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Conrad Gus
03-31-2010, 04:29 PM
I find it so interesting that a lot of the threads on aikiweb seem to be going in two different directions.

1. People who are asserting that the study of "internal power" has gone missing or become inauthentic in aikido in general. Much discussion of what it is, why nobody really has it, how to get it back, etc. (Ellis Amdur's "Hidden in Plain Sight" et al)

See thread: http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17673

2. People who feel that aikido in general has lost its focus on martial effectiveness and devolved into something close to spiritual/mystical game-playing.

See thread: http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=254762

I've spent most of my aikido life doing pretty main-line aikikai aikido, which in my opinion is usually a pretty good halfway between the two extremes of super-hard and super-soft. I have also trained with really rough-and-tumble and all the way on the other side with people who do ki-waza. While I have my own opinions on things, I have to say that I've learned valuable things from people on both ends of the spectrum.

Could it be that it is not so black or white? Perhaps the hardest-core aikido brutes are still using internal power, and the flakiest aikido wizards are actually practicing martial techniques, just in a really far-out way?

Conrad

mathewjgano
03-31-2010, 05:24 PM
I find it so interesting that a lot of the threads on aikiweb seem to be going in two different directions.

1. People who are asserting that the study of "internal power" has gone missing or become inauthentic in aikido in general. Much discussion of what it is, why nobody really has it, how to get it back, etc. (Ellis Amdur's "Hidden in Plain Sight" et al)
...
2. People who feel that aikido in general has lost its focus on martial effectiveness and devolved into something close to spiritual/mystical game-playing.

My sense of things is that these two lines of thinking are often used to support each other against the idea that what many folks in Aikido are practicing is a :do: of :ai: :ki: . The premise, again as I've perceived it, being that having a strong physical ability in using aiki is having martially effective waza and is even required to even call it "aikido".

I have to say that I've learned valuable things from people on both ends of the spectrum.
Conrad
I don't have much experience to draw from yet, but every time I've interacted with a different approach, I've learned something. The body reflects the training, so paying attention to the different methods expressed in different systems, styles, schools, and individuals should at least make for a well-rounded body of our own...my theory at least.
One of these days (famous last words:o ) I intend to get some hands on with some of those folks who have been repeatedly noted for their internal ability. That way I'll be able to at least compare approach if I'm not exactly able to percieve what it is that's going on. I'm pretty sure I've been taught some aspects of aiki, both with Sensei Barrish and with the Himeji Shodokan school I attended even more briefly...and I repeatedly wish I had stuck with my training in some kind of consistent manner so I had more to offer than I do. That said:
Yet one more reiteration from this peanut gallery.
Take care,
Matt

Aikibu
03-31-2010, 05:27 PM
Are you saying Aikido and Duality should not mix? LOL ;)

William Hazen

JW
03-31-2010, 05:28 PM
Hi Conrad, I'm not sure what you mean, regarding the relationship between the internal power folks' posts and hardness/toughness points of view. To me kokyuu is both hard and soft (soft in how you do it, powerful in effect on others).

I certainly agree that you can find people who mix bits of internal power and woo-woo stuff. And I agree that spirituality and martial effectiveness and internal power can all be found to co-occur or not-- there is no reason to think that such things will always go in a certain way hand-in-hand. I think there is a relationship between these 3 things, but it doesn't mean that the people out there are predictable with regard to what ratios they employ.

One of my favorite examples of respectable internal training combined with woo-woo attitude are the videos of Okamoto from Daito-ryu-- his teaching is clearly valuable, but the ukes in those videos.... sometimes they make me wonder.

MM
03-31-2010, 07:02 PM
Could it be that it is not so black or white? Perhaps the hardest-core aikido brutes are still using internal power, and the flakiest aikido wizards are actually practicing martial techniques, just in a really far-out way?

Conrad

There's a really great explanation for why it isn't black and white.

1. If you haven't ever gotten hands on with someone who has aiki to a decent level and can use it proficiently, then there will always be debates online and offline about what aiki is or isn't.

2. If you actually have gotten hands on with someone who has aiki to a decent level and can use it proficiently, then all debate is over. Period.

Which means, bluntly, that if you're still debating what aiki is or isn't, then you're in category 1. And if you have an open mind, you can track down the people in category 2 and ask them about their experiences because so far it's pretty much 100% consensus on what aiki is.

And, to me, neither "the hardest-core aikido brutes" or "the flakiest aikido wizards" are doing aiki. Hence, all the debate about what aiki is because they're still in category 1.

There is a very good reason why every jujutsu man, every judo man, every kendo man, every boxer, every sumo man who ever tested Ueshiba came away, 1) bested and 2) with the knowledge that what they had just encountered was entirely and completely different. These men had "been around the block a time or two", had worked with many other high level martial artists, and had some high level skills themselves. If they had encountered yet another high level jujutsu person, it would have been, same ole, same ole. It wasn't.

Now you have boxers, MMA people, judo people, aikido people, Daito ryu people, taiji people, etc testing someone with decent aiki skills and coming away 1) bested and 2) with the knowledge that what they had just encountered was entirely and completely different -- it was aiki.

Nothing new under the sun ... just history reasserting itself. :)

asiawide
03-31-2010, 10:35 PM
Mike Sigman, Dan Harden, and Akuzawa Minoru are quite well known in aikiweb. If you have some money and time, why don't you visit one of them? I choosed Akuzawa sensei and got very much satisfied like many(or some?) others. Just visit him(Sigman or DH too..) Or start saving money and time for visit them right now. :)

Ellis Amdur
04-01-2010, 12:16 AM
HI Mark -

I know of two times when Ueshiba was at his peak that he was defeated - there may be others. The one I am not at liberty to say - but there is no doubt. (And no, I won't write it to anyone in a PM either:rolleyes: )

The other is kind of funny. Doc Warner (http://www.docwarner.com/index.html) - the famous one-legged kendo man. He and Donn Draeger visited Ueshiba, who grandiosely proclaimed that he could disarm even a trained military man who drew a gun on him - and furthermore, he could do this when menaced from behind. Warner said that he doubted that. (I do not recall if this was still GHQ days, when he was armed with a real gun, or they had a replica).
Anyway, Ueshiba turned his back and Warner, as requested, pointed his gun in Ueshiba's back. Quick as thought, Ueshiba whirled and took the pipe out of Warner's left hand, while he continued to point his gun, held close to his hip with his right.:)

I am not disputing your basic premise, Mark, just not as an absolute.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Michael Varin
04-01-2010, 04:30 AM
Anyway, Ueshiba turned his back and Warner, as requested, pointed his gun in Ueshiba's back. Quick as thought, Ueshiba whirled and took the pipe out of Warner's left hand, while he continued to point his gun, held close to his hip with his right.:)

I am not disputing your basic premise, Mark, just not as an absolute.

Not so fast, Ellis.

Even if the gun was loaded, Ueshiba would have just dodged the bullet. You know, he could do that too. ;)

MM
04-01-2010, 06:26 AM
HI Mark -

I know of two times when Ueshiba was at his peak that he was defeated - there may be others. The one I am not at liberty to say - but there is no doubt. (And no, I won't write it to anyone in a PM either:rolleyes: )

The other is kind of funny. Doc Warner (http://www.docwarner.com/index.html) - the famous one-legged kendo man. He and Donn Draeger visited Ueshiba, who grandiosely proclaimed that he could disarm even a trained military man who drew a gun on him - and furthermore, he could do this when menaced from behind. Warner said that he doubted that. (I do not recall if this was still GHQ days, when he was armed with a real gun, or they had a replica).
Anyway, Ueshiba turned his back and Warner, as requested, pointed his gun in Ueshiba's back. Quick as thought, Ueshiba whirled and took the pipe out of Warner's left hand, while he continued to point his gun, held close to his hip with his right.:)

I am not disputing your basic premise, Mark, just not as an absolute.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Hi Ellis,

Thanks for the post! The second story is great. Never heard that one before.

You'd think I'd learn to stay away from absolutes. :)

Mark

ChrisHein
04-01-2010, 10:43 AM
2. If you actually have gotten hands on with someone who has aiki to a decent level and can use it proficiently, then all debate is over. Period.

This one is interesting to me. So NO ONE who has met any of these people has disputed what they are saying? Who gets to be in this club, and how much is membership? Because it sounds like a pretty done deal the way you are describing it here.

What is the control? How can one with what you call "Aiki" show that they have it, other then through opinion? I guess what I'm asking here is, how can one "prove" they have this ability you're calling "Aiki", other then your peers simply saying that you do?

What is a sound way to test for what you call "Aiki"?

Rob Watson
04-01-2010, 11:06 AM
I know of two times when Ueshiba was at his peak that he was defeated - there may be others. The one I am not at liberty to say - but there is no doubt.

Also the time when faced by the professional hunter .. not actually defeated but backed down as it was obvious the shot would hit home. Dodging not an option or there would be no need to back down.

Inspirational, yes, but deification is not required. Self delusion even gets the best of them. We are our own worst enemy-sometimes.

chillzATL
04-01-2010, 12:49 PM
This one is interesting to me. So NO ONE who has met any of these people has disputed what they are saying? Who gets to be in this club, and how much is membership? Because it sounds like a pretty done deal the way you are describing it here.

What is the control? How can one with what you call "Aiki" show that they have it, other then through opinion? I guess what I'm asking here is, how can one "prove" they have this ability you're calling "Aiki", other then your peers simply saying that you do?

What is a sound way to test for what you call "Aiki"?

What is there to dispute? Once you feel it it's hard to be skeptical. I haven't had the pleasure of working with any of the big dogs yet. The people who will let you come at them with everything you've got. I would love to get that opportunity, but that's just because I want to feel it at that level, body be damned. I certainly don't need to in order to be convinced though. What was demonstrated from the people I have felt, who have worked with those guys, was more than enough to convince me that this is something I want to be doing.

Conrad Gus
04-01-2010, 01:15 PM
There's a really great explanation for why it isn't black and white.

1. If you haven't ever gotten hands on with someone who has aiki to a decent level and can use it proficiently, then there will always be debates online and offline about what aiki is or isn't.

2. If you actually have gotten hands on with someone who has aiki to a decent level and can use it proficiently, then all debate is over. Period.

Which means, bluntly, that if you're still debating what aiki is or isn't, then you're in category 1. And if you have an open mind, you can track down the people in category 2 and ask them about their experiences because so far it's pretty much 100% consensus on what aiki is.


I consider myself in category 2. I just don't think it is as difficult to find as some people are making it out to be. I also reject the "100% consensus" claim.

There are lots of really great senseis and they all have this skill. I just don't believe that training with Akuzawa Minoru or one of the other members of the alleged modern "aiki pantheon" would be that different.

My point is that I think some people are drawing the line WAY too finely. It's the same old "my dad is tougher than your dad" debate, which tends to blind us to the joy of diversity and the unique perspective of people from different walks or traditions.

Having said that, everyone has the right to call BS on something if they want to. (I suppose that's what I just did).

Are there any other moderates on this forum?

crbateman
04-01-2010, 02:13 PM
Are there any other moderates on this forum?Maybe... Maybe not... ;)

Brian Griffith
04-01-2010, 02:39 PM
Having said that, everyone has the right to call BS on something if they want to. (I suppose that's what I just did).

Would you mind clarifing that....do you mean you have hands-on experience w/one of these men (or an equal in skill perhaps) and still call it BS....I am very curious as to why you think that. I have always wondered if there was someone out there who had felt it and wasn't impressed.

Brian

Budd
04-01-2010, 03:00 PM
Some thoughts:

1) I'm surprised this hasn't been moved to the Non-Aikido forum

2) For most people, if you haven't gotten hands on with people that do "this stuff" (and are actually vetted as doing this stuff by others that have a clue about this stuff), then you should because you most likely aren't speaking from an educated perspective. That's just the way it is, sorry.

3) Usually even after you've gotten hands on people that do "this stuff" then you're often (due to the newness threshold) restricted to parroting what youv'e been told, until you've spent the time actually wiring "this stuff" into your body so that it's the default way in which you move.

4) Not all people that do "this stuff" are doing the same things even if they're working within the confines of the basic principles that "this stuff" must follow. Most don't disagree with this . . however, where the disconnect happens (typically) is when one person that does "this stuff" then talks about the stuff that another person that does . . "this stuff" is doing . . filter it because they may not know or have as complete a picture of "this stuff" as they indicate even if they know more about "this stuff" than you -- see Number 2.

5) If Number 4 seems confusing the simple version is go see each person for yourself and form your own opinion (while understanding that the value of the opinion you form may be limited by how little you know . .see how confusing and viscious a circle this becomes even via the "simple version").

6) A caution about Number 5 - if you do a little bit of "this stuff" from Person A . .then a little of "this stuff" from Person B . . then a little of "this stuff" from Person C . . the likelihood of you getting anywhere is not very high. The self-service approach is defeated by the initial assumption that you have enough of a clue to decide "what's important to practice" before you have any real and/or demonstrable abilities.

7) It takes a lot of lonely time training individually to condition "this stuff" because a) it's such a different way of moving b) it's not intuitive c) it's not something you automatically get from repeating techniques over and over . .

8) There is no shortcut to getting a) a foot in the door with the basics b) spending the time conditioning your body to burn in the basics c) doing the mental work to figure out how to improve and continue making progress while developing/adhering to the basics

9) Having a black belt in X . . being a shihan in Y . . being able to beat up Z . . means nothing in terms of whether or not you can do "this stuff" . . it's not a knock in terms of the dedication you've shown your training or how tough you are . . it just means you didn't learn/weren't taught the basics of internal strength correctly and therefore didn't put the time in to build on the basics (see Number 8)

10) As you practice "this stuff" your body changes and the same things don't work on you the same way as they used to . . this does not mean you don't help a partner practice or learn by proving your invincibility to any technique they throw at you

11) There is a possibility that improving your abilities with IS will create a perceived threat within a traditional organization that does not openly address this skillset . . or your abilities will be ignored, or written off . . or . .(spin the wheel and pick one - bottom line, it's not necessarily going to make you a hero at the place you train) (see Number 10)

12) I have limited practice applying this in more freestyle environments as I've been spending a lot of time just building the requisite conditioning . . after my next child is born I hope to change that this fall by starting with the local BJJ and MMA places to visit and make new friends :) But the experimentations within live grappling environments showed me that even basic-level "foot in the door" abilities yielded a pretty significant return

13) Nobody is invincible - no matter what they or their publicists tell you (see Number 10)

14) Yes, I've gotten hands on more than one person acknowledged as doing "this stuff"

15) A lot of people believe they are "already doing that". Incorrectly so, in my opinion (which is only worth exactly that), but there you go.

16) If you aren't interested or don't care about Internal Strength, cool, but that doesn't diminish from it's connections to the development and history of many Asian martial traditions.

17) Just because you have skills in IS, it doesn't mean you can fight with it (nor does it mean you necessarily need to be able to . . just helps to understand rather than assume what you're training towards and have an empirical way of benchmarking if you're meeting those goals or not - if it's just training for the sake of training without measurable goals, cool, so long as that's understood up front)

18) Hmm I think I've yammered more than enough . .

19) Brain dump terminating for now . .

20) Are you really still reading this?

AsimHanif
04-01-2010, 03:02 PM
I tend to agree with you Conrad. I think it comes down to access and experience. I've never felt any of the people on this forum who profess to have ‘something' that according to them is missing in aikido (btw- I disagree). I have trained with people (in various martial arts) who can do some amazing ‘aiki' stuff but I've never felt so overwhelmed by their ‘ki' that I was unable or unwilling to strike them. I have felt people who claim to have some level of contact with this "alleged modern aiki pantheon", so maybe at some point I'll be able to feel their progress. I also plan on visiting one of these instructors at some point but I honestly doubt that they'll do something that causes me to rethink my current path…but I'm open to the possibility.
I've come to believe that people can manifest ‘ki' in many different ways depending on what you have to work with and how you go about developing it further. So yes, I definitely consider myself a moderate and I've learned not to drink the Kool-aid.

