PDA

View Full Version : Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


Mike Sigman
09-20-2008, 01:53 PM
Noticed this video of Takeo Nikishido on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GGWo8tNXIM

Bearing in mind that there is a lot of hokeyness involved in many of the demo's and the Uke's tend to be dive-bunnies, I'd have to say that Takeo Nikishido at least exhibits enough to tell me that he indeed has a very good grasp on how to use ki/kokyu-skills to do "aiki". Not that I'm judging from on high... I just mean that there is enough information via the video to make me personally feel sure without being able to feel him personally, etc., to make the call.

T, Nishido was a student of Kodo Horikawa, and of course Horikawa was a student of Sokaku Takeda. Interestingly enough, at least to me, Nikishido appears to enjoy playing with the "aiki" manipulations in very much the same way that Gozo Shioda does in some of his videos. And Shioda supposedly had *some* training under Horikawa, also.

Using the above information, I'd back-interpolate differently that Dan Harden does but arrive at the same conclusion... the bulk of Ueshiba's skills in "aiki" almost certainly derived from Takeda, although I'd hesitate a bit before I'd say that all the ki-training methods came from Takeda. And the ki-training methods are important; there are a number of methods to training these skills and Ueshiba appears to use the more classically "soft" approach than I personally see in most of the DR experts. But that's a personal opinion based on my own background.

Still, it's interesting seeing someone revel in "aiki" tricks in a way that compares to (but is showier than) Shioda's.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

DH
09-21-2008, 11:20 PM
Bearing in mind that there is a lot of hokeyness involved in many of the demo's and the Uke's tend to be dive-bunnies, I'd have to say that Takeo Nikishido at least exhibits enough to tell me that he indeed has a very good grasp on how to use ki/kokyu-skills to do "aiki". Not that I'm judging from on high... I just mean that there is enough information via the video to make me personally feel sure without being able to feel him personally, etc., to make the call.

To me it’s like watching paint dry. As a display? I'll judge it and willingly back it up physically. This guy’s not that good. Of course being a Japanese art the Uke's are a mess and once again exhibiting pre-conditioned responses –this time ala Daito ryu ukemi. Under resistive stress and a more live environment, you would see a drastically different video. Sadly the art will forever be limited by those who train this way. His uke’s are holding him back from further progress. You can see it in his body. Their attacks are one-side weighted and using muscle and then receiving his aiki without changing it. If you could get him to train with better, non cooperative people-who themselves know aiki and how to use it in active resistance- then through the realties of "aiki-meeting aiki" he would, by necessity, have to soften his approach to his art. In other words, over time His uke’s would- through active changing resistance- help him to learn to use his body with a more fluid connection to absorb, emanate, be changing and playing with their energy and thereby cover a broader range of attacks. I've no issue with his intent causing aiki age rise and aiki sage through his spine, as well as his connection with their center on contact. It's just one directional and limited.

The Japanese model in what the uke's do with that energy is a false premise and exhibits and contributes to an artifice in both themselves and the art in general. There are several ways I can think of to quite literally take him apart where he stands.
I've no patience for that Japanese pre-conditioned reaction crap and I yell at people for doing it all the time. No one I have trained, will ever respond to that level of input in that “trained monkey” fashion. They will change force instantly and keep coming. They train anti-aiki to be a natural occurring state of conditioned movement in their body. That said...don’t assume everyone trains like this guy.

Using the above information, I'd back-interpolate differently that Dan Harden does but arrive at the same conclusion... the bulk of Ueshiba's skills in "aiki" almost certainly derived from Takeda, although I'd hesitate a bit before I'd say that all the ki-training methods came from Takeda. And the ki-training methods are important; there are a number of methods to training these skills and Ueshiba appears to use the more classically "soft" approach than I personally see in most of the DR experts. But that's a personal opinion based on my own background.
I've always recognized you were interpolating that aspect-what was in DR that transferred to Aikido...from a distance. While I respect the body of knowledge you bring to the table, I never discussed that specific aspect “from a distance” I had a different view having trained in both arts for years. I had detailed reasons for drawing my "conclusions" one of which is the soft approach was in the body method of Daito ryu already. Aiki in/yo ho (breath power) and fure aiki is extremely soft with great potential for “listening” and changing energy. I see a natural progression-not an improvement-from Ueshiba’s DR to his free flow aiki…do. Strip away his spiritual beliefs and his thoughts of being one with the gods, even with his modifications in solo training that we’ve all done, and what remains are the body skills of DR shining through.

Mike Sigman
09-23-2008, 09:10 AM
All I'm saying is something like "regardless of how poor/good/etc this guy's calligraphy, it's still recognizable as "calligraphy". No matter how poor Nishikido's effectiveness actually is, the fact that he even knows how to manipulate Uke like this tells me that his teacher/lineage had some valid stuff. And it's valid "aiki" controls that come via Horikawa and thence Takeda. So Takeda used undoubtedly pretty good aiki... hence Ueshiba certainly got his aiki ability from Takeda.

All that really interested me was in seeing a sort of bogus demonstration which, low and behold, had the guy demonstrating a series of honest and knowledgeable *possibilites* in aiki demonstrations. I was also struck that the fooling around variations looked a lot like some of the stuff the Shioda did later on.

FWIW

Mike

DH
09-23-2008, 10:16 AM
Hi Mike
Yes I got that. It just isn't news...to me. It would be the same as me discoving connection and aiki in the ICMA and what your reply would be to me.
Here's the connection to from Takeda to Shioda a bit more clearly
Takeda-Ueshiba-Shioda (when Ueshiba was teaching pure Daito ryu)
Takeda-Kodo-Shioda when Shioda went to Kodo to refine his aiki
It escaped no ones attention (in the Kodo-kia) when Shioda magically showed up doing Kodo kai moves in those demonstrations. All of those things he is famous for; the chest bounce, the rising aiki, the back bump, the finger thing, the toe thing, the knee swivel? Every...one..of them is a rote Kodokai thing that appeared in his repertoire after his study there. Although many of these things appear in the ICMA as well, he didn't go train -there- to get them.

So forgetting the video, the more important point remains to consider that there are ways to demonstrate the power- without all the cooperative Ukemi. Yes it will look different, but since it is viable in any format, from MMA to push hands (yes I know you know that as well-here I am talking past you to others) it can be universal. Make no mistake there are those in Daito ryu who know this full-well.
Mores the point is that it takes training in more open formats to have it be used better in open formats-it improves your understanding. You need to take the next step past the "one step" aiki waza into continual change in movement. For that reason that fellow, were he to walk into my dojo wouldn't be abe to do his shtick- as most everyone here would cancel him out by the way they both receive, change, generate power and carry their bodies. Continual change in movement makes you take the next step and be softer in your approach and maintain connection, at speed and at will.

Again talking past you- It's why I keep stating that internal power /aiki are two sides of a coin. Internal power is the vehicle that creates aiki. People can start getting aiki without good internal power and get stuck, here or there and learn in part, and stumble along getting some things and not others, and still other people are waiting for a connection that doesn't come or wondering why they can't get things to work on everyone. Many are still approaching aiki by doing things to others.
The more you work on the trained body-to get internal power-the more powerful your aiki becomes almost by default. Then....you train and learn aiki skills. Not the waza, but skill in using internal power in connection; what to do, and what not to do.

Anyway, It get difficult having the discussions stuck on Bagua, Taiji, Aikido, Daito ryu etc., with folks zeroed in making it fit their mold.

Mike Sigman
09-23-2008, 10:52 AM
Hi Mike
Yes I got that. It just isn't news...to me. It would be the same as me discoving connection and aiki in the ICMA and what your reply would be to me.Well, it's just proof from another angle. It's also interesting to watch yet another martial-arts guy with obvious access to the same basic ki/qi/jin/kokyu skills. The real question in my mind when I saw this yet-another example on YouTube was "just how the hell many people in Japan have these skills that we don't know about?" and "how many actually had these skills in the old days?". Ellis and I have mused about this on the side and I defer to his opinions, since I don't have a strong feel for the broader Japanese martial-arts communities the way that he does.

I began to have a suspicion that I was underestimating how much of this knowledge was in JMA's during the first year I started posting on AikiWeb for info (what... 3-4 years ago?) and too much information came in from different sources (which caused me to stick around and dig some more). When I started seeing video like this one of Kuroda:

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

and then this current one of Nishikido's and other similar ones, I knew we were in trouble. This stuff is much more widely spread in Japan than we thought. Donn Draeger's vague misunderstandings about how much ki and kiai, etc., was in Japan were probably, in my opinion, because he wasn't shown how to do these things. He, like most of us, was under the impression that there wasn't much there. Heck.... there seems to be plenty there, it's just that only a few are shown. Again, Ellis would be the one to talk about that.

The point is that all this stuff is actually alive and well in Japan... the West is just way behind grasping this fact. The interesting thing is that the total skills of these things take years to fully develop, so watching the very sluggish attitude of "someday I'm going to take a weekend workshop on this stuff and add it to my already-fine martial arts" is pretty interesting. Gives me the grins. :D

FWIW

Mike

Demetrio Cereijo
09-23-2008, 01:15 PM
When I started seeing video like this one of Kuroda...

And Kuroda leads to the "famous" Kono:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2XwYN9NO50

Now, back to lurking mode... :)

Toby Threadgill
09-23-2008, 02:47 PM
Demetrio,

FWIW.....Yoshinori Kono bases much of what he now demonstrates on his past association with Tetsuzan Kuroda.

I have a very good relationship with Kuroda sensei and consider him the best martial artist I've ever laid hands on. His abilities are truly fantastic. As impressive as he his on video, in person he is simply mind blowing. I had a 4 1/2 hour dinner with him in Japan last summer where we discussed the intricacies of martial body mechanics. He can be very forthcoming and open about his training methods and pedagogy. Many concepts and theories Takamura sensei explained to me never fully jelled in my mind until discussing them with Kuroda sensei after Takamura sensei died. It was like flashbulbs going off in my mind after I met him the first time back in 2001.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Mike Sigman
09-23-2008, 03:03 PM
And Kuroda leads to the "famous" Kono:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2XwYN9NO50
Again, regardless of the proficiency, etc., this is all about the same basic general-principles that we've been discussing over and over. Once you know how to do these things well enough, it all looks like the same stuff. Of course, my usual caveats about there being levels and grades of ability and knowledge apply. Same song, different tune. ;)

FWIW

Mike

DH
09-23-2008, 03:35 PM
How I see it is
Skills are one thing-many people have them.
Internal power and aiki are another-amny people can;t really effectively fight with them.
Hence they can be and usually are two totally different topics. They can also overlap
And last
Power and Aiki can come to the fore and dominate even trained skill. If you find rare individuals who have immense power in aiki with clear skills in weapons and empty hand skills covering kata and grappling.....train with them.

Mike Sigman
09-23-2008, 03:50 PM
How I see it is
skills are one thing.
Internal power and aiki are another. Traditionally, "aiki" is going to only be an application/usage of "ki" power (which has a number of terms applied to it by different arts); "aiki" wouldn't be a separate subject where it would be called, for instance, "the aiki power".

"Jin" is the force itself, although it can be correctly called "qi", since it is considered to be the physical manifestation of qi. Tohei and others in Aikido traditionally refer to the power itself as "ki" or more limitedly as "kokyu" or other similar variant-names (like "rei-ki") of the ki-skills. "Aiki" is usually reserved in usage to the way Inaba Sensei described it. But if you look at "internal power" and "ki" they are traditionally inseparable... the one supports the other, although it's possible to have the general ki without having the specific jin/kokyu-type skills, as Tohei demonstrated by pushing over the zen monks.

Traditionally, though, "ki" and all it's facets are considered one general subject. Most of the skills and throws in the 3 videos discussed so far, Nishikido, Kuroda, and Kono could generally be called "aiki", but still the usages are simply variations of "ki power" or "kokyu power"; if the hands are used to do the application then technically the power could be called "elbow power" for easily apparent reasons.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
09-23-2008, 03:51 PM
Traditionally, "aiki" is going to only be an application/usage of "ki" power (which has a number of terms applied to it by different arts); "aiki" wouldn't be a separate subject where it would be called, for instance, "the aiki power".

"Jin" is the force itself, although it can be correctly called "qi", since it is considered to be the physical manifestation of qi. Tohei and others in Aikido traditionally refer to the power itself as "ki" or more limitedly as "kokyu" or other similar variant-names (like "rei-ki") of the ki-skills. "Aiki" is usually reserved in usage to the way Inaba Sensei described it (make the opponent's power go to zero). But if you look at "internal power" and "ki" they are traditionally inseparable... the one supports the other, although it's possible to have the general ki without having the specific jin/kokyu-type skills, as Tohei demonstrated by pushing over the zen monks.

Traditionally, though, "ki" and all it's facets are considered one general subject. Most of the skills and throws in the 3 videos discussed so far, Nishikido, Kuroda, and Kono could generally be called "aiki", but still the usages are simply variations of "ki power" or "kokyu power"; if the hands are used to do the application then technically the power could be called "elbow power" for easily apparent reasons.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

DH
09-23-2008, 03:59 PM
Traditionally, "aiki" is going to only be an application/usage of "ki" power (which has a number of terms applied to it by different arts); "aiki" wouldn't be a separate subject where it would be called, for instance, "the aiki power".

"Jin" is the force itself, although it can be correctly called "qi", since it is considered to be the physical manifestation of qi. Tohei and others in Aikido traditionally refer to the power itself as "ki" or more limitedly as "kokyu" or other similar variant-names (like "rei-ki") of the ki-skills. "Aiki" is usually reserved in usage to the way Inaba Sensei described it. But if you look at "internal power" and "ki" they are traditionally inseparable... the one supports the other, although it's possible to have the general ki without having the specific jin/kokyu-type skills, as Tohei demonstrated by pushing over the zen monks.

Traditionally, though, "ki" and all it's facets are considered one general subject. Most of the skills and throws in the 3 videos discussed so far, Nishikido, Kuroda, and Kono could generally be called "aiki", but still the usages are simply variations of "ki power" or "kokyu power"; if the hands are used to do the application then technically the power could be called "elbow power" for easily apparent reasons.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

I guess your talking to the greater crowd as I said the same thing.

"skills are one thing.
Internal power and aiki are another."
As I outlined in my earlier post I was talking about them as three different things.
Martial skills
Internal power
Aiki

DH
09-23-2008, 04:23 PM
Well, it's just proof from another angle. It's also interesting to watch yet another martial-arts guy with obvious access to the same basic ki/qi/jin/kokyu skills. The real question in my mind when I saw this yet-another example on YouTube was "just how the hell many people in Japan have these skills that we don't know about?" and "how many actually had these skills in the old days?"...
snip ...and then this current one of Nishikido's and other similar ones, I knew we were in trouble.
Trouble? To whom?
I knew it was there. Many others in DR know its there. Others in different arts know they have some methods or components of internal training. I think the real trouble is those who cannot or will not teach it.
Other than that even with those who do, they may not know themselves just what depth or to what extent their arts have it compared to others if they haven't gone out and compared with others. Some are- others might not even care. Their loss.
At any rate all of this was never and is no surprise to "everyone."

Nothing I have seen so far will compare to people who train these things extensively and as a separate and definitive body of work. In that sense, no, I don't think they are as strong and well developed as many may think they are. Case in point is that you can stop the best DR men in the world who may have decades of training in Daito ryu with the aiki you can learn in five years or so if you train in certain ways to do so.
It just depends on how you train and what you train. I said this right here four years ago about a short term learning curve that could challange aikido shihan not only in the use of aiki, but in ability to fight. We all know how that turned out.
Here now I have new people who have been training for just a year and their own teachers are asking "What in thee hell they are doing to make that aiki effect?"
So I would underscore specific body training over art specific training any day of the week.
But I'd be delighted to be surprised.

This stuff is much more widely spread in Japan than we thought. Donn Draeger's vague misunderstandings about how much ki and kiai, etc., was in Japan were probably, in my opinion, because he wasn't shown how to do these things. He, like most of us, was under the impression that there wasn't much there.
Draeger studied with Wang Chu Shin for 2-3 years and needed no convincing-of these things- as he felt and saw Wang do things...er...up close and personal- that he could not explain and he obviously wanted. From what I was told, No, he didn't ever really get it. But a friend of his who trained with him under Wang could do some interesting things.;)

Heck.... there seems to be plenty there, it's just that only a few are shown. Again, Ellis would be the one to talk about that.
Uhm...okay;)
There is so much there that Ellis and many others missed and didn't have the slightest inkling of-this according to his own written words and discussions- that all due respect to him-I don't think Ellis would ever consider himself a source on this topic. Hell with that..I know he wouldn't He would cringe at that.

I think most everyone would cringe at being considered a source or some sort of expert. Ouch!
So here again, I'd seriously caution anyone to believe anyone who claims they know this material no matter wat they say.It still needs to be felt in those who think they know it to any degree. And that includes those who can write about in exquisite detail. You like to say pooh. I say pooh to some who write on lists with precision and have had their descriptions…approved by the group. Who absolutely stunk up the place in person. IHTBF, all the way.

As far as Japan goes it is everywhere. I am less concerned with that, I am more concerned with if their students got to learn it-as a group.

The reason I brought up the Fighting spirit of Japan years ago (Ellis and I playfully argue over who cited it first-I did:cool: ) was that an old judoka showed me some things he had learned at the kodokan, and since this fellow was also a Daito ryu teacher it was fascinating to talk about some surprising comparisons. No, he didn't consider it aiki, but it was all jin skills with the use of ground paths and non-dedicated weight transfer in empty-gi work. So I...cough...had a *reason* cough...to go looking in Judo books, and there it was, and surprisingly with a tie-in to Judo and aikijujutsu of all things.
Next up was a Japanese sho-sho ryu teacher who had atemi, and ate waza, that was all jin skills as well. He could nail you, but trying to get in to throw him just wasn't going to happen. His students? All muscle.

Last, let's not forget that Arks little old Japanese man was a Yagyu shingen guy who showed him a series of solo training exercises for internal power.

The point is that all this stuff is actually alive and well in Japan... the West is just way behind grasping this fact.

So of course its alive in Japan. I just think percentage wise it --is- more dead than alive. That may be on purpose or it may be the way it always was for the simple reason that folks were not shown, or they didn't get it or a combination of the two. I have seen those with power with great difficulty in articulating what to do. There is so much that is taught by practice and feel and you either get it or you don't. Couple that with things being gokui and you're just not going to find out unless you have some friendships in the right places.
Or want to go train in a classical art for long time. Either that or go find someone who has it and who is able to teach it in an articulate and clear fashion.
Here now, I balance these things I saw, trained in and felt with thers with what I know now and realize they were missing so much in the way they moved. They knew component and parts. Maybe we all do.
The interesting thing is that the total skills of these things take years to fully develop, so watching the very sluggish attitude of "someday I'm going to take a weekend workshop on this stuff and add it to my already-fine martial arts" is pretty interesting. Gives me the grins. :D
Can I hear an Amen!

Demetrio Cereijo
09-23-2008, 09:07 PM
Demetrio,

FWIW.....Yoshinori Kono bases much of what he now demonstrates on his past association with Tetsuzan Kuroda.

Mr. Threadgill,

Maybe the word "leads" was not the most appropiate; I was trying to point to the relationship between Kuroda Sensei and Kono Yoshinori who is a big proponent of the "it", or at least his version, via DVD's, seminars and articles in magazines, but not as if Kono Y. was the source of Kuroda Sensei body skills.

PS. I still owe you a lot of beers.

gdandscompserv
09-23-2008, 10:18 PM
And Kuroda leads to the "famous" Kono:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2XwYN9NO50
Looks like a class at Okinawa Aikikai. Sensei use to work on that stuff alot. I was too busy collecting techniques for my little box to pay attention to good basics like that. Well, live and learn.

DH
09-24-2008, 12:14 AM
I'd have to feel Kuroda or see more of him. I like what he does with the sword, I'm not impressed with the body work I've seen so far.
The Kono stuff -his attacking of grips-via the mechanical connection of hand / wrist / arm and dealing with force vectors view leverage is all jujutsu. I'm not impressed in any way from what I have seen.
Where anyone sees this as "high level" is beyond me. It's more like "Sensei, what do we do in technique #27b. when the Uke grabs our arm from underneath instead of on top...yawn:rolleyes: .

Jim Sorrentino
09-24-2008, 08:50 AM
Hello Dan,I'd have to feel Kuroda or see more of him. I like what he does with the sword, I'm not impressed with the body work I've seen so far.I am still swamped at work, so I have to limit my posts to Bakerian brevity. :) Seriously, would you please post a link to a video showing body work that does impress you? Also, it would be helpful if you would state why the body work in the video you select impresses you.

Please note that I am not asking you to post a video of yourself.

Thanks in advance.

Sincerely,

Jim

DH
09-24-2008, 09:08 AM
I did in the Chen Bing video thread. I also posted a video of Liu Chengde.
I don't consider them a beneficial learning tool. Even with hands-on teaching, and point-by-point structural corrections while standing, it still it takes time. From there you have movement- which is harder still. Even were I to film whole classes, no one watching me correct people while standing would be able to adjust their bodies that way. And in motion? You wouldn't see it if you don't how to look for it.
That said, and as annoying as it can sometimes be, when you know what to look for, the failures are all over the place.

How about you post a video of you?

Rennis Buchner
09-24-2008, 09:33 AM
The Kono stuff -.......(snip) ...... I'm not impressed in any way from what I have seen.
Where anyone sees this as "high level" is beyond me.

You're not alone. In fact your comments above are pretty much an exact copy of the most of the comments I've heard about him here in Japan.

Rennis

Jim Sorrentino
09-24-2008, 10:27 AM
Hello Dan,I did in the Chen Bing video thread. I also posted a video of Liu Chengde.You're quite right - I should have been more specific: would you please post a link to a video of traditional Japanese Martial Arts showing body work that does impress you? Even were I to film whole classes, no one watching me correct people while standing would be able to adjust their bodies that way. And in motion? You wouldn't see it if you don't how to look for it.Again, I must remind you that I am not asking you to post a video of yourself --- or your classes, for that matter.

You wouldn't see it if you don't [know] how to look for it. That said, and as annoying as it can sometimes be, when you know what to look for, the failures are all over the place.Please describe how to look for it, and specifically what you are looking for. Also, because we have never met, I am not sure how you would know anything about my ability to see good, bad, or indifferent motion. Whether I can do it is not the issue here - I freely admit that I am a beginner. But if "it has to be felt" before it can be seen, well, I have felt it. While I am most interested in learning how to do it, I will happily accept any guidance that may be available about learning how to see it as well. How about you post a video of you?Oh, please! You have an entire thread devoted to the question of whether you will post a video --- isn't that enough? Like Cyrano, I barely know how to respond. Here are some possibilities:

1) The Humorous: I'll show you mine if you show me yours. And because you have 1,167 posts on AikiWeb to my paltry 148, you should go first.

2) The Humble: I am but a raw beginner, and I would not want to waste your time by inviting you to watch my bumbling efforts.

3) The Earnest: Do you really want to see a video of me? Will you please give me some feedback, based on what you see, on how I can improve?

But I prefer the Honest, however: No, thank you for asking. I agree completely with your reasons (as you stated them in the "Why Dan Should Post Videos" thread) for not posting a video of yourself. Also, because I will not post videos of myself, I never offer any criticism (or praise) of the videos of those who do post them. But I do try to learn from the observations of others more intrepid in this arena than I.

This is much more time than I intended to spend on this matter. You stated that you were not impressed with what you saw of Kuroda's body work. Therefore, I asked you for an example of a video of traditional Japanese Martial Arts showing body work that impresses you. If you're got one, great, please share it. If not, please just say so, and the thread can progress. Thanks, either way.

Sincerely,

Jim

tuturuhan
09-24-2008, 10:50 AM
[QUOTE=Jim Sorrentino;216779]Hello Dan,You're quite right - I should have been more specific: would you please post a link to a video of traditional Japanese Martial Arts showing body work that does impress you? Again, I must remind you that I am not asking you to post a video of yourself --- or your classes, for that matter.

Please describe how to look for it, and specifically what you are looking for. Also, because we have never met, I am not sure how you would know anything about my ability to see good, bad, or indifferent motion.

Jim,

Finally!!!

I've been waiting for someone to comment about this peculiar thread. Two guys who profess "I don't put up videos of myself" because you "need to feel" IT, who then profess a critique of OTHERS who do put up videos...is so DOUBLE STANDARD.

How can these two guys tell if the OTHERS have "IT" by watching their videos? Yet, it is impossible for US to determine if they have "IT"...as such THEY DON'T PUT UP VIDEOS OF THEMSELVES.

Though I am quite happy to see that Dan and Mike...don't agree on what they SEE as IT. By the way Mike...I agree with you...the guy in the tape does have IT!!!

Best,
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Toby Threadgill
09-24-2008, 11:11 AM
Hi Rennis,

I'm likewise unimpressed with Kono due to experiences outside that video. Despite his cooperation with Kuroda, he is no Kuroda. Kono's a reconstructor and I think that's what led Kuroda to end his association with him. In short, Kuroda's into budo, Kono's "into" Kono....

On high level technique......

I have felt high level technique from many, most obviously Takamura sensei but this also includes several top notch Daito ryu shihan, aikido shihan. Don Angier, Ushiro Kenji, Tetsuzan Kuroda, Mikhail Ryabko, Vladimir Vasiliev etc...

Is it all the same? No. Each manifest their advanced application of waza in different in way. Kuroda takes your center immediately with a very soft touch. It's like an encounter with a ghost and unlike what I've felt from anyone in Daito ryu. I'm not saying its necessarily better, but it is distinctly different. Laying hands on Ushiro Kenji feels like grabbing a gorilla. ( Okay you got him, what are you going to do with him?) All the others are great, each in their unique way. My point is that people often become fixated on what "they" consider high level. If you like X-ryu okuden-aiki-myoden-voodoo, good for you, go do it. However, don't dismiss everything else thats different out of hand. Keep an open mind and realize you'll never learn it all. Myopic evaluation of others is intellectual failure and the stuff of defeat.

FWIW....I'm still bugging Kuroda sensei to teach me Kotengu ryu. I'd love to learn his Tamiya ryu and Komagawa Kaishin ryu but I've got too much on my plate with TSYR....And besides, my severly abused knees would explode attempting Tamiya ryu......dammit.

Respects,

Toby

Aikibu
09-24-2008, 12:12 PM
Hi Rennis,

I'm likewise unimpressed with Kono due to experiences outside that video. Despite his cooperation with Kuroda, he is no Kuroda. Kono's a reconstructor and I think that's what led Kuroda to end his association with him. In short, Kuroda's into budo, Kono's "into" Kono....

On high level technique......

I have felt high level technique from many, most obviously Takamura sensei but this also includes several top notch Daito ryu shihan, aikido shihan. Don Angier, Ushiro Kenji, Tetsuzan Kuroda, Mikhail Ryabko, Vladimir Vasiliev etc...

Is it all the same? No. Each manifest their advanced application of waza in different in way. Kuroda takes your center immediately with a very soft touch. It's like an encounter with a ghost and unlike what I've felt from anyone in Daito ryu. I'm not saying its necessarily better, but it is distinctly different. Laying hands on Ushiro Kenji feels like grabbing a gorilla. ( Okay you got him, what are you going to do with him?) All the others are great, each in their unique way. My point is that people often become fixated on what "they" consider high level. If you like X-ryu okuden-aiki-myoden-voodoo, good for you, go do it. However, don't dismiss everything else thats different out of hand. Keep an open mind and realize you'll never learn it all. Myopic evaluation of others is intellectual failure and the stuff of defeat.

Toby

Amen!!! You mean to say there is more than one "advanced" method of Aiki??? LOL

NOW we're getting somewhere. :)

I sure wish we could have another "Aiki" Expo. I have "felt" more than one "Aiki Expression" myself and those Expos had allot to do with that.

I sure hope to meet you again someday Sensei Threadgill. :)

William Hazen

MM
09-24-2008, 12:16 PM
On high level technique......

I have felt high level technique from many, most obviously Takamura sensei but this also includes several top notch Daito ryu shihan, aikido shihan. Don Angier, Ushiro Kenji, Tetsuzan Kuroda, Mikhail Ryabko, Vladimir Vasiliev etc...

Is it all the same? No. Each manifest their advanced application of waza in different in way. Kuroda takes your center immediately with a very soft touch. It's like an encounter with a ghost and unlike what I've felt from anyone in Daito ryu. I'm not saying its necessarily better, but it is distinctly different. Laying hands on Ushiro Kenji feels like grabbing a gorilla. ( Okay you got him, what are you going to do with him?) All the others are great, each in their unique way. My point is that people often become fixated on what "they" consider high level. If you like X-ryu okuden-aiki-myoden-voodoo, good for you, go do it. However, don't dismiss everything else thats different out of hand. Keep an open mind and realize you'll never learn it all. Myopic evaluation of others is intellectual failure and the stuff of defeat.

Respects,

Toby

Hi Toby,
I agree to keep an open mind and not to dismiss things that are different.

But, I do think that the answer to the question you wrote, "Is it all the same?" would be a yes and a no. You answered "no" in that the people quoted handled the "application" of waza differently. I think most of us would have a hard time arguing that. :)

It's the "yes" part of the answer that tends to draw debate. I haven't had nearly the experiences of working with as many people as you have listed, and I'm a beginner at this aiki stuff ... however I've been able to work with both Mike Sigman and Dan Harden.

Two completely different applicational usages of these skills. Which makes it even more disconcerting when I'm listening to Mike teach and he says nearly the exact thing Dan has said. Double disconcerting when I'm listening to Dan and he's saying nearly the same thing that Mike has said.

How people use these skills -- very different. The base/core skill itself? I think that it's very close to being the same, if not the same. The training methods sometimes vary, but then again, sometimes they are scarily close to being the exact same thing.

And a couple of days ago, I talked with someone about training and how waza/jujutsu/etc factored into skill advancement. The person I was talking to mentioned a correlation between training in jujutsu type stuff and just training core body skills. Long story short ... the idea is -- What if waza is detrimental to building core body skills?

If you're using waza to build these skills, it's the long road. If it's a road at all. But, if you're building these skills and then working primarily in waza to use them ... will you get better? Wasn't it Sagawa that shut down his dojo just to work on solo exercises? Did he come to this realization?

I can look at someone who is doing solo exercises and paired partner work to build this skill and in 3-5 years, they are very strong (in the budo sense, not in the physical sense). If at 10-15, they start doing waza 75% of the time, then just how much core skill are they building compared to say, doing waza only 25% of the time with the rest focused on core body skills? It really makes you wonder just how much is in "waza" and how much is in core conditioning. Does waza impair the advancement of skill?

