mead
08-21-2008, 12:05 PM
Erick, you are again making assumptions and not listening to what I was saying.

The "shape"---in conjunction with the mental stuff, that's important---facilitates a certain biomechanical response. It is that biomechanical response that is important. The "shape" has no value in and of itself---as far as internal training goes---other than as a conduit for these biomechanical functions. Again, we are not arguing about the importance of biomechnical functions. We seem to disagree about what those might be. Make a revelation of your conception of biomechanical function at issue, then. I have my candidates and I have written about them so I won't dwell here. From what I read on your forum you have boiled it down to two words: tensegrity and fascia.

Respectfully, that is a form of material organization and a material substance. I can take some strung together rods and fascia in good tensegrity and make it work like a column to perch on, a rope to swing or hang, a rod to whack with, a chain to beat with, a beam to span with, or a truss to stiffen, or any number of other functional structures. How do I know this? Because my body IS a tensegrity stucture and it can perform all of those functions using my fascia. Function is what it does, not what it is. Biomechanical function is determining what organic system is doing what and how.

What is the functional aspect of this mutable stuff that your system reveals?

If you don't start with the proper "shape" (and mental stuff!), you won't get the desired response. And if we screw up the shape as we are doing the exercise we have a similar problem. Whether we chip away the stone or pile on the clay, the philosophical debate about the image we are working on is whether it is naturally there to be revealed by the mind acting on the substance of reality or whether it is an arbitrary construct that must be revealed and then imposed on a recalcitrant nature. I am in the former camp when it comes to all art, martial or otherwise.

tuturuhan
08-21-2008, 12:07 PM
Well actually I think Ueshiba was pointing to Daito ryu aiki when he said Aiki as one with the universe.

Overall I think we have been hoodwinked by the second generation into a vastly lower level aikido than what Ueshiba was pointing to.
Which is why everyone who meets Mike, Ark, Me, and others basically stand there and say "Damn! I missed it."



Oftentimes, I see "beginners" that are impressed by "intermediates" professing to be more incredible than what they are.

People on this board have put up some amazing videos of extraordinary practitioners. By comparing and contrasting we can develop a metric by which we can do two things "to improve" our abilities: 1) We can study in depth the techniques aspiring to absorb mastery 2) We can place ourselves in comparison, seeing where we honestly "fit" within the spectrum of mastery.

I tire of those who profess skills but never back their words with proof. I for one am not impressed by "beginners" being impressed by "intermediates" who blatantly state " damn... you (20 million others who practice marital arts) missed it.

Fortunately, for me Rob Johns and Mike have stated on this forum that "Joe has "internal skills" in his upper body, though he lacks connection to the lower body". And that he (Rob Johns) knows someone who affirmed my skills. (Should any of us who have studied more than 20, 30, or 45 years be insulted by a young brash man judging my "experience, insights and knowledge" without having even met me? Nah, its all a matter of opinion.)

ChrisMoses
08-21-2008, 12:28 PM
I basically agree with you Dan. I think I need to clarify a few of my aikido world views however:

I don't think Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido ever existed (with the ironic possible exception of Shinei Taido). Aikido was inspired by him but created by his son, Tohei, Saito and a myriad of other students of his. It's telling to me that the folks that were most able to reproduce his feats of awesomeness (Tomiki, Inoue, Shioda...) were the ones swept under the rug of modern Aikido's history. That or they were specifically held out as ones NOT doing Aikido (Tomiki).

I do think that OSensei *believed* that he *was* joining with the universal Ki. Recall the incident in Hawaii where Tohei spent all night drinking and partying and then was still able to perform Ueshiba's tests and demos. Supposedly OSensei was furious. Why? Because it challenged his perception of why his art worked. Tohei's unclean body should not have been able to accomplish those things, the kami should have run kicking and screaming for the nearest waterfall and a good spirit cleansing. I believe that OSensei believed that he was indeed opening himself up to the universe's direction rather than cultivating or developing his own power/aiki.

