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Ellis Amdur
08-30-2009, 11:56 PM
From Buck -
I am quoting you because you said something very intriguing, and I want to ask why you didn't find the power that you where looking for? Like was it because of the foundation arts of Aikido was lacking, was it the style, or was it because of particular way the philosophy of Aikido was taught at your dojo/organization. The technical stuff like that. It is all based on how we as people see things differently. It is just for my own personal knowledge,and understanding. I have no desire to debate, just listen.Although my experience was mostly within the aegis of the Aikikai, I trained with some of the finest and most exemplary teachers alive, including Kuroiwa Yoshi (ex-pro boxer), Nishio Shoji, the major teachers at the Honbu, Terry Dobson, instructors from the Iwama tradition, with some Ki society instructors as well. I got the full range of philsophy, thank you very much - and the technique. I shall not repeat what I've written in Dueling with Osensei, but Kuwamori Yasunori was the absolute embodiment of morality without a philosophical preaching bone in his body (thank God), and Dobson had a higher, more passionate vision of aikido's moral possibilities than anyone I've met before or since.
But as a martial art, despite some exemplary practitioners. I found it sorely lacking, that notwithstanding my chapter in aikido about the absurdity of the angst about whether aikido could win in the UFC or the back alleys of Jakarta. As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing. Frankly, after some years, I felt absurd doing classical aikido. Like playing cards with a deck without picture cards.So I quit.
However, I believe that with internal training, the whole meaning of the training changes. I will never return to aikido training -I'm committed to a different way of training altogether - but I believe that with solid and real internal training, everything changes in aikido. Were it available - or shall we say, accessible to me - when I entered aikido by in 1973, I'd be pretty damn good by now, and probably still involved with the art.
Ellis Amdur

eyrie
08-31-2009, 12:23 AM
Maybe this should be split off into its own thread, as we now seem to be deviating from the original topic of guests in another's house.

Not sure where though, but I thought this part might yield some interesting discussion, as I'm sure many here may have also reach the same conclusions:

But as a martial art, despite some exemplary practitioners. I found it sorely lacking, that notwithstanding my chapter in aikido about the absurdity of the angst about whether aikido could win in the UFC or the back alleys of Jakarta. As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing.... However, I believe that with internal training, the whole meaning of the training changes.

jxa127
08-31-2009, 02:43 PM
Ellis,

I got my copy of your latest book. Thanks! I look forward to reading it.

I'm pretty familiar with your thoughts on aikido training -- especially regarding ukemi and atemi. But I'm struck (excuse the pun) by your description of traditional training as inefficient rather than ineffective.

To me, "inefficient training" means that the aikido stuff could be learned more quickly, while "ineffective training" means that the aikido stuff doesn't work as well as it should. You've been pretty clear about the ineffective part, but what do you mean by inefficient?

Thanks,

-Drew

Ron Tisdale
08-31-2009, 03:40 PM
Excellent question Drew! I **think** I have an idea of what Ellis's answer will be... [color me waiting with baited breath for his answer!]... :D

Best,
Ron

jss
09-01-2009, 04:45 AM
I **think** I have an idea of what Ellis's answer will be...
Hi Ron, does it have something to do with koryu vs. gendai budo? :)

jxa127
09-01-2009, 09:06 AM
Hi Ron, does it have something to do with koryu vs. gendai budo? :)

I wonder about that too.

I attended a koryu sword seminar this weekend and had a minor epiphany about the roles of attacker and receiver -- shidachi and uchidachi, or uke and nage, etc.

Toward the end of the day, nearly everyone was mentally fatigued, moving a lot more slowly, and trying to remember a ton of new information. I took time during the breaks to write a few notes on each of the new kata, so I had a slightly easier time remember which person was supposed to do which movement and when.

Nevertheless, I noticed that when the attacker moved with certainty, the receiver/defender had a much easier time remembering what he or she was supposed to do. I finally understood more clearly than ever why the attacker is the teacher.

We know, of course, that O Sensei (and Takeda before him?) swapped the traditional roles so the attacker is the one learning. Perhaps this is the leading cause of what Ellis calls the aiki-accommodation syndrome? On the other hand, Peter Goldsbury has written on the benefits, at least to O Sensei's direct students, of learning through ukemi, so perhaps it's not all bad.

Regards,

jss
09-01-2009, 09:21 AM
I attended a koryu sword seminar this weekend and had a minor epiphany about the roles of attacker and receiver -- shidachi and uchidachi, or uke and nage, etc.
I was mostly thinking about designed to efficiently instruct a small group of dedicated individuals vs. teaching large groups of people with different levels of commitment.
One of the causes of inefficient aikido instruction might be the lack of combat and/or competition to force teaching optimization. If both of these are lacking, little is lost when students progress slowly.

jxa127
09-02-2009, 07:51 AM
One of the causes of inefficient aikido instruction might be the lack of combat and/or competition to force teaching optimization. If both of these are lacking, little is lost when students progress slowly.

I'm not sure traditional koryu training incorporated combat and/or competition. Granted, a lot of the old schools were founded during periods of warfare, but they continued long after peace was widely established in Japan. Duels, however, were frequent, and I've heard of certain sword schools referred to as "dueling" schools versus "combat" schools.

I've also not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. My understanding is that nearly all koryu use solo and paired kata for training with the instructor taking the "losing" side during the kata.

Regards,

Demetrio Cereijo
09-02-2009, 07:59 AM
I've also not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. My understanding is that nearly all koryu use solo and paired kata for training with the instructor taking the "losing" side during the kata.

Then why bogu and shinai/fukuro shinai were developed back in the 1700's if not for training with "aliveness", whacking each other while drilling techniques and tourneys?

You can do paired kata with bokken and solo with iai all day.

jxa127
09-02-2009, 09:06 AM
As I said, I've not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, just that I'm ignorant. :-D

Back to the point, though, I think the major difference between koryu training and modern aikido training is the reversal of the role of the instructor from the one who "loses" the kata to the one who "wins."

Even further back to the original question: is this what Ellis is referring to when talking about inefficient aikido training?

Regards,

jss
09-02-2009, 09:07 AM
I'm not sure traditional koryu training incorporated combat and/or competition
I took a shortcut there in my choice of words.
Combat: using the art in combat, self-defense or duels.
Competition: mock combat (with combat as defined above).

AFAIK, the koryu have kept training for combat as a main goal.
And to add to what Demetrio said about competition and koryu: In "Duelling with O-sensei" Ellis Amdur recounts sparring with bokken. And apparently in Owari Kan ryu they say "shiai before kata".

MM
09-02-2009, 09:18 AM
Speaking of ... didn't Takeda and Ueshiba have weapons backgrounds? Didn't both learn from koryu? Is there something there that perhaps was overlooked as well?

Josh Reyer
09-02-2009, 09:50 AM
There are records of shiai (in this case meaning free practice using fukuro-shinai -- not point based competition a la modern kendo) in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu as far back as the early 1600s. Indeed, you could say that Yagyu Shinkage-ryu has its origins in a friendly match using fukuro-shinai between Yagyu Munetoshi and Kamiizumi Hidetsuna and/or Hikita Bungoro. Maniwa Nen-ryu has kiriwara jiai, which probably dates back to the 1600s at the latest.

The modern form of kendo shinai and bogu can be traced back to Jikishinkage-ryu in the early 1700s. In most cases, though, kata-geiko was still the primary pedagogical tool, with shiai simply being a way of testing one's skills or an exchange between schools.

Rob Watson
09-02-2009, 10:09 AM
SNIP

Even further back to the original question: is this what Ellis is referring to when talking about inefficient aikido training?

Regards,

Allow me to interpret Ellis Amdur "As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing."

To me this means train for 10 years and find out 95% (or pick your favorite number) of the techniques are simply irrelevant in a knock down drag out. Rococo essentially means, in this context, technique build upon technique, etc resulting in a great excess of movement.

While I can sympathize with this assessment I think similar arguments can be made in most any fighting art. There is a corpus of techniques within a system but when the rubber hits the road only a handful of those techniques are used.

Another way to look at is that most, if not all, the techniques of aikido are actually conditioning excersizes to reach the goal of takemusu aikido in which techniques (new ones never before seen) are spontaneously expressed in the heat of the moment. To reach this point of ability takes a very long time and is therefor not efficient.

Thanks

jss
09-02-2009, 11:26 AM
Allow me to interpret Ellis Amdur "As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing."
<snip>
Another way to look at is that most, if not all, the techniques of aikido are actually conditioning excersizes to reach the goal of takemusu aikido in which techniques (new ones never before seen) are spontaneously expressed in the heat of the moment. To reach this point of ability takes a very long time and is therefor not efficient.
Interesting, I was thinking along the following lines:
Aikido: here's heaps and heaps of variations on a limited set of techniques, all based on the same set of principles. See if you can discover these principles.
Koryu: here are some kata we designed specifically to teach you a set of principles.

jim312uav
09-02-2009, 11:44 AM
I've also not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. My understanding is that nearly all koryu use solo and paired kata for training with the instructor taking the "losing" side during the kata.

Regards,

Koryu efficeny of training:
My opinion on this is that by having the instructor be the attacker, he has the ability to push the student to the limit of the student's ability attacking intensely enough level that the student grows.

This enables growth without competition because as the student gets better and begins to grasp what is being taught the instructor just ramps up the intensity keeping the student working at upper range of his abilities.

Erick Mead
09-02-2009, 11:54 AM
Allow me to interpret Ellis Amdur "As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing." To me this means train for 10 years and find out 95% (or pick your favorite number) of the techniques are simply irrelevant in a knock down drag out. Rococo essentially means, in this context, technique build upon technique, etc resulting in a great excess of movement. I think "rococo" is a deep insight on Ellis's part, though I think he means that the complexity tends to negate something more simple. I see his point, but he has only one side of it.

If he were to take hold of the affirming part of his observation, however, he might ask whether or not the great complexity is in fact the product of something extremely simple. I think he might actually agree with that statement.

If we pursue what that affirmation actually means, then "rococo" gives us a possibly different way to look at this issue. I'll come back to that in a minute but accept for argument, at least, that while the underlying process is actually very simple, it is nevertheless enormously difficult to grasp it concretely from its essential simplicity alone.

While I can sympathize with this assessment I think similar arguments can be made in most any fighting art. There is a corpus of techniques within a system but when the rubber hits the road only a handful of those techniques are used. which then begs questions in any system, not just Aikido
"What are the didactic "techniques?
"Why do they develop?"
"What do they actually represent?"
"What are they intended to accomplish?"

In the context of "rococo" the swirls and flourishes are suggested as pointless ornamentation, where as they may in fact be an inherent expression of the underlying simplicity. Let me show you: This is a rococo design:http://www.bakedeco.com/bimages/TS163.jpg

This is a mathematically generated fractal attractor (or rather one perspective of it) called the "Julia Set": http://wynchar.com/cpc/Complexity/gifs/JuliaSet.gif

THIS is the rule that generates the Julia Set: http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/4/e/a/4eab13360ab16448986a6f108fcb462c.png -- where C is a complex number.

If you have dealt with complex number geometry you will have some idea of the difficulty of concretely grasping ( i.e. creating a mental image) of what is actually, mathematically, computationally fairly simple. It turns out that the only useful mental image is in fact this "rococo" complexity -- and it is not reducible in its expression -- in fact it is infinitely and intricately expandable as you can begin to see from a very large image of the Julia Set (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Demj.jpg) you can zoom in on. But it is a very simply stated operation to generate it.

If you put a phosphor on the hands of two people doing good jiyuwaza in aikido, turned down the lights and recorded the video and preserved all the phosphor traces in one image, what do think it would look like? Hint -- eerily like the rococo image and the Julia set. And a lot like these:
http://www.airbrushmagic.com/design_6_color_600dpi.JPGhttp://stochastix.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/harmonograph-image.jpg For more on why that one is important-- look here (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/aiki-physical-model-structure-dynamic-3259/):

Another way to look at is that most, if not all, the techniques of aikido are actually conditioning excersizes to reach the goal of takemusu aikido in which techniques (new ones never before seen) are spontaneously expressed in the heat of the moment. I quite agree.

To reach this point of ability takes a very long time and is therefor not efficient.I agree with the first statement and could not disagree more with the second. Why does it take so long? That is the question. Sagawa thought there was no other way than time spent on the order of ten year to "see it" and twenty to "do it" -- and he was death on waza as training method.

The reason seems straight forward to me. Most kids take to walking by two, and are fully capable in ordinary body mechanics by six, at which point they generally are learning the more "odd mechanics" like bicycling and things like ball and stick handling/tracking/hitting or something more whole-body oriented like gymnastics or swimming. Other than swimming, these types of mechanics largely have to be suppressed before the other mechanics of aiki can be learned. (Swimming, when learned at high efficiency, I think is deeply related to aiki mechanics. Iit is however not trivial to relate that to action on two legs).

Since this is not a cerebral learning task, but a cerebellar one, acquired knowledge does not speed up progress at a later age.as with other learning tasks. So calculate six years to back out of the basics that it took six years to learn, plus time in intellectual fighting with that unlearning process, and we are up to about ten years to perceive something of the basics of what is occurring, but another ten years (the intellectual resistance continues to be a tolerably capable in applying them in a challenged mode. Kids learn faster because they don't think they understand anything to begin with, and have less baggage to haul along before they finally drop it along the away.

Ron Tisdale
09-02-2009, 01:19 PM
ro⋅co⋅co  /rəˈkoʊkoʊ, ˌroʊkəˈkoʊ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ruh-koh-koh, roh-kuh-koh] Show IPA
Use rococo in a Sentence
See web results for rococo
See images of rococo
–noun 1. a style of architecture and decoration, originating in France about 1720, evolved from Baroque types and distinguished by its elegant refinement in using different materials for a delicate overall effect and by its ornament of shellwork, foliage, etc.
2. a homophonic musical style of the middle 18th century, marked by a generally superficial elegance and charm and by the use of elaborate ornamentation and stereotyped devices.

–adjective 3. (initial capital letter) Fine Arts. a. noting or pertaining to a style of painting developed simultaneously with the rococo in architecture and decoration, characterized chiefly by smallness of scale, delicacy of color, freedom of brushwork, and the selection of playful subjects as thematic material.
b. designating a corresponding style of sculpture, chiefly characterized by diminutiveness of Baroque forms and playfulness of theme.

4. of, pertaining to, in the manner of, or suggested by rococo architecture, decoration, or music or the general atmosphere and spirit of the rococo: rococo charm.
5. ornate or florid in speech, literary style, etc.

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

Origin:
1830–40; < F, akin to rocaille rocaille
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

ro·co·co (rə-kō'kō, rō'kə-kō')
n. also Rococo

A style of art, especially architecture and decorative art, that originated in France in the early 18th century and is marked by elaborate ornamentation, as with a profusion of scrolls, foliage, and animal forms.
A very ornate style of speech or writing.
Music A style of composition arising in 18th-century France, often viewed as an extension of the baroque, and characterized by a high degree of ornamentation and lightness of expression.
adj.
also Rococo Of or relating to the rococo.
Immoderately elaborate or complicated.

[French, probably alteration of rocaille, rockwork, from roc, rock, variant of roche, from Vulgar Latin *rocca.]

I marked some items in bold...and I have to say (regrettably) that I have seen aikido which seems to match some of those items.

marked by a generally superficial elegance and charm and by the use of elaborate ornamentation and stereotyped devices.

This one in particular...resonates. I could see a boxer calling aikido...quaint. ;) Yet at the same time I've seen some aikido that is very direct, powerfull, deep, etc.

I guess it all comes down to the eye of the beholder, and that would be why there are different strokes for different folks. Pardon the cliches...

Best,
Ron

Rob Watson
09-02-2009, 01:50 PM
SNIP
I agree with the first statement and could not disagree more with the second. Why does it take so long? That is the question. Sagawa thought there was no other way than time spent on the order of ten year to "see it" and twenty to "do it" -- and he was death on waza as training method.

SNIP

Considering the number of folks going into aikido versus the number coming out that demonstrate takemusu aikido and how long it takes that as a measure of efficiency compared to other arts is this sense.

I have no data to support the supposition. I presume that Ellis means something along the lines of this and that other arts are better at it.

PS Julia sets, nice - brings back memories. Fractals are good for visual punch but plain old F=ma is a good example too - even simpler than your example.

Rob Watson
09-02-2009, 02:00 PM
SNIP

This one in particular...resonates. I could see a boxer calling aikido...quaint. ;) Yet at the same time I've seen some aikido that is very direct, powerfull, deep, etc.

I guess it all comes down to the eye of the beholder, and that would be why there are different strokes for different folks. Pardon the cliches...

Best,
Ron[/QUOTE]

I was thinking of say irimi nage like pp 130 of Saito "Takemusu aikido" vol 2 (as not rococo) compared to say kaiten nage ura like seen in the recently mentioned clip of Tissier (as rococo).

Thanks

PS Also, I could to kaiten nage ura pretty easy after I first saw it but that irimi nage I'm still working on !

Ron Tisdale
09-02-2009, 02:10 PM
Hi Rob,

yeah, all those spinning, turning, leading, hand movements just right, only from this distance, not against a wrestler stuffs... :D

And yet, with the right person doing it, you feel like they are the vortex at the center of a whirl wind and you are a speck of dust... :D :D :eek:

I think most fighters, no matter whether that kind of waza works or not, would say WHY?!?!?!?

When the right power is there, I still like that kind of thing...

Best,
Ron (even though I know I shouldn't...)

Erick Mead
09-02-2009, 04:08 PM
PS Julia sets, nice - brings back memories. Fractals are good for visual punch but plain old F=ma is a good example too - even simpler than your example. Berkeley handed Newton his head, IMO. In relative engagement (which is what we are talking about) and shifting centers (and with them the frame of reference) on a dime, angular momentum makes more sense because you can interpolate straight action as rotation, ( like Doppler) but need not worry if it actually rotates so you donl;t have to change tools. But F=ma is a headache if the frame rotates, never mind changing coordinate planes constantly. Conservation is easier to see in rotational terms, and conservation is the real thing.

The point about the Julia sets and all of these pretty swoopy rococo fractal structures is that they are typical of dissipative structures and mechanisms. Thus, they can suck up and deploy just about as much of the available energy as is just about physically possible to capture and transmit. What Ikeda does with the twitch in miniscule form (high zoom view of the set) is the same class of self-similar shape as the larger waza variant. It follows a fractal law also seen in these sorts of mathematical structures.

Walter Martindale
09-02-2009, 06:42 PM
Hmm. Not sure what is meant by "internal training" but am interested.
My thoughts on the "inefficiency" of training/learning in Aikido is that it's sort of the nature of the beast, and the effectiveness of the learning, and the subsequent effectiveness of Aikido in "encounters" depends to a great degree on the understanding of the learning process, and the understanding of movement principles by the instructor/sensei/sempai/ whomever.

Aikido - in sports terms, would be called an "open" sport - (I know it's not a sport unless you're at Tomiki), where, in reality, you should be able to deal with randomly timed attacks, organised in a random fashion (i.e., no particular order to the sequence of attacks) - maintain "centre" for lack of a better term, and stay in control. "Closed" sports are where you're not having to interact with constantly changing conditions and not having to respond directly to "attacks" - a cross-court topspin drive, or an opponent trying to push a fist through your nose. Rowing or shotput could be considered "closed". Boxing, tennis, volleyball, and the combatives (to name a few) would be called "open" - the skill you're about to execute is dependent on what your opponent does, even if you're dictating the play.

For example, you wouldn't "receive" a tsuki to the tummy quite the same way as you'd "receive" a yokomenuchi. If you don't know what uke is going to present to you before the attack starts, it could be considered "open" practice, or "randomized" practice. If you do know what's coming, it could be considered "closed" or "blocked" practice.

In most training situations that I've seen, the dojo does "blocked" practice - you do a "block" of shomen-uchi - Iriminage, then you do a "block" of something else...

This is relatively efficient at learning a particular technique through repetition, and will be more efficient if the movements are done with good tai-sabaki/movement and good biomechanical principles of movement. It is relatively inefficient, however, at learning to deal with what might happen "out there." You can sleep-walk through another round of shomen-uchi-ikkyo if you're doing the same thing for the 10th minute straight.

Any movements you're learning, whether they're good movements or inefficient/inaccurate movements, you're learning them better each time you do them. You can get good at doing something bad, or you can get good at doing something good - your brain doesn't care, it just learns, and if your learning of bad movements don't lead to overuse injuries, you might have to wait until you're in a "situation" before you learn that what you've learned isn't worth all the money you've spent on an obi, let alone the years of dojo fees.

Randomized training, also called "decision" training, presents the person with no prior knowledge of what's coming - whether it's a slider, fastball, or curve during baseball batting practice; a drop, smash, or attacking clear in badminton; hook, jab, uppercut, or body shot in boxing; or tanto-tsuki, te-gatana shomen, or whatever in Aikido.

Initially, this random attack situation is quite scary, but it does a few things - first - it requires and depends on the Nage having good balance and movement principles. You can't sleep walk through it because you don't know what's coming next until it's on its way.

So your attention / focus goes up a few notches. Then you start watching/noticing farther and farther back in to the attack for the little telltale signs about what's coming. That might be where O-Sensei's "doka" about the attacker's fists telling you where the attack's coming, rather than watching the weapon.

Researchers who study learning say that "randomized" training or "decision" training is better learning, despite its being slower at the start. People who learn by "blocked" training develop more quickly, initially, but then they get passed by the ones in "decision" training.

So - it MIGHT make sense to do combined training sessions - spend some time each day on "movement principles", then a little "blocked" practice of something new, then straight into randomized/decision training.

An example might be - these guys are going to attack with - whatever - and today you use Ikkyo, no matter what the attack. Next time it might be "today you use kotegaeshi, no matter what the attack" and so on. Initially, the practice might be a bit slower, but as the person gets better at reading the attack farther and farther back to the attacker's initiation of the attack, (and perhaps forces an attack by setting up and/or entering a particular way (is that like taking charge of the OODA loop?), the learning starts striding past the "blocked" practice sessions, and what's learned is also more "robust" - more able to stand the test of time where there's no practice, and the test of "stress" where the floor is slippery, or there are more attackers, or the weapons used aren't traditional aikido weapons. Or - maybe even "real" attacks.. "combat" instead of "competition" or "training"...

The other thing that most of these researchers say is that it takes about 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice", or about 10 years at 3 hours a day, to "master" anything, be it language, sports skills, musical instrument, or whatever. Kids learn to run - but they spend most of their time growing up running around/playing/walking, etc., and they get their 10,000 hours of locomotion a lot faster than 10 years. My own Aikido adventure has been very slow.

So much for a short comment - Back to work.... Hope this didn't wander too far off topic.
W

Erick Mead
09-02-2009, 08:53 PM
In most training situations that I've seen, the dojo does "blocked" practice - you do a "block" of shomen-uchi - Iriminage, then you do a "block" of something else...

This is relatively efficient at learning a particular technique through repetition, ... Randomized training, also called "decision" training, presents the person with no prior knowledge of what's coming - Researchers who study learning say that "randomized" training or "decision" training is better learning, despite its being slower at the start. People who learn by "blocked" training develop more quickly, initially, but then they get passed by the ones in "decision" training. There is a middle ground -- if as I suggest, the art is in its nature structured fractally -- and that is an IFS -- an iterated function system. http://www.bioquest.org/esteem/esteem_details.php?product_id=249 ... fractals generate points to plot on a graph that are the result of iterated calculations. The answer from one calculation is used as the input value to the next calculation. One sort of fractal is known as the Iterated Function System, or IFS. You start with shapes plotted on a graph, and iterate the shapes through a calculation process that transforms them into other shapes on the graph The interesting thing about the fern IFS examples ( there are several versions on the net) is how a series of "random" points (they aren't) keepo popping up until, all at once, they suddenly scream "FERN!!"

http://www.bioquest.org/products/images/249_fractal_fern_generator_scre.jpg

At this point you can continue down to any arbitrary level of detailed resolution once the whole is grasped intuitively. Of course, it helps if you have an intuitive -type brain. Your illustration of "block" training is structured linearly , one thing at a time, many repetitions to get the one thing from start to finish. The second, which you call random is essentially unstructured, that is, there is no input from the last training item that ties the next training item to it.