Mike Sigman
09-24-2008, 01:23 PM
[QUOTE=Joseph Arriola;216781 By the way Mike...I agree with you...the guy in the tape does have IT!!!
[/QUOTE]If anyone wants to look, I specifically avoided any comments about how good anyone was, since that wasn't the issue.

As a sidenote, my comment about the availability of skills in Japan was meant to be a comparison with what is available in China. I didn't expect much.... but there's more than I thought. Do I think it is a lot, comparatively? No.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Demetrio Cereijo
09-24-2008, 01:36 PM
I sure wish we could have another "Aiki" Expo. I have "felt" more than one "Aiki Expression" myself and those Expos had allot to do with that.

Like the last one?

Worth attending for sure.
:)

rob_liberti
09-24-2008, 03:25 PM
Though I am quite happy to see that Dan and Mike...don't agree on what they SEE as IT.

I do not believe this is a correct statement.

My understanding is that we all agree that Mike saw it.

Dan wrote:
Their attacks are one-side weighted and using muscle and then receiving his aiki without changing it.

[I bolded the "aiki".]

My impression is that this means he also see IT but is not too impressed with that particular application of aiki.

Rob

tuturuhan
09-24-2008, 03:43 PM
I do not believe this is a correct statement.

My understanding is that we all agree that Mike saw it.

Dan wrote:

[I bolded the "aiki".]

My impression is that this means he also see IT but is not too impressed with that particular application of aiki.

Rob

Mike says Nishikido has IT and Dan says "he is not very good". Seems like a point of contention to me.

As for Kuroda, Dan has "to feel him".

From what I see, Kuroda is very very good.

Best,
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Ron Tisdale
09-24-2008, 03:48 PM
As there may be many levels of any skill, of course there may be many levels of "it". Just because someone has a clue, doesn't mean they are the next Einstein...

B,
R

Cady Goldfield
09-24-2008, 04:17 PM
Joseph,
"Good" is a relative term, as is "very, very good."
One man's "good" is another man's "mediocre."



Or is that, "One man's fish is another man's poisson?"

DH
09-24-2008, 04:22 PM
Ron and Rob...not surprisingly you got my meaning exactly.

a) I agreed with Mike, I just expanded that the guy wasn't as good at "it" as he could be.
b) Further I stated things he could so to improve-not the least of which were methods that could be found here and why they were better to train than that...stuff.
c) I also agree with Mikes last post- that you will most probably find a deeper use of internal power in Chinese arts...IF...you can find someone who has it and ...IF...you can find someone who knows how to teach it. One of the reason why that is not just the level of knowledge but also so skill in using it fluidly in exchange, and absolute requirement to growth.

That said I think where Mike and I may disagree is that there are deeper levels than what he has seen so far in some fella's in the Japanese arts who took their training to levels outside of the inherent weaknesses found in kata.

DH
09-24-2008, 05:13 PM
On high level technique......
I have felt high level technique from many, most obviously Takamura sensei but this also includes several top notch Daito ryu shihan, aikido shihan. Don Angier, Ushiro Kenji, Tetsuzan Kuroda, Mikhail Ryabko, Vladimir Vasiliev etc...

Is it all the same? No. Each manifest their advanced application of waza in different in way. Kuroda takes your center immediately with a very soft touch. It's like an encounter with a ghost and unlike what I've felt from anyone in Daito ryu. I'm not saying its necessarily better, but it is distinctly different. Laying hands on Ushiro Kenji feels like grabbing a gorilla. ( Okay you got him, what are you going to do with him?) All the others are great, each in their unique way. My point is that people often become fixated on what "they" consider high level. If you like X-ryu okuden-aiki-myoden-voodoo, good for you, go do it. However, don't dismiss everything else thats different out of hand. Keep an open mind and realize you'll never learn it all. Myopic evaluation of others is intellectual failure and the stuff of defeat.
Toby

I think some of the guys here should address these comments as they have described -us- as;
Feeling ghosty, taking your center at a touch, feeling like a gorilla-all in the same men. Not to mention getting hit or what happens after you do grab that ghosty / gorilla -it usually ends up with you being thrown-not them.

It isn't about high level "technique," or expression of "technique." Technique and highly refined expressions of singular skills is what many guys have been getting away with for years. while they are great skills, they are none-the-less not "it." They can be partial understanding of it, or just simple waza, doing what waza is desgined to do- successfully mask inherent weakness in form or movements. Rob and Gleason have excellent definitions and theories on "The why of waza."
Anyway, so with having a partial understanding It's easy to impress someone who doesn't understand a broader scope of these skills and how they are all joined. It's also why no one wants to claim to be an expert yet!!!. Most see them and how deep they probably can go. That said they aren't meant to exist as partial skills. Each of these things are all manifistations of a body trained in internal power, used in internal skills or aiki. Anyone who "has it" should be able to express them all to the degree they "have it." More pointedly, "having it," means you are, by default, expressing it in balance. thus you are displaying all of these skills...as they exist in balance as one-as you grow in them.
What makes you ghosty is supported by what makes you feel like a gorilla, what makes you hit like a truck, makes you damn near impossible to throw, which make you very sticky and trapping and powerhouse when you hit.
Again though for those who may not know, and may be expressing residual doubts it is best to hear it from dozens who have described these phenomena all in single people's "feel" on meeting them. Their understanding of...it...is inescapable on touch.

Another case in point is people who do have it can and have played with Boxers, Judoka, MMA, Aikido, Daito ryu, Bagua, Taiji etc., all the while exhibiting those qualities of softness and power as one.
Doing push hands with serious players-demonstrates these things well; ghosty, trapping, leading, heavy, taking of center at a touch and....slam time.

So, back to methods.
If you don't have internal power training in your art, you are missing the finest training of your life. If you do, but you are training it in kata only, and worse as one-step kata, instead of in a fluid exchange with those who can absorb, change, redirect, capture, and throw you, using the same types of skills you possess? You will remain stuck and limited. Further, you will be susceptible to being taken apart by someone who trains at a level that is more dynamic and involves fluid non-cooperation..

Toby Threadgill
09-24-2008, 06:28 PM
Dan,

First you say this, reiterating that there's no "club" and no one attempting to evaluate everyone else.


Also, if you go back and read there is no one offering or willing to be an arbiter for judging everyone.

Then you post something like this?

I think some of the guys here should address these comments as they have described -us- as;
Feeling ghosty, taking your center at a touch, feeling like a gorilla-all in the same men. Not to mention getting hit or what happens after you do grab that ghosty / gorilla -it usually ends up with you being thrown-not them.

It isn't about high level "technique," or expression of "technique." Technique and highly refined expressions of singular skills is what many guys have been getting away with for years. while they are great skills, they are none-the-less not "it." They can be partial understanding of it, or just simple waza, doing what waza is desgined to do- successfully mask inherent weakness in form or movements. Rob and Gleason have excellent definitions and theories on "The why of waza."
Anyway, so with having a partial understanding It's easy to impress someone who doesn't understand a broader scope of these skills and how they are all joined. It's also why no one wants to claim to be an expert yet!!!. Most see them and how deep they probably can go. That said they aren't meant to exist as partial skills. Each of these things are all manifistations of a body trained in internal power, used in internal skills or aiki. Anyone who "has it" should be able to express them all to the degree they "have it." More pointedly, "having it," means you are, by default, expressing it in balance. thus you are displaying all of these skills...as they exist in balance as one-as you grow in them.
What makes you ghosty is supported by what makes you feel like a gorilla, what makes you hit like a truck, makes you damn near impossible to throw, which make you very sticky and trapping and powerhouse when you hit.
Again though for those who may not know, and may be expressing residual doubts it is best to hear it from dozens who have described these phenomena all in single people's "feel" on meeting them. Their understanding of...it...is inescapable on touch.

Another case in point is people who do have it can and have played with Boxers, Judoka, MMA, Aikido, Daito ryu, Bagua, Taiji etc., all the while exhibiting those qualities of softness and power as one.
Doing push hands with serious players-demonstrates these things well; ghosty, trapping, leading, heavy, taking of center at a touch and....slam time.

So, back to methods.
If you don't have internal power training in your art, you are missing the finest training of your life. If you do, but you are training it in kata only, and worse as one-step kata, instead of in a fluid exchange with those who can absorb, change, redirect, capture, and throw you, using the same types of skills you possess? You will remain stuck and limited. Further, you will be susceptible to being taken apart by someone who trains at a level that is more dynamic and involves fluid non-cooperation..

Frankly I'm stumped at the communication disconnect exhibited in threads like this. It makes any attempt at substantive engagement pointless and a waste of my valuable time. So thanks for reminding why I don't have the time to offer my DIRECT, not speculative insights.

Toby Threadgill

DH
09-24-2008, 06:51 PM
What?
Wait a minute-hold on. Now you have me confused.

I don't know why that troubled -you- at all.
You were discussing "high level technique" and named it so. Not internal power or aiki. And how those guys each exhibited different characteristics in technique that were excellent and maybe should not be dismissed out of hand. I furthered that by suggesting that tecnique is what happens after, and anyone who has internal power should be manifesting all of them, not just one.

The material -I- chose to discuss- was outside of your entire discussion of technique Toby. To draw a comparison between waza and internal power. Waza, be it high level or not has a place but it isn't what the thread was about. So my disscusion was an add-on to a waza discussion. It is also why I referred to Rob and Bill who have some excellent theories on why and how even high level techniques evolved. It more or less is along the lines that the waza served to cover structural weakness, but often in singular planes as a means to protect or cover a movement.
Internal power is training that goes beyond "high level technique" and can join them as one as it covers all aspects and all planes as one.
To which-I was hoping you would have agreed. Since you have internal training in your art, I am sure you see where they support and are all the same things at least on a basic level. If anything I assumed you would have agreed and responded favorably to.

Wait...did you read the post as if I was refering -to- you? I wasn't. Other wise I would have started with
Toby.....
I was making a point about "high level techniques" be they great or not, and seeing them in a different light through internals which can manifest all of those qualities, without technique. Make more sense?

rob_liberti
09-24-2008, 07:44 PM
To some people, Nishikido is a guy who made some progress with aiki...

To other people, I'm sure the following are FACTS:

Nishikido doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

Nishikido does not sleep. He waits.

Nishikido doesn’t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.

(I stole this from my favorite lines about Chuck Norris.)

-Rob

Marc Abrams
09-24-2008, 08:15 PM
I simply consider myself a beginner just trying to learn better. I do not profess the absolute knowledge as to THE means and methods to achieve the internal skills that few people have, can display and are out there teaching us.

One of those people whom I study with and mentioned in this thread is Ushiro Sensei. He STRONGLY believes that the path to true and deep understanding of martial arts is through PROPER transmission in and training in kata. Myself and two other gentleman are finishing a translation of his second book into English, which powerfully addresses this belief. This book should be available in the US by the end of this year.

Dan, Rob and others strongly believe that this type of training is not a good path to pursue. I simply ask that all of us keep an open mind towards understanding how we might "advance" in our pursuit of the "internal," particularly since no one out there has proclaimed themselves to be prophets of the "true way."

To those who still have an open mind and would like to experience personally the value of proper transmission in and training in kata, Ushiro Sensei will be in New York in October of this year. Space is still available for this seminar. If you are interested, visit my website at www.aasbk.com and go to the events section.

Personally, I do personal training, Aikido training directly with Imaizumi Sensei, teach Aikido, train under Howard Popkin Sensei and train under Ushiro Sensei. I cannot say with any degree of authority or certainty as to what is causing what to get better. I retain an open mind to experience what people have to offer. Maybe we should simply leave it as to what we do and refrain from assuming what other people can or cannot do, offer or cannot offer, teach or cannot teach. It is easy to pass judgment from the back rows or our self-proclaimed perches. The value of certain people's opinions has added a lot to my thinking and how I train (Dan and Mike are two such people). The presumptuous opinions without direct knowledge of others simply turns what could be valuable threads into "dead-enders."

Marc Abrams

stan baker
09-24-2008, 10:32 PM
Hi Marc,

My taiji teacher Wang Hai Jun is basically saying the same thing. Do the form to develope internal power. Push hands and application is not that important. I think Dan is working on a more direct route,he is really on to something. The main point, solo training and knowing what and how to practice. not so easy, but Dan is trying to make it more clear.

stan

HL1978
09-24-2008, 10:54 PM
Hi Marc,

My taiji teacher Wang Hai Jun is basically saying the same thing. Do the form to develope internal power. Push hands and application is not that important. I think Dan is working on a more direct route,he is really on to something. The main point, solo training and knowing what and how to practice. not so easy, but Dan is trying to make it more clear.

stan

I wouldn't totally discount push hands once you have some understanding of these skills. If when doing push hands you are trying to tie up your opponent's limbs, or overly using a lot of muscle it doesn't help train these skills. If you are using it as a means of understanding how to ground, negate, or redirect forces solely utilizing internal strength gained through solo training or other partner exercises, it is a valuable exercise applicable to grappling as it is merely a short form of stand up grappling.

DH
09-24-2008, 11:57 PM
I wouldn't totally discount push hands once you have some understanding of these skills. If when doing push hands you are trying to tie up your opponent's limbs, or overly using a lot of muscle it doesn't help train these skills. If you are using it as a means of understanding how to ground, negate, or redirect forces solely utilizing internal strength gained through solo training or other partner exercises, it is a valuable exercise applicable to grappling as it is merely a short form of stand up grappling.

Boy we have to be more careful and clear. I have to slow down and collect my thoughts before I post so quickly and off-handedly.
Hunter
Stan meant the exact opposite of what you thought he was saying too. Ouch! You are in fact-agreeing with Stan. He advocates push hands and what you can do with it.
He was dismayed, as are many I have met in ICMA that -their- teachers were telling them-"Do more forms, do more forms." (kata). And they don't really make gains like they could. So, when Stan asked his teachers (after he started finally getting more power in training in more direct methods here) he got "Do more forms."
SO he he watched me with some very serious ICMA master level teachers, he bore witness over two years here to teachers from a host of arts train in direct methods here and he is literally watching them gain power, softness and sensitivty. So he has some serious thoughts as to kata and form being a much slower training model, in light of witnessing the resut of more direct methods.
Stan, if I messed that up, my apologies
Gees

DH
09-25-2008, 01:05 AM
I think this further speaks to the issue about Kata, forms, and art specific "fixed ideas of training through kata" quite well. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=216835&postcount=29

In the end is it
Just -a- way?
The only way?
The best way?
Or the slowest way after all.
Or even a more less efficient way -as there is more than likely a deeper body of skills than found in one art.

Marc Abrams
09-25-2008, 07:52 AM
I think this further speaks to the issue about Kata, forms, and art specific "fixed ideas of training through kata" quite well. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=216835&postcount=29

In the end is it
Just -a- way?
The only way?
The best way?
Or the slowest way after all.
Or even a more less efficient way -as there is more than likely a deeper body of skills than found in one art.

Dan:

Your conclusions seem to based on your limited knowledge and experience base. You have found a path that works for you based upon your limited knowledge and experience base. I am simply suggesting that there may be other paths that are deeper than the ones that you thought were the same and did not provide you with the answers that you were looking for.

I think that you have found a path that provides you and those who study with you, a lot of valuable training. I personally would love to find the time to make it up to your barn because you do have things of value to offer. I simply do not jump to generalized conclusions as quickly as you do. We both look to test out what we are doing and learning. This path leads me to open my eyes as to how much is really out there and how there are MANY different paths to gain valuable knowledge and skills.

Respectfully,

Marc Abrams

HL1978
09-25-2008, 08:33 AM
I think this further speaks to the issue about Kata, forms, and art specific "fixed ideas of training through kata" quite well. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=216835&postcount=29

In the end is it
Just -a- way?
The only way?
The best way?
Or the slowest way after all.
Or even a more less efficient way -as there is more than likely a deeper body of skills than found in one art.

My opinion is that its "just a way", in that it is a way to transition from training these skills in static postures to being able to maintain the same structure, internal pressure etc while in motion. If a specific art's curriculum doesn't contain solo training as discussed here (standing, aunkai exercises just to name a few), I guess it could be considered the only way to develop this type of strength if you haven't experienced anything outside one's art , if you are lucky enough to have an instructor who knows what they are doing pushing on you to show you how to create those same feedings you wish to maintain.

Of course for people willing to look outside their own art, I think your last comment applies.

DH
09-25-2008, 09:27 AM
Dan:
Your conclusions seem to based on your limited knowledge and experience base. You have found a path that works for you based upon your limited knowledge and experience base. I am simply suggesting that there may be other paths that are deeper than the ones that you thought were the same and did not provide you with the answers that you were looking for.

I think that you have found a path that provides you and those who study with you, a lot of valuable training. I personally would love to find the time to make it up to your barn because you do have things of value to offer. I simply do not jump to generalized conclusions as quickly as you do. We both look to test out what we are doing and learning. This path leads me to open my eyes as to how much is really out there and how there are MANY different paths to gain valuable knowledge and skills.

Respectfully,
Marc Abrams

Marc
Where or what are my conclusions?
How do "conclusions" enter into questions about Kata training only to learn internal power such as those I asked above?
In the end is it
Just -a- way?
The only way?
The best way?
Or the slowest way after all.
Or even a more less efficient way -as there is more than likely a deeper body of skills than found in one art.
Those seem to me, to be open to all "conclusions."

How are your recommendations to go and experience any different than mine-repeated like a tape loop.
Go feel, go test. Go find out.

As to experiences, those do tend to produce opinions through touch and feel and observation. However, the call to everyone's *truths* being of equal and even recognition rings as hollow as singular truths.
Why? Both smack of protectionism or pre-set prejudice. There is no better way to train? No specific and faster path to internal power and aiki? Really? How are --you- sure?

There are those who dearly love whatever it is they may doing and the longer they vested in doing it, the more they want validation of it. I'm not interested in that mentality- as it is self-fulfilling. The good ones don't care about win lose or draw and are not willing to let something they are vested in overrule a better body of work. They are seeking for the best method that produces results- replicable results.
I'm not speaking to everybody. I was never interested in doing that in the first place. Of the thousands who are reading there are hundreds who got out to do that very thing over the last few years with different people willing to teach in an open fashion their "truth" of shorter path to power that for some very weird, and highly improbable coincidence seems to work in …oh…dozens of Asian arts. Is that just a coincidence? No, I don't think so,
Again they are finding those results are universal in use in the arts. And individuals and arts are of a secondary concern. That said my experiences continue to lead me to favor the Chinese side of things over the Japanese in terms of paths to power.
Anyway, as I continue to say if someone says they understand and have internal power go feel it. How or what you choose to do with it is your business. I've advocated those in the aiki arts use it to strengthen and make them among the most powerful arts in the world.

If you or others think they already are? Well, I go back to the advice that- I -.keep giving unrelentedly... go out and feel and test. There are those who are currently doing the later to those who are convinced of the former.
Others will continue to keep closed in their transmission and only teach to their students. It's always been that way. I remain neutral to that. I'd just encourage those who are looking for internal power and aiki to continue -where allowed- to feel and test them as well whenever they can, to discern between waza, and power.
Make no mistake. I donlt point to me and never have. I keep pointing to go test and find out about these skills from anyone who may have them. And there are hundreds of my posts here to support that statement. I'm bold enough to state that I am speaking to people who are -in the end-going to make themselves among the next generation of the most powerful traditional Martial Artist alive, maybe among the most powerful in any venue, as these skills are the single greatest advantage there is.

tuturuhan
09-25-2008, 09:47 AM
Hi Rennis,

On high level technique......

I have felt high level technique from many, most obviously Takamura sensei but this also includes several top notch Daito ryu shihan, aikido shihan. Don Angier, Ushiro Kenji, Tetsuzan Kuroda, Mikhail Ryabko, Vladimir Vasiliev etc...

Is it all the same? No. Each manifest their advanced application of waza in different in way. Kuroda takes your center immediately with a very soft touch. It's like an encounter with a ghost and unlike what I've felt from anyone in Daito ryu. I'm not saying its necessarily better, but it is distinctly different. Laying hands on Ushiro Kenji feels like grabbing a gorilla. ( Okay you got him, what are you going to do with him?) All the others are great, each in their unique way. My point is that people often become fixated on what "they" consider high level. If you like X-ryu okuden-aiki-myoden-voodoo, good for you, go do it. However, don't dismiss everything else thats different out of hand. Keep an open mind and realize you'll never learn it all. Myopic evaluation of others is intellectual failure and the stuff of defeat.

Respects,

Toby

Toby,

I just wanted to repeat your quote again. It was cogent, experiential and humble.

From what I've seen of Kuroda, I am quite impressed. My personal belief is that the weapons "intensify, magnify and make deadly".

Kuroda seems to do more weapons than "empty hand". Today, it is the opposite. More people do "empty hand" and virtually no weapons.

Some people on this board have talked about why Ueshiba did not allow his "students" to use the sword and how aikido has lost its "weapons" expertise. This is interesting in light of the fact, that aikido was based on the sword. Was there an obvious secret that he left out? Hmmmm.

Kuroda, has it...because he can extend his ki...through his weapons. As such his "empty hand" learns from his extension...and becomes quite deadly.

Best,
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Jim Sorrentino
09-25-2008, 10:03 AM
Hello Dan,I'd just encourage those who are looking for internal power and aiki to continue -where allowed- to feel and test them as well whenever they can, to discern between waza, and power.
Make no mistake. I donlt point to me and never have. I keep pointing to go test and find out about these skills from anyone who may have them.Just a reminder: are you going to provide an example of a video of traditional Japanese Martial Arts showing body work that impresses you, and state why it impresses you? It would be helpful to those of us "who are looking".

Thanks in advance!

Jim

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 10:28 AM
My question about any teacher who has it - in this case Ushiro sensei is always: Does Ushiro sensei have any students who have developed recognizable internal power in under 6 years? Is it more like a 20-25-30 year system? Do (can?) any students apply their internal power outside of karate?

I have trained waza and kata for decades. I've trained waza to what I would consider the nth degree for quite some time now. I have also dedicated quite a bit of time and energy trying to apply the principles I learned in the waza outside of aikido. (Which is why I am interested in William Hazen's approach.)

Just a couple years back, I tested for yondan. Fortunately, I hadn't had any sleep for over 3 days (due to work and family stuff). During that randori, I found that the many tricks I typically had up my sleeve (which I used successfully against bjjers attacking me freely) were just not enough with a tired mind. That experience taught me that THE biggest martial value of years of waza is the trained body you get from that kind of thing and further that my body was not trained well enough.

My believe in aikido's effectiveness remains that when your mind is sharp enough to hide my structural weaknesses from others as well, it works well enough against people who do not have well trained martial bodies who are attacking you. Can you use your aikido to defend a family member being attacked? Where the energy is not directed at you? I doubt it. The only people who can, have extremely well trained bodies relative to the attacker.

You know, the funny thing is that I'm pretty decent at some kata and that now that I think about it, I'll NEVER do again that way - EVER. Because it is just bad for training my body to move like that.

Is my mind open? Yes. Just this Tuesday, I just did something that I didn't know a human could do. It blew my mind and freaked my muscles out too because they seemed to want to get involved.

I'm open minded. I just want to evaluate based on valuable skills and how long to acquire them.

Can Ushiro sensei's (or insert anyone on the kata/waza approach) students deliver force without committing weight? Are they vulnerable in terms of balance (along the line from anus to navel) while they move ? If they can do these aiki type things, are they ALL at that level in say under 6 years?

If not, are there other significant advantages you can describe that gives merit to kata/waza based training? I'm completely open to any ideas on the subject. Please, by all means, describe them.

Thanks,
Rob

Toby Threadgill
09-25-2008, 11:56 AM
Kuroda seems to do more weapons than "empty hand". Today, it is the opposite. More people do "empty hand" and virtually no weapons.

Joseph,

One thing lost in all this "kuchiwaza" is context. Kuroda teaches a classical bujutsu system. Everything he does exists in the context of a particular framework. Shishin Takuma ryu is a taijutsu system that was created as an adjunct to kenjutsu & iaijutsu. It is not and never was intended to be a school of pugilism or wrestling. So it is outside the arts paradigm to employ the hard striking found is an art like Ushiro's Shindo ryu karate. Therefore, why would you quantify their internal skills by evaluating striking ability? Understand? Where Kuroda's manifestation of superior body skills demonstrates itself is in superhuman speed and precision. This is a school predominantly focused on swordwork afterall. Power is of secondary importance when we're talking razor sharp steel meeting flesh. How much power do you need to cut a major artery with a katana? I'll take speed in his world anyday, thank you........

Now imagine I'm in Kuroda's box looking out. I see a guy like one posting here. I say, "Yeah, they're strong but they're too slow, They don't have "it". They are limited in their abilities and don''t understand what they're missing"

Wouldn't that likewise be a sign of arrogance?

Rob asked if any of Ushiro's students can apply their internal strengths outside of karate. My response is, why would they? They are karateka! That's their paradigm,

This is what I mean by context. Making critical observations of people or systems outside their context seems pointless to me. If your training matches your context, great! If it doesn't, then there needs to be a change. That's what really needs to be the subject here. Being myopic is the problem. What Mike and Dan's insights offer is valuable but risks becoming bit cultish when opinons are presented without the insight or direct experience to back them up. Something that really grates on me is saying go out and feel it and then commenting on something or someone you've never personally felt. Don Angier, Kuroda, Ryabko and Ushiro developed their internal skills in a different manner than those being promoted here. For people posting here to conclude that different methods for achieveing internal skills are either inferior or less efficient without DIRECT experience to make such a conclusion is so obviously flawed that it borders on arrogance.

I have a suggestion for some of you that think the solo kata system is the only, best or most efficient way to achieve internal skills. Stop with the opinions based on limited exposure. Go out and feel Mikhail Ryabko. Don't watch video's, go feel the man in person. Challenge him and see what happens! Then go play with a guy like Bob King or Joe Neal who's hasn't been doing Systema longer that 5-6 years and get back to us. My experience with Systema is real not imagined! These guys can hit like freight trains and are as soft anyone your liable to meet. They learned their skills in another method than I learned mine, which is very similar to that being promoted here. That's why I keep a truly open mind and don't comment on things I have no direct experience with. I've been burned before by having a closed mind so I've put that limiting factor away in my pursuit of superior budo.

Another thing to keep in mind. If this stuff was the end all, be all of martial skill, why isn't anyone doing this type of training, the heavyweight boxing champion of the world? I've done competitive karate, western boxing and muay thai. What I learned in these pursuits is that these worlds are very Darwinian. What works ......works. What doesn't...doesn't. Every truly competitive martial pursuit develops a training methodology that works because it evolved in the harsh crucible of testing....Real 'balls to the walls' testing!

If these methods are so generally superior to others, bring me a Chinese IMA guy and lets put him in the ring with a guy like Mike Tyson and see who hits harder. Again, my mind is open to any result because I don't know the answer.

Good day,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 12:04 PM
Did Bob King or Joe Neal learn their skills doing kata or waza?

Marc Abrams
09-25-2008, 12:23 PM
Toby has said it better than I ever could. I was fortunate to attend both Aiki Expos where I had a chance to feel and interact with all of the people he mentioned (including Toby himself).

Each of those people achieved skills and abilities from very different learning paradigms. Each of them are remarkably talented in what they do. I do not place time frames upon their learning paradigms, nor do I assume to believe that I understand them. I am lucky enough to train with good people who have different teaching paradigms who honor me by sharing their knowledge with me.

I, like Toby, do not know the answers, but am open to learning. As to making recommendations, I can only share with people my personal experiences and ask them to find their own.

Marc Abrams

ps.- Rob, Ushiro Sensei is in town in October. He is very gracious and would be more than willing to answer any questions you may have.

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 01:28 PM
Usually when someone says you cannot judge something from outside, I think sure you can. What is the criteria? So I listed some. I'm very open to other sets of criteria.

Marc,

I understand that you do not place time frames on people's learning paradigms. I'm not sure that your preference invalidate my criteria, but I'm certainly open to reading about your criteria. Even if you do not do feel it is important, would you mind answering the question in case it matters to someone else?

Myself, I wonder things like if Ikeda sensei is in his 60s and he undertakes a new say 30 year program to develop internal skills, doesn't that mean he's going to be in his 90s when he's ready to show us these skills applied to aikido? I don't know that it is a 30 year program. I would like to know how long it typically takes.

If you can get Ushiro sensei to write on this board, I'll be happy to ask him myself. If not, my time is pretty limited these days so would you mind asking him when you see him yourself and letting us know what he says?

I really do not understand why people say you cannot judge these training methods from outside. I listed criteria that I found relevant. If you have OTHER criteria that you find relevant please by all means list that. What is the relevant criteria from within your system to measure progression? (Most systems have some sort of ranks.)

Toby,

When I think about "why would a karate person use skills outside of karate" it kind of reminds me of when people in school get confused with the purpose of math. To me, math is a system used to help us approximate reality. (We use it to balance our check book and to figure out how much lumber we will need or how much time something will probably take, etc.) There are actually cases where people in the "math camp" argue their *theories* with engineers about the reality of the their measurements. I'm not sure if I have time to think the analogy through perfectly, but the idea I'm getting to here is that *from a martial perspective* martial art styles are or at least used to be *approaches* to dealing with real fighting (like math is an approach to dealing with and predicting reality). If you can take what you learned from karate and bring it to a real fight then that makes practical sense to me. If you take take what you learned in aikido and bring it to a real fight (this is from a martial perspective of course) then that makes sense to me. I hope that makes sense to you. (in the generic sense)

Rob

Mike Sigman
09-25-2008, 01:35 PM
What Mike and Dan's insights offer is valuable but risks becoming bit cultish when opinons are presented without the insight or direct experience to back them up. Something that really grates on me is saying go out and feel it and then commenting on something or someone you've never personally felt. Don Angier, Kuroda, Ryabko and Ushiro developed their internal skills in a different manner than those being promoted here. For people posting here to conclude that different methods for achieveing internal skills are either inferior or less efficient without DIRECT experience to make such a conclusion is so obviously flawed that it borders on arrogance.
Let me try to re-state some of my perspectives. I've seen Kuroda do some things on film.... they're standard fare (some of the demo's) for ki demonstrations and he appears to do them well, so I would stipulate that he uses "internal strength". I've seen Don Angier on video and my personal opinion is that he has *some partial elements* of internal strength tied into his waza, but it's not the same thing. Ryabko I haven't felt, and since I've never felt Toby or gotten a clear indication of whether he truly knows internal strength skills, I simply and neutrally put Ryabko on "hold" until I can make an intelligent observation. Ushiro I've watched personally. He certainly has skills, but like so many teachers in so many Asian martial arts do, I think that his skills are bounded/defined by the karate that he practices, in the main, and I'm not satisfied that his particular method and approach is a comfortable fit for the way that Ueshiba or Tohei practiced. That last is just a thought and is not something I dwell on daily.