A'

Conrad Gus
04-01-2010, 04:02 PM
Would you mind clarifing that....do you mean you have hands-on experience w/one of these men (or an equal in skill perhaps) and still call it BS....I am very curious as to why you think that. I have always wondered if there was someone out there who had felt it and wasn't impressed.

Sorry, that was unclear. I didn't mean that I don't believe these teachers have internal skills. I totally believe the glowing testimonials here and elsewhere about these specific teachers. I would love to try training with them. What I am not buying is the assertion that everyone else is just doing either physical-based technique or mind games pretending to be aiki.

I'm also willing to admit that there are probably teachers that do one or both of these two things (technique-only training or mind games training). Contact with such teachers is probably what has led some people to argue through induction that it's true of most people other than the ones they know for sure are "for real".

As I said before, I'm a moderate. ;-)

chillzATL
04-01-2010, 04:18 PM
Sorry, that was unclear. I didn't mean that I don't believe these teachers have internal skills. I totally believe the glowing testimonials here and elsewhere about these specific teachers. I would love to try training with them. What I am not buying is the assertion that everyone else is just doing either physical-based technique or mind games pretending to be aiki.

I'm also willing to admit that there are probably teachers that do one or both of these two things (technique-only training or mind games training). Contact with such teachers is probably what has led some people to argue through induction that it's true of most people other than the ones they know for sure are "for real".

As I said before, I'm a moderate. ;-)

You just don't know what you don't know. You have an idea of body mechanics, extension, timing, relaxation, etc, and you think that this is just that, but more/better. While there may be some conceptual similarities, it is significantly different in both practice and application.

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2010, 06:22 PM
Great post Budd

Conrad Gus
04-01-2010, 06:24 PM
You just don't know what you don't know. You have an idea of body mechanics, extension, timing, relaxation, etc, and you think that this is just that, but more/better. While there may be some conceptual similarities, it is significantly different in both practice and application.

Absolutely correct; I don't know what I don't know. Also true: you don't know what I don't know (or, for that matter, what I do know).

I think we've reached the outer limits of the usefulness of internet discussion. :)

ChrisHein
04-01-2010, 08:02 PM
The problem I have with the "you have to feel a guy who has it" thing is: A if they are not near you, why would you spend the time and money to track down something that is likely not worth it? And B there is not control with this, what is happening could be some kind of placebo effect.

There must be some tangible proof. Something outside of, this and that guy say, or "I felt it, it is amazing", or 5 years ago so-and-so beat up a professional fighter. Something other then, you just have to feel someone who has it. If nothing else you should be able to film someone "feeling it", and we could see what happened to them when they "felt it".

Budd
04-01-2010, 08:21 PM
The problem I have with the "you have to feel a guy who has it" thing is: A if they are not near you, why would you spend the time and money to track down something that is likely not worth it? And B there is not control with this, what is happening could be some kind of placebo effect.

There must be some tangible proof. Something outside of, this and that guy say, or "I felt it, it is amazing", or 5 years ago so-and-so beat up a professional fighter. Something other then, you just have to feel someone who has it. If nothing else you should be able to film someone "feeling it", and we could see what happened to them when they "felt it".

Chris, I don't really have any answers that I think will satisfy you - I think if there's any opportunity to get to the Mike Sigman seminar in San Fran coming up, you absolutely should go - it's an excellent foot in the door to "this stuff".

On the other hand, I would still stick by the story that "it has to be felt" and "it's different". Because that's been my experience. I grew up playing judo and wrestling, competed in contact karate, did some boxing and have mixed it up with enough people that like to hit/submit that I'm not going to just blow smoke or be hypnotized.

Having said that, there's people that are convinced they are "already doing that" after a seminar on internal strength as well. So, I think people "do" have different experiences. I think between Mike Sigman and Akuzawa getting out in the west coast, those would be the best bets if you didn't want to do a Chen style seminar with one of the bigger names (depending on what's being taught, you might not get to really feel the goods anyways).

YMMV

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2010, 09:07 PM
Chris, for me it the experience was worth it in all cases...having spent weekends with Mike, Ark, Toby, and Ushiro. All different in their own ways, however, all are able to replicate over and over what they are doing.

Application and use are an entirely different subject. What they all showed was principle based and fundamental in nature, and rightfully so.

How can you move on to the real thing if you can't even replicate the basics.

It was not hard for me to see points where what they were doing would be very useful or applicable in various martial situations, and I have been trying to integrate what I learned in my practices with varying degrees of success.

If nothing else, I have watched others folks that I study with and I can now tell when they are doing things correctly and when they are not, and I can tell when I am and when I am not.

I tend to be pragmatic...so I have not jumped off the deep end and bought the farm on abandoning all I am doing and become a aiki zealot or thrown out my other practices.

Now it may slow me down or even prevent me from gaining any real aiki ability...but even if that is the case...that is okay with me.

One thing is for certain, I now can talk clearly about what it is that they are talking about, how it feels, and how to train it...and I do agree that I really did not understand it until I got with them.

Did that mean that my other teachers were void of aiki? no...not at all...infact alot of them do alot of things that are inclusive of aiki.

However, I do know now when they are not using aiki and are doing something else. It has giving me skill sets and concepts that allow me to better assess my training and translate what I am being taught.

For that reason, it has been most useful training this way.

Budd
04-01-2010, 09:27 PM
Well, Kevin, with your experiences - it may be helpful to share how you are defining aiki and when someone is or isn't using it . . since I'm curious as to how other teachers were inclusive of it . . which periphery were they at versus missing the meat . . might help define it out better for those that are wondering if they have done it already prior to working with someone that is focusing on that topic.

Erick Mead
04-01-2010, 09:34 PM
I think we've reached the outer limits of the usefulness of internet discussion. :) Not actually true. There are far horizons beyond that point, but few have the patience, and even fewer the charity, to go there. :)

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2010, 10:44 PM
Budd, fair enough.

I am more about the feel and doing it than I am about trying to nail down the physics or nailing down exactly what is going on "scientifically".

Frankly I am really not smart enough to do that.

For example up at your dojo Mike Sigman "hit" me in the chest in such a way that it essentially provided no proprioceptive feedback until the point of impact which was a tremendous amount of force that went into my core. This, of course, was from minimal investment (economy) of force.

Other than from what I observed/felt, I cannot tell you really what is being done...only from what MIke was able to expain to me. He then tried to teach me how to do it, and of course, I could not, and he showed me why and where I was "bleeding" out energy.

That is all I can really say about it.

Same experiences from all the IS guys.

So, for me...I can imagine an application for that, say in a CQB situaiton where I want to maintain my balance/economy, yet deliver an efficient transfer of energy into my opponent.

What interest me, and my BJJ experiences are the same, is moving in the most efficient manner possible with the reduction of transmission of feedback to my opponent and with such economy that I can place energy/effort in the exact places I need to to effect the situation.

My experiences in BJJ says that if you can reduce feedback, then your opponent can't react to you or "orient" on you (OODA), and you can beat him.

JW
04-01-2010, 10:58 PM
For example up at your dojo Mike Sigman "hit" me in the chest in such a way that it essentially provided no proprioceptive feedback until the point of impact which was a tremendous amount of force

Hi Kevin, it might not be universally clear why you brought up the "hit" in relation to be asked about aiki. I'm sure we can all see the martial utility of that, and my personal opinion is that it is strongly related to aiki, but I doubt that I would have seen the relationship to aiki several years ago.
So do you also have any "experience reports" on more classically aiki ideas, like being made to lose balance on contact, or having your power base drained, or something like that?
Thanks for sharing.

Budd
04-01-2010, 11:21 PM
Hi Kevin - well and not even looking at it "scientifically" per se . . but you indicated that you could tell when people were using aiki in your previous post, so I'm curious - after getting hands on the various people . . and then the prior teachers that had glimpses of aiki . . is aiki . . as you say - the delivery of force - or the reduction of bleeding out energy/power?

Is it efficiency of movement - that reduces the bleed of energy/power? Is that the "harmony" of aiki? If so . . how is it trained to a level that is usable? I postulated above that it requires a massive and dedicated undertaking dedicated to just that . . independent of thoughts of application or martial art necessarily . . because . . you have to build up the abilities before you understand how you can apply it . .does that makes sense? (beyond moving efficiently and being able to withstand/return/deliver a lot of power)

Because what tends to happen is that people train towards the feats and application - BEFORE - building up the requisite conditioning of the body to move and behave appropriately. Then a complete martial art integrates that behavior into a delivery system that best exploits it.

My opinion - FWIW

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2010, 11:41 PM
Jonathan, yea sure. I mean, I think once you have the ability and experience to control yourself efficiently and once you can "read" your opponent in various orientations, then you have the ability to access and manipulate the core of your opponent...or respond in such a way that, if "behind", allows you to "get ahead" again.

I might look at things differently than many. I don't really concern myself anymore with "throwing" or off balancing anyone per se. Or focusing on the orientation of technique.

For me, it is all about what can be summed up in the concept of OODA. either I am "ahead" of my opponent, or "behind".

if I am ahead, then I am in control and he is reactive to me, and I am in a position to control his "center" and dominate. I can keep him disoriented and "off balance". This can be mentally or physically.

If I am behind, then he is doing it to me, and I need to "get back ahead".

What I see as the value of aiki is it allows me to maintain efficiently if I am ahead...giving him little or no feedback to "orient" on.

if I am behind, then it allows me to "hide" or reduce feedback and then access power in positions in which I am not in control or off balanced. I can then redirect that power and short circut the process and gain control again.

It can be translated into movement to gain a more dominate posture/position, or it can be translated into a return of power in which I can transfer energy through shoves, punches, grabs, etc that off balance, allowing me to gain control.

To me, it is not important any longer what I do to my opponent, in the sense that I am trying to do something to him such as throw him, off balance, or strike...but more important what I am doing with myself.

If I am doing right by me and moving correctly and working my body correctly...then things simply happen.

Sure, I have to "listen" to my opponent and respond appropriately. But the receptors of listening are in my own body and I have to listen to myself.

Making that switch to stop worrying about what I am doing to him and what I am doing inside myself was key I think.

Shit just "happens" now. Sometimes good...most of the time...meh....

But, I am finding as I go about training though that more good stuff is happening than bad.

Call it aiki or whatever else you want to call it....

I simply saw a common thread in all the guys that I felt moved well, and that had to do with what they were doing inside themselves and not so much what they were doing to the other guy.

A distinct difference and shift I think, than what I was focused on before.

Anyway, you see the utility I think when you do stuff like iriminage and especially kaeshi waza...and you realize that you can walk the edge much better and control or feel what nage is doing and play with it on a thread...it becomes fun...and you begin to read energy and when folks are doing a good job of using it efficiently and when they are not.

It has little or nothing, IMO, to do with throwing or moving your feet, or the position you are in..and everything to do with the FEEL.

well....I am just babbeling now, but I think maybe you see my perspective in here somewhere! lol!

Kevin Leavitt
04-02-2010, 12:24 AM
Hi Kevin - well and not even looking at it "scientifically" per se . . but you indicated that you could tell when people were using aiki in your previous post, so I'm curious - after getting hands on the various people . . and then the prior teachers that had glimpses of aiki . . is aiki . . as you say - the delivery of force - or the reduction of bleeding out energy/power?

Is it efficiency of movement - that reduces the bleed of energy/power? Is that the "harmony" of aiki? If so . . how is it trained to a level that is usable? I postulated above that it requires a massive and dedicated undertaking dedicated to just that . . independent of thoughts of application or martial art necessarily . . because . . you have to build up the abilities before you understand how you can apply it . .does that makes sense? (beyond moving efficiently and being able to withstand/return/deliver a lot of power)

Because what tends to happen is that people train towards the feats and application - BEFORE - building up the requisite conditioning of the body to move and behave appropriately. Then a complete martial art integrates that behavior into a delivery system that best exploits it.

My opinion - FWIW

Budd, I just spent about 15 minutes replying to this...and my damned browser jacked it up. I don't have the energy to retype it (sorry).

In short, I agree with your statement that sure, you have to condition yourself and buidl up to it to "generate alot of power".

However, I also don't believe that you can't train towards something and implement "some power" while you do so.

I am "more powerful" than I was before I did aiki. I DO train in AIki ways...and it has helped me.

However, I am NOT a purist, nor do I ever expect to perfect or obtain the level of training that guys like Mike Sigman or Ark have achieved.

No, my goals or much more immediate and pragmatic. I need to be able to F-up bad guys in a matter of months...so I personally don't have years to get there. If I can generate more power than I did two years ago..than I view myself as having achieved something worthwile.

I personally feel my training and exposure to IS has helped me.

Now, if I get back with Mike Sigman, I am sure he will say, meh...no progress.

Two different perspectives on things. I think most folks in Aiki/Aikido are concerned with perfection and the intellectual/theorteical pursuit of budo...which is a good thing...I am too.

However, I am not willing, nor can I personally risk "experimenting" with this stuff and delaying/retarding my training to the future.

I need to be better than I was yesterday....TODAY.

So while the purist will use Jo tricks, push hands, etc to fine tune and "judge" growth.....

I like to put on Blauer suits and have a non-compliant guy that weighs 250 or more try and jack me up.

Am I using Aiki do control him?

This thought does not enter my mind. I am trying to protect myself and jack him up instead.

So, I take a video camera or have a coach tell me how I am doing.

If I am doing better than I was last year...then I am happy with my training and something must be going right.

Aikido/Aiki training I believe has helped me in that area. That is all I can say about Aiki when you get down to it.

I do know I can feel and I am more sensitive to movement/pressure and feel than I used to be..and I fight very relaxed, slow, and can find center/core etc better in these situations...and I am able to move my opponents in tight situations better....the more Aiki like training I do...the better I seem to be do this.

So, to me, this is what matters and not much else.

Naw...my raw aiki abilities...they suck, I can't do much right really as maybe alot of guys can.

I'll have to wait until I get hands on with Dan Harden it looks like and have Dan give me the feedback of how aiki I am or not.

Budd, I really wish we had the time to get together and train some. It'd be cool to have this discussion and do some rolling etc so we could better communicate about what we are doing and what we are not doing.

I think I'd learn alot from you by doing this!

ChrisHein
04-02-2010, 12:41 AM
Kevin I think you bring up a valuable point about being ahead of your opponent. I think the ability to lead (to be ahead) of your opponent is what "Aiki", as I would call it, is all about.

However I don't think this has much to do with what I hear some people calling "Aiki". From what I hear, and again I've never "felt" any of these people, "it" sounds like power development methods. Which is useful and great, but not what I would call "Aiki".

The majority of what I call "Aiki" has to do with rhythm and timing. The ability to lead your attackers mind. Using his idea of what he thinks is happening against him. Staying "ahead" is key in a practice like this, and while efficiency in the way you develop power would help, it's only a small part of the puzzle.

Being able to bait your attacker, to make him feel as if he can commit full force to his attack is key. Being able to perceive what is happing in the larger picture, while under pressure, is extra important. To find the rhythm of your attacker, and use it against him, is at the heart of this kind of practice. These are the major skills I would say are important in order to achieve an "Aiki" interaction.

Michael Varin
04-02-2010, 01:38 AM
I don't see why Kevin should have to define aiki or explain what he understands it to be.

Kevin is one of the guys who consistently wants to openly discuss things, train, and improve.

The burden is on the people who insist on equating "internal strength" or "internal training" with "aiki" to provide that definition, which I believe has yet to be provided.

I maintain that what is being described is more appropriately called "kokyu ryoku" or "kokyu" than aiki in aikido vernacular.

This is not to discredit the skills, but just to accurately discuss them.

There seems to be much confusion over the basic elements of our art: aiki, ki musubi, awase, kokyu, kiai, maai, mu shin, tai sabaki, etc.

asiawide
04-02-2010, 04:50 AM
What should one do if he/she can't find any rhythm or timing against uke? And the worse(?) the uke isn't a 70 years old master but just an average joe/jane who began to learn a martial arts some years ago?

