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Mike Sigman
01-08-2011, 10:35 AM
I admit to a personal favorable bias toward Ikeda Sensei, but I'll try to keep that out of the way and see if there's an interest in discussing some of the demonstrations that he does as he attempts to restore the interest in ki/kokyu skills in Aikido. I made the below-styled post on the "uke collusion" thread, but the general principle applies to most of the demonstrations that I've seen (on videos) Ikeda Sensei do. If anyone is interested in dissecting various demonstrations until the principle is very clear, this thread would be a good vehicle for dissection or for debating various points of view:

Well, I didn't see the demo (is there a vid, BTW?), but the basics are fairly simple (much simpler if you've done all this before; not so simple if you're not used to connecting your body to your middle, but give it a try).

To over-simplify the setup, imagine that each of your arms have a big block of (non-cold) ice frozen around each one and your left arm (and ice block) is resting on a shoulder-level table on your left side and your right arm (and ice block) is resting on a shoulder-level table on your right side. IF your arm is extended and held in such a way that moving your middle is connected to the ice blocks, you can make the ice-blocks slide on the table without having to use the local arm/shoulder muscles. If there is a slackness (say a loose shoulder joint) between your middle and the ice-block, your middle will have no control over the ice-block on that side, right?

So what happened was that you didn't understand the principle, so you didn't really know what was expected of you. Uke (the loose one) didn't understand the idea, so he was providing a poor connection for you and thus you couldn't control his center with your center. And naturally there are angles in which it is easy to move uke (usually toward his back "gate" between the legs or the front gate) and angles in which it is almost impossible to move uke (like if you try to off-balance him in the direction of his supporting foot).

So Ikeda's demonstration sounds pretty valid and kokyu-correct to me, but if you and uke don't really understand how to do it then it can be frustrating. I've heard that Ikeda Sensei often says something indicating to "make one" with uke or "tension to uke", etc..... this is what it means. There has to be a solid connection between you and uke or you can't control his center with the movement (or intention) coming from your center. Also, it's easier to move an uke when he has a firm two-handed grip on you; a one-handed or just a solid connection where arms touch will naturally limit your control angles.


FWIW

Mike Sigman

SeiserL
01-08-2011, 12:07 PM
While I am not sure of Ikeda Sensei would want us discussing and dissecting him personally, having been on the receiving end of his technique many times, I too have a favorable bias.

Mike Sigman
01-08-2011, 12:33 PM
While I am not sure of Ikeda Sensei would want us discussing and dissecting him personally, having been on the receiving end of his technique many times, I too have a favorable bias.I just meant discussing some of the throws and examples he's doing. Not him personally. My point is that the principles are common and since Ikeda is, IMO, the most skilled in terms of jin/kokyu usage that is currently giving demonstrations and trying to explain (plus he's on videos), his demonstrations might be good examples to discuss kokyu. There are also videos of Saotome, Ushiro, and others, but since Ikeda has the clearest material (again, IMO), that would be the most favorable to discuss. OTOH, if people don't want to discuss how techniques are done, that's fine with me, also, but I don't think anyone owns the basic principles of kokyu/jin.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

SeiserL
01-08-2011, 03:36 PM
Principles are excellent to discuss. It always helps me get my head around them so that I can apply them better. Not good but better.

I would agree that from what I have experiences, Ikeda Sensei is one of the best examples of applied principles with a sincere desire to transmit them the others.

When I started training directly with him he would often say "Understand?" and of course I didn't even see it let alone understand it. But over time I saw a little more, understood a little more, and eventually could apply a little more (only a little more).

What I heard Ikeda Sensei say a lot was "unity". Musubi, to connect and join centers.

Not sure how that translates to chinese internal terms.

Thoughts?

Mike Sigman
01-08-2011, 04:36 PM
What I heard Ikeda Sensei say a lot was "unity". Musubi, to connect and join centers.

Not sure how that translates to chinese internal terms.

Thoughts?There's no difference between the principles of "internal strength" in Chinese and Japanese martial arts anymore than there's a difference between the principles of swimming in China and Japan. There may be some stylistic flairs in swimming and I.S., and of course different levels of ability and understanding, but the theories are immutable. When you hear someone indicate that they think there's a difference, all they're telling you is how much they know (not much).

Notice that I used an example of an ice-block in the first post and I said to extend the arms, etc., so that there was a solid connect between the ice-block and your center. A solid connection between your center and someone else's center (or an object's center) makes you both into a "unit". That is "unity"

There are two ways to form a solid connection: one is 'through the bones' and the other is through the connection of the body. The ideal connection also always includes a connection from your center to the ground so that the stability of the ground is where you source your forces.

If a partner pushes, grab-pushes, or strikes you and you allow that push/strike to go through your bones to your center and on freely to the ground, you and your partner become one object and your middle can control the consolidated 'unit'. If there is not a solid connection, obviously you cannot reach your control through to their center (or head, or wherever.

If a partner pulls you in some manner (or you pull slightly when he grabs you), you can make a connection from your center to his/hers through the 'connection' of the body (you must keep a slight connection at all times).

That's unity. However, it's like learning to "control with the hara"... if you don't know how to control with a good connection/unity via your hara and you just try to use arms, etc., you'll miss the target and you won't really be using good kokyu.

If you look at some of Ikeda Sensei's demonstrations, you'll see that he makes sure that he has a good connection. Sometimes the connection can be a little iffy and solid in such a narrow direction that the availability of controls is limited. That's when an overly-cooperative Uke can pay off, but the theory should be pretty obvious: make a unit connection; move the combined unit with your middle. That's what Ikeda Sensei keeps saying (he's said it for years, from what I've heard), although granted some of these things are subtle enough that you need someone to show you the first steps in a careful and expanded way.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Dan Rubin
01-08-2011, 05:18 PM
Here's a short article on this subject that Ikeda Sensei wrote several years ago:

http://www.bujindesign.com/training_tips/ittaika.html

SeiserL
01-08-2011, 06:36 PM
Here's a short article on this subject that Ikeda Sensei wrote several years ago:
Thank you for the resource.

SeiserL
01-08-2011, 06:47 PM
If you look at some of Ikeda Sensei's demonstrations, you'll see that he makes sure that he has a good connection. Sometimes the connection can be a little iffy and solid in such a narrow direction that the availability of controls is limited. That's when an overly-cooperative Uke can pay off, but the theory should be pretty obvious: make a unit connection; move the combined unit with your middle. That's what Ikeda Sensei keeps saying (he's said it for years, from what I've heard), although granted some of these things are subtle enough that you need someone to show you the first steps in a careful and expanded way.
I am grateful that I have had Ikeda Sensei himself show me these first steps (along with my own Phong Sensei and several others) because I never would have seen them just by watching demonstrations. I am simply not that bright or observant.

The only time any of the instructors I have had used anything near a cooperative uke was in instruction trying to get us to see/feel these subtle connections and extensions. Many would get frustrated if you did not give an honest and genuine effort.

There was always connection (maintaining your alignment and structure while taking their balance) and turning their center with your center. These seem to be pretty basic instructions in Aikido, but I seldom see them mindfully practiced and applied.

Thoughts?

Mike Sigman
01-08-2011, 06:52 PM
There was always connection (maintaining your alignment and structure while taking their balance) and turning their center with your center. These seem to be pretty basic instructions in Aikido, but I seldom see them mindfully practiced and applied.
There's a great difference between "making a connection" and doing it with kokyu; there a great difference between "alignment and structure" and using kokyu. Ikeda Sensei uses kokyu, but since it's a way of rearranging the body with mind-intent it can't really be seen. So most people copying the appearance and thinking "structure", etc., will usually do it wrongly. A lot of it needs to be learned by feel.

Mike Sigman

SeiserL
01-09-2011, 05:45 AM
A lot of it needs to be learned by feel.
Perhaps we each define our personal felt experience differently making any discussion of it difficult or impossible.

Randy Sexton
01-09-2011, 07:34 AM
Over my past four years in Aikido I have had the pleasure of learning from Ikeda Sensei both in several seminars and 3 summer camps. He is an excellent teacher and practioner. He is trying hard to simplify and teach what he has learned. He wants to take us from just technique to flowing with Uke.
I am trying hard to take it in and trying to learn to use the principles in my Aikido and I can say it is coming along nicely but it is going to take a long time to master. He has spent a lifetime developing his understanding and technique which is why he is so very good. I have been very impressed with his desire to share his knowledge and his humility in teaching. You have such a good time learning from him and during his seminars we seem to always be laughing at our imperfect attempts to implement what he is sharing with us. He makes learning Aikido fun and interesting and makes you want to push yourself harder and perfect your Aikido.
What he is teaching is very solid and his ability to unbalance you and control you can is amazing and he can gently lay you to the floor as softly as a child or crash you down in a instant. I have had him often do the former and in a moment of temporary insanity I asked him to show me the latter. I once asked him to demonstrate on me a little of the energy he could create on the street to defend himself if necessary. He smiled and knowing I could take it he used a "wee bit of his true power" and looking up at him from the floor my first thought was " I have GOT to learn to do that!!"

Doc Sexton

Mike Sigman
01-09-2011, 08:58 AM
Perhaps we each define our personal felt experience differently making any discussion of it difficult or impossible.I disagree. There is usually a difficulty in coming to terms between someone knows and someone who doesn't really know (or only has incomplete skills), but if two people really know, the descriptions can be straightened out in short order. If someone *really* knows, they can explain things simply.

"Groundpath" has always been an expedient descriptor which people who have some basic jin skills understand and agree with (generally) quite quickly. Invariably, people who have no idea of jin/kokyu skills get distracted or crack jokes about "groundpath", telling everyone who knows that they don't know.

A number of people have floated to me the idea that they "know" but that they just can't describe how to do things. I disagree. People who know how to do these things can hammer out a baseline set of terms very quickly. For instance Rob and Dan had no problem utilizing "groundpath" (a few years back) even though that wasn't a term native to what they were doing.

What I'm trying to do is not allow the conversation to follow the lines of some of the "Aikido" conversations in which everyone insists that there is no fixed definition of Aikido and thus anything they choose to do is bona fide "Aikido", thereby making it so that it's impossible for there to be such a thing a wrong Aikido. Internal strength you can know definitively and show definitively (levels and gradations are there, of course).

FWIW

Mike Sigman

SeiserL
01-09-2011, 09:12 AM
I disagree.
Of course you don't.
Perhaps that is the point.

SeiserL
01-09-2011, 09:14 AM
I once asked him to demonstrate on me a little of the energy he could create on the street to defend himself if necessary. He smiled and knowing I could take it he used a "wee bit of his true power" and looking up at him from the floor my first thought was " I have GOT to learn to do that!!"
My experience exactly! LOL

Alfonso
01-09-2011, 11:15 AM
Ikeda sensei has a whole list of pointers which he refers to often.
"Make unity" is one.

"This works" "this doesn't " is another , notice that usually when he says this , his posture does not change. What is is that he switches on / off without changing things overtly? If you feel the demo, it's a shift between a lack of solidity (doen not work) vs solid coupling of forces in which you can feel the push of your grab being met somewhere. It's a demo for feeling it; as Uke you should be giving a clean steady force so you can feel how it gets changed

"Shift your insides" to move your partner; once you are connected via kokyu you are relying on your mind directed sense of how the forces collide , the skill is to be able to harness that ability to change the sum of pushes (balance!) into a direction of your choice. It is not an imaginary thing; your body has to do stuff to make it happen. There's a logic to the shift; the forces are best handled from your middle , not from the extremities, or the connection is broken and so on.

One thing is sure; you should not be pretending to feel things as Uke or Nage; It's not about imagining the other guy moving, and the uke imagining he's being moved. It's a physical thing; you should feel it. Aikido ukemi doest require you to use your biceps or triceps in isolation when doing a roll; as Nage you have to be able to move in a similarly connected fashion, keeping the "path to the ground" , using it to move your uke,

Shadowfax
01-09-2011, 01:36 PM
"This works" "this doesn't " is another , notice that usually when he says this , his posture does not change. What is is that he switches on / off without changing things overtly?


Watch his hips and his wrist very carefully. His posture does change. It's just so small that you might miss it unless you were looking at the right spot at the exact moment it happens...;)

Ikeda sensei is absolutely fascinating. Hopefully when I have trained much longer I will be able to describe what is going on in those exercises. They are among my favorite things to work on in the dojo.

Alfonso
01-09-2011, 01:51 PM
yes, there is movement; and it is small. And it can be expressed in the wrists and in the hips; but at the most basic version , those are not necessary.

to grasp the exercise you need to focus through that connection with uke. If uke is pushing allow the push through you to the floor , if uke is static you can either remove the slack by adjusting forward or backwards. In a sense you are now a solid mass of flesh and bones bridged. You dont need to "control" every aspect of that mass if you're relaxedly taking that force into you. From your trunk alone you can try moving the whole set (one at a time) by first off balancing uke. All of this doesn't look like much going on, especially if your uke is not giving you a steady force to work with. your waist can bend and unbend your legs can bend and unbend, you can use your trunk to turn left and right up to a point. But if you engage your arms, use your shoulder muscles and so on, that connection you are relying on, as a way to get your legs and core strength out to your limbs , gets broken.

SeiserL
01-09-2011, 02:37 PM
Watch his hips and his wrist very carefully. His posture does change.
Yes agreed. The hips and the wrist are connected. He would talk about turning them like a screw until you take the slack out.