What I'm saying is that just because someone has a "name" and gives workshops, I'm sort of stuck about who does what.... and I'm not going to fly all over the world just to find out whether it's a waste of my time or not. I'm going to go by the words of people who I know have some ability to recognize real skills and/or I'm going to go by my impression of what they post (what it does to assure me that they do or do not really have enough of these skills to make it worthwhile for me to go visit). But that's just me personally and my method that I've developed for cutting through the weeds over many years.

I'd suggest once again, as other people have noted, that very simple and basic dialogue and anecdotes on AikiWeb clued me that Ushiro, Rob John, Dan, Dave Shaner, etc., had these skills. Turns out this is true, so some posting about the basics in public forums has some benefits for the general populace. Other people, I'm generally left with having to just shrug my shoulders and say "I don't know, I don't know the skills of the people who are recommending them very well, so I have to stay in neutral and not say anything".

And BTW, in some cases I *do* know the skills of some of the people recommending so-and-so as "having it", so in some cases I know that people are being recommended by someone whose opinions are, IMO, not of great value for a recommendation.

The long and short of it is that there is no clear-cut answer in this topic.... it's another morass, so be careful out there. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Toby Threadgill
09-25-2008, 02:00 PM
Mike,

My god! We are finally in general agreement on something. How'd that happen?

All my best to you, sir

Toby Threadgill

Let me try to re-state some of my perspectives. I've seen Kuroda do some things on film.... they're standard fare (some of the demo's) for ki demonstrations and he appears to do them well, so I would stipulate that he uses "internal strength". I've seen Don Angier on video and my personal opinion is that he has *some partial elements* of internal strength tied into his waza, but it's not the same thing. Ryabko I haven't felt, and since I've never felt Toby or gotten a clear indication of whether he truly knows internal strength skills, I simply and neutrally put Ryabko on "hold" until I can make an intelligent observation. Ushiro I've watched personally. He certainly has skills, but like so many teachers in so many Asian martial arts do, I think that his skills are bounded/defined by the karate that he practices, in the main, and I'm not satisfied that his particular method and approach is a comfortable fit for the way that Ueshiba or Tohei practiced. That last is just a thought and is not something I dwell on daily.

What I'm saying is that just because someone has a "name" and gives workshops, I'm sort of stuck about who does what.... and I'm not going to fly all over the world just to find out whether it's a waste of my time or not. I'm going to go by the words of people who I know have some ability to recognize real skills and/or I'm going to go by my impression of what they post (what it does to assure me that they do or do not really have enough of these skills to make it worthwhile for me to go visit). But that's just me personally and my method that I've developed for cutting through the weeds over many years.

I'd suggest once again, as other people have noted, that very simple and basic dialogue and anecdotes on AikiWeb clued me that Ushiro, Rob John, Dan, Dave Shaner, etc., had these skills. Turns out this is true, so some posting about the basics in public forums has some benefits for the general populace. Other people, I'm generally left with having to just shrug my shoulders and say "I don't know, I don't know the skills of the people who are recommending them very well, so I have to stay in neutral and not say anything".

And BTW, in some cases I *do* know the skills of some of the people recommending so-and-so as "having it", so in some cases I know that people are being recommended by someone whose opinions are, IMO, not of great value for a recommendation.

The long and short of it is that there is no clear-cut answer in this topic.... it's another morass, so be careful out there. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Toby Threadgill
09-25-2008, 02:06 PM
Did Bob King or Joe Neal learn their skills doing kata or waza?

Hi Rob,

I'm not sure about Bob King. Joe Neal was a longtime student of Don Angier and learned his internal skills through kata before switching to Systema.

Systema training does not utilize waza or kata in the traditional sense but employs a totally different pedagogy based almost entirely on paired freestyle resistence training. We call this Shuho Kunren in TSYR.

Toby Threadgill

Aikibu
09-25-2008, 02:17 PM
Toby has said it better than I ever could. I was fortunate to attend both Aiki Expos where I had a chance to feel and interact with all of the people he mentioned (including Toby himself).

Each of those people achieved skills and abilities from very different learning paradigms. Each of them are remarkably talented in what they do. I do not place time frames upon their learning paradigms, nor do I assume to believe that I understand them. I am lucky enough to train with good people who have different teaching paradigms who honor me by sharing their knowledge with me.

I, like Toby, do not know the answers, but am open to learning. As to making recommendations, I can only share with people my personal experiences and ask them to find their own.

Marc Abrams

ps.- Rob, Ushiro Sensei is in town in October. He is very gracious and would be more than willing to answer any questions you may have.

Agreed Toby stated my feelings as well...I have been to the expos "Felt" the Systema folks, Ushiro,Toby and others so I at least have a basic understanding.

I am just getting sick and tired of the Ad Authoritum Approach of some of the "experts' here and their circular arguments.

I also think that Sword based Gendai or Koryu Arts naturally teach you how to extend your "Aiki". Kuroda Shihan may not be "Aiki strong like Bull" It's a different Aiki all together just like ours.... but I guarantee you that for 95% of the Martial Planet your "A Game" will never touch his. LOL :D

I sure hope some get past their "expertise" and learn to share their toys with everyone else in the Aikiweb Sandbox. :)

William Hazen

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 02:20 PM
Thank you for the clarification. It would be interesting to know if Joe Neal developed his internal skills through kata under Don Angier in under 6 years. But it is good to hear someone developed any internal skills by means of kata. I would like to know what skills he could manifest that were beyond the normal external skills as well. To me figuring out the criteria with which to discuss such things makes a lot of sense.

For aikido, I would evaluate someone by questions like:
Can you do ikkyo without pushing?
Can you do iriminage without pulling?
Can you do shihonage without lifting?
(At the time, this was meant to be in terms of uke's without internal skills of course)

If no, fine. But I probably won't be jumping on a plane for that seminar.

For internal skills I want to know:
Can you deliver force without committing weight?
Can you move freely without your balance being vulnerable to pushes and pulls on the line from anus to navel?
How long did it take you to develop such things?

I'm totally open to adding or revising my current list.

I believe Mike had some instructor test about pushing someone without moving your arms or back leg. I think I can do that to some degree now.
Mike also mentioned some good points about the ki tests in on of Tohei sensei's books. These are fine suggestions as far as I am concerned as well.

Rob

gdandscompserv
09-25-2008, 03:12 PM
For aikido, I would evaluate someone by questions like:
Can you do ikkyo without pushing?
yes
Can you do iriminage without pulling?
yes
Can you do shihonage without lifting?
yes

Flintstone
09-25-2008, 04:36 PM
For aikido, I would evaluate someone by questions like:
Can you do ikkyo without pushing?
Yes.
Can you do iriminage without pulling?
Yes.
Can you do shihonage without lifting?
Yes.

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 05:01 PM
Okay, well see that is not too hard.
So doesn't it seem like we should be able to do similar things for people who have "aiki" ? I would imagine that people who have aiki and teach aiki, would look at my list and write "yes", "yes", and "I frequently get new people to be able to say yes to these things in 4 or 5 years".

It doesn't have to be "my" list. I'm open to changing it. Dan mentions things like "heavy hands", the ability to resist throws and manipulations, etc... Maybe that is part of his list. I was trying to keep my list as simple as possible to distinguish between external and internal skills at just a very basic level.

Rob

Mike Sigman
09-25-2008, 06:33 PM
Okay, well see that is not too hard.I think you'll find, Rob, that many people can "already do these things", just as Dan has found out. My suggestion is to just enjoy the fact that these are just more people who are already well on their way and that you never have to show anything to.

;)

Regards,

Mike

Toby Threadgill
09-25-2008, 07:19 PM
Thank you for the clarification. It would be interesting to know if Joe Neal developed his internal skills through kata under Don Angier in under 6 years. But it is good to hear someone developed any internal skills by means of kata. I would like to know what skills he could manifest that were beyond the normal external skills as well. To me figuring out the criteria with which to discuss such things makes a lot of sense.

For aikido, I would evaluate someone by questions like:
Can you do ikkyo without pushing?
Can you do iriminage without pulling?
Can you do shihonage without lifting?
(At the time, this was meant to be in terms of uke's without internal skills of course)

If no, fine. But I probably won't be jumping on a plane for that seminar.

For internal skills I want to know:
Can you deliver force without committing weight?
Can you move freely without your balance being vulnerable to pushes and pulls on the line from anus to navel?
How long did it take you to develop such things?

I'm totally open to adding or revising my current list.

I believe Mike had some instructor test about pushing someone without moving your arms or back leg. I think I can do that to some degree now.
Mike also mentioned some good points about the ki tests in on of Tohei sensei's books. These are fine suggestions as far as I am concerned as well.

Rob

Rob,

Questions like this don't accomplish much. That's why talking about this stuff is almost impossible in my opinion. Its difficult to agree on technical parameters that aren't hobbled by semantics. You've got to get your hands on people.

Concerning Joe. I watched him take apart a quite experienced BJJ style grappler once without even breaking a sweat. The poor guy had no idea what was being done to him and this was before Joe ever heard of Systema. All he'd done at this point was some western wrestling, kendo and Yanagi ryu. It was a very humbling experience for the guy who's father & teacher was an early and quite accomplished student of Rorion and Rickson Gracie.

Toby Threadgill

Upyu
09-25-2008, 08:23 PM
Questions like this don't accomplish much. That's why talking about this stuff is almost impossible in my opinion. Its difficult to agree on technical parameters that aren't hobbled by semantics. You've got to get your hands on people.


I'd have to go with Rob on this one, questions like that can accomplish something.
Every time someone says that technical parameters are hobbled by semantics, I think back to my initial encounter with Mike here on Aikiweb. Both of us come from completely different backgrounds, but we were able to establish a common ground that was pretty damn obvious that we were talking in the same direction.
(I think someone at the time was calling me a twat for saying that power could be "generated" from the ground)

In my own personal experience I've found most that have a SOLID understanding of these skills have little trouble making headway with those kind of questions.

From my own contact with Systema, I'd also have to say that they have elements, but there are some crucial methods of using the body that they do not use.

For clarification, I don't mean that makes internals superior, but that Systema simply doesn't necessarily make use of the same things, although there is inevitably some overlap.

There's a couple people I know that have close hands on experience with Vlad and Ryabko, having trained for a good deal in Systema, and also studies under Ark.
It's always interesting to hear their comparisons, about the difference in feel between the three, not to mention the utilization, or rather non utilization of certain body mechanics.
Whether A or B is superior etc...well that's really a matter of taste that can only be made once you have a basic grasp of skills on both sides.

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 08:45 PM
Do the people who answered yes to the aikido questions feel that those questions do not accomplish much? Was there any question about the semanics on them?

I think I can simply modify the questions for internal skills to be that I want to know:
1) Can you deliver force without committing weight with semantics about this idea not mattering to you at all?
2) Can you move freely without your balance being vulnerable to pushes and pulls on the line from anus to navel with semantics about this idea not mattering to you at all?
3) How long in your system does it take you to develop such things?

If your answer to these questions is 2 "yawns" with 2 nods, and "4 or 5 years" or less, them I'm very interested in your methods.

Rob

gdandscompserv
09-25-2008, 09:23 PM
Do the people who answered yes to the aikido questions feel that those questions do not accomplish much? Was there any question about the semanics on them?

I think I can simply modify the questions for internal skills to be that I want to know:
1) Can you deliver force without committing weight with semantics about this idea not mattering to you at all?
no
2) Can you move freely without your balance being vulnerable to pushes and pulls on the line from anus to navel with semantics about this idea not mattering to you at all?
no
3) How long in your system does it take you to develop such things?
That depends on how much I work on them. I am becoming more and more conscious of them since Mike, Dan, and the two Robs started writing about them. I would very much like to incorporate better and more efficient 'internal training' methods into my training paradigms.

If your answer to these questions is 2 "yawns" with 2 nods, and "4 or 5 years" or less, them I'm very interested in your methods.
my method sucks.:D

eyrie
09-25-2008, 09:24 PM
What Mike said... the questions discount the "degree" to which people think they can do (or think they "already do") the stuff detailed in those questions.

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 09:34 PM
Well, I don't know.
Mike and I argued about degree a while back.
If he asked me those questions, that would have really helped me. I'm not picking on Mike, how could he know what would have gotten through to me?

Rob

DH
09-25-2008, 09:45 PM
Rob,
Questions like this don't accomplish much. That's why talking about this stuff is almost impossible in my opinion.
Actually conversations like this have accompished a great deal. Most importantly in separating those who rely on years of technical skills and waza, from those with some marginal parts and pieces of internal skill who have great waza, to those who have a deeper teaching to impart who are powerful in a different way and have great waza. Moreover they have generated hundreds of people going out to meet and have what did you call it?....DIRECT experiences to impart -instead of speculation-......about what training in these skills as a separate body of work and what these men can actually deliver with teaching a body of skills that is deep.
So while I appreciate your comments about Mike and I, and your asking people to consider what you believe is a wiser more "open" mindset , I find some of your earlier comments a bit condesending. Perhaps you should consider that you are talking to men with decades of experience.
Interestingly enough, many are comparing THOSE experiences with feeling You, Howard, Kiyama, Okomoto, Don, Ushiro, Saotome, Vlad, Robikof, Some Gracies, several serious ICMA masters like Wang Xiaowang, Wang Haijun, Luo Dexiu Lou Chengde with Mike, Ark, me
I should include those that are combining that with experience in grappling
I think your admonition in your earlier post of asking people to listen to your DIRECT experience rather than speculation is rather well met. Good advice.
I have been an unabashed supporter of that for years. You might want to consider just who you're talking too. You're talking to men who have been doing what you yourself are advocating and who are quite experienced themselves. Funny thing that.

No one has come back all hept up about the techniques of this or that art or guy.Seems they are smarter than that Toby. It seems these guys for some wierd reason were impressed with a teaching, not more waza. Most have seen and felt thousands of waza are quite jaded. Instead they were impressed by a teaching of body skills that was so deep and so different that it surprised them. Why? It was out of their experience.
So, I dunno, maybe using your own logic...they...deserve to be listened to. As they have already taken your advice. Further, they've gone where YOU haven't yet.
I dunno, just following your logic and advice. I mean I am meeting with men with some very serious rank and experience. I think the debate and those in it deserves more respect than that, no matter which side you're on.

I continue to encourge everyone to go out and feel everyone they can. I am quite comfortable with giving that advice. It does everyone a world of good.
Concerning Joe. I watched him take apart a quite experienced BJJ style grappler once without even breaking a sweat. The poor guy had no idea what was being done to him and this was before Joe ever heard of Systema. All he'd done at this point was some western wrestling, kendo and Yanagi ryu. It was a very humbling experience for the guy who's father & teacher was an early and quite accomplished student of Rorion and Rickson Gracie.

Toby Threadgill

I feel like I stepped back in time.
Waza eh? Speed, power, heaviness and beating grapplers? Ok.
I know a number of guys with grappling experience having success against many other grapplers. Doing so with jujutsu waza new or old is just another day at the office. So what? Know what I think? That doesn't give them a ticket to the conversations we have been having here...from day one.

Teaching people to generate power and absorb loads, to draw in and capture and knowing how to train the body to support itself in opposites, retaining a central equilibrium and what supports what and how, and how to move with that retained balance with power in your hands with no wind-up, and doing so in a much more fluid and faster mode of moving...does.

All of the latest turn in the discussions to technique and handling people with waza says nothing to me. We each have decades of training with friends who are capable men at what they do and who handle other MAers. It's just more martial art talk to me, Why not include Randy into a discussion of internals he fast, grabbing him feels like a gorilla and is meaningless in this type of discussion.

DH
09-25-2008, 10:07 PM
Personally I think the positions can be expressed with a greater sense of respect for each others positions. And more than that, what about the people in the middle considering where to train and are listening to the debate? Many times we are talking to people with decades of experience in the martial arts. And some of those hold considerable skills. The subject is definitive, more so than some realize, less so than others state.
In either case the final arbiter is not those debating their positions-it is those out training.
I disagree with Toby on some aspects of this issue. But I like the guy and respect his position, his art and what he is trying to do. I just don't agree with him on all points.
That said we should all be comfortable debating here, and then knowing we can meet some day and have a beer. Come on guys, most here are people of substance, many are parents, husbands, wives, teachers. business men etc. I know I get angry at some of my own posts and others. But in the end the topic doesn't warrent ill-will.

gdandscompserv
09-25-2008, 10:18 PM
Waza eh? Speed, power, heaviness and beating grapplers? Ok.
I know a number of guys with grappling experience having success against many other grapplers. Doing so with jujutsu waza new or old is just another day at the office. So what? Know what I think? That doesn't give them a ticket to the conversations we have been having here...from day one.
We were supposed to buy tickets?
:D

rob_liberti
09-25-2008, 10:22 PM
Okay - well I do not mean to disrespect anyone.

Let me put it this way. So you go out and meet someone to feel their martial arts power or whatever. What questions are you asking (verbally or just physically)? I know what questions I am asking...

Rob

Mike Sigman
09-25-2008, 10:33 PM
I'm not picking on Mike, how could he know what would have gotten through to me? Ohmigod.... so many potential one-liners, so little time. ;) Of course it was my lack of understanding about how to get through to you that was the problem. :D My apologies.

Mike

DH
09-25-2008, 10:38 PM
Okay - well I do not mean to disrespect anyone.

Let me put it this way. So you go out and meet someone to feel their martial arts power or whatever. What questions are you asking (verbally or just physically)? I know what questions I am asking...

Rob
Questons? None, till after.
Give me one minute with hands-on. Internal power /aiki...happens. You can't hide it, you can't fake it and technique won't disguise it-don't let them do technique. Then you can experiment and play to explore as you try and take each other off your feet in a give and take. Its fun. Waza and grappling is optional.
For guys who have it and learned it through kata they can demonstrate what they know as well. Some, I have personally seen were limited, in various things where-even though they had some internal skills - those were assigned to certain movements. So you show them a more complete approach not dependant on shapes. forms or movements. Others, though still trained through kata, have a deeper understanding anyway. It's all fun, and still easily demonstrated.

All of the questions... lead to debate over intellectual understanding. Some say they can't articulate their understanding of what they are doing in their own bodies, others speak very well, but when you meet them can't do much. So, its catch-as-catch-can while debating.

Toby Threadgill
09-25-2008, 10:42 PM
Guys,

Okay...I'll agree that the discussions have brought this topic into the limelight and thats good. It's got people visiting one another. That's good too. But I'm still rather skeptical how much technical theory can really be discerned in verbal communication....That's all.

And, I'm admittedly a horrible writer so maybe that has something to do with my skepticism. I just can't really put into words what I do or what I feel from others.

Dan,

Concerning your post...I'm a bit confused by much of it but we regularly talk sideways to one another....so....I'll read it again after the stock market screens stop jumping in my head.....

Concerning this. I wasn't addressing you. Rob Liberti asked me:

Thank you for the clarification. It would be interesting to know if Joe Neal developed his internal skills through kata under Don Angier in under 6 years. But it is good to hear someone developed any internal skills by means of kata. I would like to know what skills he could manifest that were beyond the normal external skills as well.

I thought my answer was obviously relevant to his question.

I'm off on a plane tomorrow and then very busy. Soon after that out of the country so I'll catch you gentlemen later.

Regards,

Toby Threadgill

DH
09-25-2008, 10:53 PM
Have a safe trip and try to avoid some of those ...situations. Man you have some stories
We'll hash it out sooner or later. If we meet we'll laugh our butts of while doing so.
I want to keep the discussion up-beat though. If there is no essential intent for disrespect than the rest is just a debate on a topic dear to our heart. Sooner or later you'll agree with me too :D and we'll toss down a few while laughing about this thread.
You think YOU write horribly??? OMG.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-25-2008, 11:03 PM
Let me put it this way. So you go out and meet someone to feel their martial arts power or whatever. What questions are you asking (verbally or just physically)?

Can you kick my a**?

Aikibu
09-26-2008, 01:37 AM
Can you kick my a**?

I have no doubt that based on what I have read and in private discussion with folks who experienced Mr Sigman Harden Threadgill and the others they have mentioned that yes they could kick mine and that's the point IMO of learning this stuff. The style of Aikido I practice emphasizes that it must be able to "handle" attacks by experienced Martial Artists and that is the only true gauge which one can measure Martial Effectiveness.
That being said my only objection to some of these discussions is the tone they take sometimes
I highly respect power which is the reason most Aikido does not work for me. Too many times when I attack most Aikidoka Aikido's fatal flaw reveals itself. most folks can't handle it outside of the practice paradigm of Uke/Nage. At least (it seems to me anyway) with Sword Based Arts ( and as Mr. Arillio has mentioned) you get used to the speed and timing of an attack. Folks who do not train with weapons in Aikido never really seem to experience the skill needed to handle opponents. Because most Aikidoka are not used to getting hit instead of entering with the intention of finishing/ending the conflict they flinch and focus on avoiding the strike or take down. Aiki is like a brick wall in my experience, and I have yet to win against a brick wall.

In a class setting I spend a great deal of time helping folks overcome the natural handicap of avoiding getting hit and have them try to understand they need to react by entering and to do all this while presenting an opening for their opponent to strike.

Let's call it the Aiki of learning how to Bull Fight. IMO Toreadors are some of the best Aikido practitioners on the planet. :)

If I am to follow Shoji Nishio's insistence That Aikido must be effective against other Martial Arts in order to be considered Budo then learning proper structure and Aiki is a natural expression of his philosophy.

William Hazen

Aikibu
09-26-2008, 01:57 AM
Opps I meant Matadors. :) Sorry for the confusion on my part.

William Hazen

rob_liberti
09-26-2008, 06:28 AM
Ohmigod.... so many potential one-liners, so little time. ;) Of course it was my lack of understanding about how to get through to you that was the problem. :D My apologies.

Mike

Hey I'll let it slide. No it wasn't your problem except that you seemed to want to convince me.

Telling me about a jo trick that no one else was doing didn't impress upon me the idea that aiki skills to that level were attainable. Telling me that moving with kokyu or jin forces did nothing to impress me because there are plenty of aikido people who have kokyu power to a ridiculous degree relative to the average guy. I just assumed you were another CMA guy who probably couldn't move all that well but had all sorts of power standing in one spot - and were judging people who were moving around unfairly.

If I read about things I valued that no one I know of in aikido could do that everyone in a particular dojo could do in short time - that would have gotten my attention. That's all I meant.

Rob

rob_liberti
09-26-2008, 06:36 AM
Can you kick my a**?

That is the definitely one of the first questions I have when I meet someone who has martial skills. And no, I never asked Dan verbally. But I tested him - well beyond all reason and logic (but nothing stupid). But I had to know. There were plenty of times he wrecked me (delicately of course - like wrestling with a gorilla that is trying not to hurt you) and I should have gotten the message the first time - but I had "questions" so I interrupted him while he was teaching others about what just happened and said things like "wait, do that again". And he did, and I tried to change things a bit, and I tried again and again. When I attacked him most of my questions were answered. When he attacked me (again - delicately) a lot more of my questions were answered. The only real question left was "How can I do this too?" Then there were follow up questions like "So exactly what is it that he has that I am trying to get" - and that's how I started forming my questions about vulnerability on the typical line of weakness, hitting without committing weight, etc...

Oh, and if that was really a question directed at me then "maybe". I hear William Hazen has a ""Thunderdome". So, if I survive my first death match there, you can be the next guy. :)

Rob

MM
09-26-2008, 06:45 AM
That is the definitely one of the first questions I have when I meet someone who has martial skills. And no, I never asked Dan verbally. But I tested him - well beyond all reason and logic (but nothing stupid). But I had to know. There were plenty of times he wrecked me (delicately of course - like wrestling with a gorilla that is trying not to hurt you) and I should have gotten the message the first time - but I had "questions" so I interrupted him while he was teaching others about what just happened and said things like "wait, do that again". And he did, and I tried to change things a bit, and I tried again and again. When I attacked him most of my questions were answered. When he attacked me (again - delicately) a lot more of my questions were answered. The only real question left was "How can I do this too?" Then there were follow up questions like "So exactly what is it that he has that I am trying to get" - and that's how I started forming my questions about vulnerability on the typical line of weakness, hitting without committing weight, etc...

Oh, and if that was really a question directed at me then "maybe". I hear William Hazen has a ""Thunderdome". So, if I survive my first death match there, you can be the next guy. :)

Rob

So, that long post was just another way to say that you're hard headed and stubborn? :D

Seriously, though. You posted a list.


For internal skills I want to know:
Can you deliver force without committing weight?
Can you move freely without your balance being vulnerable to pushes and pulls on the line from anus to navel?
How long did it take you to develop such things?


I'd probably add something about what are your hips doing. Are the hips driving your power or not?

DH
09-26-2008, 07:05 AM
I think Rob just defined...himself.
"Hey, what would happen if I told you I was going to do this but then I did....that instead??

Or Mark Chiappetta deciding that when I threw him in a kata to show a ground landing and side mount "potential" to change that into a grappling session, two hip turns and an arm drag later he asked "Is this Okay to do?" Three change ups and several submission attempts and a triangle choke attempt with my bouncing him on his head...I said "Sure, no problem. Just remember
Jujutsu...happens"

Yeah...you guys are fun!
I'm just a helpless middle-aged white guy:(

phitruong
09-26-2008, 07:51 AM
For aikido, I would evaluate someone by questions like:
Can you do ikkyo without pushing?
Can you do iriminage without pulling?
Can you do shihonage without lifting?
(At the time, this was meant to be in terms of uke's without internal skills of course)

For internal skills I want to know:
Can you deliver force without committing weight?
Can you move freely without your balance being vulnerable to pushes and pulls on the line from anus to navel?
How long did it take you to develop such things?

Rob

lets see, for aikido, hmm what's aikido again? I thought aiki knows no waza. that were all the tesst of aikido? darn! here i was sweating preparing for the test. yup! scratch one test off the list.:)

internal: still claim on know nothing about internal other than what i had at the dimsum restaurant.:eek:

"deliver force without committing weight." lets see, I have practice striking in the deep end of the pool before, sort of outer space weightlessness. would that count? would wearing zebra speedo while doing that sort of thing count more? :)

"pushes and pulls on the line from anus to navel?" hmm you know! there are things along that line I really don't want folks to push or pull. I will protect that area with extreme prejudice. :D

I think I'll go and watch okamoto sensei video instead. it's fun to see him giving his ukes whiplash and thinking, those poor bastards! then thinking, hey! Howard did those stuffs to me too! going to find someway to stop Howard, one of these days. maybe I'll just throw a big fish at him first. art of war, find the weak spot and go for it! :straightf

DH
09-26-2008, 08:54 AM
I think I'll go and watch okamoto sensei video instead. it's fun to see him giving his ukes whiplash and thinking, those poor bastards! then thinking, hey! Howard did those stuffs to me too! going to find someway to stop Howard, one of these days. maybe I'll just throw a big fish at him first. art of war, find the weak spot and go for it! :straightf

Stopping all Daito ryu and aikido "effects" on you will take a few years of study here in training to connect your body. The only trouble is what to do with it when you want to go play with the other boys and girls. You'll have to let yourself fall apart, or stand there looking at people while they try and throw you with waza that will no longer work on you.
If that's your goal its pretty simple to accomplish. After that there are much more serious stresses to put on your structure, then more serious stresses still in dealing with someone who knows what you know.

rob_liberti
09-26-2008, 09:17 AM
Well I had to convince myself that what I was being told was happening was really what was happening. No disrespect. People fool themselves all of the time.

And THE best way to not fool yourself is to come up with ... drum roll please ... questions outside of your "context" or your own backyard as it were. They don't have to be verbal questions initially, but eventually, you would think one might be able to describe them, test them, and get some sort of larger perspective.

Rob

Allen Beebe
09-26-2008, 11:06 AM
To me, "Can they kick my a$$?," isn't that meaningful or relevant of a question.

My questions are: Can they do something I want to learn significantly better than I can? Can they teach it? Will they teach it to me?

A "No" answer to any one of those questions is a deal breaker for me.

Next comes, "What is the cost?"

If the "cost" includes anything (associations, actions, thought processes, etc.) that will violate values that I hold dearer than my quest for a particular learning or ability, THAT is a deal breaker as well.

Allen

rob_liberti
09-26-2008, 11:52 AM
Can they do something I want to learn significantly better than I can?

Right and defining what that "something" is typically, to people outside of that art just doesn't seem that unreasonable to me.

Rob

Demetrio Cereijo
09-26-2008, 01:44 PM
To me, "Can they kick my a$$?," isn't that meaningful or relevant of a question.

Imo, this is the only relevant question if someone claims "martial skills".

My questions are: Can they do something I want to learn significantly better than I can? Can they teach it? Will they teach it to me?...What is the cost?

These are very valid questions too, but are more related to how the previous one has been answered and if what the individual claims is "coaching/teaching skills".

Ron Tisdale
09-26-2008, 01:59 PM
Imo, this is the only relevant question if someone claims "martial skills".


I'm sorry, but I don't understand that. There are plenty of people that can teach me things who can't kick my butt, and many of those things ARE usefull to me in a martial context.

One easy example, say there is an aikido instructor who is 90 years old. He has been training since Ueshiba Sensei's days, and he still trains and teaches. He has developed a way of using his body that allows him to express an unusual amount of power for his age and size. And to connect with opponents in such a way as to negate their power.

Are you telling me I shouldn't train with him because I at 47 can kick his butt at 90+ years of age??? Heck, that might apply to most of Ueshiba's senior students now...

Best,
Ron

Allen Beebe
09-26-2008, 02:21 PM
Right and defining what that "something" is typically, to people outside of that art just doesn't seem that unreasonable to me.

Rob

My present obsession is as follows:

I want to be able to receive a push to the chest while I stand naturally and casually (take a leak stance) from an individual my size or bigger with him/her in any stance of their choosing pushing one or two handed (whatever they prefer) as hard as they can sweating and heaving. (Of course I'll want to be able to carry that ability into dynamic motion . . . that goes without saying. What fun is just standing there?)

Having achieved that . . . well I'll no doubt think of other things I want . . . on my way to becoming a super hero.

