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ninjachamp15
12-30-2009, 07:23 PM
Maintain your balance. With few exceptions, you want your head up, your shoulders above and aligned with your hips, and your feet in a natural stance.
Use your body as a unit. Tense arms or shoulders result when other parts do not do their share of the work. Spread the work out and let your strong parts, such as your hips, do most of the work.
Use your body the way nature intended. Keep your shoulders and elbows down. Keep your head up. Let your arms move in natural arcs.
Extend your mind. Your mind controlls the power of your body. If your mind stops at an obstacle, your body will stop as well.
Remain calm. Good aikido requires calmness in both mind and body. The mind and body both work and expend energy, but do so quietly and efficiently.
Have confidence. You must have confidence in both the art of aikido and in your ability to do aikido. Confidence grows with experience and practitioners at all levels to improve their confidence.

ChrisHein
12-30-2009, 07:55 PM
Hmmm.....

Did someone think these things were not important; or is not aware of them?

mathewjgano
12-30-2009, 08:01 PM
Hmmm.....

Did someone think these things were not important; or is not aware of them?

A good reminder every now and then never hurt anyone.

Amassus
12-30-2009, 09:07 PM
Maintain your balance. With few exceptions, you want your head up, your shoulders above and aligned with your hips, and your feet in a natural stance.
Use your body as a unit. Tense arms or shoulders result when other parts do not do their share of the work. Spread the work out and let your strong parts, such as your hips, do most of the work.
Use your body the way nature intended. Keep your shoulders and elbows down. Keep your head up. Let your arms move in natural arcs.
Extend your mind. Your mind controlls the power of your body. If your mind stops at an obstacle, your body will stop as well.
Remain calm. Good aikido requires calmness in both mind and body. The mind and body both work and expend energy, but do so quietly and efficiently.
Have confidence. You must have confidence in both the art of aikido and in your ability to do aikido. Confidence grows with experience and practitioners at all levels to improve their confidence.

This is a nice list. If I had been told these things when I first started out I wonder if my progress would have been faster. Maybe I wouldn't "get" some of it as a beginner. *shrug*

L. Camejo
12-31-2009, 01:07 AM
Interesting that the word "kuzushi" did not make an appearance in that list.

Best.

LC

Maarten De Queecker
12-31-2009, 02:07 AM
Maintain your balance. With few exceptions, you want your head up, your shoulders above and aligned with your hips, and your feet in a natural stance.
Use your body as a unit. Tense arms or shoulders result when other parts do not do their share of the work. Spread the work out and let your strong parts, such as your hips, do most of the work.
Use your body the way nature intended. Keep your shoulders and elbows down. Keep your head up. Let your arms move in natural arcs.
Extend your mind. Your mind controlls the power of your body. If your mind stops at an obstacle, your body will stop as well.
Remain calm. Good aikido requires calmness in both mind and body. The mind and body both work and expend energy, but do so quietly and efficiently.
Have confidence. You must have confidence in both the art of aikido and in your ability to do aikido. Confidence grows with experience and practitioners at all levels to improve their confidence.

I find that the latter is incredibly important in terms of effective technique. I know lots of people of whom I know they can do incredible things if they would stop thinking "oh no I can't do that".

Another tip I'd like to add: Stop thinking, just do it.

mathewjgano
12-31-2009, 02:08 AM
Interesting that the word "kuzushi" did not make an appearance in that list.

Best.

LC

I think it just did! :)

crbateman
12-31-2009, 05:55 AM
Anybody else see the similarities between the above advice and Tohei Sensei's principles?

1. Keep one point
2. Relax completely
3. Keep weight underside
4. Extend Ki

Kevin Leavitt
12-31-2009, 08:34 AM
Well the only problem with all this is it is simply rhetoric. Being able to do it is another thing, being able to teach it is another thing, and being able to implement it in daily life or in situations outside of the dojo is yet another thing.

the paradox to me is this.

To beginners it sounds all great and is "earth shattering", alluring, and yet so vivid, clear, succint and focused...all I have to do is do these things and practice.

To the "experienced" it is obvious, "well duh!", and yet we all know there is alot more that lay underneath doing this stuff than that!

So, personally, I don't find these descriptions or guidelines very useful or helpful at all. Just makes for a good feeling and a good conversation to convey some concepts.

allowedcloud
12-31-2009, 08:48 AM
You should post some ninja tips..

lbb
12-31-2009, 09:46 AM
the paradox to me is this.

To beginners it sounds all great and is "earth shattering", alluring, and yet so vivid, clear, succint and focused...all I have to do is do these things and practice.

To the "experienced" it is obvious, "well duh!", and yet we all know there is alot more that lay underneath doing this stuff than that!

So, personally, I don't find these descriptions or guidelines very useful or helpful at all. Just makes for a good feeling and a good conversation to convey some concepts.

I think the problem is that "tips" are helpful to people learning how to use Microsoft Excel, but not so helpful to people trying to learn aikido (or many other things). Straightforward, deterministic tasks, where task, method and purpose are all unambiguous, lend themselves to tips: if I say "click the column header to select an entire column", for example, you won't be confused about what I'm talking about, or why you would want to do it, or how you would accomplish it. But "extend your mind"? Who even knows what that means? A phrase like that won't take on any meaning (if it ever does) until you've trained a while, the "why" is rarely explained (or contradictory explanations are offered), and the "how" of it may never come. Over time, "extend your mind" may become a useful reminder to one's self, but I suspect the meaning and certainly the method will always be somewhat personal.