Some people might say, 'hey that's not a correct attack, you shouldn't do so in aikido. rush rush relax relax!' If I were the nage, I would ask, 'hey, where did you get that skill??'

Fred Little
04-02-2010, 08:01 AM
Having said that, there's people that are convinced they are "already doing that" after a seminar on internal strength as well. YMMV

Hey Budd!

I figure I was certainly always "already doing that"...as long as we don't define "that" too carefully and treat dabbling in general theoretical knowledge of electronics and radio waves as if it were exactly the same as really being able to build an FM transmission tower and then actually cranking the sucker up and broadcasting. :eek:

Best,

FL

Budd
04-02-2010, 08:07 AM
Hey Budd!

I figure I was certainly always "already doing that"...as long as we don't define "that" too carefully and treat dabbling in general theoretical knowledge of electronics and radio waves as if it were exactly the same as really being able to build an FM transmission tower and then actually cranking the sucker up and broadcasting. :eek:

Best,

FL

Fred, clearly "that" is exactly "that" . . yannowhatahmsayin . .

phitruong
04-02-2010, 09:12 AM
Some thoughts:



you got to stop put all my thoughts together like that. now we have nothing to discuss about. :)

Adman
04-02-2010, 09:22 AM
The burden is on the people who insist on equating "internal strength" or "internal training" with "aiki" to provide that definition, which I believe has yet to be provided.

I maintain that what is being described is more appropriately called "kokyu ryoku" or "kokyu" than aiki in aikido vernacular.

This is not to discredit the skills, but just to accurately discuss them.

There seems to be much confusion over the basic elements of our art: aiki, ki musubi, awase, kokyu, kiai, maai, mu shin, tai sabaki, etc.

Here's what I've got on my scorecard:

1.) Ki/kokyu = Internal skill/strength/conditioning

2.) Aiki = Interaction with another while using #1.

2a.) Aiki = term used in place of definition #1, or as a sub-set of #2 in referring to "aiki" within oneself.

2b.) Aiki = Strategy of an encounter, not dependent on #1. Although it would be helpful to have a full toolbox.

Sorry for the numbered list thing. Budd got me started.

Adam

MM
04-02-2010, 09:22 AM
For me, it is all about what can be summed up in the concept of OODA. either I am "ahead" of my opponent, or "behind".

if I am ahead, then I am in control and he is reactive to me, and I am in a position to control his "center" and dominate. I can keep him disoriented and "off balance". This can be mentally or physically.


Put in terms of OODA, with aiki, you're going to be "ahead" and the opponent won't even know it. Well, unless the opponent has aiki. :)

Some of the common things I hear from people who work freestyle with someone who has aiki are:

I feel like I'm always behind.

I feel like I'm too slow.

He's too quick.

I can't get ahead of him.

Personally, I can attest to the "feelings", but mentally, I know they aren't exactly "right".

For example, it isn't a matter of speed, although with aiki the slack is removed so the body does move quicker. It's more to do with having an untrained, unstructured body which contacts an aiki body. That creates an affect on the un-aiki body which causes a host of issues in which one has to overcome before smooth movement is achieved.

As a very basic, ugly example of this, picture standing on just your right leg with your left leg up in the air. What do you have to do if you want to step forward with your *right* foot? You have to set your left foot down on the ground, shift weight to that foot, lift the right foot and move it forward.

Now imagine that your hips become just slightly out of alignment, that a light load is hitting your right side, and that your shoulders are tightening up ever so slightly -- all at the same time and all started just as you touched someone who has an aiki body.

If you want to deliver any kind of efficient attack, you have to readjust hips, settle weight, and relax tight shoulder muscles, even if it's in minute quantities. Even if that only takes 1/2 of a second, you're still behind the loop at the moment of contact. It spirals (pun intended) downhill from there. But the feeling is the same. Behind, not quick enough, etc. You are literally fighting your own body at the same time you are sparring/randori/whatever with someone else.

Where the "aiki" comes into it is that aiki doesn't require physical movement to create this affect in uke. Aiki is built entirely within one's body -- a truly internal skill. Whereas in a lot of aikido, it's a basic teaching that to create kuzushi/off balance/whatever in another person, one uses timing and physical movements.

Put another way, if you have to use some sort of timing and/or some sort of physical movement to gain off balance, kuzushi, capture center, etc, then it isn't aiki.

(Note: To make matters even more confusing, even if you have trained in some sort of internal training and you can affect an off balance, kuzushi, etc without moving, that doesn't mean you're using aiki either. But that's a completely different topic/thread entirely.)

Budd
04-02-2010, 09:27 AM
Budd, I just spent about 15 minutes replying to this...and my damned browser jacked it up. I don't have the energy to retype it (sorry).

In short, I agree with your statement that sure, you have to condition yourself and buidl up to it to "generate alot of power".

However, I also don't believe that you can't train towards something and implement "some power" while you do so.

I am "more powerful" than I was before I did aiki. I DO train in AIki ways...and it has helped me.

However, I am NOT a purist, nor do I ever expect to perfect or obtain the level of training that guys like Mike Sigman or Ark have achieved.

No, my goals or much more immediate and pragmatic. I need to be able to F-up bad guys in a matter of months...so I personally don't have years to get there. If I can generate more power than I did two years ago..than I view myself as having achieved something worthwile.

I personally feel my training and exposure to IS has helped me.

Now, if I get back with Mike Sigman, I am sure he will say, meh...no progress.

Two different perspectives on things. I think most folks in Aiki/Aikido are concerned with perfection and the intellectual/theorteical pursuit of budo...which is a good thing...I am too.

However, I am not willing, nor can I personally risk "experimenting" with this stuff and delaying/retarding my training to the future.

I need to be better than I was yesterday....TODAY.

So while the purist will use Jo tricks, push hands, etc to fine tune and "judge" growth.....

I like to put on Blauer suits and have a non-compliant guy that weighs 250 or more try and jack me up.

Am I using Aiki do control him?

This thought does not enter my mind. I am trying to protect myself and jack him up instead.

So, I take a video camera or have a coach tell me how I am doing.

If I am doing better than I was last year...then I am happy with my training and something must be going right.

Aikido/Aiki training I believe has helped me in that area. That is all I can say about Aiki when you get down to it.

I do know I can feel and I am more sensitive to movement/pressure and feel than I used to be..and I fight very relaxed, slow, and can find center/core etc better in these situations...and I am able to move my opponents in tight situations better....the more Aiki like training I do...the better I seem to be do this.

So, to me, this is what matters and not much else.

Naw...my raw aiki abilities...they suck, I can't do much right really as maybe alot of guys can.

I'll have to wait until I get hands on with Dan Harden it looks like and have Dan give me the feedback of how aiki I am or not.

Budd, I really wish we had the time to get together and train some. It'd be cool to have this discussion and do some rolling etc so we could better communicate about what we are doing and what we are not doing.

I think I'd learn alot from you by doing this!

Hey Kevin, I'm sorry we never got to get together when I was in Central PA and you were in DC. I hope you do get to work out with Dan - I think you'll really have a great time and he's a lot of fun to train with.

I don't argue with any of your points in terms of needing ability sooner rather than later . . and I think this will be a major impediment/encumbrance (though not insurmountable) to any dojo or organization embracing this from the top down in that you have to take a step back and be willing to be a beginner/researcher/experimenter for a few years . . while not being too quick to make assumptions in application .. or creating problems for yourself (that will arise later as skills develop) by over-complicating applications that you build to to deliver AND train "this stuff".

I generally like the jujutsu, aikijujutsu, aiki-no-jutsu model . . as I think there's overlap in application of the shu/ha/ri translation we often see (learn the form, be the form, break the form) - all the while assuming that the driver of this is rewiring and retraining your body to first exhibit the outward traits of the exercise in a way that will also allow you to more slowly build the inner wirings, then the inner wirings drive the outward form more completely until you are able to break away from being fixed to any outward form . . not seeing a conflict with any style and it's a general map up a mountain in terms of beginning, middle and end (at which you then discover more mountains, woo).

Where I get somewhat tunnel-visioned - and indeed this will be part of my struggle as I look at potentially starting my own study group 1) to get people to train with on the stuff I want to work on for myself 2) to see if the model of training I've been incorporating for me will function as something to get others involved in (and at what level is it appropriate - for beginners, medium or advanced practitioners - these are the questions) . . but where I simplify it is outer shape (the aikido as developed by Ellis Amdur at Itten Dojo and I've pressure tested and somewhat extended into some of the later side training I've done in grappling and pugilistic settings) and then the inside "driver" - which has been the last couple years training and conditioning my body to exhibit and move with internal strength.

It's a long, ongoing and most likely lifetime process. But ask anyone that knew me five years ago - I was a handful on the mat then thanks to some genetic attributes and lots of training time logged. So, to some extent, I care less about being as martially competent I can be and am working more on the "cultivation" aspects of budo as I see them. Of course, a side benefit has been that I've gotten (in my opinion) martially even more competent and walk around at 20 lbs less then I did three years ago. So there's been lots of benefits aside from just building internal strength.

And a key to that has been to continue to analyze, scrutinize and research how this stuff is functioning inside me as I train it - trying my best to be mindful not to fall into "self-perception-disorder" nor getting too attached to any right or wrong answer until I've collected enough data. But, putting in the time to (at least in my head - yeah, there's an IQ/sanity/self-delusion threshold most likely) to give myself the chance to make an as-objective-as-possible determination. Then when I get the chance to level-set with someone that knows more . . take it. Then get to more seminars with more people to expand the playground . . rinse repeat . . but these last few years have been invaluable as spending time burning in the basics . . getting itchy to get out and play with more peeps - but gotta wait until next kid is born *impatiently taps foot*.

And last thing . . the jo-tricks, push hands, etc. The feats mean very little. What's more important . . can you capture another person's center on contact? Can you receive/return/direct forces from/into another person via mentally directing your inner stuffs (ki/qi . .old saying, "the mind leads the ki" this manifests physically and can be felt - which is why to get a foot in the door, it must be felt by someone that can do it to you and show you how to do it)?

That's one reason I circle back and ask for definitions on what people mean by ki/kokyu, etc. Michael, I understand kokyu as something of an application - how you physically handle the combination of tenchi/jin (heaven and earth, ground gravity, etc. external forces naturally acting on your body) as well as pressurizing your body with breath, intent -- as opposed to aiki - mentally arranging your ki (the wrapping of the connective tissue that connects the body together enables us to move all or none of us as a single unit) to handle/distribute/return those same external forces. Aiki then becomes how you direct/coordinate/harmonize with the forces already acting on you - in addition to making any additional force someone brings (say, an uke) as part of the overall equation . . thereby nullifying the attack, directing it back into them, etc. They are both/all part of the one/same thing in terms of IS, but describe explicit and discrete facets - depending on context. Same goes for all the buzzwords, both Asian and English, that we bandy about.

And I reserve the right to revisit and modify explanations on these things as I learn more . . I'm no expert, just fortunate to have a foot in the door and making it a priority to keep working on these things. But I don't see timing and rhythm as the predominant things to having "aiki" . . they're necessary in any engagement for sure . . as well as building blocks to learn more . . but there's definitely more to it.

Budd
04-02-2010, 09:40 AM
Put in terms of OODA, with aiki, you're going to be "ahead" and the opponent won't even know it. Well, unless the opponent has aiki. :)

Some of the common things I hear from people who work freestyle with someone who has aiki are:

I feel like I'm always behind.

I feel like I'm too slow.

He's too quick.

I can't get ahead of him.

Personally, I can attest to the "feelings", but mentally, I know they aren't exactly "right".

For example, it isn't a matter of speed, although with aiki the slack is removed so the body does move quicker. It's more to do with having an untrained, unstructured body which contacts an aiki body. That creates an affect on the un-aiki body which causes a host of issues in which one has to overcome before smooth movement is achieved.

As a very basic, ugly example of this, picture standing on just your right leg with your left leg up in the air. What do you have to do if you want to step forward with your *right* foot? You have to set your left foot down on the ground, shift weight to that foot, lift the right foot and move it forward.

Now imagine that your hips become just slightly out of alignment, that a light load is hitting your right side, and that your shoulders are tightening up ever so slightly -- all at the same time and all started just as you touched someone who has an aiki body.

If you want to deliver any kind of efficient attack, you have to readjust hips, settle weight, and relax tight shoulder muscles, even if it's in minute quantities. Even if that only takes 1/2 of a second, you're still behind the loop at the moment of contact. It spirals (pun intended) downhill from there. But the feeling is the same. Behind, not quick enough, etc. You are literally fighting your own body at the same time you are sparring/randori/whatever with someone else.

Where the "aiki" comes into it is that aiki doesn't require physical movement to create this affect in uke. Aiki is built entirely within one's body -- a truly internal skill. Whereas in a lot of aikido, it's a basic teaching that to create kuzushi/off balance/whatever in another person, one uses timing and physical movements.

Put another way, if you have to use some sort of timing and/or some sort of physical movement to gain off balance, kuzushi, capture center, etc, then it isn't aiki.

(Note: To make matters even more confusing, even if you have trained in some sort of internal training and you can affect an off balance, kuzushi, etc without moving, that doesn't mean you're using aiki either. But that's a completely different topic/thread entirely.)

Hmmmm Mark, I kinda want to push you to be more specific on that last point in this thread, but since I'm still developing all of my vocabulary around this I'll reserve arguing/debating it until some more time has passed or we can get hands on time in person.

chillzATL
04-02-2010, 09:49 AM
Mark and Budd, great posts there!

Aikibu
04-02-2010, 10:06 AM
Put in terms of OODA, with aiki, you're going to be "ahead" and the opponent won't even know it. Well, unless the opponent has aiki. :)


Some of the most interesting things Sensei used to say are "Aikido does not require physical strength of any sort to be effective" and "The fight is over the movement of the attack"

I have "felt" Sensei and he was a typical Japanese Postwar Male... 5 nothing and maybe 160 pounds...I am 6'2 250 with years of experience in other Martial Arts, Wrestling, and Boxing before I came to Aikido. I stayed because no matter what "attack" used the result was the same. back then I was in my prime and a handful if you sparred/fought with me. In fact I quit everything at one point until I came to Aikido because I fracking loved to brawl.

Anyway Aikido baffled me (well more like Sensei baffled me LOL) Now years later I understand what he meant.

I am sure Aiki is essential and very helpful part Mark....but I am not sure it's the only way to practice it...

I know some of you go on about how many years we poor Aikidoka have wasted blah blah blah...

There are times when Aikido just happens no matter what I do to understand it...Some dude comes after me hard.... I step and act and in the blink of an eye it's over... and my heartbeat has not bumped up an inch...Then there are other times where some dude and I get locked up in battle and in that moment I know I've lost because we're fighting and I am reacting not acting...

So I am with Chris Hein here...There is more to Aiki than just rigorous solo body training (which I practice most everyday by the way in the form of "mindful" Yoga and Kata) Aiki is a mindset and/or a "Martial Spirit" if you will. I eagerly welcome and await the opportunity to practice with the physical Aiki-Advocates....In the mean time... I guess I'll just plod along this path of self discovery trying to better understand the meaning behind Nishio Shihan's Aikido, and enjoying the company of everyone I meet along the way.

Lamenting what I can't experience or thinking others are less than because they don't practice the magic of Aiki is not Aiki at all... Nor is being jealous of someone who does...both are traps in which I choose not to waste my time... or as my Ranger Platoon Sargent used to say...

HAZEN! you don't have to be a Rock Star to play in the band...

Took me 20 years to figure that one out. :)

Let's see how many pages this goes...LOL

William Hazen

Eric Joyce
04-02-2010, 10:15 AM
Budd, I just spent about 15 minutes replying to this...and my damned browser jacked it up. I don't have the energy to retype it (sorry).

In short, I agree with your statement that sure, you have to condition yourself and buidl up to it to "generate alot of power".

However, I also don't believe that you can't train towards something and implement "some power" while you do so.

I am "more powerful" than I was before I did aiki. I DO train in AIki ways...and it has helped me.