Please keep in mind that I make a very real distinction between what OSensei was doing, and how he intellectualized what he was doing. This is where we agree and disagree. I agree with you about what he was doing, but I think that OSensei would disagree with you. ;)

So the defining feature of Aikido is what doomed his followers to mediocrity. At least that's how I see it this year. :)

Erick Mead
08-21-2008, 12:30 PM
Well actually I think Ueshiba was pointing to Daito ryu aiki when he said Aiki as one with the universe.
I think he was talking all the time about the very training you are doing right now.
Its why Ueshiba could say what appeared to be fruity stuff like that -and then go train right wing assassins and military men.That's like advocating breaking skulls as a system of revelation on the basis that Christianity was spread by a jack-booted Jew thug who willing served as an assassin and enforcer for the fascist state. That happens to be untrue -- but only because the thug assassin in question wore sandals, not boots at the time.

But Paul, like Ueshiba, saw this light one day ....

Of course, for Ueshiba it took three times, but then, he was probably more stubborn ... Like some other people I have heard tell of.

rob_liberti
08-21-2008, 12:32 PM
Actually, Joseph makes a legitimate point. If you look at my thread on "Aikido no Kokoro" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12803&), one of the basic assertions by OSensei's son was that his father abandoned the older strategic term "aiki" and created a new understanding "aiKi" meaning to join with the universal life energy. It was that specific shift, both as a concept and as a training paradigm, that defined Aikido, making it a distinct art from Daito Ryu. To be clear, I'm not advocating that world view, it doesn't work for me at all actually. But it is one of the reasons that I don't consider myself to be doing aiKido, but rather Aiki-budo, something of a return to the pre-Ueshiba concept of aiki.

Fair enough. Thanks for the explanation. I had no idea. I guess I'm a lot more interested in what Osensei meant than what Doshu (II) meant. Imagine if the current Doshu (III) stated that aikido now is to be done like tae kwon doo. I wouldn't even bat an eye.

Rob

MM
08-21-2008, 12:34 PM
I see grabbing, slapping and twisting mentioned; nothing about pushing. Is there another test that occured between Ueshiba and Tenryu? If so I'd be interested in reading about it.

Best,

Ron

Ron and all,

Just started a new thread concerning this topic. You can read about it here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14991

DH
08-21-2008, 12:39 PM
I basically agree with you Dan. I think I need to clarify a few of my aikido world views however:

I don't think Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido ever existed (with the ironic possible exception of Shinei Taido). Aikido was inspired by him but created by his son, Tohei, Saito and a myriad of other students of his. It's telling to me that the folks that were most able to reproduce his feats of awesomeness (Tomiki, Inoue, Shioda...) were the ones swept under the rug of modern Aikido's history. That or they were specifically held out as ones NOT doing Aikido (Tomiki).

....snip

Please keep in mind that I make a very real distinction between what OSensei was doing, and how he intellectualized what he was doing. This is where we agree and disagree. I agree with you about what he was doing, but I think that OSensei would disagree with you. ;)

So the defining feature of Aikido is what doomed his followers to mediocrity. At least that's how I see it this year. :)
I agree as well. And to clarify I was not demeaning those who chose the "aiki as quasi-religion." I actually like (at least the idea) what he was going after- if not the method used.
A friend pointed out that it appeared i was condeming their practice, when I'm not intending to at all. I think Ueshibas skill married his world view to change the damaging finishes in a very practical way that has been mostly lost.

So that said, Yes I agree with you on what Ueshiba was in fact doing, and he himself may have been firmly 'believing' it fell into the realm of the spiritual.
The only other caveate to that is people I know who can do it more or less know what they are doing. So was the language purposefully obscure, or a metaphore for a real direction?

Now, all that said, Chris, can you see the very real potential for actually fulfilling both of Ueshiba's goals in this type of training?
That the joining of aiki in the body to produce aiki on contact gives so much power, that in the end...we have far more potential to join and nuetralize an attacker with out doing them harm, than ever before?