Mike Sigman
01-09-2011, 04:53 PM
Hopefully when I have trained much longer I will be able to describe what is going on in those exercises. I have a personal perspective that many people drag out the process of learning these types of skills because they take the view that it takes a "long time" or "many years" to learn these types of skills. It often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even the most exotic of these manipulations is a skill that can be learned once it is explained and the approach to grasping the skill is outlined. I suggest that people watch these demonstrations and understand that it is a skill that doesn't take forever to learn and think to themselves, "I can do that... show me how and I'll practice and equal your ability in that trick in less than a year". Be positive. It's also very true, in my opinion.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Garth Jones
01-09-2011, 05:28 PM
I think the reason it seems like these skills take 'forever' to learn is that most of us don't spend our full work time on them, as Ikeda Sensei has. If I practiced aikido 40+ hours a week, I'd be much better in a hurry! I think Mike is absolutely right - the most exotic technique or blending can be mastered by anybody who puts in the effort.

I have been learning from Ikeda Sensei for 15+ years now. Whenever I have the chance to take ukemi for him I attack hard with the thought, 'you're not getting me so easily this time, buddy,' in my head. Of course, he always does. I find I learn the most from him when I attack with the most sincerity.

And now, off to the dojo.....

Mike Sigman
01-09-2011, 06:09 PM
Whenever I have the chance to take ukemi for him I attack hard with the thought, 'you're not getting me so easily this time, buddy,' in my head. Of course, he always does. I find I learn the most from him when I attack with the most sincerity.
I think if it was me I'd give a reasonable attack (it's only a demonstration for others to learn from and their learning is the most important thing), but my mind would be focuses very firmly on how Ikeda Sensei (or some other knowledgeable teacher) felt, how our forces interacted, and so on. As I progressed through my quest for finding out what internal-strength was, I always set my own goals based on the 'feel' of the best (and most widely acknowledged by other experts) expert I could find. That feel is critical to understanding what is going on... but then, too, so is some straightforward practical information on how-to's.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
01-09-2011, 07:48 PM
I think the reason it seems like these skills take 'forever' to learn is that most of us don't spend our full work time on them, as Ikeda Sensei has. If I practiced aikido 40+ hours a week, I'd be much better in a hurry! I think Mike is absolutely right - the most exotic technique or blending can be mastered by anybody who puts in the effort.

I have been learning from Ikeda Sensei for 15+ years now. Whenever I have the chance to take ukemi for him I attack hard with the thought, 'you're not getting me so easily this time, buddy,' in my head. Of course, he always does. I find I learn the most from him when I attack with the most sincerity.

And now, off to the dojo.....

Garth,
Sure... to be Shihan level, it takes every day practice for years. But to understand what is going on and do it in the controlled environment of practice, it should not take so long. The teaching methodology just hasn't been there.

Some of it is language barrier. Ikeda Sensei will say "make tight" but he isn't tight at all. He'll say "pull" and he isn't pulling, and "push" and he isn't pushing... not in terms of the set of associations we have in our bodies with those terms.

One of my friends who actually speaks Japanese and is advanced enough to have something of a handle on what is going on, told me that he got to hear Ikeda Sensei explaining what he was doing in Japanese to a Japanese woman attending the seminar. He told me that Ikeda Sensei's explanation was so much more clear and precise in Japanese than it was in English.

I understand most of what Ikeda Sense is doing. He will point out three steps in what he is doing. He is trying to be helpful. But often, I happen to know that inside those three steps are several other elements which are crucial elements in accomplishing what he just did. If you don't know that, you could be doing exactly what Ikeda Sensei had told you to do and still be wondering why your stuff wasn't working.

If you train with someone like Mike S or Dan H, just as an example, the level of detail in the explanation is so far and away more complete compared to what we routinely have gotten in Aikido that one starts to wonder how anyone actually got any good at all training the way we have.

Only two things are required for pretty much everyone to be able to do what our teachers are doing. First, is teachers who understand what the "big guys" are doing. Mostly we don't have that. Second, they have to be able to explain it to others. Unfortunately that is a smaller subset still.

Training the way most of us have trained over the years and hoping to end up with the skills these folks have would be like the fifty million monkeys typing Shakespeare... might actually happen, but the operative concept is that the other four hundred ninety ninety million were typing gibberish. With decent explanation virtually any student on the mat at one of Ikeda Sensei's seminars could do any single thing he showed all weekend. With a real newbie it might take a half hour to get him to do a given technique or exercise and he certainly wouldn't be able to generalize off that success to apply the principle in other contexts. That does take years of practice. But what these teachers are doing is not magic and it can be taught and explained to pretty much anyone.

Shadowfax
01-09-2011, 09:45 PM
I have a personal perspective that many people drag out the process of learning these types of skills because they take the view that it takes a "long time" or "many years" to learn these types of skills. It often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thanks Mike. No I don't plan for it to take me an eternity to learn as I already have a bit of a grasp on this sort of stuff. It's not far different from riding and training horses. But I think it will take a good bit longer than the 20 months I have been training in order to really be able to effectively use it. This sort of thing fascinates me so I am more than happy to spend an hour or two working on it in the dojo anytime sensei decides to do so. Luckily for me Garth Jones is my sensei and he does give this a fair bit of exploration in our classes. ;)

Mike Sigman
01-09-2011, 09:47 PM
Garth,
Sure... to be Shihan level, it takes every day practice for years. But to understand what is going on and do it in the controlled environment of practice, it should not take so long. The teaching methodology just hasn't been there. Somehow I just deleted a reply to this post, George, so if I seem a bit terse, it's not because of you. ;)

The problem with Aikido is that the internal skills of ki/kokyu happen to be an intrinsic part of the art. So, as Ushiro Sensei was fond of saying, no kokyu no Aikido. However, having kokyu skills is not Aikido. Someone like Ikeda Sensei has both some degree of kokyu skills and a good deal of Aikido skills, but I'd argue that basic kokyu skills can be had in a reasonable amount of time, not many years away. I understand most of what Ikeda Sense is doing. In that case, you should be the one doing the explaining, George. Not me.
If you train with someone like Mike S or Dan H, just as an example, the level of detail in the explanation is so far and away more complete compared to what we routinely have gotten in Aikido that one starts to wonder how anyone actually got any good at all training the way we have. Well, I think a lot of the ki-related skills are just getting going and it's a fluid state. The only real worry I have is that a lot of people are going to be teaching "The Real Internal Strength" (tm) in the next few years. While it will be interesting for me as an outsider to watch, I'd urge everyone to be cautious because these skills are a lot more complex than most people realize at the moment and if you screw up you can not only get your cover blown pretty quickly, you can also do something much worse... lead a number of trusting students down the wrong road. So, I urge people to be careful, ask questions, and think hard. But what these teachers are doing is not magic and it can be taught and explained to pretty much anyone.True, but Ikeda Sensei is only one of a number of teachers who will attempt to teach internal strength skills in the future and each teacher will have his own level of understanding and his own approach to teaching. At whatever level he's attempted to teach these things, Ikeda Sensei hasn't been fully successful in teaching what he knows so that should be a signal while these things *can* be taught, it can be difficult to do.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-09-2011, 09:55 PM
No I don't plan for it to take me an eternity to learn as I already have a bit of a grasp on this sort of stuff. It's not far different from riding and training horses. Then explain how I broke my collarbone a couple of years ago because I was dumb enough to try to re-rig my pancho behind my saddle while riding a skittish horse. ;) Luckily for me Garth Jones is my sensei and he does give this a fair bit of exploration in our classes. ;)Well, then I think that Garth, and George L. and Lynn Seiser and all the teachers who understand these things should be openly breaking the internet trail on how to do these sorts of things. Think how helpful it would be to lay out how-to's for the people trying to get started on these intrinsic (to Aikido) skills.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
01-10-2011, 02:06 AM
Mike said: In that case, you should be the one doing the explaining, George. Not me.

If we are talking about internal power development, you, Dan, and Akuzawa have a far more precise set of terminology than I have. I had to work out my own ways of describing what I thought was going on as I became able to do some things.

But, unless you are one of the folks that trains with me regularly, it isn't very productive for folks here to try to learn my idiosyncratic way of explaining these things because I am, in many cases, the only one who explains something in a particular manner.

Based on the training I am currently doing and some experience with Ark and his students, and my brief exposure to you personally and, of course, reading your posts, I am hopeful that I will be able to connect what I am doing, which results-wise I am happy with the way things are going, with the far more detailed and precise explanations you guys provide.

Also, I hesitate because I am keenly aware that there are various things I figured out that my current experiences are not so much invalidating as showing me other, better ways to do the same thing. So for instance, I had a certain way of getting my spine straight. It worked fine and changed my Aikido hugely. Now I have found that there is another way to accomplish this same thing using the breath that is superior in that it not only does what I had been doing but also does a number of things my old way did not.

I am good at explanations from a teaching standpoint. By that I mean, I am very good at getting someone to do something I can do. From a result oriented standpoint I feel my explanations are useful as I am almost always able to help my partner do whatever our teachers are doing when initially he or she could not. But as precise descriptions of actual processes, my explanations are often lacking. My visualizations my enable me or my partner to do something but in many areas I do not think they help one to understand precisely what is happening. You guys have a far better terminology set than I.

As to Ikeda Sensei's work... Certainly a lot of what he is doing is straight out of what you, Dan, and Ark talk about. But quite a lot of what he is doing he got from Ushiro Kenji. I don't have enough familiarity with the range of what you and Dan do to say where you understand what Ushiro Sensei is doing. My experience so far is that physically you certainly do. But on an energetic level, I don't really know because I have not heard you guys talk about it. From my experience, much of the core if what Ushiro is doing has more to do with what Vladimir and Ryabko are doing in Systema than what the internal power guys I have encountered are doing.

Anyway, if I work directly with someone in Saotome Sensei's or Ikeda Sensei's classes, my explanations are most often successful in getting people to actually do what the Sensei was showing. But as descriptive formulations rather than "how to" instructions, well, I am still trying to improve on that, so I will leave it to you guys unless it's something I really have well digested.

Garth Jones
01-10-2011, 08:08 AM
I think if it was me I'd give a reasonable attack (it's only a demonstration for others to learn from and their learning is the most important thing), but my mind would be focuses very firmly on how Ikeda Sensei (or some other knowledgeable teacher) felt, how our forces interacted, and so on. As I progressed through my quest for finding out what internal-strength was, I always set my own goals based on the 'feel' of the best (and most widely acknowledged by other experts) expert I could find. That feel is critical to understanding what is going on... but then, too, so is some straightforward practical information on how-to's.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Let me rephrase - I'm not just flinging myself at him or doing something screwy. I try to be grounded, with good structure, so that my balance is, as far as I understand it now, is as hard to disrupt as possible. When I do that I find that I am much more aware of what Ikeda Sensei does to disrupt my balance.

Given the language problems that George Sensei mentioned, feeling what Ikeda Sensei does is, for me anyway, the best way to understand what he is doing.

Of course, sometimes the language isn't always there to describe what is going on. For example - when Ikeda Sensei is showing something (say taking balance from a same-side grab) very carefully, he will stand facing his partner so the grab happens on his center line. But sometimes he faces the line of students so that his arm is out at his side along with his uke. The action is way off his center line, yet he is just as successful. Over dinner, I asked him how he did it and he said, 'just put your center in your hand.' I can see that he does that and I've felt him do it to me. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it myself, though.....

Mike Sigman
01-10-2011, 09:34 AM
Of course, sometimes the language isn't always there to describe what is going on. For example - when Ikeda Sensei is showing something (say taking balance from a same-side grab) very carefully, he will stand facing his partner so the grab happens on his center line. But sometimes he faces the line of students so that his arm is out at his side along with his uke. The action is way off his center line, yet he is just as successful. Over dinner, I asked him how he did it and he said, 'just put your center in your hand.' I can see that he does that and I've felt him do it to me. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it myself, though.....I'd have to see it before I'd want to make a more explicit guess, Garth. Is there a video anywhere?

Generally speaking the outline of basic requirements for most of the demo's I've seen Ikeda Sensei do is going to be the same that I pointed out before:

*Ikeda Sensei must have a good contact with the ground that allows him to draw his power from.

*Uke's push or other contact must allow for the joining of the two of them as a unit (even if the direction of full unity is fairly narrow and forces Nage to act only along a limited angle).

*Ikeda sensei becomes one-half of a unit-structure so he becomes the controlling half and Uke's center, etc., just becomes something attached to him like, say, a backpack.

*Instead of moving his arms and shoulders to initiate force, Ikeda Sensei shifts the movement and initiation area to his middle (needs to be practiced and shown how to optimize it).

If Ikeda Sensei is truly offline from the force input of Uke then he has to be using his body connection as a factor added to the above steps. To do that well you need to be shown how to train, so that's a little outside of the basic how-to's that are easily discussable on the internet. The classic "well-trained body connection" trick is the jo-trick, BTW.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Mike Sigman

john.burn
01-10-2011, 10:55 AM
Hi Mike,

I'll jump in here (apologies to Garth if this isn't what you're talking about). I've trained with Ikeda sensei as often as I can over the past 10 years now, he's now beginning to make a little more sense (to me) and earlier this year he explained some of what he's doing... I can do this a little with my own students on a very basic level so I'll try and explain one of the 'both facing the same direction' examples.

Uke makes a fist and sticks his arm out to his side (kind of like someone thumbing a lift), nage touches or cups uke's fist and 'makes a line' to uke. I asked Ikeda sensei a number of times to explain what make a line meant, he kept telling me it was just a line. Rightly or wrongly I think about it being ever so slightly me taking out any slack, not leaning on my partner but getting closer to them, hard to explain. So, once I've made my line, I then move my center which displaces uke's center and I can usually see a small movement in my partner as if I've just 'bumped' him a little. Once this has happened, I can move him around, make him fall over etc. How do I move my center? Well, again, finally this year I got some help on that one from Ikeda sensei. I'll try and explain...

You stand kind of relaxed, neutral. You move your stomach in a circular direction, up and forward and slightly down (forward) then reverse (center) then up and back (back) then reverse (center) then up and left (left) then reverse (center) then up and right (right) then reverse. I can't really explain this that well, but after doing this a good few times you feel slightly strange inside... Ikeda sensei said you need to do this everyday, practice, you don't need a partner. I find it great to do when driving, and I had hold of the steering wheel, I *think* I can feel my center moving around and I feel heavier on one side etc. It's almost like the movement body poppers used to make way back when, that line, squiggle, wave form shape.