However, I am NOT a purist, nor do I ever expect to perfect or obtain the level of training that guys like Mike Sigman or Ark have achieved.

No, my goals or much more immediate and pragmatic. I need to be able to F-up bad guys in a matter of months...so I personally don't have years to get there. If I can generate more power than I did two years ago..than I view myself as having achieved something worthwile.

I personally feel my training and exposure to IS has helped me.

Now, if I get back with Mike Sigman, I am sure he will say, meh...no progress.

Two different perspectives on things. I think most folks in Aiki/Aikido are concerned with perfection and the intellectual/theorteical pursuit of budo...which is a good thing...I am too.

However, I am not willing, nor can I personally risk "experimenting" with this stuff and delaying/retarding my training to the future.

I need to be better than I was yesterday....TODAY.

So while the purist will use Jo tricks, push hands, etc to fine tune and "judge" growth.....

I like to put on Blauer suits and have a non-compliant guy that weighs 250 or more try and jack me up.

Am I using Aiki do control him?

This thought does not enter my mind. I am trying to protect myself and jack him up instead.

So, I take a video camera or have a coach tell me how I am doing.

If I am doing better than I was last year...then I am happy with my training and something must be going right.

Aikido/Aiki training I believe has helped me in that area. That is all I can say about Aiki when you get down to it.

I do know I can feel and I am more sensitive to movement/pressure and feel than I used to be..and I fight very relaxed, slow, and can find center/core etc better in these situations...and I am able to move my opponents in tight situations better....the more Aiki like training I do...the better I seem to be do this.

So, to me, this is what matters and not much else.

Naw...my raw aiki abilities...they suck, I can't do much right really as maybe alot of guys can.

I'll have to wait until I get hands on with Dan Harden it looks like and have Dan give me the feedback of how aiki I am or not.

Budd, I really wish we had the time to get together and train some. It'd be cool to have this discussion and do some rolling etc so we could better communicate about what we are doing and what we are not doing.

I think I'd learn alot from you by doing this!

Nice post Kevin.

ChrisHein
04-02-2010, 11:09 AM
Here's what I've got on my scorecard:

1.) Ki/kokyu = Internal skill/strength/conditioning

2.) Aiki = Interaction with another while using #1.

2a.) Aiki = term used in place of definition #1, or as a sub-set of #2 in referring to "aiki" within oneself.

2b.) Aiki = Strategy of an encounter, not dependent on #1. Although it would be helpful to have a full toolbox.

Sorry for the numbered list thing. Budd got me started.

Adam

I really liked this!

Mark,

From what I read, it sounds to me, like you are suggesting that "Aiki", as you call it, is some form of energy that emanates from your (nage's) mind, and goes into your attackers body, and does something (drains energy, disrupts balance, bad stuff). Is this correct?

MM
04-02-2010, 11:26 AM
Some of the most interesting things Sensei used to say are "Aikido does not require physical strength of any sort to be effective" and "The fight is over the movement of the attack"

I have "felt" Sensei and he was a typical Japanese Postwar Male... 5 nothing and maybe 160 pounds...I am 6'2 250 with years of experience in other Martial Arts, Wrestling, and Boxing before I came to Aikido. I stayed because no matter what "attack" used the result was the same. back then I was in my prime and a handful if you sparred/fought with me. In fact I quit everything at one point until I came to Aikido because I fracking loved to brawl.

Anyway Aikido baffled me (well more like Sensei baffled me LOL) Now years later I understand what he meant.

I am sure Aiki is essential and very helpful part Mark....but I am not sure it's the only way to practice it...

I know some of you go on about how many years we poor Aikidoka have wasted blah blah blah...


Not wasted. I don't think you'll find anywhere in my posts where I say the time was wasted. In fact, in some posts, I specifically state there is more to aikido than just the physical aiki body skill.

I look at it in this way ... there are students of Takeda who went their own way. There are students of Ueshiba who went their own way. In the Japanese arts, there are more facets and aspects than just purely physical.

For followers of Shioda, why did Shioda manifest his aikido the way he did? What spirituality did he hold? What aspects of jujutsu did he keep? Repeat for Tomiki, Tohei, etc. There is a vast body of knowledge fractured down from Ueshiba that each student propagated.

Ueshiba himself said that you don't have to follow his spirituality exactly.

What I put forth is that aiki is a very complex internal body skill that was withheld from a lot of people -- Japanese and non-Japanese. Aiki is an internal body skill that makes a phenomenally vast difference in a martial encounter.


Lamenting what I can't experience or thinking others are less than because they don't practice the magic of Aiki is not Aiki at all... Nor is being jealous of someone who does...both are traps in which I choose not to waste my time... or as my Ranger Platoon Sargent used to say...

HAZEN! you don't have to be a Rock Star to play in the band...

Took me 20 years to figure that one out. :)

Let's see how many pages this goes...LOL

William Hazen

It's why I post, William. Not lamenting, not thinking less of others, not jealousy, not any of that. It's to get people to open their minds to the concept that maybe, just maybe, what they are doing is not really "aiki". To get people to open their minds that maybe, just maybe, the old adage of "20 year technique" is a rationalization because aiki is missing. To get people to question why history of Ueshiba and his students who were considered great is so different than the rest of aikido history. That aiki might be something completely different than what has been accepted as the "norm".

MM
04-02-2010, 12:18 PM
I really liked this!

Mark,

From what I read, it sounds to me, like you are suggesting that "Aiki", as you call it, is some form of energy that emanates from your (nage's) mind, and goes into your attackers body, and does something (drains energy, disrupts balance, bad stuff). Is this correct?

Hi Chris,

Not quite what I'd describe it as. Aiki is about you and not about uke or the attacker.

Aiki is maintaining self in a central equilibrium of infinite opposing spirals with no dedicated movements.

Or ... my spine is straight in the middle of me. When energy comes in from some point, say my wrist, then I have the appropriate spiraling energy going not only with that energy but also opposite it while maintaining multiple vectors of opposing spirals all around me. When I move, I am moving my feet from my mid-lower-spine connection and not my quad muscles so that I negate any dedicated weight shifts (loading the opposite foot for the step). The grabbed hand may move, but it does so connected to my centrally held body, which includes my opposite hand so that I negate any localized, dedicated muscular contractions in my arms or shoulders. It is my mind, my intent, and my focus which creates appropriate and subtle changes within my body to keep all of this going. It is my trained body which allows me to handle more and more energy which in turn allows my mind to create stronger and cleaner intent and focus. I am motion in stillness and stillness in motion.

And of course, after about 3 seconds, I lose it all. Or when I implement the motion part. :) But, hey, that's better than the 0.1 second of a year ago.

chillzATL
04-02-2010, 12:42 PM
Hi Chris,

Not quite what I'd describe it as. Aiki is about you and not about uke or the attacker.

Aiki is maintaining self in a central equilibrium of infinite opposing spirals with no dedicated movements.

Or ... my spine is straight in the middle of me. When energy comes in from some point, say my wrist, then I have the appropriate spiraling energy going not only with that energy but also opposite it while maintaining multiple vectors of opposing spirals all around me. When I move, I am moving my feet from my mid-lower-spine connection and not my quad muscles so that I negate any dedicated weight shifts (loading the opposite foot for the step). The grabbed hand may move, but it does so connected to my centrally held body, which includes my opposite hand so that I negate any localized, dedicated muscular contractions in my arms or shoulders. It is my mind, my intent, and my focus which creates appropriate and subtle changes within my body to keep all of this going. It is my trained body which allows me to handle more and more energy which in turn allows my mind to create stronger and cleaner intent and focus. I am motion in stillness and stillness in motion.

And of course, after about 3 seconds, I lose it all. Or when I implement the motion part. :) But, hey, that's better than the 0.1 second of a year ago.

Mark,

Explain what you meant when you said:

"Where the "aiki" comes into it is that aiki doesn't require physical movement to create this affect in uke. Aiki is built entirely within one's body -- a truly internal skill. Whereas in a lot of aikido, it's a basic teaching that to create kuzushi/off balance/whatever in another person, one uses timing and physical movements.

Put another way, if you have to use some sort of timing and/or some sort of physical movement to gain off balance, kuzushi, capture center, etc, then it isn't aiki."

I understand spiraling energy, intent, etc, but i'm not so sure I agree that with the above as it relates to "using physical movement" and that not being aiki.

MM
04-02-2010, 01:11 PM
Mark,

Explain what you meant when you said:

"Where the "aiki" comes into it is that aiki doesn't require physical movement to create this affect in uke. Aiki is built entirely within one's body -- a truly internal skill. Whereas in a lot of aikido, it's a basic teaching that to create kuzushi/off balance/whatever in another person, one uses timing and physical movements.

Put another way, if you have to use some sort of timing and/or some sort of physical movement to gain off balance, kuzushi, capture center, etc, then it isn't aiki."

I understand spiraling energy, intent, etc, but i'm not so sure I agree that with the above as it relates to "using physical movement" and that not being aiki.

Let me take an example from history. When Ueshiba talked about his meeting with Tenryu and Tenryu not being able to push him over and Ueshiba pinning Tenryu -- Ueshiba credited this to knowing the secret of aiki. When Ueshiba demonstrated his abilities by having people push on him, he wasn't doing techniques or moving. When asked about defining aiki by one of his students, Ueshiba shouted, "I am aiki!", not "it is in the techniques". When waxing eloquent about spirituality, one of his doka say something about when he didn't know where to go forward in his training, he turned to Izu and Mizu (spiraling,contradictory forces), not to more techniques.

Aiki isn't about the physical movement of the techniques. Aiki is about the individual self. Of course, if you want to use the double meanings of aiki, you still have to have the very first, most basic definition -- that of Daito ryu aiki. It is what allows one to be the center of a maelstrom of energy from one's self and from uke/attacker. It is this aiki that provides the foundation for being able to *be* the spiritual duality/singularity of uke/tori in aikido. In other words, being the bridge between heaven and earth and guiding other people across the bridge. You open upwards to become heaven and delve downwards to become earth while still maintaining you in a centrally held spirituality between them. When others encounter your physical body, they are then merged appropriately with your harmonious being.

But, it wasn't about physically moving, using timing and specific body placement to get an off balance or kuzushi and capture uke's center.

Not moving or moving didn't matter to Ueshiba. He was aiki. If he moved, it was aiki in motion. If he didn't move, it was still aiki (pun intended).

So, if one is *required* to move to gain an off-balance and capture center or to blend, one isn't using aiki. They are, most likely, using jujutsu principles. Aiki does not require that movement.

While aiki doesn't require the movement, that doesn't mean there are no movements in aikido. Takemusu aiki is about spontaneous techniques, so there obviously is movement in aikido. It's just that movement is not a requirement of aiki, but rather it is what happens when aiki is in motion.

Budd
04-02-2010, 01:24 PM
Mark, that sounds more philosophical than than "how it works" and I think can be part of the problem when trying to communicate to help peeps understand how "this stuff" is different (as is talking about feats more than what you're doing to produce the feat in plain language). In the end it's a balancing trick merged with an unusual kind of strength around conditioned skills inside the body. There's different levels of expertise and areas within the skillset that are emphasized depending on the approach (which of course is hearkening me back to that Baseline skillset thread monstrosity of years back *shudder*).

chillzATL
04-02-2010, 01:35 PM
Let me take an example from history. When Ueshiba talked about his meeting with Tenryu and Tenryu not being able to push him over and Ueshiba pinning Tenryu -- Ueshiba credited this to knowing the secret of aiki. When Ueshiba demonstrated his abilities by having people push on him, he wasn't doing techniques or moving. When asked about defining aiki by one of his students, Ueshiba shouted, "I am aiki!", not "it is in the techniques". When waxing eloquent about spirituality, one of his doka say something about when he didn't know where to go forward in his training, he turned to Izu and Mizu (spiraling,contradictory forces), not to more techniques.

Aiki isn't about the physical movement of the techniques. Aiki is about the individual self. Of course, if you want to use the double meanings of aiki, you still have to have the very first, most basic definition -- that of Daito ryu aiki. It is what allows one to be the center of a maelstrom of energy from one's self and from uke/attacker. It is this aiki that provides the foundation for being able to *be* the spiritual duality/singularity of uke/tori in aikido. In other words, being the bridge between heaven and earth and guiding other people across the bridge. You open upwards to become heaven and delve downwards to become earth while still maintaining you in a centrally held spirituality between them. When others encounter your physical body, they are then merged appropriately with your harmonious being.

But, it wasn't about physically moving, using timing and specific body placement to get an off balance or kuzushi and capture uke's center.

Not moving or moving didn't matter to Ueshiba. He was aiki. If he moved, it was aiki in motion. If he didn't move, it was still aiki (pun intended).

So, if one is *required* to move to gain an off-balance and capture center or to blend, one isn't using aiki. They are, most likely, using jujutsu principles. Aiki does not require that movement.

While aiki doesn't require the movement, that doesn't mean there are no movements in aikido. Takemusu aiki is about spontaneous techniques, so there obviously is movement in aikido. It's just that movement is not a requirement of aiki, but rather it is what happens when aiki is in motion.

Ok , i'm with you. I kind of thought that's what you were getting at, especially after your follow-up to Chris. Though I agree with Budd that in the context of the discussion, that's just going to confuse people more by making it sound more metaphysical and esoteric than it actually is.

Erick Mead
04-02-2010, 07:57 PM
Aiki is maintaining self in a central equilibrium of infinite opposing spirals with no dedicated movements. Physically, called torque moment, creating poised rotational potentials, with innate right-angle stress conversion, juuji -- i.e. -- "not being seen." By which I mean that reaction to inputs is on the opposite perpendicular -- not on the line of input, the response to a push on one line (increased compression) is an accommodating stretch ( increased tension) along the crossing line, and vice versa... because they are coupled.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=509&d=1215185239{{torque shear stress in a cylinder}}

I am motion in stillness and stillness in motion.Moment= potential; rotation = realized potential.

This is a typical trace of the most simplistic movement resulting from the release of those torque stress potentials (in this case pretty typical of udefuri)
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=508&d=1215184421{{Lissajous curve -- two equal inputs interacting at 90 deg.}}

There are two ways to go at this. -- One is to start with moments and static torque expression (stillness) and work toward movement driven by those moments -- the other is to start with rotations (motion) -- purely pendular action -- and work toward the stillness of poised control. -- Each has its pitfalls; best worked in tandem. Both are found in the aiki taiso. They are the ultimately the same, mechanically, mathematically -- the only distinctions lie in your mind.

Budd
04-02-2010, 08:19 PM
Both are found in the aiki taiso. They are the ultimately the same, mechanically, mathematically -- the only distinctions lie in your mind.

They are found in the aiki taiso, but the distinction is in how you have actually trained your body to do and express it . . and it has to be felt.

Michael Varin
04-02-2010, 08:25 PM
Where the "aiki" comes into it is that aiki doesn't require physical movement to create this affect in uke. Aiki is built entirely within one's body -- a truly internal skill. Whereas in a lot of aikido, it's a basic teaching that to create kuzushi/off balance/whatever in another person, one uses timing and physical movements.

Put another way, if you have to use some sort of timing and/or some sort of physical movement to gain off balance, kuzushi, capture center, etc, then it isn't aiki.

When energy comes in from some point, say my wrist, then I have the appropriate spiraling energy going not only with that energy but also opposite it while maintaining multiple vectors of opposing spirals all around me. When I move, I am moving my feet from my mid-lower-spine connection and not my quad muscles so that I negate any dedicated weight shifts (loading the opposite foot for the step). The grabbed hand may move, but it does so connected to my centrally held body, which includes my opposite hand so that I negate any localized, dedicated muscular contractions in my arms or shoulders. It is my mind, my intent, and my focus which creates appropriate and subtle changes within my body to keep all of this going. It is my trained body which allows me to handle more and more energy which in turn allows my mind to create stronger and cleaner intent and focus. I am motion in stillness and stillness in motion.

OK. Here's the problem.

When you bring the sword into the equation these examples no longer make sense, because they limit "aiki's" usefulness dramatically.