Seriously,
Allen
(Well, maybe not so much the super hero part . . . but it is a good long term goal.)

Ron Tisdale
09-26-2008, 02:48 PM
I just want the cape...
:D
B,
R (ok, the push to chest thingy to...)

Allen Beebe
09-26-2008, 03:06 PM
I just want the cape...
:D
B,
R (ok, the push to chest thingy to...)

Ron . . . ,

Uh . . . we really don't need to know about your costume fantasies! :p

Allen

Mike Sigman
09-26-2008, 04:04 PM
I want to be able to receive a push to the chest while I stand naturally and casually (take a leak stance) from an individual my size or bigger with him/her in any stance of their choosing pushing one or two handed (whatever they prefer) as hard as they can sweating and heaving. Hmmmmmm.... I think this "standing solid against a push" needs to be understood for what it and what it isn't. I can usually (every time I've tried) push over even someone with good jin skills using just 2 fingers. Usually as soon as they realize that I can do it, they begin to lean to try to counter the push.... but that immediately tells me that they're more into games-playing than seriousness.

There are two major factors to grounding a push, but I won't bore people with something so many people on this thread already know.

:p

Mike

MM
09-26-2008, 05:35 PM
Ah, yes, the push to the chest. I have learned well how to "take a step back". It was a very important lesson and one that I have completely and utterly imbued into my body. In the near future I can tell that I will be able to "take a step back" with force. And soon, there will no longer be just a master and an apprentice, there will be a master and two apprentices -- who can "take a step back". :D (Sorry, that was an in-joke for just a few people)

Seriously, I work with the push to the chest exercise (both in a natural stance and also with one leg back) for a couple of reasons. The first is the basic one to work on structure within my body. It is a very good exercise to get oneself aligned -- because if you aren't, you fall apart rather easily. And boy do I fall apart rather easily still. This structure stuff takes a lot of mental effort and some physical.

A second reason is because I still find myself "fighting" or "resisting" the push when I shouldn't be.

Another is for working lines of intent, but that only comes after the structure is good. :)

MM
09-26-2008, 05:57 PM
My present obsession is as follows:

I want to be able to receive a push to the chest while I stand naturally and casually (take a leak stance) from an individual my size or bigger with him/her in any stance of their choosing pushing one or two handed (whatever they prefer) as hard as they can sweating and heaving. (Of course I'll want to be able to carry that ability into dynamic motion . . . that goes without saying. What fun is just standing there?)

Having achieved that . . . well I'll no doubt think of other things I want . . . on my way to becoming a super hero.

Seriously,
Allen
(Well, maybe not so much the super hero part . . . but it is a good long term goal.)

I have found two very important distinctions in these kinds of exercises. Those that are working on structure and those who aren't.

When I work with Brian or Chris, any one of us can blow through the other person's structure -- for the most part. There are times when that doesn't happen.

But, when we work with people who aren't training in structure/aiki, then it is quite a bit easier to hold our structure. The push to the chest in a natural stance is the exception -- for now. Standing feet side by side with arms out to the side, we've had 250 to 300 pound guys give their all in a push to our outstretched hand and not be able to move us.

I have a vid where Brian is pushing the side of my head. Brian was giving a lot of force that wasn't structured. You can tell because if he was using structure, two things would have happened. I'd have had a heck of a lot harder time not moving and probably would have moved. And he wouldn't have popped forward at all when I did move to test his force.

So, when you say you want someone your size or bigger to push, are you meaning "normal" people or "structured" people? :) Worlds of difference.

MM
09-26-2008, 06:02 PM
There are two major factors to grounding a push, but I won't bore people with something so many people on this thread already know.

:p

Mike

LOL, okay, Mike, I'll bite. What are the two things? Remember, I'm just a beginner at this stuff and still working my way through things.

If I had to guess, I'd say one of them is the pathways in the body being clean and clear. That sort of ties in with having a good structure. The second one I would guess is intent.

Thomas Campbell
09-26-2008, 07:57 PM
[snip]I should have gotten the message the first time - but I had "questions" so I interrupted him while he was teaching others about what just happened and said things like "wait, do that again". And he did[snip]
Rob

Man I love the way you learn. :D

Allen Beebe
09-26-2008, 08:04 PM
So, when you say you want someone your size or bigger to push, are you meaning "normal" people or "structured" people? :) Worlds of difference.

Don't you mean a mortal vs a super hero? :p

Well, that is a complex question really. It kind of depends on what super powers the super hero is bringing to the test doesn't it? You mentioned structure. If that alone is brought used then yeah I want to stand up to the best of them. If other super powers are used well, I guess I want to be able to use other super powers as well. ;) ;)

This kind of harkens back to the "Can they kick my a$$" thing though. I'm fairly confident that there will always be somebody that can kick my ass. I think it very unlikely that on the continum of folks I'm going to be on the very end of the spectrum. Consequently, if I wanted to learn from just anybody that could kick my ass . . . I'd be learning from just a pretty broad spectrum of abilities. I'm selfish enough that I want to learn from someone significantly higher on the spectrum with regards to understanding and teaching ability. What I really want is to be able to kick a$$ to the best of my ability in the manner of my choosing . . . although my choosing remains open because I almost always choose what I think is best. :cool: As far as getting pushed on the chest goes, in the end I really don't much care as long as they are a good training partner.

But in the end, yeah I want to be the one standing there no matter who pushes. . . but I understand that that is just what I WANT and nothing more. I'm going to get pushed back by a lot of people before I can stand up to a lot of people.

If this is like everything else, when I can stand up to most, I'll be thrilled (and annoyed) when someone pushes me back because I'll have encountered an opportunity to learn more.

How did that happen and what do I do about it?

Sorry for the scattered post. I'm in a rush to go to training.

Bye,
Allen

Allen Beebe
09-26-2008, 08:07 PM
I know you're not talking about me . . . and I'm not easily bored! You can PM or e-mail me if you like.

Best,
Allen

Hmmmmmm.... I think this "standing solid against a push" needs to be understood for what it and what it isn't. I can usually (every time I've tried) push over even someone with good jin skills using just 2 fingers. Usually as soon as they realize that I can do it, they begin to lean to try to counter the push.... but that immediately tells me that they're more into games-playing than seriousness.

There are two major factors to grounding a push, but I won't bore people with something so many people on this thread already know.

:p

Mike

mjchip
09-26-2008, 08:14 PM
Or Mark Chiappetta deciding that when I threw him in a kata to show a ground landing and side mount "potential" to change that into a grappling session, two hip turns and an arm drag later he asked "Is this Okay to do?" Three change ups and several submission attempts and a triangle choke attempt with my bouncing him on his head...I said "Sure, no problem. Just remember
Jujutsu...happens"

Yeah...you guys are fun!
I'm just a helpless middle-aged white guy:(

Middle-aged....yup. Helpless.....my a$$. :)

Just to clarify, I *love* to grapple. When Dan threw me I instinctively found myself wanting to do jujutsu. However, little alarm bells went off in my head and I thought "I sure hope he doesn't take this the wrong way". I wasn't looking to test him at all, that was all worked out for me the first 10 minutes I stepped into his dojo two years ago. In that vain I ask a question and give an answer:

Question: What can you do to a man that you can't throw, one that you can hit as hard as you can and you freakin' bounce off, and one that can hit you harder than you've ever been hit before while you deny him the distance to generate power (at least in theory).

Answer: Ask if you can keep coming back. I did, he said yes, and the rest is history (and a crap load of hard work).

I hate to sound like a cheerleader but I can't help myself. Color me impressed....

Best,

Mark

rob_liberti
09-26-2008, 08:40 PM
Hmmmmmm.... I think this "standing solid against a push" needs to be understood for what it and what it isn't. I can usually (every time I've tried) push over even someone with good jin skills using just 2 fingers. Usually as soon as they realize that I can do it, they begin to lean to try to counter the push.... but that immediately tells me that they're more into games-playing than seriousness.

There are two major factors to grounding a push, but I won't bore people with something so many people on this thread already know.

:p

Mike

I understand about the being able to push through someone with good structure. How is your defense against someone using that kind of push against your structure? I have none. :)

Rob

Mike Sigman
09-26-2008, 08:48 PM
I understand about the being able to push through someone with good structure. How is your defense against someone using that kind of push against your structure? I have none. :) You probably have no defense against someone driving a 1955 Chevrolet pickup into your "structure", either, if you get my point. I.e., there are limits to what anyone can do.

Think about Tohei, for example. He showed these ki/kokyu/groundpath things (sure they're *enhanced* by structure, but it's the jin, not the structure, that is important) but only as a direction toward developing the correct strengths to be used in Aikido for "aiki" manipulation of an opponent. These groundpath things are the "Go" of Go-Ju. Aikido focuses on the "ju" as do other branches/subsets of jujitsu. So the point of trying to be totally immoveable is not as important as the point of having this strength but being able to manipulate it in a "ju" manner or an "aiki" manner (branches of the same thing).

Me personally? I do different things, but the point being that no matter what I do there are limits to demonstrations of resisting and the important point is that it's smarter to know how to manipulate, blend, and so on.

Best.

Mike

Demetrio Cereijo
09-26-2008, 11:16 PM
One easy example, say there is an aikido instructor who is 90 years old. He has been training since Ueshiba Sensei's days, and he still trains and teaches. He has developed a way of using his body that allows him to express an unusual amount of power for his age and size. And to connect with opponents in such a way as to negate their power.

For me these are body skills (like cardio, joint flexibility, core stability, proper posture, muscular power, timing....), physical attributes that can enhance martial skills, but not martial skills per se.

Are you telling me I shouldn't train with him because I at 47 can kick his butt at 90+ years of age??? Heck, that might apply to most of Ueshiba's senior students now...

Then you have to decide (after his failure to deliver masagatsu agatsu on you) if his claim about having martial skills was accurate and if his training methodology is one you want to follow.

Let me put an example:

Imagine there is a person who claims to have "martial skill", in fact he has developed an interesting approach to Aikido practise. Something in the line of "This approach opens up many new ways of understanding and practicing aikido. Here are a few core concepts which I’ve discovered from this approach which I call “short-range Aikido.”....

Ring a bell?

Flintstone
09-27-2008, 04:20 AM
Something in the line of "This approach opens up many new ways of understanding and practicing aikido. Here are a few core concepts which I've discovered from this approach which I call "short-range Aikido."....
Oh my! Always a classical... Sometimes I just feel sorry about him. Not that he didn't deserve it...

rob_liberti
09-27-2008, 08:57 AM
The fundamental mistake made there was trying to fix aikido with something other than AIKI.

Ron Tisdale's point is valid.
If you can accept that there are levels of ability in aiki. (It's a fact, just if you can accept that fact.)
And if you can accept that most people in martial arts would greatly benefit from learning aiki directly. (Another fact, and the only question is if it is accepted.)

Then it is clear that someone with more than zero of a clue about aiki - say in their 90s (but could be 35) who might not yet be able to stand up to the UFC champion or just a strong external martial artist in his prime - would STILL have something to offer even if they couldn't kick that person's ass.

But I still like the question. :)

And it brings the conversation back to: so what can you do that would help martial artists in general and how long to be able to teach it? Which is where my questions come from. And since I didn't notice a lot of "yes, yes, yes" to those questions, instead of invalidating them, come up with better ones if you like or recognize that this is the basic idea of how more and more people will be judging martial artist and martial artists. I'm not looking to win a debate. It's just the obvious future from where I am standing. Saying you can't judge basic movements out of context is not holding much water in terms of a persuasive argument to me.

Rob

Dan Austin
09-27-2008, 11:15 AM
Question: What can you do to a man that you can't throw, one that you can hit as hard as you can and you freakin' bounce off


Hi Mark,

Do you mind clarifying that last bit? What kind of hitting are you doing, to what target, and what do you mean by "bounce off"?

Also if you don't mind, I'm curious as to the weight difference between yourself and Dan. The way this thread reads, Dan should be wearing a cape and fighting crime, so I'd like to get a better assessment of what's really being claimed. ;)

rob_liberti
09-27-2008, 12:02 PM
Didn't you see The Incredibles? Capes are a bad idea.

Anyway, forget the man, talk about the skills.

Dan Austin
09-27-2008, 01:01 PM
Didn't you see The Incredibles? Capes are a bad idea.

Anyway, forget the man, talk about the skills.

I'm happy to forget about the man, but this kind of man-crush display is worse than fantasy football at the office. ;) Seriously, I am interested in the skills, but it also matters how much you weigh relative to Dan for the same reason it matters that Chen Bing was outweighed by 40% in the videos on YouTube. It helps put a perspective on what's being done, because otherwise you're making Dan sound superhuman. It's kinda hard to "forget the man" when you guys make it sound like you've got a T-shirt with his picture on it, and an 8 x 10 glossy on the nightstand next to a 4 x 6 of the wife and kids. ;)

mjchip
09-27-2008, 08:20 PM
Didn't you see The Incredibles? Capes are a bad idea.

Anyway, forget the man, talk about the skills.

Just to be clear.....when I said:

I hate to sound like a cheerleader but I can't help myself. Color me impressed....

I was talking about being impressed with................. the skills (and training methods too).

Mark

mjchip
09-27-2008, 08:29 PM
Hi Mark,

Do you mind clarifying that last bit? What kind of hitting are you doing, to what target, and what do you mean by "bounce off"?

Also if you don't mind, I'm curious as to the weight difference between yourself and Dan. The way this thread reads, Dan should be wearing a cape and fighting crime, so I'd like to get a better assessment of what's really being claimed. ;)

Sure thing. He said: "here throw me anyway you want" and stood there with his arms out in a natural posture. I tried to effect kuzushi in many ways but was unsuccessful.....tried o soto gari, seionage, ad nauseum and nothing worked.

Then during a discussion about using the breath he asked me to punch him in the gut as hard as I could. I hit him with 50% power and he gave me this look like "are you a pansy?" and said !HIT ME!. So I hit him with a rising hook to his side with all my power and my fist bounced off. It was like hitting an inflated tire.

Weight difference: I'm 5'8" and 187lbs and he's probably 5'11" and 220-230ish (guess). I'm probably 12-13 yrs younger than him as well and pretty athletic. BTW, the absolute value of the weight is only one component of it. It's how that weight is used.

Mark

rob_liberti
09-27-2008, 08:45 PM
Well, imagine that Mark was talking about training with Chen Bing.
Then imagine Chen Bing 80lb heavier. Would Chen Bing's skills be less? Nope - just trickier to recognize...

Rob

Dan Austin
09-27-2008, 10:22 PM
Sure thing. He said: "here throw me anyway you want" and stood there with his arms out in a natural posture. I tried to effect kuzushi in many ways but was unsuccessful.....tried o soto gari, seionage, ad nauseum and nothing worked.

Then during a discussion about using the breath he asked me to punch him in the gut as hard as I could. I hit him with 50% power and he gave me this look like "are you a pansy?" and said !HIT ME!. So I hit him with a rising hook to his side with all my power and my fist bounced off. It was like hitting an inflated tire.

Weight difference: I'm 5'8" and 187lbs and he's probably 5'11" and 220-230ish (guess). I'm probably 12-13 yrs younger than him as well and pretty athletic. BTW, the absolute value of the weight is only one component of it. It's how that weight is used.

Mark

OK, thanks.I hadn't heard anything about "punch resistance" stuff before, though it may have slipped my notice. How does that relate to breath?

rob_liberti
09-27-2008, 10:36 PM
I would imagine that breath is what makes it feel like an inflated tire.

Dan Austin
09-27-2008, 11:05 PM
I would imagine that breath is what makes it feel like an inflated tire.

Really. Is this the sort of enlightening dialogue "talk about the skills, not the man" leads to?

DH
09-28-2008, 01:30 AM
Really. Is this the sort of enlightening dialogue "talk about the skills, not the man" leads to?

Dan
I imagine Rob is hesitant about talking above his skill level. Structure, connection, use of connection in movement comes first, then skills in using in / yo ho to support the body in movement, and in the mix, breath power is trained as it enhances- and in it's own way manipulates- and adds to connecting the whole body. Actually most of that training never stops.

FWIW
I'm 6', 218lb. I think you-like so many people miss the point of weight or size in assessing skill. I have had it work for me in just the opposite situation many times. Most in particular with ICMA guys, who looking at me, made assumptions-from my background and size-that they were dealing with a big, muscular, grappling meathead. In so doing it has been delightful to have seen them make some rather hilarious mistakes in pre-judging what they were going to get by way of feel.
You see, softness and ability to manipulate, absorb, redirect and change and slam very fast in movement is NOT to be judged by size, Dan. It is to be judged by training and experience. Regardless of size you can feel softness at a touch. You can't fake it, and you don't get to mask it by technique. In fact it can be shown strictly by absorbing and redirecting without ever once pouring it on or hitting. And that said...on any other day a small guy could be better than me and tune me with the same skills. Of the various advantages available- size wouldn't make it to my top ten. In fact the guy who impressed me most...wasn't big at all.

Since the thread was originally about DR I think its worth suggesting again that folks go out and feel. For those looking for internal power / aiki-DR needs to be sorted out by schools.

DH
09-28-2008, 01:56 AM
Dan

Since you asked about the breath in relation to getting punched...
Certain breath training can give you a stomach that I imagine doesn't feel like most people you know. Including an active use of a very mobile center that can moved around at will. Punching it or trying to manipulate a trained guy through his center usually proves to be a different feel for most folks. Even pushing a guy like that with two hands, by his chest, up and over at a 45 deg. angle backward and then trying to throw him from there can be a fun workout.

Even talking about something like this, which is relatively well known in internal arts seems kind of silly. It's not new, its just new ....here.These skills are known and are out there. Which again is why I always tell people to keep looking, testing, researching and finding things out.

rob_liberti
09-28-2008, 07:20 AM
Really. Is this the sort of enlightening dialogue "talk about the skills, not the man" leads to?

WTF? Okay. I'm feeling froggy this morning. I'll jump.

Enlightened dialogue implies 2 ways right?!

The whole air inflates a tire, and people breathe in air in such a way to help take punches didn't seem like any of the steps on the way to enlightenment to me. Why the hell were you asking Mark? He was impressed. If he knew how to do it, maybe you can enlighten me with why would you expect him to be so impressed?

The idea about if Chen Bing were bigger that he would still have impressive skills but they would just be trickier to spot for some - wasn't supposed to knock over a genius with a feather either...

Sorry for dumbing things down too much for the general level of sophistication in terms of the "enlightened dialogue".

Rob

Dan Austin
09-28-2008, 11:10 AM
FWIW
I'm 6', 218lb. I think you-like so many people miss the point of weight or size in assessing skill. I have had it work for me in just the opposite situation many times. Most in particular with ICMA guys, who looking at me, made assumptions-from my background and size-that they were dealing with a big, muscular, grappling meathead.

Hi Dan,

I know it may sound like I'm crediting your weight or something, but I'm not. I think it's a fairly normal question to ask under the circumstances, for the same reason it's interesting to know how much Chen Bing weighs relative to the guy he was working with. I understand that the skills are not weight-dependent, Chen Bing proves that all by himself, and I haven't see anyone say "Dan can do what he does because he's a big guy." But since there's no video, the only way to get a mental picture of what's being demonstrated is to ask for details. For example Mark said he couldn't throw you from a "natural position." I'm not sure if that means the "whizz-taking stance" as someone put it (funny, but useful since's it's pretty unambiguous ;) ) or with one foot back. I also don't know how actively you're adjusting to whatever he does in terms of redirecting pressure and so forth. Anyway, just points of interest since all we have here is the written word.

Dan Austin
09-28-2008, 11:13 AM
Dan

Since you asked about the breath in relation to getting punched...
Certain breath training can give you a stomach that I imagine doesn't feel like most people you know. Including an active use of a very mobile center that can moved around at will. Punching it or trying to manipulate a trained guy through his center usually proves to be a different feel for most folks. Even pushing a guy like that with two hands, by his chest, up and over at a 45 deg. angle backward and then trying to throw him from there can be a fun workout.



Fair enough. From what I've read, it sounds like you would use this "mobile center" to sort of alter the angle you're being pushed at but without moving the entire body?

Dan Austin
09-28-2008, 11:20 AM
WTF? Okay. I'm feeling froggy this morning. I'll jump.


? I don't know how you're feeling, but both Mark and Dan were able to answer normal questions perfectly normally.

DH
09-28-2008, 02:24 PM
Hi Dan,

I know it may sound like I'm crediting your weight or something, but I'm not. I think it's a fairly normal question to ask under the circumstances, for the same reason it's interesting to know how much Chen Bing weighs relative to the guy he was working with. I understand that the skills are not weight-dependent, Chen Bing proves that all by himself, and I haven't see anyone say "Dan can do what he does because he's a big guy." But since there's no video, the only way to get a mental picture of what's being demonstrated is to ask for details. For example Mark said he couldn't throw you from a "natural position." I'm not sure if that means the "whizz-taking stance" as someone put it (funny, but useful since's it's pretty unambiguous ;) ) or with one foot back. I also don't know how actively you're adjusting to whatever he does in terms of redirecting pressure and so forth. Anyway, just points of interest since all we have here is the written word.

Hi Dan
My position or stance doesn't matter much. Depending on the skill, speed, pressure, and change-ups of the guy trying to throw us we may not move, move a little or a lot.
In a demo:
a) We don't allow them in for kuzushi for a few attemts-which usually illicits quite a reaction. DO NOT confuse that with stiff-arm jujutsu. We are relaxed and fluid, even soft of feel.
b) Allow them in but as much as they try they still can't get kuzushi
c) We let them get kuzushi, let them get in for tsukuri and then we stand there and don't go over
d.) We then make it more real and everytime they try a throw...we throw them.
The key to consider is the reactions and comments about what it feels like. I've not met a man yet who confused what we were doing with muscle. They all knew it was different. What you also need to take into consideration is that they have seen me with large guys trying to throw me as well. Moreover they have seen me-try to throw smaller guys who train here.

So, size isn't the topic, nor is yet another method of learning jujutsu (yawn). On any day, any body can beaten for various reasons. This isn't about what I can do. It's about what - you - can learn to do. "You" meaning the public. It's about the potentials of internal power / aiki as thee skill. not waza As one Grappler said to me when we were fooling around with some juts...."I don't really care about that. It's not why I am here. I want the internal skills."
Smart guy, who knew how to make the best use of his time.

Fair enough. From what I've read, it sounds like you would use this "mobile center" to sort of alter the angle you're being pushed at but without moving the entire body?
Well, skills are not to be confused internal strength. they are two different but related topics. I'd think more on the lines of what enables me to do that. What it is connecting, and what it can do within my body to affect someone else. Though "altering angles" is an interesting phrase, angle changing alone would never cover it.

phitruong
09-28-2008, 02:39 PM
Stopping all Daito ryu and aikido "effects" on you will take a few years of study here in training to connect your body. The only trouble is what to do with it when you want to go play with the other boys and girls. You'll have to let yourself fall apart, or stand there looking at people while they try and throw you with waza that will no longer work on you.
If that's your goal its pretty simple to accomplish. After that there are much more serious stresses to put on your structure, then more serious stresses still in dealing with someone who knows what you know.

What can I say. I am a simple man with simple needs and simple goad. complex things would create more things that could go wrong and usually at the worst moment. I follow the KISS principle. stopping daito ryu that is playing with your natural muscle reflex will be hard, do able, but hard.

rob_liberti
09-28-2008, 04:09 PM
? I don't know how you're feeling, but both Mark and Dan were able to answer normal questions perfectly normally.

I know it's "normal" to ask about size. It's just that we are discussing abnormal skills. Sorry if I'm losing you with my fancy talk. :)

Rob

Mike Sigman
09-28-2008, 05:40 PM
I know it's "normal" to ask about size. It's just that we are discussing abnormal skills. Sorry if I'm losing you with my fancy talk. :) I have to say that I'm enjoying this discussion, Rob. Go back sometime to some of the posts between you and me (and involving some other people, too) and take a look at what I said and what some of the responses were to me, in relation to these topics about the same skills. I suspect you'll understand now more the simplicity of the things I was saying back then, but the point is not so much to get someone to cringe at what was said "back in the day".... but to caution that what is said among all parties currently is also tomorrow's archives.

So if the discussions are kept evenhanded and factually cautious today, I think everyone can look back happily tomorrow. And I'm not saying this for much more of a reason than I think things are going good at the moment and to encourage everyone to keep it so. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
09-28-2008, 09:02 PM
I seem to recall many fabulous discussions as well. For instance:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=96041&highlight=force+weight#post96041

I am fairly certain we can BOTH find more embarrassing posts strolling down memory lane. But I really don't mind you enjoying whatever vindication you are getting out of this debate. I do appreciate you coming and raising awareness.

Rob

Mike Sigman
09-28-2008, 09:21 PM
I am fairly certain we can BOTH find more embarrassing posts strolling down memory lane.Well, as I said, I'm only tangentially pointing to old posts, Rob. I'm mainly talking about current and future posts, using the old posts as something to take as an example of why people should focus on the issue and how today's discussions can look to future examiners. Just as people in the past discussions thought that the final word was set in stone, what's known today is not the last word either. That's my point. But then, each to his own.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

DH
09-28-2008, 10:34 PM
Mike Sigman wrote: With no movement of my body I can will different forces to my hands so that you feel a push (at any angle) or a pull (at any angle) or a lift or a downweighting. That's how much my hands must be connected to my middle and how much the mind is involved.
That was a fun read

Rob Liberti wrote: I did something this Tuesday that I can still hardly believe.

Dan remembers Rob standing Tues with his hands on me and for the first time-sending force into me at will without moving.
Seems to me you two have come together nicely.;)

Mike Sigman
09-29-2008, 08:42 AM
Dan remembers Rob standing Tues with his hands on me and for the first time-sending force into me at will without moving.
Seems to me you two have come together nicely.;)Well, I think that's great for Rob. In general I would say that a lot of Aikido people are now at that stage (or more) or forces manipulations and it will get better, since there are a lot more skills in the pantry to develop. Most of the force manipulation skills can be reached fairly quickly (I'd say that most people can do them at one of the first-time workshops that I occasionally do), but the trick in my opinion is to get people to train more and more so that these skills are burned in and become part of what they automatically do. It's easy to do a simple skill rudimentally and then think "Mission Accomplished".

However, back to my point, it's easy to get back into the me, me, me stuff and run the risk of setting up personality problems similar to the problems that have been around for so many years. I think talking about *how* to do these basic things is a better topic than *who* or *guess what I can do*. Besides, I know for a fact that someone's understanding is enhanced by him/her thinking out how to articulate/describe exactly what is going on. That's sort of why I mentioned the older posts.... thinking back on them might give people an idea of thinking what their current posts will appear like to people in the future... as well as now.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

gdandscompserv
09-29-2008, 10:17 AM
I think talking about *how* to do these basic things is a better topic than *who* or *guess what I can do*.
Mike,
Does this mean you will soon begin a thread about clicking one's heels together?:D
Ricky

DH
09-29-2008, 10:55 AM
I agree and would only add that for those who are just starting they will of course be discussing themselves and people they meet and comparing notes on effect they find new and interesting in their training. But more important is that it seems very clear that those who are training in it are being told by all parties showing them to look beyond them and to search out other teaching.
The cautions are worthy of note, I'm just once again restating that in seeing and meeting these folks they are making it clear- that they are indeed doing that very thing. The fire is lit and folks are searching and making decisions. There is an ever growing awareness of this type of training and a process of identifying those who have it and those who don't is under way by those looking for it, who don't want to get caught up waisting their time anymore
So, I think talking about "who" and talking about what they are personally experiencing in how this is changing in their own skill sets may continue for a while.
As an example is Allen stating he wants to e able to withstand a push and Rob and others can respond about what is happening to and in them. That will inevitably involve them talking about themselves, and who they are training with. Although some...cough... don't state everyone they train with to get " this stuff" others are more forthcoming.

Mike Sigman
09-29-2008, 12:13 PM
Although some...cough... don't state everyone they train with to get " this stuff" others are more forthcoming.I'm not sure it's important to state where people learn what little information is out there. To me it's more important *what* they can do, *how* they do it, etc. Of course, if someone claims on a public forum that their knowledge was revealed in a dream I'd want to know exactly what hallucinogen was involved and if they claimed they learned it all in a koryu I'd want to know more about it.... but only because they started the conversation and made the claim.

Since I don't do any organized martial art (any more) but am more interested in the skills, the how-to's, and the training methodology, I'm no more interested in getting into the acknowledgement business (more simply: I don't want any acknowledgement) than the man in the moon. And frankly I'm a little but uncomfortable with some of the "testifying for Jesus" stuff that I see. But each to his own... I just don't see a need for it when there are all these good topics that need discussing, like the topic in this thread about DR, other topics about Aikido, and so on.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

DH
09-29-2008, 12:31 PM
Well we agree on that - in part. One issue I have is this
I'm not sure it's important to state where people learn what little information is out there.

Were I to be looking for where to go-as people currently are doing-then we have to admit there are a lot of leads out there, that turn out to be dead ends or partial sources. So we will be seeing people now doing what we suggested years ago...to do. Go out and test and feel and share the information to aid others. Which is simply what MAers have -been- doing for hundreds of years
I don't like the 'testifying for Jesus" either, and I think it can handled better- I do like and hope that as people encounter the skills, where ever they may be, that they also find out if the students haven them and the teacher is actively teaching and come back and state where that is.

Since no one is claiming expertise, it stands to reason that the search and the information sharing is beneficial. Unfortunately depending on the school some cannot share publicly. That was the source of the *cough" joke.
If the ultimate goal is as genuine as stated-"That these skills and the knowledge of them don't die." then it is the best way to get there.
Really, it's the way it always was-only that the internet broadens the search base. It also helps to read where this or that great MA teacher is fantastic, but his students really just didnlt get it. That's valuable information.

Allen Beebe
09-29-2008, 03:03 PM
As an example is Allen stating he wants to e able to withstand a push and Rob and others can respond about what is happening to and in them. That will inevitably involve them talking about themselves, and who they are training with. Although some...cough... don't state everyone they train with to get " this stuff" others are more forthcoming.

Since my name appeared in the same paragraph as the "cough joke," and since I'm rather immune to subtlety, I'm wondering if the ribbing was directed at me?

If so, I thought that was pretty clear (its in my signature), especially to the primary participants on these threads. Although I should note that the biggest influence by far was Shirata sensei. (I've really just begun to be instructed in the Nairiki of TSYR. It would be inappropriate and presumptuous for me to speak on behalf of TSYR especially when my teacher can, and has, posted on the subject.) I've also mentioned on other threads that I enjoyed attending two Aunkai workshops.