ChrisMoses
08-21-2008, 12:56 PM
Now, all that said, Chris, can you see the very real potential for actually fulfilling both of Ueshiba's goals in this type of training?
That the joining of aiki in the body to produce aiki on contact gives so much power, that in the end...we have far more potential to join and nuetralize an attacker with out doing them harm, than ever before?

Depends what you see as his goals doesn't it? ;)

If you believe that the real driving goal in his worldview was to join with a Universal will and become a tool for that force, then I think you have to abandon the attempt to develop your own power/aiki since that could be seen as asserting ones ego over the will of the Universal Ki.

If the primary goal is having the ability to control violence and neutralize attacks, then yes, developing aiki within the practitioner becomes vital. I don't think this was actually OSensei's primary goal however. His association with violent revolutionary groups tells me that he's not opposed to some bloodletting if it happens in accord with the will of the Kami/Universal Ki.

Again this goes back to the question of OSensei's vision for Aikido, and what I consider my own training and goals to be. :)

DH
08-21-2008, 01:59 PM
Depends what you see as his goals doesn't it? ;)

1. If you believe that the real driving goal in his worldview was to join with a Universal will and become a tool for that force, then I think you have to abandon the attempt to develop your own power/aiki since that could be seen as asserting ones ego over the will of the Universal Ki.

2. If the primary goal is having the ability to control violence and neutralize attacks, then yes, developing aiki within the practitioner becomes vital. I don't think this was actually OSensei's primary goal however. His association with violent revolutionary groups tells me that he's not opposed to some bloodletting if it happens in accord with the will of the Kami/Universal Ki.

Again this goes back to the question of OSensei's vision for Aikido, and what I consider my own training and goals to be. :)
Well now
1. I see number one wholly in keeping with training for power without resorting to your ego in the sense that he stated it. Maintaining a profound sense of heaven / earth / man, central equilibrium, zero balance, (pick one) by maintaining opposing forces inside you will pretty much neutralize in coming force by in a sense getting out of the way and joining harmoniously with that force while pretty much sntading there right?. Thus power in held in balance neutralizes or zeroe's out and joins with force coming in and lets it go.
Or
2. Power added, or power interrupted, or power at speed can control, crush, kock out or otherwise dominate.

I see no difference
It becomes a spiritual choice, not a change of venue.They are all made manifest by the same thing. At anyone point you decide without changing...you.
I think the "how" of all of this was lost and morhped into the external movements; tankan, turning, spinning, irimi etc and much, most of the power and intent has gone.

ChrisMoses
08-21-2008, 02:18 PM
I think the "how" of all of this was lost and morhped into the external movements; tankan, turning, spinning, irimi etc and much, most of the power and intent has gone.

Totally agree. The other stuff is all just philosophy. That's why I'm still able to teach "Aikido" even though I don't consider what I'm doing to be "Aikido" anymore. :D

Allen Beebe
08-21-2008, 02:27 PM
Chris,

Why don't you get a TM on the name Aikido and then you'd . . .

still able to teach "Aikido" even though I don't consider what I'm doing to be "Aikido" anymore. :D

Now wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

;)

You could go around saying, "That's not Aikido!" And then if they argued, you could charge royalties or something!

:D

OK, lunch is over, back to work for Beebe!

Allen

ChrisMoses
08-21-2008, 02:45 PM
"Aikido? You thought I said I was a shihan in Aikido? No no no, it's "Eyekeedoe" totally different art, an offshoot of Saigo-ha Daito Ryu, not that Takeda DR crap..."

:cool:

gdandscompserv
08-21-2008, 03:42 PM
I'm so confused. I don't even know what art I'm practicing anymore.:D

DH
08-21-2008, 04:35 PM
I'm so confused. I don't even know what art I'm practicing anymore.:D
Sort of gives "Make your own Aikido" or "Make Aikido your own!" a whole new twist eh?

mathewjgano
08-21-2008, 04:40 PM
That hasn't been my experience, but I remain cautiously optimistic..