The amount of energy the human body can handle from the blade or point of a katana is close to zero.

The "joining of the energy/spirit" must happen outside of the physical body.

Aiki must be at least as applicable to sword-on-sword as it is to empty-handed confrontations.

Erick Mead
04-02-2010, 09:42 PM
They are found in the aiki taiso, but the distinction is in how you have actually trained your body to do and express it . . and it has to be felt.And it can be -- if you hear to what the body is TELLING you in doing the aiki-taiso. The current push is exploring the taut frame. But the loose frame is EXACTLY the same as the taut frame -- Too many people are just trying Do This or Do That in doing the aiki taiso instead of just letting the loose frame speak for itself.

Because the loose frame correctly tightens at every reversal. which is, admittedly, what most people are missing.

I don't fault those exploring the taut frame. But, the loose frame is the same as the tight frame -- the difference is the same as between the hanging chain and the arch -- the chain, loose and instantly adaptive; the arch must be adaptive the same way, but "breaks" or buckles in useful ways that are virtually impossible to anticipate or recover from. In that way the taut arch becomes loose at its reversal, as the loose chain becomes tight in its reversal.

In the adaptive frame, both are always present -- the taut spiral arches and the loose spiral chains are just inverse and at right angles -- just as the compression and tension are in right-angled torsion spirals.

Erick Mead
04-02-2010, 10:03 PM
The "joining of the energy/spirit" must happen outside of the physical body.

Aiki must be at least as applicable to sword-on-sword as it is to empty-handed confrontations.Ever do the rubber-pencil trick ? Perception confounds action. Kinesthetic perception is very much the same; and some things in the body can be prompted to respond to perception without the intervention of any conscious thought. The mechanism of that perception transmits steel on steel, as well as flesh on flesh -- or "pencil on pencil" ....

Budd
04-02-2010, 10:09 PM
And it can be -- if you hear to what the body is TELLING you in doing the aiki-taiso. The current push is exploring the taut frame. But the loose frame is EXACTLY the same as the taut frame -- Too many people are just trying Do This or Do That in doing the aiki taiso instead of just letting the loose frame speak for itself.

Because the loose frame correctly tightens at every reversal. which is, admittedly, what most people are missing.

I don't fault those exploring the taut frame. But, the loose frame is the same as the tight frame -- the difference is the same as between the hanging chain and the arch -- the chain, loose and instantly adaptive; the arch must be adaptive the same way, but "breaks" or buckles in useful ways that are virtually impossible to anticipate or recover from. In that way the taut arch becomes loose at its reversal, as the loose chain becomes tight in its reversal.

In the adaptive frame, both are always present -- the taut spiral arches and the loose spiral chains are just inverse and at right angles -- just as the compression and tension are in right-angled torsion spirals.

Fundamentally disagree with this, Erick, I strongly believe that you will not get a foot in the door with "this stuff" without getting someone to show you that has enough of a clue to move you in the right direction. If all it took was working on the aiki taiso and adjusting your frame, the optimist in me believes that there are lots of people smarter than you and me working on that . . and not being able to demonstrate basic internal strength development.

I think I get what you're trying to describe, but I would also caution that I think that you're looking in the wrong direction by trying to quantify what's going on without demonstrating a basic understanding of . . what's going on. It seems like you make it more complicated by adding more scientific jargon without describing the basic steps. And to be honest - to most folks that have more than a foot in the door to this kind of training, that is a bit of a giveaway.

thisisnotreal
04-02-2010, 10:52 PM
. . which periphery were they at versus missing the meat . .
hi Budd,
that last part:did you mean that as a pun?
that first part: that is interesting; can you give a fer `instance?
Cheers!

Erick Mead
04-02-2010, 11:27 PM
Fundamentally disagree with this, Erick. With what, exactly?

If all it took was working on the aiki taiso and adjusting your frame, the optimist in me believes that there are lots of people smarter than you and me working on that . I did not say that was all it took. It takes observation -- lots of critical observation at key points -- you may review my prior posts and judge for yourself how critical I am in my observation. For reasons unrelated to aiki or aikido I have always been interested in places between, and it happens that I found something there.

You said it "has to be felt" ... Several people wanted to know what they should feel -- without having to trust someone on something they do not understand. I just told them -- they can go see how closely they choose to observe those cusp points. That does not make it easier to accomplish -- it makes it easier to get a sense of what they need to learn -- and for that -- training with all the folks you recommend -- I have absolutely no reason to talk them out of.

I think I get what you're trying to describe, but I would also caution that I think that you're looking in the wrong direction by trying to quantify what's going on without demonstrating a basic understanding of . . what's going on.

It seems like you make it more complicated by adding more scientific jargon without describing the basic steps. Whatever else you assume, my comments come from personal experience. I thought starting with physical description in English is a more accessible manner of proceeding, even if the topic may be dense and difficult -- It is no less jargon than the Japanese terms, but still more accessible and concrete -- if one wants something more your own than "Do This or Do That." YMMV. :)

Budd
04-03-2010, 12:11 AM
hi Budd,
that last part:did you mean that as a pun?
that first part: that is interesting; can you give a fer `instance?
Cheers!

For instance - a notable aikido instructor gives demonstrations on internal strength . . he's doing demos he was shown by someone else that does internal strength . . but is he doing them the same way with the same type of skill/ability? Or is he filling in some holes with something else?

Btw, that's not a question for me to answer.

ChrisHein
04-03-2010, 01:18 AM
I think what Michael is saying is, all the kokyu in the world is not going to keep a sword from cutting you, but movement will. Further, when using a sword, one doesn't need much force to make it destroy a human body.

Kokyu may very well be the first step in the "Aiki" equation, but it's only the first factor. Calling kokyu all of "Aiki" seems to be a bit limited.

Budd
04-03-2010, 08:42 AM
I think if that's true you're both moving away from the topic of how expressing IS inside you first is necessary before applying it unarmed against another . . extending that further to engagements with weapons is still another step (in application, not principle).

There's folks that post here that actually are working on IS primarily to include back into their traditional weapons practice as well - I'd be curious to get their input as its been some time since I stepped foot in the weapons arena, koryu or gendai.

gregstec
04-03-2010, 09:07 AM
OK. Here's the problem.

When you bring the sword into the equation these examples no longer make sense, because they limit "aiki's" usefulness dramatically.

The amount of energy the human body can handle from the blade or point of a katana is close to zero.

The "joining of the energy/spirit" must happen outside of the physical body.

Aiki must be at least as applicable to sword-on-sword as it is to empty-handed confrontations.

I think Mark's point was that aiki is developed within one's own body and not by the movement of the body in response to an attack. Once developed, you then move with aiki during a technique. Also, once aiki is developed within the body, it can be extended out through a weapon or even beyond via mental intent - all of this of course is beyond the basic aiki static development.

Greg

Aikibu
04-03-2010, 10:04 AM
I think what Michael is saying is, all the kokyu in the world is not going to keep a sword from cutting you, but movement will. Further, when using a sword, one doesn't need much force to make it destroy a human body.

Kokyu may very well be the first step in the "Aiki" equation, but it's only the first factor. Calling kokyu all of "Aiki" seems to be a bit limited.

In fact I would suggest that the use of a sword speeds the development of both kokyu and "Aiki" at least from I've seen limited as it my be...

If one can cut and avoid being cut Tai-Jitsu 'movement" is much easier.

the fastest fist I have ever faced is the tip of Uke's Sword or Jo. :)

William Hazen

ChrisHein
04-03-2010, 11:39 AM
To me "kokyu" is proper use and alignment of the body. This is not an exotic thing, but something we can all get a handle on.

To me, many seem to be calling some form of advanced body skill (what I would call advanced kokyu) "Aiki".

Seems that we all agree that "Aiki" is more then body skill. Kokyu is the first step in making "Aiki", but only a step. So why call kokyu "Aiki"?

raul rodrigo
04-03-2010, 11:59 AM
Chris, where does the breath come in with your definition of kokyu?

MM
04-03-2010, 12:07 PM
There is a very good reason why every jujutsu man, every judo man, every kendo man, every boxer, every sumo man who ever tested Ueshiba came away, 1) bested and 2) with the knowledge that what they had just encountered was entirely and completely different. These men had "been around the block a time or two", had worked with many other high level martial artists, and had some high level skills themselves. If they had encountered yet another high level jujutsu person, it would have been, same ole, same ole. It wasn't.


Yeah, I'm quoting myself to bring this point back to everyone's attention.

(I'd like to thank Peter Goldsbury who recommended the book, A Life in Aikido, to me.)

From A Life in Aikido, which is quoting part of an article by Hajime Iwata contributed to Aikido Shinbun.


How could I forget - it was November 1930. ... One day, to stay warm and digest our dinner, some of us decided to practice sumo. But we were defeated by Montaro Mori, a student at Tokyo University - a school better known for academic achievers than strong athletes. I was quite confident in my ability, as I had competed in sumo before the emperor while I was in high school. But Montaro Mori totally defeated me, using techniques I'd never seen before. He also defeated my friend Nagasaki from Waseda, who was a fourth dan in Judo. Montaro Mori didn't practice sumo, and he wasn't ranked in Judo. Nor was he physically big or muscular, but he easily defeated even those of us who felt quite sure of ourselves. We were curious and suspicious, and for the first time we heard the term "Aiki-jutsu."

Someone who was small and didn't study sumo or judo totally defeating those who did and were good at it. Now, if you think it was the "techniques" that did it, then why don't we have people today who can replicate this feat when they've studied techniques for 40 + years?

The answer is because no one was taught aiki.

MM
04-03-2010, 12:23 PM
Aiki is maintaining self in a central equilibrium of infinite opposing spirals with no dedicated movements.


Just another quote from A Life in Aikido:


As one follows the promptings of Aiki Myo-o, assisted by the virtue of the Creator, one's breathing begins to rise in a spiral on the right, and to descend in a spiral on the left.

Take out the spiritual parts and you have contradictory spirals in the body. Up on the right while at the same time down on the left.

Now, if you add in some more information from this book ...


If you wish to apply Ki-no-Miyoyo from the foundation of this nen, be aware that the left side of the body will be the basis for Bu, while the right side will offer an opening for connection with the ki of the universe. When the links between left and right are complete, then one's movements become totally free.

As you enter the domain of unrestricted movement, agility becomes effortless - you can later your posture and movements in any way you wish, with total control. The right side will generate power, while the left supports it. Otherwise put, the left side protects the right side as it gives rise to waza.


and you search Aikiweb, you'll find someone mentioning "cross line bodywork". Right side generates while left supports. Cross line bodywork.

Put in the spirals and you start seeing where Ueshiba really is telling people how to train *aiki*, but only to those who already have a foot in the door. He sort of makes things a bit fuzzy by adding in the spiritual component, but for those with a start on training aiki, the core stuff shines through.

Course, I'm not saying the spiritual stuff is nonsense. The spiritual stuff is a topic for other threads.

ChrisHein
04-03-2010, 12:24 PM
Chris, where does the breath come in with your definition of kokyu?

Kokyu (breath/life) is the physical expression of ki.

MM
04-03-2010, 12:30 PM
I think what Michael is saying is, all the kokyu in the world is not going to keep a sword from cutting you, but movement will. Further, when using a sword, one doesn't need much force to make it destroy a human body.


Aiki is built in the body, yes. But that doesn't mean one is invincible. It'd be like having aiki and using it to stop a bullet. Kind of silly. :)

However, if each person has a sword, then the one with aiki has an enormous advantage. The sword is merely an extension of the body, right?

High ranking kendo people studying under Ueshiba for "tai sabaki", and that didn't just mean how to move physically.

As Budd stated, once you get aiki in the body, you work on aiki with weapons as extensions of the body. :)

Or vice versa. Maybe it was Takeda's work with sword and spear that instilled aiki to a high quality in him? After all, it's much harder to get aiki out to the tip of a sword or spear.

EDIT: Forgot to add, yes, movement is important! I definitely agree.

mathewjgano
04-03-2010, 12:52 PM
After all, it's much harder to get aiki out to the tip of a sword or spear.


I might be remembering incorrectly, and I'm sorry if I am, but I think i recall Toby Threadgill saying somewhere that he believes weapons work is an important way to developing an aiki body...or something akin to that.

I believe you've said something to the effect that aiki has nothing to do with the other person in the interaction (am I mistaken?)...what about when the other person is also using aiki? Isn't there at that point a kind of searching into the body of the other to find the inside track? In other words, it seems like developing an aiki body (self-oriented?) is a kind of step-one whereas applying it to another aiki body (self-other-oriented) might be a kind of step-two. Does that make sense?

Budd
04-03-2010, 03:22 PM
Kokyu (breath/life) is the physical expression of ki.

Chris, I think part of the confusion might be if you haven't been shown how ki relates to our own connections of muscle and tissue inside, how they can be conditioned and trained via breath and intent to be something unmistakably felt as an unusual kind of strength.

Then kokyu becomes the management of these internally trained facets along with optimized use of the natural forces acting upon us (gravity/ground or heaven and earth depending which schema or definition you want to use) such that we blend them in a multitude of ways. As the usage improves in strength and sophistication it is much more than good posture and alignment to the extent that it should be felt by another person when they put hands on you or even cross weapons if you're really good.

Then aiki is how you manage all that stuff and additional forces added by a training partner, opponent, etc. Viewed in that light, aikido, with it's taiso warmups/exercises/conditioning as ki/kokyu, then aikido with partner practice and waza - makes pretty good sense to me anyhoo.

Michael Varin
04-03-2010, 04:58 PM
How could I forget - it was November 1930. ... One day, to stay warm and digest our dinner, some of us decided to practice sumo. But we were defeated by Montaro Mori, a student at Tokyo University - a school better known for academic achievers than strong athletes. I was quite confident in my ability, as I had competed in sumo before the emperor while I was in high school. But Montaro Mori totally defeated me, using techniques I'd never seen before. He also defeated my friend Nagasaki from Waseda, who was a fourth dan in Judo. Montaro Mori didn't practice sumo, and he wasn't ranked in Judo. Nor was he physically big or muscular, but he easily defeated even those of us who felt quite sure of ourselves. We were curious and suspicious, and for the first time we heard the term "Aiki-jutsu."
Someone who was small and didn't study sumo or judo totally defeating those who did and were good at it. Now, if you think it was the "techniques" that did it, then why don't we have people today who can replicate this feat when they've studied techniques for 40 + years?

Well, that's a nice lttle story, but I'm not sure it points to the conclusion that you say it does.

How could I forget - it was 1993-94. ... One day, to stay warm and digest our dinner, some of us decided to enter the UFC. But we were defeated by Royce Gracie, a student at Tokyo University - a school better known for academic achievers than strong athletes. I was quite confident in my ability, as I had competed in Shooto before the emperor while I was in high school. But Royce Gracie totally defeated me, using techniques I'd never seen before. He also defeated my friend Dan Severn from Michigan, who was an Olympic level Greco-Roman wrestler. Royce Gracie didn't practice Shooto, and he wasn't a nationally recognized wrestler. Nor was he physically big or muscular, but he easily defeated even those of us who felt quite sure of ourselves, including Kimo. We were curious and suspicious, and for the first time we heard the term "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu."

Obviously, Ken Shamrock didn't say that.

Michael Varin
04-03-2010, 05:00 PM
How is "aiki" used in a sword fight?

How does it benefit the user?

MM
04-03-2010, 05:05 PM
I might be remembering incorrectly, and I'm sorry if I am, but I think i recall Toby Threadgill saying somewhere that he believes weapons work is an important way to developing an aiki body...or something akin to that.


Can't argue with that. :)


I believe you've said something to the effect that aiki has nothing to do with the other person in the interaction (am I mistaken?)...what about when the other person is also using aiki? Isn't there at that point a kind of searching into the body of the other to find the inside track? In other words, it seems like developing an aiki body (self-oriented?) is a kind of step-one whereas applying it to another aiki body (self-other-oriented) might be a kind of step-two. Does that make sense?