The middle ground of an IFS can actually be used in either flavor -- structured or unstructured. I lean toward the structured flavor, because I am an analyst and like taking structure apart and putting it back together again -- but there is no reason at all that this could not be done in a more unstructured flavor, with some thinking and working through it.

As I do it, it has an "evolutionary" flavor in that some element from the last training item feeds directly into the next one (the definition of an IFS). This is what I use, and sort of evolved into though I ahve in the last three years thought about why exactly and tried to work it out a little more formally, to understand what "seemed right" about it to me.

Some days I follow a common element through several techniques. Sometimes I start with an aiki taiso and show where the movement lies in several aspects of one or more techniques. Sometimes, I start with a simple movement and "build" the formal technique from it in stages or iterations. Sometimes, I start with a technique and break it down or throw in typical "mistakes" that with additions slowly morph it into another "technique."

Ellis Amdur
09-02-2009, 09:39 PM
Please refer to: http://www.edgework.info/articles.html Scroll down to Vectors in Aikido (Taikyoku Kuzushi). I worked with the Itten Dojo for several years, distilling all aikido movement into five essential principals. So as far as principals of aikido - essential movement vs. "lost in technique" goes - I'd have exactly the tool-set I would want, as far as the "framework" goes - were I to desire to continue aikido as my training method. Given the request that I assist that dojo in developing a training method that pares away as much dross as possible, I did my best, while paying full respect to aikido, the system and martial art that it is (and is not). They asked me to assist them with their aikido - not teach whatever ryu I spend my own practice time doing.
Furthermore, I tried, as best I could, to make this study of vectors into a training modality that could "contain" internal training methodology when the dojo had an opportunity to learn it. Which they have been doing - I'd check out the Itten Dojo http://www.ittendojo.org/ and see how that's been going for them. Personally, I've seen them develop remarkably rapidly, with beginners developing a natural ability to counter off-center technique just through the training.
But me personally? That's not how I want to spend my training time.So I don't. As far as internal training goes, I'm quite happy not trying to fit such training into an aikido context. One less thing to worry about. As I said in HIPS,Circle, Square, Triangle: How to be O-sensei in Sixteen Easy Steps, "But what if you desire the vintage itself. And what if you desire exactly what Ueshiba was brewing?" That last chapter was offered to such people - out a sense of debt that I have, because aikido brought me to Japan, and due to that, my life unfolded the way that it did. But me? I don't want Ueshiba's brew, either in his form, or that of those who followed him. Simple as that.
Please note, too, that the title of this thread is "Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method". Not - "Why Ellis Amdur has Misunderstood Aikido." That's a side-track. The core questions are:
1. What are your goals that you hope to achieve in doing aikido?
2. Is your method of training the best way to achieve those goals?
Best
Ellis Amdur

Ron Tisdale
09-03-2009, 08:06 AM
Please note, too, that the title of this thread is "Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method". Not - "Why Ellis Amdur has Misunderstood Aikido." That's a side-track.

Yikes....that certainly wasn't my intent...sorry if it came across that way.
Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
09-03-2009, 08:06 AM
Please refer to: http://www.edgework.info/articles.html Scroll down to Vectors in Aikido (Taikyoku Kuzushi). I worked with the Itten Dojo for several years, distilling all aikido movement into five essential principals.Interesting approach. Mechanically, I think you were dead on: I note that it maps quite well onto this image I have used as my essential model of the gross stress profile used in aiki:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=509&d=1215185239

It is basically a model of a "fireplug" body in a torque. Your five categories correspond to orientation of action thus:

Ikkyoku -- the vertical axis of the column
Nikyokyu -- rotation in the horizontal plane
Sankyoku -- spiral along the tension leg of the shear stress line
Yonkykoku -- spiral along the compression leg of the shear stress line
Gokyoku -- linear contact shear (along the tangent to the column)

Interesting, as I say. What I wanted to do with that appreciation was to relate it to the vibrational/oscillatory/wave aspects of proper aiki action, which I have found to be quite well integrated to a model such as this, actually, and are the way in which those larger, grosser movements along those lines of orientation are distilled into something more -- shall we say -- direct, and less rococo.

chuunen baka
09-03-2009, 09:48 AM
If you put a phosphor on the hands of two people doing good jiyuwaza in aikido, turned down the lights and recorded the video and preserved all the phosphor traces in one image, what do think it would look like? Hint -- eerily like the rococo image and the Julia set.
Sorry, but anyone who thinks Lissajous curves bear any resemblance to a Julia set shows a very shallow understanding of the maths involved. Apologies for interrupting this rococo squared discussion.

Erick Mead
09-03-2009, 04:31 PM
Sorry, but anyone who thinks Lissajous curves bear any resemblance to a Julia set shows a very shallow understanding of the maths involved. Apologies for interrupting this rococo squared discussion.Hm. You are very certain of this?

Lissajous curves. In simplest form, a first order complex harmonic oscillation, a double pendulum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whvl6CikDxA&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.instructables.com%2Fid%2FSTI3N59F5VN16ZR%2F&feature=player_embedded#t=19), which I suppose has nothing to do with the stability system of the human body (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TJ4-4CHHPFN-2&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1000073548&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=b02bb24686d250f6c0a8d5d9f215e863) -- or like, its balance control (http://hwmaint.jp.physoc.org/cgi/content/full/540/3/1111), or let's just say, a collection of compliantly linked multiple (and inverted) pendulums, like, oh maybe, one of these:

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:RhTBOxn7wW1euM:http://www.finearttouch.com/images/Vitruvian%2520Man%25202.JPG

Even SIMPLE harmonic oscillators obey fractal scaling laws (http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2009/PP-17-13.PDF) -- which is why musical intervals are not linear and chaotic "wolf chords" exist.

And I suppose the Julia Set could not possibly be useful in detecting chaotic oscillations in control systems (http://library.witpress.com/pages/PaperInfo.asp?PaperID=13818) -- like, you know -- your balance -- or anything ...

I would say, that anyone who says on the basis of nominal categories that maths of this sort do not relate to one another has not delved into their respective concrete applications deeply enough.

Aside from that, Lissajous curves show the path of a complex harmonic system actually dissipating in two or three dimensions.

The curves in the Julia set show a dissipative structure in the complex plane -- like the turbulence eddies its forms closely track.

I would call that a basis for "resemblance."

Once we have acknowledged a body of practice as "rococo," to use the term of art we are playing with, we might ask, you know, "Why?" -- before we conclude that aspect of it has no useful purpose or relation to its concrete objectives.

No one has to work on this stuff in this way (or any other way for that matter) unless he wants to -- but do not think it can trivially be dismissed, either.

Buck
09-03-2009, 09:20 PM
Please refer to: http://www.edgework.info/articles.html Scroll down to Vectors in Aikido (Taikyoku Kuzushi). I worked with the Itten Dojo for several years, distilling all aikido movement into five essential principals. So as far as principals of aikido - essential movement vs. "lost in technique" goes - I'd have exactly the tool-set I would want, as far as the "framework" goes - were I to desire to continue aikido as my training method. Given the request that I assist that dojo in developing a training method that pares away as much dross as possible, I did my best, while paying full respect to aikido, the system and martial art that it is (and is not). They asked me to assist them with their aikido - not teach whatever ryu I spend my own practice time doing.
Furthermore, I tried, as best I could, to make this study of vectors into a training modality that could "contain" internal training methodology when the dojo had an opportunity to learn it. Which they have been doing - I'd check out the Itten Dojo http://www.ittendojo.org/ and see how that's been going for them. Personally, I've seen them develop remarkably rapidly, with beginners developing a natural ability to counter off-center technique just through the training.
But me personally? That's not how I want to spend my training time.So I don't. As far as internal training goes, I'm quite happy not trying to fit such training into an aikido context. One less thing to worry about. As I said in HIPS,Circle, Square, Triangle: How to be O-sensei in Sixteen Easy Steps, "But what if you desire the vintage itself. And what if you desire exactly what Ueshiba was brewing?" That last chapter was offered to such people - out a sense of debt that I have, because aikido brought me to Japan, and due to that, my life unfolded the way that it did. But me? I don't want Ueshiba's brew, either in his form, or that of those who followed him. Simple as that.
Please note, too, that the title of this thread is "Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method". Not - "Why Ellis Amdur has Misunderstood Aikido." That's a side-track. The core questions are:
1. What are your goals that you hope to achieve in doing aikido?
2. Is your method of training the best way to achieve those goals?
Best
Ellis Amdur

OFT:

Ellis, have you find a Chinese internal arts teacher? I read the piece on you in a recent Asian Martial Arts Journal, which had to do with Aikido ( nice piece and pics by the way ), and you said you had not found a qualified teacher of Chinese internal arts. But you did mentioned Mike Sigman as a friend and you have discussed Chinese internal arts with him. It is nice of Mike to share with you until you find an instructor. Have you found a qualified instructor yet?

To everyone, if you can get the issue with Ellis in it, I seen it on the store shelf around the middle of this August, I highly recommend it.

Ellis Amdur
09-03-2009, 10:28 PM
I've had several Chinese internal MA teachers over the years. What and who I'm training with now is something I am keeping private at this time. Simply put, because the book (and me) have become public, those people could get judged by what I accomplish, what I say, and what I can & cannot do. If and when my skill gets to a decent level, then I will happily fully credit my teachers. Suffice it to say that I train - very actively in my koryu and very actively in core body skills. I may still have opinions to offer on this thread. Or questions to answer on the training method (taikyoku kuzushi) that I just mentioned above. But I've fully answered any information related to the quote above. I will not respond to any more questions about me in this thread. That's not the subject
Ellis Amdur

Millerwc
09-04-2009, 03:49 AM
I guess I'll go ahead and throw my opinions into the ring.

In my experience, Aikido isn't something you would want to take into a UFC ring. Or any ring, for that matter. The basic, underlying precept is to resolve a conflict as peacefully as possible, with a minimum amount of damage to both parties. The way *most* devoted aikidoka would deal with a fight situation would be to walk away from it, if possible. Peaceful resolution of conflict, with no injury to either party. The exact opposite of the idea behind UFC, boxing, and similiar competitions.

The principles of Aikido are universal, and can be applied under any circumstances. Most of the applications, however, fall beyond the scope of competetive fighting such as boxing or UFC- primarily because the traditional way of winning said competitions is by doing enough damage that your opponent cannot continue to fight. Applying Aikido into such situations is a bit like putting a square peg into a round hole. Yes, you can try to force it in, and might even work sometimes, but it was designed with a different purpose in mind- dealing with an attacker without harming them, if possible.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-04-2009, 05:31 AM
I guess I'll go ahead and throw my opinions into the ring.

The basic, underlying precept is to resolve a conflict as peacefully as possible, with a minimum amount of damage to both parties.

but it (aikido) was designed with a different purpose in mind- dealing with an attacker without harming them, if possible.

Does the usual aikido training methods lead to that?

chuunen baka
09-04-2009, 09:10 AM
(snipped)
Aside from that, Lissajous curves show the path of a complex harmonic system actually dissipating in two or three dimensions.

The curves in the Julia set show a dissipative structure in the complex plane -- like the turbulence eddies its forms closely track.

I would call that a basis for "resemblance."

Once we have acknowledged a body of practice as "rococo," to use the term of art we are playing with, we might ask, you know, "Why?" -- before we conclude that aspect of it has no useful purpose or relation to its concrete objectives.

No one has to work on this stuff in this way (or any other way for that matter) unless he wants to -- but do not think it can trivially be dismissed, either.
Well, as the poet said, a little learning is a dangerous thing. You can assemble a collection of words and google for a bunch of articles that contain some of your key words, but sophistry doesn't prove very much. It certainly has scant relevance to Aikido.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-04-2009, 09:32 AM
Alastair, are you this Alastair (http://www.oneworld-publications.com/cgi-bin/cart2/commerce.cgi?pid=236&log_pid=yes)?

MM
09-04-2009, 09:37 AM
No one has to work on this stuff in this way (or any other way for that matter) unless he wants to -- but do not think it can trivially be dismissed, either.

Why not? I can trivially dismiss things if I so choose. Let's say I'm getting advice from multiple Ph.D. level physicists and engineers with 20 plus years of work history and they are telling me they can't come up with any kind of equations to define what I'm showing them. And let's say that there's another person who doesn't have a degree in physics, hasn't worked in the field, and is stating basic theories that really aren't applicable to what I'm showing. Why is it that I can't trivially dismiss the latter based upon solid, professional advice of the former?

Michael Fitzgerald
09-04-2009, 09:51 AM
:(
I tried to post a response to a comment by Ellis which mentioned what one's goals were assessed to be, and what training methods were employed to reach these goals.
I got carried away with my own genius, and ended up taking too long (locked out of session!!!)
What I wanted to say was (even less poetic that than my first attempt)

Ellis made a comment about Aikido as a Martial art "sorely lacking" -
I understood immediately (or thought I did) but I was also disappointed.

I can imagine that if one had no actual experience in getting their butt out of real life/ death or serious trouble- then Aikido training might not help them much. In fact, it might be a bit misleading.

however,

for me, I have had enough experience in bad situations, dangerous ones at times, that I feel that the Aikido training I have recently come to partake in is something that ca keep my edge sharp.

I am not in class to develop a 'killer' mentality- I have enough of that thank you. Likewise, i am not there to learn the majick technique- just to practice moving in ways that (I feel) I can use to my advantage should I be unlucky enough to get to test them.

so:
Inefficient?
probably, if you don't know what you're looking for/ know what it's like and how ugly it can be.

ineffective?
If you are.

works for me?
yup. Good teacher, enough experience to not get seduced off into dancy-land, and to keep my mind focused on looking for the value.

am I having a ball reading/ talking with such experienced people?
why yes, thank you very much I am.

:)

Erick Mead
09-04-2009, 10:07 AM
Well, as the poet said, a little learning is a dangerous thing. You can assemble a collection of words and google for a bunch of articles that contain some of your key words, but sophistry doesn't prove very much. It certainly has scant relevance to Aikido.Ah, so authoritative. Reductio ad internetum? I don't care what books you may or may not write -- the bio-mechanics of Aiki and its action is not "textbook" by anyone's measure. If my work on these mechanical points is flawed, please feel free to point out the error.

Either rebut the factual connections asserted or don't, but assumption of the mantle of authority in an area that is still developing means worse than nothing -- facts and causal connections mean everything. Facile implications of "Shut up, he explained" can only hinder others from their own exploration of the mechanics in play, which NO ONE has yet authoritatively described.

Which substantive fact, pray tell, is your statement intended rebut?

1) That human balance is a system subject to chaotic oscillations?
2) That the human structure is system of multiple pendulums ?
3) That multiple pendulums have chaotic dynamics ?
3) That complex harmonics are described by Lissajous figures ?
4) That complex harmonics can be chaotic ?
5) That Julia Set may described the departure of oscillatory control systems into chaos?

Each of those statements alone is not rebutted by any facts. As a collection they relate plainly to one another, and to the action of aiki -- such that further exploration of those connections is warranted. I have said nothing more.

I must have missed the evidence negating each of these points because I failed to read your statement closely enough. Please elaborate, since I am but a poor internet-addled fool, easily confused by the sophistry of physics.

chuunen baka
09-04-2009, 10:27 AM
Alastair, are you this Alastair (http://www.oneworld-publications.com/cgi-bin/cart2/commerce.cgi?pid=236&log_pid=yes)?
Same spelling but different person.

thisisnotreal
09-04-2009, 10:28 AM
in general,
winning arguments by attrition isn't really winning them at all.
..it could just mean people don't care enough to correct you, or to show you your error...or indeed, and even worse that the whole precept is flawed from the foundation upwards, and the answer is 'mu'. you have asked the wrong questions.
in general.

that said; sometimes a win is a win; like if you're a lawyer and a client pays you...or in a war. Victories in wars of attrition are indeed victories in the truest sense, but they aren't a means to finding the truth.

this is paraphrased from Gerard t'Hooft and what and how he feels and responds to the General Theories of Everything he invariably receives weekly

Erick Mead
09-04-2009, 10:59 AM
Why not? I can trivially dismiss things if I so choose. Let's say I'm getting advice from multiple Ph.D. level physicists and engineers with 20 plus years of work history and they are telling me they can't come up with any kind of equations to define what I'm showing them. "There is no equation -- you must be wrong." A strawman. It assumes that an equation in this area is useful as the first tool of reference.

Did I say these are approached by use of equations? Did I not give you concrete models and images, and video to see, touch and watch operate to illustrate the outline of what I am exploring ? I claim no authority but what reason and informed eyesight make.. And you never took partial differential equations, I am guessing.

I'll tell you that equations aren't that useful, yet, but I will tell you what they will look like when we get to that point. We are talking about stuff closer to Navier-Stokes treatment (if not explicitly subject to Navier-Stokes, which is entirely possible as they have a surprising range of utility, outside of strict fluid flow where they originated). Unlike other mechnical equations, their primary operative quantity is not position and trajectory -- but velocity.

For a novel behavior or structure you have to locate an approximate solution empirically, and only then can you narrow it to a more precise set of solutions (assuming you have a valid set of relationships defined by equation -- which is itself developed from a earlier set of verified empirical observations.) Even known stable solutions are extremely scale sensitive and if the scale ratios change turbulence (chaotic motion) often results. (Does attention to the precision of maai make bit more sense in that light, perhaps?)

That empirical work has not yet been done for this stuff -- but what I am talking about is laying out the categories of information that are notably observable so as to have things to collect empirically, so that , at some point a more general mathematical might be done. My gut says that an application of Navier-Stokes is the way to bet, but that remains to be seen.

Meanwhile the use of good intuitive physical behavior models is still useful, just as it was to the first aviators, like Lilienthal, or Bleriot, or Dunne, who designed and flew at the same time they were collecting the data to more generally describe the outlines of good design -- then ultimately refined the locus of demonstrated designs by the Navier-Stokes equations.

With a practical background in aviation, and aerodynamics, I will tell you that the Navier-Stokes equations, immensely useful in practical aerodynamic design and testing, still pose some of the most challenging unresolved questions in mathematics. A mathematician literally cannot tell you if they are always correct. And yet they get used every day -- and these days by computational simulation to speed the process of empirical refinement.

We are talking about mechanics of that order. I could be accused of having hammer and making the problem a nail, but it looks awfully nail-like even without consideration of my hammer. One look at the essential aspects of aiki action, its emphasis on smoothness of flow, vorticity (spiraling), variable angular velocity and variable viscosity (stiffness) of connections, of parts with many degrees of freedom, should tell you we are in the same neighborhood of physical behaviors as those addressed by Navier-Stokes, in terms of both maths and modeling.

Erick Mead
09-04-2009, 11:31 AM
in general,
winning arguments by attrition isn't really winning them at all.
..it could just mean people don't care enough to correct you, or to show you your error...or indeed, and even worse that the whole precept is flawed from the foundation upwards, and the answer is 'mu'. you have asked the wrong questions.
in general.

that said; sometimes a win is a win; like if you're a lawyer and a client pays you...or in a war. Victories in wars of attrition are indeed victories in the truest sense, but they aren't a means to finding the truth.

this is paraphrased from Gerard t'Hooft and what and how he feels and responds to the General Theories of Everything he invariably receives weeklyWinning? Who is fighting? I've been working through these issues steadily, here, elsewhere and in the dojo. Not a bit of fighting to it. "Ttheory of everything" , and here I thought I was just working toward the heretofore poorly described mechanics of Aiki. Ah, now I see my error. I was too narrow in my conception. I will henceforth incorporate quarks and black holes ... :p

No one is obligated to correct me, much less respond. Someone gratuitously undertakes what they assume to be a broadside deck-clearing dismissal, because they clearly have not thought the issues through. I state the case they too easily assume that I have not even thought about -- because I actually have, at some length.

I don't solicit agreement but I do not easily brook uninformed criticism - mainly because it is not useful. Rather, I attempt to inform the criticism so as to invite more, and more pointed (and more useful) criticism. I live in a professional world in which being wrong is not a sin, but part of a process of discovery of truth, when potential error is examined closely. I was under the impression that the discovery of error increases the level of knowledge all around. I think it would be immensely informative for me and everyone to be shown how wrong I am, and where exactly. Is it not part of this discussion forum to raise the level of knowledge on "aikido information"?

Should such a substantive response be inappropriate while the unreflective backhand is unremarkable ?

Erick Mead
09-04-2009, 11:42 AM
Further adventures in Reductio ad Internetum---

Gerard t'Hooft:

"If you really want to contribute to our theoretical understanding of physical laws - and it is an exciting experience if you succeed! - there are many things you need to know. First of all, be serious about it!"

raul rodrigo
09-04-2009, 11:56 AM
Erick is right in that there is no need to respond or correct him. His formulation is his formulation.

Rob Watson
09-04-2009, 02:33 PM
Julia sets? Lissajous? Related?

Not quite the point I think.

The curves are pretty and pretty suggestive but show nothing of the dynamics! They trace out the path taken but besides that where is the mojo? Julia sets on the other hand are set in phase space which combines both location (the paths) and the velocity (movement, if you will) which goes considerably further in illuminating the dynamics. Even if the display were to show the paths and the motion along those paths it is kind of hard to get the bigger picture. It is a matter of perspective - take the dynamic system under study but instead of the paths and motions of same look at it in phase space and you get a different perspective of the same thing that now maybe it is very easy to get an inkling of the bigger picture.

Despite the fancy business of fractals and the fuzzy boundary there are definitely those that are outside (not members of the set) and those that are definitely on the inside but there is a lot of wiggle room for those in between and no clear defined line to cross.

For a dynamical system to be classified as chaotic, it must have the following properties:
1. it must be sensitive to initial conditions,
2. it must be topologically mixing, and
3. its periodic orbits must be dense.
For those with the ‘urge’ good luck in you efforts! Plenty of fun to be had down that path.

Thanks

Rob Watson
09-04-2009, 02:36 PM
SNIP
quarks and black holes ... :p



Just how many quarks fit into a black hole?

Just because some can ask a question does not mean it can be answered! Of course, don't let that stop anyone from trying. Rage against the machine!

Flintstone
09-04-2009, 05:37 PM
Just how many quarks fit into a black hole?
You can ask Chuck Norris. He acutally filled a black hole with quarks. Twice. Until it collapsed due to the high throughput.

Erick Mead
09-04-2009, 05:47 PM
The curves are pretty and pretty suggestive but show nothing of the dynamics!
For a dynamical system to be classified as chaotic, it must have the following properties:
1. it must be sensitive to initial conditions,
2. it must be topologically mixing, and
3. its periodic orbits must be dense.
.................
They trace out the path taken but besides that where is the mojo?
Those three elements, which are nicely summarized, BTW -- to my mind -- also define takemusu aiki. The "mojo" lies in seeing or sensing the instantaneous (and numerous and invariant) departure points from scale to scale within the attractor at any given point. [spoiler] If my proposition that aiki obeys Navier-Stokes type mechanics is correct then the topologically mixing criteria applies The chief route into empirical examination of such a system is to define its dimension-less scaling factor, the Reynolds number.

Changing scales -- from small to large and large to small simultaneously on different planes creates chaotic disturbance in control systems of the Navier-Stokes type, as reducing the vortex size over a wing below its critical point causes lift to drop non-linearly -- forming many, many turbulent sub-vortices (stall).