He's also done the same exercise with him sat in a chair to me...

This is all probably badly explained but it's all I've got to work on at the moment, again, I'll say I can get this to work on my students and visitors to my club but I'm really not sure exactly how it's working. I've tried to explain what's in my head when I'm doing it based on talking to Ikeda sensei.

MM
01-10-2011, 11:06 AM
Hi Garth,

Just thought I'd chime in my two cents. I completely agree with George. His post is worth reading again. :)

Mark

Garth,
Sure... to be Shihan level, it takes every day practice for years. But to understand what is going on and do it in the controlled environment of practice, it should not take so long. The teaching methodology just hasn't been there.

Some of it is language barrier. Ikeda Sensei will say "make tight" but he isn't tight at all. He'll say "pull" and he isn't pulling, and "push" and he isn't pushing... not in terms of the set of associations we have in our bodies with those terms.

One of my friends who actually speaks Japanese and is advanced enough to have something of a handle on what is going on, told me that he got to hear Ikeda Sensei explaining what he was doing in Japanese to a Japanese woman attending the seminar. He told me that Ikeda Sensei's explanation was so much more clear and precise in Japanese than it was in English.

I understand most of what Ikeda Sense is doing. He will point out three steps in what he is doing. He is trying to be helpful. But often, I happen to know that inside those three steps are several other elements which are crucial elements in accomplishing what he just did. If you don't know that, you could be doing exactly what Ikeda Sensei had told you to do and still be wondering why your stuff wasn't working.

If you train with someone like Mike S or Dan H, just as an example, the level of detail in the explanation is so far and away more complete compared to what we routinely have gotten in Aikido that one starts to wonder how anyone actually got any good at all training the way we have.

Only two things are required for pretty much everyone to be able to do what our teachers are doing. First, is teachers who understand what the "big guys" are doing. Mostly we don't have that. Second, they have to be able to explain it to others. Unfortunately that is a smaller subset still.

Training the way most of us have trained over the years and hoping to end up with the skills these folks have would be like the fifty million monkeys typing Shakespeare... might actually happen, but the operative concept is that the other four hundred ninety ninety million were typing gibberish. With decent explanation virtually any student on the mat at one of Ikeda Sensei's seminars could do any single thing he showed all weekend. With a real newbie it might take a half hour to get him to do a given technique or exercise and he certainly wouldn't be able to generalize off that success to apply the principle in other contexts. That does take years of practice. But what these teachers are doing is not magic and it can be taught and explained to pretty much anyone.

Garth Jones
01-10-2011, 11:14 AM
Mike - video - I'm not sure.... I'll look around. Everything you said makes complete sense to me. I can't always do it, but I'm trying!

John - your comments seem to me to very a very important part of what Ikeda Sensei is doing, and I've heard him say the same things about the line and moving the center around in the middle. Interestingly, the kind of abdominal muscle control you describe is key in belly dancing. We have a student (advanced shodan) in our dojo who has been belly dancing very seriously for some years. She can develop very impressive power by setting up the kind of wave Ikeda Sensei describes using her fine ab control.

Something I've been working on recently that addresses the 'center in your hand' issue is paying close attention to what parts of my body I can move independently from others while keeping connection with my partner. For instance - uke grabs my wrist and extends in to me a bit. Without disturbing that connection, it is possible to swivel hips, move feet (some) etc. With the rest of the body free, it's possible to set up a wave that rises up from the ground through the back leg, up through the structure of the body, out the arm, and in to uke.

When Ikeda Sensei does this his movements are so small that it's hard to see. What I do, right now anyway, is much bigger, cruder, and often less successful. However, every once and awhile I really find it, and then a heavy uke suddenly doesn't weigh much of anything. Very cool!

In any event, I think we're all finding various ways of describing the same basic issue, and I think that's great.

bkedelen
01-10-2011, 11:16 AM
As to Ikeda Sensei's work... Certainly a lot of what he is doing is straight out of what you, Dan, and Ark talk about. But quite a lot of what he is doing he got from Ushiro Kenji. I don't have enough familiarity with the range of what you and Dan do to say where you understand what Ushiro Sensei is doing. My experience so far is that physically you certainly do. But on an energetic level, I don't really know because I have not heard you guys talk about it. From my experience, much of the core if what Ushiro is doing has more to do with what Vladimir and Ryabko are doing in Systema than what the internal power guys I have encountered are doing.


This. It is a cardinal sin to assume that everyone who is effective is drawing from one wellspring. I feel that I have encountered multiple distinct sources of internal skills. Hell some of the sources I am working with have strategies so different from those described on Aikiweb that they do not even generate power. The people I have encountered with working skills are pulling from one or more of these sources, and undoubtedly from areas that I have yet to begin to penetrate. A lot of the people who are currently dabbling in these areas assume that the high level abilities are an individual's expression of a single skill, and worse, they assume that when they encounter someone who has working skills, those skills must be rooted in the same concepts they themselves are already practicing. Keeping one's mind open to the idea that you may not already be on the right track, that you may not even have a clue yet as to how someone's skills work, is the only way to create enough space in your practice to actually get traction in a new system. Of course time spent with anyone with working skills will help you get traction with other working systems, but please do not assume that they are definitely doing your stuff.

phitruong
01-10-2011, 11:18 AM
over the years, i sort of developed a dictionary of some sort to Ikeda's speak (using what i learned from IS folks). take it with a few pounds of salt.

-----
i pick - aikiage or raising energy or uprooting (for taiji folks)

no space/make tight - tight connection between my center and my partner center (not physical space) sort of establish ground path between my feet and my partner feet through the physical connection be it a hand grab, shoulder grab, or whatever. also taking the slack out of your body, i.e. a fully connected body. take the slack out of my partner body as well. major topic by itself.

make weak - disrupting partner internal structure or power line or prevent partner from creating a ground path

move your inside - move your dantien/hara (major topic here)

move up and down at the same time - split your energy, one up and one down, i.e. tenchi or heaven-n-earth

hard and soft - fast speed and slow speed, but still kokyu

put center in your hand - your center is your hand, i.e. your hand connected to your center with "no space" (from above) so when you move your center, your hand move. same goes for every part of your body. the old taiji saying "power from below, control by the waist (read dantien/hara), express by the limbs". this related to "move your inside".

-----

Budd
01-10-2011, 12:35 PM
This. It is a cardinal sin to assume that everyone who is effective is drawing from one wellspring. I feel that I have encountered multiple distinct sources of internal skills. Hell some of the sources I am working with have strategies so different from those described on Aikiweb that they do not even generate power. The people I have encountered with working skills are pulling from one or more of these sources, and undoubtedly from areas that I have yet to begin to penetrate. A lot of the people who are currently dabbling in these areas assume that the high level abilities are an individual's expression of a single skill, and worse, they assume that when they encounter someone who has working skills, those skills must be rooted in the same concepts they themselves are already practicing. Keeping one's mind open to the idea that you may not already be on the right track, that you may not even have a clue yet as to how someone's skills work, is the only way to create enough space in your practice to actually get traction in a new system. Of course time spent with anyone with working skills will help you get traction with other working systems, but please do not assume that they are definitely doing your stuff.

This is a good discussion to drill into . . George, I'd be curious as to your take around Ushiro's energy, energy level, energy "stuff" that Ikeda is doing - especially where it's different from what you've observed Mike and Dan to be doing. My default hypothesis is that there's one set of skills with different levels and spins, but am not married to it in light of better information.

Ben, along those lines, what have you experienced directly that leads you to posit that there's different skills altogether? (again, levels and emphasis is one thing . . akin to Judo & Wrestling both being grappling) Comparisons?

Thanks/Budd

Mike Sigman
01-10-2011, 01:35 PM
This. It is a cardinal sin to assume that everyone who is effective is drawing from one wellspring. I feel that I have encountered multiple distinct sources of internal skills. Hell some of the sources I am working with have strategies so different from those described on Aikiweb that they do not even generate power. The people I have encountered with working skills are pulling from one or more of these sources, and undoubtedly from areas that I have yet to begin to penetrate. A lot of the people who are currently dabbling in these areas assume that the high level abilities are an individual's expression of a single skill, and worse, they assume that when they encounter someone who has working skills, those skills must be rooted in the same concepts they themselves are already practicing. Keeping one's mind open to the idea that you may not already be on the right track, that you may not even have a clue yet as to how someone's skills work, is the only way to create enough space in your practice to actually get traction in a new system. Of course time spent with anyone with working skills will help you get traction with other working systems, but please do not assume that they are definitely doing your stuff. I agree with Benjamin (a certain sign of the Apocalypse!). At the moment a lot of people are in the position of being reasonably recently introduced to ki/kokyu/hara skills and until more expertise is developed there's going to be a tendency to think everything 'powerful', etc., is being done by the same means. A little reservation and wait-and-see is in order.

In terms of Ushiro Sensei, I watched him personally and I've watched some videos of him; I don't see anything outside of normal jin/kokyu skills (regardless of expertise, etc.). From what I've seen and felt of Systema experts, I haven't encountered those skills, as of yet. Personally, I tend to disregard a Systema - Aikido relationship, but of course each to his own.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-10-2011, 01:59 PM
Uke makes a fist and sticks his arm out to his side (kind of like someone thumbing a lift), nage touches or cups uke's fist and 'makes a line' to uke. I asked Ikeda sensei a number of times to explain what make a line meant, he kept telling me it was just a line. "Path". Like in "groundpath". No slack in that path (i.e., a good firm connection) or the connection between centers is not there. So, once I've made my line, I then move my center which displaces uke's center and I can usually see a small movement in my partner as if I've just 'bumped' him a little. Once this has happened, I can move him around, make him fall over etc. How do I move my center? Well, again, finally this year I got some help on that one from Ikeda sensei. I'll try and explain...

You stand kind of relaxed, neutral. You move your stomach in a circular direction, up and forward and slightly down (forward) then reverse (center) then up and back (back) then reverse (center) then up and left (left) then reverse (center) then up and right (right) then reverse. I can't really explain this that well, but after doing this a good few times you feel slightly strange inside... Ikeda sensei said you need to do this everyday, practice, you don't need a partner. I find it great to do when driving, and I had hold of the steering wheel, I *think* I can feel my center moving around and I feel heavier on one side etc. It's almost like the movement body poppers used to make way back when, that line, squiggle, wave form shape.

He's also done the same exercise with him sat in a chair to me...

This is all probably badly explained but it's all I've got to work on at the moment, again, I'll say I can get this to work on my students and visitors to my club but I'm really not sure exactly how it's working. I've tried to explain what's in my head when I'm doing it based on talking to Ikeda sensei. Great descriptions. I think that by putting your thoughts on paper, it's helpful for everyone.

In a way, you can think of Uke as a, say, tubular-steel sculpture and you are a tubular-steel sculpture. A "good connection" or "unity" means that the two sculptures have just become welded together into one sculpture. Think of that now welded-together sculpture as having only one flexible/movable place .... the hara. So it's the hara you have to move in order to affect the two (now one) frameworks. Depending upon the angles that are determined by how and where the bonding of the two scuptures is, where the weak-points in balance for the Uke part of the sculpture, and so on, the hara has to be able to, ummmm, 'motivate' things in that direction. Because there are a number of possible directions you may need to move the hara/dantien/tanden, the hara is going to have to be exercised and trained *as part of the unit*. Just being able to move a dantien in isolation means nothing, in reality.

I can't understand exactly from your description how you're practicing the hara/dantien/tanden movement, but it's one of those things that is almost impossible to convey in writing anyway, so I'll show the traditional method to you in Edinburgh, lord willing and the creek don't rise. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Shadowfax
01-10-2011, 09:10 PM
Then explain how I broke my collarbone a couple of years ago because I was dumb enough to try to re-rig my pancho behind my saddle while riding a skittish horse. ;) Well, then I think that Garth, and George L. and Lynn Seiser and all the teachers who understand these things should be openly breaking the internet trail on how to do these sorts of things. Think how helpful it would be to lay out how-to's for the people trying to get started on these intrinsic (to Aikido) skills.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

a) well it sounds to me like you attacked nage with far more energy than you were prepared to take ukemi for....:D

b) I really can't speak for said teachers. But my observation is they are pretty busy are busy in the dojo working on these sorts of things and teaching them to their students. I can speak as a student and say that my observation so far of my own teachers is that they are most certainly breaking some new ground in the matter of introducing these ideas earlier in training than it appears is traditional...


When Ikeda Sensei does this his movements are so small that it's hard to see. What I do, right now anyway, is much bigger, cruder, and often less successful. However, every once and awhile I really find it, and then a heavy uke suddenly doesn't weigh much of anything. Very cool!
It's pretty cool from the heavy ukes perspective as well...there is nothing quite so amazing as having the planet suddenly disappear out from under you for a moment....

Mike Sigman
01-10-2011, 09:24 PM
a) well it sounds to me like you attacked nage with far more energy than you were prepared to take ukemi for....:D
I kept asking people if they wanted me to teach them my trick dismount. It was embarrassing. ;)

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-11-2011, 01:45 PM
b) I really can't speak for said teachers. But my observation is they are pretty busy are busy in the dojo working on these sorts of things and teaching them to their students. I can speak as a student and say that my observation so far of my own teachers is that they are most certainly breaking some new ground in the matter of introducing these ideas earlier in training than it appears is traditional...
Meant to come back to this part sooner, but got distracted and spaced it.

At the moment, a number of teachers are "working on these sorts of things and teaching them to their students"... or have "already been teaching these things for years". Let me take this thread as an opportunity to give an idea what I look for when I meet some teacher or student for the first time who claims that they are already doing these things.