That having been said, I would hasten to add that I feel that I have, and hope to continue to be, benefited by folks willing, and able, to share their experiences and insights. Hopefully someday I'll get the chance to meet up with everyone.

So there you go . . . if you even meant me in the first place. :confused:

FWIW,
Allen

DH
09-29-2008, 03:27 PM
No dig Allen. The cough joke involves a few folks who keep their training to themselves. And I don't think negatively about that either way. I'm neutral about it as it's there choice. But you also brought up another point though, that some don't feel they should be talking or allowed to talk. I still don't do "how-to's" on the net. But, no nothing aimed your way. None whatsoever.

Allen Beebe
09-29-2008, 04:41 PM
Hi Dan,

OK, no problem. Sorry to take up "airspace" then.

I'm looking forward to receiving "how to's" up close and personal in the future if you'll be so gracious. Your mixed applications sound like a lot of fun too so I'd be up for that as well as long as I came out in one piece and learned something . . . I had a blast in the two Jon Bluming seminars doing his brand of MMA.

All the best,
Allen

Mike Sigman
10-04-2008, 10:55 AM
Mike, I guess I'm just confused. Fair enough, Rob. The topic is about using ki-skills for "aiki" in D.R., not analysing everyone else's potential character flaws. I started the topic, using a video of Nishikido and the point I was trying to make was that at the third generation, Nishikido still has some idea/skills about what "aiki" really is. He does some exotic demonstrations of "reaching through" others to achieve the "aiki".

How he reaches through and exactly what he does, I don't feel like discussing, although I'd note that he has overly-compliant uke's and in real life I don't think those demo's would actually work against anyone with even a modicum of self-defense skills.

The reason I don't feel like getting into a discussion about how he does those things is that there are several ways to do them (some not as good as others) and I'm back to my personal position that while I think everyone should have access to the basic skills, I think higher-level skills people need to work for. Besides, the real point was to show that someone third-generation still understands the basic point of "aiki". Much/most of the videos I've seen of present-day DR don't seem to have much in the way of ki skills (IMO) or if they have some, it's not very high level. That's my opinion and I'm open to a debate, as long as the debate stays on issues and can stay away from the constant personal remarks that a few people reverting to.

There are a number of Daito-ryu videos on YouTube that might be worth looking at or even a freeze-frame of some technique could be analysed. However, even though the topic is DR, I don't think anyone should set out to disparage the art. All the arts are going through a phase where much of what they do is external and "technique".... that will change over time for some people. The costume-wearing, foreign-phrase-speaking masses... I don't think they'll ever change much. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
10-04-2008, 03:46 PM
So just for fun, I looked at a couple of Daito Ryu videos on YouTube. Naturally, since I'm out of the organized-martial-arts loop I can offer a couple of insights that I couldn't do if I were card-carrying member of some related jujutsu ryu. ;)

This video didn't show me anything that I wouldn't expect to see at many Aikido dojos and the way the two in the forefront move, I don't see any special skills. I'm not saying they have *no* jin skills, but if they do have them, they're minimal at best. That raises the more or less obvious observation that "not everyone in DR has these skills so to say anything generic about DR as an art can raise a question.

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

Here's a video of Okamoto Sensei:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKJm3Sn4K-I&feature=related

The interesting thing about this video and the one technique he highlighted was that while I could see the "kokyu power" that Okamoto had, it was not really stressed; the technique and the timing of the technique were stressed. So it would be easy to imagine someone without any real grasp of ki/kokyu skills focusing on the technique, leading the Uke after the uke's reflexive resistance, and so on without picking up that the core of the technique was based upon Okamoto Sensei's ki/kokyu skills.

I don't think the technique was anything other than very basic, but it raises a few thoughts about what westerner can and do learn and how they interpret it. The first video makes me think that Japanese encounter the same problem. ;)

But to get the thread back on track, I thought I'd use a couple of examples like that. If someone has some personal thoughts on the use of those videos, please p.m. me.

Best.

Mike Sigman

phitruong
10-08-2008, 10:35 AM
Here's a video of Okamoto Sensei:

Mike Sigman

I liked this video better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewtzT6Dt4ZM

It kinda fun to hear one of the uke screamed like he in a horror movie :) but then i have to thanks Howard for not making me screamed like a girl; there was just no dignity screaming like that, except when you get a paper cut. :D

i remembered that Howard mentioned he didn't know how to train his body for aiki before taking up the beating from Okamoto sensei. so, the question is "how to train your body for aiki?" wonder if it has to do with catching and consuming large fish. ;)

Erick Mead
10-08-2008, 03:28 PM
i remembered that Howard mentioned he didn't know how to train his body for aiki before taking up the beating from Okamoto sensei. so, the question is "how to train your body for aiki?" wonder if it has to do with catching and consuming large fish. ;)As I view things, a tuna uses almost pure aiki, and so requires aiki to handle effectively. Howard might even agree with that.;)

Mike Sigman
10-09-2008, 08:25 PM
I liked this video better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewtzT6Dt4ZM

It kinda fun to hear one of the uke screamed like he in a horror movie :) but then i have to thanks Howard for not making me screamed like a girl; there was just no dignity screaming like that, except when you get a paper cut. :D
That was pretty bad (the video). I don't think a serious student of any internal martial art would not be embarrassed to see a clip like that. "Not so serious" guys would have no problem, I guess.

I've given my opinion before and I'll give it again... this stuff is a morass. Most people don't know how to do "it". Then you get to the stages of "knows a little; blows it up as a lot" and after that various degrees in between top and bottom. You also have a number of "senior" hierarchies in between who are trying to BS that they "know all this stuff", etc., (see the moderators on eBudo and similar places as an example)... so it's confusion. I.e., it's not easy to find information... yet to delay can be costly because it's not all that easy to change how you move and the longer you wait around the further out of range (of success) you get.

The really serious/interested people will be the ones looking and then continuing to look at they get more information. It's a lot like (IMO) salmon fighting their way upstream and getting past obstacles. Only the strongest/smartest survive, but even then nothing is guaranteed and a lot of strong/smart lose along the way.

One thing I'd stress is that because most Asian arts are built around these same basic principles (they don't all tend to use the Yin-Yang symbols, Five elements, Eight Gates, etc., because it was a religion like Catholicism... those are practical underpinnings) there are going to be some basic principles between DR, Aikido, Shaolin Long Fist, Tchuo Jiao, karate, Iaido, Taiji, and so on. Someone who prattles on about he "secrets" of any art while not recognizing the similarities of all the Asian arts is a dead giveaway for someone who simply doesn't know. I suggest avoiding him/her.

FWIW and YMMV

Mike Sigman

Demetrio Cereijo
10-09-2008, 10:02 PM
It's a lot like (IMO) salmon fighting their way upstream and getting past obstacles. Only the strongest/smartest survive, but even then nothing is guaranteed and a lot of strong/smart lose along the way.

And some men who are interested about salmon preservation build fishways to help them to sort the barriers other men built.

Mike Sigman
10-09-2008, 10:06 PM
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in the boat and drink beer all day.”—OldFox

Flintstone
10-10-2008, 04:56 AM
Teach us to fish, then.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-10-2008, 07:07 AM
"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in the boat and drink beer all day."—OldFox

Fishing?, who wants fishing when there is a big party with hot she-fishes river up?
:)

Michael Douglas
10-10-2008, 07:46 AM
I liked this video better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewtzT6Dt4ZM
Wow.
Thanks for posting the link to that video Phi.
Maybe everyone should be forced to watch that.
Is there any excuse for such behaviour?

The social pressure must overwhelm any common sense.

Mike Sigman
10-10-2008, 02:41 PM
And some men who are interested about salmon preservation build fishways to help them to sort the barriers other men built.Well, in this generic/oblique reference to ki-skills, Aiki, and Daito-Ryu, I think everyone has to find their own way through the fish-ladders, Demetrio.

One of the first things I pointed out several years ago was that the in-place hierarchies of existing martial arts will simply block any attempts by anyone to say "there might be something else there". It is to be expected. And if the hierarchies win in certain areas, I don't see any particular reason to worry about it, frankly. Ultimately enough things have started that it will be very difficult to stop now, regardless of occasional areas where information is blocked by various people in power and determined to stay in power. Someone who thwarts any gains in knowledge is just putting off things for a while within their own group.... spiting themselves as it were.

I remember getting into a brouhaha on the Uechi-Ryu list some 10+ years ago and the senior hierarchy was successful in driving me off from the discussion (one person in particular voiced his expertise in movement and said there was definitely no "different way of moving", and so forth). So basically he won a debate using his position, rank, expertise, and the fact that he was a moderator on the forum. But who really won? Now some 10+ years later I occasionally go to look at their archives with an honest interest in seeing what they know and have discovered. Nothing. So they've lost 10 years and they have their own seniors to thank for it. It's what I mean by the power of the existing hierarchies.

The younger up-coming members of various arts who are curious enough will have to go out on their own and work around the hierarchies. Same with Aikido and the other Asian-derived arts. When I first started looking for this odd type of strength, I thought it was just in Aikido, so I spent 7-8 years in Aikido before I realized that I wasn't finding much and any time I tried to go too far the hierarchies and pecking-order power was such that I could never investigate very far as long as I tried to stay within the Aikido group-mind. Conformity. So I left. There are other ways up the fish ladders.

There's enough out there on basics that it's now guaranteed a certain number are going to make it and will improve things in the next generation. But that's their worry and responsibility. People who are stuck in existing hierarchies will have to figure out for themselves what to do and where to look. But they can take comfort in the fact that all this stuff will inevitably arrive now, perhaps to their own students in 5 or 10 years, but definately sooner or later. No worries. ;)

Incidentally, as a side comment. I've felt a number of people who say (and maybe honestly believe) that they "also already do these things". If I feel in someone the accumulation of these skills, I immediately acknowledge it so that I'm totally fair about it. For instance there were a couple of people at the Itten Dojo who had skills, one person of whom had a teacher that was not me. I acknowledged his skills and mentioned my thoughts to him. There were several people there who had a few bits of coarse jin, but not much else and certainly not enough that I would too-politely over-hype their skills. But I'm sure (in at least one case) they thought they were "already there" and my comment would be.... this is always where the problems start. As one of my teachers told me, "these things are very deep" (meaning complicated). No one studies for a bit and is then an expert.... it takes many years. The real enthusiasts know that and don't get too involved in these battles among the beginning elements about who is the best. I'd just suggest that everyone needs to keep working. Some people need to just start; the years keep passing by. ;)

FWIW

Mike

R H
01-15-2009, 02:36 AM
Hello all,
I've been reading parts of this site on and off (as well as E-BUDO) for a while now (although I only now decided to register and interact.)
There has been a lot of speculation on the part of various members here regarding the authority and ability of various Daito-ryu teachers. In some cases, the critiques are tremendously rude and harsh. In many cases these critics have never taken the time to actually visit the teachers in question and feel it for themselves. Some here seem to think that they are an authority on other arts even though they have not trained in them. It is a sad thing indeed. Although, I am sure many here have extensive training and may have developed some eye for aiki, I would like to remind you all that this is a public forum and whether or not you are conscious of it or not, you are informing the general public about which teachers are "good" and which are "phony". The fact is people are reading this and making choices according to your "EXPERT" opinions. Maybe your eye isn’t as good as you think it is, or maybe the context of the video you are watching is not what you think it is. A lot of assumptions flying around both here and E-BUDO.
I’d like to share some of my experiences in Japan to hopefully clarify a few things regarding various teachers. I felt my first "aiki" in Yanagi-ryu after a decade of training in various other martial arts. Yanagi-ryu inspired me and I began researching it’s origins. About 11 years ago I moved to Japan to train with Okamoto Sensei of the Roppokai. His techniques are very soft and flowing and he handles resisting students very well. His training method was limited due to a crowded room. The result was that few of his students could improve in any noticeable regard. The ones that have achieved a high level of skill were long-time students (15+ years), who were taught the basics in a small and intimate fashion. Okamoto's training method is one that stresses that the uke not resist Tori. Some of his students take falls too easily for him, but make no mistake, Okamoto Sensei handles resistance very well, although, he like any other human is not perfect. He tells new students that he has changed the techniques and that his Daito-ryu is thusly not formal Daito-ryu, but is instead his personal expression of it. He always says we must continue to improve and never think that way know it all.
After training there for about 6 years I wanted to train weapons, so I went to Kuroda Tetsuzan Sensei of the Shimbukan. Kuroda's training was all-together different from Okamoto Sensei's training. At the Shimbukan they practice Kata a lot and then have Jun Tai (True body) training to assist in developing the "silent" movement that Tetsuzan Sensei is famous for. Many of the students are developing very well in this training, but few can handle a resisting attacker well. Make no mistake, Kuroda Sensei can handle resistance. Like any human-being he is not perfect and admonishes his students to keep striving to improve (a philosophy that he exemplifies).
During my stay at the Roppokai, I often heard from my seniors (Shihan under Okamoto) that Ogawa Sensei and Nishikido Sensei have very effective aiki skills. Those Roppokai Shihan had done their due diligence and found that Okamoto Sensei was not the only person to have understood what Horikawa was teaching. As Ogawa Sensei’s dojo was in Tokyo (he passed away last year), I decided to visit Ogawa Sensei (also long-time student of Gozo Shioda). He was very welcoming and shared his aiki with me and spent a lot of time telling me various stories of his time with Horikawa and Shioda Sensei. The main thing about Ogawa that shocked me was that his skills were very highly developed and his Aiki was effortless (ignore the video if you have seen it - he was very nervous and became unusually tense. He said he was really embarrassed about that video.) I was fortunate to find out that he lived but a few train stops from my house, so we took the train home together (about an hour), during which time we talked incessantly about Aiki and training and various teachers. The thing that surprised me most was that he spoke incredibly highly of Nishikido Sensei (It is very rare for a teacher to speak of another teacher in Japan). As Ogawa told it, Nishikido Sensei is a rare gem in the Daito-ryu world. He claimed that Nishikido Sensei spent the most time privately training with Horikawa Sensei at Horikawa's house (6 days a week for three years – Ogawa and Okamoto also got some private training, but much less time. In Okamoto’s case, as Okamoto tells it, it was once a month for a year towards the end of his time with Horikawa. Can’t recall how long Ogawa said he trained privately. But by the three accounts it seems that no one else got any significant private training from Horikawa), and that in terms of form, Nishikido Sensei most resembled Horikawa. He said that Nishikido Sensei spent a lot of time learning to make his Aiki effective in real situations and had even tested it on Yakuza (Japanese gang members).
Until meeting and conversing with Ogawa Sensei, I had an aversion to going to Nishikido’s dojo – mainly because I saw a video of him some years earlier where he looked severe and kind of stiff. But after my conversation with Ogawa Sensei, I had a chance to visit a Shihan of Nishikido’s dojo and observe training. What shocked me was that they trained with Uke giving various ranges of resistance, in a small, intimate dojo, where each student got one on one practice with the teacher for 15 minutes each time they came to the dojo (training held twice a day every day except Sat and Sunday, in which case there is long morning practic). The teacher takes ukemi for his students during that time and demonstrates technique. There is a training order from low level to mid to advanced which is clear, step by step method to take students to progressively deeper bodily awareness. (If you read Okamoto’s large blue book, you will find his description of how proper training should be done. Although Okamoto Sensei is unable to give that proper training due to the number of students, it was clear to me that Nishikido Sensei and his Shihan are maintaining a proper training system.) There are special classes on realistic application of techniques for students mid-level or higher where various henka, difficulties and combative situations are created to help students learn how to use aiki flexibly. Nishikido admonishes students who don’t actually aim to attack him (which can be seen on one of the videos on his website for those of you who understand Japanese – the student was aiming his punch to the side of Nishikido Sensei to which Sensei scolds him for not attacking him.) http://www.hikarido.com/hikaridonowaza.htm
[These videos were taken by a Japanese TV show (they sought him out – Nishikido doesn’t seek lime-light), and Nishikido Sensei is merely demonstrating in response to their questions - it is not a video of the training method, which is secret.]
I have had a chance to feel several other schools of Daito-ryu as well as other jujutsu in Japan, but the aforementioned teachers are the only four that I have found that use aiki extensively. Some schools of Daito-ryu use aiki only at the beginning of a technique and others don’t seem to use it at all. I am sure there are other schools that may be using aiki at high levels, for example Sagawa Sensei’s student, Kimura, but I have not had a chance to feel his technique. I have a few friends who have trained with him (and Sagawa), but I am told that neither of them are perfect either (despite what is often written about them), although they are indeed very diligently practicing aiki and very good at it.
In the end, I suppose that is all we can do – diligently practice our aiki and strive to improve until the day we die. If we could cut down on the insulting and condescension, I think it would be a pretty good thing for our arts as well as the boards and ourselves.

P.S. I have seen a few pretty horrid comments about Nishikido Sensei’s religion. It seems to be that some people here think that he teaches Sun worship in his Daito-ryu classes or says that this is the power behind his Daito-ryu. This is not true. He teaches both Daito-ryu and meditation, but in separate classes. He says he learned aiki from Horikawa Sensei and he teaches it as he was taught. His “spiritual” class is a distinct thing from his Daito-ryu. Lastly, it is pretty astonishing that people would bash a person for their beliefs anyway. Where is our tolerance and respect for others’ views? Last I checked, no one solved the great mystery of the source of life and the universe…at least have some humility. If you actually took the time to experience what he teaches in both his Daito-ryu and his meditation class, you might find some value in both.

In training,
Richard

Mike Sigman
01-15-2009, 01:11 PM
Hi Richard:

Nice anecdotes. As I mentioned a couple of times in the thread, I'm more interested in the "how" stuff than the "who" stuff. The original comment of the thread was more along the lines of seeing that actual "aiki" (blending and manipulating of ki-forces) was alive and well in some good-lineage D.R. Nothing to do with personality comments on my part.

Can you explain to us how "aiki" works, given your sizeable experience with so many people? I think we could get a good conversation going with that, but it seems on so many forums that when it gets down to the nuts and bolts, putting someone's name behind a functional description is just plain hard to get done. I'm betting you're willing to get in there and shed the light, though!

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Howard Popkin
01-15-2009, 02:03 PM
That's why I flew him to New York 4 times per year.

One week with Sensei in New York was like 3 years in Tokyo :)

Hope all is well Richard !

Howard Popkin

R H
01-15-2009, 03:54 PM
Mike,

Although, I certainly have my opinion about how aiki works, I took an oath in all three dojos where I was a registered member not to talk about the details of arts or demonstrate anything until receiving the level of Shihan. I think that is pretty common among schools of kobujutsu. It would be wrong of me to break my oath. I am no master of this art yet, although I, like quite a few other students certainly have the ability to execute some variety of aiki and have various opinions about what I and others are doing.

What I feel I can say is that in my experience (so far) , on a technical level, each teacher is using some combination of principles (many of which overlap) and some of which do not. Although, it seems at some point the body just embodies the principles and there is no more effort involved than merely responding to reality as it comes.
Apologies,
Richard

P.S. Howard - good to see you are well and active in NY. My regards to you and yours!

Mike Sigman
01-15-2009, 04:29 PM
Although, I certainly have my opinion about how aiki works, I took an oath in all three dojos where I was a registered member not to talk about the details of arts or demonstrate anything until receiving the level of Shihan. I think that is pretty common among schools of kobujutsu. It would be wrong of me to break my oath. I am no master of this art yet, although I, like quite a few other students certainly have the ability to execute some variety of aiki and have various opinions about what I and others are doing.

What I feel I can say is that in my experience (so far) , on a technical level, each teacher is using some combination of principles (many of which overlap) and some of which do not. Although, it seems at some point the body just embodies the principles and there is no more effort involved than merely responding to reality as it comes.

Hi Richard:

Well, my comment was meant to try to take the conversation, once again, off of the personal comments. If you take the personal comments out of a lot of these posts, usually all that's left are some vague implications, both good and bad, but seldom anything specific.

In your previous post you wrote:

There has been a lot of speculation on the part of various members here regarding the authority and ability of various Daito-ryu teachers. In some cases, the critiques are tremendously rude and harsh. In many cases these critics have never taken the time to actually visit the teachers in question and feel it for themselves. Some here seem to think that they are an authority on other arts even though they have not trained in them. It is a sad thing indeed. Although, I am sure many here have extensive training and may have developed some eye for aiki, I would like to remind you all that this is a public forum and whether or not you are conscious of it or not, you are informing the general public about which teachers are "good" and which are "phony". The fact is people are reading this and making choices according to your "EXPERT" opinions. Maybe your eye isn't as good as you think it is, or maybe the context of the video you are watching is not what you think it is. A lot of assumptions flying around both here and E-BUDO.
So we have "rude", "harsh", "expert", "maybe your eye isn't as good as you think it is", and so on. That's what I meant about how these conversations move toward the personal, although I have to admit that you didn't call out any specific names in your broad-brush comments. ;)

Now I personally don't claim any expertise in Daito Ryu or Aikido (although I had 7-8 years of practice) or a number of other arts. What I think I *do* have, though, is a lot of experience in doing, observing, analysing, and replicating so-called "internal strength" skills. I'm interested in those skills and I've studied, chased them down, etc., for about 35 years as a primary focus. Given that almost all of the Asian martial arts use those skills to one degree or another, I think I have a generalist ability to spot who has skills and pretty often I can tell to what degree that have skills. Let's say I'm like the college-level baseball player... I can spot the Little League players and I can spot the good Major League players, minor leagues, doesn't-know-squat level players, and so forth.

I can't see what level someone is on the internet, of course, but often while saying something on the internet, a person will give me enough of a clue about what he knows and doesn't know that I can generally extrapolate what their skill level is. More recently, as a few people have been gaining basic skills, I have been able to get "reads" on various people who give seminars, etc., and so I can at least generally categorize what level of skills they have and are teaching, etc.

My opinion is that a lot of people need to understand that some of their "secrets" are really just general-level skills and they should perhaps find some way to more freely engage in discussion, how-to's, etc., because often things aren't what they think they are. In other words I think it would be helpful if they engaged and shared in "how-to" discussions, not only because their viewpoints might help other people, but also because they might learn things that they're never going to learn as long as they block discussion of fairly simple basics behind the "secrets" door. I.e., it works two ways and having it one way is cool, but with more and more of these skills getting out there some of the koryu people seem to be putting themselves in an ultimately untenable position.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't really care what someone does and I just find all of this fascinating to watch. In the last 4-5 years I've watched these conversations evolve and I think they'll continue to evolve in ways that will ultimately help a lot of the practitioners of Asian martial-arts. I also think that a lot of people are simply going to be left behind. As I said, my position in this is more of an observer and I'm not urging anyone to do any particular thing. But in terms of internet discussion forums, watching some particularly basic skills being kept under the umbrella when just so many other arts (at the moderate to higher levels) have exactly the same skills seems sort of curious to me. But then, everyone to their own opinion, I guess. Just seems odd. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

R H
01-15-2009, 07:28 PM
Mike, I generally agree with you on all points you have made in your last post.

It is, however, not up to me to choose to give information or not. If I hadn't given my oath and joined these dojos I would be happy to share what I think I know (for what that's worth). I am no expert, so my opinions should be taken with a huge bag of salt.

What I have found is that as I train and improve in this art my thoughts on the "general theory of aiki" have changed step by step. I have been making rapid progress in the last few years, and if I think back on my perspective just 6 months ago and compare it to now, I find that it is lacking. I am sure the same thing will happen 6 months from now again. My view of aiki has simplified and simplified considerably over the years. I do not, however, think that Daito-ryu in principle is the same as what Kuroda does (although there is overlap). When I first joined Kuroda's dojo I thought it was the same. As my awareness increased and I gained a more refined eye, I found there to be quite a few differences in principle, form and training method. However, in the end all humans share the same basic body,mind and spirit (for lack of a better word) so there is going to be a fair amount of overlap.)

If I could give any advise to any aiki practitioner that I think would be generally helpful yet not break my oath to my ryu-ha, it would be this: do whatever it takes to develop awareness of the body (yours and others - at distance and close up), the logical mind (yours and others - at a distance and close up), the emotional mind (""), the "reflex responses" of those three things as well as develop the ability to control things like heart-rate, bloodpressure, breath, thought, etc simply by slight intention. The goal being to be able to flow in all these areas without locking up or having negative reflexive responses. By becoming conscious of what most people are unconscious of you will simply notice things that escape the senses of others. You won't be figuring things out so much as realizing (effortlessly) Lastly, I would say that when doing techniques, if you are thinking about how to do them, you are greatly hobbling yourself (the thinking mind interferes with smooth execution and awareness). Thinking before or after is fine,

Those awarenesses you can develope outside of a traditional dojo simply through careful observation of self and others with a silent mind and dedication to developing such ability/skill on a daily basis(meditation in daily movement seems to greatly help.)

My two cents...

Richard

Mike Sigman
01-15-2009, 07:45 PM
I do not, however, think that Daito-ryu in principle is the same as what Kuroda does (although there is overlap). Well, fair enough. However, I think the principles are the same. For instance when you see Ueshiba bounce someone off of his chest or thigh, when you see Ueshiba do a good "aiki" technique, or when you see Ueshiba sit seiza and have an Uke push on his head... these are all the same principle. When Kuroda does his two tricks at the end of :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXsMSoXrNgo&feature=PlayList&p=7899879B46D91511&playnext=1&index=45

or you see Okamoto do his demonstrations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKJm3Sn4K-I

These are all the same principles.

What I'm saying is that from my perspective it just seems a little short-sighted to take the position that the principles in some ryu-ha are so different that that ryu-ha is some preferable way to approach a Dao. The "cultivation of the body" that is called for in the major schools is all part of this same Dao. There are many Dao's but there is only one Dao. However, if your Dao means being part of a singular club/group/organization, that is up to you. ;)

If I could give any advise to any aiki practitioner that I think would be generally helpful yet not break my oath to my ryu-ha, it would be this: do whatever it takes to develop awareness of the body (yours and others - at distance and close up), the logical mind (yours and others - at a distance and close up), the emotional mind (""), the "reflex responses" of those three things as well as develop the ability to control things like heart-rate, bloodpressure, breath, thought, etc simply by slight intention. The goal being to be able to flow in all these areas without locking up or having negative reflexive responses. Once I was invited to join a select and supposedly discerning group to study Taoism. My first thought was, "Do Taoists join groups?". Sometimes you have to choose. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

R H
01-15-2009, 10:01 PM
Thanks for the response Mike.

I suppose I am heading in the following direction: if "I" go into these dojo's thinking they are all doing the same thing, then it becomes inherently more difficult for me to notice the actual differences. The end result is that I will not be learning the art that the teacher is teaching.

After much time with these teachers and much time to reflect later, I realize that there are distinctions that are important to the arts in terms of strategy, intention, form and finally principle. There is also overlap, which I state above.

These are Kobujutsu, so there is a lot more that goes along with them than just body skills. If I am not careful to see them separately while studying, I may well miss some important things. It would be better to get the Menkyo in them all and then reflect back on them to see if it was the same or not, in my opinion.

From your previous post, it seems that you and I have somewhat different goals in our training (but there is overlap - we both want to improve and have living, effective skills). I think it is the differences in our intentions that makes our perspectives necessarily different in regards to how we observe arts.

I can give you an example based on publicly accessible (non-secrets) of Yanagi-ryu (the little that I know of it). Yanagi-ryu tends (not always) to use a lot of linking to progressively lock the skeletal structure then use a sudden drop in body weight to finish the movement. This is not the case with many other aiki dojos and high level teachers. There are other ways used to break balance and other ways to finish the movement.

If I had freedom to speak more precisely, I could give a better example, but basically, there is more than one way to skin a cat, but in the end we are all skinning cats as it were.

Finally, I agree that it is a mistake to assume that the arts are totally different things. But going the other way, I also think it is a mistake to view them as being the same. The reasoning I am using here is that not every teacher explains where you are misunderstanding (althought some certainly do) and will expect you to learn through the awareness that comes with a clear and open mind. In fact, in Japan most do not explain much at all. As I don't want to miss anything, I just prefer to keep them separate in my mind until I am at the top of the mountain. I guess from a training perspective (in a formal dojo), I don't see the advantage of holding the view that it's all one thing - yet.

R H
01-15-2009, 11:34 PM
Oh, Mike, sorry, I forgot to address the videos that you linked regarding the principles of Kuroda, Ueshiba and Okamoto. I have personally felt both Okamoto, Kuroda and some Shihan from Nishikido's dojo do the arm-wrestling thing. The one similarity is that in all three cases the movement is 'Silent' (ie it can't be felt by the other person), but the way that each of them does this arm-wrestling (and the principles that they apply to it) are quite different. They are not doing the same thing from a technical perspective. As far as an unknowing uke is concerned, they are exactly the same thing (because they are complete unable to feel anything and they are unable to pick out the details of the movement because it is so "ghostly" to use a word that has been popular here.

The reason they are using different principles is because the purpose of each art is different and so the context of training is different.

Take for example Oshiki-uchi of Daito-ryu, which is the training that comes through the Aiki No Jutsu. The purpose of this training (as I understand it) was to make body-guards who could most effectively protect a feudal lord, his advisors and family primarily inside a Japanese castle (Aizu specifically). If you've ever been inside a some of these Japanese castles, you will find that the hallways tend to be very narrow and the ceilings tend to be very low. They are designed this way to limit the possibility of weapons usage inside the castle. Swing your sword and it hits the ceiling or wall before it makes it to its intended target. This dictates that the movement of Daito-ryu aikijutsu incredibly small. Furthermore the art was designed (as I understand it) to neutralize multiple attackers on first contact (instantly) as it assumes that there would be multiple assassins. If the body-guard got stuck in a wrestle with one assassin, the other could just run by slay your King. If you try to substitute other arts into this same body-guard position, you might find a lot of things need to be changed in order for some of the other arts to fit that particular venue.

Regards,
Richard

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 08:21 AM
I have personally felt both Okamoto, Kuroda and some Shihan from Nishikido's dojo do the arm-wrestling thing. The one similarity is that in all three cases the movement is 'Silent' (ie it can't be felt by the other person), but the way that each of them does this arm-wrestling (and the principles that they apply to it) are quite different. Forests and trees, Richard. In the two videos I posted, Kuroda's basic principles were the same basic principles that Okamoto used. They just look different. Sometimes they feel different, but that depends on the skill and approach of the exhibitor and doesn't mean that the core principles are different.