Rob
Well, we do all train for different reasons. I suppose what matters most is that folks who want to learn something, get the chance to. Folks who don't want to learn something, don't have to.
As far as the opportunity to get the word out about new ideas for training is concerned, at least we live in the information age. As has been pointed out, lots of folks have been able to begin finding access to a great variety of perspectives on these things.

mathewjgano
08-21-2008, 04:53 PM
So, regarding my post yesterday about roto-hammer style aiki...obviously it's hard to know for sure from a description, but how does it strike you folks? Proto-aiki, aiki, or non-aiki? I would put this kind of practice under the heading of intuited aiki, but do any of you feel confident enough to say whether it's one way or the other?
Take care (and thanks for the great food for thought),
Matt

MM
08-21-2008, 05:42 PM
So, regarding my post yesterday about roto-hammer style aiki...obviously it's hard to know for sure from a description, but how does it strike you folks? Proto-aiki, aiki, or non-aiki? I would put this kind of practice under the heading of intuited aiki, but do any of you feel confident enough to say whether it's one way or the other?
Take care (and thanks for the great food for thought),
Matt

My cousin and uncle are union carpenters. My uncle retired a few years back. Both can out-hammer me any day of the week. Both can work all day with hammers and have done so for weeks and months on end. Neither has aiki. They have found a way of working that is streamlined and efficient, but it isn't aiki in my view.

I've worked the farm with them years ago and you either find that streamlined and efficient way to work or you tire very quickly. But it never got me any closer to aiki.

But, that's all my experience. Other's might find things differently.

gdandscompserv
08-21-2008, 06:08 PM
Sort of gives "Make your own Aikido" or "Make Aikido your own!" a whole new twist eh?
Actually Dan, YOU have given me a whole new twist on things. YOU have given me so many things to think about. When you begin your uchi-deshi program let me know so I can send my son.:D

DH
08-21-2008, 06:16 PM
Actually Dan, YOU have given me a whole new twist on things. YOU have given me so many things to think about. When you begin your uchi-deshi program let me know so I can send my son.:D
Well I try. And I also at least try...to be nice about it. Its only budo after all. Life's too short. I prefer to make friends.
But listen , the heck with your son man, the learning curve on this is way shorter than what we were told. And its the best way to grow old, while kicking butt, that I know of. You need to get here or elsewhere and just start. And as time is marching by , there are more and more "groups" of people practicing this, so that in very short time it will have hubs or local practice groups. Thats sort of plan I keep formulating in my own mind.

mathewjgano
08-21-2008, 06:52 PM
My cousin and uncle are union carpenters. My uncle retired a few years back. Both can out-hammer me any day of the week. Both can work all day with hammers and have done so for weeks and months on end. Neither has aiki. They have found a way of working that is streamlined and efficient, but it isn't aiki in my view.

I've worked the farm with them years ago and you either find that streamlined and efficient way to work or you tire very quickly. But it never got me any closer to aiki.

But, that's all my experience. Other's might find things differently.

What you described fits with my own experiences in construction, but I'm not talking about pacing and muscle-building. I'd describe your cousin and uncle at being good at using their muscles. I'm trying to use something else to get my results, relatively poor though they may be.

TomW
08-21-2008, 09:48 PM
My cousin and uncle are union carpenters. My uncle retired a few years back. Both can out-hammer me any day of the week. Both can work all day with hammers and have done so for weeks and months on end. Neither has aiki. They have found a way of working that is streamlined and efficient, but it isn't aiki in my view.

I've worked the farm with them years ago and you either find that streamlined and efficient way to work or you tire very quickly. But it never got me any closer to aiki.

But, that's all my experience. Other's might find things differently.

That's my experience too, Mark. I was a carpenter for 10+ years, did it all, foundation to finish. I could pound nails all the day long, pack lumber, spread and finish concrete, you name it. I actually am a small, wiry, now former-Seabee who, back in the day, could pack plywood up a ladder like a squirrel. It wasn't because of aiki. :)

At the time, I worked with a guy who could make every one feel like they were standing still with out even working up a sweat. That wasn't because of aiki either. Sure was a great guy to work with though.:)

Budd
08-22-2008, 09:40 AM
Well and it's a disconnect between constantly trying to filter everything into what you think you know . .which is why I don't necessarily buy into the "intuited" aiki . . smacks too much of aiki as religion/philosophy with these tenets that can be everything/nothing or whatever in between that you want . .