The first thing I look and feel for is whether they have any built-in jin/kokyu-power to their movements. It can be felt at a touch and there's no way to fake it to someone knowledgeable. If someone really has this sort of skill already imbued well enough in their movement, they should be able to easily duplicate the type of "ki test" that Tohei advocated. If a person cannot do these simple things, then all the other "advanced knowledge" they have goes out the window. It might be some cool stuff, may strong stuff at that... but it's going to be based on some partial or incomplete understanding of what internal strength is.

The demonstrations that Ikeda Sensei is doing are pretty clean instances of kokyu/jin ("jin" is a little more refined term for the forces being used; "kokyu" has a slightly more advanced implication that gets away from the simple thing I'm trying to say). Until good kokyu is developed a person doesn't have good kokyu, right? That means that all the "techniques" that are being done by them as "internal strength" are not really internal strength.

So the first thing I look for is "how good is your basic kokyu/jin?". If it's not there, everything else goes out the window. I.e., both Tohei's and Ikeda's approaches of just basic kokyu/jin/ki-strength are what people should be focusing on. Otherwise you have to go back later and relearn a lot of stuff.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-12-2011, 01:59 PM
One last thought before this thread dies from lack of interest in the Aikido community, but for those people who are interested in the topic.... I've noticed on QiJin that a lot of real progress is being made when some emphasis is put on analysing videos of experts *and* having people post (via Vimeo, etc.) videos of their own efforts at basic internal-strength demonstrations, exercises, and so on. It doesn't take a lot of bandwidth on a forum for people to post URL's and engage in discussion about videos. And it seems to be very productive once you get a number of people engaged in this type of discussion. We have a separate forum within the forum for the people that want to discuss/analyse. People that don't want to contribute to the discussion don't get to get a free ride: you wanna play you gotta ante up. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Shadowfax
01-12-2011, 07:03 PM
One last thought before this thread dies from lack of interest in the Aikido community, but for those people who are interested in the topic....


I have been following the topic quite closely and have a lot of interest in the subject. Exercises such as this fascinate me to no end. However I simply do not yet have nearly enough experience to be able to be able to add to it at this point. What I have learned so far I find I just have not found a way to put into words as of yet, certainly not as eloquently as others have done. I have found that I could perform the majority of the exercises Ikeda sensei has been showing at the seminars I have been to. But the ability to explain what exactly I am doing in order to get the effect eludes me at this time.

Anyway I do hope the topic won't die entirely even if it does happen to slow down a bit from time to time.

Mike Sigman
01-12-2011, 07:14 PM
I have found that I could perform the majority of the exercises Ikeda sensei has been showing at the seminars I have been to. But the ability to explain what exactly I am doing in order to get the effect eludes me at this time.Trying to explain these demonstrations in words and physics is what I am encouraging people to do. It's not magic. Perhaps Ikeda Sensei's "Japlish" (as some of his own students call it) is inadequate to express things as well as Ikeda would like, but that doesn't mean that others shouldn't attempt to explain these essences of Aikido.

Obviously Ikeda Sensei thought this material was so important that he devoted time and effort to tracking it down more fully (note: he's had some aspects of these skills for years, so it's not totally new for him) and he also thinks it's so important that he focuses on it in a lot of his teachings. What people can do is take the hint and publicly work it out in order to enhance their understanding of Aikido (and other arts). Video is a good tool. The people who say they also know how to do these things... why can't they also make their efforts to describe/discuss?

If you ever get out in this neighborhood, stop by some day and I'll show you some kick-start ideas. If you're lucky, I'll also show you my secret "trick dismount" that I've perfected over the years. ;)

Mike Sigman

Shadowfax
01-12-2011, 08:02 PM
Video is a good tool. The people who say they also know how to do these things... why can't they also make their efforts to describe/discuss?

If you ever get out in this neighborhood, stop by some day and I'll show you some kick-start ideas. If you're lucky, I'll also show you my secret "trick dismount" that I've perfected over the years. ;)

Mike Sigman

Well I can say that for someone new like me part of the reluctance might be the way some members here tend to treat less experienced people when they try to share their ideas. And speaking as someone quite junior... who am I to be telling all of these yundasha how its done? :o

Nevertheless I will try to pay attention to what I experience when we do these exercises so that I might hopefully contribute in the future. :)

But thanks for the invite. If I am ever in CO I will be pleased to look you up. But if your dismount routinely ends in broken bones I might pass on trying it out. Ive never broken anything yet and I would like to continue the trend.

Mike Sigman
01-12-2011, 08:19 PM
Well I can say that for someone new like me part of the reluctance might be the way some members here tend to treat less experienced people when they try to share their ideas. And speaking as someone quite junior... who am I to be telling all of these yundasha how its done? :o To me, learning "internal strength" is like going to heaven, for most folks. Everyone wants to do it.... but not yet.

I have never, ever, in all my born years, seen a Shihan step out like Ikeda Sensei did and learn what he could, take off his hakama and sit as a student, and so on, while learning something he thought was critical to Aikido. And then have the grace to openly show and teach what he knows in public. He simply walked up to the cold pool and jumped in. Other people, including the relevant yudanshakai, need to emulate Ikeda Sensei's graciousness and sincerity, IMO. People in the mudansha ranks are often not as set in their ways and thus hindered in learning new movement patterns, so their input if valuable, too.
But if your dismount routinely ends in broken bones I might pass on trying it out. Ive never broken anything yet and I would like to continue the trend.Wuss. I don't figure I've had a good day if I haven't broken at least one bone. :p

Mike Sigman

john.burn
01-13-2011, 05:58 AM
I think part of the problem with posting video's of people who think they are doing these things, which maybe they can, maybe they can't is that there's a greater presence of loutish, rude and dismissive posts appearing on aikiweb at the moment, one in particular is UK based, Henry, if you're reading this it's not you!

I'll happily try and capture what I was explaining earlier - even though on a scale of 1 to 100 in this stuff I'm not convinced I'm even on the scale yet. I've read things, I've been on the end of Ikeda sensei's technique a number of times over the past 10 years - so for a long time I've tried to figure it all out, I have idea's and theories about some of it but I'm looking forward to being given some more information that I'll understand to take it further.

One thing I noticed when I was on one if Ikeda sensei's seminars last year was when I grabbed him morote dori he did something half ikkyo / half hiji nage on me and he probably threw me 15 or 20 times in very quick succession... Thing was, I had to ask him after what he was doing because I couldn't feel his body - I knew I had a good hold of him but it was completely empty, didn't feel a bump or anything. His answer was that he was hiding his body... Any ideas on that one?

Then there was his shomenuchi cut with a bokken and how yokomenuchi is the same cut, you're just moving your body into it but it's still a vertical cut. Never seen anyone explain that one in that way before. Probably should explain that one more as I'm maybe taking what he was saying out of context.

Shadowfax
01-13-2011, 07:21 AM
To me, learning "internal strength" is like going to heaven, for most folks. Everyone wants to do it.... but not yet.

Wuss. I don't figure I've had a good day if I haven't broken at least one bone. :p

Mike Sigman

Don't get me wrong. I want to learn it now. I want to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can and I want to learn it right. I'm not some kid starting out young and thinking I have my whole life to figure it out.

Broken bones mean I have to slow my training down to heal. So I'd rather not, thank you. Bad enough I had to delay testing and take three weeks off of training for a sprained knee....:uch:

Considering some of the wrecks Ive had with horses its kind of amazing that I have not broken anything yet. To be honest I should probably be paralyzed, I still don't know how I didn't break my back when that horse flipped on me 12 years ago.... my husband used to call me "old Iron bones" Needless to say rather not tempt fate.

Ikeda sensei is an amazing person and teacher. Ive been to two seminars with him and am looking forward to a third this spring.

Have you see his excercise with the jo where two ukes each hold and end and you send energy in a wave along it to move them either forward or back? The excercise originally posted is similar. I have not yet really given thought to what physically is going on inside when I do this I only know I visualize the connection which I feel through the hip closes to uke extending to my center as a line of energy. And I just twist that line into a wave that sends uke either forward or back rather like sending a wave along a water bed to move an object at the other end....

Mike Sigman
01-13-2011, 08:12 AM
I think part of the problem with posting video's of people who think they are doing these things, which maybe they can, maybe they can't is that there's a greater presence of loutish, rude and dismissive posts appearing on aikiweb at the moment, one in particular is UK based, Henry, if you're reading this it's not you! I'm always curious what people can do. When I push hands or try a demo with someone I'll often put myself deliberately in a bad position so that I can see what they'll do, but my main focus is on how they move. Many times at the start of a workshop I'll have everyone push me in the chest and I (usually) provide enough resistance for them to give me a good push, but (usually) not enough resistance to stop their push because if I stop their push I won't get a chance to feel how they use their strength and arms throughout the range of the push. My point is that I analyse people and forces and I'm not into some dreamworld fantasy where I do silly unworkable things to opponents where they stand there and shrug ruefully at me. I'm interested in real results and if the internal-strength things I do did not work, I wouldn't be silly enough to carry on with the grand delusion.

I've run into all ranges of people, from very strong, to weak, to absurd, to some bits of internal strength, to very good internal strength and I'm aware that most people really don't know what it is. Often on the internet you get people (many of them "seniors") who have no idea what you're talking about. They're used to meeting the sillies, so to some extent you can't blame, but they haven't taken that extra step in regard to seriously exploring internal strength in the way, perhaps, that Ikeda Sensei has done. Here's the thing. It takes a while to begin moving along the i.s. skills route, but as you improve you peripherally begin to realize that the people who are making the funny noises about i.s. are being left behind. You begin to realize that Joe Blow, the Go-Dan, is left with an Aikido (or Taiji or Xingyi or karate or whatever) that is actually a parody of what the art is supposed to be and that whatever they do they can now never catch you, even if they nominally outrank you.

So don't worry about loutish behavior; it has its own rewards. But along those same lines, I find the generally slow response toward learning I.S. skills to be intriguing in the same way. I think the biggest problem, seriously, is that people who are getting *some* exposure to i.s. skills are not thinking/analysing things enough. They become dependent upon someone telling them things (sometimes wrong things) and they follow by rote. What I'm suggesting is that people will improve far more quickly if they get into the habit of analysing and thinking/talking/demonstrating publicly. Sure, it's a little embarrassing, just as anything is when you put it publicly out there, but it will pay off so much more quickly than to sit there waiting too long to take the plunge.
I'll happily try and capture what I was explaining earlier - even though on a scale of 1 to 100 in this stuff I'm not convinced I'm even on the scale yet. I've read things, I've been on the end of Ikeda sensei's technique a number of times over the past 10 years - so for a long time I've tried to figure it all out, I have idea's and theories about some of it but I'm looking forward to being given some more information that I'll understand to take it further. First you have to be shown two things that need to be explained by feel: (1.) How to let the body use the solidity of the ground and the pull of gravity as replacements for brute strength. (2.) How to begin using breathing to actually (not imaginarily) begin training the body (this strengthening supports the forces in #1, and honestly increases strength and health factors). Unless you have those two basics in place, you really can't move forward and any analyses you do which actually just involve normal strength don't do you much good. You must have the two basic skills in place before you worry too much about 'applications' and the use of power. It takes a while to get things rolling, but when you do, progress is demonstrable.
One thing I noticed when I was on one if Ikeda sensei's seminars last year was when I grabbed him morote dori he did something half ikkyo / half hiji nage on me and he probably threw me 15 or 20 times in very quick succession... Thing was, I had to ask him after what he was doing because I couldn't feel his body - I knew I had a good hold of him but it was completely empty, didn't feel a bump or anything. His answer was that he was hiding his body... Any ideas on that one? Ikeda Sensei does most of his demonstrations by means of making a solid connection with Uke and then using his center to control the now-joined two bodies as one. There is a "path" or a "line" that you learn to utilize. Once you're aware of this path thing, you can also learn to not let a path exist if Uke is looking for one to use.
Then there was his shomenuchi cut with a bokken and how yokomenuchi is the same cut, you're just moving your body into it but it's still a vertical cut. Never seen anyone explain that one in that way before. Probably should explain that one more as I'm maybe taking what he was saying out of context. Without seeing the demonstration and hearing what was said in context I can't really guess intelligently about this one. Sorry. ;)

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-13-2011, 08:26 AM
Broken bones mean I have to slow my training down to heal. So I'd rather not, thank you. Bad enough I had to delay testing and take three weeks off of training for a sprained knee....:uch: I was kidding about the bones and I know just what you're saying. I've pretty much given up skiing nowadays for the simple reason that I've never damaged my knees and I want to keep it that way. Meanwhile, all around me, there are few people here in town that don't have ski-damaged knees. Who needs it. Have you see his excercise with the jo where two ukes each hold and end and you send energy in a wave along it to move them either forward or back? The excercise originally posted is similar. I have not yet really given thought to what physically is going on inside when I do this I only know I visualize the connection which I feel through the hip closes to uke extending to my center as a line of energy. And I just twist that line into a wave that sends uke either forward or back rather like sending a wave along a water bed to move an object at the other end....I don't know anything about a "wave". Can you describe what a "wave" is, as you see it, in regard to this demo?

OK, so there's a jo and "two ukes each hold an end and you send energy in a wave along it to move them either forward or back". Notice how incomplete your description is... and that might be a reflection of how you saw the demonstration, so let's try to clean up the description a bit:

Two Ukes are holding a jo.... but aren't they perhaps pushing or pulling on the jo? That's critical in the same way that Ikeda Sensei makes certain that Uke is physically doing something to form a good connection with him. If Uke does not attack in such a way as to form a good connection, then you have to atemi or something in order to initiate *something* in order to form a connection to Uke's center.