This is done in aiki on two orthogonal planes (juuji)simultaneously, and inversely. This co-planar transformation is the basis of the traditional asagao image, opening and closing of the morning glory blossom. It widens transversely as it shortens longitudinally and is continuously reversible on two cusps. That does a more than fair job -- in topological terms -- of capturing a homeomorphism in two planes.

The analog to the chaotic turbulence aerodynamic stall in aiki is the sudden asagao transform at contact. This throws inverse shear waves into uke's structure, along two different planes simultaneously -- creating a uncompensated rotation (kuzushi) or a pinned moment (osae) commencing in the third plane.

The waza of the Aikido canon are fair sketches of the correct forms of action along these lines in very specific settings. As with any sketch, the difference between gross caricature and verisimilitude is immediately apparent -- though hard to define.

If correct in form and in the progressive period shortening (to furitama rhythm) that alters the scales of action across coordinate planes they create resonant collapse or transform rotations -- aided by an overcompensated and chaotically befuddled spinal reflex extensor/flexor system, triggered by the gamma motor neurons/golgi tendon organs.

In terms of the thread topic then I see my approach to these issues tending to make learning more efficient, and have adopted them accordingly with variations of examining self-similar aspects of the universe of aiki action.

1) In one set of lessons I will follow an 'evolutionary' prgression from operative elements (in wholly different setting) that then in one traverse make a canon waza.

2) In one set of lessons I will follow a single common element through several very different-seeming waza.

3) In another set of lessons I will examine the branch points of each and every stage of any given waza, showing many roads of departure from any given position and the conditions that lead to one or a another road in preference to the rest.

4) In another set of lessons I will emphasize the "stability dynamics" evident in various Aiki taiso and how they are deployed within various waza, and or in any other setting where the aiki taiso appear particularly evident I will point it out

5) In another set of lessons, I will work through the various types of oscillation and how they affect the body in terms of its sensitivity and reactions. Typically, this is done in kokyu tanden, but also in things like sumiotoshi, or iriminage, or from a lapel grab or just buckling someone from a chummy hand on the opposite shoulder.

6) In another set of lessons I will show how maai changes techniques from one to another and how they relate based on those changes of scale.

The practical reasons I have for some intuitive appeal at the idea of an attractor (like, but not necessarily coincident to the Julia set) being in play, comes from the way in which the teaching process I have adopted has played out:

1) When I work this way, no matter where I start, it almost always goes someplace interesting and useful,
2) I have not yet repeated myself, yet.
3) I have no set lesson plan and yet it comes together on its own from a single seed idea that starts me off
4) I rarely if ever find myself at a loss for what to do next
5) I always have three or four things I wanted to do next but ran out of time to try.
6) though I did not plan it, some overarching connection always ties the individual exercises together like a string of pearls with the others -- which is easily summarized at the end of class, though I could not have told you exactly what it would be when we started.
7) This teaching process feels very similar to the takemusuaiki coherent spontaneity the art strives for, so self-similarity is palpably present.

Erick Mead
09-04-2009, 05:50 PM
You can ask Chuck Norris. He acutally filled a black hole with quarks. Twice. Until it collapsed due to the high throughput.Naaaah. Ya got it backwards

The way I heard it, Chuck Norris stuffed a quark with a black hole -- and made a whole new universe of pain ...

:D

Buck
09-04-2009, 08:44 PM
I've had several Chinese internal MA teachers over the years. What and who I'm training with now is something I am keeping private at this time. Simply put, because the book (and me) have become public, those people could get judged by what I accomplish, what I say, and what I can & cannot do. If and when my skill gets to a decent level, then I will happily fully credit my teachers. Suffice it to say that I train - very actively in my koryu and very actively in core body skills. I may still have opinions to offer on this thread. Or questions to answer on the training method (taikyoku kuzushi) that I just mentioned above. But I've fully answered any information related to the quote above. I will not respond to any more questions about me in this thread. That's not the subject
Ellis Amdur

Thank you for answering my questions. You had a great exposure and opportunities providing a perspective that has been widely publicized in that is the inefficiencies in Aikido's training methods. I don't think there is anyone who is as recognized and prolific as you on the subject. You may really be the first such person to openly discuss Aikido as you do. I don't think there is anyone at the forefront or have your expertise with the inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method. You have expertise in Koryu, as well as rarity in its self. That is why I asked you. I hope you don't feel my questions are personally intrusive, but rather the opportunity to seriously discuss your new comments and thoughts.

It is greatly appreciated that you have responded. :)

Kevin Leavitt
09-04-2009, 09:39 PM
I guess I'll go ahead and throw my opinions into the ring.

In my experience, Aikido isn't something you would want to take into a UFC ring. Or any ring, for that matter. The basic, underlying precept is to resolve a conflict as peacefully as possible, with a minimum amount of damage to both parties. The way *most* devoted aikidoka would deal with a fight situation would be to walk away from it, if possible. Peaceful resolution of conflict, with no injury to either party. The exact opposite of the idea behind UFC, boxing, and similiar competitions.

The principles of Aikido are universal, and can be applied under any circumstances. Most of the applications, however, fall beyond the scope of competetive fighting such as boxing or UFC- primarily because the traditional way of winning said competitions is by doing enough damage that your opponent cannot continue to fight. Applying Aikido into such situations is a bit like putting a square peg into a round hole. Yes, you can try to force it in, and might even work sometimes, but it was designed with a different purpose in mind- dealing with an attacker without harming them, if possible.

No disrespect intended toward you. I realize that this is some what of a universal assumption or premise made by many.

So, my beef is not with you personally but with the whole concept or better yet judgements that are being made.

Based on this model, then what you would view as successful is violent force being met and resolved with something less violent that attempts to resolve it in a "peaceful manner".

I think if this were indeed true and demonstrable, then we would see it, AND to be honest we have an obligation and are COMPELLED to show it. COMPELLED!!!

What are you/we holding back. If we can indeed resolve violence and conflct in a very skillful manner, and our art is on the physical level of a martial art is more ethical or more skillful and can actually resolve conflict without harm (however you define that) then it is selfish and irresponsible for the folks that have that skill to withhold it from the UFC.

Think about it, here we have the opportunity to demonstrate a peaceful resolution that does not result in Harm in a situation where someone is doing just that! In front of thousands of people! Think about how that would change the world! "Engaged Aikido!"

But no, it is a fantasy, it is a hippocrtical judgement that somehow what we do is ethically and morally superior or on a different plane all together.

Please show me those enlightened individuals with that skill. How dare they be so selfish!

Now the whole walking away thing. I agree that is a good option if it is a choice. Most certainly. I would and have done just that on many occasions. Absolutely!

There are also situations in which that choice does not exist through no fault of the person involved. So, what do you do then.

I realize you say "if possible" and "most" so I understand that you realize that this is not always achievable.

However, what concerns me is the assumptions and judgements that are passed against what happens in a ring as being "NOT" minimal force, or not "Aiki" in their application. As somehow those are less ethcial choices from what an AIkidoka might choose.

Again, I go back, someone please skillfully demonstrate that they can indeed make this choice...it would not be against the UFC rules to control a fight in the Aiki manner and "resolve" the fight.

The issue I have is that this logic, while Ideal, has never been achieved or demonstrated by anyone. As far as I know it is NOT Possible. It places a huge unattainable and unreasonable burden on us and sets all that practice under a very delusional set of ethics that are not realisitc, pragmatic, and not a solution at all to the physical resolution of violence.

So, IMO, we need to let this notion go. Realize that we need to practice a realistic practice and deal with things as best we can. We are human beings and that sometimes it is okay to rip someones head off in a particular set of circumstances.

I think it is more authentic to reach an understanding of when we might need to do this and then train as hard as we can to understand those circumstances, emotions, and whatnot, so when the time comes, we might at least have expanded our choice set so we CAN indeed be as ethical and as skillful as we can in that situation.

FWIW, I am a Aikidoka that occasionally enters such venues (missed a fight yesterday because of an injury). I will tell you that yes it is a game and a competition where I am trying to submit or overwhelm, or knock out an opponent in order to win.

I will also tell you that I use minimum force necessary in order to do that. I have been in the ring with people that are less skilled than I and I hold back and do not cause anymore injury than necessary to control the fight. I have been in the ring with other fighters that are more skilled than I and they have done the same. Believe it or not, most of the time there is a fair amount of sportsmanship involved in those fights.

I respect anyone's choice to not do these things as they are not for everyone. However, on the street in a fight, when your wife is getting raped, who do you think has more choices to use miinimal force, some undertrained philosophical Aikidoka that has theorectically practiced their art to "peacefully resolve conflict" or someone who has worked hard and developing the ability to meet and deal with violence?

Not passing judgement on you, as I have no idea of your background or skills and maybe you can indeed demonstrate this in a very skillful manner. I think it is just not fair for us to pass judgement and make such statements unless we can indeed show that this is possible it is simply not being honest IMO with ourselves and others.

I will tell you though as an Aikidoka when I do the stuff that I do in the ring or on the street I do it as an aikidoka and carry it with me everywhere and use it. If I can indeed end a fight with minimal force and economy I do so always.

However, the outcome if I have to use atemi, kicks, punches, arm bars or chokes does not mean I have failed in my application and that I have to follow some fundamental set of "ethical" techniques in order for it to be within the spirit of aikido.

Once we figure that out, we may actually begin to reduce much of the burdens of inefficiency that we have placed on ourselves in our practice of aikido and get down to real learning.

rdavid445
09-04-2009, 11:18 PM
I guess I'll go ahead and throw my opinions into the ring.

In my experience, Aikido isn't something you would want to take into a UFC ring. Or any ring, for that matter. The basic, underlying precept is to resolve a conflict as peacefully as possible, with a minimum amount of damage to both parties. The way *most* devoted aikidoka would deal with a fight situation would be to walk away from it, if possible. Peaceful resolution of conflict, with no injury to either party. The exact opposite of the idea behind UFC, boxing, and similiar competitions.

The principles of Aikido are universal, and can be applied under any circumstances. Most of the applications, however, fall beyond the scope of competetive fighting such as boxing or UFC- primarily because the traditional way of winning said competitions is by doing enough damage that your opponent cannot continue to fight. Applying Aikido into such situations is a bit like putting a square peg into a round hole. Yes, you can try to force it in, and might even work sometimes, but it was designed with a different purpose in mind- dealing with an attacker without harming them, if possible.

I bet you that, if you trained the way UFC fighters did, you could at least have a shot in there. I believe Mr. Amdur wrote recently in an article that, in terms of combative skills, (paraphrasing) "Aikido would give you everything you need, as long you gave it everything you had."

If you trained 6-8 hours a day, against opponents who fought in ways you didn't (who possibly knew what the weaknesses of the way you fought were), plus weight training, cardio training, and intensive study of your opponents films and fights, then I think you could really give it a go. Yeah, you'd have to kick and punch, but I think there would be enough there to possibly be successful.

rdavid445
09-05-2009, 03:00 AM
I think the idea of classical aikido being rococo as a technical system has a lot of merit. However, let me say this: have you ever seen rococo architecture? How about rococo painting? (Rococo meaning, in this case, in the style of 18th century French art and design) How about the art of the Italian Renaissance, which could be said to be ornate and complex?

Absolutely gorgeous. Transcendental, even.

Let's use art as the metaphor. Bear with me, as it may be a little reductive of the subject at hand.

I could break out the crayolas, grab some printer paper, draw a stick figure with the words "MY WIFE" written above it, complete with an arrow pointing towards the stick figure and hearts all around. This would take me all of a minute and thirty seconds, at most, and would perfectly convey the message that I love my wife, and wanted to draw her picture. I could squeeze the dogs and the house in there, too. It doesn't take long to teach a child to draw this sort of picture. Maybe a year or so after they start kindergarten, they can produce something similar. Simple, direct, done in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

Or, if I were capable, I could buy top grade materials, and stretch a beautiful, white canvas for myself. I could pick up expensive oil paints and the finest horsehair brushes. I could spend months, maybe years, perfectly rendering the light as it hits my wife's skin, the color of the satin sheet she's laying on as it is hit by rays of sun and hidden by shadow. There would be hundreds of colors just in her hair. Everything would be perfectly modeled, not a thing out of place. This isn't easy to do. In order to do her beauty justice, I've had to study with a master for 15 years, working tirelessly everyday to replicate his techniques, and make them my own. It's been my life's work to reach this point. And through the subtlety of my work, you can fully feel how much I love my wife, how every corner of her body thrills me, how I couldn't be more in love.

Now, it seems to me (and I'm only one man), that suggesting that aikido is rococo as a technical corpus implicitly compares it to other arts, which can be a little unfair. Is every art capable of giving every one of it's practitioners with what they need, no matter what that may be? In my estimation, they don't all do the same things for everyone. Some people are concerned largely with technical veracity, i.e. can I use it to fight someone in a given situation, etc. Were I asked, would I suggest aikido based on that criteria alone? Probably not. I would tell that person to find a decent Krav Maga teacher (while I have to real experience with it, I understand Krav Maga to be a system that emphasizes a low number of simple, proven techniques and a ferocious mind set). I would say, however, that if they would be willing to give aikido a try, they may find a system that may take quite a bit longer to learn, but the results could open up a whole new world to them, while teaching them self defense (albeit at a slower pace). Maybe they would have to study for 10 years before they had developed to the point where they could use aikido in a combative situation. But what else will they have gained?

I don't mean to dismiss simpler, combatively oriented systems such as Krav Maga, MCMAP, etc. They most certainly were created to serve a purpose, and they seem to do so quite efficiently. Within a small amount of time, a person can be equipped with tools that will allow them to survive in many combative situations.

In my opinion, the ornate nature of aikido is one of it's strengths. It's our own version of 手解き te-hodoki, "untying the hands", a principle in koryu bujutsu that Ellis and others have written about, where new students in jujutsu schools were first taught grab-escapes, and other simple techniques, so that if they left after a short time, they wouldn't have any of the school's true techniques to spread amongst non-members. You've got to stick with aikido, at least for a while, to get anything out of it.

Sure, you could accomplish what took a rococo painter four years of constant work to accomplish in a few minutes. But, were you to compare the two pieces of work, which would stand the test of time? Which would be looked at in 250 years and thought to be a masterpiece?

rdavid445
09-05-2009, 03:01 AM
Whoops, double post.

rdavid445
09-05-2009, 03:32 AM
Let me clarify two things:

At the end of the longest paragraph, by "But what will he have gained?", I mean technically. I'm, of course, also implying that the individual would gain many other things (physical health, coordination, social interaction, etc.), but I also want to put forth the idea that, in addition to those very fine things, after a comparatively longer period of training, perhaps the practice of more ornate techniques will yield a person capable of defending themselves with graceful, efficient, and effective self defense, that won't maim or kill an attacker, at least not without the individual's intention to do so.

Second:

This wasn't a "Shame on you, Mr. Amdur, for saying rococo" post. It was a "rococo can be indicative of something good and worthwhile" post. I'm sure Mr. Amdur has considered that, so please don't interpret my post as trying to teach something to a group of people who most certainly have much, much more experience and insight than I do.

I just wanted to put forth how I see things.

rdavid445
09-05-2009, 04:27 AM
On second reading, my first example seems overly trite, and a bit unkind to what it's describing. Allow me to substitute:

Rather than a crayola drawing, let's say that, after 2 years of art school drawing classes, I decided to draw my wife. It can't be said that I don't have skill, and my charcoal pencils capture her figure in light and shadow very competently. There's no wasted space, no needless frills or ornamentation. The pure simplicity of the image is it's greatest strength.

Please excuse the post-a-thon. I guess there's just a bee in my bonnet.

eyrie
09-05-2009, 05:46 AM
Folks, when I suggested that this thread be split, my intention was for people to discuss what their perceived inefficiencies - if any - were with the "Aikido Training Method" (ATM), what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why? I was hoping to hear how others who may have come to the same conclusions, approached the conundrum, and if and how they surmounted it.

It is not about whether Aikido can or cannot kick ass in the UFC, or why it wouldn't be something you'd want to, on supposed high moral grounds of "peaceful conflict resolution", or whether Ellis misunderstood the ATM, or even his personal interests in Chinese MA. Personally, I'm not interested in the former, and the latter is IMO totally off-topic, irrelevant and downright rude.

IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS THOSE THINGS, START YOUR OWN THREAD! Please... and thank you for your cooperation. :)

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2009, 05:57 AM
Yet are there not people that draw stick figures out there that view themselves as somehow more than that? They draw stick figures over and over again hoping that one day they will be a great artist...it will just take a long time. They draw them because the teacher or group they belong too shows them some really cool "finished" products of what they have been doing for 20 years that to the average person looks like art.

None of the "Masters" have their art displayed in any well known galleries or have been able to demostrate that they are even able to get a show at the local fine arts gallery.

The big excuse they might use is that "most common people really don't know what they are looking at, this is different, this is evolved".

So you keep doing the same things over and over, starting to believe that you are doing something that is special and that is important, that it is different.

Those "other" art class people using the big crayons are simply learning to color the whole page effectively, they are not producing art.

That is what you use to make yourself at least feel better about what it is that you are doing in your class. "Yea they may learn to color quickly with those big crayons, but I will be a better artist in 20 years!"

Yet you draw stick figures, over and over. Everyday. You are convinced that eventually you will progress beyond stick figures if you just draw enough of them. Every day, you do the same things...expecting a different result....your carrot it tied to some idealogicial vision that no one you even remotely know or have associated with can demonstrate....

Your group begins to self affirm and you bind together, insulate yourselves...you never put your works out there in the local art shows, cause you know it wouldn't win any art awards, but you still believe it is because you practice is asynchronous and it takes 20 years to learn..and besides....it ain't about the competition anyway!

This is co-dependency at it's finest!

It has failure written all over it with this mindset and logic...and unfortunately, alot of folks have bought into this notion!

It is fine to practice prinicples. It is fine to master the technicalities of the color wheel. To understand which brush might work best to paint a particular line or stroke. We need folks like that out there in the world.

However, don't pretend that what you are doing is "Art" or more evolved than the guy that did not take the time to understand the details. The guy that just got up one day picked up a brush and started painting and synthesized the colors, brush strokes and started entering art shows after 5 years.

It really does not make you any more evolved special or different. You are the guy that studies the details, and yes, you can reach a deep understanding of some things, and yes, there will be those that follow the Aikido approach that will reach a synthesis at 20 years, their are always a couple..

However, it is not guaranteed that you will. Most won't cause they can't get past the "I am special by transferrence and association".

It is a fricking inefficient way of doing things if you want to synthesize and understand.

And don't assume that the guy that "Just does it" without the classical understanding such as a MMA guy can never have what you have. The chance are he will, he can show you how, and he has just a good of a chance of reaching the same endstate that you do in reality in 20 years!

I am betting out of 1000 Aikido students and 1000 MMA students that at the 20 year mark that you will have the exact same ratio of folks still studying and that each approach will have at ONE guy, ONE...that will have reached a higher understanding of what life is all about through their martial practices.

They might have different attributes to their practice and abilities, but they will reach the exact same understanding of peace and harmony.

Erick Mead
09-05-2009, 09:38 AM
... what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why? I was hoping to hear how others who may have come to the same conclusions, approached the conundrum, and if and how they surmounted it. You are the guy that studies the details, and yes, you can reach a deep understanding of some things, and yes, there will be those that follow the Aikido approach that will reach a synthesis at 20 years, their are always a couple..

However, it is not guaranteed that you will. Most won't cause they can't get past the "I am special by transferrence and association".

It is a fricking inefficient way of doing things if you want to synthesize and understand. There is the rub. Efficiency involves trade-offs because not all parameters can be optimized simultaneously. There are fundamental choices involved.

You design a car -- it can be efficient in fuel economy, or peak power output, or low-end torque power. But not all three at once. A rally car would lose a formula one race; a formula one racer wouldn't likely make it to the end of the first stage on a rally course, and neither one would be remotely useful ( much less competitive) in truly off-road competition.

The first thing to address in terms of efficiency is "What are you trying to optimize?"

Why don't you all set out your own list of priorities in order of importance so you know what your set of trade-offs may represent?

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2009, 10:15 AM
Good points Erick. Reminds me of the old adage "you can't have all three, cheap, fast, and good." any two are okay, but not all three.

One thing I have been thinking deeply about lately revolving around OODA is that essentially you cannot have O, O, D, and A all at the same time either. you can have O and O, and D and A...but not all together.

I equate this to MA...not sure if I have it entirely correct as of course this is a generalization. ...

However, I think we tend to stay in the Observe and Orient phase of training in Aikido...Clinically speaking.

That is we Observe our external inputs very carefully and Study our reactions very carefully and we loop OO..OO...OO.

This kind of practice definitely allows us to increase our Skill and understanding of what we are observing...but it does not really do much in the way teaching us to rapidily Decide and Act.

Other arts such as Krav Maga and BJJ really spend more on the Decide and Act side of OODA. the consistently loop on DA, DA, DA. I think another term for this might be "Aliveness".

Minimizing the OO phases provides for a lower level of choices to be made as the DA crowd manages from a position of efficiency and "What works". However, it works and the re-tool and adapt and consistently innovate once they process experiences.

I personally think this is why you don't see Aikidoka per se in the UFC more so than any Philosophical, Ethical, or Moral standard, paradigm, or framework.

The UFC is not the place for "OO' ers. It is the place for "DAers".

I think ideally, a well rounded martial practice attempts to balance this equation out some what. It looks holistically at the OODA loop.

Recognizing that in application, that indeed you can't have it all, but must ultimately "Decide and Act" eventually and that in that phase what you choose may not be optimal, but what is important is that you recognize that Deciding and Acting is what is what you need to be doing at that time. (No Mind, Mushin etc.)

However, in practice and our training that we need to expand our ability to Observe and Orient...this creates choices and possibilities for us that we may possibly be able to draw from in the future when we do have to Decide and Act.

My personal opinion on inefficiency in AIkido is that we tend to not recognize the OODA loop thing much and we get stuck in OO, OO, OO land. We cease to be able to really make mistakes, bring in new data and experiences and innovate and grow...we simply are coloring within the lines with the same crayons and same page over and over and over.

You know...just this morning I was teaching Spider Guard to a few aikidoka and realized that they were not getting the connection with grabbing the sleeves and connecting with the hips. I had a huge ephiphany when I realized that the body connection and movement was Techninage in the Spider Guard! Openning the spine...expanding the suit, breathing and connecting...taking the slack out while you move your feet around Uke's body controlling his core.

I bring that up, because I was working in the DA side of the house and it expanding my OO side of the house simply because I was doing something different outside of the normal context purely based on what Uke was bring to the table!

It is the principles of Aikido....it is Ground Fighting Skills, and it synthesizes the two AND is used in the UFC all the time. it is also "evolved" somewhat high skill and can be used to provide options other than simply bludegoning a guy "Mongo" style.

It did not look like much, did not look like AIkido(tm), and had nothing directly to do with Peace, Harmony, or Philosophy...it simply was what it was...a spider guard...or two guys grappling on the ground!

Anyway...I think I am all over the place on this now. Sorry!

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2009, 10:41 AM
Folks, when I suggested that this thread be split, my intention was for people to discuss what their perceived inefficiencies - if any - were with the "Aikido Training Method" (ATM), what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why? I was hoping to hear how others who may have come to the same conclusions, approached the conundrum, and if and how they surmounted it.

It is not about whether Aikido can or cannot kick ass in the UFC, or why it wouldn't be something you'd want to, on supposed high moral grounds of "peaceful conflict resolution", or whether Ellis misunderstood the ATM, or even his personal interests in Chinese MA. Personally, I'm not interested in the former, and the latter is IMO totally off-topic, irrelevant and downright rude.

IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS THOSE THINGS, START YOUR OWN THREAD! Please... and thank you for your cooperation. :)

LOL...I just caught your post above. I hope I am not guilty of that entirely, because I agree..this is my objective as well.

I think (hope) what I am relaying when I talk about the UFC type stuff is that it represents one side of the equation and provides a model in which to talk against.

To be a little more precise maybe than my last two post....

The UFC brought about a great deal of innovation in MA training. The rules and objectives forced upon the MA world a quantifiable goal. This drives innovation and new knowledge into the MA world as people focus on how to best train to meet those goals. Thus we have the whole MMA movement which strives to cut out all the chafe and focus on those basic skills that provide the edge necessary to win in the UFC.

By it's nature the MMA culture MUST be efficient. And I personally believe there are alot of good lessons to be learned from how they train and constantly innovate. The measure of success for them is very quantifiable and the essentially have feedback loops that process very quickly which allow them to adapt and expand there knowledge base and turn experience at a very quick rate.

Studying MMA and BJJ for the past 5 years or so, I really have been fascinated by this way of learning and reached the same conclusion about 2 years ago concerning Aikido that yes, it was a very extremely inefficient methodology for training. Very inefficient.

I have been working on my thoughts and trying to figure out how I might fix it if I could. There are a few things that need to be considered however that present a challenge.

One, it is NOT the UFC, nor do most folks that come to the practice of AIkido desire to be a cage fighter. So it is hard to quantifiy and objectively define Measures of Success, when we are not really sure what they may be if it is not winning in a competition.

Two, Aikido culturally is connected to a philosophy and a "way" or "path". Again, how to you define Measures of Success?

Three, what is it in the methodology that does work and is good, or unique that we bring to the MA community that we need to keep doing that makes Aikido special.

Four, if you make changes to the system, are they good ones, that is Additive or do they take away from it?

My latest thoughts are centered around the concept of OODA as outlined above. OODA is an objective process that is not tied to dogma (other then it's own, of course), and in somewhat clinical and neutral as a model to martial arts.

OODA I think, so far provides the framework upon which we can assess and identify success. Success as defined by the process, not by how well we do in the ring...or how well we are tied to the dogma of philosophy or ethics. Again...I think it is fairly objective and clincial.

My basic observations are that any good martial or budo practice needs to balance against OODA. There are training things that concentrate on the Observe category. Things on the Orient..which is where we spend most of our time in Aikido...learning new concepts, skills, and techniques, and things that concentrate on the Decision and Act.

Of course, Aikido has all the elements as does any martial practice...but I don't believe we fully grasp the importance of this cycle, nor do we really understand how to balance it.

Randori is a DA activity for example. How many schools really understand this and how it links back to OO? When doing randori, how do you provide the controls, assessment, and feedback process in order to cultivate a student grasping the lessons to be learn back into the OO phase.

My Randori experiences have mainly served to confuse the hell out of me with very little learning taking place.

When I went to BJJ for instance, we practice Randori all the time. Intrinsicially, it is tied directly back into the OO phase and reinforced constantly in training.

I personally believe THIS is a big part of the breakdown in the Aikido method process. We don't get it and we stay stuck in OO.

That does not mean we need to turn what we do into BJJ...it certainly is not the objective of the study of aikido. However, I think we should really look hard at the OODA process and figure out how we can re-balance it.

One thing, for example, that I have been wanting to do for the past two years is attend one of Ledyard Sensei's workshops with Shinai. From what I am told, this training provides this kind of feedback and the people that I have heard that have gone experience this OODA linkage greatly.

So, I think maybe that this serves as a good example of how maybe we can change our training to be more efficient.

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2009, 11:18 AM
Some more thoughts on OODA as it relates.

My above examples are all based on MMA or a BJJ model dealing with Randori.

However, I submit, that there are other areas where I think this applies.

Defining your endstates and Measure of Effectiveness, Measures of Success.

Lets talk about Internal Strength, for instance. Lots of individual solo time. How does OODA apply to this?

Well alot of talk has gone on hear about "how do I know if it is working, how do know if it is right?"

Ki Test, Jo test, push test etc...provide the feedback necessary for us to learn. in Jo test for example. You Observe the person on the other end of the stick pushing on the stick, you Orient on it, and Decide what Action you will take. Based on that Action, you adjust again and so on.

Done in a controlled manner, the instructor or guide limits and factors out other variables except those things you want to test.

You have definitely limited the DA by making Uke/Nage work within the confines of the test. By limiting those things it allows the Nage to Observe and Orient and expand his knowledge base.

OO heavy for sure, but the point is the tester knows what he is doing in order to provide the correct feedback, it is a control.

Pointing out gaps and weaknesses, the student can then return back to his solo training to address those issues identified.

Then in a complete Jiyu Randori phase, the parameters can be set and the student can then learn to apply these things, although recoginizing that he is heavy on the DA side, so therefore, he cannot rely on processes OO, but his body is learning and adapting through both a OO learning mechanism that is being reinforced through a DA one.

I think a good program is integrated and done in a very deliberate and intelligent manner, with controls, feedback, and endstates that are placed strategically throughout the methodology.

Tim Fong
09-05-2009, 11:43 AM
Ki Test, Jo test, push test etc...provide the feedback necessary for us to learn. in Jo test for example. You Observe the person on the other end of the stick pushing on the stick, you Orient on it, and Decide what Action you will take. Based on that Action, you adjust again and so on.

[snip]
Then in a complete Jiyu Randori phase, the parameters can be set and the student can then learn to apply these things, although recoginizing that he is heavy on the DA side, so therefore, he cannot rely on processes OO, but his body is learning and adapting through both a OO learning mechanism that is being reinforced through a DA one.

I think a good program is integrated and done in a very deliberate and intelligent manner, with controls, feedback, and endstates that are placed strategically throughout the methodology.

Kevin,
Reading your post reminds me of the isolation sparring that a lot of gyms do. For example , in a grappling situation:
One person applies a pin (say side control) and the other person tries their best to get out.

In a striking situation:
One person throws any kick (with free movement by both) and the other person checks.

Weapons:
Both people have sticks and the Lameco (http://www.lamecoeskrima.com/armor.asp) handguards. One person delivers a one (with free movement) the other person must use a back hand to target the striker.

Internal arts situation:
Pushout, go, receiving joint locks etc. Rather than challenging a particular technique, the exercise challenges a particular range of motion/ability to absorb force.

Best,
Tim

Buck
09-05-2009, 12:22 PM
Ellis IMO, is the expert in looking at Aikido as he does. He had contact and experiences most of us will never have. He formulated his opinion based on his experiences and his goals. It was a knee-jerk reaction base on inexperience with Aikido, or limited exposure or in correct exposure. We can say the same thing for George, and Peter and a few others. George views are different then Ellis, but I consider him in expert in other ways, same for Peter and the few others. Ellis is an expert in his area and view on Aikido shaped by his experiences which he has said basically he isn't happy with Aikido and it did meet his expectation which he has publicized. What makes Ellis unique in his perspective is he has achieved complete knowledge in a Koryu/kobudo an old Japanese battle field art, training in Aikido and now has great interest in Chinese martial arts looking at that to obtain his expectations.

I said that as background, a platform to help understand what I am about to discuss. Those individuals looking for something that wasn't fulfilled in their Aikido training have that right to do so. Like Ellis it wasn't a matter of looking at Aikido failings because in a MMA sports match. According to Ellis, an expert, Aikido didn't offer or live up to the fighting expectations he had. And George has said, something similar in regard to the lack correct principle in Aikido technique. Here we have two experts discontent with aspects of Aikido they where taught. On the other hand, we have individuals who are many that have had unique experiences and are experts that continued with Aikido not seeing any major faults in Aikido that would have them discontented and searching for a better art.

This comes down to the old saying of "one man's treasure is another man's trash." If someone is discontent with Aikido and see failing and want to move on fine. But, not everyone may feel the same. For me, as I said in my first posts here, I see Aikido as theory, as Physics, String and Fractals. Meaning not a means for street fighting. If I wanted that, as I said before, I wouldn't waste my time learning martial arts beyond a few classes of the basics, and would get my experience on the street, and not in tournament fights. If I really wanted to go to the hilt. I would always carry the Glock 17 and the KP9094, and something extra, the Guardian Back-Up with me at all time, not to mention a good lawyer on retainer. Yes, just because I am a Aikidoka doesn't mean owning a couple of guns and a knife as plan "B" is as sin. I love Aikido, but I realize no martial art can stop a bullet. I would hate to be in a situation of being fire upon or drawn on and not having equalization. But it doesn't mean, having weapons, is my first option. It is my last, when all others are exhausted, and no other choice given. I am not a net ninja or a gun shop commando (terms relating to those on gun forums).

If you are not finding what you want in Aikido, fine, but not everyone looks at it the same. Because we each have our own personal experiences, goals, reasons, and expectations for why we train in Aikido. What fails in one person, may be fulfilling in another. Not all of us want to fight, or get into a fight, and there is ways to avoid a fight. Isn't that the highest idea of any good martial arts, really true for the Chinese arts. Like Eric said, there are trade-offs, that too is true for a fight. Trade-offs in a fight is really over-looked, or ignored in favor of bravado and trash talk so commonly associated in the realm of fighting imo. That is to say the negitives of fighting are not seriously discussed.

Each to his own, and best to all.

Erick Mead
09-05-2009, 12:44 PM
Good points Erick. Reminds me of the old adage "you can't have all three, cheap, fast, and good." any two are okay, but not all three. I love that one. I have to tell my seventeen year old that about three times a week

"Good, fast or cheap. Choose two."

One thing I have been thinking deeply about lately revolving around OODA is that essentially you cannot have O, O, D, and A all at the same time either. you can have O and O, and D and A...but not all together.

I equate this to MA...not sure if I have it entirely correct as of course this is a generalization. ...

However, I think we tend to stay in the Observe and Orient phase of training in Aikido...Clinically speaking.

I think ideally, a well rounded martial practice attempts to balance this equation out some what. It looks holistically at the OODA loop.
I actually think you are right in your assumption -- but wrong in your conclusion. I have made the point before about Col. Boyd's marvelous flowchart, but it bears frequent repeating -- precisely because OODA is VERY important.
http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/images/picture_boyd_ooda_loop.gif

The explicit OODA loop is linear. But look at the top. There are two boxes called "implicit guidance and control" They are independent subloops -- Orient-Observe-Orient and Orient-Action-Observe.

The dominant process of this often ignored part of Boyd's original conception is Orient. Explicit or conscious decision is skipped entirely -- and this makes its efficiency in strategic terms far less dependent on linear tempo. Because in every iteration it can take either the action or observation path, depending, this is a non-linear part of the OODA concept. One could conceive of a Lorenz attractor illustrating the operation of these sub loops. http://home4.inet.tele.dk/filip/chaos/lorenz_attractor01.gif

This kind of practice definitely allows us to increase our Skill and understanding of what we are observing...but it does not really do much in the way teaching us to rapidily Decide and Act.
Minimizing the OO phases provides for a lower level of choices to be made as the DA crowd manages from a position of efficiency and "What works".
The UFC is not the place for "OO' ers. It is the place for "DAers". .. and if someone ignores the explicit D part -- he is already inside that loop -- or as O Sensei said, quite appropriately in this context -- "I am already behind him."

But what does that really mean? I'll tell you. If the two subloops represent an attractor (like the Lorenz, or, as I suggest, the structural dynamics of aiki resemble something like the Julia, or Mandebrot sets) it has a VERY well defined meaning. Any progression along the attractor is, in energy terms, "downhill." Any progression occurring off the attractor or trying to regain it is all "uphill." This is the reason why the Orient function does and should dominate, and defines the difference in what Aikido and MMA are oriented in regard to.

MMA has an a explicit linear goal -- achieve the defined criteria of a win. Aiki has no such criteria -- it is oriented to its own attractor, which has no "win" defined on it - which is not a moral observation but a purely physical one -- and the would-be spiritualists/moralists make far too much of that fact, IMO, (cart before horse) though it is highly congenial to a perspective of that type - (if the horse is pulling the wagon).

My personal opinion on inefficiency in AIkido is that we tend to not recognize the OODA loop thing much and we get stuck in OO, OO, OO land. We cease to be able to really make mistakes, bring in new data and experiences and innovate and grow...we simply are coloring within the lines with the same crayons and same page over and over and over.
I tend to agree with this, but as Inigo Montoya once said: "I do not think it means what you think it means." I have an image of a very particular crayon scrawl in mind: http://scienceblogs.com/greengabbro/lorenz-attractor.jpg

Recognizing that in application, that indeed you can't have it all, but must ultimately "Decide and Act" eventually and that in that phase what you choose may not be optimal, but what is important is that you recognize that Deciding and Acting is what is what you need to be doing at that time. (No Mind, Mushin etc.) It is the conclusion that one must "Decide" that I challenge. If one does not yet sense the correct shape of the dynamic he is not operating on the attractor. If you do, and you no longer have to think or decode what comes next because it just sort of occurs, like sliding down hill -- you are on the attractor. I routinely have to correct students who decide to try to short circuit the nature of movement to hurry up "the technique" only find it cannot be done, or that now they are wrestling. That is one example.

Aikido trains "divine technique" in O Sensei's conception -- which, if I am right, and in these terms may be nothing other than O Sensei's way of trying to describing this very difficult to envision sense of an attractor in a phase space that makes certain lines of action virtually effortless.

I do know it when I feel it and regularly find myself operating on that part of the map -- but making it explicit in objective terms is not trivial -- and he did not have anything close to these tools. There are few who are looking at it explicitly these terms. I submit, however, there are many who seem to be doing so implicitly, using other terms to found their own Orientation to these implicit guidance loops.

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2009, 12:45 PM
Kevin,
Reading your post reminds me of the isolation sparring that a lot of gyms do. For example , in a grappling situation:
One person applies a pin (say side control) and the other person tries their best to get out.

In a striking situation:
One person throws any kick (with free movement by both) and the other person checks.

Weapons:
Both people have sticks and the Lameco (http://www.lamecoeskrima.com/armor.asp) handguards. One person delivers a one (with free movement) the other person must use a back hand to target the striker.

Internal arts situation:
Pushout, go, receiving joint locks etc. Rather than challenging a particular technique, the exercise challenges a particular range of motion/ability to absorb force.

Best,
Tim

Thanks....good examples Tim.

Kata and Drills certainly are important too and I don't want to discount that. I moved away from them actually with great disdain from my Karate days where I felt they were over emphasized, or at least I didn't understand them very well. Aikido was liberating for me cause it was so spontaneous and free. Same with BJJ.

However, I am seeing a need for kihon training these days. Sanchin Kata I think is a good one for instance. Of course, I am also spending a great deal of time doing flow drills and attack chains in BJJ these days as well.

In addition, in AIkido we do the same of course. In fact, we do a great deal of this, but my issue is I believe we need to maybe back off and train some very, very basic things much more deeper and basic, then maybe move to a more "free" play that is controlled.

One of the things I constantly see students doing in AIkido is continuing to process the OO part while doing Jiyu. We need to instill in them the basics then get the message across that it is okay to move and be free and make mistakes.

I think though that it is hard cause we kinda through folks into Jiyu that is not so well controlled and focused. Aikido is PhD level stuff, heck I really suck at it, yet I can do well at Jiu Jitsu!

Foundations is where the efficiencies are to be gained. Doing the solo work, developing the martial body, building good basic habits like sanchin kata and some of the old school Okinawa Ryu's do. Learning to punch, kick, and simply move properly. All before we do the first wrist grab or iriminage.

It is hard to describe. I don't think it is WHAT we are doing so much as to HOW we are putting it together, the linkages, and the emphasis.

But what do I know really? I am a mere amateur in this process...so these are just my own impressions and thoughts.

jss
09-05-2009, 02:37 PM
Folks, when I suggested that this thread be split, my intention was for people to discuss what their perceived inefficiencies - if any - were with the "Aikido Training Method" (ATM), what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why?
The biggest inefficiency in the ATM is (imo) the lack of teaching. The main focus in an aikido class is getting better at the technique that was shown, not the principles behind the techniques. To make matters worse, your uke may be less skilled than you (no skilled feedback here) or disagree with what/how you're training (so no specific feedback). Secondly the teacher will not give feedback on every technique you practice in a class. Then, assuming the teacher chose a principle to focus on during class, thus selecting techniques that demonstrated this specific principle, it will take you about three techniques to figure out what the principle is and let's hope you've got the correct one in mind. And as someone has said in a different thread: the most important things is to learn what stuff you don't know. Refining certain elements on your own is hard, but discovering certain elements you didn't know even existed, is virtually impossible.
So aikido class seems to be mostly about the inefficient learning of a number of techniques for the sake of the techniques themselves.

If I contrast this with how I learned to play the classical guitar. I practice at home. What I practiced I play during an individual class. And for each piece I play, I get specific feedback what I have to focus on for next class. Now that's teaching.

Chuck Clark
09-05-2009, 06:59 PM
The biggest inefficiency in the ATM is (imo) the lack of teaching. The main focus in an aikido class is getting better at the technique that was shown, not the principles behind the techniques.

(lots of good stuff)

If I contrast this with how I learned to play the classical guitar. I practice at home. What I practiced I play during an individual class. And for each piece I play, I get specific feedback what I have to focus on for next class. Now that's teaching.

I agree with you Joep, a technique based system of learning only works if the training is almost totally a one on one transmission at the end of the arms of someone that "has it." If this isn't possible, (and most modern practices are not) then the system must be heavily loaded with principle based learning under very close supervision by seniors and someone that really "has it" as often as possible. Of course the debate will always hinge around "Who has what you want" ... and, do most beginners even know what they should want? Once we know what we want, then we must constantly be looking for "it" and be willing to do what it takes to get "it"... or spend our time doing something else. :straightf

Best regards,

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2009, 07:24 PM
Erick,

We crossed post earlier so I missed it. Sorry.

Erick wrote:
It is the conclusion that one must "Decide" that I challenge. If one does not yet sense the correct shape of the dynamic he is not operating on the attractor. If you do, and you no longer have to think or decode what comes next because it just sort of occurs, like sliding down hill -- you are on the attractor. I routinely have to correct students who decide to try to short circuit the nature of movement to hurry up "the technique" only find it cannot be done, or that now they are wrestling. That is one example.

I appreciate your thoughts and feedback. I am going to have to think hard about this one for sure.

As I said, I don't have any of the answer on alot of this stuff and frankly I am working through it, so it is good to get different perspectives like the one you provided.

I am going to think about this for a while and hopefully get back to you.

I understand what you are saying about short circuting natural movement. Though it might help if we were to have the conversatioin in the same room so we could physically discuss it.

As a model I think there is one perspective when looking at this as a methodology for mastery.

Tactically though, I do believe that if you are ahead of the loop, it doesn't necessarily matter if you do the right thing or the most appropriate thing, simply that you act in some matter that does what you want to do.

However, that is really not the point of our training, nor the point of using this as a framework for study.

Tactically though, I might offer this advice that I noted this morning to an student that was having trouble doing Nikkyo. What he would do is move correctly then focus back on the hand/arm and stop his feet, which resulted in me re-establishing the ground path and stopping his technique. What I told him is if all else fails simply keep moving your feet or start moving your feet again once you stop.

This was a big part of what my one of my teachers used to preach. "Move your EFFING FEET!".

In that regard, it is ACT and not in appropriate if you are doing ANY technigue at all. Same with BJJ on the ground. If all else fails keep shrimping!

So you are not really doing anything but continuing to keep the movement dynamic and preventing fixation in the loop.

what seems like what happens is we do DECIDE ACT STOP ACT...DECIDE STOP, ACT STOP. DECIDE. At every STOP is a chance for uke to gain momentum or close the gap in the loop.

Anyway...lots to think about!

PS, I wish I were able to follow part of your illustrations etc, it looks very interesting, but frankly I do not have the background to even begin to understand the concepts that you are trying to relay, however, I do find it fascinating.

Erick Mead
09-05-2009, 08:20 PM
The biggest inefficiency in the ATM is (imo) the lack of teaching. The main focus in an aikido class is getting better at the technique that was shown, not the principles behind the techniques. ... So aikido class seems to be mostly about the inefficient learning of a number of techniques for the sake of the techniques themselves.Not the way I was taught -- or teach.

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2009, 08:44 PM
Yeah but how to you get better at the prinicples? I mean principles are principles...how can you be better or worse at them.

Being able to communicate or demonstrate them...yes.

However, anything that is used to demonstrate them are external manisfestations of the principles...which are techniques.

So in order to demonstrate you understand or to communicate principles you have to develop scenarios, situations, and techniques in which to do this.

The problem is when you focus on a particular for the sake of learning the technique. I think a technique focused approach is very limited since you can learn techiques, but not really undertand the principles underneath.

Even understanding the prinicples is not enough, IMO, you must be able to show synthesis and a range of application of those principles in a variety of ways.

thisisnotreal
09-05-2009, 09:22 PM
...

Internal arts situation:
Pushout, go, receiving joint locks etc. Rather than challenging a particular technique, the exercise challenges a particular range of motion/ability to absorb force.
...

May I ask, what's 'go'?

Abasan
09-05-2009, 11:30 PM
I'm not sure if I'm going off tangent here, but I've been thinking about this and I think it should be relevant.

Bruce Lee used to lift weights anytime he can. He's like a machine, doing several things at once just so that he can achieve more and more than the time allotted to him would allow.

By all accounts he's a very strong man, but you do not see a physique like Arnold. His training regime, methods, etc all make him strong for his martial arts power requirements. He used to point out that a lot of muscular guys do not have the strength that he has at his disposal. And if you think about it, he's probably right. Because he's talking about application not theoretical. Theoretically, the bigger muscles are stronger. But application wise, very few techniques uses only 1 muscle group. They are used in combination, thus Bruce Lee's training methods, trains those muscles in unison/unity. He also trains muscles no one's heard off. Particularly because he knows those muscles corresponds to a technique that not many people do.

Then there is also those fast and slow muscle fibers and the different way they are trained and the differences in how they are used. There's also fascia training. Also flexibility because we know whiplike motion makes for the best velocity. Power and speed in combination.

So why are we talking about muscles here? Actually we're not. I'm really talking about the training. Here we have a guy who's training every hour of the day and not just one particular part of the body but as many parts as he can at the same time. He's training his legs flexibility, his arm muscles and his brain at the same time. He does this every day. His Will pushes him beyond normal limits and his mind transcends the regular schmoes 'do it this way' regime.

Same thing you see with the UFC guys everyone loves to talk about. Yadda yadda... they are training every single day to compete once every 3 months. They peak. They have a good diet, they have good physical recuperation and training, they have focused fighting coaches and techniques. And then on the other side we have you guys. Training anywhere between 2-3 times a week for a couple of hours or maybe 4-5 for the above average aikidoka. And we don't forget the teachers who do it every day but seldom work as uke's anymore. They also seldom go all out against fully combative ukes and the reason is simple, no one here is paying for a walking punching bag. Injuries will come and we've got a life beyond wearing white pjs and black skirts.

Face it. Aikido training methods today is geared for the part time martial artists. You may hate the word weekend warriors but there it is. Yet you will like to compare yourself against SWAT and Green Berets... its not very realistic.

Its not just Aikido. Name me any martial art that gives you the kind of performance comparable to UFC for just 3-4 sessions a week. Wing Chun and other CMA? BJJ? Krav? JKD? Seriously has there been someone as good in JKD as Bruce ever was?

After all that is said though. There are good schools who understand that Aikido is still a path. A long path that begins with kihon and ends up with a lot of self questioning. Once you've reached takemusu aiki it would probably come together. Of course you have to know what it is before admitting you are there. Otherwise you'll just be kidding yourself.