Well, once I actually have an aiki body and can use it dynamically against someone else using aiki, I'll be able to test those theories. :)

I'm told that aiki to aiki is an entirely different thing than aiki to non-aiki. But, even then, I think it's still more about what you're doing internally.

MM
04-03-2010, 05:10 PM
Well, that's a nice lttle story, but I'm not sure it points to the conclusion that you say it does.

Obviously, Ken Shamrock didn't say that.

ROTFL! Thanks! That was great. I won't argue the point, just hope you keep an open mind about things.

How is "aiki" used in a sword fight?

How does it benefit the user?

I'd love to post something here, but, unfortunately, I'm a bit out of my league. I'm working on getting better, but that's years down the road, I think. Maybe someone who has more experience can chime in. I know, personally, I've crossed swords, sticks, and knife with someone who has aiki and it's an eye opener to say the least.

Budd
04-03-2010, 05:56 PM
Let's see from my flirtations with Japanese sword - a primary objective is to control the center line and cut the other guy first. Based on what's been discussed so far, gee I have no idea how training IS would help you fo that better ... :rolleyes:

Really?

mathewjgano
04-03-2010, 07:03 PM
I'm told that aiki to aiki is an entirely different thing than aiki to non-aiki. But, even then, I think it's still more about what you're doing internally.
Well I can't argue with that...for a couple reasons :)

Ellis Amdur
04-03-2010, 07:53 PM
I've been seriously working on ki/kokyu skills for approximately two years. What I mean by "seriously" is that I've received specific instructions on training exercises from several high level people. And have been following their recommendations and instruction.
1. One of the most important trainings I've been doing is what is called spear/pole shaking.
2. I just went to Japan, and spent several practices with the Toda-ha Buko-ryu dojo. I've been away 20 years, we have a new soke and the Tokyo dojo has it's own shihan.
3. We have a number of moves in which one deflects/attacks the enemy by "knocking down/knocking up" their weapon. Rather than striking from some separation - the customary way - I was able repeatedly have our two weapons touching and without any wind-up, pull-back or discernible movement, pulse/fling their weapon aside and continue in to a cut that they could not stop.
4. There is always the "danger" of accommodation, due to following the kata pattern - but my training partner, the other shihan, a very big guy, who is also proud of his involvement in another koryu, said that he doubted I could do that if he had a bokken. We tried, our weapon's touching. He locked down his muscles - yet I "flung" his weapon up into his face and cut him in the same motion. He tried again with the naginata, and it was just as easy.
6. Then, for fun, I tried something I'd never tried, but having seen Kuroda Tetsuzan do something similar in a video, I wanted to see what would happen. Linking naginata with one student, I did downward pulse/drops and upward pulse/like flinging snow. I whispered to people off to the side ("neck" and do the move and his neck would come forward, "hara" and do the move and he'd collapse at the waist.). (This is an aspect that is referred to as "jin"). The guy I was working with could not hear what I said, so it was not "suggestion"

A couple of points:
a. These people were not colluding - they were, in fact, defending what our previous sensei had taught them, because I was showing something different and they wanted proof that what I was doing worked.
b. As I said at the beginning, I could show/explain this easily - I'm not even going to begin try to explain here - other than to say it included a ki/kokyu connected body, use of the hara as director of the force, and "ground path" (TM). Seriously, if I meet with anyone reading this, I'll be happy to show what little I know - because I'm still scratching at the surface. I'm not holding back. It does not change the form. It does not require me to assume a special posture, or architect a specific "ki-trick" exercise. It's like shifting from a gas guzzling "muscle car" to a Tesla.
c. the best part of this. Our new soke is young - 40 years old, and very much junior to me and the other shihan in the Tokyo dojo. He stopped me and my training partner and said, "Nitta sensei did not teach it that way." I said, "I know. She didn't teach me that way either. This is something I've been working on. I saw the possibilities in the kata and this is what I've come up with." He said, "Well, I don't know if they used to do things this way in the old days, or if you've found this. But it's far better than what we are doing." And he stopped the class, told everyone to gather around and asked me to demonstrate it, one by one, on each member of the dojo, and then asked if I would show the exercises I used to develop the ability I had. <That is a man worth following - he cares about getting stronger, not about his "position">

As for explanations, I've nothing to contribute that is new, as everything I've learned has come from the "usual suspects."
Having worked with Mike Sigman, Dan Harden, Akuwawa and several high level teachers of Chinese internal training, I know what I know and what I don't. I started out as a 1 on the 10 scale. I give myself a 2.3, at best. These people are far above me - at least so far;) I still have a long way to go. But given that the question is if this has any relevance to weapons training, yes, beyond a doubt. It is not at all about being immovable, withstanding blows. The idea that aiki cannot help you because one cannot withstand a sword blow is utterly off the mark of how aiki or ki/kokyu can help your weapon's work.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Michael Varin
04-03-2010, 10:01 PM
ROTFL! Thanks! That was great. I won't argue the point, just hope you keep an open mind about things.

Mark,

Oh, yeah. My mind is totally open.

Again, none of my postings should be read as discrediting internal strength in any way, and I hope that no one thinks I am trying to stop people from going down that path. I am actually very interested in meeting a few of you guys one day. I'm still trying to connect with Mike Sigman.

Michael Varin
04-03-2010, 10:26 PM
Let's see from my flirtations with Japanese sword - a primary objective is to control the center line and cut the other guy first.

OK. We agree on this.

But still no answer to the question.

We have a number of moves in which one deflects/attacks the enemy by "knocking down/knocking up" their weapon. Rather than striking from some separation - the customary way - I was able repeatedly have our two weapons touching and without any wind-up, pull-back or discernible movement, pulse/fling their weapon aside and continue in to a cut that they could not stop.

I have seen this done. I can do this fairly well myself, and I have trained with a couple of guys who can do this very well.

But given that the question is if this has any relevance to weapons training, yes, beyond a doubt.

That really wasn't the question. All of this must have relevance to weapons, because these guys hardly cared about empty-handed stuff.

The idea that aiki cannot help you because one cannot withstand a sword blow is utterly off the mark of how aiki or ki/kokyu can help your weapon's work.

I'm simply asking questions within the "aiki = internal strength" framework. I was hoping to further the discussion, but answers remain hard to come by.

Ellis,

You seem like you have quite a bit of experience with Japanese weapons, as well as researching these ideas, and lately, internal training.

In many, if not most, weapons engagements (not talking about kata) someone is going to make their attack prior to there being any physical contact between the opponents' bodies or their weapons, for example tips of swords touching.

Again, how does aiki apply? Is it only the effect on your opponents weapon/body when you deflect or, as I imagine, when you cut him down? Must there be contact to use it?

Does it help you move more quickly, deceptively, or appropriately? Does it help you perceive your opponent's attack?

Also, do you believe aiki = ki = kokyu = internal strength? If not how do you think about these terms and what they represent?

gregstec
04-03-2010, 10:39 PM
ROTFL! Thanks! That was great. I won't argue the point, just hope you keep an open mind about things.

I'd love to post something here, but, unfortunately, I'm a bit out of my league. I'm working on getting better, but that's years down the road, I think. Maybe someone who has more experience can chime in. I know, personally, I've crossed swords, sticks, and knife with someone who has aiki and it's an eye opener to say the least.

I am by no means an expert in this area as well, but I do have some experience and training I can share here. I was going to mention that a couple of the koryu folks may have move to say, and I see that Ellis has already jumped in, and maybe Toby will also.

Currently, I do not do much weapons work other than some Jo waza. However, in the early days of the Ki society, we did aiki jo and ken. It was not much on paired practice, but more on the solo exercises where the objective was to make the weapon part of you. In Tohei's mind and body coordination perspective, the weapon was simply an extension of you. As you moved from center (or hara) the weapon moved as well. It was literally a part of your body and not some inanimate object. Once you accomplished that objective, you would be amazed at the sensitivity and level of control you could achieve with the ken (or jo) I used to practice the ken by practicing full speed striking a parted curtain in my barracks room that only had an opening slightly wider than the ken (like less than a 1/4 inch) without touching or moving the curtain - you just can't do that unless the ken is part of you.

Anyway, as Ellis alludes to in his post, the weapon is you and it moves as you move your center as long as you are moving in a mind and body coordinated fashion with aiki.

Also, I am sure the experienced weapons folks who are reading all these posts about aiki and weapons are simply saying to themselves: "So, what is your point? anyone who truly knows their weapons, knows that to be effective, you must be connected"

Greg

Ellis Amdur
04-04-2010, 12:46 AM
Michael Varin

Ellis,

You seem like you have quite a bit of experience with Japanese weapons, as well as researching these ideas, and lately, internal training.

In many, if not most, weapons engagements (not talking about kata) someone is going to make their attack prior to there being any physical contact between the opponents' bodies or their weapons, for example tips of swords touching.

Again, how does aiki apply? Is it only the effect on your opponents weapon/body when you deflect or, as I imagine, when you cut him down? Must there be contact to use it?

Does it help you move more quickly, deceptively, or appropriately? Does it help you perceive your opponent's attack?

Also, do you believe aiki = ki = kokyu = internal strength? If not how do you think about these terms and what they represent?

How would "aiki" not apply? Any influence you have on another person is due to two things: Your psychological and physical organization and his, for one; and their reactions to their perceptions of you. The more connected my body, the more under my control. The more connected my body, the more I can devote attention (neurologically mediated) to what he is doing. The sum is the more I can control his impressions of me, the more I can read him, move/act in a way that is under my control, and know what he has to do next. Or, as Ueshiba said, "Aiki is a method of making people do what you want."
Kamae means "stance." At different levels,, a) I tighten my body, and brandish a fist or sword and you know what I'm going to do. b) I tighten my body and brandish a fist or sword and you THINK you know what I'm going to do, but I've got myself, internally, organized differently, so I don't do what you expect c) I give you nothing (note: Self-portrait (http://www.kampaibudokai.org/MusashiArt.htm) of Musashi)

The difference between contact and none is that people may move and organize wonderfully when not also having to deal with/compensate with force directly applied to their body. A blind man cannot fight at a distance, Zatoichi notwithstanding, but he may be a demon if he can touch you. And by the way, all the kenjutsu in the world is irrelevant until contact is made. (empty handed, as well).

Now, you may be asking something different - if there is an energy that allows me to affect someone at a distance, as in a kind of DragonBall energy (TM) - never seen it, don't believe it. I honestly do not even waste a moment thinking about it.

Finally, I really don't find that the nomenclature wars help my training in the least. So I no longer pay any attention to those discussions. I have specific instructors who teach me specific things and, to the best of my ability, practice them and then see if I can do the specific things they can do to me to someone else. When they call it something, I use the same term, so we can communicate. Beyond that, yawn.



Ellis Amdur

Erick Mead
04-04-2010, 01:38 AM
1. One of the most important trainings I've been doing is what is called spear/pole shaking. Sensible. "Rubber pencil". Have you reconsidered the videos of chinkon kishin
?
3. We have a number of moves in which one deflects/attacks the enemy by "knocking down/knocking up" their weapon. Rather than striking from some separation - the customary way - I was able repeatedly have our two weapons touching and without any wind-up, pull-back or discernible movement, pulse/fling their weapon aside and continue in to a cut that they could not stop. Check. Jo and bokken, but -- check.
4. There is always the "danger" of accommodation, due to following the kata pattern - but my training partner, the other shihan, a very big guy, who is also proud of his involvement in another koryu, said that he doubted I could do that if he had a bokken. We tried, our weapon's touching. He locked down his muscles - yet I "flung" his weapon up into his face and cut him in the same motion.
...
6. Then, for fun, I tried something I'd never tried, but having seen Kuroda Tetsuzan do something similar in a video, I wanted to see what would happen. Linking naginata with one student, I did downward pulse/drops and upward pulse/like flinging snow. I whispered to people off to the side ("neck" and do the move and his neck would come forward, "hara" and do the move and he'd collapse at the waist.). (This is an aspect that is referred to as "jin"). This I am working on, though in fairness you have much more work in weapons of all sorts than I can possibly claim, in which to apply to the problem. I have the down/neck lead aspect with the bokken without too much problem -- your "up" seems harder with the bokken, I suspect naginata has an advantage in that its length and flex would magnify the action. Perhaps I should try it.

A couple of points:
a. These people were not colluding - b. As I said at the beginning, I could show/explain this easily - I'm not even going to begin try to explain here - other than to say it included a ki/kokyu connected body, use of the hara as director of the force, and "ground path" (TM).
....
As for explanations, I've nothing to contribute that is new, as everything I've learned has come from the "usual suspects."
Best
Ellis AmdurIf you will set aside your preconceptions about my ideas, for a moment, I can help explain. Everybody has spinal reflexes triggered by golgi tendon organs and gamma motor neurons. They run in a single nerve from muscle to spine and back. They exist to protect the structure from action that is more swiftly destructive than the voluntary motor system can protect us from. They are linked sympathetically from upper to lower .

Every structure is weakest in shear; Every vibration is basically a rolling shear (that 'rubber pencil' -- or your naginata -- every sword cut too, FWIW) ; every structure is most vulnerable to a shear oscillation at its resonance frequency. To avoid what it senses as imminently destructive --the body reacts above a certain threshold immediately to pulses at its resonance ~10 hz -- not coincidentally -- the frequency of furitama and tekubi furi.

In one phase, "down" as you say, it fires extensors in the legs kicking him up and leading his head forward; in the opposite phase, it fires flexors, dropping him.

You may take it or leave it, but that is what is happening.

Ellis Amdur
04-04-2010, 02:00 AM
Erick - With respect (and I do mean respect), what you write makes no sense to me. I am not writing that it is senseless. It is similar to my poor son, a mechanic, trying, for one-half increasingly frustrated hour, to explain in a way I could understand, what volts and amps really are.
<don't try - please - it makes my head hurt>

All I care about is if the exercises I'm doing make me stronger. Metaphors seem to help me grasp things. Explanations beyond that don't help me at all. Which is why I rarely respond to your posts. Not only do they not help me, I am, personally not interested intellectually in the answers (that applies to a lot of other people's explanations of this stuff as well).

I repeat what I said at the beginning - with respect (and incomprehension and no desire to change that).
Ellis Amdur

thisisnotreal
04-04-2010, 07:45 AM
what volts and amps really are.
<don't try - please - it makes my head hurt>


volts is the height of the waterfall. amps is the amount of water going over.

crbateman
04-04-2010, 07:48 AM
It is similar to my poor son, a mechanic, trying, for one-half increasingly frustrated hour, to explain in a way I could understand, what volts and amps really are.
Heck, Ellis... There's an easy (and headache-free) way to explain this... Pretend that I am the guest of honor at mugging... Volts is how big my attackers are, amps is how many of them are coming at me, and, just for good measure, watts is just how bad they are likely to kick my ass... ;) :D

And the first one of you who suggests how important it is for me to stay grounded, well, I beat you to it...

MM
04-04-2010, 07:58 AM
And now for something completely different -- in all fun and silliness ...

It's just shocking how these jokes are amping up. I don't know watts the matter with wanting to stay grounded in the discussion. I guess I could just flow with the current and stray off topic. Or I could jolt people out of their senses with puns of power. Nah, that'd probably turn off most people. Better to plug away at the topic. Maybe we could just flip the switch and go back to the topic?

gregstec
04-04-2010, 08:29 AM
And now for something completely different -- in all fun and silliness ...

It's just shocking how these jokes are amping up. I don't know watts the matter with wanting to stay grounded in the discussion. I guess I could just flow with the current and stray off topic. Or I could jolt people out of their senses with puns of power. Nah, that'd probably turn off most people. Better to plug away at the topic. Maybe we could just flip the switch and go back to the topic?