In the case of the two Ukes holding the jo, we have to get them to push or pull so that they form a "unit". Then, no matter how outwardly casual we are, if we put our hands on the jo, we still must do it in such a way that the jo becomes part of our own unit. Become "one with the jo" and you automatically become one with the two centers of the Uke's. Now we're back to that basic skill of paths/lines/connections which you have to develop, but if you have that skill you can "feel" for the center of one Uke and then the other; sometimes both at the same time, but it depends on their positions. You have a good connection, you move their center with your center.

Does that help?

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Shadowfax
01-13-2011, 02:23 PM
In the case of the two Ukes holding the jo, we have to get them to push or pull so that they form a "unit". Then, no matter how outwardly casual we are, if we put our hands on the jo, we still must do it in such a way that the jo becomes part of our own unit. Become "one with the jo" and you automatically become one with the two centers of the Uke's. Now we're back to that basic skill of paths/lines/connections which you have to develop, but if you have that skill you can "feel" for the center of one Uke and then the other; sometimes both at the same time, but it depends on their positions. You have a good connection, you move their center with your center.

Does that help?

FWIW

Mike Sigman

I didn't figure you were serious. But you never know ;)

Anyway yes that gives me something to think about. As for nage I forgot the detail that nage was only using the tips of one or two fingers on the jo to connect to the two ukes. Whether they were pushing or puling I don't recall. And I can honestly say, at the time, I was probably unaware of what kind of attack I was supposed to be giving beyond just holding onto the jo and keeping it still. This was a year ago and I was just preparing to test for 6th kyu, attending my first full seminar.

Feeling for the center of uke I understand. It gets a little tricky when you want to hang onto uke number one while looking for and connecting to uke number two. I know what it feels like I just don't know how to explain what it feels like....

Mike Sigman
01-13-2011, 02:28 PM
BTW, let me add that I watched a number of Ikeda Sensei's video demonstrations and on a few of them, Uke anticipated Ikeda. I'm assuming that sort of thing is more the exception than the rule. All explanations can go out the window when cooperative Uke's have to be factored into the equation.

FWIW

Mike

Shadowfax
01-13-2011, 03:51 PM
BTW, let me add that I watched a number of Ikeda Sensei's video demonstrations and on a few of them, Uke anticipated Ikeda. I'm assuming that sort of thing is more the exception than the rule. All explanations can go out the window when cooperative Uke's have to be factored into the equation.

FWIW

Mike

Ukes are only human. Even when we are trying not to anticipate or are trying to give an honest attack we can slip into a pattern if we forget to be mindful. In training horses anticipation is something I see a lot of. Once a pattern is established the horse will of course continue to follow it. If you don't want them to anticipate your next request the best way to avoid it is to not establish a pattern. Perhaps the same can be applied to ukes.

Janet Rosen
01-13-2011, 05:06 PM
Ukes are only human. Even when we are trying not to anticipate or are trying to give an honest attack we can slip into a pattern if we forget to be mindful. In training horses anticipation is something I see a lot of. Once a pattern is established the horse will of course continue to follow it. If you don't want them to anticipate your next request the best way to avoid it is to not establish a pattern. Perhaps the same can be applied to ukes.

Try moving a cat's litter box to a new location and see what happens... :D
Yes to some degree we do that because in most day to day life, patterns form a useful shorthand to keep us on track with most things so our brain is ready for the non-pattern stuff.
But in training.... not so good! That's when we should be in the moment, NOT on autopilot!

SeiserL
01-14-2011, 06:59 AM
BTW, let me add that I watched a number of Ikeda Sensei's video demonstrations and on a few of them, Uke anticipated Ikeda. I'm assuming that sort of thing is more the exception than the rule. All explanations can go out the window when cooperative Uke's have to be factored into the equation.
IMHO, having actually been in the experience many times, it feels less like anticipation (though unconsciously I won't rule that out) and more like Ikeda Sensei establishes a connection (intent and distance) and begins his technique prior to physical contact. I think of it as capturing and leading the mind and subtle initiating and intercepting while entering. Just before you get there, Ikeda Sensei often subtly changes his line.

Mike Sigman
01-14-2011, 07:10 AM
IMHO, having actually been in the experience many times, it feels less like anticipation (though unconsciously I won't rule that out) and more like Ikeda Sensei establishes a connection (intent and distance) and begins his technique prior to physical contact. I think of it as capturing and leading the mind and subtle initiating and intercepting while entering. Just before you get there, Ikeda Sensei often subtly changes his line.I can understand things like that happening, but the instances I was talking about were somewhat different than that and had more to do with Uke obviously wanting to please. I also understand how easy that is to do, the psychology involved, etc., and my comment was simply along the lines that, IMO, the best-case reading of what functionally a demonstration is about can be screwed up by some overly-cooperative Uke's distorting the demonstration through friendly over-cooperation. I.e., my comment is directed at the perspective of what should be happening versus how someone else can be perceiving a demonstration when cooperative Uke's are affecting the demonstration. In the demo's I've explained, the basic principles should be fairly obvious and will hopefully save some people some time with the pragmatics.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

john.burn
01-14-2011, 07:42 AM
Mike, quick question hopefully not too off topic...

I find it difficult to apply some if not all of the things I'm thinking about when doing this stuff statically to anything much in motion... I've been working on trying to get my body into a shape when doing this in motion, so I don't wave my arms around or move them, if I want to move my arm, I move my body so that my arm stays in the same shape.

If you were starting to introduce this stuff into a club (not a long established club, only 3 years old) would it be part of every class, or something else until you get the absolute basics instilled?

I play with what little I've picked up but am consciously trying to not overdo it as I don't have much to backup what I'm trying to teach.

Mike Sigman
01-14-2011, 08:09 AM
Mike, quick question hopefully not too off topic...

I find it difficult to apply some if not all of the things I'm thinking about when doing this stuff statically to anything much in motion... I've been working on trying to get my body into a shape when doing this in motion, so I don't wave my arms around or move them, if I want to move my arm, I move my body so that my arm stays in the same shape.

If you were starting to introduce this stuff into a club (not a long established club, only 3 years old) would it be part of every class, or something else until you get the absolute basics instilled?

I play with what little I've picked up but am consciously trying to not overdo it as I don't have much to backup what I'm trying to teach.

Hi John:

Generally what most people do is learn some basic static jin/kokyu tricks and then weave those into their moving techniques (to some degree) so that they can roughly "use internal strength" in limited scenarios. They will also do limited application of the dantien/tanden/hara and consider that to be "internal strength". My point is that the transition from static training into moving training is always hard and it's the point where most people (usually unknown to themselves and their friends) plateau out. Moving has to take into account more dynamics than just weaving in some sudden-application usages of static kokyu power.

[BTW, just to interject a point, I prefer to say something like "jin" rather than "kokyu", because "kokyu" implies something a little more sophisticated than "jin" which means sort of "trained force skill/vector" in this context. Most people are only doing jin usage but are calling it kokyu.]

Since the principles of ki/kokyu/hara/etc are always going to be the same, the easiest thing to do, no matter what your style, is to look at the exercises Tohei developed to address the problem of taking static kokyu/jin skills into the moving. Starting around 1:43, look at Tohei's suggested methods of beginning to train into the moving usage of internal strength:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nj_7ctIWbM

Tohei (inspired by Ueshiba) did a pretty good job of putting together a series of exercises addressing the difficult transition phase from static to moving, but it's still a difficult time for everyone. In my experience few westerners ever really learn to do the transition well and they tend to be more about normal movement with interjected moments of internal strength. So you're right to focus on it. If you're going after "internal strength" and you instead pattern yourself into "moments of applied static jin/kokyu", you're back into the same old habit of repatterning movements that will limit your progress. There are a lot of traps out there. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Janet Rosen
01-14-2011, 02:16 PM
Interesting post, Mike. I can see how those pitfalls happen as I'm just exploring the most basic exercises.

Mike Sigman
01-14-2011, 04:39 PM
Another interesting thing about Tohei is that he often showed 'tests' of a student Nage as Nage was moving through a technique. The tests were designed to show that at any stop-moment in a technique a student should still be grounded and powered-up. So a lot of the current discussions are really just a re-hash of principles that Tohei (and others, but Tohei did the most codification) attempted to address 40 years ago. (And no, I'm not a Tohei-o-phile. ;) ).

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Shadowfax
01-18-2011, 11:43 AM
In class on Sunday we were working on this concept of extending upward and downward ,through the spine, at the same time as well as out to the sides. I found it rather fascinating. Got to thinking what if one also extended forward and backward?

I also found that it drains a lot of my energy very quickly. Normal? Of course I did catch myself holding my breath or breathing too shallow during the excercise. No doubt this didn't help.

The effect on uke when nage got it just right was pretty cool.

I guess we will be seeing more of this in class in the future which I am excited about. :D

Mike Sigman
01-18-2011, 12:30 PM
In class on Sunday we were working on this concept of extending upward and downward ,through the spine, at the same time as well as out to the sides. I found it rather fascinating. Got to thinking what if one also extended forward and backward? Hmmmm... lessee... up, down, right, left, forward, backward: that would be the "six directions", but of course a lot would depend upon how you effected the "extending". Some extending is right; some extending is wrong.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Shadowfax
01-18-2011, 12:38 PM
Hmmmm... lessee... up, down, right, left, forward, backward: that would be the "six directions", but of course a lot would depend upon how you effected the "extending". Some extending is right; some extending is wrong.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

I don't doubt that. I think for starters four directions is mind bending enough. :hypno:

Anjisan
01-18-2011, 03:35 PM
Principles are excellent to discuss. It always helps me get my head around them so that I can apply them better. Not good but better.

I would agree that from what I have experiences, Ikeda Sensei is one of the best examples of applied principles with a sincere desire to transmit them the others.

When I started training directly with him he would often say "Understand?" and of course I didn't even see it let alone understand it. But over time I saw a little more, understood a little more, and eventually could apply a little more (only a little more).

What I heard Ikeda Sensei say a lot was "unity". Musubi, to connect and join centers.

Not sure how that translates to chinese internal terms.

Thoughts?

Ah.................I am not alone in that perspective. I love the discombobulating thing he does when you grab his had and he slowly takes your balance as he smile at you. He mentioned taking away the alignment one's body structure naturally has only slightly but that was enough. It may look fake until one feels it. I just would like to see other practical applications other than just hand grabs for such a principle.

SeiserL
01-18-2011, 04:50 PM
I just would like to see other practical applications other than just hand grabs for such a principle.
Keep attending.

Ikeda Sensei takes these sensitivity exercises into full tilt application.

When he says his Aikido works, I can attest to it.

Budd
01-20-2011, 10:13 AM
So based on what others are writing and having talked to people that train with him hands on - it looks/sounds like Ikeda is trying to get people to grokk to the basic connecting center to center stuffs. Which you need, but then there's a whole body conditioning aspect that I wonder how explicitly is being addressed? Then there's the skill component, ways to train it (ideally through the taiso and aikido techniques, but that would require relooking at how a lot of techniques get applied, potentially) - and ultimately how to apply it to your chosen martial art (i.e. aikido).

SeiserL
01-20-2011, 11:39 AM
it looks/sounds like Ikeda is trying to get people to grokk to the basic connecting center to center stuffs.
I have never heard Ikeda Sensei speak Martian or make reference to drinking in anything other than coffee.

IMHO, he is very big on the concept and application of connecting centers ("unity") and moving from there.

kewms
01-20-2011, 12:42 PM
So based on what others are writing and having talked to people that train with him hands on - it looks/sounds like Ikeda is trying to get people to grokk to the basic connecting center to center stuffs. Which you need, but then there's a whole body conditioning aspect that I wonder how explicitly is being addressed? Then there's the skill component, ways to train it (ideally through the taiso and aikido techniques, but that would require relooking at how a lot of techniques get applied, potentially) - and ultimately how to apply it to your chosen martial art (i.e. aikido).

Maybe you should go train with him yourself?

Seriously. If you want to know what Ikeda Sensei is doing, the best answer is to go to one of his seminars.

Katherine

Budd
01-20-2011, 01:56 PM
Maybe you should go train with him yourself?

Seriously. If you want to know what Ikeda Sensei is doing, the best answer is to go to one of his seminars.

Katherine

Yup, somewhere on the list.

DH
01-20-2011, 02:08 PM
Looks like I am going to get to put on the old white pajamas and make that happen for me this year as well. Or its going to be private and in sweats...I dunno yet. These things usually prove to be very interesting and I hear Mr. Ikeda is a gentleman and very open, so I look forward to it..

Cheers
Dan

Budd
01-20-2011, 02:20 PM
Looks like I am going to get to put on the old white pajamas and make that happen for me this year as well. Or its going to be private and in sweats...I dunno yet. These things usually prove to be very interesting and I hear Mr. Ikeda is a gentleman and very open, so I look forward to it..

Cheers
Dan

That's awesome. It's only been a year or so, but I am not even sure where my white pajamas are. Moving to a new state and adding another baby to the mix sure creates opportunities to lose things.

DH
01-20-2011, 02:39 PM
That's awesome. It's only been a year or so, but I am not even sure where my white pajamas are. Moving to a new state and adding another baby to the mix sure creates opportunities to lose things.
Yup, found mine tucked away in an old cardboard box from about ten years ago when my wife was looking for her stuff....and...I lost weight!!!
I'm hoping for sweats and an informal get together.
Dan

Marc Abrams
01-20-2011, 02:44 PM
That's awesome. It's only been a year or so, but I am not even sure where my white pajamas are. Moving to a new state and adding another baby to the mix sure creates opportunities to lose things.

Budd:

I use to love it when the "young bloods" would give me shit about going to the dojo 2-3 times a week, when I had four kids at home. I would just tell them that I would patiently await to see how many times they attended after they got married and again, after they had children. I still have the last laugh on that one.... :D

The changes in Ikeda Sensei are impressive. It is equally important to note that he attributes a lot of these changes to his work with Ushiro Sensei. People can dissect what these teachers do on forums to their hearts are content. When they can do what these teachers can do in the types of situations that they can operate in, then their words carry more legitimacy than the those of the backseat drivers.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

DH
01-20-2011, 02:54 PM
+1
After yacking about it, I was wondering when you were going to post that!!