Now lets go back to power. There's a lot to be said about a guy who can muscle up a 400 pounds bench press. Or even a 200 pounds bench press. Throw in the UFC guys and they could probably do the 2nd one easily enough. Throw in a guy you know who is good in aiki and most likely he won't be able to do it. But now you can ask them to push each other and it is likely the aiki guy will not move for the UFC guy but the reverse will happen.

The concept has never changed. Aiki training is about handling external energy and making it your own. Its not about stealing it but taking it when its freely given. Now... if that has always been what Aikido is all about, how the heck are you ever going to achieve it if all you go about every day is how can I bring my opponent down, how can I joint lock his elbows out, how can I stop him, how can I defeat him, how can I throw him like really powerful like, yadda yadda. It'll be like Bruce Lee trying to make JKD but training like a power lifter.

Mmm and before someone says yeah that's fine, its all nice and dandy at the dojo when sensei picks me up like a rag doll and its cool cause I never felt any force. But hey how about 'In a RealLife Situation' herein referred to as "IRS", can sensei actually do this stuff in IRS? Everyone groans cause no one likes to hear about the IRS. Its bad enough we have to deal with it every year, but at the dojo and the forum too? I mean come on give me a break. I believe we all know how to deal with IRS. You Prepare the best you can in the time given to you and when they come a knocking, you Accept the fact that you can't run away and you Deal with it.

Well, that's my genius thought for the day. :P

Erick Mead
09-06-2009, 01:05 AM
Yeah but how to you get better at the prinicples? I mean principles are principles...how can you be better or worse at them.

Being able to communicate or demonstrate them...yes.

However, anything that is used to demonstrate them are external manifestations of the principles...which are techniques. I see techniques as slices out of a continuum, like a single cross-section out of one branch of a very large scale ,long sequenced, multi-branched and (largely) complete/whole scheme of action. NOT a decision tree, that is too simplistic and linear. So I see two basic complementary approaches to learning and applying principles, One -- understanding structure in dynamic -- waza are opportunities to study that, Whether we use them for that purpose is another matter. And two -- understanding perception. You could call one "Orient" and the other "Observe."

I am not certain that it is beneficial to hurry the "Act" because until the first two are understood to a certain degree "Act" tends to devolve to a linear aim at a defined endpoint -- which is completely counterproductive. Seems to me those framing an approach in various "internal skills" methods are saying something similar in their attention to solo structural work. Focus on a hypothetical endpoint and a projected path to it uses faculties better used in perceiving the actual structural dynamic and responding to it more intuitively and sensitively along the paths that simply present themselves. That is the "Act" I seek.

Of course doing waza a hundred times may simply be trying to "get to the pin" faster on the hundredth time -- which is missing the point, entirely. The same waza a hundred times and branch points within it begin to flow out of the natural variations -- if you are fully engaged with that concrete reality -- instead of the hope of an endstate in one's head.

I am going to take a stab at explaining the use of the idea of an attractor, in a more commonplace military analogy. It is like reconnoitering the ground of engagement. If I have already been down a path and seen its the branch trails (like a Hash run) I know or at least have a fair idea where those trails lead. The enemy though he has the initiative and could outpace me within a hundred yards if I am pursued, has lost those advantages, and is wholly unaware of it. The hares already know the route and the marks and there is no way the fastest runner can overtake them. They don't need a higher tempo.

We tend to see action as contingent and variable. But you can envision a figure like the Julia set or other attractor as a fixed and invariant thing in space. ( in fact they call it a "phase space") You travel along it, view it from different angles, and at different (infinite, actually) scales but it is one whole thing and never actually changes. Its parts all look somewhat similar, and have very typical varieties of differing forms (though all are absolutely unique) and they change in certain typical types of pattern as you go along it.

What you see as contingent change in the engagement was a slight offset at a scale, or a signpost in the patterns of changing form that you did not see as you went along, until it became clear later that is where you ended up. Understanding this, the engagement then is a part of fixed attractor in a phase space.

If you know how it is shaped, and how its shape typically changes form and scale you learn how to see smaller and smaller scale differences, and the signposts of patterns. You can navigate on new ground quite safely with some very rough rules of thumb (like "downhill lies water", for example) These are the "principles."

You get to know when you enter a path that the oncoming enemy does not yet even know he has yet entered. You will follow the path you see -- while he follows what he is projecting as the path ( his ultimate or simply immediate endpoint), since he only sees large scale. By the time the actual divergence is large enough for him to notice you have already acted, and he is stuck.

There was no decision -- there was no increase loop tempo -- there was advantage in orienting and in observing and then acting in tune with that orientation at the point where you sense his action has become incapable of continuing without becoming discontinuous and vulnerable. The "Act" occurs because you already had slightly begun a "flank" (Juuji - perpendicular contact, to feel and keep your connection oriented to him).

When his threshold then reaches a point where it actually breaks down your action is already seamlessly breaking out -- taking over initiative as his evaporates. The "scouts" instantly turn into a full bore flanking counterattack. "Act" happens just by properly orienting your sensing (observing) connections and then always being slightly "entering there" and then you can arbitrarily add to the action -- if and when the door opens up..

If -- of course -- I am right that Aiki follows an attractor. But that's how it feels to me. I hope you can see there are rich possibilities for thinking about and looking for attractors in a wide variety of practical military matters. If one does exist in a given type of engagement, it could be immensely valuable, if you can find ways to "see" its shape and describe its "principles."

eyrie
09-06-2009, 07:37 AM
A general comment about the whole teaching/not teaching issue. To me, that is not generally what I would consider an efficiency issue.

Perhaps it would be useful if we could all agree what the ATM is firstly? To me, and this is only my general experience, the ATM (within the limits of a "classroom" scenario), generally follows similar lines of most MAs:
1. "warm up" exercises - which most are expected to do prior to the "lesson" proper. These may, or may not include, specific solo or paired exercises or drills, e.g. tai-no-henka, ikkyo undo, kokyu-ho, vestigial remnants of chinkon-kishin exercises, such as funekogi, furitama, ibuki etc.
2. "waza" - conducted within the "lesson" itself, which entails playing both roles of tori and uke
3. randori/jiyu waza - either one-on-one or many-to-one

In most cases, it is no different to how a jujitsu or karate class might be conducted, for example. So, what is different with the ATM and why is it inefficient? Compare it to a BJJ or even MMA class, that I once sat down to observe. I don't think it's any different. The format appears to be the same - warm up, techniques, free sparring/grappling. The issue I think, is not so much the method, than the recipe missing some key ingredient. If any here are at all familiar with culinary pursuits, sometimes you know when the recipe needs a little something (tabasco, splash of brandy...) to give it that extra oomph, and while you can vary the method to some degree in most things, certain recipes, especially cakes and pastries, require specific quantities and key ingredients, and strict adherence to methods. Is Aikido a cake or a stir fry? A stir fry you can put whatever you want in it - meat, seafood, (or tofu if you're vegetarian), and an assortment of vegetables, and legitimately call it a stir fry. If Aikido is a cake, what sort of cake is it? Different cakes have specific methods... while others are based on a basic butter cake recipe using the same method, with different variations.

Why is it necessary to make a choice between cheap, fast and good? I primarily do the cooking at home. It's MY form of relaxation. I can make cheap, fast, nutritious, AND BLOODY good tasting meals. Ask anyone. Why not the same with Aikido? It could be cheap if lessons were free or low cost. It could be fast if knowledge could be transmitted clearly, and in such a way as to enable rapid development of skill. It could be good if the student walks away knowing that they've learnt something concrete that can be applied immediately... to *some* arbitrary level of competency and/or proficiency, and not after 20-30 years of shelling out $10000s, for the outer shell of a corpus of knowledge to which the keys to unlock it have been deliberately withheld. One certainly doesn't have to shell out $1000s just to learn how to relax - not that it's really "taught" anyway... much less, learning how to generate and extend power in a relaxed manner.

The problem, as I see it is not how it is taught, or in many cases, not taught. In the majority of cases, and as Ellis writes, in Ueshiba's case as well, particularly in his earlier years, when he was still largely experimenting, auditing other sources, and formulating his own personal practice, many so called teachers don't really teach, in as much as they are experimenting themselves. In fact, some even make a point to say that they do not teach. As westerners, we tend to expect the teacher to, well, teach, and instructors to, well, instruct. Perhaps because society and education system have trained us that way, with text books, PowerPoint handouts, course notes, and information brochures.

The whole idea of "not teaching" because it is up to the student to steal it, is actually, IMO, by far the most expedient method of teaching. It saves having to explain a lot of stuff in words, if the student could simply intuit what the teacher means. Ellis has already written extensively on the raison d'etre for this in AI3P and HIPS, so I won't belabour the point regarding that, other than to say, it's the same reason one's business would run a lot more smoothly, with far less external intervention, when employees can pre-empt the boss' requirements, as would a household, when husband, wife and children are in-sync. Come dinner time, meals get put on the table a lot quicker, if everyone intuitively knew what was happening, instead of me having to shout the orders - lay the table, utensils, etc. etc. dammit child, you know the drill.

But I'm certain too there were times when I missed quite a few things, due to a momentarily lapse of attention and concentration, OR because I just didn't know IF I was missing something important, like some nuance or movement. And as is the custom, once that moment is gone, it's gone. Too bad if you missed it.

When I switched over to the dark side a few years ago, my jujitsu sensei made it quite explicit that I was expected to steal what I could. FWIW, I left after 6 months of training twice a week, having gleaned the core of what he was openly willing to show - all 223 basic techniques within the curriculum and more. By the end of which, I was already able to extrapolate a number of additional techniques that he had never shown, by just having gleaned the fundamental principles of the art. Of course, he kept a few secrets to himself, and which he quite candidly admitted to... but that was rightly his sole perogative, since I wasn't a formal student, but merely a guest from a related art and accorded the formality and respect as such. Even though, some of the students there made it a point to "test my skill" in the beginning. Not that I was any better or stronger than some, but that it was enough that I was able to hold my own and in some cases, was able to come out on top.

The real question is, what was he holding back, and why was it such a secret? What did I miss? Sometimes, it's just nice to be told what it is.

Aikido and the ATM, however, is quite a different animal. Although the technical curriculum is significantly pared down (as Ellis describes, HIPS p173), it shares several common techniques with jujitsu - certainly in the jujitsu I learnt. It is, however, applied quite differently. Again, Ellis has written quite extensively on this in AI3P and HIPS. The key is really how it is different and why it's different. To paraphrase Ellis in geeky terms, it's like having the public key to an encrypted text - without the private key, you have Buckley's of decrypting it! However, the martial/combative principles contained within Aikido are universal - i.e. they are applicable to *any* pursuit (martial or otherwise). This has been corroborated by many high level practitioners I've trained with, including one of my Aikido seniors. The problem is, is Aikido a martial pursuit dressed in spiritual robes, or a spiritual pursuit clothed in the martial attire? Or both? Again, Ellis talks about this at length.

Ellis' whole point about the inefficiency of the ATM is within the context of a martial art and technical corpus. To those that are of the firm opinion that Aikido is solely a spiritual pursuit with limited utility in a combative arena, I would ask this: If you cannot hold your own in a different venue, with different rules, then what purpose does clothing the practice in martial attire serve? Why not simply discard the keiko gi, the hakama (in jujitsu, the hakama is sometimes worn, in some places both for regular training and ceremonial rituals), and the ranks, and just pursue the spiritual practice?

If it is a martial pursuit, with spiritual overtones, can you still hold your own in a different venue, with different rules? If not why not? What is missing and why? Does it need fixing and how would you fix it?

For a short time I studied KU with Sensei Patrick McCarthy. Like every noob that turned up that first nite, I showed up in a white belt as well. Only Patrick knew I had yudansha ranking in Aikido. But it was quite interesting to watch the dojo brutes rough up the noobs and scare them off one by one. So, after about 3 weeks, of the 8 noobs that started with me, I was the only one left. Imagine the consternation when I, a lowly white belt, with just 3 weeks of training, and vastly outweighed by a good 60kg, was able to hold my own against a highly ranked practitioner, in a free-sparring/grappling session - ultimately submitting him in a leg hold, as he very quickly gassed himself out, trying to out-grapple me. Then there was the occasion when I accidentally got myself in an ankle lock by another student - a 2nd dan - who nearly ripped my foot off... not only was that totally unnecessary, and showed poor control on his part, but it clearly highlighted a shortcoming on my part.

So, if you cannot at least hold your own, what good is Aikido as a martial art then? One would be hard pressed to offer Ueshiba as founder and role model for the art, a man who took on all-comers and proved his martial skill and ability time and time again, if few can match, much less emulate his prowess and abilities.

I happen to like the ATM and as a spiritual-cum-martial pursuit - in preference to everything else I've done. Personally, I don't care if the ATM is inefficient or not - the satisfaction of simply training is sufficient for me. But that's me. Through my interaction and discussions with people like Rob John and Mike Sigman, I can now see where the ATM might perhaps be deficient and lacking, but inefficient? Maybe not. Maybe it's simply missing a key ingredient or certain methods aren't entirely correct or worse yet, incomplete. Sometimes it happens, especially with untested recipes scribbled on random bits of paper. Was that 2 x 1/2 cups (why not say 1 cup then?) or 2 AND 1/2 cups? You sure that says 1tbsp and not 1tsp? Mix ALL the ingredients together? But won't that just go lumpy?

If someone were to approach me because they knew I "do" Aikido, (and I have done this before) I wouldn't simply teach them what I know of Aikido (which in actuality, may not be very much at all). Their needs and desires may not necessarily be the same as my own personal pursuits and practices. It may be that I might teach them something else entirely appropriate for what they need to know now and are able to easily replicate within a short space of time. For starters I might not teach them basic ukemi. Perhaps I might simply teach them how to stand, how to root, how to shift weight, or how to change their body angle through a slight shift and turn of the feet instead of irimi/tenkan. And instead of the obligatory ikkyo and progression through a vast repertoire of wrist and finger locks, I might teach them how to strike vulnerable areas with or without a makeshift weapon. In that sense, yes, the ATM is inefficient for their particular needs.

But obviously, I wouldn't call it Aikido... why would I? Yet, by the same token, the principles contained therein are universal and not specifically unique to Aikido.

Kevin Leavitt
09-06-2009, 09:31 AM
Ignatius,

Great post and I agree with your assessments. Baking analogy is a good one.

I agree that the class formats are the same. Warm up, Waza, Jiyu.

So that is not it. It is what goes into the reciepe that determines a quality cake.

The first step I think is what I have been saying for years is defining what is a quality cake. You talk about this later in your post really I beleive when discussing the spiritual and philosophical stuff that tends, IMO, to muddy the whole quality issue and makes it extremely difficult for us to really deine quality.

As Aikido is not typically based on a competitive or physically measure of effectiveness model....this gets extremely difficult and I believe it causes alot of our issues.

So, baking is somewhat easy in this respect. We back the cake, taste it, and we determine if it taste good or bad. We then use that feedback, look at what was different in the process, and try to replicate those things again.

In all cases the baking process and principles are the same right?

It is the ingredients, maybe when things are added to the mix, temperature changes, time we wait..all those things that are principles but are also maybe essentially the ART of baking that are important that have to be learned through experience.

Bakers hold back secrets too. I might be able to show you all the steps of baking and give you the ingredients, but I don't tell you the exact strain of yeast I use, or that the Ph of the water is important, or the time we wait between phases is important to get it just right.

What is missing I believe is a fundamental agreement of what constitutes quality aikido and then isolating those elements and providing testing and feedback that allows us to rapidily adjust and correct those things that are wrong.

Waza practice can be all over the place and jiyu...well alot of times it is just too jiyu!

There are pros and cons to this process for sure. Judo and BJJ are two related grappling arts that are formed on competitive models. Is there any yudansha out there that would not welcome a Judo or BJJ student with their base of experience into the aikido dojo to honestly and sincerely learn aikido?

My experiences say that these are great bases. Sure there are some differences and habits that are formed that need to be adjusted, but I believe there is a case to consider the methods of Judo and BJJ training in our "Cake" receipe because they are doing something right to shorten the feedback loop and provide for some foundational skills.

Not that we need to practice BJJ and Judo mind you....but what is it that we can learn from those practices that they are doing correctly that would complement our practice.

So, we have to define quality and excellence in aikido first. I also believe this needs to be defined in a physical way, not so much in a spiritual or philosophical way...that comes along with the practice of budo, which is very much a physical pursuit.

Kevin Leavitt
09-06-2009, 09:56 AM
Ahmad wrote:

Face it. Aikido training methods today is geared for the part time martial artists. You may hate the word weekend warriors but there it is. Yet you will like to compare yourself against SWAT and Green Berets... its not very realistic.

Why not? why can't you be in as good shape and possess the abilitites of these guys, at least baseline. Why accept less for yourself?

UFC fighters, SWAT, Special Forces, Rangers, SEALs...yes they are all highly trained, full time professionals that specialize in what they do. Yes their full time jobs are to be warriors and they have alot on their plate that they have to do just like anyone else. It is just that what they do is more related to the physical stuff.

Sure they have more time to spend with stuff. I have been fortunate in that respect as I have gotten time and the ability to do some cool things over the years and gotten to spend time with some of the best experts in the business to learn from them.

For instance, Hanging out at Coronado California at the SEAL compound for about two weeks doing some classroom training in May, I was able to observe training of SEALs both on the teams and in BUD/S. I interviewed and talked to alot of SEALs that have been on the teams for 10 years or more. I also observed their habits and what they do on a daily basis. Talked to them about long term sustainment of excellence, injuries, stress etc.

What makes these guys unique and able to sustain high rates of excellence consistently for 10 years or more?

They do the little things that are important everyday. Read Book of Five Rings.

The get up, work out, go to class, seminars, their job. Eat small meals all the time throughout the day. They are constantly eating stuff...even if it is candy or junk, but it is constant. At lunch time they would go for a run maybe or work out again for 30 or 40 minutes, eat on the run small meal. go back to class, then they would do an evening workout and go home.

Nothing special, no secrets, they just got up and did the things that mattered. It was ubiquitous and was integrated into their lives.

I think the key to this is integration into our lives. We tend to manage our lives in chunks. Get up, Eat Breakfast, Go to WOrk, Lunch, Afternoon Work, Go home, Workout, Eat, go to sleep.

So the Workout phase is done all together for maybe 1.5 to 2.0 hours. If we do this 3 days a week, we get what like 6 hours of training time in a week? Not much!

How about if we changed that model around? This is what I do and I have 2 kids, a Wife, and I jocky a desk for 8 hours a day at the Pentagon right now, so the "well your in the Army" excuse doesn't work...I am a desk jocky like alot of non-military folks right now.

I get up early, like 5 am. 1.5 hours of Yoga, shower, eat light breakfast on run, hit the office by 8 am. Oh yea...I ride my Bike to work and yoga so that time counts too. Lunch time, I ride my bike to the house and eat a light lunch. Sometimes I will do a quick BJJ workout 30-45 minutes if the guys are available. Back to Afternoon work in the Office. Then Take my Son to Judo, I participate in the class too, or I go to the Dojo.

In between I will try and find 5 or 10 minutes here or there to take breaks and work on stuff..especially because I hate my job right now and at least I can do something positive.

I try to eat right. I figure on a good week I am getting like 12 to 15 hours of solid focused martial arts training or yoga with another 5 hours or so of bike riding/exercise.

Once I made this switch in thinking, things are going much better for me. I am able to stay in shape. I lost like 35 lbs and I am still losing, and while I get injuries cause I am a dumbass...they heal fairly quickly and I have not missed training at all during this time.

Yes it is a huge mental habit to change in how we approach training, but I realized in order for me to get better I needed to do that.

I don't watch TV, I spend alot of my "free time" writing, reading, or thinking about Martial Arts, philosophy etc.

AND I still have to go to work and do those damned Meetings and Powerpoint slides!

I am in pretty decent shape. Decent enough where I would not hesistate to compete or take a fight on an amateur level. I certainly don't put in enough time to be a pro fighter! That is a different issue as you raise about peaking and training for that event! Nor do I have that level of Skill mind you!

But it can be done I think to a decent level if we are creative at look for those little pockets of time that are there, we just have to change a little.

Yes, people will think you are a little "odd". Screw them. Honestly they are jealous. Jealous that you have the discipline that they don't and they know you are right!

You will be happier, able to do more, and your training will improve!

eyrie
09-06-2009, 07:31 PM
So that is not it. It is what goes into the reciepe that determines a quality cake.... The first step I think is what I have been saying for years is defining what is a quality cake. You talk about this later in your post really I beleive when discussing the spiritual and philosophical stuff that tends, IMO, to muddy the whole quality issue and makes it extremely difficult for us to really deine quality....

What is missing I believe is a fundamental agreement of what constitutes quality aikido and then isolating those elements and providing testing and feedback that allows us to rapidily adjust and correct those things that are wrong.

So, we have to define quality and excellence in aikido first. I also believe this needs to be defined in a physical way, not so much in a spiritual or philosophical way...that comes along with the practice of budo, which is very much a physical pursuit. Aye... there's the problem isn't it? Is it even a cake? Could be bread, or some other baked good of some description.

From Ellis' account, Aikido was not merely an amalgam of various bits and pieces stolen, garnered, adapted and reinvented from various ryu, it was an expression of Ueshiba's own ideology - both martial AND spiritual. At one point, he even makes the point that if we're not practising BOTH together, we're not doing Ueshiba's Aikido.

So, if it was some sort of baked good, my guess would be it'd most likely be some sort of meat pie... coz you never know what REALLY goes into a meat pie, and probably wouldn't want to know. And if you REALLY knew, you'd probably not want to eat it. Quite often you might hear one say... "nice pie, BUT where's the BEEF"?

As Aikido is not typically based on a competitive or physically measure of effectiveness model....this gets extremely difficult and I believe it causes alot of our issues. I don't think that's necessarily true. As Ellis relates, Ueshiba was not entirely opposed to competition, just certain forms of competition. What that likely means, is that he was "OK" with it, so long as it retained the true spirit of competition (shiai) - which is something along the lines of the original Latin meaning.

Have you ever been to a bake-off? Bake-offs can be intensely competitive, and spiked with deviousness, back-stabbing, and even sabotage. They can turn that nice little grandma next door into the Devil incarnate.

In all cases the baking process and principles are the same right? It is the ingredients, maybe when things are added to the mix, temperature changes, time we wait..all those things that are principles but are also maybe essentially the ART of baking that are important that have to be learned through experience.

Bakers hold back secrets too. I might be able to show you all the steps of baking and give you the ingredients, but I don't tell you the exact strain of yeast I use, or that the Ph of the water is important, or the time we wait between phases is important to get it just right.
One could get anal about it - fresh yeast is ALWAYS preferable to the freeze dried stuff. But guess what, the dried stuff does EXACTLY the same job. OK, maybe not as well, but it keeps longer than the fresh stuff. As long as water temperature is just right, the dried stuff is fine - even if it's past it's official use-by date. A bit of salt and sugar helps it do its stuff. And as long as the dough is allowed to rise, knocked back and allowed to rise again, it'll be fine. Or maybe not, sometimes, a single rising is sufficient - depending on whether you're making thin crust or thick crust. Even if it doesn't rise, you can always turn it into "unleavened" bread... OK, maybe not entirely kosher... No problem, we'll just call it flatbread then... it's still bread ain't it? Just not what we had in mind.

So, it begs the question doesn't it? Did Ueshiba give us a recipe and method for the best meat pie in the world - the meat pie to top all meat pies - WITH REAL BEEF? Or was it a basic framework (aiki) - the rich pastry crust perhaps - for making any variety of pie, which one could adapt and create (takemusu) according to one's own training, ingenuity and predilections? Or apple and rhubarb filling instead, if one so desired? So long as the spirit of the pie remained.... and perhaps more importantly, the spirit in which one lovingly creates that pie - to share with the world. Or maybe, he took a note from Takeda's page, and only doled out a slice each, and said, "Here I made this pie, have a taste. OK, NOW YOU go make your own damn pie!"?