But anyway, nice to chat with you.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

R H
01-16-2009, 09:53 AM
Interesting...Kuroda Sensei and Okamoto Sensei, who are friends, both seem to disagree with you, Mike. I believe this because they have both been asked (in my presence) whether they are doing essentially the same thing. Their answers were rather similar, "Because humans live under gravity and have a common body structure, mind, etc, there is a certain degree of principle overlap, but there is also a lot of difference." I suppose a good metaphor might be that they are two distinct colors in a rainbow. If you care to ask them directly, I am sure they would both be happy to discuss this with you if you visit them. Better do it soon though, as Okamoto Sensei is well into his 80's.

As I am no expert on their arts, it would seem improper for me to disagree with them both. For now, at least, I will just keep an open-mind as to what they are teaching and save a definite answer for a day when I am standing at the top of the mountain as a result of climbing it with my own two feet. Maybe you are already high enough to see clearly for yourself, but in the end, each of us has to make a personal decision about how we wish to approach our training. As I have come to Japan to train with an instructor in traditional training, I will submit myself to their system of training whole-heartedly.

I too am enjoying this chat quite a bit. But unfortunately, I am not one who has many answers. I have my opinions, of course, but I think those will change over time as they always have. Not all that much point in me engraving them in stone at this point.

I do greatly respect your point of view, Mike. Thank you for sharing it.
Regards,
Richard

P.S. on possible point of misunderstanding is how we are defining principles. If you care to clarify what you mean by it in regards to MA, that may be of help.

R H
01-16-2009, 10:12 AM
What is it you mean when you say basic principles. As I have not taken part in these conversations I may well be lacking a certain vocabulary to understand what you are referring to. Seems to me, that a lot of this stuff is quite difficult to describe in words - no substitute for hands on - but maybe you have some effective way to communicate these things over the internet.

David Orange
01-16-2009, 10:52 AM
...I may well be lacking a certain vocabulary to understand what you are referring to. Seems to me, that a lot of this stuff is quite difficult to describe in words - no substitute for hands on - but maybe you have some effective way to communicate these things over the internet.

It's a problem many people have encountered in these discussions.

I found this site very helpful:

http://unleashingfong.com/martialmovement/index.php?title=Main_Page

It's Tim Fong's wiki on internal strength. It compiles a lot of information to help provide a common vocabulary.

In particular, you might want to read through Mike's articles on internal strength here:

http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/peng-index.htm

If you try to link through the wiki, it doesn't work because the url is like this:

http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/peng-index.htm:

If you remove the final colon, as I did above, you can see the articles.

Another good link is to an archive of the old neijia mailing list:

http://www.jangchoe.name/neijia/

It's mainly oriented to Chinese arts but it goes into a good bit of how-to detail on internal power.

Also, Mike hosts the qi/jin forum. It's private, so you'll need to get in through him.

Thanks for your interesting insights.

David

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 11:43 AM
Interesting...Kuroda Sensei and Okamoto Sensei, who are friends, both seem to disagree with you, Mike. I believe this because they have both been asked (in my presence) whether they are doing essentially the same thing. Their answers were rather similar, "Because humans live under gravity and have a common body structure, mind, etc, there is a certain degree of principle overlap, but there is also a lot of difference." I'm not sure how that's any different than what I said. Ask Kuroda what he means by "gravity" (or just look at the two ki demo's at the end of that video, because that's what he's talking about, then ask him if those demo's show "gravity") and you might understand what I mean by the core principles being the same. I mentioned that there were superficial differences, but I stand on my statement (which they seem to support) that at core they are doing the same thing. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
01-16-2009, 12:09 PM
I think I also have to state that Mike has proved time and again, in person and on the net, that these basics form the basis for all of these different usages.

Many people (including some posting here) at one point in time or another took the tack being expressed here, or even took offense at some of these statements (myself included). But time has bourne out the truth of the perspective that these things are basics, and inter-related, in spite of the different approaches to usage in different arts.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 02:56 PM
, in spite of the different approaches to usage in different arts. It's confusing. Different approaches, different terms, different levels of the full abilities, different "purity" (some are "harder" due to the admixture of muscle to the process), and so on. But at heart it's all the same thing. When you see the Yin-Yang symbol, "Five Elements", "Eight Gates", and so on and so on, which you do in pretty much every Asian martial-art... that's the giveaway that they're talking about the same core principles of movement, despite any superficial differences.

FWIW

Mike

Erick Mead
01-16-2009, 03:17 PM
If you try to link through the wiki, it doesn't work because the url is like this:

http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/peng-index.htm:

If you remove the final colon, as I did above, you can see the articles.

There are other approaches to this as well that track the same principles in different terminology. Review this:
http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/issue-3/training-tip.htm

Specifically this: ,;... storing power in the spine refers to an antagonistic relationship deliberately developed in the back. This "storing" of power is similar to the tension buildup in your finger just before you flick something away.

The mechanical word for what was just described is "shear" -- and when developed as a result of the poised moment in the lower lordosis curvature of the spine, it looks like this:

565

"…the ch'i adheres to the back and permeates the spine" is a reference in the T'ai Chi Classics which refers to the storing of power in this manner.

The "storing" can be described as restraining an opening move with a closing move and then releasing it. Hence, the contradictory designation. . Opening and closing are ways of looking at the reciprocal rotations of limbs used to create leverage in the use of ordinary strength (curl or press, in the case of arms). In the case of the subject being discussed (however it is termed), the principle is not to use the resulting tension or compression effect of the leverage around the joint to do work, but to fix both ends of the set-up lever, not allowing those rotations but letting the reciprocal moments develop without the movement, and then use the shear, instead, when it is released to drive movement in progressive (vice reciprocal, i.e.- push-pull) rotations of the segments of the body and limbs. It is the motion of cutting with the sword as well, or alternatively, of gathering with the arm.

That is what is described here, in the source cited [ http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/issue-1/how-to.htm ]Without using any shoulder or arm tension, straighten directly toward your partner... relaxedly straightening into their push. This is letting the moments at release propagate through the body in a progressive shear movement -- unfurling, if you will, without using direct leverage. "Windings," I believe, is the term the source uses.

Similarly, Asagao -- a term I have heard used by some DTR folks -- is another way of describing that progressive shear in either expansion and retraction of structure -- equivalent to the description in the source quoted [ http://www.iay.org.uk/internal-strength/issue-3/training-tip.htm ]:

Asagao is the morning glory blossom -- seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuJfhhaxdz8&feature=related

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 03:33 PM
Just to be clear, since some old articles of mine from the early 90's are being used, part of the question was and is how to say something so that people can understand the concept in order to get their foot in the door. The problem with "shear" forces (they're referred to as "contradiction forces" or "antagonisitc forces" in the old literature) is that the way Erick presents it conflates the meaning with simple muscular tension. There's more to it than that; how you train for "contradiction", etc., has a lot to do with breathing techniques and "jin" forces and conditioning the body. If it was simple, everyone would be doing it. "Shear forces" is enough misleading that I would personally discard it. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

David Orange
01-16-2009, 05:13 PM
There's more to it than that; how you train for "contradiction", etc., has a lot to do with breathing techniques and "jin" forces and conditioning the body. If it was simple, everyone would be doing it. "Shear forces" is enough misleading that I would personally discard it. ;)

I did like this description of yours:

",;... storing power in the spine refers to an antagonistic relationship deliberately developed in the back. This "storing" of power is similar to the tension buildup in your finger just before you flick something away."

I could immediately feel that when I thought of delivering a xingyi punch. It seems it would just be much "smaller" in a tai ji application. And sort of halfway between in bagua's dropping palm strike.

As for asagao, I can see that relationship, especially with the video, but I understood it to refer to the way the hand is held. Of course, if that's priming the whole suit, then it could apply to the whole body.

Anyway, I think using those articles plus some of Rob's stuff (basically, everything on Tim Fong's site), plus the aunkai site, would help immensely to developing a common understanding from which various effective approaches could be discussed with much less friction.

Thanks.

David

Erick Mead
01-16-2009, 05:22 PM
Just to be clear, since some old articles of mine from the early 90's are being used, part of the question was and is how to say something so that people can understand the concept in order to get their foot in the door. The problem with "shear" forces (they're referred to as "contradiction forces" or "antagonisitc forces" in the old literature) is that the way Erick presents it conflates the meaning with simple muscular tension. And to be equally clear the shear is the result of opposed contradictory moments caused by a pinned lever in the structure. Osae waza are creating and directing shear INTO a target structure to disorganize its material (potentially damaging , like snapping a pencil), whereas other techniques and principles of movement are directing shear through or from a target structure to disorganize its stability, like tipping out the haunch of a block arch so it collapses.

That pinned lever in the body is not necessarily caused by local muscular tension. There need not be (although there can be) local muscular exertion involved in creating the situation in question. I can analogize with the already mentioned finger-on-the-table example, which can be created either by extending the finger against the table ( local muscular tension, or by holding the finger in a set position and shifting the weight of the arm or body to bear more on the finger (taijuuido) in a direction that creates a high lateral shear ( attention to "angles," I believe was mentioned in the text). They are similar in appearance, and yet different in both the cause and the effect. The muscular action we are discussing is core-driven, not local. The rest of the structure just propagates what is set up and then driven from the core.

There's more to it than that; how you train for "contradiction", etc., has a lot to do with breathing techniques and "jin" forces and conditioning the body. If it was simple, everyone would be doing it. "Shear forces" is enough misleading that I would personally discard it. ;) I am describing the mechanical principle that is acting, and described plainly in other terms in the works and traditional concepts cited -- what is done, not how to train to do it. I have only one prescription for that and it is the one I have trained in -- which is not to say it is the only or even the best or to derogate others that are effective in using related physical principles. .

I only made the point simply because the discussion was teetering on issues of not disclosing terms of art or concepts that are proprietary to a traditional system. Mechanics is not proprietary (nor even culturally restrictive, these days) and should not cause the same concern to our kobujutsu buddies. I mentioned asagao becuas eit may provide a DTR template that is already "out there" for the Roppokai and others to address or key off of without treading on their oaths.

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 05:44 PM
I did like this description of yours:

",;... storing power in the spine refers to an antagonistic relationship deliberately developed in the back. This "storing" of power is similar to the tension buildup in your finger just before you flick something away."
I liked it, too. Notice that I said "similar too", because there are some factors that only surface after a fair amount of practice. Very important factors. I don't say that in any smug or secretive way, but as a caution (that is needed, very often) that the superficial and obvious is simply not it. I.e., I'm trying to save someone a mistaken journey into a cul de sac.

Mechanics is not proprietary (nor even culturally restrictive, these days) and should not cause the same concern to our kobujutsu buddies. I agree and that's the point I've tried to make a number of times. I know enough "secrets" to know that it should be fairly easy to discuss the level of skills and skill-training that have been generally discussed on this forum without much concern for having been unfaithful, etc. I also know for a fact that unless someone really has true skills they can't piece together much from the discussions... they're more likely to simply go down a wrong path (seen it happen many a time).

My point being, again, that there's no reason not to talk and a lot of reason for more people to engage in the discussion if they really are serious about the arts.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

R H
01-16-2009, 06:43 PM
I'm not sure how that's any different than what I said. Ask Kuroda what he means by "gravity" (or just look at the two ki demo's at the end of that video, because that's what he's talking about, then ask him if those demo's show "gravity") and you might understand what I mean by the core principles being the same. I mentioned that there were superficial differences, but I stand on my statement (which they seem to support) that at core they are doing the same thing. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Maybe I am misunderstanding you here, Mike, but if you go back over my posts, I always say there is some overlap. I also talk about gravity, the body and mind being the same so there is some commonality. I am not so sure we are actually saying such different things now, if that is what you are referring to as basic principles. If that is what you are referring to as basic principles, then I am in fact in agreement with you.

Where the differences lay (I will leave out any teacher's names here because this may well be breaching my promise) is in things like the following example: of the 5 schools I have mentioned so far, 2 train and stress "breath power", and three say that "breath power" is not a part of IT and have no training in kokyu-ho. This is just one of a few distinctions that I have seen and heard about from the teachers. Is not breath power a principle in your book?

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 06:55 PM
I am not so sure we are actually saying such different things now, if that is what you are referring to as basic principles. If that is what you are referring to as basic principles, then I am in fact in agreement with you. OK.

Where the differences lie (I will leave out any teacher's names here because this may well be breaching my promise) is in things like the following example: of the 5 schools I have mentioned so far, 2 train and stress "breath power", and three say that "breath power" is not a part of IT and have no training in kokyu-ho. This is just one of a few distinctions that I have seen and heard about from the teachers. Is not breath power a principle in your book?Well, I'm not sure what "breath power" you mean. That's part of the point of the discussion. Can you tell me what you mean by "breath power"? And then I can tell you what I mean by "breath power" and then we begin to get a commonality of terms, more people get into the discussion and at the very least the baseline discussion moves upward, which benefits the arts. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

R H
01-16-2009, 06:59 PM
Thought of another example that I think would be fair to use as it is publicly accessible information. Okamoto Sensei states the three main principles of his art are breath-power, circular movement and conditioned reflex. Several of the schools that I have mentioned above do not use breath power or circular motion. Would the three things Okamoto Sensei listed as his 3 main principles constitute principles in your estimation?

R H
01-16-2009, 07:08 PM
OK. Well, I'm not sure what "breath power" you mean. That's part of the point of the discussion. Can you tell me what you mean by "breath power"? And then I can tell you what I mean by "breath power" and then we begin to get a commonality of terms, more people get into the discussion and at the very least the baseline discussion moves upward, which benefits the arts. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

1. Breathing in on reception of another's power and out on the release of that power was one of the breath power methods.

2. Of a different school, is to NOT breath in during the other person's attack and to breath out on yours (contradictory to the first example).

3. To match breathing with the partner (which I think happens naturally when you simply relax), so whether or not a school trains in this intentionally or not, if they are relaxing it is naturally occuring phenomenon in my opinion. Note: there are varying degrees of relaxation, so what is one person's "relaxed" may be another person's "strained".

All three examples are termed "Breath Power".

R H
01-16-2009, 09:08 PM
Mike, I had an idea to help clarify whether or not we are indeed referring to the same principles. By restricting our options of movement we can see if we are talking about the same thing or not.

Test one:
Uke stands next to a vertical iron pole or smallish tree that is firmly in the ground, and grabs onto it with one hand firmly, while standing erect and firmly grabs on to your lightly extended finger (your arm is extended lightly). You are standing erect and directly in front of the uke. He grabs your finger firmly and does his best to prevent you from moving. You are not allowed to move your body in any way, nor your feet (no turning either - even a fraction of an inch) and you must lightly hold your breath (to prevent a breath method application). Your only allowed movement is to bring your finger horizontally to the side (opposite direction of the pole), SLOWLY. You are not allowed to move your hand towards the ground in any way (do not break the horizontal plain). The questions are, can uke resist this and hold onto the pole? Is he sent flying without you even intending to throw him? Does your finger hurt or feel strained in anyway. Is there any sense of heaviness? If done correctly using only aiki, the uke's grip will be ripped from the pole easily and he will be sent tumbling off to the side effortlessly and not even be able to hold on to your finger when he falls.

I've got a few other tests which I would like to pose, but I have to run now.

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 09:23 PM
1. Breathing in on reception of another's power and out on the release of that power was one of the breath power methods.

2. Of a different school, is to NOT breath in during the other person's attack and to breath out on yours (contradictory to the first example).

3. To match breathing with the partner (which I think happens naturally when you simply relax), so whether or not a school trains in this intentionally or not, if they are relaxing it is naturally occuring phenomenon in my opinion. Note: there are varying degrees of relaxation, so what is one person's "relaxed" may be another person's "strained".

All three examples are termed "Breath Power". Well, if all 3 are termed "breath power", but they're all different, which one is it? Or do you have any different meaning yourself? I.e., what do YOU mean by "breath power"?

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-16-2009, 09:28 PM
Mike, I had an idea to help clarify whether or not we are indeed referring to the same principles. By restricting our options of movement we can see if we are talking about the same thing or not.

Test one:
Uke stands next to a vertical iron pole or smallish tree that is firmly in the ground, and grabs onto it with one hand firmly, while standing erect and firmly grabs on to your lightly extended finger (your arm is extended lightly). You are standing erect and directly in front of the uke. He grabs your finger firmly and does his best to prevent you from moving. You are not allowed to move your body in any way, nor your feet (no turning either - even a fraction of an inch) and you must lightly hold your breath (to prevent a breath method application). Your only allowed movement is to bring your finger horizontally to the side (opposite direction of the pole), SLOWLY. You are not allowed to move your hand towards the ground in any way (do not break the horizontal plain). The questions are, can uke resist this and hold onto the pole? Is he sent flying without you even intending to throw him? Does your finger hurt or feel strained in anyway. Is there any sense of heaviness? If done correctly using only aiki, the uke's grip will be ripped from the pole easily and he will be sent tumbling off to the side effortlessly and not even be able to hold on to your finger when he falls.

I've got a few other tests which I would like to pose, but I have to run now.Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Richard, I dunno. I'm having second thoughts about just "talking". How about I narrow it down to saying more "how things are done" rather than just "talking"? Would that work?

For instance, just "talking" could result in me trying to have a coherent conversation with a student of this guy, yet I doubt we'd go very far:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJr2BdUTYkU&eurl=http://judoforum.com/index.php?showtopic=29513&feature=player_embedded

One of his students could suggest to me that if I couldn't make someone do the Boing-Boing Dance that I wasn't talking about the same "chi power" he was talking about. If you see the problem from my perspective.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

gdandscompserv
01-16-2009, 09:45 PM
If done correctly using only aiki, the uke's grip will be ripped from the pole easily and he will be sent tumbling off to the side effortlessly and not even be able to hold on to your finger when he falls.
I'd like to feel that.

R H
01-16-2009, 11:26 PM
Mike, I definitely agree that just talking about this stuff really doesn't tend to go far. Got to communicate body to body in order to reach understanding. That said, I am enjoying our conversation emensely. I do not often have a chance to talk about these things outside of my dojo. Although I am certainly constrained as to how much I can discuss here, even the little that we have been able to exchange has been very enjoyable for me. Thank you for that.

Regarding the video, I have never seen any uke respond like that to any techniques of any teacher I have had hands on experience with. Have you felt this teacher and had a similar response (ie the jumping around well after contact has been broken)?

The test that I am referring to is nothing special in my opinion. It is merely meant to limit the physical body to the point where you need to rely entirely on aiki skills and not on muscle power, leverage, pushing. pulling, lifting, etc. There is nothing mystical about the exercise I detailed nor is it a particularily high level thing in my opinion. I would guess that a well trained 2-3 years of experience aiki practitioner (shoden oku) could do this after playing with it for a bit. The test should work on just the average Joe off the street without him having been told what will happen or having seen anyone else do this exercise, so it is not limited to a believer.

R H
01-16-2009, 11:48 PM
Hi Rick,
I would imagine that many of Horikawa's advanced students can perform the exercise I detailed as it is not a very high level thing. Come to Japan for some extensive training (develop a relationship) and then pose some aiki challenges for the purpose of exploring pertinent techniques. So long as it applies to a technique you are learning, I can't see why a teacher would turn a request like this down.

R H
01-17-2009, 12:14 AM
Here is another exercise that I think is more difficult to do and which I spent quite a bit of time working on with my teacher.
My teacher is a Menkyo Kaiden of Shinkage-ryu (under Watanabe Sensei), which I study. We were working on simple suburi, when I had the idea to ask him to grab the tip of my bokken. I wanted to see if I could raise my sword up with him resisting. Couldn't move at all. He interest in the concept, so we switched and after a bit of play he was able to do it quite well. Then we progressed to a jo (which he held just like a sword) and did the same thing. I was able to do it with a sword some, but didn't get to a point where I had much consistency and I never once succeeded with the jo.

The rules:
Stand vertically, and hold the sword just as you would naturally in chudan (middle position), which is basically having your hands at your bladder level with the sword tip pointing directly out in front of you at the same level. Uke stands directly in front of the sword and grabs the tip with one hand firmly, while standing erect, with the intention of preventing your movement.
With no movement other than your arms move your sword above your head just as you would when doing suburi. If done well the Uke will be lifted onto his toes effortlessly in one smooth motion and his arm will be lifted above his head, and he will suddenly find himself walking around to the back of the sword holder to keep up with the tip of the sword as it goes behind him. Although the uke will walk near you, he will not be able to punch, kick or touch you in any way. Then when you swing your sword back to the bladder position, he will be thrown to the floor directly in front of you at some distance of course.

In my opinion, this exersize is much more difficult than the first one and I would guess that those Sensei who do not do sword work may not be able to do this according to the rules I laid out above.

R H
01-17-2009, 12:19 AM
Richard, I dunno. I'm having second thoughts about just "talking". How about I narrow it down to saying more "how things are done" rather than just "talking"? Would that work?
Mike Sigman

That sounds like a great idea, Mike.

R H
01-17-2009, 02:34 AM
Well, if all 3 are termed "breath power", but they're all different, which one is it? Or do you have any different meaning yourself? I.e., what do YOU mean by "breath power"?

Regards,

Mike

Sorry, Mike, I have been in and out all day and have been writing bit by bit to answer questions, clarify thoughts, etc. It appears that I failed to answer this question, which I should have addressed first.

My point on breath power was that each teacher has a different "Breath Power". There is no one way, but each teacher used his own way effectively. My own perspective is that, I find that when I relax deeply with awareness, my breathing seems to naturally match with the other person's breathing, but the later is my own realization not a method I was taught. Relaxation being the key to the natural matching that I am referring to. I do not attribute that to any one teacher nor do I think that it is the best way or the only way - just something I noticed.

Does that make sense?

Upyu
01-17-2009, 05:46 AM
<snip> My own perspective is that, I find that when I relax deeply with awareness, my breathing seems to naturally match with the other person's breathing, but the later is my own realization not a method I was taught. Relaxation being the key to the natural matching that I am referring to. I do not attribute that to any one teacher nor do I think that it is the best way or the only way - just something I noticed.

Does that make sense?

Sorry to butt in.
Richard, I understand full well the vagueness that comes together with the Japanese term of "breathing," but I think what Mike is gunning for is more a "what happens" when you breathe.
How does breathing in or breathing out contribute to power, how does it aid the body, or what effects do certain types of breathing have on the body.

The answer, at least from my own experience, isn't some vague answer that deals with relaxation, "matching", etc etc

There's a more practical effect on the body, mainly in terms of conditioning. Course, you have to have a certain amount of conditioning to feel it...if you don't then (and that "you" is not aimed at "you," I meant it generally) you won't be able to feel it.

Case in point, the one demo that you gave with the student gripping the end of the sword as the teacher raises and lowers it, while the student is unable to punch/kick, seems pretty easy, given someone with enough conditioning in the body (not of muscle tho).
Launching the guy on the downswing should be fairly easy for anyone conditioned enough, and could be indicative of someone that's trained to use the breath to store and release power.

R H
01-17-2009, 06:28 AM
Sorry to butt in.
Richard, I understand full well the vagueness that comes together with the Japanese term of "breathing," but I think what Mike is gunning for is more a "what happens" when you breathe.
How does breathing in or breathing out contribute to power, how does it aid the body, or what effects do certain types of breathing have on the body.

The answer, at least from my own experience, isn't some vague answer that deals with relaxation, "matching", etc etc

There's a more practical effect on the body, mainly in terms of conditioning. Course, you have to have a certain amount of conditioning to feel it...if you don't then (and that "you" is not aimed at "you," I meant it generally) you won't be able to feel it.

Case in point, the one demo that you gave with the student gripping the end of the sword as the teacher raises and lowers it, while the student is unable to punch/kick, seems pretty easy, given someone with enough conditioning in the body (not of muscle tho).
Launching the guy on the downswing should be fairly easy for anyone conditioned enough, and could be indicative of someone that's trained to use the breath to store and release power.
Well, I have been able to do that sword thing myself, but I did not do any particular "Breath Method" in order to accomplish it. I was not able to do it with the jo. The distance between uke and I was just too great (for my level) in regards to the jo. I would have to try this technique again (with breath limitation - ie specifically not breathing through the technique) in order to find out if breath had anything to do with it or not. Maybe I am naturally using my breath correctly when I successfully do this technique and thusly my few successes were due to having developed some breath skill or lucky breathing. I will play with over a period of time and see what comes of it.

Do you feel you have developed enough breath conditioning to do this sword thing or even the jo thing? If so, I would love to hear how your experiments with it go when you try it out. Try out the other one too (maybe your theory will make it work for you).

Your breath theory reminds me of something I learned from Ushiro Sensei. It seems to me that he uses breath as a way to create even expansion in his body (like a sphere), which makes him very strong without the use of external muscular strength. I messed with that breathing for a while and found that it was useful for a variety of things (being able to absorb blows) and preventing people from taking your balance, etc. Most people when they breath in expand their chest which causes the upper spine to change position and bend slightly backwards on the intake and then go forward again on the exhale. This is a loss of structural integrity. In normal breathing this is happening to everyone but on such a small level that they don't notice it. If you ask someone to take in a large breath and observe how their body moves when they do it, it will become obvious. If you point this out to them, then they will easily perceive it in themselves. Of course there are other biological aspects to proper breathing, like endurance, carbon dioxide expulsion which clarifies thinking and heightens awareness increases relaxation, etc.

If I recall correctly, Kuroda Sensei could do all his stuff while not breathing. I seem to recall a discussion about "breath power" in the dojo. As I don't train there now, I can't be sure on that account though.

Upyu
01-17-2009, 07:08 AM
<snip> The distance between uke and I was just too great (for my level) in regards to the jo. I would have to try this technique again (with breath limitation - ie specifically not breathing through the technique) in order to find out if breath had anything to do with it or not. Maybe I am naturally using my breath correctly when I successfully do this technique and thusly my few successes were due to having developed some breath skill or lucky breathing. I will play with over a period of time and see what comes of it.
<snip>
Your breath theory reminds me of something I learned from Ushiro Sensei. It seems to me that he uses breath as a way to create even expansion in his body (like a sphere), which makes him very strong without the use of external muscular strength.
<snip>


Hi Richard,

Appreciate the reply :)
Actually we don't really focus on the breathing where I train, but I know some elementary components of it, and it overlaps with my own training.

The expansion you mentioned Ushiro using is more what I was referring to. Inhaling can "close" the body, while exhaling can expand/opens "something" in the body.

I can do the test you mentioned as well, but I most definitely could probably not do it with the Jo, lol.

Using the breath "correctly" can only enhance the ability to do the test, and shouldn't prevent a person from completing it.

R H
01-17-2009, 07:19 AM
Hi Richard,

Appreciate the reply :)
Actually we don't really focus on the breathing where I train, but I know some elementary components of it, and it overlaps with my own training.

The expansion you mentioned Ushiro using is more what I was referring to. Inhaling can "close" the body, while exhaling can expand/opens "something" in the body.

I can do the test you mentioned as well, but I most definitely could probably not do it with the Jo, lol.

Using the breath "correctly" can only enhance the ability to do the test, and shouldn't prevent a person from completing it.

Hi Robert,
Thanks you. I should make it clear that I have never been a student of Ushiro. I merely observed him up close during demonstration he gave in Tokyo some years back. I recall him talking about breath power, and I just started experimenting with it on my own and found the expansion thing. There is also a rising a falling aspect to breathing that maybe of use...

R H
01-17-2009, 07:45 AM
Robert, I just watched a few videos of Aunkai instructor. It is the first I have ever heard of him. What he is doing reminds me a lot of Jeet Kune Do, which I studied back in the states. My instructor moved a lot like him. My instructor was a student of Steve Golden.

I find it interesting that on the website it mentions about having a connected body. I agree that this is definitely a key to any good martial art. Most people disconnect with each movement they make which causes them to have to use muscular strength instead of skeletal structure. I recall Ushiro Sensei talking about using breath to connect the body. He discussed this rather thoroughly in the demonstration he gave. But inherently the body is connected naturally, so Martial artists need to learn how to stop disconnecting it (unlearn bad movement habits).

Oh, forgot to mention that when you do the sword exercise it should be able to be done slowly and in one smooth motion. Speed is not of importance. Of course, it can be done quickly, but sometimes people cheat by using speed to substitute for lack elsewhere, so it is good to start slowly. I'd be rather curious to find out if Akasawa Sensei is able to do these exercises. By the way, does he ever speak of Sagawa Sensei? What was his impression? Maybe you could answer these questions through a private message to me.

Mike Sigman
01-17-2009, 09:50 AM
Regarding the video, I have never seen any uke respond like that to any techniques of any teacher I have had hands on experience with. Have you felt this teacher and had a similar response (ie the jumping around well after contact has been broken)? IIRC he took a class from me once in Houston (in the 1990's) when I gave some classes at a national tournament . His name is Peter Young. That kind of stuff is blarney and the students must want to believe very badly to act like that. My point was that those students would talk just as seriously about the <<searches for kind word>> phenomena on that video as someone who does serious work. To avoid discussing anecdotal phenomena, I was suggesting that we stick to more practical "how to" discussions.

Can you explain, for instance, how Kuroda did the two tricks at the end of the video that I pointed to earlier? If so, then possibly there is a baseline for *functional* discussion. If you don't understand the physics of what he did then we may not have the grounds for a discussion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Upyu
01-17-2009, 10:57 AM
Oh, forgot to mention that when you do the sword exercise it should be able to be done slowly and in one smooth motion. Speed is not of importance. Of course, it can be done quickly, but sometimes people cheat by using speed to substitute for lack elsewhere, so it is good to start slowly. I'd be rather curious to find out if Akasawa Sensei is able to do these exercises. By the way, does he ever speak of Sagawa Sensei? What was his impression? Maybe you could answer these questions through a private message to me.

Hi Richard,

I'll pm you later for sure, but yes the premise for most exercises of these types is that they have to be done slowly since the skill involved doesn't have anything to do with speed/explosive movement.

gdandscompserv
01-17-2009, 11:48 AM
Hi Rick,
I would imagine that many of Horikawa's advanced students can perform the exercise I detailed as it is not a very high level thing. Come to Japan for some extensive training (develop a relationship) and then pose some aiki challenges for the purpose of exploring pertinent techniques. So long as it applies to a technique you are learning, I can't see why a teacher would turn a request like this down.
Richard,
Thank you for inviting me to Japan. That is currently not an option for me. However, I've heard there are some people here in the states that can teach such skills as well. I hope to be able to train with them some day. Enjoying your input to the thread, so please continue.
Ricky

R H
01-17-2009, 06:30 PM
IIRC he took a class from me once in Houston (in the 1990's) when I gave some classes at a national tournament . His name is Peter Young. That kind of stuff is blarney and the students must want to believe very badly to act like that. My point was that those students would talk just as seriously about the <<searches for kind word>> phenomena on that video as someone who does serious work. To avoid discussing anecdotal phenomena, I was suggesting that we stick to more practical "how to" discussions.