Dan

Lan Powers
01-20-2011, 03:22 PM
Wish I had an expert opinion to toss in....
I've had a couple of seminars with Ikeda Sensei (Thanks Shobu Dojo in Houston) and have been astounded at how MUCH comes out of so LITTLE (read imperceptable) movement.

The phrase IT Has To Be Felt is so very true.
just my two cents

Shadowfax
01-20-2011, 03:33 PM
Ikeda sensei is a very generous spirit, and very much a gentleman. I am sure you will enjoy him very much. :)

Keith Larman
01-20-2011, 04:11 PM
People can dissect what these teachers do on forums to their hearts are content. When they can do what these teachers can do in the types of situations that they can operate in, then their words carry more legitimacy than the those of the backseat drivers.

Amen.

Mike Sigman
01-20-2011, 04:41 PM
When they can do what these teachers can do in the types of situations that they can operate in, then their words carry more legitimacy than the those of the backseat drivers.
Heck, I'd be happy if people could just do the basics, rather than speculate ahead to what other people could do in "types of situations". Better to focus on current reality of what a person can do themselves rather than worry about other people to the point of obsession. :)

Mike Sigman

SeiserL
01-20-2011, 05:27 PM
These things usually prove to be very interesting and I hear Mr. Ikeda is a gentleman and very open, so I look forward to it..
Ikeda Sensei certainly has lived up to my definitions of a gentleman and has always been open to anyone showing up on the mat.

I always look back on his seminar as some of my most influential and look forward to the next ones.

At one of the last ones I attended, I stepped up and really grabbed a hold of him. He smiled and said that I had already felt it many times. I said that I never feel it enough. He did something completely different as if to say I still had a lot to learn. And I look forward to learning it.

Marc Abrams
01-20-2011, 06:23 PM
Heck, I'd be happy if people could just do the basics, rather than speculate ahead to what other people could do in "types of situations". Better to focus on current reality of what a person can do themselves rather than worry about other people to the point of obsession. :)

Mike Sigman

Mike:

I think that we all are trying to learn the basics, always to deeper levels. I was not speculating as to what those two gentleman can do. To me, the obsession is with those who try and dissect something/someone who they do not have enough real experience with. Worse than that, they are trying to do this when those two gentleman have no problem executing what they know when somebody is trying to tag them, while many of those dissectors cannot do the same.

I think that we are fortunate to have gentleman like that who avail themselves as much as they do while continually progressing in their own training. They generously teach us what they are doing while pushing themselves and us forward.

Marc Abrams

Mike Sigman
01-20-2011, 06:45 PM
I think that we all are trying to learn the basics, always to deeper levels. I was not speculating as to what those two gentleman can do. To me, the obsession is with those who try and dissect something/someone who they do not have enough real experience with. Worse than that, they are trying to do this when those two gentleman have no problem executing what they know when somebody is trying to tag them, while many of those dissectors cannot do the same. I'm not sure what you're trying to say, Marc. I have videos out in public and if people analyze/dissect those, it's fair game. In fact, it'd be a good public debate. Are you suggesting that people shouldn't analyze (without any personal comments, of course) demonstrations by particular people for certain reasons? I'm not clear on what you mean.

And by the way I'm assuming that you have some videos you can analyze of these "dissectors" where you're able to know what they can and cannot do, since you make a definitive assertion? The reason I bring this up is because I used to see a lot of people who, for whatever reason but usually personal jealousy, used to find every incident they could to denigrate Chen Xiaowang (or others), but they never really had experience with him themselves (other than polite meetings maybe). So I'm trying to be clear what you're analysing in which you definitively say what people can and cannot do. I'm assuming, since it's you, that there's not some shallow motivation, of course.
I think that we are fortunate to have gentleman like that who avail themselves as much as they do while continually progressing in their own training. They generously teach us what they are doing while pushing themselves and us forward.
Well, that sounds good. BTW, speaking of "pushing us forward", why don't you and some of the other recently-trained experts join in these conversations of analyzing and explaining how things work? It would be helpful to the whole community if all of the people with new-found skills could engage in online discussion and explanation, sort of like we used to do on the old Neijia List. If someone knew something it was obvious and welcomely discussed. The BS-artists were flushed out pretty rapidly and one of the sure signs a conversation was being pushed to the BS levels was when things turned to a discussion of personalities. I'm certain that a good discussion of factual how-to's would be easy to start on AikiWeb, so why not put your training and insights about internal strength to a good and productive use? It would be good for the Aikido community.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Budd
01-20-2011, 08:23 PM
Yup, found mine tucked away in an old cardboard box from about ten years ago when my wife was looking for her stuff....and...I lost weight!!!
I'm hoping for sweats and an informal get together.
Dan

That's how I like to roll these days, too - I don't have as much patience for the roleplaying aspects right now. But each circumstance has its own appropriate entree'.

Budd
01-20-2011, 08:37 PM
Budd:

I use to love it when the "young bloods" would give me shit about going to the dojo 2-3 times a week, when I had four kids at home. I would just tell them that I would patiently await to see how many times they attended after they got married and again, after they had children. I still have the last laugh on that one.... :D

When it was just one, it was easier to find ways to include him at the dojo I belonged to then, as the dojo was kind of home away from home and the wife trained, too. With two, there's no ability to tag team and the new gym I'm more of just another participant/shmoe there to work out - so not as conducive to integrating babies into the training.

The changes in Ikeda Sensei are impressive. It is equally important to note that he attributes a lot of these changes to his work with Ushiro Sensei. People can dissect what these teachers do on forums to their hearts are content. When they can do what these teachers can do in the types of situations that they can operate in, then their words carry more legitimacy than the those of the backseat drivers.


That reads a bit as a backseat comment to the backseat commenting. I think if we keep the conversations at the level of "Here's how I think it works" and "here's what I'm doing to get it to work" - in this case, looking at the vids of Ikeda that are available and trying to dissect that . . it can go a ways towards then bridging that gap towards being able to "do" and then "do better" what the teachers are trying to show us.

On that note, if there's folks that Ikeda, or Ushiro (or anyone else) are more successfully transmitting (or maybe better put are more successfully learning what is being taught) their knowledge - I think that's also fair game to being looked at from the standpoint of the "how to's" and "how's it work" because folks like that can hopefully make it more understood for the rest of us.

If we start going down the path of insisting that "You cannot conceive of the stupendous awesomeness of this or that practitioner" .. then that's going to be its own self-limiting trick bag (along the same lines of why some people try to keep Ueshiba on this pedestal of unattainable ability).

Marc Abrams
01-20-2011, 08:52 PM
I'm not sure what you're trying to say, Marc. I have videos out in public and if people analyze/dissect those, it's fair game. In fact, it'd be a good public debate. Are you suggesting that people shouldn't analyze (without any personal comments, of course) demonstrations by particular people for certain reasons? I'm not clear on what you mean.

And by the way I'm assuming that you have some videos you can analyze of these "dissectors" where you're able to know what they can and cannot do, since you make a definitive assertion? The reason I bring this up is because I used to see a lot of people who, for whatever reason but usually personal jealousy, used to find every incident they could to denigrate Chen Xiaowang (or others), but they never really had experience with him themselves (other than polite meetings maybe). So I'm trying to be clear what you're analysing in which you definitively say what people can and cannot do. I'm assuming, since it's you, that there's not some shallow motivation, of course. Well, that sounds good. BTW, speaking of "pushing us forward", why don't you and some of the other recently-trained experts join in these conversations of analyzing and explaining how things work? It would be helpful to the whole community if all of the people with new-found skills could engage in online discussion and explanation, sort of like we used to do on the old Neijia List. If someone knew something it was obvious and welcomely discussed. The BS-artists were flushed out pretty rapidly and one of the sure signs a conversation was being pushed to the BS levels was when things turned to a discussion of personalities. I'm certain that a good discussion of factual how-to's would be easy to start on AikiWeb, so why not put your training and insights about internal strength to a good and productive use? It would be good for the Aikido community.

Best.

Mike Sigman

1) There is limited information that can be gained by observing videos. I guess that I am not at such esteemed levels that I can gained all-knowing information from videos. Maybe one day....;) .

2) As to people who like to backseat drive, nothing is gained by calling people out. When you train with certain people, you know who attends the events as well. When people who have not had any hands-on are commenting, you know who they are as well. I frankly do not see where you find me telling people definitively about what others can and cannot do.

3) People put videos out for a variety of reasons. If people want to spend their time coming to "final conclusions" based upon them, then so be it. That is not the way I choose to spend my time.

4) Kindly show me where I have ever described myself as a "recently trained expert." People that know me, know my opinion of the word "expert." My life experiences to date lead to what I can and cannot do today. I consider myself a student on the road of learning. I am ahead of some, even with others, and behind others. I am simply concerned with learning from those ahead of me and sharing what I have learned with those that are even with me and behind me on that life-long road of learning. To me, the day that I believe I have nothing left to learn from others, should be the day I pass on.

5) I have a monthly blog that I put on my website and is also available on the Aikiweb each month. The blog serves as a tool for the learning of myself and my students. I leave it to others to decide as to whether or not anybody finds it of use. If it is, fine; if not, fine. When I think that I have a good idea of "internal strength", I will be sure to post a blog on it to try and win your praise (maybe not).

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Mike Sigman
01-20-2011, 09:04 PM
When I think that I have a good idea of "internal strength", I will be sure to post a blog on it to try and win your praise (maybe not).
Well, if you have a good idea (in my perception), I will tell you; if you say something I disagree with, I will tell you and I will be exact in describing the actual physical reasons of why or why not. If you use vague general terms with no rational explanation, I will ask you to explain, just as I would expect you to ask me to explain exactly what I meant if I used some vague terms like "spiralling energy" or something similar. Truth and facts first. When conversations stay on a level like that (no personalities) about why or why not, everyone benefits.

Regardless of what you think your position is in terms of overall knowledge of internal-strength mechanics, you should post them. It will give you an opportunity to formulate and articulate your thoughts and you will learn even more through the process. Others will also benefit from the exchange. ;)

Mike Sigman

Marc Abrams
01-20-2011, 09:06 PM
When it was just one, it was easier to find ways to include him at the dojo I belonged to then, as the dojo was kind of home away from home and the wife trained, too. With two, there's no ability to tag team and the new gym I'm more of just another participant/shmoe there to work out - so not as conducive to integrating babies into the training.

Going from one child to two is always the hardest! Going from 2 on up, much easier! NYC dojo is one hour each way (two hour class). My wife and I made major sacrifices to allow us to continue with our training. I fully understand your situation. Raising a family is all about major sacrificing.....



That reads a bit as a backseat comment to the backseat commenting. I think if we keep the conversations at the level of "Here's how I think it works" and "here's what I'm doing to get it to work" - in this case, looking at the vids of Ikeda that are available and trying to dissect that . . it can go a ways towards then bridging that gap towards being able to "do" and then "do better" what the teachers are trying to show us.

On that note, if there's folks that Ikeda, or Ushiro (or anyone else) are more successfully transmitting (or maybe better put are more successfully learning what is being taught) their knowledge - I think that's also fair game to being looked at from the standpoint of the "how to's" and "how's it work" because folks like that can hopefully make it more understood for the rest of us.

If we start going down the path of insisting that "You cannot conceive of the stupendous awesomeness of this or that practitioner" .. then that's going to be its own self-limiting trick bag (along the same lines of why some people try to keep Ueshiba on this pedestal of unattainable ability).

I look at things differently. I like to get together with people and actively train together and hash out things. We both are old wrestlers, so we both know how important hands on is in working things out. I currently work with a growing bunch of wrestlers. There is no substitute for experiencing what they actually do, as opposed to what I think I see on video or from the stands. I frankly find using video after I work with someone can be a little more useful. I do not engage in idolizing others. If I can learn something from somebody, that is great. If I can't, it is my loss. It's too easy to pick apart things "wrong" or not good enough. It's a lot harder finding useful information in the most unlikely places.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Budd
01-20-2011, 09:25 PM
Going from one child to two is always the hardest! Going from 2 on up, much easier! NYC dojo is one hour each way (two hour class). My wife and I made major sacrifices to allow us to continue with our training. I fully understand your situation. Raising a family is all about major sacrificing.....

Totally agreed - just now . . with #2 . . JUST NOW starting to feel human again with her at 6 months old. So hopefully can start getting back into the normal training model .. however, a wrinkle is that I'm a bit bored with MMA at the moment and looking for something a little different. I kind of want to try out fencing for a while, just to do something completely different. Then just drop by the MMA gym periodically to work out - but I don't seem to be as into it when it's my main activity. (total thread drift, I know)

I look at things differently. I like to get together with people and actively train together and hash out things. We both are old wrestlers, so we both know how important hands on is in working things out. I currently work with a growing bunch of wrestlers. There is no substitute for experiencing what they actually do, as opposed to what I think I see on video or from the stands. I frankly find using video after I work with someone can be a little more useful. I do not engage in idolizing others. If I can learn something from somebody, that is great. If I can't, it is my loss. It's too easy to pick apart things "wrong" or not good enough. It's a lot harder finding useful information in the most unlikely places.


Meeting hands on is the way to go. Hashing things out is best. Agreed that video is not a substitute. I don't think anyone's arguing that. What you can somewhat derive is to take a demonstration and exercise and say, "Based on my understanding of the principles at work, here's what's happening" and then lay it out there - see who agrees, argues, etc. And in the course of that, hopefully raise the corporate knowledge of all the participants (if enough people have enough of the basic vocabulary).