And maybe, just maybe, we're all supposed to have that annual bake-off to taste each other's pies and say "WOW! That was some good pie my friend", or "Hmmm, needs a little more salt, but otherwise good pie", or "Hey, nice filling, but crust needs a little more work buddy". And we're all supposed to kick back with our respective beverages and reminisce about the old days, and those cranky old men and women who taught us, and their pies before us, and look back and say "It's all good... now where's the rest of that cherry pie? So... what did you do with the cherries first?".... "Sshhh... it's a secret.... I *could* tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."

My friend Grady Burchett used to tell the story of Tatsuo Shimabuku, founder of Isshinryu karate, and the devilish jokester he was. Apparently, Shimabuku told a few of his top students that THEY were in charge of Isshinryu in America. Imagine the political mayhem that followed... if Shimabuku were alive, he'd be ROTFLHAO.

Maybe Ueshiba is somewhere in Shinto paradise with Takeda and they're both ROTFLTAO... AT US. And Takeda is STILL cheating at shoji....

Kevin Leavitt
09-06-2009, 08:02 PM
Nice Post Ignatius...I am hungry now. seriously..good stuff.

eyrie
09-06-2009, 09:57 PM
Heh... nothing like good food shared amongst friends, eh? Although if Takeda were present, he might have said something like "Is that so? Pie? How 'bout you taste it first and tell me if it's any good. (If you're not foaming at the mouth and spitting blood, that is)"

Maybe the entire point is for us to catch a whiff of that pie, perhaps even a taste, to make us hungry for more... whatever. More pie if you're the sort that's happy to eat what someone else has made and let THEM slave away behind that hot oven. Or is your hunger for the "know how" - how it was made, what the secret ingredient is, what's the trick to getting that buttery short crust that just crumbles and melts in your mouth... did you want it badly enough to kill for?

These days, you don't really have to rub the butter into the flour with your fingers. A food processor works just as well. Probably not the way Momma used to make it, or would have made it in her own inefficient way. Who cares... as long as it tastes good right? Maybe. Maybe not.

I guess it depends on whether you're happy if people simply came back for more, or if your aims are set a little higher like winning the prestigious Michelin stars - 3,4 or as many as there are. Just remember, you're only as good as your last dish... and sometimes you have to eat some humble pie.

Things change, methods change, new techniques, new ingredients, new technology to speed up the process - all these things, in no way substitutes the hard work (cooking AND cleaning up after yourself thank you!), the occasional sparks of creativity and ingenuity, the repeated failures, and the subsequent ongoing learning and improvements necessary to continue growing. And of course, having a "good" mentor helps a lot.

And what if you wanted to mentor someone in turn? Can you? Do you know enough to show them how? Or let them flounder in the kitchen, maybe let them burn themselves a few times before they really learn what HOT means? Or, would you, like mom used to, let them lick the bowl afterward? What "gift" would you give them? The gift of technique and technical prowess in the kitchen to rival all other budding young masterchefs under 12? Or simply the love of cooking and watching those gingerbread people turn a lovely shade of golden brown? Or a bit of both? Why should the "spiritual side" of the pursuit be anymore divorced from the "physical" technical aspects?

And let us not forget the real reason why some of us learnt to cook in the first place. Not merely out of necessity of having to eat - you could always outsource that to any fast food McDojo - cheaper, faster, but maybe not so good. Or, just add water, shake and place on a rock - careful, it WILL be VERY hot - or even, straight from the supermarket frozen section into the microwave (yuk!).

If not for the love of it, and the sated smile on yours and everyone's faces, what then? After all, one way to a person's heart is thru their stomach - and it ain't called heartburn fer nuthin!

tarik
09-07-2009, 02:57 AM
I agree with you Joep, a technique based system of learning only works if the training is almost totally a one on one transmission at the end of the arms of someone that "has it." If this isn't possible, (and most modern practices are not) then the system must be heavily loaded with principle based learning under very close supervision by seniors and someone that really "has it" as often as possible. Of course the debate will always hinge around "Who has what you want" ... and, do most beginners even know what they should want? Once we know what we want, then we must constantly be looking for "it" and be willing to do what it takes to get "it"... or spend our time doing something else. :straightf

Amen. I was going to post, but I see my job here is done (so to speak). :-)

I would expand simply by saying that one can relate this to the efficiencies in learning any skill wherein the principles are well understood. Exercises must be designed to develop specific skill sets that are the building blocks for the next set of exercises until a complete system of education and practice is in place. I see this more and more as I train and bring along my juniors.

Regards,

jss
09-07-2009, 11:32 AM
Not the way I was taught -- or teach.
Then how DO you teach?

Erick Mead
09-07-2009, 07:24 PM
Then how DO you teach?

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=239931&postcount=48

One slice at a time. :)

thisisnotreal
09-07-2009, 10:58 PM
I was thinking of how to make aikido as 'efficient' as possible ...whatever that means..Maybe I would consider a defined 'kernel' of aiki to share. I think one of the chief inefficiencies in the aikido syllabus and training method is the lack of a commonly known aiki. Here envisioned is/are enunciated basis sets of solo and paired extant exercises (jibengong/shugyo) deemed to contain power building elements into it, for the student to (self-)discover, at will. both the technical material missing, including postures, tension lines including visualizations, as well as a common atomic foundation element of the seed of aiki to share & to to be able to discuss and do. freely. just the skills; how to train.! and if that includes then especially teaching dantien articulation, pressure manipulations, alignment jins, important foundational & universal basic movements and body methods. As well, this is a way of sharing experiences and enabling self-study, inter-studying groups, discussions.. such as body abilities, techniques, milestone abilities/achievements or sensitivities, changes,.etc. opensource aikimanifesto reference guide
..random thoughts..

thisisnotreal
09-07-2009, 11:18 PM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=239931&postcount=48

One slice at a time. :)

* sigh *

Well, frankly Erick, that's not really teaching at all, frankly. I'm sorry. You do not teach to be understood and teach, like that. What are the salient points of your summary and how would these take-aways help us to , a c t u a l l y *do* something? What would we be learning to "do". I mean that in the simple meaning of the word 'do'. With the hoity-toity fancy book-learnin' speach... well...respectfully, I disagree with it as a method. Hate it, even. Even for masters and PhD level people to talk; ask 'em and they'll usually say the best teachers somehow make the subject come alive. for instance today I saw a 1-page summary-by-analogy rationale and mechanical explanation for the Higgs particle, and mechanism. (http://www.phy.uct.ac.za/courses/phy400w/particle/higgs.htm)

eyrie
09-07-2009, 11:51 PM
I was thinking of how to make aikido as 'efficient' as possible ...whatever that means..Maybe I would consider a defined 'kernel' of aiki to share. I think one of the chief inefficiencies in the aikido syllabus and training method is the lack of a commonly known aiki. Here envisioned is/are enunciated basis sets of solo and paired extant exercises (jibengong/shugyo) deemed to contain power building elements into it, for the student to (self-)discover, at will. both the technical material missing, including postures, tension lines including visualizations, as well as a common atomic foundation element of the seed of aiki to share & to to be able to discuss and do. freely. just the skills; how to train.! and if that includes then especially teaching dantien articulation, pressure manipulations, alignment jins, important foundational & universal basic movements and body methods. As well, this is a way of sharing experiences and enabling self-study, inter-studying groups, discussions.. such as body abilities, techniques, milestone abilities/achievements or sensitivities, changes,.etc. opensource aikimanifesto reference guide
..random thoughts.. Wow... that's a lot of stuff - no wonder it's inefficient! :p

I think it's helpful to think of it as "building blocks" - each "block" builds on each other in a related fashion. I think the main reason the ATM is inefficient is mostly because everyone wants to do what Steven Seagal does up front. (Of course, I'm just using Sensei Seagal as an example of why someone might turn up to an Aikido dojo to begin with...).

It doesn't work that way. MA is like building a house, or architectural structure. First you have to get the "foundation" right. It's impossible to build a house without a foundation. And we all know what happened to the folks that built their multi-million dollar mansions right on the waters' edge of prime beach front real estate, don't we?

thisisnotreal
09-08-2009, 12:08 AM
Wow... that's a lot of stuff - no wonder it's inefficient! :p

I think it's helpful to think of it as "building blocks" - each "block" builds on each other in a related fashion. I think the main reason the ATM is inefficient is mostly because everyone wants to do what Steven Seagal does up front. (Of course, I'm just using Sensei Seagal as an example of why someone might turn up to an Aikido dojo to begin with...).

It doesn't work that way. MA is like building a house, or architectural structure. First you have to get the "foundation" right. It's impossible to build a house without a foundation. And we all know what happened to the folks that built their multi-million dollar mansions right on the waters' edge of prime beach front real estate, don't we?

Hi - It is interesting what you say. Maybe it is best done, as Marc is presently discussing; doing Aikido as Kata. Delving into the arts secrets in that way. Not trying to approximate real physical defense encounter situation; that it is not trying to train you for (e.g. day one, that is). If I got the jist of what Marc was saying. You never know with me.

yes foundation is important. That is why it, for instance, should be enunciated so clearly; so that all would know. I think taking Aikido as kata practice goes a long way to setting the varied foundational elements to be practiced. Am I out to lunch? now just roll up the sleeves, and add/describe body requirements and how to work and stabilize it...add a few high level principles like juuji, etc. and then the aikido training method and bodymethod (i.e. one that has internal strength in it) it'd get more widespread, fun, and easier to learn more, as more would be learning and sharing, and so on, and so on.

eyrie
09-08-2009, 02:27 AM
Maybe it is best done, as Marc is presently discussing; doing Aikido as Kata. Delving into the arts secrets in that way. Not trying to approximate real physical defense encounter situation. There's a whole separate argument as to why kata, in general, is not an efficient method of practice. While it does serve its purpose, namely as a vehicle through which the technical corpus of the style is transmitted, it provides little else in terms of actual physical learning - even though the principles of the style are incorporated within the movements. It's a good way to hide things in plain sight as well... that's why some ryu have 2 versions of the same kata - omote and ura... ;)

Kata is essentially a textbook - a compendium of waza, strung together as a coherent movement sequence. But without the keys to decipher the kata, it'd be pretty hard, unless you've already been clued in. Stories abound of how people like Chojun Miyagi had to be given the gokui of deciphering the kata (and its combative applications), and from which he went on to create other kata, based on those principles. So, without the oral transmission, kata has limited use other than a partial means of knowledge transmission.

OTOH, if you apprehend the principles and the oral transmissions, you don't really need the kata. It just becomes "exercise". ;)

PeterR
09-08-2009, 03:15 AM
OTOH, if you apprehend the principles and the oral transmissions, you don't really need the kata. It just becomes "exercise". ;)

That said most Japanese martial arts use paired kata - and that has one added advantage that you can practice at speed and power which should compliment the more chaotic randori training.

Kevin Leavitt
09-08-2009, 07:21 AM
I used to have a big problem with Kata. Hated it, thought it was a waste of time. Mainly because you could never use it to create the pressure and reality you need.

Now that I do BJJ and Judo, I see why Kata is important and why we do it.

It took me a while to realize that we do kata in BJJ.

What is wrong with kata is that I believe alot of teachers are really poor at teaching it and don't understand the role and linkage it serves to creating a martial body and to provide the foundation to build aliveness on.

Alot of people on study kata. that in itself doesn't really do you much good IMO, unless you want to perfect kata or to develop a martial body.

I think most of us are wanting a little more than that. So we do kata then when it is not working and progressing us the way we want, then we through it out and say it is a waste of time.

I think in alot of places kata becomes over important. It starts to become the art or the ends rather than the means.

I think you end up in kata practice alot because either the instructors lazy, doesn't know how to use it properly, or that is all he/she really grasped in their studies and since this was easy to memorize then....well lets do that!

Understanding the reasons behind doing kata and then transferring this to a strategy and tactics is important...and I am not talking about all that mumbo jumbo hidden bunkai crap/myth either.

Marc Abrams
09-08-2009, 07:52 AM
There's a whole separate argument as to why kata, in general, is not an efficient method of practice. While it does serve its purpose, namely as a vehicle through which the technical corpus of the style is transmitted, it provides little else in terms of actual physical learning - even though the principles of the style are incorporated within the movements. It's a good way to hide things in plain sight as well... that's why some ryu have 2 versions of the same kata - omote and ura... ;)

Kata is essentially a textbook - a compendium of waza, strung together as a coherent movement sequence. But without the keys to decipher the kata, it'd be pretty hard, unless you've already been clued in. Stories abound of how people like Chojun Miyagi had to be given the gokui of deciphering the kata (and its combative applications), and from which he went on to create other kata, based on those principles. So, without the oral transmission, kata has limited use other than a partial means of knowledge transmission.

OTOH, if you apprehend the principles and the oral transmissions, you don't really need the kata. It just becomes "exercise". ;)

Ingatius:

I believe that your understanding of kata is too limiting. Kata practice is a lot deeper than that and does not begin and end with kata practice. It needs to include to taking of of the moves within a kata and exploring them in more realistic modes. This would include Bunkai Kata Kumite and then onto kumite (for Aikido, freestyle attacks, randori, ...). As I stated in my latest blog, the problems with kata tend to be with the people who are teaching them and not the kata themselves. For an excellent and in-depth look, I would suggest that you read the book "Karate and Ki" by Ushiro Kenji (by the way, I hear that the translating team was a wonderful bunch of people :) ).

Marc Abrams

mjhacker
09-08-2009, 12:07 PM
I use my Aiki in the UFC all the time. Any time I see it come on, I perform tenkan on the channel changer. Violence peacefully resolved.

tarik
09-08-2009, 01:11 PM
I use my Aiki in the UFC all the time. Any time I see it come on, I perform tenkan on the channel changer. Violence peacefully resolved.

What, no irimi?!

tarik
09-08-2009, 01:22 PM
Kata is essentially a textbook - a compendium of waza, strung together as a coherent movement sequence. But without the keys to decipher the kata, it'd be pretty hard, unless you've already been clued in. Stories abound of how people like Chojun Miyagi had to be given the gokui of deciphering the kata (and its combative applications), and from which he went on to create other kata, based on those principles. So, without the oral transmission, kata has limited use other than a partial means of knowledge transmission.

OTOH, if you apprehend the principles and the oral transmissions, you don't really need the kata. It just becomes "exercise". ;)

That's rather the point, isn't it? To get to the level of apprehension where kata is no longer necessary.

But, learning kata is more than learning the techniques and movements, it also about learning those keys. Learning the technical corpus is only one step in the process, and really only the first step.

It's rather like learning how to write by learning block letters first, before eventually learning the differences between upper and lower case letters, then words, and when learning cursive, how the letters can change and look different (but still have the same fundamental essence) when placed beside different letters. Uh... do people learn cursive any more? :cool:

Explorations of the sort Erick describes are pretty normal methods of instruction I've encountered and practiced in Aikido, but they really are only efficient teaching vehicles once people have learned their 'cursive' pretty well. It fun and interesting, but not a good way to train for a longer time than I think most students are willing to wait.

Regards,

mjhacker
09-08-2009, 01:52 PM
What, no irimi?!
There is no tenkan without irimi.

Janet Rosen
09-08-2009, 02:17 PM
There is no tenkan without irimi.
{grins} beat me to it, Mr. H!

mjhacker
09-08-2009, 02:22 PM
{grins} beat me to it, Mr. H!
sen sen no sen

eyrie
09-08-2009, 05:51 PM
Kata practice is a lot deeper than that and does not begin and end with kata practice. It needs to include to taking of of the moves within a kata and exploring them in more realistic modes. This would include Bunkai Kata Kumite and then onto kumite (for Aikido, freestyle attacks, randori, ...). As I stated in my latest blog, the problems with kata tend to be with the people who are teaching [or NOT teaching!] them and not the kata themselves. Hi Marc... exactly... what Tarik said. ;)

To get to the level of apprehension where kata is no longer necessary....But, learning kata is more than learning the techniques and movements, it also about learning those keys. Learning the technical corpus is only one step in the process, and really only the first step. Without the keys, kata is merely a sequence of shapes, a bunch of "fighting postures" if you will. The problem of course is that it's not about the postures, but what happens between the postures... I'm just saying, it's like reading between the lines. ;)

Chuck Clark
09-08-2009, 07:06 PM
The problem lots of people have with kata geiko is that although it is "pre-arranged form" or choreographed, it must be practiced with appropriate intent at some point. It makes it doubly hard if your partner isn't. That's one of the reasons that uke's role is taken by the senior in many traditional practice methods. When both partners are filled with the intent and are fulfilling the riai of the kata, then there is katachi and the kata is no longer "fake" or lifeless, etc. The kata is REAL even though it is programed.

A huge problem is that lots of trainees never get out of the initial stage even though the choreography looks nice/great and can be a very nice "workout"... it ain't real yet. Unless there are enough models that have made the step to kata that's filled with the proper intent and understand the riai of the kata, the level of real kata is lost for the juniors that eventually become "seniors" and "instructors" and the practice suffers.

When sotai kata geiko reaches a mature level of training, it has the appearance and feeling of "real" action. Then randori, that is "taking form out of chaos freely" becomes the test of our ability to use the forms of kata that then answer our intuitive, creative decision making, on the go, under varying levels of stress becoming the essence of budo. The continuing creation of waza that fits the needs at hand. It is a difficult practice to be sure.

Sorry for the length and rambling.

Best regards,

gnlj
09-08-2009, 07:20 PM
I completely agree with your statements Chuck. The problem I find is that keeping kata alive is one of the more difficult things to learn and to actually do...

eyrie
09-08-2009, 08:37 PM
A huge problem is that lots of trainees never get out of the initial stage.... When sotai kata geiko reaches a mature level of training, it... becomes the test of our ability to use the forms of kata that then answer Whilst I appreciate the "form -> no form -> form" approach, and the whole "MA is like an onion" thing, I feel there are better ways of getting to the heart of the art, even though I do enjoy unraveling the proverbial knot myself... occasionally.

Unless there are enough models that have made the step to kata that's filled with the proper intent and understand the riai of the kata, the level of real kata is lost for the juniors that eventually become "seniors" and "instructors" and the practice suffers. Precisely, my point... all these things that are being alluded to - intent, bunkai, riai, etc.. are the "keys", and without the "keys" - and the cipher to decode the keys - kata is merely a hollow shell, transmitted from generation to generation.

Which to me, is an inefficient means of transmission - i.e. transmission by emulation. When the learning process can be effectively short-circuited by simply cutting through to the core of the onion, and working from the inside out (pun not intended, but relevant perhaps?) - for some at least.

Take Ellis' HIPS example of Ueshiba performing the solo jo kata - apparently he never performed that kata the same way each time; i.e. each performance was a unique "snapshot" of his expression. Now if kata is supposed to be the "template" from which the student is meant to derive the keys and principles, then by definition, that template is fixed and unchangeable. Yet, we have so many "styles" of Aikido [feel free to insert karate], each with their own "version" of kata. As a further example, refer to the YouTube video of 4-5 different masters of related arts, each performing their own "version" of Sanchin.

So, what we have here is something far more dynamic and fluid, in that the kata IS the fluid, and the art itself being the "container". IOW, movement (and more subtly, "non-movement") defines the kata, and not the other way round. Going back to my earlier comment regarding "building blocks", since movement and non-movement is one aspect of human expression, and kata - as evidenced - is an expression of movement, how we approach movement/"non-movement" is as, if not more, important than merely emulating someone else's expression. Or in this case, merely copying the template, without necessarily understanding how that template was created, or what purpose it serves, or why any of that is even important.

Abasan
09-08-2009, 09:22 PM
Kevin,

that's still my point. Most of us aren't doing that and expect to be like the best. In order for you to achieve that baseline comparison with specialists, you are tailoring your training to fit a hectic schedule so that its a constant part of your daily routine. Most people here aren't. They are going to class at the end of the day for 2 hours maybe 3-4 times a week. And after 3 years of this, they are asking themselves, what have I got to show for myself? Sure I'm better than the average joe, but no where near the aikido greats. No where near the UFC guys. Damn, this Aikido is a joke. Lets go BJJ.

And typically, if they start with BJJ then they'll probably see a significant difference in terms of their physical ability. That's just the way it is. BJJ is more dynamic and with the added competition thrown in, pushes you to excel if for no other reason that to hold off those nagging rear naked chokes. Most people don't train 'alive'ness in Aikido because there's no competition, because its more and more routine Kata. Yet, that is not how we should train aikido. We can neither use competition to spur us on, nor should we fall into dullsville with routine Kata. Osensei said train with Hi. Aliveness in each technique. Yet not many people understand that.

Its easy to fall into that trap. But that's just the way it is when your enemy is yourself.

Chuck Clark
09-08-2009, 09:28 PM
In my opinion, when Ueshiba sensei did that exercise with the stick it wasn't a "kata", and if others have turned their version of those events into a kata that works, then what a wonderful thing.

I know this won't make a lot of people happy, but there's no way you can really understand the kata based training method without going through it with a teacher that has been there ahead of you and a peer group that trains in similar fashion.... unless you are a genius of rare quality.

Best regards,

Kevin Leavitt
09-08-2009, 09:49 PM
Kevin,

that's still my point. Most of us aren't doing that and expect to be like the best. In order for you to achieve that baseline comparison with specialists, you are tailoring your training to fit a hectic schedule so that its a constant part of your daily routine. Most people here aren't. They are going to class at the end of the day for 2 hours maybe 3-4 times a week. And after 3 years of this, they are asking themselves, what have I got to show for myself? Sure I'm better than the average joe, but no where near the aikido greats. No where near the UFC guys. Damn, this Aikido is a joke. Lets go BJJ.

And typically, if they start with BJJ then they'll probably see a significant difference in terms of their physical ability. That's just the way it is. BJJ is more dynamic and with the added competition thrown in, pushes you to excel if for no other reason that to hold off those nagging rear naked chokes. Most people don't train 'alive'ness in Aikido because there's no competition, because its more and more routine Kata. Yet, that is not how we should train aikido. We can neither use competition to spur us on, nor should we fall into dullsville with routine Kata. Osensei said train with Hi. Aliveness in each technique. Yet not many people understand that.

Its easy to fall into that trap. But that's just the way it is when your enemy is yourself.

I think at some point everyone needs to find what works for them. I am the only one I know in my area that does exactly what I do. It is a conglomerate of practices and training that I have pieced together for myself over the last few years.

What really happened for me is that I met a guy that was really really good over in Germany and was commenting on how good he was and that I was not able to get good training because I had no one, no schools around...the usual excuses. He told me what he did, and that he essentially took responsibility for his own training and started doing it.

I think you have to be creative and come to the conclusion that you have to take responsibility for your own training, that instructors, sensei and shihan will help you, but in reality they myth or fantasy about surrendering yourself to complete servtitude to one sensei "Mr Miyagi Style" just doesn't work for most of us.

Yea, I think my aikido practice in the normal "waza" class hours is inefficient. That is not to say it is poor training. I still find value in it and go to class like I always did. however 2 or 3 classes a week just aren't going to cut it, and my Aikido School and instructors have lives and jobs and familiies too. They simply cannot offer any of us the completeness of what we need.

The difference now in my "aikido" training is that I use it as a tool. I look at it as a methodology, not as a martial arts system. the methdology of AIkido is designed to impart Aiki and Aiki princples, it is a laboratory and a skunk works to explore. We go slow and it gives me time to work on things that maybe I can't work on in my other practices.

BJJ is also a methodology and skunk works. It allows me to explore other things and to work on aiki principles in a dynamic way.

Yoga helps build the framework and martial body.