Again, using O-Sensei as the model, it seems he concretely built up his physical skills and was then able to apply them to his worldview. I don't see there being shortcuts around this, but I do see the roadmap to these physical skills as having been garbled, misinterpreted and otherwise dilluted by those that had/have the full range of the best and worst of intentions.

So, then these physical skills, they have to be taught - where I see more disconnects is what they are versus aren't (and the biggest is "technique" versus a conditioned body - the hallmark of the internals AND, to my limited perspective, what enables all "technique"). And in being more and more exposed to "internal" training versus what's been shown more typically in mainstream aikido, judo, karate . . and in other types of competitive grappling . . "this stuff" is the goods, in my opinion. And it must be shown. And then obsessively practiced on your own . .and level set with other people. Rinse, repeat. I don't see any other way that makes any kind of sense.

And as some say, "But aikido (or insert any other art) is different!!" . . Sure, every art has it's own take on the basic skills, but in my opinion, you have to make sure that it's training and optimizing the basic (to advanced, depending on breadth and depth of how the skills are used in your art) "internal training" that most all Asian arts seem to be built around.

One could could just appeal to authority based on murky debate skills, rank . . or you could use this wonderful gift of mass communication to further your ability to seek and research . . get looking and meeting up, keep questioning - even the "so-called experts", form your personal truths from experience (and give yourself the opportunity to have experiences that give you exposure, really!), rather than what you get told and/or want to believe.

But then maybe it comes back to what you want . . .do you want to validate your own thoughts and impulses as "truth" somehow (is it true because of your belief, or do you test it)? Do you want to participate and belong? Do you want to be great?

Can you do all of these things? What is the appropriate role of intuition? To me, intuition comes from a logical leap based on what I know and have tested to be true . . so I keep questioning, seeking, testing . .trying, failing and trying again . . what a wonderful journey, though :)

mathewjgano
08-22-2008, 03:55 PM
To me, intuition comes from a logical leap based on what I know and have tested to be true . . so I keep questioning, seeking, testing . .trying, failing and trying again . . what a wonderful journey, though :)

I agree. Intuition usually comes from pre-existing sets of understanding in which new connections suddenly make sense.
Similar to the idea of soto (external/superficial) and uchi (internal/substantive) teaching, I think revealed and intuitive learning serve different functions. I think they should be considered as two aspects of the same thing: learning. One without the other is far more subjective and dependant upon unknown factors than both used together.

Blake Holtzen
08-22-2008, 09:41 PM
Well I try. And I also at least try...to be nice about it. Its only budo after all. Life's too short. I prefer to make friends.
But listen , the heck with your son man, the learning curve on this is way shorter than what we were told. And its the best way to grow old, while kicking butt, that I know of. You need to get here or elsewhere and just start. And as time is marching by , there are more and more "groups" of people practicing this, so that in very short time it will have hubs or local practice groups. Thats sort of plan I keep formulating in my own mind.

Okay, okay. I will be the one to start the Pensacola, Florida hub of training as soon as Dan lets me come by and train... and many years of practicing.

Shoot, I would even be the go-between for Dan and Erick to see if it is possible to amicably reconcile their "opposing" views.

Yes, I know, it is dangerous but, " Blessed are the peacemakers".

So, lets see, Im 25 now...train hard for 6-7 years... that will be 32... then hope I have some skills bythen and then start a group. I can see it now...

-Blake

Dan Austin
08-22-2008, 11:12 PM
I've worked the farm with them years ago and you either find that streamlined and efficient way to work or you tire very quickly. But it never got me any closer to aiki.

But, that's all my experience. Other's might find things differently.

No, everybody who has verified skills agrees that just doing manual labor doesn't magically give you skills, but that won't stop people without a shame gene from continuing on as if they haven't been totally shut down at every turn.