And to a beginner? Eeesh. I dunno. When a beginner says something like "extend your mind", I can't help but wonder if they're merely parroting the words, because this extend-the-mind thing is supposed to be the key and parroting the words gets them nods of approval and acceptance into the club.

Maybe the real answer is that "tips" can help with aikido, but as a reminder/point of focus rather than as a way to learn -- you have to already have something to hang them on first.

Stormcrow34
12-31-2009, 10:07 AM
I've always scratched my head when reading; "Keep one point".

What exactly does that mean? Anyone???

Keith Larman
12-31-2009, 10:11 AM
Best advice I ever got?

"Hmmm, try it again."

Keith Larman
12-31-2009, 10:13 AM
I've always scratched my head when reading; "Keep one point".

What exactly does that mean? Anyone???

Good luck on that one. And yes, I say that in classes I teach. What is the acronym everyone uses here? IHTBF. Easy to show in a few minutes with a few tests. Difficult to explain on-line.

mathewjgano
12-31-2009, 02:58 PM
I've always scratched my head when reading; "Keep one point".

What exactly does that mean? Anyone???

I'm still trying to do this, but I think of the phrase as a way of actively looking for the hara. If I pay attention to that general area as I do things, presumably I'll begin to notice something and from there hopefully refine my understanding of exactly what it is and what it does.

Asiatic Budoka
12-31-2009, 03:42 PM
I've always scratched my head when reading; "Keep one point".

What exactly does that mean? Anyone???

A simple explanation would be to keep your balance, seeing as how I always understood "one point" to mean your "center of gravity". But that could be "OVER" simplicity on my part. ;)

For a more detailed expalanation I would recommend Koichi Tohei's book "Ki in daily life". I think that's the name of it.

Aikibu
12-31-2009, 04:44 PM
I don't see the need to add anything other than Always try to approach practice with sincerity and an open mind...How "effective" your Aikido is.... has allot to do with you. :)

William Hazen

Maarten De Queecker
01-01-2010, 03:21 AM
I think the problem is that "tips" are helpful to people learning how to use Microsoft Excel, but not so helpful to people trying to learn aikido (or many other things). Straightforward, deterministic tasks, where task, method and purpose are all unambiguous, lend themselves to tips: if I say "click the column header to select an entire column", for example, you won't be confused about what I'm talking about, or why you would want to do it, or how you would accomplish it. But "extend your mind"? Who even knows what that means? A phrase like that won't take on any meaning (if it ever does) until you've trained a while, the "why" is rarely explained (or contradictory explanations are offered), and the "how" of it may never come. Over time, "extend your mind" may become a useful reminder to one's self, but I suspect the meaning and certainly the method will always be somewhat personal.

And to a beginner? Eeesh. I dunno. When a beginner says something like "extend your mind", I can't help but wonder if they're merely parroting the words, because this extend-the-mind thing is supposed to be the key and parroting the words gets them nods of approval and acceptance into the club.

Maybe the real answer is that "tips" can help with aikido, but as a reminder/point of focus rather than as a way to learn -- you have to already have something to hang them on first.

Why is it that we always have to make aikido as difficult as possible by using things like "extend the mind" or "extend ki"? I've been training for two years now and I wouldn't know what any of those mean.

Then I wonder why other Japanese martial arts like Judo or Jiu Jitsu manage to train effective, balanced and strong martial artists without the use of exotic phrases like the ones above? Those martial arts are at least as technical as aikido, how do they do it? It's mainly because they stick to a K.I.S.S. way of teaching (keep it simple, stupid). They don't go for phrases like "now extend your ki both in body and mind in order to take uke's centre" but stick with "stretch your arm a little so uke is out of balance". At the former newbies will be like "QUE?" but they will understand the latter because it just says what you have to do.

I hear a lot of people say that aikido is very natural in terms of movements and all that, but that means that they should be rather easy. Why then do we insist on making it so difficult? A thing I generally say when training with beginners and to myself is "stop thinking about what sensei said, just do it!".

That being said, can anyone explain to me what is meant by extending the mind?

Oh and happy new year of course!

Shadowfax
01-01-2010, 09:23 AM
Some things you have to experience before you can really grasp them. I have been training for 6 months and I understand exactly what sensei says when he talks about extending ki or awareness. But that's because it is something I have always naturally done and Aikido just has been teaching me how to focus it and use it.

I have no way of putting into words to help you understand. Maybe someone else can. But I think it is really something that you will find for yourself in time and with training. First things you really need to do is define for yourself what is ki and what is your awareness. You need to come to that understanding within yourself. For me meditation seems to help that process.

I experience ki extension as energy. Some people say to picture a fire hose and ki is the water and direct its flow. For me that don't work. I picture energy or rather I don't picture it I just feel it.

Awareness is me, my consciousness separate from my body. Once I learned to separate it from my physical self I discovered it can be bigger than me and exist outside of my physical self. I can't even begin to explain to you how that works or how I found it. These things have been active on me for most of my life I just didn't have names for what it was.

All sounds rather hokey and mystical I know but these things are a normal part of all of us that is in operation all the time. We just never usually learn how to consciously make use of and control it.

Rob Watson
01-01-2010, 12:09 PM
The best 'tip' is from the founder 'daily practice'.