So, I would contend that ALL of these methods are inefficient when looked at through the eyes of Budo and achieving the goals and level of skill that O sensei desired.

Oh yea...forgot about getting with other folks from different practice and paradgims. DR, Judo, Koryu, Aunkai, Sigman, Harden....I think you have to do these things as well to keep honing and fine tuning your practice..driving it to a new level of efficiency.

Of course, this is not the only way. I am sure there are some very good teachers out there that can offer a very robust and complete package. However, given distance, time, location, work, and training schedules it can be challenging to make it all fit together.

I think sometimes a lot of thinking outside the box and creativity is important to get there!

eyrie
09-08-2009, 11:22 PM
there's no way you can really understand the kata based training method without going through it with a teacher that has been there ahead of you... I agree. But how many students have the time and means to go through that long, arduous process, how many of those go on to become teachers, and how many of those teachers actually get the full transmission? Not many I suspect. Why else would people be discussing this?

Erick Mead
09-09-2009, 12:28 AM
* sigh *

Well, frankly Erick, that's not really teaching at all, frankly. I'm sorry. You do not teach to be understood and teach, like that. What are the salient points of your summary and how would these take-aways help us to , a c t u a l l y *do* something? What would we be learning to "do". I mean that in the simple meaning of the word 'do'. With the hoity-toity fancy book-learnin' speach... well...respectfully, I disagree with it as a method. Hate it, even. Do? Aiki. Do. Ask Kevin if I give physics lectures -- I don't. However, the salient points are the whole approach to structural dynamics and bio-mechanics. They inform everything and allow me to accurately diagnose and correct errors in plainly explainable ways. Whilst I appreciate the "form -> no form -> form" approach, and the whole "MA is like an onion" thing, I feel there are better ways of getting to the heart of the art, even though I do enjoy unraveling the proverbial knot myself... occasionally. ... all these things that are being alluded to - intent, bunkai, riai, etc.. are the "keys", and without the "keys" - and the cipher to decode the keys - kata is merely a hollow shell, transmitted from generation to generation.

Which to me, is an inefficient means of transmission - i.e. transmission by emulation. When the learning process can be effectively short-circuited by simply cutting through to the core of the onion, and working from the inside out (pun not intended, but relevant perhaps?) - for some at least.The transmission of the informing foundation for emulation was irretrievably broken -- well before O Sensei -- he had no way accessible to explain his concrete insights -- though he actually did a fairly good job in his own terms if you read his concrete imagery for exactly that -- concrete imagery.

The reason the transmission was broken lies in the Meiji, and the nativist corruption of the melded Chinese and Japanese empirical and physical traditions, which, while they had their deficits, were actually quite sophisticated. Much was lost, more than we know. Baby went with the bathwater. The advent of the new religions -- highly appealing to those for whom the old traditions were truly lost-- was a symptom of the problem -- and as we know O Sensei was likewise drawn to the new religions.

Alasdair MacIntyre demonstrated the nature of the problem in a thought experiment, imagining that a great disaster caused the world to suddenly distrust and persecute science, killing practitioners and burning works on science. Then a generation or three later, recovering their collective senses, the surviving fragments and aged practitioners knowledge would be assembled into a pastiche of disconnected fragments. While in isolation it would still sound quite science-like, it would not be, not in any real sense that we would understand it. It would have lost its historic continuity, its organic structure of knowledge, and most of the living interpreters within disciplines (all of them in some), and very few who could capably interpret between disciplines, if the distinctions themselves were even recognizable from what accidentally survived. This is what seems to have happened in Meiji Japan to many traditions of knowledge that informed the martial practices of interest to us. Though the forms of many of these practices were preserved -- the ability to interpret them coherently outside a very esoteric group of intensely committed devotees became virtually impossible using the former terms.

The short answer is we cannot recover it, not really, though the study of it is a highly worthy endeavor and potentially very useful to enlarge our ideas of the possible. I have concluded that we have no practical or realistic choice but to inform the practices directly with our own understanding of the concrete representations that the forms preserve -- in terms of demonstrable structure, dynamics and bio-mechanics.

O Sensei tried with his own mythopoeic imagery. The result of that effort was, at best, of highly debatable utility in the general run of practitioners, native and foreign alike. The test is whether we can see enough to start anywhere within the forms, go anywhere with them, take them apart and put them back together in coherent variations, because we have an informing paradigm that fits them coherently and concretely.

Kevin Leavitt
09-09-2009, 05:59 AM
Erick Meade wrote:

Do. Ask Kevin if I give physics lectures

He doesn't! Actually I was surprised! Based on Erick's post here I was really expecting a much different personality in Real Life.

No lectures, no physics...just aikido.

eyrie
09-09-2009, 06:16 AM
That's good to know... :) So...Erick, how 'bout less physics and math, bud? My poor head hurts when I read your posts... :D

Paul Schweer
09-09-2009, 07:56 AM
I agree. But how many students have the time and means to go through that long, arduous process, how many of those go on to become teachers, and how many of those teachers actually get the full transmission? Not many I suspect. Why else would people be discussing this?

How to get good without investment.

That's why people are discussing this?

Paul Schweer

dps
09-09-2009, 08:00 AM
How to get good without investment.

That's why people are discussing this?

Paul Schweer

Looking for shortcuts.

David

jss
09-09-2009, 09:03 AM
How to get good without investment.
That's why people are discussing this?
No, how to get good with less investment.
Depending on your goals, going through the kata based training method with a teacher that has been there ahead of you may not be the smartest way to achieve them.

Ron Tisdale
09-09-2009, 09:10 AM
Looking for shortcuts.

David

Now, there they go again... [In my best Ronald Reagan voice].

No one that I know of who is pursueing this seriously looks at it as a shortcut. In fact, it's lot of darn hard work. Most people looking for shortcuts simply won't put in the work.

I wish the mis-statements about the practice would stop.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
09-09-2009, 09:48 AM
That's good to know... :) So...Erick, how 'bout less physics and math, bud? My poor head hurts when I read your posts... :DI am a practical physics guy -- a helo pilot in another life. As I have replied offline to someone else, this has been an open development process for me, an intellectual jiyu keiko to recognize valid biomechanical principles with good empirical support, in my own and in other training experiences and from the caonical hints and concrete imagery, to assert and defend the physical concepts as the connections becasme known to me, and to assess, consider and then apply them to practical training. Dojo-wise I am doing that now, because i can see, explain and correct errors of movement on a coherent physical basis. Judging from our newest students two girls about seventeen and twenty respectively, with no prior martial background at all (I had to make them hit me repeatedly in a several classes running to learn a decent strike) -- it does work when applied. They have trained for about five and three months respectively. The latter is tiny, in all senses, though tough when she found out how (Kevin, she is taking cues from Yoko -- your favorite uke). We have them now, as of last week, getting comfortable in a few versions of koshinage -- with a at least one guy that outmasses me by easily thirty pounds and her by close to eighty.

I am not the only instructor, and credit goes to the "principles" thought of Saotome and his lineage in which we train. I am just making them more specifically Western and conceptually rigorous, is how I see it. Mat-wise I apply them by critical observation and physical direction, with only limited and very narrow conceptual references.

I am probably firm enough on the basic aspects now to relate them more straightforwardly, rather than the elliptical path I use to get there. I am going to try that now. The latest stuff (attractors and the like) is simply an outgrowth of all that but is obviously takemusu related, solely, and can wait perhaps until I have a more straightforward presentation of the work so far.

Erick Mead
09-09-2009, 09:51 AM
No, how to get good with less investment.
Depending on your goals, going through the kata based training method with a teacher that has been there ahead of you may not be the smartest way to achieve them.The most efficient path over a rugged terrain is never the shortest, straightest line. And the more rugged -- the longer and the less straight.

Paul Schweer
09-09-2009, 10:02 AM
I wish the mis-statements about the practice would stop.

This is what I heard: "That's asking too much; there must be an easier way."

No, how to get good with less investment.

Okay, less investment.

I'm not a fan of wishing for a way to get good with less investment. Investing wisely, or as wise as I know how, is different -- which is what I think this thread is about.

But I heard what I heard.

Paul Schweer
(Being picky.)

jss
09-09-2009, 11:27 AM
I'm not a fan of wishing for a way to get good with less investment. Investing wisely, or as wise as I know how, is different -- which is what I think this thread is about.
Well, it just depends which of the factors (amount of time invested and amount of progress made) you keep as a constant and which one you change. :)
Less investment perspective: making the same progress in a shorter time period.
Investing wisely perspective: making more progress in the same time period.

jss
09-09-2009, 11:28 AM
The most efficient path over a rugged terrain is never the shortest, straightest line. And the more rugged -- the longer and the less straight.
The let's agree to agree on this issue! :D

mjhacker
09-09-2009, 12:46 PM
I agree. But how many students have the time and means to go through that long, arduous process, how many of those go on to become teachers, and how many of those teachers actually get the full transmission? Not many I suspect. Why else would people be discussing this?
Actually, I've found that kata-based training (in addition to drills and our randori) has improved my skills and understanding a thousandfold faster than I was "getting it" by training in the 'traditional' methods in Japan.

While the process hasn't always been what I'd call "fun," neither has it been long, nor arduous. Within Jiyushinkai, we have a lot of folks, from the top on down to the white belts, who are living proof that the katageiko methodology not only works, but gives one the tools to take charge of one's own training and growth.

Paul Schweer
09-09-2009, 12:47 PM
Well, it just depends which of the factors (amount of time invested and amount of progress made) you keep as a constant and which one you change. :)

Not sure I follow... I'd expect time invested vs. progress to be the same for all effective training systems: 10,000 hours from beginner to expert. Progress being a function of hours practiced, the idea of increasing the rate of progress over time while keeping practice hours constant over time doesn't make sense to me.

Trying to limp back to the topic... that seems to me the measure of a learning system -- are practitioners typically expert after 10,000 hours? Making that sort of evaluation is way above my pay grade.

But deciding exactly what I'll be working on during my practice hours -- rate I'm going, I'll hit 10,000 some time after my 75th birthday, soonest -- is my responsiblity, and the reason I'm being picky. If I get it in my head that the best training methods are the ones that require the fewest practice hours, I'm wasting brain cycles. The choice isn't between spending 5,000 or 10,000 hours to get expert, the choice is between spending 10,000 hours to get expert or 10,000 hours to get older.

Paul Schweer

jss
09-09-2009, 01:48 PM
Not sure I follow... I'd expect time invested vs. progress to be the same for all effective training systems: 10,000 hours from beginner to expert. Progress being a function of hours practiced, the idea of increasing the rate of progress over time while keeping practice hours constant over time doesn't make sense to me.
But who says that aikido is an effective training system or that is the most effective training system it can be? (Ignoring the argument here that if one changes aikido's training system, it's not aikido anymore.) So if we compare aikido with aikido+ (a new and improved training method!), we have two ways of looking at it:
1) The skill level after training 10,000 hours in aikido can be attained by training 9,000 hours in aikido+.
2) After training 10,000 hours in aikido one can achieve a skill level of 100, but after 10,000 hours of aikido+ training one can achieve a level of 110.

And perhaps a lazy person would decide to train less hours in aikido+ just to match the skill level of people training more hours in aikido, but to me (and I believe to you too) this makes no sense.
You define your goals and then you just want to put in 10,000 hours in the most effective training method available in the shortest time span possible. And when you find a more effective method, you don't cut down on your hours of training, you rejoice in the fact that you'll be able to make more progress in this lifetime than you thought.

So I really think we are in agreement here. And saying "With my improved training method I can learn in 8 hours what you learn in 10." is indeed a bit weird and does sound short cut-like, but it does make a valid point concerning the effectiveness of training.

Chuck Clark
09-09-2009, 02:46 PM
This is most likely not important to very many people but me... but here it is - I'm training until I die and I've been doing it since 1953 and I'm finally figuring out, for me, how to both practice and do it fairly efficiently...

I care very little about how good I'm going to be at some point... all I try to do is the best I can in each instant. Those words may sound like they came out of a fortune cookie, but it's not an easy thing for humans to do... until it is. Trying to predict it or graph it is not useful to me. Doing it and passing that on to others that value it is practice that ends when I die... and if I'm wrong about that, I'll get a message to you all, if possible, about what training is like where ever ?I'm? at.

Best regards,

Ron Tisdale
09-09-2009, 02:58 PM
Nice Post Chuck. Good reminder...

Best,
Ron

jxa127
09-09-2009, 03:12 PM
All,

Now we're back to my initial question in post two or three of this thread: is the problem with aikido training one of effectiveness or efficiency?

I initially thought Ellis was talking about the switch from the instructor being the "uke" in koryu arts to the instructor being "nage" in aikido. BUT, after reading Ellis's response later on where he suggested that people check out Itten Dojo and learn about taikyoku kuzushi, I now understand what he was getting at. (I should have gotten it sooner, I now train at Itten Dojo.)

I won't go into any detail on the taikyoku kuzushi. I'm still new at Itten Dojo and very much a beginner in that system. Ellis suggested that people go to Itten Dojo and learn about taikyoku kuzushi, so the best I can do is echo his suggestion. :)

In short, taikyoku kuzushi are the fundamental aspects of aikido waza, and mastering those first means it takes less time to learn how to perform effective waza. In contrast, working on waza and eventually figuring out the principles would take more time.

This is where I see effectiveness and efficiency overlapping. If your core principles are sound and performed well, then the waza based on them will be effective. So focusing on learning the core principles will be more efficient. In my previous dojo, we used aikitaiso and taisbaki as our vehicle for learning the core principles. The content of the exercises was different than the taikyoku kuzushi, but the approach is very similar.

Regards,

mjhacker
09-09-2009, 03:20 PM
Now we're back to my initial question in post two or three of this thread: is the problem with aikido training one of effectiveness or efficiency?
To address this important question, we first need to know whose training you're talking about.

Erick Mead
09-09-2009, 04:19 PM
All,

Now we're back to my initial question in post two or three of this thread: is the problem with aikido training one of effectiveness or efficiency? They are not different questions. Without a common measure of effectiveness you cannot define relative efficiency between modes or methods of training. There's the rub ... the best you'll get is qualitatively refined anecdotal information (not worthless, mind). But even there you need qualitative standards of common reference. We don't have any equivalent standards criteria like they have for, say, figure skating. Tomiki tried something like this as I understand it, but while his system probably works as well as any other it is not widely reputed to be much better nor worse.

The fundamental problem is, we are striving for a demonstrable art with a high degree of adaptable contingency and yet so many are trying to find very programmatic ways to teach it. Increasingly, I am coming to believe this approach is like teaching swimming by working on walking with your arms windmilling. My tentative conclusion that the art makes its own structure -- if you let it -- and I am just an Aiki-wallah ...

Kevin Leavitt
09-09-2009, 04:39 PM
It is akin to swimming, but the goal is not get swim as fast as you can, or as long as you can, or as deep as you can from one point to another. That is usually what swimming is all about.

No, what we do is akin swimming for the sake of perfecting the art of swimming. That is, how to do the perfect breast stroke and/or compare how one guys breast stroke is more efficient than the others, or that it looks good, feels better...all without fixating on the taboo subject that it is measured by how fast it gets you to the other edge of the pool, or how long it allows you to swim laps (endurance).

No, we prefer to discuss the breast stroke without those taboo measures of effectiveness, simply for the sake of doing it.

Or we will put attachments on the breast stroke and judge it about how it leads to a greater understanding of self, spirituality or significance in the greater world.

Could you imagine doing this with Swimming practice?

Now, swimming may be a form of meditation, and it may and does allow folks to experience being one with the water etc in touch with themselves and their relation to the earth.

That is fine, but I doubt you'd hear anyone talk in great detail about the breast stroke without establishing criteria for measuring effectiveness of how it simply propels you through the water to a desired quantifiable goal.

Chuck Clark
09-09-2009, 05:11 PM
I get my effectiveness measured by those I train with because we are always testing each other.. at least that's the goal; and most who've been training at least a couple of years are very honest. It is a very productive way of training.

Kevin Leavitt
09-09-2009, 05:28 PM
I agree Chuck. I think after a number of years of training we begin to recognize "what right should be".

Do you think it is more of a "fallout" or bi product of an extreme amount of trial and error based over the years of training and a summation of experience?

I personally think at one level, this is what mastery is all about, we have to keep this "loose" to allow for that exploration and personalization etc.

However, at another level, I think it is also necessary to codify or systemically define MoEs or evaluation criteria...correct?

Chuck Clark
09-09-2009, 06:45 PM
...However, at another level, I think it is also necessary to codify or systemically define MoEs or evaluation criteria...correct?

I do agree, and fortunately, to the lament of some I may add, that's how my brain works and that of a good number of our seniors as well.

Don't tell anyone, but that's why I get paid the big bucks. :rolleyes: I'm constantly evaluating and trying to better define what this experience of budo training is as well as what I see others do. There are a few people that I continually pick goodies from that add to my understanding. Thank goodness my teachers taught me to find good behaviors that fit the models they taught; and doubly thank goodness that my nature is to always look outside the box and develop as wide a view as possible. Who knows... one day I may widen my view enough to even see through your experience and that of many others that are worthwhile. I've also learned along the way what not to spend time on. :straightf

Best regards,

Kevin Leavitt
09-09-2009, 06:58 PM
Thanks for the reply Chuck!

eyrie
09-09-2009, 07:23 PM
How to get good without investment.
Looking for shortcuts.
how to get good with less investment.
Investing wisely, or as wise as I know how, is different -- which is what I think this thread is about.
Obviously....NONE of you are serious investors... :D
ROI dammit... ROI and RROI... There are no shortcuts. There is no return without some investment. There is no get rich quick scheme. It's how much you're willing to invest for what sort of return. Wisdom usually comes AFTER the fact, and not before. ;)

BTW, I was merely commenting in response to Josh P, on the cons (no pun intended) of kata-based training method (KBTM) - which is how some seem to be equating with waza, which IMO is not the same thing. I have no emotional investment (forgive the pun) in kata (or waza) either way.

For the record, I have done kata in previous lives - the bastardized Shotokan versions from TKD, the original Chang Hon forms, the modernized TKD forms (Taeguek, Palgwe) - both of which were completely useless in terms of learning principles and devoid of any real combat applications. I also learnt a handful of KU/Yamaneryu kata - which I enjoyed immensely.

If people are able to learn from KBTM, then more power to them. For me, learning kata is back to front... and inefficient for my learning needs. But... if it works for some, and gels with their learning modalities, all's well and good. More power to them.

Since we're talking about efficiency (a quantitative measure) vs effectiveness (a qualitative measure).... it's not the number of hours you put in - more isn't necessarily "better". If it takes you 10000 hrs to do the same thing that someone else can do in 5000 hrs, then you're less efficient. OTOH, if someone is able produce something at a much higher level of quality than you can with the same level of effort, then you're not very effective.

And I would suggest, one needs both. The question remains, is the ATM inefficient? If not, why not? If so, why and what can be improved?

Kevin Leavitt
09-09-2009, 08:21 PM
Ignatius wrote:

And I would suggest, one needs both. The question remains, is the ATM inefficient? If not, why not? If so, why and what can be improved?

I am not sure this question can be answered universally completely, as much of what we do as I stated above in the swimming analogy is qualitative in nature in Aikido/Budo training.

As each person or groups of persons will place different values on quality, we will have different ideas and assessments about what is efficient.

I really like Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which I think does a good job of playing with the idea of quality.

Mercedes Benz is usually considered a high quality care manufacturer in the business. That quality comes at a cost, and not everyone will value quality the same.

It is why we have lots of cars on the road with varying degrees of quality and price.

Mike Sigman
09-09-2009, 08:47 PM
No offense, but here's a good example of why the "effectiveness measured by those I train with" is really not much of an indicator:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y-nIwDhU7o#t=11s

It's simply easier to just set up basic criteria and go by those. Tohei understood that, hence his "ki tests", yet even those aren't perfect, given how many stooges and phonies have showed up in that arena (as in so many others), too. I think these things need to be more critically examined, although I differentiate between "demonstrations" and "try me out" situations.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

eyrie
09-09-2009, 09:07 PM
I am not sure this question can be answered universally completely, as much of what we do as I stated above in the swimming analogy is qualitative in nature in Aikido/Budo training. It was a rhetorical question my friend. ;) It's a little bit of both. This thread happens to be dealing with the quantitative aspect of training, vis-a-vis, quantifiable inputs such as time and effort vs quantifiable results.

As each person or groups of persons will place different values on quality, we will have different ideas and assessments about what is efficient. Sure... quality is a subjective valuation. Whereas efficiency is directly measurable.

It is why we have lots of cars on the road with varying degrees of quality and price. Is it mutually exclusive? Why?

Personally, I don't care much for Mercs, BMWs, Lexus, or Audi; trucks... hmmmm... military Humvees :drool: ... are more my thang... ;)

Kevin Leavitt
09-09-2009, 10:01 PM
"Sure... quality is a subjective valuation. Whereas efficiency is directly measurable. "

Efficiencies to what end though?

Training with Mike Sigman, it was clear to me to what end based on the way he tested and evaluated. He also provided very direct feedback and methods that cut to a laser I thought on how you could get to that end.

Not to say it is not hard work, but I think the model and testing along the lines of what Mike proposed as far as IT is concerned is a VERY efficient model for that measure of quality as it relates to Aikido.

Albeit, it is but one part of the process, but what I personally consider to be a very important part.

But again, I certainly don't profess to put myself as judge over what it should or shouldn't be, or that Sigman's methods are the model of efficiency for everyone.

Mike Sigman
09-09-2009, 10:27 PM
Albeit, it is but one part of the process, but what I personally consider to be a very important part.
Well, I always look at it as "if you don't know the full alphabet, you can't claim to be an English professor". Many people can claim to be experts in, for instance, "internal skillz", but if they can't even demonstrate a simple groundpath, how can they claim to "have been teaching these skills for years", etc.? Yet, that happens all the time. I suggest that people stick to basic criteria before they get hornswoggled into believing that "so-and-so has great internal skills because he kicked my ass when I asked him a question". ;)

FWIW

Mike

eyrie
09-09-2009, 10:31 PM
To what end efficiency? As Erick said... what are you trying to optimize. That is the question. And the answer is going to be different for everyone.

But to reiterate what Mike said... what is the basic criteria by which people determine efficiency, and the measures of efficiency? Those questions need to be addressed (individually) first I think.

gdandscompserv
09-09-2009, 10:33 PM
Personally, I don't care much for Mercs, BMWs, Lexus, or Audi; trucks... hmmmm... military Humvees :drool: ... are more my thang... ;)
Umm...I hate to break it to you but military HMMWV's are crap.:p

eyrie
09-09-2009, 11:21 PM
Umm...I hate to break it to you but military HMMWV's are crap.:p Does it matter that I don't give a rats? I still like 'em... pricey AND crap... :rolleyes: :D

mjhacker
09-09-2009, 11:34 PM
No offense, but here's a good example of why the "effectiveness measured by those I train with" is really not much of an indicator:
Ugh. A look at his other videos suggests why his students respond so strongly to his "ki":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od75E2Vr1h4&NR=1

Abasan
09-10-2009, 01:31 AM
Mike and Michael, you realise though you're making judgements based on videos but not on first hand feel.

Mike you yourself have said before, the only way you can tell is by going at it and not by watching.

So please don't disparage Sensei Hakim until you've met him and 'tried' him out. Granted his students are vocal but you haven't seen all his students.

If you want I'll be pleased to arrange that for you. And if you don't want to waste the trip, we can always coincide it with the yearly trip Kobuta shihan makes to visit him.

Abasan
09-10-2009, 01:35 AM
Btw, Michael... the vid you linked to is Goshin or application. He doesn't hurt his students in his classes so they don't respond to his aiki techniques because of fear of pain. You're assuming its because he can make it painful they throw themselves over for him.