Too much idle time on your hands this morning? :)

Erick Mead
04-04-2010, 10:25 AM
Erick - With respect (and I do mean respect), what you write makes no sense to me. I am not writing that it is senseless. It is similar to my poor son, a mechanic, trying, for one-half increasingly frustrated hour, to explain in a way I could understand, what volts and amps really are.
<don't try - please - it makes my head hurt>...
I repeat what I said at the beginning - with respect (and incomprehension and no desire to change that).
Ellis AmdurFair enough. It is like a car. There are things going on in the engine and transmission and suspension that one can unwrap and tweak to very good purpose. Or, one can push the accelerator and change gears with great art and skill -- and go see the mechanic when it the accelerator she won't go and the brake she won't stop... On balance, the car cannot be improved without a decent mechanic, and it cannot be driven without a decent driver. Some want to do both; some want to focus on one to the exclusion of the other.

I will say that a good driver finds things in the car that need a lot of tweaking ; and a good mechanic can find things to tweak to make the car do things the driver hasn't anticipated.

Janet Rosen
04-04-2010, 05:41 PM
Just finished up a wkend workshop w/ Mike Sigman. My goals www modest: to come away with a few exercises for solo training along w/ his feedback so I'd have a sense of how to feel when I'm doing them right, when not.
What I found is that many of the *forms* I've learned as part of warmups or exercises in different aikido dojos would be useful exercises for these skills IF I/we were coached in what kind of intent and focus to bring to them--ie, better *content* to the form.
The closest I've experienced to this, and my exposure to it has been very limited, is what Chuck Clark does.
Good stuff; I have lots to play with.

gregstec
04-04-2010, 05:53 PM
Just finished up a wkend workshop w/ Mike Sigman. My goals www modest: to come away with a few exercises for solo training along w/ his feedback so I'd have a sense of how to feel when I'm doing them right, when not.
What I found is that many of the *forms* I've learned as part of warmups or exercises in different aikido dojos would be useful exercises for these skills IF I/we were coached in what kind of intent and focus to bring to them--ie, better *content* to the form.
The closest I've experienced to this, and my exposure to it has been very limited, is what Chuck Clark does.
Good stuff; I have lots to play with.

As someone has said somewhere, "Hidden in plain site" :) you just opened your first door to IS... good luck!

Greg

Budd
04-04-2010, 08:34 PM
Cool, Janet - practice the dickens out of the stuff so the next time you get hands on time people are blown away!

gregstec
04-04-2010, 09:16 PM
As someone has said somewhere, "Hidden in plain site" :) you just opened your first door to IS... good luck!

Greg

Oops , the the king of typos strikes again again :) ( I have been dealing with a lot of radio tower sites lately)

thisisnotreal
04-04-2010, 11:02 PM
... Or I could jolt people out of their senses with puns of power. ?
h i l a r i o u s
yes. in fact you did.

It is what allows one to be the center of a maelstrom of energy from one's self and from uke/attacker.
very very interesting

thisisnotreal
04-04-2010, 11:06 PM
Or ... my spine is straight in the middle of me. When energy comes in from some point, say my wrist, then I have the appropriate spiraling energy going not only with that energy but also opposite it while maintaining multiple vectors of opposing spirals all around me.
come on now. you dont mean literally? :]


When I move, I am moving my feet from my mid-lower-spine connection and not my quad muscles so that I negate any dedicated weight shifts (loading the opposite foot for the step).
how do you stabilize the hip-to-hip load on the backside of the body? how on earth do you connect strongly across the lower back in foot-to-hand connect? </end rant of delirious questions foamed to mouth>


The grabbed hand may move, but it does so connected to my centrally held body, which includes my opposite hand so that I negate any localized, dedicated muscular contractions in my arms or shoulders. It is my mind, my intent, and my focus which creates appropriate and subtle changes within my body to keep all of this going.
that is really cool. the hand-to-hand connection sounds like it must be defining for the torso/upperbody. is it?


It is my trained body which allows me to handle more and more energy which in turn allows my mind to create stronger and cleaner intent and focus. I am motion in stillness and stillness in motion.

more amazingly written stuff dude. it is quite a picture that you paint.
And of course, after about 3 seconds, I lose it all. Or when I implement the motion part. :) But, hey, that's better than the 0.1 second of a year ago.
very very interesting.
Josh

Michael Varin
04-05-2010, 05:24 AM
I have specific instructors who teach me specific things and, to the best of my ability, practice them and then see if I can do the specific things they can do to me to someone else. When they call it something, I use the same term, so we can communicate. Beyond that, yawn.

Fair enough, but this almost ensures that online discussions and general knowledge of the subject will suffer.

Any influence you have on another person is due to two things: Your psychological and physical organization and his, for one; and their reactions to their perceptions of you. The more connected my body, the more under my control. The more connected my body, the more I can devote attention (neurologically mediated) to what he is doing. The sum is the more I can control his impressions of me, the more I can read him, move/act in a way that is under my control, and know what he has to do next. Or, as Ueshiba said, "Aiki is a method of making people do what you want."

And by the way, all the kenjutsu in the world is irrelevant until contact is made. (empty handed, as well).

These two statements are inconsistent, and the latter makes it sound like you lack any substantial understanding of the martial arts.

Now, you may be asking something different - if there is an energy that allows me to affect someone at a distance, as in a kind of DragonBall energy (TM) - never seen it, don't believe it. I honestly do not even waste a moment thinking about it.

No. I don't care about fire-balls either.

Josh Reyer
04-05-2010, 08:16 AM
Fair enough, but this almost ensures that online discussions and general knowledge of the subject will suffer.
The online discussions have been doing pretty badly already with everyone using the same terminology, and they do little to help general knowledge anyhow.

These two statements are inconsistent, and the latter makes it sound like you lack any substantial understanding of the martial arts.
The statements are not inconsistent, nor does Ellis lack understanding of the martial arts. You cut your opponent, that's contact. You don't make contact, you can't cut your opponent. Further to the point, the idea(l) of cutting your opponent once and ending the fight is one without substantial understanding of kenjutsu, at least. None of the koryu kenjutsu schools I know of make ichigeki-hissatsu a centerpiece of their practical combat paradigm. Edged-weapon fights are rarely so clean as to end with one blow. An enemy who is bleeding out still has the time (and probably the adrenalin) to continue attacking, so the schools I know of teach being in a position to a) cut while avoiding further attacks, and b) follow up their successful cuts with more cuts, sometimes with some grappling involved, to ensure the enemy goes down and stays down.

Just about the only way to take out the enemy with one cut involves severing the head or a leg, and in that case, you need to be able to deliver great amounts of power without over extending yourself, while finishing in a position to respond quickly and strongly against additional threats. That kind of body skill is exactly what Ellis is talking about.

raul rodrigo
04-05-2010, 09:12 AM
Boy, if someone like Ellis lacks "any substantial understanding of martial arts," then then the rest of us are really in trouble.

MM
04-05-2010, 09:19 AM
Michael actually said, "the latter makes it sound like you lack". FWIW, I didn't take his post that he meant Ellis had no substantial understanding.

Chuck Clark
04-05-2010, 10:56 AM
The online discussions have been doing pretty badly already with everyone using the same terminology, and they do little to help general knowledge anyhow.

Josh, your additions to these discussions help "settle the muddy water" as far as I'm concerned. I appreciate your clarity and scholarship.

The path that Ellis has been on for some time now is something that very few senior budo people would attempt and make "public" I think. Kudos to him for being a "senior student" and surely a fine leader and example.

In my view, as long as I'm alive I'll continue the search. Someone recently said to me, "I can't really pay attention to something unless I'm really interested it it." That is amazing to me... I don't know anyone that's smart enough to know in advance what we should be giving attention to. Ellis' example of widening his view is a good lesson for us all. I suspect that not much escapes your inquiring search either. If enough people keep "widening the view" and being willing to take part in public conversation in ways that are conducive to sharing knowledge instead of "marketing" to the world, learning will continue.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your search.

Best regards,

Dennis Hooker
04-05-2010, 11:52 AM
For the past two years or so I don't teach. I leave that to the other senior instructors at the dojo. My students allow me to try and expand my horizons by allowing me to explore things that interest me and I have good uke that don’t give a thing but allow me to find what I am looking for while maintaining a good center and persistent attack. No cheap shots by anyone. After 40 plus years I am still looking. We should never get so complacent as to not try and move on.

Keith Larman
04-05-2010, 01:05 PM
Boy, if someone like Ellis lacks "any substantial understanding of martial arts," then then the rest of us are really in trouble.

Yeah, I read that and the first thought through my mind was "I am so screwed..."

Chuck Clark
04-05-2010, 02:23 PM
Pretty much the same here, Dennis. I'm lucky to be surrounded by very intense, talented and well-trained people that keep me honest and support me in training. They push me also to keep learning by presenting me with continuing and on-going problems to solve. We were fortunate to have been directed by my seniors to always question and test everything while polishing our fundamentals without buying into any stuff that you had to get "sensitized" to in order for it to work.

I miss training with you and hanging out while we do our seishin tanrin... run away from home when you get a chance and come visit.

HL1978
04-05-2010, 03:09 PM
To me, it is not important any longer what I do to my opponent, in the sense that I am trying to do something to him such as throw him, off balance, or strike...but more important what I am doing with myself.

If I am doing right by me and moving correctly and working my body correctly...then things simply happen.

Sure, I have to "listen" to my opponent and respond appropriately. But the receptors of listening are in my own body and I have to listen to myself.

Making that switch to stop worrying about what I am doing to him and what I am doing inside myself was key I think.


Kevin,

I think you hit on something pretty major there, though when it comes to BJJ you can be extermely defensive doing that and hold out indefinately, but you still have to initiate something on your opponent to actually submit them.

What you wrote above is a fundamental change in your training mindset when you are drilling with a partner, sparring, or doing funamental exercises.

HL1978
04-05-2010, 03:34 PM
OK. Here's the problem.

When you bring the sword into the equation these examples no longer make sense, because they limit "aiki's" usefulness dramatically.

The amount of energy the human body can handle from the blade or point of a katana is close to zero.

The "joining of the energy/spirit" must happen outside of the physical body.

Aiki must be at least as applicable to sword-on-sword as it is to empty-handed confrontations.

It is very usefull actually.

Imagine if you can control your opponents body through their sword, that is to say you can disrupt their kamae, take their balance etc via sword on sword contact. This enables you not only to manipulate their center but have control of the center line. Likewise you can cut "through" your opponents sword enabling you to knock away their sword (potentially their balance as well) and keep control of the center line if you both cut at the same time without cutting any "harder."

I think what Michael is saying is, all the kokyu in the world is not going to keep a sword from cutting you, but movement will. Further, when using a sword, one doesn't need much force to make it destroy a human body.

Kokyu may very well be the first step in the "Aiki" equation, but it's only the first factor. Calling kokyu all of "Aiki" seems to be a bit limited.

What if you are using kokyu to derive your cutting power? What if your cut is the same as your block?

Erick Mead
04-05-2010, 03:57 PM
The online discussions have been doing pretty badly already with everyone using the same terminology, and they do little to help general knowledge anyhow.Terminology that even in the same language, much less in translation is akin to the term "blackbird" in its lack of useful power of distinction.

That why I decided to go a different route, ground up, working my way into a correct mechanical terminology ( not wihtout diffficulty or controversy, I know) -- but which, despite unfamiliarity to many, whatever ambiguity they may still possess is light years away from that of the traditional terms. All it takes to have a common understanding of the terms is to grasp the empirical physics they describe -- which is equally available in any bookstore, or library to anyone willing to learn it -- be they speakers of English, Mandarin or Japanese...

None of that diminishes the art of employing what they describe -- nor is t necessary in order to do it -- at all. It is, however, necessary to usefully talk about it in closely critical terms that don't ultmately resolve into the regularly scheduled definitional debates...

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i133/Cjt1986/Animated%20Smileys/fv-green-2cents.gif

ChrisHein
04-05-2010, 06:13 PM
Terminology that even in the same language, much less in translation is akin to the term "blackbird" in its lack of useful power of distinction.

That why I decided to go a different route, ground up, working my way into a correct mechanical terminology ( not wihtout diffficulty or controversy, I know) -- but which, despite unfamiliarity to many, whatever ambiguity they may still possess is light years away from that of the traditional terms. All it takes to have a common understanding of the terms is to grasp the empirical physics they describe -- which is equally available in any bookstore, or library to anyone willing to learn it -- be they speakers of English, Mandarin or Japanese...

None of that diminishes the art of employing what they describe -- nor is t necessary in order to do it -- at all. It is, however, necessary to usefully talk about it in closely critical terms that don't ultmately resolve into the regularly scheduled definitional debates...

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i133/Cjt1986/Animated%20Smileys/fv-green-2cents.gif

Agreed!

Kevin Leavitt
04-05-2010, 10:22 PM
Kevin,

I think you hit on something pretty major there, though when it comes to BJJ you can be extermely defensive doing that and hold out indefinately, but you still have to initiate something on your opponent to actually submit them.

What you wrote above is a fundamental change in your training mindset when you are drilling with a partner, sparring, or doing funamental exercises.

Absolutely Hunter. Ironically enough, BJJ has caused me to be more "defensive" and showed me the way to this paradigm shift like no other art. It has shown me the "room" that is available to "hold out' and to "listen".

It has allowed me, I think, to choose the time when I want to go offensive.

In the past, I would go offensive exclusively believing that what I did was far, far more important upfront than anything that my opponent did or might do.

Does that mean I "Win" more now that I have made this shift. Nah, I still probably lose at the same percentage that I did before.

But, I think what it has done for me is focus on my training and doing things better, more efficiently. I also think it has led me to making better and more relevant choices.

Still lose alot, but I am losing with more style and finesse I think, less like a spaz, and it takes my opponent much more of an investment to beat me too!

Anyway, I think it is key and fundamental to begin learning this stuff if you ever want to be a "martial artist" with any modicum of skill...regardless of if you consider what you do internal or external.

Aikibu
04-06-2010, 10:46 AM
It is very usefull actually.

Imagine if you can control your opponents body through their sword, that is to say you can disrupt their kamae, take their balance etc via sword on sword contact. This enables you not only to manipulate their center but have control of the center line. Likewise you can cut "through" your opponents sword enabling you to knock away their sword (potentially their balance as well) and keep control of the center line if you both cut at the same time without cutting any "harder."

What if you are using kokyu to derive your cutting power? What if your cut is the same as your block?

A. Does Aunkai specifically teach this?

B. Cut as same as a block? Forgive me but I am not sure what you mean by this...We try not to block anything but let folks "cut through" Do you mean cutting as opposed to blocking?

William Hazen

ChrisHein
04-06-2010, 11:19 AM
To me, "Aiki" is mostly about what happens before contact. Or even better, done so that there is no contact.

If my "Aiki" is spot on, I would never get into the altercation in the first place. If my "Aiki" was a little worse, I would have to use my intention to drive my attackers away. If it was a little worse then that I would have to use my "Aiki" avoid them touching me. A little worse still, and I'd have to use it to make them fall down, stumble, run into something, or hit each other. And at the very bottom end of good "Aiki" I would make sure by the time we get into contact I am at the perfect angle so that it is impossible for them to apply force to me.

After that we are into the contact range. VERY far from what I would call great or even good "Aiki". Great "Aiki" to me means being so far ahead of your attackers that they can't make physical contact.

George S. Ledyard
04-06-2010, 11:40 AM
To me, "Aiki" is mostly about what happens before contact. Or even better, done so that there is no contact.

If my "Aiki" is spot on, I would never get into the altercation in the first place. If my "Aiki" was a little worse, I would have to use my intention to drive my attackers away. If it was a little worse then that I would have to use my "Aiki" avoid them touching me. A little worse still, and I'd have to use it to make them fall down, stumble, run into something, or hit each other. And at the very bottom end of good "Aiki" I would make sure by the time we get into contact I am at the perfect angle so that it is impossible for them to apply force to me.

After that we are into the contact range. VERY far from what I would call great or even good "Aiki". Great "Aiki" to me means being so far ahead of your attackers that they can't make physical contact.

Chris,
While I think that the "aiki of movement" is important, it seems to me that Aikido has been taught backwards from what it should have been (that includes the way I was taught).

Many Aikido folks have gotten quite good at "avoiding" attacks but have less than no idea how to handle the energy of actual contact. Aikido is the study of connection, yet, because of emphasis on movement, it attracts all the folks who don't really wish to connect.