In the next year or so I should free up to move around more and get back on the "meeting" circuit. Right now, if someone wants to get together to hash things out - I'm game. Enough people know me from a few years ago and know what I'm doing now are intrigued at the differences in approach - so I have people come visit now and again to work on things. That's enough to keep my plate full until I can get more mobile again to travel and see what others are doing (had to pass up more than one tempting invitation in the last couple of years, unfortunately).

Mike Sigman
01-20-2011, 09:51 PM
5) I have a monthly blog that I put on my website and is also available on the Aikiweb each month. The blog serves as a tool for the learning of myself and my students. I leave it to others to decide as to whether or not anybody finds it of use. Marc, I took a look at a few of your blogs. Since you don't define many terms with precision, I couldn't mesh a lot with what you're saying. In some aspects of things you and I have radically different perspectives, but simply say "each to his own". Well... there was one blog where you talked about people breathing sometimes while pulling their diaphragms upward that I would take exception to: if air is coming into your lungs the diaphragm *must* be going down. Other wise air would be pushed out of your lungs.

In terms of Ushiro Sensei's demonstrations, I found a video on YouTube that has a number of varying demonstrations. Trying to stay focused on Aikido or Aikido-like demonstrations, I didn't see anything that I thought was mysterious or not easily demonstrated to be an example of basic kokyu/jin, for the most part. If you disagree, I'd like for you to point out an example, please. My point is that it's not difficult or particularly moot when someone demonstrates basic kokyu, even on video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlvGlCP9R8Q

BTW.... can you see an example of Ushiro Sensei using "intention" as you described "intention" on your blogs? I'm curious about how you're using the term.

Best.

Mike Sigman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlvGlCP9R8Q

Mike Sigman
01-26-2011, 08:50 AM
Hope I didn't leave Marc floundering about specifics. My point was generally that even someone with pretty moderate skills can tell most of the kokyu/jin applications for what they are when seeing them on a video. It's not something that no one can do. Hence, you'll notice that some people are cautious about putting out videos... they understand that their level can be deduced pretty quickly on a video. However, once the ego worries are gotten past (hey, we all have to start somewhere), great progress can be made in some of the video analyses.

Going back to Ikeda Sensei, I like his stuff and it's very clearly good Aikido. One of the problems I have is the story I hear with the implication that Ikeda recently "learned ki things" is this:

First, think about the descriptions I gave about the unity connection and center as a basic principle. All kokyu/jin tricks will be variations of that principle (with a couple of fluorishes and skill-levels tossed in, of course). If you look at some of the videos of the Rocky Mountain Summer Camp that George Ledyard posted, you can see Saotome Sensei not only doing touch-and-control ki/kokyu demonstrations, he does them very well. Going back further in Saotome Sensei's film history, I have also found instances of the same skills.

Secondly, I used to occasionally go to Boulder and attend classes, some of the time with Ikeda Sensei teaching. I went during the days of the Dome dojo, the warehouse dojo, and once attended formal class in the current dojo. While I can see that Ikeda has learned some things in recent times, they're not far-removed from what he already knew and they're certainly not different from what Saotome Sensei does.

Incidentally, I haven't tried to look through the archived posts, but if Ledyard Sensei still has those videos he posted of the last Summer Camp, I'll be happy to point out (and explain) where what Saotome Sensei does is exactly what Ikeda Sensei is doing in some of his recent videos. Since Saotome Sensei learned from Ueshiba Sensei, I think the proper conclusions can be reached.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Marc Abrams
01-26-2011, 09:05 AM
Hope I didn't leave Marc floundering about specifics.

Mike:

Maybe you did not read or remember Jun's request to us. Please allow me to assist you. Here is what Jun wrote:

Hi folks,

Please start discussing the topic rather than the people behind the topics.

Thank you,

-- Jun

If you have trouble remembering this, please let me know, it would be my pleasure to assist you in providing you with some suggestions to help with memory retention.

If you noticed, I have no interest in saying anything public about you and would suggest that you do the same.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

john.burn
01-26-2011, 09:49 AM
Mike,

I'd agree that it's not something he's just picked up - but certainly something he's refined of late and is trying to explain it a lot more. I first saw him something like 10 years ago and have some footage of him from the 80's at home, he's still doing many of the things from back then in the here and now... just a lot smaller and more refined. He does attribute much of this to Ushiro sensei, he's mentioned it quite a few times now.

I am still to get my interpretation of his demo filmed, hopefully this week or next. Might be easier to see what I took from him telling us to move our centre... Might post it in the other place mind you ;).

Mike Sigman
01-26-2011, 10:09 AM
I'd agree that it's not something he's just picked up - but certainly something he's refined of late and is trying to explain it a lot more. I first saw him something like 10 years ago and have some footage of him from the 80's at home, he's still doing many of the things from back then in the here and now... just a lot smaller and more refined. He does attribute much of this to Ushiro sensei, he's mentioned it quite a few times now.
Fair enough, John. I think that lays it out more clearly in the way that I also see it. I've seen Ikeda Sensei over a long length of time and the "just learned it" story was not, IMO, quite accurate. That he learned things from Ushiro Sensei is good and Ikeda Sensei does acknowledge it. It'd be a nice clinical discussion to have on a martial-arts forum sometime.
I am still to get my interpretation of his demo filmed, hopefully this week or next. Might be easier to see what I took from him telling us to move our centre... Might post it in the other place mind you ;).Fair enough. Given the contentions about videos on this forum, I'd suggest a quieter place.

Best.

Mike

George S. Ledyard
01-26-2011, 10:22 AM
Incidentally, I haven't tried to look through the archived posts, but if Ledyard Sensei still has those videos he posted of the last Summer Camp, I'll be happy to point out (and explain) where what Saotome Sensei does is exactly what Ikeda Sensei is doing in some of his recent videos. Since Saotome Sensei learned from Ueshiba Sensei, I think the proper conclusions can be reached.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

What Ikeda Sensei, and the rest of us, got from Ushiro Sensei was an organized set of explanations that made many of the elements Saotome Sensei had always had but did not explain, clear as discrete pieces that could be looked at and worked, distinct from other elements. Saotome Sensei largely just did stuff. Nothing was ever pointed out.

When Sensei and I were watching one of Ushiro Sensei's classes, he commented that he had been teaching the same things for well over 35 years. My comment back to him was "Yes, Sensei, but Ushiro explains it."

As someone who has taken ukemi from Ikeda Sensei for 35+ years, I can say that, while the outer form of his techniques is much the same, what he is doing is on another level and the experience of taking ukemi is quite different.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-26-2011, 11:00 AM
What Ikeda Sensei, and the rest of us, got from Ushiro Sensei was an organized set of explanations that made many of the elements Saotome Sensei had always had but did not explain, clear as discrete pieces that could be looked at and worked, distinct from other elements. Saotome Sensei largely just did stuff. Nothing was ever pointed out.

Hi George.

After all those years being taught this way, finding there are people like Ushiro Sensei, did you feel somewhat betrayed by Saotome Sensei?

john.burn
01-26-2011, 11:13 AM
As someone who has taken ukemi from Ikeda Sensei for 35+ years, I can say that, while the outer form of his techniques is much the same, what he is doing is on another level and the experience of taking ukemi is quite different.

Hi George,

Yep, I completely also agree with this. I got thrown by Ikeda sensei 5 or 6 months ago in a way I've never felt before, actually, I couldn't feel his his body. Looks more refined, feels a lot more powerful.

Hopefully I'll get back out to summer camp one year soon (ish). Be good to train with you again.

Mike Sigman
01-26-2011, 11:22 AM
What Ikeda Sensei, and the rest of us, got from Ushiro Sensei was an organized set of explanations that made many of the elements Saotome Sensei had always had but did not explain, clear as discrete pieces that could be looked at and worked, distinct from other elements. Saotome Sensei largely just did stuff. Nothing was ever pointed out.

When Sensei and I were watching one of Ushiro Sensei's classes, he commented that he had been teaching the same things for well over 35 years. My comment back to him was "Yes, Sensei, but Ushiro explains it."

As someone who has taken ukemi from Ikeda Sensei for 35+ years, I can say that, while the outer form of his techniques is much the same, what he is doing is on another level and the experience of taking ukemi is quite different.

Thanks for the input, George. It sounds, to my ear, like a pretty realistic assessment.

Ikeda Sensei is now attempting to teach a measured form of discrete information, in his own way. I think it's a very good thing. If such a thing had occurred while I was taking Aikido, I would probably have stayed with Aikido, at least much longer. Regardless, it doesn't hurt to try figure out what he's trying to do through his demonstrations.

What do you think about discrete teaching in dojos of basic kokyu skills (like the ones Ikeda Sensei is showing)?

Mike Sigman

DH
01-26-2011, 11:33 AM
Hi George.

After all those years being taught this way, finding there are people like Ushiro Sensei, did you feel somewhat betrayed by Saotome Sensei?
George wil answer you but I would like to point out that many of the Japanese teachers who got some things got them from kata and intuitive feel and tips. When asked- they are being honest that they cannot explain it. It is the same with some of the Chinese teachers as well.
Others were told and can tell you...but they might not
Others know and they will not tell you.
And yes there is a "Don't teach the white people" syndrome that still exists here and there that is ugly and not popular to discuss.
Why do you think that Sagawa did not want his book translated?
If sources are to be believed there are a lot of foreign students in China who know matter how long they train were never going to get the goods. They got some good fighting principles and came home as "go to guys" for their years in China, but it didn't take long to see they were not in the same league There are even some jokes told about it.
It is interesting to see just how many non Asians truly get it from Asian teachers. Let's wait and see what white people get what from certain Asian teachers. A recent head teacher was quoted in 2010 for stating -in Japan- that "the gokui is reserved for the Japanese.".

Now you have to add in the Asian teaching model which doesn't typically explain things in detail in the first place anyway.
Please note I am not saying all Asian teachers will not teach-thats ridiculous. .
Dan

George S. Ledyard
01-26-2011, 04:56 PM
What do you think about discrete teaching in dojos of basic kokyu skills (like the ones Ikeda Sensei is showing)?

Mike Sigman

As I said in another thread, if it were entirely up to me I would focus a large percentage of the training at the very beginning of a student's Aikido career on these things. Certainly , every class for some period of time.

Even with my still remedial understanding of this work, I can pretty much get almost any student to successfully experience pretty much anything I have seen him do. So, I am trying to incorporate some of this work at early levels so that folks, even when they don't know many techniques know what it should feel like, trust that there is a way to do it that is quite different than what they thought when they came in the door, and that they can do it too, it's not just something "special" teachers can do.

Since there is an expectation that my students be able to do what other students from other dojos in our organization can do after a similar time in grade, I still focus on waza more than I think should be done at the beginning stages. You cannot get your Shodan doing discrete ki exercises. no matter how well you do them. And I am part of a larger community and need to have my students fit into that.

If I did entirely what I think would turn out the very best students in the long run, I'd spend five years preparing the ground and then start teaching , more waza once folks knew how to use their bodies properly. That would include movement as well as more static skills. What I do now is a compromise.

George S. Ledyard
01-26-2011, 05:50 PM
After all those years being taught this way, finding there are people like Ushiro Sensei, did you feel somewhat betrayed by Saotome Sensei?

Absolutely not... frustrated by the whole lack of principle based instruction but not "betrayed" at all. I was the luckiest guy alive to have met Sensei. almost by accident, if you believe in accidents. From the first hour` of my training I was exposed to what is still the best Aikido I have ever encountered, and at this point I have encountered a lot.

If I hadn't had Sensei for a teacher, I would not necessarily even understood what Ushiro was saying, what Kuroda was doing, just how amazing Angie was. I might have done what lots of others did and written it all off and gone right back to doing what I had been doing before. Lots of people have done just that. There were 700+ people at that first Aiki Expo ten years ago. I'll bet no more than 10 - 20 % of them came back with their training transformed.

Saotome Sensei gave me my love of Aikido, he gave me a sense of the Founder's presence in my training which I have never lost. He taught all of us to move straight at the threat and not ever back up (energetically anyway). From the start I knew there was a profound mental component to Aikido, that technique started long before physical contact was ever made, he made me comfortable with weapons work and let me see that weapons and empty hand were integral to Aikido, at least the kind I wanted to do. And he set the standard for clean, effective, and effortless technique that has been my pot of gold ever since.

And the single greatest gift he ever gave his students was, not just the support or encouragement to look outside Aikido for training, but the actual instruction to do so.

So, while other folks debate whether this person or that person has anything to offer us as Aikido people, I have been out there for years looking for whomever could show me something. I'll train with anyone I think can show me something worth while as long as they aren't abusive. They don't even have to be personable. Sensei created that attitude, and amongst teachers I have encountered, it is a very rare gift.

The folks who want to assign blame in all this are wasting energy that could be better spent. Sensei has done the best he could and is still actually trying to get better at his explanations, because he ahs seen with his won students how that has helped them, not to mention seeing how "success" functions in motivating effort. But his great gift was that he trained like a complete manic and made the sacrifices to do so, came to America and lived off nothing, and spent every cent he had on setting up the transmission to a bunch of us newbies. And the Aikido we got to see every single day was as good as it gets.

Anything he couldn't give us because he didn't know how to has been available from somewhere else if we took the trouble to find it. Some have and many have not. But, I for one, feel blessed rather than "betrayed".

Don't lose perspective on this whole thing. Back in the seventies when I started, there was almost no awareness of much of we discuss daily on these threads. Daito Ryu was completely misunderstood and even maligned within the Aikido community. I thought aikijutsu was pretty much the same as jujutsu and Aikido was the "soft" art. Even if I had read that there was another way of looking at things, there were every few places on could have gone to find it, and almost no awareness of the people who did have the goods that we might have sought out. The American Koryu folks who have been so influential were all still in Japan. The most senior Americans outside of Hawaii were 4th Dans. There was no internet, all the books on Aikido fit on one shelf of a small bookcase, I know because I owned them all. There were more translations of the Tao Teh Ching available than there were books on Aikido. Aikido Journal was a pamphlet that was zeroxed and stapled together.