Can you explain, for instance, how Kuroda did the two tricks at the end of the video that I pointed to earlier? If so, then possibly there is a baseline for *functional* discussion. If you don't understand the physics of what he did then we may not have the grounds for a discussion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

I agree that a "How to" would be ideal for the people on this board. But it is not a question of can I explain how to. Instead it is simply a fact that I promised I would not do such a thing. How could I ever look my teachers in the eyes again after breaking such a promise to them? I don't think I could look myself in the eyes for doing that.

As a last note, in my experience, not all principles are about physics (just to clarify). human physiology, Natural human response, the way we use our senses, our intent, etc are all heavily in play here. Of course physics played a great part in our evolution, but I don't think you meant that.

Apologies

R H
01-18-2009, 07:00 AM
Due to some behind the scenes talk and internet investigation I came to what is being called "ground strength". I do not disagree with this in any way as being a common fundamental to all internal martial arts. It is amazing how rarely you see people who know and can do this. I recognized this in my own training some time back - fundamentally it's precise posture. However, I didn't call it "ground strength".

If you look over the tests I wrote about, you will see that my limitations create a situation that requires precise posture. There are other things at play there as well, but it is enough to say we have common fundamentals or a common tree trunk. The branches may be different.

Thanks for the fun discussion everyone.
Richard

Mike Sigman
01-18-2009, 02:15 PM
Due to some behind the scenes talk and internet investigation I came to what is being called "ground strength". I do not disagree with this in any way as being a common fundamental to all internal martial arts. It is amazing how rarely you see people who know and can do this. I recognized this in my own training some time back - fundamentally it's precise posture. Well, this is appropriate to my "argument" that there needs to be a bit more open debate. Based just on what you're saying, I'm fairly sure that you don't really understand what I personally would call a good groundpath. There are all sorts of levels, slight misunderstanding, etc., etc., and the benefit to open discussions of the baseline skillset is that a common dialogue is established. I think it helps everyone.

People who are trying to get the skills defined so that they know what to build will benefit. People who have some level of skills can improve themselves by formulating and articulating what they think they're doing, thus refining their own understanding. People who have some "status" (rank, etc.) but who don't really have these skills can continue trying to gather information so that they can say "I was already doing that" get to continue kidding themselves that they'll be able to get away with it ( kidding..... well, a little bit. ;) ). People in different arts get to be able to see the commonalities in all the other arts. And so on.

On the other hand, if no meaningful dialogue is established, sure there are some good reasons why someone might not want to join in, but my suggestion is that if they don't know as much as they think they do then they wind up getting left behind... so there might indeed be a reason, a compelling reason, for even people with "secrets" to get involved to a larger extent.
If you look over the tests I wrote about, you will see that my limitations create a situation that requires precise posture. There are other things at play there as well, but it is enough to say we have common fundamentals or a common tree trunk. The branches may be different. But I'm not convinced of that yet. So far, in regard to the best common example (Kuroda's video: the two tricks at the end) we haven't been able to hash out enough particulars for me to agree. Your comments about "precise posture" don't sound right to me because (as shown in Forrest Chang's "Simple Jin Tricks", stuff I do, stuff other people do, etc.) precise posture is not a real necessity for someone who has these skills. Heck, in the Kuroda video example where they're laying on the floor... that's a good example of how to use jin/groundstrength and not need a special posture. Timing? I would discard that from the conversation because "timing" is a key to any technique whether good jin/kokyu skills are used or not? Breathing synchronization with the opponent? Pooh... that flunks the IQ test, if you think about it. Using the Kuroda "laying on the floor pinky arm-wrestling demo" as an example of using jin/kokyu/groundpath/whatever does anyone see where "timing", synchronizing breath with the opponent, or special posture is a requirement? Not really. My point being that it's easier to focus on the actual skills/strengths of ki/kokyu stuff and debride the discussion of nonessentials. If Tohei is standing on one leg and withstanding a push from Uke, where are "timing", "breath synchronization", or "correct posture"? If Tohei, standing on one leg, absorbs the push and returns it with interest (without overt movement), where do we need those same extraneous factors? I.e., let's try to trim the discussion before anything else.

Speaking of those factors above reminds me of a video on YouTube. I know how to do this and it doesn't require precise posture, timing (other than the obvious), or synchronizing with Uke's breath:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA

Best.

Mike Sigman

R H
01-18-2009, 06:05 PM
Mike, my tests specifically exclude any possibility for timing to come into play (have you tried them?) Please do, and discover what I am referring to. I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying and I have misunderstood you on a symantic level (I don't think I am right now though).

You most definately do not need timing to make basic skills work. Kuroda doesn't use timing for what he is doing in the video you linked. We are in agreement here.

I do not claim to have secrets (nor have I). I am merely saying that the curriculum of Daito-ryu training is secret and it is not for me to talk about publically. I don't think I know very much at all - did you infer that I thought I did. I have no rank as there is none in our dojo, nor do I have the right or even attempt to represent my ryu-ha. I have a long ways to go, and I make (have made) no claims to the contrary.

Regarding my ground strength skills, they may well be way off base. I might be in utter confusion about everything we are doing and walking in the dark, but if you recall, I stated from the outset that I am no authority and to take my two cents with a huge bag of salt. What I meant by precise posture may not be what you think, as what I meant by it would allow for sitting, laying down, bending over, standing, etc (shizentai).

Regarding secrets, The fact is that a great deal of Koryu are secretive. The reasons for this vary, and they are not all ill-intentioned. I am not a teacher and They are not my secrets, so I am not trying to kid anyone or paint some big image of myself. I came here merely to clear up some misunderstandings about some of the teachers that are taking flak here without good cause. You asked me to participate in a discussion here, and I did my best to within the restrictions that I have agreed to with my ryu-ha. Half-assed never works and I should have known that from the start.

Thanks for the discussion.
I appreciate what you are trying to do. I think your path is a good one. Please keep it up.

Regards,
Richard

Mike Sigman
01-19-2009, 08:46 AM
Mike, my tests specifically exclude any possibility for timing to come into play (have you tried them?) Please do, and discover what I am referring to. I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying and I have misunderstood you on a symantic level (I don't think I am right now though). I didn't try your tests, Richard, mainly because I don't think words ever convey those things very well. If you have a video showing exactly what you mean, I'll give it a try. However, please note that the reactions of Uke were a primary consideration of mine. For instance, I noticed long ago that the student of a teacher can get thrown far more easily than a non-student. ;) [[snipsky]]

[quote]Regarding secrets, The fact is that a great deal of Koryu are secretive. The reasons for this vary, and they are not all ill-intentioned. I am not a teacher and They are not my secrets, so I am not trying to kid anyone or paint some big image of myself. I came here merely to clear up some misunderstandings about some of the teachers that are taking flak here without good cause. You asked me to participate in a discussion here, and I did my best to within the restrictions that I have agreed to with my ryu-ha. Half-assed never works and I should have known that from the start.
As I said, I think that each person has to do what he wants to do. In my own way I'm careful about who I show things to, so that's a form of exculsivism, too. However, I'm trying to step around the "secrets" guys and make sure that the more open and sharing get a head start on the "secrets" groups so that the long-term effect of "secrets" doesn't lead everyone back into the morass again. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

phitruong
01-20-2009, 07:51 AM
As I said, I think that each person has to do what he wants to do. In my own way I'm careful about who I show things to, so that's a form of exculsivism, too. However, I'm trying to step around the "secrets" guys and make sure that the more open and sharing get a head start on the "secrets" groups so that the long-term effect of "secrets" doesn't lead everyone back into the morass again. ;)



you folks got way too much secrets. quite unhealthy to keep all those stuffs in. it's not like us low-minded folks be able to practice them, unless we are genius. if there were genius among us, we would have banned the bugger already. :D

wonder how long those koryu folks can keep the secrets and not go by way of the dinosaurs. and wonder if i should taking bets. :)

gdandscompserv
01-20-2009, 11:04 AM
you folks got way too much secrets. quite unhealthy to keep all those stuffs in. it's not like us low-minded folks be able to practice them, unless we are genius. if there were genius among us, we would have banned the bugger already. :D

wonder how long those koryu folks can keep the secrets and not go by way of the dinosaurs. and wonder if i should taking bets. :)
Pretty soon there won't be any around to kick our arses!:D

mathewjgano
01-20-2009, 07:07 PM
Your comments about "precise posture" don't sound right to me because...precise posture is not a real necessity for someone who has these skills.
What would you say if "posture" was replaced with "physical structure"? I ask because I've heard described what sounds like a specific way of moving, couldn't that be described as a specific internal shape to the body? ...A specific internal posture?

Mike Sigman
01-20-2009, 07:26 PM
What would you say if "posture" was replaced with "physical structure"? I ask because I've heard described what sounds like a specific way of moving, couldn't that be described as a specific internal shape to the body? ...A specific internal posture?Well, if you make the terminology vague enough anything will fit. ;) There is no "internal shape"; there is "intent". The "Divine Will" as Ueshiba put it.

Regards,

Mike

phitruong
01-21-2009, 07:41 AM
Pretty soon there won't be any around to kick our arses!:D

don't need them to kick our asses! I've been working on IS stuffs so I can kick my own ass. If my intent is focus enough and if I can relax my lower back enough and if I can prevent my shoulder muscles from tensing, I can send ground energy through my ass, by way of hara/dantien, and push it all the way up to my ears. :D

of course the easier way is to form an ass-kicking organization, where you come over to my place and kick my ass, then I'd come over to your place and kick your ass. we would call the organization as aikido ass-kicking organization with secret ass-kicking techniques such as how-to kick ass up through aiki-age or kick ass down through aiki-sage approaches. membership fees apply because we need folks to pay for the privilege of getting their asses kick. :D

*back to work on making ass-cover pads*

gdandscompserv
01-21-2009, 03:15 PM
don't need them to kick our asses! I've been working on IS stuffs so I can kick my own ass. If my intent is focus enough and if I can relax my lower back enough and if I can prevent my shoulder muscles from tensing, I can send ground energy through my ass, by way of hara/dantien, and push it all the way up to my ears. :D

of course the easier way is to form an ass-kicking organization, where you come over to my place and kick my ass, then I'd come over to your place and kick your ass. we would call the organization as aikido ass-kicking organization with secret ass-kicking techniques such as how-to kick ass up through aiki-age or kick ass down through aiki-sage approaches. membership fees apply because we need folks to pay for the privilege of getting their asses kick. :D

*back to work on making ass-cover pads*
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/lmao.gif

mathewjgano
01-24-2009, 10:49 AM
Well, if you make the terminology vague enough anything will fit. ;) There is no "internal shape"; there is "intent". The "Divine Will" as Ueshiba put it.

Regards,

Mike

Hi Mike,
I've been tossing this around in my head for the last few days and I was wondering if you'd be willing to expand on this a little.
Was your remark about internal shape meant to describe the non-rigid quality (e.g. I know "posture" often implies a non-moving form) of the internal workings?
Also, what do you mean by intent here?
Take care,
Matt

Mike Sigman
01-24-2009, 11:31 AM
I've been tossing this around in my head for the last few days and I was wondering if you'd be willing to expand on this a little.
Was your remark about internal shape meant to describe the non-rigid quality (e.g. I know "posture" often implies a non-moving form) of the internal workings?
Also, what do you mean by intent here?
I think I wrote some sort of similar explanation on A.W. a few years ago, but I have no idea where it is. I can give you a *rough* idea, but let me emphasize that it's an incomplete idea and there's more to it:

Stand upright, feet about shoulder or a little-more width. Let a partner push into (and very slightly downward) your right should and you try to relax, let the left leg compress from the push, and the left foot should be the resting place for the push. Naturally the body "structure" is what conveys the push down to the foot, but in this case the "structure" is standing in for something I can't tell you quite how to do in writing.

Then have the partner stop pushing and walk around and push on the left should, all the same thing, etc., so that the push winds up in the right foot. Try not to move any part of your body in between the pushes. Just first accept the push into the left foot from the right shoulder and then accept the push into the right foot from the left shoulder. You can feel that there has to be a minor re-arrangement inside the body to accomodate the force coming from the different directions and you kind of "set up" in order get ready for the push from different sides. That "setting up" is done via "intention". If you learn to hit, push, receive-forces, manipulate, etc., this kind of intention path of strength to and from the ground, your skills will increase. But since you don't have to move to do these intention changes, there really is no "shape". I can lay on the ground and mentally change where and what direction forces are going through my body. I can lean over into odd positions and manipulate these same kinds of forces. So it's not "shape"; it's intention.

When Ueshiba let the Sumo wrestler push on him, Ueshiba responded by meeting the Sumo wrestler's force with a force that Ueshiba arranged mentally. That force "blended" with the Sumo wrestler's push and negated the push. So Ueshiba used the "Divine Will"... and he called it the secret of Aikido. Of course other arts use these force/ki/kokyu/jin skill manipulations, too, as part of "blending", hitting (atemi), and so on. There are more extensive discussions about these skills on QiJin, if the above didn't answer your questions.

FWIW

Mike

Cady Goldfield
01-24-2009, 01:35 PM
As an aside:
That whole area of "intention" is starting to get the attention of Western physiologists who are looking into the role that fascia (internal connective tissues).

Thusfar, they believe that the fascia are the first thing activated by the mind when we make a willful intention to do something (such as scratch an itch, reach for a cup, etc.). in turn, fascia fire the muscles into action. Fascia contain a relatively small number (compared to muscle) of nerve cells related to the kind in muscle, and that they can be fired to expand and contract, though far more slowly than muscle does.

So, maybe when internal methods are being employed, we are somehow exploiting that fascia activity in the space between "intent" and "action."

It'll be interesting to see what they conclude, particularly since Chinese and Japanese "internal" practitioners have intuitively known and exploited these factors for centuries.

Mike Sigman
01-24-2009, 02:22 PM
It'll be interesting to see what they conclude, particularly since Chinese and Japanese "internal" practitioners have intuitively known and exploited these factors for centuries."Intuitively"??? I would disagree. And of course there are a lot of "internal" Asian practitioners that don't have the skills, so the "intuitive" part doesn't work.

Without taking the time to write a long dissertation ("thank god", she says), I'd offer the opinion that "these things are not intuitive but must be learned"... a comment I swiped from Yang Cheng Fu. ;)

Mike

gdandscompserv
01-24-2009, 03:41 PM
I think I wrote some sort of similar explanation on A.W. a few years ago, but I have no idea where it is. I can give you a *rough* idea, but let me emphasize that it's an incomplete idea and there's more to it:

Stand upright, feet about shoulder or a little-more width. Let a partner push into (and very slightly downward) your right should and you try to relax, let the left leg compress from the push, and the left foot should be the resting place for the push. Naturally the body "structure" is what conveys the push down to the foot, but in this case the "structure" is standing in for something I can't tell you quite how to do in writing.

Then have the partner stop pushing and walk around and push on the left should, all the same thing, etc., so that the push winds up in the right foot. Try not to move any part of your body in between the pushes. Just first accept the push into the left foot from the right shoulder and then accept the push into the right foot from the left shoulder. You can feel that there has to be a minor re-arrangement inside the body to accomodate the force coming from the different directions and you kind of "set up" in order get ready for the push from different sides. That "setting up" is done via "intention". If you learn to hit, push, receive-forces, manipulate, etc., this kind of intention path of strength to and from the ground, your skills will increase. But since you don't have to move to do these intention changes, there really is no "shape". I can lay on the ground and mentally change where and what direction forces are going through my body. I can lean over into odd positions and manipulate these same kinds of forces. So it's not "shape"; it's intention.

When Ueshiba let the Sumo wrestler push on him, Ueshiba responded by meeting the Sumo wrestler's force with a force that Ueshiba arranged mentally. That force "blended" with the Sumo wrestler's push and negated the push. So Ueshiba used the "Divine Will"... and he called it the secret of Aikido. Of course other arts use these force/ki/kokyu/jin skill manipulations, too, as part of "blending", hitting (atemi), and so on. There are more extensive discussions about these skills on QiJin, if the above didn't answer your questions.

FWIW

Mike
Thank you Mike.:cool:

Cady Goldfield
01-24-2009, 03:43 PM
Mike,
I don't know whether Chinese (and other) practitioners hundreds or thousands of years ago had the means by which to view myoneural cells within fascia to see them firing electrochemically. Lacking that medical/scientific technology, I attributed their understanding to an "intuitive" one perhaps augmented by the visual knowledge of the human body they had. If Western science has been dissecting human cadavers for centuries now, without understanding the role of fascia until fairly recently, I have to wonder how much greater an advance Chinese physiological knowledge had over 1,000 years ago? And even more so, the ability to make a connection between "intent" and the firing of fascia cells to effect movement in advance of muscle action? I think crediting the Chinese with empirical knowledge 1,000 years ago is a bit of a stretch (pardon the play on words).

And why is "intuition" somehow looked down upon as an inferior sense (recall how "women's intuition" was viewed condescendingly in bygone days), rather than as a form of intelligence that simply isn't represented by forms of cognition that are "verbal" -- something the Western mind tends to value ("I THINK... therefore, I must know something..." ;) )

In the absence of cognitively analyzed data, intuition was often the chief form of intelligence that allowed human beings to discover and utilize many resources that might otherwise have been unreachable. Give it some credit. ;)

Mike Sigman
01-24-2009, 04:52 PM
I don't know whether Chinese (and other) practitioners hundreds or thousands of years ago had the means by which to view myoneural cells within fascia to see them firing electrochemically. Lacking that medical/scientific technology, I attributed their understanding to an "intuitive" one perhaps augmented by the visual knowledge of the human body they had. Hi Cady:

Well, I see where you're going and I simply disagree. I think it's fairly obvious (in hindsight; I've been doing this a long time, though) that what happened was empirical. There was no need to have some sage-like intuition about cellular activity; what they observed was physical and if you focus where they almost undoubtedly focused, you'd see it, too. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to attribute all of this to lost ancient wisdom or even a sprinkling of body-technology delivered by aliens to the lost kingdom of WatdaFu, but I think it's much simpler than that.
If Western science has been dissecting human cadavers for centuries now, without understanding the role of fascia until fairly recently, I have to wonder how much greater an advance Chinese physiological knowledge had over 1,000 years ago? And even more so, the ability to make a connection between "intent" and the firing of fascia cells to effect movement in advance of muscle action? I think crediting the Chinese with empirical knowledge 1,000 years ago is a bit of a stretch (pardon the play on words). Yeah, I don't have any problem with seeing what you're trying to say, I just think that you're looking in the wrong direction. But since that's an O.T. tangent, I won't go there (or even tip my hand. ;) ).

And why is "intuition" somehow looked down upon as an inferior sense (recall how "women's intuition" was viewed condescendingly in bygone days), rather than as a form of intelligence that simply isn't represented by forms of cognition that are "verbal" -- something the Western mind tends to value ("I THINK... therefore, I must know something..." ;) )

In the absence of cognitively analyzed data, intuition was often the chief form of intelligence that allowed human beings to discover and utilize many resources that might otherwise have been unreachable. Give it some credit. ;)Er.... I didn't attack the idea of "intuition", Cady. At least I don't think I did. I dunno... I used to be indecisive about what "intuition" meant, but now I'm not so sure. Cogito, ergo curro. ;)

Mike

Shany
01-24-2009, 05:45 PM
At some point in the movie (the one the thread is talking about originally) that guy punched in the AIR (in front of a uke's face) and that uke did a front ukemi screaming in pain.

I was like mm okayyyyy...!

KI or not. that was just blunt!

StevenR
01-24-2009, 07:51 PM
Stand upright, feet about shoulder or a little-more width. Let a partner push into (and very slightly downward) your right should and you try to relax, let the left leg compress from the push, and the left foot should be the resting place for the push. Naturally the body "structure" is what conveys the push down to the foot, but in this case the "structure" is standing in for something I can't tell you quite how to do in writing.

Then have the partner stop pushing and walk around and push on the left should, all the same thing, etc., so that the push winds up in the right foot. Try not to move any part of your body in between the pushes. Just first accept the push into the left foot from the right shoulder and then accept the push into the right foot from the left shoulder. You can feel that there has to be a minor re-arrangement inside the body to accomodate the force coming from the different directions and you kind of "set up" in order get ready for the push from different sides. That "setting up" is done via "intention".

Hi Mike,

Would you say what you describe is what Mr. Chen Xiaowang calls "All Sided Support" in this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J85ARLul9h8

All the best,
/Steven

Mike Sigman
01-24-2009, 09:12 PM
Hi Mike,

Would you say what you describe is what Mr. Chen Xiaowang calls "All Sided Support" in this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J85ARLul9h8

All the best,
/StevenHi Steven:

Yes, it's the same thing. And of course the logic is pretty obvious that if your balance is constant then an opponent cannot do kuzushi and yet if your balance is always in equilibrium you can take the opponent's balance when he makes an error.

If you think about it, Tohei's "extend Ki" is the same thing. The principles of the ki/kokyu/qi/jin things were figured out long, long ago and codified. So long ago that all the theories of Yin and Yang, etc., have permeated all the Asian arts, often with pretty much the same wording in various arts throughout Asia. This is why you find the Yin-Yang, Five Elements, etc., etc., in all the Chinese and Japanese arts. If you look in Ueshiba's douka and other writings you can spot the Yin-Yang references, "Intent" (Divine Will), and so on, even though they've been modified to reflect the idea that they are Shinto precepts.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-24-2009, 09:41 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J85ARLul9h8
I just went back and looked at the video because something bothered me. At about 1:10 the translation suddenly says something about "breath" and it's pretty obviously out of place since CXW is not talking about breathing or breath. CXW is talking about "qi", but not in the "air" or "breath" sense, he's talking in the sense, I think, that keeping your "intention"/qi balanced in all directions is good for your health. In the same sense that Tohei conflates "extend ki"/"keep the one point" (these really boil down to the same thing) with someone's health. This is all part of the common theories and principles of qi/ki.

Sometimes CXW will say "balance in six directions"... he means not "balance" in the common usage but in the sense that the intention-strength is extended globally so that the body is in balance due to the ki/qi being in equilibrium in all directions. This form of "balance" is the essence of what standing postures for health are used for, BTW.

FWIW

Mike

StevenR
01-25-2009, 01:45 AM
Mike,

All of it makes great sense. Now I just need to be able to do all of it... maybe in another five years.

Thanks for the further clarification on "breath" and "balance".

/Steven

Ron Tisdale
01-26-2009, 08:28 AM
Sometimes CXW will say "balance in six directions"... he means not "balance" in the common usage but in the sense that the intention-strength is extended globally so that the body is in balance due to the ki/qi being in equilibrium in all directions. This form of "balance" is the essence of what standing postures for health are used for, BTW.

Hi Mike, is this the kind of "balance" you were referring to when we had that discussion about Gozo Shioda's book oh so many moons ago? If you can't remember, I'll search for a link by and by...

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-26-2009, 08:37 AM
Hi Mike, is this the kind of "balance" you were referring to when we had that discussion about Gozo Shioda's book oh so many moons ago? If you can't remember, I'll search for a link by and by...

I remember the discussion, Ron, at least vaguely. Remember that part of the problem was that the book wasn't really written by Shioda but by his students, giving their take on what Shioda was saying. The second problem is that the book was then translated by someone into English, and their understanding of various skills would have been crucial to how accurate the book was. But my guess is that the "balance" referred to in the Shioda book was more along the lines of what I was talking about. It wouldn't make a lot of sense if it was just about "balance" in the ordinary sense.

Besides, since I wrote that post(s) I've seen much more of the old Shioda stuff on vids and he definitely uses ki/kokyu skills. In fact, he seems to revel in "aiki" portions. ;)

Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-26-2009, 01:59 PM
Ah here is Peter Goldsbury's stab at a translation. Interesting how it melds nicely with the topic...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=101423&postcount=17
Best,
Ron

Mark Jakabcsin
01-26-2009, 03:50 PM
So far, in regard to the best common example (Kuroda's video: the two tricks at the end) we haven't been able to hash out enough particulars for me to agree. Your comments about "precise posture" don't sound right to me because (as shown in Forrest Chang's "Simple Jin Tricks", stuff I do, stuff other people do, etc.) precise posture is not a real necessity for someone who has these skills. Heck, in the Kuroda video example where they're laying on the floor... that's a good example of how to use jin/groundstrength and not need a special posture.

Mike,
Would you argee that to learn the skills you describe and to build the intent one starts by learning precise posture? By working from a precise posture at the begining one can learn how things are connected in the body and how to connect the intent through the body. After one attains a degree of proficiency and understanding of this then he/she can begin to connect the intent regardless of posture. Do you agree with that as a valid starting poiint for training? If not please explain why and/or a better method you use to teach. Thanks in advance.

Take care,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
01-26-2009, 04:09 PM
Ah here is Peter Goldsbury's stab at a translation. Interesting how it melds nicely with the topic...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=101423&postcount=17
Best,OK, thanks, Ron. I don't remember seeing that before.

I have to be careful because it's easy to read something into someone else's words that's not there, but essentially I don't have a problem with arguing that the discussion about a "groundpath" or "downpath" (or "jin" or "kokyu" or "use the hara" or "ki") is also a discussion about "balance". Shioda demonstrated pretty obvious usage of ki/kokyu skills and also the more sophisticated manipulation of those skills in response to forces produced by Uke. So we can assume that there is some correlation between what he was able to show and the way he described things. Using that assumed correlation I can shift my perspective and argue that jin/kokyu/ki-strength skills are an aspect of "balance", but I'd hasten to add that it's an incomplete description, in my personal opinion. But let me ignore the missing elements and go at it from a "balance" perspective.

When Tohei, Shioda, or whoever demonstrates a "ki test", there are two basic types: the ones that derive their power from the support of the ground and the ones that derive their power from the weight. I could easily extend the "balance" part to both types of ki-tests, but in order to keep it simple I'll stick to the ki-tests that work from the support of the ground. The easiest ki-test type of demonstration to make the point in regard to "balance" would be this one, I think:
http://www.neijia.com/OneLegPushOriginal.jpg

I could describe the phenomenon in that picture from several different perspective: vector-force-resolution, groundpath, one-point/hara, sourcing the responding force low, ki, jin, and so on, including "balance". Functionally, the important point is that Nage is not responding with forces initiated high in the body like from the shoulder, upper-body tension, and so on. What more or less happens is that Nage responds to the incoming push with a force that comes from a low angle up, under, and into Uke's push. Sort of like this:
http://www.neijia.com/OneLegPush.jpg

But when we use this extreme, one-legged demonstration as our example, it becomes obvious that in it's purest form the way Nage is resisting Uke's push is actually a form of "balance". If Nage develops this skill further, he can actually learn to "balance" against pushes from various directions, if you see my point. So therefore I'd say that using the word "balance" is a legitimate way to describe some of the aspects of ki/kokyu/"one-point"/"use the hara" forces, it's just that I personally don't think it tells enough to be completely helpful for someone trying to develop the skills. But that's my personal preference; in reality "balance" is an acceptable term to proffer.

Hope I stayed succinct enough to keep the point clear.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-26-2009, 04:15 PM
Mike,
Would you argee that to learn the skills you describe and to build the intent one starts by learning precise posture? By working from a precise posture at the begining one can learn how things are connected in the body and how to connect the intent through the body. After one attains a degree of proficiency and understanding of this then he/she can begin to connect the intent regardless of posture. Do you agree with that as a valid starting poiint for training? For all practical purposes I'd agree with you, Mark. I tend to always want to caveat/nitpick in order to avoid future understandings, but what you're saying is true.

Let me use a simple example though to be sure that "precise posture" is a clear term, though. When putting a beginner into a "precise posture", an understanding teacher is going to modify that posture slightly for each student in order to allow for not only results but also to allow for the current physical strength of the student. As an example, a given posture might be taught more erectly to a student with weak legs and somewhat lower to a student with strong legs. So while the posture might be "precise" for a given student, it might not be "precise" in the sense that all students must do it exactly the same. Other than that caveat, I'd agree with you.

FWIW

Mike

Mark Jakabcsin
01-26-2009, 04:40 PM
So while the posture might be "precise" for a given student, it might not be "precise" in the sense that all students must do it exactly the same. Other than that caveat, I'd agree with you.

Mike

Good points Mike.

One thing I learned from Aunkai was training with locked knees or elbows for some drills. This removes one variable from the equation for the begining student. By doing so the student increases his/her chance of feeling other specific areas of the body and the connections there. The knees can be added in later once a basic understand & proficiency is obtained. I am not sure if you agree with that method but I have found it useful.

Take care,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
01-26-2009, 04:50 PM
One thing I learned from Aunkai was training with locked knees or elbows for some drills. This removes one variable from the equation for the begining student. By doing so the student increases his/her chance of feeling other specific areas of the body and the connections there. The knees can be added in later once a basic understand & proficiency is obtained. I am not sure if you agree with that method but I have found it useful. Well, there are two different topics here:
(1.) learning to use and generate the mind-directed forces that are called "ki" or "kokyu" in Aikido.
(2.) Conditioning the body.

Stretching the body fibers is part of the conditioning that is common to many practices that contain elements (to varying degrees) of the ki/kokyu skills. However, I'd personally be concerned about any conditioning practice that might possibly interfere with (1.), if you see my point.

A similar example might be in getting a student to hold a certain "standing-post" postures too long that is almost certainly going to cause them to tense muscles and thereby ruin jin/ki/kokyu abilities, even though it might be making them personally strong otherwise. Great care has to be taken not to confuse "getting strong" with "getting ki/kokyu power". It's a swamp out there. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
01-27-2009, 04:49 AM
Hi Mike,

Yes, it is very hard to do conditioning as well as keeping focus on jin/ki/kokyu. I'm not clear about what an intelligent way to proceed is, but if I get tired, I simply do my best to keep the former even though my body might be tensing up inadvertently in places. My main goal then is to relax and let the jin do the work as much as possible. When that finally does fail, I have to change (usually that means standing up) and then try again.

Mark, I think that the joints, while straight, should remain relaxed, not in order to bend, but in order to allow the flesh/sinews/fascia to move across the joints, part of the jin/ki/kokyu flow from the feet.

Regards, Gernot

StevenR
01-30-2009, 12:07 PM
Mike,
Would you argee that to learn the skills you describe and to build the intent one starts by learning precise posture?