I think that we should start training from the very earliest stages with static paired exercises that teach proper body mechanics and how to receive and redirect power without the need to move. Then, and only then, should we introduce movement into the training. And then the emphasis should be on how to move and still be able to maintain proper structure so that at the instant of contact, the attacker's structure is broken.

Any attempt to do an Aikido that is missing work on how to receive the energy of an attack and only emphasizes non-contact movement is hollow and lacking in proper content. Additionally, it is only touching on a very small portion of what I would call "aiki". Sure, understanding spacing and timing is important. But anyone attempting to work on an energetic level must understand how to work this stuff in the body. It is that which later allows one to project that out and effect another attacker before the touch happens.

In other words, if you can't move the energy of a powerful attack through your body properly, then you will not be able to do the light touch and even touch less Aikido you are talking about. Most folks who are trying to do Aikido of that nature are simply doing hollow movement.

Aikibu
04-06-2010, 12:07 PM
Great Post Sensei Ledyard and thanks...I think you Atemi'd the nail right on the head. :)

It amazes me that some folks practice Aikido for years with no idea how to punch, kick, throw, or act when they are attacked by a competent martial artist.

William Hazen

MM
04-06-2010, 12:31 PM
To me, "Aiki" is mostly about what happens before contact. Or even better, done so that there is no contact.

If my "Aiki" is spot on, I would never get into the altercation in the first place. If my "Aiki" was a little worse, I would have to use my intention to drive my attackers away. If it was a little worse then that I would have to use my "Aiki" avoid them touching me. A little worse still, and I'd have to use it to make them fall down, stumble, run into something, or hit each other. And at the very bottom end of good "Aiki" I would make sure by the time we get into contact I am at the perfect angle so that it is impossible for them to apply force to me.

After that we are into the contact range. VERY far from what I would call great or even good "Aiki". Great "Aiki" to me means being so far ahead of your attackers that they can't make physical contact.

I'll try to respond a bit more in your other thread about video and aiki. For this thread, though, in my view, what you've described above as "aiki" is completely not what I call aiki. You describe timing and angles which, to me, belong in the jujutsu realm. Timing and angles are important, but they aren't aiki.

I think one of the things that Ueshiba didn't seem to teach as much was the concepts of jujutsu, aiki jujutsu, and aiki no jujutsu. There is jujutsu and there is aiki. Jujutsu is the application of timing, angles, and physical body positioning. Aiki is maintaining a structural, centralized equilibrium amidst infinite spirals and doesn't require timing or angles, per se. Jujutsu is about affecting or connecting to another person is some manner. Aiki is about one's own body.

Two very different things. Aiki is how one's body is wired and functions while jujutsu is external stimulus relying upon physical positioning as it relates to space and time.

dps
04-06-2010, 12:43 PM
Aiki is maintaining a structural, centralized equilibrium amidst infinite spirals and doesn't require timing or angles, per se.

What do you mean by infinite spirals?

David

Kevin Leavitt
04-06-2010, 01:33 PM
Good post George, I agree.

MM
04-06-2010, 01:52 PM
Or ... my spine is straight in the middle of me. When energy comes in from some point, say my wrist, then I have the appropriate spiraling energy going not only with that energy but also opposite it while maintaining multiple vectors of opposing spirals all around me.

come on now. you dont mean literally? :]


Yeah, literally. There are more spirals than I can keep track of or count (hence the infinite descriptor). As to what I can *do*, no. I have trouble with basic stuff still. :)


how do you stabilize the hip-to-hip load on the backside of the body? how on earth do you connect strongly across the lower back in foot-to-hand connect? </end rant of delirious questions foamed to mouth>


The more I learn, the harder this stuff gets. :) When I first started, I thought just getting simple pathways in the body identified and working was hard. I was told you have to do A before B before C and C builds upon B which builds upon A. It's easy to understand the concept but hard to implement into reality.

We laugh and say that our progress is like the snowflake that lands on the tip of the iceberg that is aiki. We can see the tip, we are starting to be part of the tip but we know there's a whole lot underneath that we haven't even been able to do yet.


that is really cool. the hand-to-hand connection sounds like it must be defining for the torso/upperbody. is it?
Josh

Not hand-to-hand per se, but more that both hands are "live" and connected to the body.

HL1978
04-06-2010, 02:06 PM
A. Does Aunkai specifically teach this?

The short answer, the aunkai doesn't teach sword waza, this is an application of a principle.

The long answer :D

Let me preface that I have a kendo/iaido background. In kendo/iaido plenty of people tell you you need to use the hara and legs to power your cuts, but outside of one particular instance, no one has ever provided me with explicit instruction in kendo/iaido on how to develop that understanding. Using what I have learned from the Aunkai and from Mike's seminars I have a much better idea of how to route power from the legs; both muscularly and utilizing "the ground", and what using the center/hara actually means.

The Aunkai uses weapons for training purposes: for example conditioning exercises, wrestling through a bo etc, but it is not a weapons based sparring/kata art where specific waza are learned. That being said if you can figure out the principles of how to unbalance someone on contact as taught by Akuzawa, Mike, Dan, Chen's etc, you will realize that a punch is the same as a kick, which is the same as a throw, which is the same as a cut. It sounds crazy at face value until you put the in time for conditioning.

That is to say the same thing is going on within the body to power whatever waza you choose, albet there are different gradiations (for example strictly using an alignment based approach ala structure, to using breath power derived and anything inbetween the two). Therefore, strictly from a power generation standpoint whatever the hand/arm/leg is doing that is making contact with the other person is less important that what is going on within the body. That is why I stated that Kevin was on to something. The end result is that instead of attacking or effecting the person's limbs, you connect through their limbs to manipulate their center of gravity as thought it was a part of your own body.

Going back to what I said above about a punch being the same as a cut, something like push hands or grabbing a judo gi is no different than sword on sword contact. In fact there is a pre-war kendo manual which states that judo and kendo are two sides of the same coin. You feel what the other person is doing through the sword much the same as how you feel what their hands are doing when your hands are touching. You can feel where they are sourcing their power, but if you can source your power from somewhere other than the arms, not only it is much harder to read but it is signifigantly stronger.


B. Cut as same as a block? Forgive me but I am not sure what you mean by this...We try not to block anything but let folks "cut through" Do you mean cutting as opposed to blocking?

William Hazen

Speaking from a kendo waza standpoint, kendo orthodoxy teaches that cutting is preferential to blocking, that is to say if you have time to block, you could have cut instead. Likewise only one person can have control of the center line at any given time.

Now to bring in the internal stuff. Getting hit in the wrist/head by an internally powered cut doesn't hurt (or I should say doesn't hurt in the same way), rather it goes through the part of the body being hit and has the potential to unbalance you.

When I am referring to cutting through the person's sword, this can mean several things:

The cut can be a block. If my opponent is cutting at the same time as me, because I have a "stronger" cut my cut connects my own center to my opponents and unbalances him by knocking his sword and arms alway leaving his head/wrist etc completely open. This is not a matter of knocking your opponents sword really hard first, cutting on a better angle, nor is it the same as receiving the other persons cut with an angled blade to deflect their cut in which I have to make a second movement. Rather it is simply a single cut (big or small) with no perceptible "wind up".

To give an example it looks like what happens if you are on a lake and watch the wake of two motor boats or two waves. The small wave goes towards the larger one, the larger wave simply overcomes the smaller wave as though the smaller did not exist. There is no "resistance" between the two waves. This is the same when we see aikido waza and the uke moves not out of pain compliance/release but because nage has manipulated their center to make them fly through the air with no visible unbalancing effect on nage's body. The larger wave doesn't have better timing, nor does it get out of the way, it simply overwhelms the smaller wave.

The second way is a two step process but the mechanic used is the same. I am going to take some liberty, but it involves sliding your sword against your opponents sword to take the center line as they attack. As you raise your sword, you unbalance your opponent to create the opening. If they try and cut you their body will be offline or twisted over leaving their body completely open and exposed. They feel like they really can't do anything to hit you. This second one can be preformed with arms only as well and works, but if it is powered "internally" there is no question that the internal powered person was in control which makes it easier to award a point in tournaments.

A key point for any motion you preform is the entry itself. You have to take control of the other guy the instant you both make contact with one another. You join and harmonize by making the other person part of yourself to manipulate as fiercely or gently as you desire.

Erick Mead
04-06-2010, 02:45 PM
It amazes me that some folks practice Aikido for years with no idea how to punch, kick, throw, or act when they are attacked by a competent martial artist.

William HazenI make it a regular habit to have newbs with no striking training to work on punching me correctly in the chest:
1) to get over the fact that -- hey-- we train to hit people here,
2) to hit me properly to the point I am at least mildly uncomfortable with their strike -- so they see it is effective
3) to realize that getting hit is something we all volunteer for by getting on the mat; and
4) that getting hit, even hard, can be handled.

I agree that the aiki of movement is overemphasized -- but it cannot be done away with either. To move or to remain still in proper connection is the same thing -- you have to be like one side of a pair of shears or scissors. Whether we both move or just he moves and I remain still is irrelevant -- the same essential action occurs if I know HOW the motion and the stillness in that connection are exactly the same, even though they may appear different.

Howard Popkin
04-06-2010, 05:07 PM
I agree that the aiki of movement is overemphasized -- but it cannot be done away with either. To move or to remain still in proper connection is the same thing -- you have to be like one side of a pair of shears or scissors. Whether we both move or just he moves and I remain still is irrelevant -- the same essential action occurs if I know HOW the motion and the stillness in that connection are exactly the same, even though they may appear different.

Ummmmm.. What ?

ChrisHein
04-06-2010, 07:25 PM
Hey there George,

I agree, at our school we do as much heavy contact Aikido as any school I'm aware of. I agree that preparing for the worst case scenario is the best idea.

However if your Aiki is on, you'll never have to use a nikyo, ever. That is the best way to preserve life, the best Aikido. That doesn't mean I don't shoot fast and straight :)

Mike Sigman
04-06-2010, 09:42 PM
I agree that the aiki of movement is overemphasized... Any properly-considered dynamic situation can be subjected to accurate static analysis. Many people try to fudge "aiki" situations by intermingling them in sudden dynamic situations while avoiding the logical progression from statics. And many of the people I've felt who do these dynamic demonstrations are very poor at static demonstrations simply because they're masking their real lack of ability with movement and technique. Tohei had it right... if your skills are good, you should be able to demonstrate them statically. Dynamic stuff is harder, so if you can't do the static stuff well, it's obvious that the dynamic stuff is balderdash.

I mentioned this a couple of years ago about being able to demonstrate fairly tough static demonstrations as a pre-requisite to claims about dynamic demonstrations, much of which is dependent upon movement and technique. Technique... even good technique backed by trained strength... is not really the "aiki" that Ueshiba was talking about or that Takeda specialized in.

I'm personally becoming more and more of an observer to how all of this develops in Aiki, but I'll bet that homeostasis prevails and that people go back to what has become the norm in "Aikido". I think Ikeda Sensei recognizes this probability, based on what I here of his current teaching. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
04-06-2010, 10:26 PM
{{Aiki as scissors}}Ummmmm.. What ?If I move into a strike I cut against his structure like one side of the scissors cut against the other, if both are moving. If I don't move, I am just the other side of the scissors staying static and HE is doing the moving -- to the exact same conclusion. Except the scissors in both cases are variably flexible. Ellis said he liked metaphor -- this one has a real mechanical idea underlying both the image and the practice. A moving shear that cuts any structure that does not conform to the role of the scissors and gets in the way. If he departs from the shear connection, he gets cut, simple as that. Ikkyo, ikkajo, if you prefer is an example of this principle.

thisisnotreal
04-06-2010, 10:42 PM
What do you mean by infinite spirals?

just some thoughts, David::
-in the same way that a circle is infinite.
-it is a loop. There are many such loops. loops made of bone and muscle, fascia and effort/intent. loops can be closed.
-loops can connect to each other.
-connect one loop to itself
-an example of a loop here< (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_arAzLFSiXM&feature=related)
-connect many such loops
-connect multiple loops together.
-sequencing. cycling. and varying in time. skillfully & artfully done (best case!)
-a curve becomes a portion of a loop
infinite spirals made up of portions of varying loops.
-3D curves and spirals, movements and pressures, flowing always..connecting one to the next
-catching your balance
-and funneling the 'off-balance'-ness back in again.
-that can be linked with the pressure< (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17661) Mark spoke of.
-think how your tensegrity< (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=255098#post255098) structure could fit into this...say, as funnels and guides of the actual lay-of-the-land paths of force conduction

i think (All of this post only my opinion , at this point) hunyuan< (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17768) strength (6 directions stuff) is about the rapid catching of your own balance again (e.g. even with people pushing)...stabilizing structure and voluntary musculature (inc. dantien region, of course) quickly;;catching your own mass before it goes out of balance; and keeping that (i.e. "felt as:") 'pressure' flowing quickly in the body. and flexing/coordinating/posture-shifting with your breath

-If it makes sense..I thought that stuffs fed into the 'concentrating on yourself' part, as in how HL posted about. that was cool.and also as a partial answer to these< (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=255094&postcount=13) 'queries'.

just some random thoughts.
Josh

Erick Mead
04-06-2010, 10:52 PM
Any properly-considered dynamic situation can be subjected to accurate static analysis. A qualified agreement -- but not all dynamics are statically reversible or linear, -- breaking waves don't reverse, and lifting wings stall catastrophically, I say that because the mechanics we are speaking of are directly related -- and so analytically they need dynamic treatment. Holding a dynamic poised at a cusp -- dynamically -- though it seems relatively static to the outside observer, like hovering, or a skater's toe loops, is what I am talking about. Your point about vectors I get-- I find them personally cumbersome, but not wrong -- moments just are easier to intuitively see for me. But mentally manipulating them I have objection to, since to me it is certainly manipulating them -- like a tight corner on a bike, but there is little conscious direction involved in the particulars of adjustment.

Tohei had it right... if your skills are good, you should be able to demonstrate them statically. ...Technique... even good technique backed by trained strength... is not really the "aiki" that Ueshiba was talking about or that Takeda specialized in. I'll tell you what I like to see; people dealing with two hands on one arm and require them to allow the shoulder be driven up before they even respond to it -- that is an interesting thing to watch.

Aikibu
04-07-2010, 01:01 AM
The short answer, the aunkai doesn't teach sword waza, this is an application of a principle.

The long answer :D


Thanks Hunter for both very informative posts. I see allot of similarities of principles between what we are taught in Nishio Sensei's Iaido and Ken te Ken practice.

I sure hope to experience and practice Iai with Aiki one of these days.

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
04-07-2010, 07:55 AM
I say that because the mechanics we are speaking of are directly related -- and so analytically they need dynamic treatment. But "we" are not speaking about the same mechanics. You're speaking about something you think is the same mechanics, but they're not. The ones I'm speaking of are easily analysed in static increments. This stuff is not rocket science, but you have to be shown how to do it in order to understand how to do it.

Regards.

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
04-07-2010, 08:04 AM
But "we" are not speaking about the same mechanics. You're speaking about something you think is the same mechanics, but they're not. The ones I'm speaking of are easily analysed in static increments. This stuff is not rocket science, but you have to be shown how to do it in order to understand how to do it.

Regards.

Mike SigmanAh, well. "you're wrong that I'm wrong that you're wrong that I'm wrong, that you're wrong... " ... and let's just leave that all again pretty much as read, shall we...? ;)

David Yap
04-07-2010, 09:57 PM
Ah, well. "you're wrong that I'm wrong that you're wrong that I'm wrong, that you're wrong... " ... and let's just leave that all again pretty much as read, shall we...? ;)

I see. It is the right side of the Brain versus the left side of Brain thingy. What does the Body say?:D

Erick Mead
04-08-2010, 02:27 PM
I see. It is the right side of the Brain versus the left side of Brain thingy. What does the Body say?:DThe Body? Jesse Ventura? ;)

The body says it works just fine.