The Goshin class is only for seniors wanting to explore that part of aikido/daitoryu knowledge. He doesn't need it. And Goshin is only done at the behest of his students. It isn't part of his curriculum.

Upyu
09-10-2009, 08:03 AM
<snip>
the only way you can tell is by going at it and not by watching.


Oh sure, that might've been the case...until someone posted that "goshin" video.

Let's go through a laundry list of items here:

1) shoulder usage? check

2) disconnection? check

3) overall lack of whole body "cohesiveness"? check

4) lack of initiation from lower body? check

I'd place money on Mike :D
a lot of money...

It's hard to see for someone that doesn't have some skill, and has to be felt. For those that already have some...it's a different story.

Not to be rude or anything, but just putting it out there like it is.
Anyone know a bookie?

Mike Sigman
09-10-2009, 08:43 AM
Mike and Michael, you realise though you're making judgements based on videos but not on first hand feel.True, Ahmad, but there are some fairly obvious aspects we can analyse on the film. What, for instance, would be the force or energy that is making the last Uke in line act so wild? Can you name a force that would make me, for example, act like that even though I wasn't touching Nage? I'm very familiar with Ki and what it will do... it won't do that. If it was a real-world effect it needs a real world cause; if it's not a real-world effect, then the Uke is shilling for Nage, one way or another.

My 2 cents. Sorry for the OT comment. I'll be good from now on. ;)

Mike

mjhacker
09-10-2009, 09:44 AM
Mike and Michael, you realise though you're making judgements based on videos but not on first hand feel.
Yep. Do you realize that you're judging my ability to make accurate judgements of what I see based on no first-hand experience of me or what I know?

Mike you yourself have said before, the only way you can tell is by going at it and not by watching.
I disagree with this thought. Educated eyes are a very valuable tool and can teach you much.

So please don't disparage Sensei Hakim until you've met him and 'tried' him out.
I don't think I "disparaged" him at all. I merely pointed out that he abuses his students (in my estimation). You don't have to hurt students and disrespect their bodies to practice "goshin."

I'm not exactly a newbie. I've had my hands on a lot of very senior people from different arts, both here in the US and in Japan.

I'm old. I have zero interest in "trying" someone out. I appreciate the offer, though.

mjhacker
09-10-2009, 09:45 AM
True, Ahmad, but there are some fairly obvious aspects we can analyse on the film.
Thanks for "stealing" my thunder, Mr. Sigman. :-)

mjhacker
09-10-2009, 09:52 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaLmelkgyrw

What is causing this man's uke to respond the way they are?

Abasan
09-10-2009, 10:46 AM
Mike, nothing I say is going to make you believe otherwise because you've already versed in a particular form of Internal strength methodology. Who's to say that there's only 1 correct way for anything. For one thing, just take a look at the Systema guys. They won't be caught dead calling the stuff they do Internal Skills, but they do emphasise Beyond the Physical. Grounding? Nope, nothing in there but again you'll find it hard to put Vlad or Michael down on the ground. They don't practice CMA or Japanese Arts and so they're art doesn't look like what you're agreeable to. Doesn't mean that what they're doing doesn't work.

Same thing here Mike. Sensei Hakim does his thingey and its nothing at all like CMA where we're mostly talking about you you and you and less about the guy attacking you. Here, the energy is less about him and more about the people attacking him. Mike, I don't know what type of force Sensei was using for the last uke to act like he did. All I know is that he practices 7 characters of Aiki. That demo wasn't an emphasis on chushin (at least I don't think so) or musubi so it must be one of the 7. It's definitely not ateru, invite, dissolve, absorb, pulling or enveloping. So by elimination, I would say its entering ki.

Anyway at the risk of taking this further into a 'I say, you say' loop, here's another link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyZClIJGiEQ&feature=related showing a Silat guy from Semarang who wanted to feel this 'Aiki' thingey. Its his first time meeting sensei and I believe he was just asked to grab the hands and try not to fall. Towards the end you will see him trying to grab the hands and falling short... emm yeah I know its funny and looks fake, but it isn't. This link is not meant to 'cover' whatever deficiencies you see in the earlier links, its just to show that his Aiki works on non compliant ukes and we all know the staple of most 'ki' demos require a 'knowledgeable and agreeable' fellow. :D

Michael, I'm not trying to judge you. I was making a fairly straight forward statement. There's physical connectivity and there's spiritual connectivity. You can use your eyes for the former and it might be difficult for the latter. Since we are all big kids here and talking about Aiki and Ki isn't raising anyone's eyebrows, lets for a moment imagine that there is an element of ki that doesn't require physical transmission? So... yes it is true we need to have form in the beginning. Later maybe less so.

Anyway, that's the last I'll make out of this post. I'm not out to prove anything, I just have to tell it how it is that's all because we share what we know here and I know what he's capable of.

I appreciate you guys being candid but now that I've made my stand clear, what you guys think is really up to you. All this is my opinion only and my very limited knowledge and understanding. I know you guys have a lot of years behind you and I'll be the first to put up my hand to learn from you. But it won't be right if I don't at least try to clear the air.

mjhacker
09-10-2009, 10:55 AM
Anyway at the risk of taking this further into a 'I say, you say' loop, here's another link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyZClIJGiEQ&feature=related showing a Silat guy from Semarang who wanted to feel this 'Aiki' thingey.
Actually, I can explain everything he's doing in this video. It isn't "ki" or anything mystical. It's kuzushi. Good stuff.

Kevin Leavitt
09-10-2009, 11:04 AM
Ahmad wrote:

This link is not meant to 'cover' whatever deficiencies you see in the earlier links, its just to show that his Aiki works on non compliant ukes and we all know the staple of most 'ki' demos require a 'knowledgeable and agreeable' fellow

I can say with pretty good confidence based on that video that it would not work on me as I would not be very receptive to his spiritual ki forces, and frankly his physical forces, well I feel pretty confident about that too. Based on his posture when he had uke down, i have a pretty good idea about what I would have done in reaction and it was alot different than that uke.

I have been with the dim mak guys and have been told that I am not receptive which is why their stuff doesn't work on me. Apparently I am spiritually bankrupt and I block with negative ki and it will cause me long term health problems if I don't learn to release.

I identified this handicap about 10 years ago and I still struggle with it so I can understand why I might not be the best uke for someone that can use spiritual ki.

Abasan
09-10-2009, 11:07 AM
Ahmad wrote:

I have been with the dim mak guys and have been told that I am not receptive which is why their stuff doesn't work on me. Apparently I am spiritually bankrupt and I block with negative ki and it will cause me long term health problems if I don't learn to release.

I identified this handicap about 10 years ago and I still struggle with it so I can understand why I might not be the best uke for someone that can use spiritual ki.

Ha Ha :p You crack me up! I wonder what kind of release they meant?

mjhacker
09-10-2009, 11:21 AM
I identified this handicap about 10 years ago and I still struggle with it so I can understand why I might not be the best uke for someone that can use spiritual ki.
One of my seniors in Japan (a 5th dan whom I'd describe as a "slab of beef") went to Tokyo to feel the 'ki' of Nishino Kozo [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GmXEYGqfIU].

When Nishino waved his hands without effect, my friend was scolded and told that he needed to train more in order to become sensitive to Nishino's energy.

What I don't understand is why anyone would want to practice any sort of martial art, the efficacy of which is based on the attacker's 'sensitivity.'

I find this to be sadly common when an art is nage/tori-centric.

Mike Sigman
09-10-2009, 11:41 AM
Mike, nothing I say is going to make you believe otherwise because you've already versed in a particular form of Internal strength methodology. What "particular form" are you talking about, though? The idea of ki/qi and its relationships is that it was a "theory to explain everything" and covered all situations... there are not "different kinds of ki/qi". Besides, one of the other things that I'm grounded in is the physical sciences and there must always be a relationship between a physical effect and a physical cause. If an Uke is "lifted on his toes from 3 feet away", I assure you we can explore that physical phenomenon and find out where the energy came from. So when it comes to the last Uke in line dancing around in synchronization with Nage's movements and gestures, we can certainly make some high-probability guesses. ;) Who's to say that there's only 1 correct way for anything. No one did. That'd be a Strawman. ;) For one thing, just take a look at the Systema guys. Pass. They're not related to this discussion.
Same thing here Mike. Sensei Hakim does his thingey and its nothing at all like CMA where we're mostly talking about you you and you and less about the guy attacking you. Here, the energy is less about him and more about the people attacking him. Mike, I don't know what type of force Sensei was using for the last uke to act like he did. All I know is that he practices 7 characters of Aiki. That demo wasn't an emphasis on chushin (at least I don't think so) or musubi so it must be one of the 7. It's definitely not ateru, invite, dissolve, absorb, pulling or enveloping. So by elimination, I would say its entering ki. And my guess that it is called "psychological power", a mysterious energy that pervades the ether between many teachers and their students. ;) I used to spend time asking people to use those kinds of exotic powers against me, but they never seemed to work. I think I mentioned once before that some people refused to use their powers on me because their ki was so strong that it might kill me. So I'd come back later with a goldfish in a bowl and ask them to kill the goldfish. Never lost a goldfish, but I have found that it's easy to get people who want to be special to hate you. :D

If there is a physically demonstrable effect, it can be explained by physics, Ahmad. ;)

Best.

Mike

Marc Abrams
09-10-2009, 12:30 PM
Mike, nothing I say is going to make you believe otherwise because you've already versed in a particular form of Internal strength methodology. Who's to say that there's only 1 correct way for anything. For one thing, just take a look at the Systema guys. They won't be caught dead calling the stuff they do Internal Skills, but they do emphasise Beyond the Physical. Grounding? Nope, nothing in there but again you'll find it hard to put Vlad or Michael down on the ground. They don't practice CMA or Japanese Arts and so they're art doesn't look like what you're agreeable to. Doesn't mean that what they're doing doesn't work.

Same thing here Mike. Sensei Hakim does his thingey and its nothing at all like CMA where we're mostly talking about you you and you and less about the guy attacking you. Here, the energy is less about him and more about the people attacking him. Mike, I don't know what type of force Sensei was using for the last uke to act like he did. All I know is that he practices 7 characters of Aiki. That demo wasn't an emphasis on chushin (at least I don't think so) or musubi so it must be one of the 7. It's definitely not ateru, invite, dissolve, absorb, pulling or enveloping. So by elimination, I would say its entering ki.

Anyway at the risk of taking this further into a 'I say, you say' loop, here's another link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyZClIJGiEQ&feature=related showing a Silat guy from Semarang who wanted to feel this 'Aiki' thingey. Its his first time meeting sensei and I believe he was just asked to grab the hands and try not to fall. Towards the end you will see him trying to grab the hands and falling short... emm yeah I know its funny and looks fake, but it isn't. This link is not meant to 'cover' whatever deficiencies you see in the earlier links, its just to show that his Aiki works on non compliant ukes and we all know the staple of most 'ki' demos require a 'knowledgeable and agreeable' fellow. :D

Michael, I'm not trying to judge you. I was making a fairly straight forward statement. There's physical connectivity and there's spiritual connectivity. You can use your eyes for the former and it might be difficult for the latter. Since we are all big kids here and talking about Aiki and Ki isn't raising anyone's eyebrows, lets for a moment imagine that there is an element of ki that doesn't require physical transmission? So... yes it is true we need to have form in the beginning. Later maybe less so.

Anyway, that's the last I'll make out of this post. I'm not out to prove anything, I just have to tell it how it is that's all because we share what we know here and I know what he's capable of.

I appreciate you guys being candid but now that I've made my stand clear, what you guys think is really up to you. All this is my opinion only and my very limited knowledge and understanding. I know you guys have a lot of years behind you and I'll be the first to put up my hand to learn from you. But it won't be right if I don't at least try to clear the air.

Ahmad:

While we are in the islands, maybe this clip should add some entertainment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psInHMucSx8

I am with Kevin of on this one. I guess I just have an evil spirit as well. I would NEVER respond like the uke's do in Ahmad's video clips. At best, it teaches bad ukemi.

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
09-10-2009, 12:41 PM
Oh My God....
Marc, that HAS to be a classic...
Best,
Ron (ow, that hurt...)

Keith Larman
09-10-2009, 12:46 PM
Ahmad:

While we are in the islands, maybe this clip should add some entertainment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psInHMucSx8

I am with Kevin of on this one. I guess I just have an evil spirit as well. I would NEVER respond like the uke's do in Ahmad's video clips. At best, it teaches bad ukemi.

Marc Abrams

Ooooh, send me in, coach...

Now where's that link to that Ryuken fella finding out that the jujutsu guy wasn't receptive to his hand wavy ki stuff...

Erick Mead
09-10-2009, 12:49 PM
... have been told that I am not receptive which is why their stuff doesn't work on me. Apparently I am spiritually bankrupt and I block with negative ki and it will cause me long term health problems if I don't learn to release. Ah, heck, Kevin, the Universal Ki must balance, and so with that ocean of positive "ki" they are floating in -- the negative stuff has to wash up somewhere! ;) -- and I find all sorts of cool stuff thrown up on the beach, myself ...

C. David Henderson
09-10-2009, 01:00 PM
While we are in the islands, maybe this clip should add some entertainment:

****

Marc Abrams

Reminds me of the Boxer Rebellion and the Ghost Dance -- the martial applications failed somewhat to meet expectations in the field.

Marc Abrams
09-10-2009, 01:12 PM
Ron & Keith:

The funniest thing was that this guy was trying to come to the Ushiro Kenji Seminar! I was worried that either Ushiro Sensei would become immobilized from laughing or would display the real thing, thereby requiring the clean-up and disposal of body parts!

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
09-10-2009, 01:47 PM
Oh man...this wack job is in the states??? Remember the yellow bamboo guys? :D

Best,
Ron

Bob Blackburn
09-10-2009, 01:55 PM
I have been with the dim mak guys and have been told that I am not receptive which is why their stuff doesn't work on me. Apparently I am spiritually bankrupt and I block with negative ki and it will cause me long term health problems if I don't learn to release.

I identified this handicap about 10 years ago and I still struggle with it so I can understand why I might not be the best uke for someone that can use spiritual ki.

You and me both. Sensei Roy Goldberg calls me the Andriod of Daito. :)

Marc Abrams
09-10-2009, 02:07 PM
Oh man...this wack job is in the states??? Remember the yellow bamboo guys? :D

Best,
Ron

Ron:

New York City to be exact. Didn't the yellow bamboo martial artists become extinct due to yellow bamboo blight? :eek:

Regards,

Marc

ps.- On the clip I provided, I love how they can turn glass into a digestible sugar substance.

HL1978
09-10-2009, 02:13 PM
Mike and Michael, you realise though you're making judgements based on videos but not on first hand feel.

Mike you yourself have said before, the only way you can tell is by going at it and not by watching.

So please don't disparage Sensei Hakim until you've met him and 'tried' him out. Granted his students are vocal but you haven't seen all his students.

If you want I'll be pleased to arrange that for you. And if you don't want to waste the trip, we can always coincide it with the yearly trip Kobuta shihan makes to visit him.

Even if you have no understanding of internal skills, why are Uke #2 and #3 popping up on their toes? Seeing that might make someone question what is going on .

Janet Rosen
09-10-2009, 03:22 PM
{after following all those links...I better get off the computer and back to the sewing machine} Oh no, I've entered the Bad Budo Zone - where is my ballpoint pen and rolled up newspaper!

eyrie
09-10-2009, 06:49 PM
Now where's that link to that Ryuken fella finding out that the jujutsu guy wasn't receptive to his hand wavy ki stuff... Keith... you mean this dude?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I

Mike and Michael, you realise though you're making judgements based on videos but not on first hand feel. A significant aspect of MA training, is the ability to observe movement, and to develop the keenness of one's visual acuity to discern nuances in movement - where such nuances happen in a split second.

One of the reasons why I watch SYTYCD (http://www.fox.com/dance/), even though I am not particularly interested in dancing, is (not just for the hard, young, nubile bodies, or Mary's shrill choo-choos, or Cat's lithe form and numerous wardrobe changes) mainly for the judges' technical critique and the slo-mo replays relating to their technical comments. The ability to discern such nuances, in a blink of an eye, and the ability to critique and analyze movement, is a critical skill for any serious martial artist - especially IF you purport to teach. How else would you critique a student's performance? Or even attempt to correct them? Or would you simply chastise them for "not being sensitive enough"?

I agree with Rob's assessment... 1) shoulder usage? check

2) disconnection? check

3) overall lack of whole body "cohesiveness"? check

4) lack of initiation from lower body? check... you don't need hands-on feel to discern what is sometimes glaringly obvious... IF you know what to look for.

Keith Larman
09-10-2009, 07:10 PM
Keith... you mean this dude?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I



Yup, that's the one. Sad... I still wonder what all those epileptic bobble-heads in the first segment felt once they watched their teacher quite simply getting punched out without all the puppet on a string looking reactions. It is really disheartening to see so many can so thoroughly talk themselves into that kind of stuff. But... Sometimes reality has the habit of being delivered via a couple shots to the face.

WRT to the vid of the aiki-age... I can get the first guy getting moved (although he seems over-the-top vocal). But the other guys... Shrug. Seems blatantly absurd to me.

Walter Martindale
09-10-2009, 07:28 PM
Yup, that's the one. Sad... I still wonder what all those epileptic bobble-heads in the first segment felt once they watched their teacher quite simply getting punched out without all the puppet on a string looking reactions. It is really disheartening to see so many can so thoroughly talk themselves into that kind of stuff. But... Sometimes reality has the habit of being delivered via a couple shots to the face.

WRT to the vid of the aiki-age... I can get the first guy getting moved (although he seems over-the-top vocal). But the other guys... Shrug. Seems blatantly absurd to me.

And... How can these instructors let themselves get deluded enough with their "powers" to actually think they're teaching something. Myself, I KNOW I'd get crushed in an MMA fight.. Maybe not 30 years ago.. On second thought, Yeah, I'd get crushed.
slightly OT...
When people used to find out I was in judo, they'd ask if I could handle myself in a fight. I usually replied with - I don't know - I've had the crap beaten out of me in judo practice by some pretty small guys - and the thing you learn from that is that in a "situation", you don't know what the other guy knows, so I just think it best to avoid "situations"... At least in part because judo training is training for a rules-based competition, aikido training is usually training for interactions with other aikido people.

Does it translate to the outside world? Don't know. I do know that Kawahara sensei (shihan in Canada) advises most of the people in aikido in Canada to not get into fights because we/they are only training for at best 2 hours/day in slow, non-competitive practice that doesn't make us leak red stuff if we miss, and because most of us started as adults, so most of us have to think instead of 'do'...
We don't live, eat, drink, and sleep aikido from age 5, so it's much harder for aikido to be "part of us"..

Cheers,
Walter

Abasan
09-11-2009, 12:53 AM
"The ability to discern such nuances, in a blink of an eye, and the ability to critique and analyze movement, is a critical skill for any serious martial artist - especially IF you purport to teach. How else would you critique a student's performance? Or even attempt to correct them? Or would you simply chastise them for "not being sensitive enough"?"

Ignatius, no I won't discount this ability at all. I'm just saying that its part one aspect of how one learns. The other part requires actual participation. Now that's easy to say when the demonstrator is halfway around the world. And with so many kooks out there on youtube, its easy to just lump everyone there into the same mould based on your experience and knowledge. But I can't learn nuts from Mike through the net (maybe some crumbs though)... he has to show me. I need to 'feel' him. (take that the positive way you twits :D). Also its a lot like taking a picture. You have a 2D view of something but you lack an overall cohesive picture of the thing.

I don't know if this would give a better perspective of what I mean. You know Mike's initial training for grounding right. He'll have his partners push his forearm and he'll establish a ground path of that force. Anyone looking at a video of that will think hey I can do that. They'll mimic the form and in the end resort to bracing which doesn't really work when the push comes in from all angles. So although it looked the same but it isn't the same. You can't see fascia at work with the eyes either, although you may see some of the signs/results.

Marc that vid is even funnier than Keiths... I think he might have copied some moves from this guy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atwXXEZhIhc

"WRT to the vid of the aiki-age... I can get the first guy getting moved (although he seems over-the-top vocal). But the other guys... Shrug. Seems blatantly absurd to me." Keith, yeah. I hate this guys shouting out like pansies. You would expect someone with some years of experience to not go on like that. I mostly never make the sounds either, but just so happen the other day I was training with another student and he hit my fist with an ateru (when I wasn't really prepared for it - yeah the same ol excuses) and I gritted my teeth and braced instead of going with it; suffered a very very painful stomach muscle cramp for my valiant effort. Very enlightening. In the spirit of sharing, I'm now training hard to return the favour. :P

This is the problem with words... Like I said, I'm done explaining Sensei's clip notwithstanding it was his overeager student that posted the damn thing. Now I just have to make sure whatever I wrote was understood in the spirit it was made.

Anyway since we're putting out all stops with Youtube references here, here's a couple of clips of Sensei Hino Aikira showing some little things. In the first clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND_GN0bUaPw at 1.15 I just love how this man translates the feeling of absolute powerlessness complete with the pee in the pants skit :P. You think you're in control and suddenly you're not. Its very disconcerting. Feeling this during training really opens your eyes. Especially when nage isn't using a sword to demonstrate the point.

In the 2nd clip, he showed entering/explosive aiki in the beginning. Maybe its easier to grasp the meaning when seeing this done in a dynamic fashion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiWU_K0-Nlg&NR=1 He demonstrates that punching it normally, the person holding the bag will feel the impact. Punching it the 2nd time around, the person holding the bag doesn't feel the impact stopping on him rather its passed through to the fella behind...

Upyu
09-11-2009, 02:23 AM
Anyway since we're putting out all stops with Youtube references here, here's a couple of clips of Sensei Hino Aikira showing some little things. In the first clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND_GN0bUaPw at 1.15 I just love how this man translates the feeling of absolute powerlessness complete with the pee in the pants skit :P. You think you're in control and suddenly you're not. Its very disconcerting. Feeling this during training really opens your eyes. Especially when nage isn't using a sword to demonstrate the point.

I could show you in two minutes how he does all of those tricks.
In fact for some of them you don't even need special "conditioning."

While you can't see the fascia move, it's evident as to whether someone's body is "bound" together in an unusual fashion when they move...which looks to be lacking in the person posted earlier.


In the 2nd clip, he showed entering/explosive aiki in the beginning. Maybe its easier to grasp the meaning when seeing this done in a dynamic fashion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiWU_K0-Nlg&NR=1 He demonstrates that punching it normally, the person holding the bag will feel the impact. Punching it the 2nd time around, the person holding the bag doesn't feel the impact stopping on him rather its passed through to the fella behind...

The Hino clip is a bit better and just shows that he knows how to use some basic Jin tricks. Striking is easy to demonstrate...and while its understandable that you're trying to equate that to the locking demo....it doesn't quite work that way. While it's possible to "Grab" the guy at the other end and affect his balance, it certainly doesn't happen in the spectacular fashion shown in the video.
Actually if it were, I'm sure there would be pictures of Sagawa doing it as well...but all demos involve multiple people directly grabbing him at multiple points on his body. Jin/Aiki etc is great, but physics is still at work.

But seriously, posting Hino? You need to get out more :D
I'm praying that you don't put up Kono ;)

It's cool that you're gung ho about all this but I think you just need to get out more.

Abasan
09-11-2009, 03:24 AM
Kono? Feed me... :D

Hino looks like a fun guy. All things considered I love training in joyous spirit... must be all the fake aiki in the air.

George S. Ledyard
09-12-2009, 01:53 PM
Oh My God....
Marc, that HAS to be a classic...
Best,
Ron (ow, that hurt...)

What was it PT Barnum said? "Some of the people, all of the time?"