Mike,

A quick question regarding Mark's question.

One of the first things I've learned in internal MA was proper structure (from shoulder - elbows - wrist - finger tips; then later how to connect to center, then to the ground). But without intent I was unable to properly support it... In other words, the structure would break down...

So my teacher taught me where and when to put my mind in order to properly keep structure and pass the force through the body.

So, my understanding is that "posture" and "intent" are not mutually exclusive - and that you can't learn this by purely learning proper posture (in other words, intent has to be taught from the beginning). Am I right in assuming this?

/Steven

Mike Sigman
01-30-2009, 01:34 PM
A quick question regarding Mark's question.

One of the first things I've learned in internal MA was proper structure (from shoulder - elbows - wrist - finger tips; then later how to connect to center, then to the ground). But without intent I was unable to properly support it... In other words, the structure would break down...

So my teacher taught me where and when to put my mind in order to properly keep structure and pass the force through the body.

So, my understanding is that "posture" and "intent" are not mutually exclusive - and that you can't learn this by purely learning proper posture (in other words, intent has to be taught from the beginning). Am I right in assuming this?
Hi Steven:

From years of experience, I'm afraid to answer your question unless/until I feel how you actually demonstrate the things you're talking about. ;) No offense, of course. But allowing for my caveat of wanting to feel what you're doing in order to make sure that we're on the same page, I'd say that clinically you're correct... they are not mutually exclusive by any means. Better posture and support will of course help the jin/kokyu/ki-strength be stronger.

Best.

Mike

JW
02-17-2009, 10:45 AM
I know I missed this thread by like a month, but I can't leave this alone.

As an aside:
That whole area of "intention" is starting to get the attention of Western physiologists who are looking into the role that fascia (internal connective tissues).

Thusfar, they believe that the fascia are the first thing activated by the mind when we make a willful intention to do something (such as scratch an itch, reach for a cup, etc.). in turn, fascia fire the muscles into action. Fascia contain a relatively small number (compared to muscle) of nerve cells related to the kind in muscle, and that they can be fired to expand and contract, though far more slowly than muscle does.


Hi Cady-
This post has really gotten my attention. I know it was tangential, but since this thread was "resting" anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to ask:
Could you provide some references for your post? This topic is of great interest to me and I am actively researching it. You have pretty much laid out what would be for me the 'holy grail' of findings if indeed it has been published. I am with you in that I think western science has already observed the structures involved in kokyu and aiki, but that the exact way of using these structures voluntarily using intent (especially after conditioning) is the edge-of-my-seat part. I think it is an exciting time in the history of acupuncture/fascia/qi research.

Specifically, your posting seems to be contradictory to the info that I have seen published regarding the below. I'd really appreciate it if you could point me to some research that address these:

1. The servo hypothesis for voluntary muscle control was pretty much laid to rest in the 60s throughout the 80s. Are you suggesting there is now a better rehash of this idea, involving contractile cells other than gamma or beta motor units?

2. The oft-mentioned Scheip paper (easily accessed on the "Science of Fascia" page on Timothy Walters-Kleiner's internal-aiki.com) that claims the presence of myofibroblasts in fascia did not suggest there is neural control of any such contraction. I don't think it was an accident that control of contraction was not addressed in the paper-- if it does occur, it is very likely through hormonal control, and consequently would not be able to be consciously controlled in terms of what part of the body gets a fascial contraction. Is there another paper that addresses neural (conscious?) control of fascial contraction? (you mentioned nerve cells in fascia)

I have been thinking a lot about this but I may need to rethink a lot of things if your post is referring to yet more stuff I haven't read. Thanks for your time!
--Jonathan Wong

C. David Henderson
02-17-2009, 12:38 PM
I'd like to second Jonathan's expression of interest in this aspect of the discussion, and thanks Jonathan for the information and points contained in your question.

Timothy WK
02-17-2009, 01:08 PM
It is my current opinion, based on my experience, that the fascia is not fired on and off like muscle. Rather, it gets "turned on" and simply stays on at a relatively constant strength.

What the fascia does, IMO, is form a tensegrity structure. Once a tensegrity structure is established, the "structure" of the body will stay stabilized all by itself, more or less. In other words, the fascia will begin bearing the load of the body (or any incoming force).

At that point, muscle can be used to "guide" movement---but NOT bear load. (It's actually a bit more complicated, but that's the general idea.) So, when someone says they're "moving without muscle", they're saying their muscles aren't bearing any real load, not that they're not involved. Do you understand that distinction?

Timothy WK
02-17-2009, 01:31 PM
Also on the Shleip paper, I'm pretty sure he doesn't address control because he didn't actually study living individuals. I'm pretty sure he simply studied samples of fascial tissue under a microscope. As such, the paper discusses how he got the tissue to contract in the lab, but that does not directly show how the process works in the body.

JW
02-17-2009, 02:36 PM
In other words, the fascia will begin bearing the load of the body (or any incoming force).

At that point, muscle can be used to "guide" movement---but NOT bear load. (It's actually a bit more complicated, but that's the general idea.) So, when someone says they're "moving without muscle", they're saying their muscles aren't bearing any real load, not that they're not involved. Do you understand that distinction?

Hi Timothy-
I think I understand what you are saying. For instance, one could "engage" or "activate" the fascial suit with 6-direction intent, then do the jo-trick. He would simply maintain his balanced intent, bourne through the fascia, while someone pushes the jo. Voila, no muscle needed because the strain is distributed through wide swaths of tissue.
But, this "activate-once" model doesn't address the mechanism of how ki is lead by intent, except maybe at the moment of activation, correct? What I mean is, when you induce a ground-path say from your right hand your left foot, and then by chance you need one from the left shoulder to the right foot, maybe in preparation to strike with that shoulder, this is done by using intent, without moving. So, what has just happened in your body at that moment?

It is something consciously controlled at that moment, in a particular location (shoulder to foot). It's that feeling that you can feel at any given moment by "intending" to create or bear a force.

Cady's post made me think that there has been some development in the research regarding what happens at the moment you intend (the moment just before movement in an untrained person). This is a very noticeably feeling that is controllable on a moment-by-moment basis, even in the absence of moving.

JW
02-17-2009, 02:44 PM
Also on the Shleip paper, I'm pretty sure he doesn't address control because he didn't actually study living individuals. I'm pretty sure he simply studied samples of fascial tissue under a microscope. As such, the paper discusses how he got the tissue to contract in the lab, but that does not directly show how the process works in the body.

Oh, and one thing about that, I realize that it was not in vivo but there is much to be observed in excised tissue. For instance, Cady mentioned neurons in fascia-- maybe that was a misspeak, but that's why I piped up. And of course we aren't talking about sensory neurons (though they are HUGELY important I am sure) right now, because the question is regarding conscious control of contraction.
You don't need to a living behaving animal to address this question: if there are contractile cells in fascia, do they or do they not make synapses with neurons? Neurons aren't hard to find, so if you were to report on the presence of myofibroblasts but not nearby axon terminals, it does suggest that you didn't see them associating in your samples.
--Jonathan Wong

Mike Sigman
02-17-2009, 03:45 PM
I don't want to get very involved in this conversation (I think people should speculate and think in all sorts of directions), but I'm not sure voluntary control of fascia and contractable fascia, etc., is necessarily the right answer to the basic question about how things work. No real research has been done on this aspect of qi (that I know about), but I know some of the effects first hand and I can postulate several other mechanism that would explain the effects. I.e., the assumption that contractible fascia is a basic answer isn't the basket I'd put all my eggs into.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

JW
02-17-2009, 04:35 PM
I.e., the assumption that contractible fascia is a basic answer isn't the basket I'd put all my eggs into.

Mike Sigman

Thanks for the input! Actually I also don't think the fascia itself is contracting either, in martial art usage. That post by Cady suggested otherwise, which is what alarmed me.

Does anyone know of labs that are actively researching kokyu in any form?
I think it is true that we have already discovered the structures involved, and furthermore, I am pretty sure we have the techniques to directly observe them in action. But someone with interest, funding, and expertise needs to set up the project.
--Jonathan Wong

Timothy WK
02-17-2009, 04:41 PM
I think I understand what you are saying. For instance, one could "engage" or "activate" the fascial suit with 6-direction intent, then do the jo-trick. He would simply maintain his balanced intent, bourne through the fascia, while someone pushes the jo. Voila, no muscle needed because the strain is distributed through wide swaths of tissue.
Yeah, that's basically what I'm saying.
But, this "activate-once" model doesn't address the mechanism of how ki is lead by intent, except maybe at the moment of activation, correct? What I mean is, when you induce a ground-path say from your right hand your left foot, and then by chance you need one from the left shoulder to the right foot, maybe in preparation to strike with that shoulder, this is done by using intent, without moving. So, what has just happened in your body at that moment?

It is something consciously controlled at that moment, in a particular location (shoulder to foot). It's that feeling that you can feel at any given moment by "intending" to create or bear a force.
Gawd, is there a way I can keep this short? As I said, things get more complicated.

OK, remember that we're talking about a "whole-body" or global, tensegrity structure. Tensegrity structures have a couple interesting properties and behaviors.

Unlike rigid structures, the external shape of an (elastic) tensegrity structure is determined by an internal equilibrium of forces. If you change that balance of forces, the external shape will change. So when I was talking about using muscle to "guide" movement, I meant that you can use muscle to shift or re-align the internal balance, such that it forces an external change in shape (ie, movement).

Think of a bicycle wheel. If you change the spoke tension (like if you break a spoke) or if you change the length of a spoke (by screwing or unscrewing the spoke) the wheel will develop a wobble.

So here's the first possibility---in that moment when you shift your "intent", you might be shifting around various internal structures, such that the main, err... "avenue" of force is changed. I think this is what happens in the "center"/dantien/tanden. Certain internal structures are manipulated to induce general movements of expansion and condensing. But this may also happen on a smaller scale throughout the body, who knows.

The thing here is that all the muscle activity would be concentrated in the abdomen, and I can say from experience that in the beginning it's really hard to discern the subtle (internal) movement there. So it may feel like you're "using you intent" rather than moving the muscles/internal structures in the center/dantien/tanden.

A second possibility is that you may literally be "connecting" or "disconnecting" certain fascial channels. The human body is a complex structure. And it should be noted that the fascia runs through muscle---I would imagine that flexing muscle would affect the tensegrity equation somehow, though I can't say exactly how. Maybe there's ways of using muscle that "breaks" the connection?

Also, the angle of the elastic bands (in this case, the fascia) in relation to the rigid rods (bones) is important for tensegrity structures, so there might also be subtle ways of re-aligning the body that connects or disconnects.

Let's say you're disconnecting your arm---the fascia in the arm would still be contracted, but it would be separate from the greater global tensegrity equation.

This sort of thing would probably also be really subtle, such that you would probably perceive it as "using your mind", rather than using the muscles of the body in weird ways.
_____

I could say more, but this is already pretty long. So don't think this is a complete explanation. And don't think this really explains "how" you do any of this stuff on a practical level.

Erick Mead
02-17-2009, 05:24 PM
2. The oft-mentioned Scheip paper (easily accessed on the "Science of Fascia" page on Timothy Walters-Kleiner's internal-aiki.com) that claims the presence of myofibroblasts in fascia did not suggest there is neural control of any such contraction. I don't think it was an accident that control of contraction was not addressed in the paper-- if it does occur, it is very likely through hormonal control, and consequently would not be able to be consciously controlled in terms of what part of the body gets a fascial contraction. Is there another paper that addresses neural (conscious?) control of fascial contraction? (you mentioned nerve cells in fascia)Control was addressed. p. 63. Specifically hormonal control, and specifically, the most likely candidate is oxytocin and histamine with short-acting potentials (the "love" protective hormone and inflammation hormones respectively). Epinephrine, and acetylcholine (fear-stress hormones) as have no notable effect, nor does adenosine.

http://www.fasciaresearch.com/WCLBP/Barcelona/Schleip_Fascia%20is%20able%20to%20Contract%20in%20Smooth%20Muscle-Like%20Manner.pdf

Erick Mead
02-17-2009, 05:39 PM
So here's the first possibility---in that moment when you shift your "intent", you might be shifting around various internal structures, such that the main, err... "avenue" of force is changed. I think this is what happens in the "center"/dantien/tanden. Certain internal structures are manipulated to induce general movements of expansion and condensing. But this may also happen on a smaller scale throughout the body, who knows.Potentiating the fascial stuctures by passive means (hormonal or otherwise) does do,one thing that specifically distinguishes it from voluntary muscular contraction -- is that it pre-potentiates the action of reflex arcs, triggered by passive stretch of the tendons. The Jendrassik Maneuver reflex test most simply demonstrates this. This has also been shown to evoke involuntary stepping motions iun the lower body from upper body passive stretch potentials that are not evoked when the passive tendon stretch is not present.

JW
02-17-2009, 06:06 PM
Thanks Erick for catching that. I should have re-read before posting! So at least Schleip seems to agree that in terms of real-time control of movement, inherent fascial tissue contraction is barking up the wrong tree. This is in line with Timothy's model, and my model that I was favoring when I happened upon that previous post in this thread.


So here's the first possibility---in that moment when you shift your "intent", you might be shifting around various internal structures, such that the main, err... "avenue" of force is changed.


I think that everything you've said jives with my interpretation too. My only deal is that the original source of the fascial tension is the big area of interest to me. That's where there is divergence between my thinking and what you've said (and like you said there is so much more to say though).
But for the usage you describe, my current thinking is exactly in line with that:
If in fact you choose to establish global fascial tension, and your bones are not arranged problematically, then I would agree that you would successfully form a tensegrity structure. Then, you could tug on the tensile portion of the structure (fascia) and you would "steer" forces at will. You are suggesting that abdominal musculature (conceivably attached to fascia) would be used for this tugging (slight modification of tensions), correct?
Sounds good to me, but at a basic level, it sounds like you are talking about a specialized usage of a more general tool. I feel like you could do the same thing in a less global way (would you want too? I am not an experienced enough martial artist to address that). In other words, if you were a master of control of "that which creates fascial tension," then you could use that device to create lines of tension.. let's call them piano wires.. between any points on your body that contain this device. Know what I mean? Same equipment, but a local rather than global strategy of usage.
This is why the source of tension is of interest to me-- I think it is a piece of physiological equipment that could be used in many creative ways. Anyway I am talking theoretically about something I can't even do yet, so maybe there is no value to my musings!

And don't think this really explains "how" you do any of this stuff on a practical level.

True, but that certainly wasn't my intent. Personally I am interested in the status of western research regarding these things.
--Jonathan Wong

JW
02-17-2009, 06:13 PM
Potentiating the fascial stuctures by passive means (hormonal or otherwise) does do,one thing that specifically distinguishes it from voluntary muscular contraction -- is that it pre-potentiates the action of reflex arcs,

By "potentiating" the fascia you mean introducing tension, taking out slack so that it transmits force without much loss, yes?

So if you could introduce fascial tension voluntarily (specific time and between specific places), then conceivably you could voluntarily open and close the door to this condition wherein reflex arcs control the movement of parts of your body due to disturbances in other parts, right?
--Jonathan Wong

Cady Goldfield
02-17-2009, 08:44 PM
Wow, this thread has taken on quite a life! Jonathan, thanks for the PM "heads up."

To clarify ... the reference I made earlier to fascia was not accurately worded. Fascia has been found to contain not neural type cells, but myofribroblasts - a kind of cell similar to those found in smooth muscle tissue which give the tissue the ability to contract.

At the 1st International Fascia Research Congress held in 2007, a paper was presented on this finding, which additionally determined that the presence of these cells within fascia permit it to contract like muscle, though much more slowly (over a period of minutes to hours, depending on the circumstance).

Here's a copy of the brief (not the full paper):
http://www.fasciacongress.org/2007/abstract_pdf/Schleip%20(55)%20-%20Fascia%20is%20Able%20to%20Contract%20and%20Relax%20in%20a%20Smooth%20Muscle-like%20Manner.pdf

If that link doesn't work, go to the abstract page here and look for the abstract entitled, "Fascia is able to contract and relax in smooth muscle-like manner":

http://www.fasciacongress.org/2007/abstracts.php

The implication is that fascia can contract (and relax) independently, and thus act like muscle in some respects. But what would fire such movement? More recent research into the role of mental intention is starting to tie together the action of the brain in initiating nerve-firing and muscle movement (I'm trying to dig up that article, which ran, via wire services, in the popular press in late 2008, but in the meantime, here's an interesting ad for an intention-controlled myofeedback device: http://www.ihe-online.com/index.php?id=1268&tx_ttproducts_pi1%5Bproduct%5D=964 ). If fascia can "act like muscle," then perhaps intention similarly can fire fascia to contract and relax. Interesting to conjecture over. ;)
.

Cady Goldfield
02-17-2009, 09:01 PM
Editing time ran out.
Just back-read the posts and realized that I'm stating just what Jonathan already referenced from Timothy's website. I referenced that same material a long while back on E-Budo as well. Guess we're all just repeating ourselves with that "oft-quoted" paper. ;)
.

JW
02-17-2009, 10:45 PM
More recent research into the role of mental intention is starting to tie together the action of the brain in initiating nerve-firing and muscle movement (I'm trying to dig up that article, which ran, via wire services, in the popular press in late 2008

Cool, thanks Cady! I'll look too-- I hadn't realized that popular press publications might have featured this.

And, I got excited about the IMF equipment you linked to, but I read a document from that company's website that pretty much indicated that as far as they understand the mechanism, it is nothing special-- it just detects alpha motoneuron firing and triggers the muscle in response (exactly what the alpha neurons are trying to do in the first place). In other words it is using attempted movement rather than pure intention-to-move.

The firing of alpha motoneurons are the very last thing that happens before muscles contract-- they are the direct cause of contraction. This puts them downstream of everything: movement planning, anticipatory postural adjustments, and anything that might happen in response specifically to the intention to move. I guess in chinese terms these neurons would be linked intimately to Li, not Yi or Qi-- I say that because the qi lead by yi is something that happens before movement, and through training can happen without movement-- alpha firing in general cannot (unless it is very weak firing, not the kind associated with a good strong movement).

So, although the name of this therapeutic product got my hopes up, it looks like this company has not built an artificial bridge between qi and li (provided their explanation is indeed how it works).
Caveat, if in actuality, manipulation of qi is acheived by very weak alpha neuron firing (which would activate just a few deep, fascially-connected fibers), then maybe this is something interesting indeed.
--Jonathan Wong

Cady Goldfield
02-18-2009, 08:09 AM
I don't want to get very involved in this conversation (I think people should speculate and think in all sorts of directions), but I'm not sure voluntary control of fascia and contractable fascia, etc., is necessarily the right answer to the basic question about how things work. No real research has been done on this aspect of qi (that I know about), but I know some of the effects first hand and I can postulate several other mechanism that would explain the effects. I.e., the assumption that contractible fascia is a basic answer isn't the basket I'd put all my eggs into.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

There was never any implication that voluntary control of fascia is the whole or "right" answer to "how things work." But, I would not dismiss it as one factor in a complex process. That connective tissues (fascia, tendons) are not mere inert organic substances, and may be playing a role in subtle machinations we can learn to do, but which are not commonly known, is a fascinating topic of exploration and study.

Of course, any understanding we derive from such studies won't help in the least in learning how to create, harness and utilize any physical skills, but it would be pretty cool to know what's going on "inside."

David Orange
02-19-2009, 09:12 AM
Interesting discussion. I haven't read all the scientific papers but I've looked through the last several posts and I find that this coincides with some things I've been thinking about lately.

As for using fascial contraction in martial application, I'd say that's definitely barking up the wrong tree--or maybe barking down the tree when we should be barking up.

The thing is, the fascia is all rooted in the center of the body and it is activated by the nerve plexus in the abdomen, under the diaphragm. It is mostly activated involuntarily and pre-consciously. Fight-or-flight response is the classic example and in that case, the fascia can contract rapidly and powerfully but without conscious intent. So it's not much good to think of ways to "use" that contraction, but I think the real point there is to "prevent" the fight-or-flight response from kicking in automatically without our control.

Example, you're walking down a poorly-lit sidewalk when, up ahead, you see a man emerge from shadows and bushes and start walking directly toward you. The first thing you probably feel is a "flash" of shock, followed by a tension in the stomach, whole-body tingling and a feeling of weakness in the legs. The knees want to drop. All this is mediated in the abdomen in response to the nerve signals there.

If you're aware and have some practice, you can over-ride the fight-or-flight response, keep the center of gravity tall and keep the whole body relaxed. How? Breath. To the center. Which presses on the nerve plexus and "soothes" it to some degree, allowing you to avoid the full-blown drop-into-a-crouch-and-get-ready-to-rumble-or-run reaction. Then you can intentionally time an appropriate response with a relaxed body and posture.

So I'd say that learning to make the fascia contract is the wrong idea altogether and that learning to keep it from "snapping shut" is moving along the right track.

Next, as to the sensory nature of the fascia, I think that is very important as whatever is sensed in one part of the fascia is almost instantly known throughout the entire fascial system--meaning throughout the whole body. Example, you step into a tub of hot water and tingles spread quickly through your whole body. This knowledge is not spreading through the muscles because the muscles of the foot are not continuously connected to the rest of the body. They are only connected to...the fascia...which is connected to all the rest of the fascia of the body. Of course, speaking in terms of "connective" tissue, we would also have to consider the skin's being involved in this. So we would better say "the connective tissue" in general, rather than specifically "the fascia."

Anyway, if the connective tissues can bring information into the body and transmit it wholly throughout the body, what is the other side of that? What does the fascia transmit outward from the body?

My recent idea is that while the fascia/connective tissue can bring information in and through the body, what it sends "out" from the body is "intent."

So when you think to do something, the first thing that happens is that your intent travels through the connective tissues to the part of your body you "intend" to move. That's the mind.

Once the mind travels through the connective tissues, the qi flows in right behind it and actually activates the fascia/connective tissue of the whole body to assume the shape necessary to execute the "intent." And as the qi flows through the path of the intent, it distributes muscle effort precisely where and in the amounts needed to assume the necessary shape to enact the first "intent". Thus, "Mind leads the qi and qi leads the body."

To get back to "contracting" the fascia, again, I think that the first step is "open" the whole system and since fight-or-flight pretty much totally "closes" the system, it's necessary to use the breath to over-ride the fight or flight response, stand tall and loose, and be ready to "close" very powerfully at the moment it will be of most advantage, tactically.

And that's my recent thrinking on this subject.

Thanks and best to all.

David

C. David Henderson
02-19-2009, 10:28 AM
David,

Great post, thanks. Very interesting thought about the physical nature of "intent," as it relates to action. It "made me sit up" in recognition, as it were.

Timothy WK
02-19-2009, 11:30 AM
I also have not said that fascial contraction is the only factor, just that I think it's likely a big piece of a complex system. I'll lay out the case as I see it, and everyone can be their own judge.

When we're talking about the *scientific basis* for the internal movement---at least in regard to basic, martial usage---I think it comes down to one simple question: How does one stabilize the body?

In other words, what bio-mechanic is being used to hold/move the body? We all know that force is transferred through the skeleton, but how is the skeleton held in place? It's fine to say that we "use our intent", but intent doesn't hold the bones in place. There has to be some sort of bio-mechanical process at work in the body.

I've only come across a few plausible answers (excluding the idea of mystical force):

1. "Internal" and "external" use the same biomechanics, the difference is just a matter of technique.

That is, "internal" skill is just a sophisticated use of gravity, momentum, angles of force, and timing. You can believe that if you want, but it leaves a lot of stuff unexplained. Like the pseudo-spiritual sensations experienced by internal practicioners, or why most long-term martial artists (20-30+ years) never seem to be able to match the ability of the "greats" likes Ueshiba, as well as a variety of "ki tricks" (like the jo trick).

2. Internal movement is simply an unusually efficient arrangement of normal musculature, facilitated by various mental images.

This is plausible, no doubt about it. But I have some doubts---if normal musculature is still being used, why don't we see the same amount of muscle development in top internal practitioners as we do in ring fighters, particularly in the arms?

The problem I have is that muscle is a local mover. Using normal muscle, complex movements are achieved by creating long chains of individual movements. But a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. It's fine if internal practitioners have strong legs (as many do), but if your leg muscles are out of proportion with your arms, the arms will collapse under the strain of strong leg movement, and won't be able to transfer all the force. (Yet the top internal practitioners don't seem to have a problem with that.)

3. Internal movement depends on a hyper-development of postural muscles.

This is an explanation that's been around for a while, but has a bunch of holes. I wouldn't be surprised if internal movement exercises postural muscles, but by themselves they can't explain all the ki-related phenomenon. There's also not a strong distinction between postural and "normal" muscles, so this theory doesn't really even explain how "internal" movement is different from "external" movement.

4. Fascial Tensegrity

Lastly there's the fascial tensegrity theory that I've been talking about. The tensegrity idea explains how it might be possible to have "relaxed" or "muscle-less" strength. Also, unlike muscle which is local, the fascial system is global, which provides an easy explanation for "whole-body" movements (like how I can generate movement in my arms by activating my legs).

As you look more at it, the fascia/tensegrity theory also provides plausible explains for a lot (but not necessarily all) of the ki-related phenomenon. But for the moment that's a separate issue from explaining the stability question I posed earlier.

Timothy WK
02-19-2009, 11:42 AM
Oh, let me clarify something real quick:

"Fascia" is an umbrella term for the soft connective tissues of the body. They are classified as three general types:

- "Superficial" fascia that wraps around the body,
- "Visceral" fascia that suspends the organs,
- And "deep" fascia that interpenetrates and surrounds the muscles and bones.

When I'm talking about creating a tensegrity structure, I'm mostly talking about contracting the deep fascia along the primary muscle-tendon channels.

The visceral fascia I don't know about, but the superficial definitely has a role in the greater internal phenomenon. But that's a separate topic.

Timothy WK
02-19-2009, 12:35 PM
Sounds good to me, but at a basic level, it sounds like you are talking about a specialized usage of a more general tool. I feel like you could do the same thing in a less global way (would you want too? I am not an experienced enough martial artist to address that). In other words, if you were a master of control of "that which creates fascial tension," then you could use that device to create lines of tension.. let's call them piano wires.. between any points on your body that contain this device. Know what I mean? Same equipment, but a local rather than global strategy of usage.
Well, I'm not sure---honestly---if it even works that way. So the question of "why do it globally when you could do it locally" might be moot.

But I will say this---if you want to move around with a full range of movement, you have to be change the structure around, or in other words, switch from one line to another. Keeping a global system/structure working at all times would allow you to switch between lines without any effort to "start up" or "shut down" individual lines.

Erick Mead
02-20-2009, 08:54 PM
... it's likely a big piece of a complex system. I'll lay out the case as I see it, and everyone can be their own judge. Simpler than that in many ways, I would say, although complex to understand. But read on and decide, as you say, for yourself.

---I think it comes down to one simple question: How does one stabilize the body?

In other words, what bio-mechanic is being used to hold/move the body? We all know that force is transferred through the skeleton, but how is the skeleton held in place? ... There has to be some sort of bio-mechanical process at work in the body.There are two typical ways of analyzing static structural stability. First, thrust and load vectors of force and reaction. Second, the method of moments. Of the two, the method of moments generally involves less computation. This is a starting point if we posit some adaptive controller component in the system (which clearly is the case.) One would expect the system to take the computationally conservative solution (on evolutionary grounds, if nothing else).

I am going to put your four points in one big pile and show they all relate.
1. "Internal" and "external" use the same biomechanics, the difference is just a matter of technique.
2. Internal movement is simply an unusually efficient arrangement of normal musculature, facilitated by various mental images.
3. Internal movement depends on a hyper-development of postural muscles.
4. Fascial Tensegrity I will start with three items that are NOT unique to aikido in the realm of fighting but unique to it in its intentional direction toward those aspects as the basis for its strategic approach. Other approaches will necessarily start at item four and in intentional mimicry of that basis from training (see item 8) but the real thing I would maintain is the natural system unchained. But do consider the importance of them to the "True Budo is love" concept. It ain't daisies and moonlight walks.

Consider this type of biomechanical progression:

1) a threat to a loved one <<crucial component>>

2) oxytocin aggression hormone dump (read up on it -- cool stuff completely different effect from pure adrenal surge -- and it can dictate adrenal surge through the HPA axis, as needed)

3) Smooth myofascial tissues contract in response making the body and limbs into taut drum-like tube.

4) Training has caused the body (as this hormonal surge takes hold) into certain postural forms that are then set into relative form like a stiffened "Jello," if you will. Anybody who has raked leaves or shovelled for a good while has had this kind of "set" occur in their hands from another mechanism (histamine, likely) evoking the same tissue response.

5) the body has just become a unified field for any vibration moving through it because the limb discontinuities are overridden by the continuous and relatively solidified "suit" therefore structural change information travels at the speed of sound in water ~1500 fps vice neural transmission speed ~60 fps. Adaptive response rates can therefor outstrip conscious counteraction by two orders of magnitude -- That's a lot of lead time against the four guys on the end of a jo.

6) The form of the limbs, though relatively fixed (e.g. tegatana) allows the translation of moments into different axes which changes the effect of action upon the structure without directly opposing it with articulated "local" muscular action. Such a mechanism altering length in two complementary axes, simultaneously (the principle or mode of asagao (watch the video of the Morning Glory (asagao) blooming.)

7) Under hormonal surge these alterations of the static moment of the body can only be driven from the core to "stir" the stiffened Jello to transmit its "jiggle" unimpeded from one end of the structure to the other. That's why it is not that muscle is an active "local mover" -- it is a passive local re-transmitter.

8) in training we find ways to mimic this hormonal condition more or less voluntarily. A good example being the no-inch punch -- in essence hitting with the whole mass of the jello behind a coordinated delivery of a half a jiggle (a single jig- without the -gle, so to speak) But in a true threat action where this hormone cascade functions, the action achieved is neither voluntarily decided or contrived, nor even possible of being constrained in action.

9) A moment is written as a half -circular arrow -- the beginning of a rotation -- which is what it is -- a rotational potential. If all the body is doing is resolving induced moments, then the thing I propose makes perfect sense. The (high frequency) impulse of the contact is transmitted (via a vibration -- a rotation-in-place) long before the structure as a whole begins an unrecoverable rotation. This is an adaptive signal telling all the needed information about location signa nd magnitude of the instantaneous change in total moment, running well ahead of the induced structural change -- all it needs is a responsive system, waiting to use it. This body is an an analog computer assessing the virtual work of the moment sensed and then simply compensating to bring it to zero.