Erick Mead
08-23-2008, 09:55 PM
No, everybody who has verified skills agrees that 4 out of 5 Dentists surveyed say .... :D that effectively shutting down a point in discussion requires something a bit more articulated than variations on the theme of "Nuh-uh!" or cheerleading the like of "Sweep the leg, Johnny!" ... just doing manual labor doesn't magically give you skills, but that won't stop people without a shame gene from continuing on as if they haven't been totally shut down at every turn.Ad baculum. Let me briefly summarize the shamelessness and give you a better opportunity to put the shame on. Probably do me good. Thank you sir! May I have another? ';)

Mindful of the limitations of the forum, over a period of time, drawing from a consistent interpretation of traditional sources (revelation) (Baien, basic mechanics etc.) interacting with my own physical experience (intuition), I have :

1) stated a physical basis for applied KI (moment/angular momentum)

Rebuttal? Show me wrong .

2) from that I have described a functional operation of aiki, in terms both spatial and temporal, deeply dependent on physical juji -- 90-degree resonant/harmonic relationships between fundamentally cyclic processes (static and dynamic -- to which gyrodynamics apply )

Rebuttal? Show me wrong.

3) I have suggested the functions of aiki in exploiting the human biological processes of balance and reflexive action, offensively and defensively.

Admittedly, the third point is still in development. But I am open to criticism. Gimme what you got.

4) The IMA exercises specifically describe putting the body into simulated load conditions -- or in very specific and identifiable shapes that form ideal load paths. It was formerly common that people developed the body in exhaustive labor simultaneously with having to actively defend oneself. That situation has largely vanished in urban settings. It is increasingly rare elsewhere. Fewer suffer routine physical attack. Fewer do that kind of hard labor.

The earlier pattern of harder more violent living naturally predisposed SOME people for an intuitive grasp of the martial application of those things used for other purposes -- once exposed to the martial applications (a point missed by all who commented on the point). No one said that hauling haybales makes a god-warrior.

You may join in Harden's rhetoric and an uncritical opinion to oppose the point -- but his own admitted history fully supports it. Any lack of basic "body skills" in the post-modern urban settings is much more simply explained than the inexplicable loss of arcane, mysterious knowledge. Rule of Occam. It isn't arcane or mysterious, it just requires careful attention and lots of hard, awkward work. Various attempts at IMA are all systematizing an historical evolution. It is simpler to recapitulate the elements of the historical process. Chop wood -- carry water. Zanshin.

If you have a different conclusion then simply show where the above argument(s) may fail. There are details in my blog or any number of posts.

Dan Austin
08-23-2008, 11:04 PM
Admittedly, the third point is still in development. But I am open to criticism. Gimme what you got.


OK, if you insist. You, and your teacher apparently, insult Harden but you keep talking instead of responding to his direct questions to you on that point. No one agrees that manual labor, salsa dancing, farming, or anything else provides the right foundation, which should surprise no one, but you keep on. No one agrees with you about any of it, no one vouches for your skill at anything other than endless typing, but you keep on. Worse, whenever anyone tries to provide substantive details that people might be interested in, you come and pollute it with your arrogant delusional babbling to the effect that you know it all already. There is something seriously wrong with you on an emotional level.

Until recently I was of the opinion that providing information in public is all good because it should benefit the truly interested even at the expense of feeding the egotistical loons who only want to improve their own standing in whatever little pond they swim in. But your demeanor is so utterly off-putting that I would advise Dan H., Rob John, Rob Liberti, Mike S (who wisely seems to have abandoned these discussions) and anyone who has any real information on how to train internal skills just to take it all underground at this point. It's actually worth it to make it harder for everyone else to find just because of people like you. You don't know anything, and it deserves to remain that way.

Erick Mead
08-24-2008, 09:56 AM
No one agrees with you about any of it, no one vouches for your skill at anything other than endless typing, but you keep on. Worse, whenever anyone tries to provide substantive details that people might be interested in, you come and pollute it with your arrogant delusional babbling to the effect that you know it all already. There is something seriously wrong with you on an emotional level.If you were addressing the third point -- then you didn't. Rebuttal? No? I thought not. Ad hominem. Emotional? Interesting choice. I do not know a very great deal; but I know what I see; I categorize what I feel. I find ideas that fit what I see and feel. I don't know anything else beyond that. I suspect no one else does either. I laid out my four points of "shameless" discussion on elements that fit the "revelation" and "intuited" aspects of the thread. I simply asked that if my arguments are so trivial, then please rebut them.

So to avoid offense, let me see if I get the rules right. The standard for discussion is:

1) everyone agrees in advance
2) everyone must be "vouched" for agreement before speaking
3) anyone who does not agree is "delusional"
4) to say anything in violation of these rules is "arrogant;" and
5) everyone with a differing point of view (gasp) is emotionally unstable and incoherent ?

Do I have that right?

Why discuss anything?:)

DH
08-24-2008, 10:45 AM
No Erick, the rules are-I would imagine- to say something that actually makes sense, or hasn't already been talked to death by third year students. Then, people will respond in hopes of all parties holding up their end of the discussion.
I think it's -generally- agreed that you spending allot of time offering detailed analysis, and exhaustively long explanation with nuance and analogy is essentially meaningless. Allot of people are growing suspect that you don't know what you're talking about regarding aiki. So reading more ideas of whether its a revelation or intuitive -from your perspective has no meaning to those readers. Now your reducing yourself to debating the debate points or the discussion style.
I keep asking you to help us all out and allow me or someone who is known to possess these skils and can display aiki to come down so you and your teacher can teach me or them where and what we lack. IThen all these discussions can move forward, and the vetting process for you will be over. I don't know why you abhore the vetting process. It is PURE budo, all the way. It always was a vetting process. Folks heard so and so teacher had "it" and were told by word of mouth, then in print medium, now by the net. Aikiweb is just another version of budo people talking and researching. Just like it always has been with budo people.
Did you talk to your teacher yet?

MM
08-25-2008, 01:16 PM
Well actually I think Ueshiba was pointing to Daito ryu aiki when he said Aiki as one with the universe.


There were some articles in AikiNews from Daito ryu people that talked about harmony and blending type stuff in Daito ryu. Wish I could remember where it was. Somewhere before issue 72 for sure.


Thus I believe many aiki bunnies stole and misrepresented the


Someone here on AikiWeb (I think) said something about fluffy aikibunnies and fire-breathing aikidragons. :) Unless we're talking about Sluggy's rabbit or Monty Python's rabbit, I think having some substance to aikido is a better way to go.


I was just re-reading some of Stans work where he re-states that these famous deshi mostly maxxed out at 4 or 5 yrs of part time training as Ueshiba was traveling allot.


Amazing how short of a timeframe they had before becoming very good. Even Ueshiba only took about 5 years before he was teaching and being looked at as a great martial artist.

Speaking of ... no one ever talks about Takeda and how his skills progressed. I've looked but there's very little information on him really. Just how great he was, but he had to have progressed like everyone else. The Takeda in 1915 when he met Ueshiba had to have been less than the Takeda of 1920. Five years is a long time. I just wonder why none of the big 5 ever talked about how Takeda changed. I find that weird.


I just don't see Ueshibas skills as different from them. Just a different "expression" from them.
Its all....aiki. Just not THAT aiki.

Probably why Ueshiba could look at Shioda and Tomiki and still say they were doing aikido even though they "looked" completely different in techniques. :)

ChrisMoses
08-25-2008, 04:29 PM
Amazing how short of a timeframe they had before becoming very good. Even Ueshiba only took about 5 years before he was teaching and being looked at as a great martial artist.

Some good points Mark. I think it's important to remember that nearly all of the guys you're referring to in the above quote were already seriously good *competitive* judoka though before ever meeting Ueshiba. The training path in aiki is (or at least could be expected to be) different if you step onto the mat not knowing how to take a forward roll, or if you're a yondan from judo college. It's not JUST 4 years with the right guy.