So, for folks who were not encouraged by their teachers to be widely aware of other arts and get some training in them, it was easy to be be unaware of what was out there. The rather arrogant attitude that many folks had about Aikido, that it was the best martial art, that we had the moral and spiritual high ground over other arts, that O-Sensei was the greatest martial artist who ever lived was a huge disservice to the Aikido community because it encouraged people to be far too parochial in their attitudes about things. We are still paying for that now. There are still Japanese Shihan heading major organizations whose senior students have to sneak out to train outside the standard paradigm. There are far more people starting to experience these new ways to think about and train with these outside teachers of all sorts than can publicly admit they are doing so. It's folks like me, who don't have to hide the fact from their teachers who can blab all about it on-line.

Anyway, the amount of information out there now is exponentially greater than when I started and the possibilities of training with with really top level teachers both from within Aikido and from outside is so much greater that it makes what went on in the seventies look like nothing by comparison. All this, why would I want to do that stuff is really just a hold over from times in which folks couldn't find much even if they did want to. I think folks should be feel blessed that there are places to go to get new persepectives rather than sit there thinking they don't need to change anything or blaming some teacher for not knowing how to communicate what he was doing very well. These days the training and teachers are available with far less work than at any time our history. Sensei told me that this was the way to get better and I have been doing so ever since. That's a far better gift than anything he could have taught me technically.

Matt Fisher
01-26-2011, 08:55 PM
What Ikeda Sensei, and the rest of us, got from Ushiro Sensei was an organized set of explanations that made many of the elements Saotome Sensei had always had but did not explain, clear as discrete pieces that could be looked at and worked, distinct from other elements. Saotome Sensei largely just did stuff. Nothing was ever pointed out.

(SNIP)

As someone who has taken ukemi from Ikeda Sensei for 35+ years, I can say that, while the outer form of his techniques is much the same, what he is doing is on another level and the experience of taking ukemi is quite different.

George,

I wonder if getting the organized set of explanations from Ushiro Sensei not only gave Ikeda Sensei the tools to point out specific things, but also put him in a better position to explore and refine his own technique in a way that resulted in your experience that the ukemi for his technique is now quite different.

That has certainly been my experience in recent years seeing Ikeda Sensei; how he presents things now has put me in a much better position to refine and develop my own technique more effectively (even as my body has become "worse" from the progression of muscular dystrophy). I have had similar experiences in other areas of my life, where being given better tools to explain/present something not only helped me communicate better to others what I wanted to say but also changed the rate at which I could improve.

Matt Fisher

DH
01-27-2011, 09:46 AM
BTW, speaking of "pushing us forward", why don't you and some of the other recently-traineded experts join in these conversations of analyzing and explaining how things work?
If someone knew something it was obvious and welcomely discussed. The BS-artists were flushed out pretty rapidly and one of the sure signs a conversation was being pushed to the BS levels was when things turned to a discussion of personalities.
Why are you insutling Marc....again?
You bring people into every discussion and passive agressively go after them.
The poor chaps who are just starting out and then comment? You immediately jump on them as "recently trained experts" Or "BS artists"
Can you point me to where you have used that insult for your own people? No?
This is used as an insult ONLY to those who train with others in an attempt to control the conversation..
Every single person you have done it to has corrected you for the insults but you continue unphased.

Is anyone else getting this yet? Jun?
Stop it Mike...just stop it. No one deserves this level of disrespect from you.
Dan

Mike Sigman
01-27-2011, 10:31 AM
Why are you insutling Marc....again?
You bring people into every discussion and passive agressively go after them.
The poor chaps who are just starting out and then comment? You immediately jump on them as "recently trained experts" Or "BS artists"
Can you point me to where you have used that insult for your own people? No?
This is used as an insult ONLY to those who train with others in an attempt to control the conversation..
Every single person you have done it to has corrected you for the insults but you continue unphased.

Is anyone else getting this yet? Jun?
Stop it Mike...just stop it. No one deserves this level of disrespect from you.
DanHmmm... I think you just cut and pasted a comment about the old Neijia List to manufacture an insult to someone who is not you.

Mike Sigman

DH
01-27-2011, 10:39 AM
Hmmm... I think you just cut and pasted a comment about the old Neijia List to manufacture an insult to someone who is not you.

Mike Sigman
Answer the question Mike
Who among your people, when they write here have you insulted by calling them a recently trained expert or BS artist?
Just answer the question...who?
It is reserved for those who train with others, among whom are; George, Marc, Mark, Rob, Greg...etc.
It should not be accepted here and it has nothing to do with you advocating clinical discussion does it?
How is it topic related?
How does it move the discussion forward?

Dan

MM
01-27-2011, 10:46 AM
Hmmm... I think you just cut and pasted a comment about the old Neijia List to manufacture an insult to someone who is not you.

Mike Sigman

These are your words:


BTW, speaking of "pushing us forward", why don't you and some of the other recently-trained experts join in these conversations of analyzing and explaining how things work?


Since "recently-trained experts" is plural and since you directly included Marc as "you" in the sentence, there are at least two other people whom you deem as "recently-trained experts". Would you care to specify just whom you meant? That way, we would know for sure just whom you are demeaning. I would doubt that there are many people who would view your words as something other than a demeaning remark. If that's not what you meant, then please let us know exactly what you meant when you called people "recently-trained experts".

Janet Rosen
01-27-2011, 10:52 AM
Can bandwidth on this stop? It's bad enough to have an interesting thread devolve into namecalling without a metaconversation about the namecalling....

thisisnotreal
01-27-2011, 10:52 AM
Hope I didn't leave Marc floundering about specifics.

These jabs are not so subtle.
And in fact are seen for what they are.
The constant, recurring personal jabs, but delicately-enough phrased to provide plausible-deniability and a pretext to play a well-practiced victim-hood.

I wonder when Jun will lower a permanent ban-hammer on you?

Budd
01-27-2011, 10:54 AM
For better or worse - the method of transmission in Aikido (this applies to other arts as well) is to put the Sensei on a pedestal and then create a "discipleship" study body around the pedestal (with varying degrees of insanity, ranging from kooky to kult). If "martial" aspects of the art have been bleeding from the practice . . what mechanism exists to re-introduce them? If internal strength has been missing/lost/de-emphasized . . how can it be regained?

I think there's going to be risk and resistance no matter how you cut it. The resistance is self-evident, the teaching model in aikido is often people walking around telling juniors why their technique needs work. Sometimes it's even "showing" in a helpful way. Sometimes it's "showing in a less than helpful way. All it takes is a handful of seniors that do not possess internal skills to stamp out the eager study of juniors that are chasing them. I believe Dan is trying to address this with his "teachers only" seminars.

The risk is that there's many potential false starts, alienation of students/teachers, lack of consistency of instruction, lack of consolidated information, marginalization, etc. This shouldn't be an endeavor you elect because you want to be popular or hang out with the cool kids.

A risk may be that there's a club that promotes themselves as having the goods - where one or two might, so a student signs up and self-identifies as being on the path to getting the goods. But over time, what quality measures are in place to ensure real progress? These skills are perishable and fragile - you can see how they diminish in an art through non-transmission, too fast expansion (hello aikido and taiji) and a host of other things.

Does that mean the fanatic pursuit of the skills is not worthwhile? Well, I know the path I'm on and I wouldn't change it - but be ready to be potentially dismissed, manipulated, argued with, physically confronted, lied about, etc. (speaking generally from experiences I've heard from others on this path).

But then, the bottom line for me . . I think it's a question everyone needs to ask themselves about their training . .

Is it more important for you to belong, be in charge or achieve excellence?

In a perfect world you can have all three . . but I've yet to see them prioritized all at the same level across the board (not sure it's possible, to be honest).

DH
01-27-2011, 11:00 AM
These are your words:
Since "recently-trained experts" is plural and since you directly included Marc as "you" in the sentence, there are at least two other people whom you deem as "recently-trained experts". Would you care to specify just whom you meant? That way, we would know for sure just whom you are demeaning. I would doubt that there are many people who would view your words as something other than a demeaning remark. If that's not what you meant, then please let us know exactly what you meant when you called people "recently-trained experts".
Lets not forget the constant reference to "hey..just tell us what you learned....ya know on the old Neijia list we sorted out all the BS artists pretty quick..."
Again..show me where this is aimed at his people?
How does it further discussion?
It is meant to close it and shut people up.
Dan

MM
01-27-2011, 11:05 AM
Can bandwidth on this stop? It's bad enough to have an interesting thread devolve into namecalling without a metaconversation about the namecalling....

Hello Janet,

I'm sure that for you and others, these things get old and tired very quickly. For that, I apologize. Yes, I do agree with you that it should stop. But it hasn't, and people are getting tired of the subtle and not so subtle jabs. In all seriousness, do you not care that good people are being demeaned?

With the best of intentions,
Mark

kewms
01-27-2011, 11:06 AM
But then, the bottom line for me . . I think it's a question everyone needs to ask themselves about their training . .

Is it more important for you to belong, be in charge or achieve excellence?

How about belonging to a group that focuses on excellence?

Which of course is easier said than done. Even fairly senior teachers have had trouble bringing their students along with them as they explore this stuff. The phrase "beginner's mind" keeps running through my head...

Katherine

akiy
01-27-2011, 11:06 AM
Folks,

I'm tired of this. Really, I am.

Learn to conduct yourselves in a positive discussion without taking your discussion to a personal level. This applies to both people who "start" going down that road as well as those who participate in it after it's started. Bringing in your personal baggage against the people behind the posts is not welcome here.

Last warning.

-- Jun

DH
01-27-2011, 11:07 AM
For better or worse - the method of transmission in Aikido (this applies to other arts as well) is to put the Sensei on a pedestal and then create a "discipleship" study body around the pedestal (with varying degrees of insanity, ranging from kooky to kult). If "martial" aspects of the art have been bleeding from the practice . . what mechanism exists to re-introduce them? If internal strength has been missing/lost/de-emphasized . . how can it be regained?

I think there's going to be risk and resistance no matter how you cut it. The resistance is self-evident, the teaching model in aikido is often people walking around telling juniors why their technique needs work. Sometimes it's even "showing" in a helpful way. Sometimes it's "showing in a less than helpful way. All it takes is a handful of seniors that do not possess internal skills to stamp out the eager study of juniors that are chasing them. I believe Dan is trying to address this with his "teachers only" seminars.

The risk is that there's many potential false starts, alienation of students/teachers, lack of consistency of instruction, lack of consolidated information, marginalization, etc. This shouldn't be an endeavor you elect because you want to be popular or hang out with the cool kids.

A risk may be that there's a club that promotes themselves as having the goods - where one or two might, so a student signs up and self-identifies as being on the path to getting the goods. But over time, what quality measures are in place to ensure real progress? These skills are perishable and fragile - you can see how they diminish in an art through non-transmission, too fast expansion (hello aikido and taiji) and a host of other things.

Does that mean the fanatic pursuit of the skills is not worthwhile? Well, I know the path I'm on and I wouldn't change it - but be ready to be potentially dismissed, manipulated, argued with, physically confronted, lied about, etc. (speaking generally from experiences I've heard from others on this path).

But then, the bottom line for me . . I think it's a question everyone needs to ask themselves about their training . .

Is it more important for you to belong, be in charge or achieve excellence?

In a perfect world you can have all three . . but I've yet to see them prioritized all at the same level across the board (not sure it's possible, to be honest).
All good points
I think the answer is to continue to suggest people get out and about and meet who may or may not have it and let it sort itself out. We have good models on both sides; Chinese and Japanese.
There is bound to be false starts and people fumbling but good work is evident. I suggest that as people grow, they make rounds again. There is an education loop isn't there.
To me what is equally validating when you are going to invest so much of your time is to ask to meet successful students. If someone supposedly has a method that you are going to invest...say ten thousand hours into. Ya might want to meet others on that guys path. As you have pointed out yourself.
Most people are smart enough to figure out what is going to work for them. As George has suggested there are good teachers...who are extraordinary but had trouble teaching it. The good news is there are methods-as Ikeda has discovered- that help to understand things and fill in the gaps. Sort of like looking backward as you go forward.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from teachers.."Oh my God..this is what he was doing!"
Maybe it actually helps to appreciate both sides, and those extraordinary teachers all the more.
I thinkg the nature of the work actually prevents groups and cults. How can it when no one is claiming expertise and points to others to go and test and play and see what so and so has done with it. That continues to be the beauty of it...to see personal expression as people develop.
Cheers
Dan
.
It is a good

Janet Rosen
01-27-2011, 11:15 AM
Hello Janet,

I'm sure that for you and others, these things get old and tired very quickly. For that, I apologize. Yes, I do agree with you that it should stop. But it hasn't, and people are getting tired of the subtle and not so subtle jabs. In all seriousness, do you not care that good people are being demeaned?

With the best of intentions,
Mark

Mark, in my own life I accept that I cannot control how others think of me and at a certain point simply refuse to engage in fruitless back and forth. At a certain point (and I'm talking about personal stuff, not issues of civil rights or human rights) It matters not who is "good" or "being demeaned" or right or wrong - it just takes one of the parties to politely bow and refuse to engage in what is essentially meaningless repetitions of the same two statements back and forth.
My two cents FWIW.

kewms
01-27-2011, 11:19 AM
I'm sure that for you and others, these things get old and tired very quickly. For that, I apologize. Yes, I do agree with you that it should stop. But it hasn't, and people are getting tired of the subtle and not so subtle jabs. In all seriousness, do you not care that good people are being demeaned?

I think people are capable of considering the source and drawing their own conclusions.

I'm more concerned with the "thesis defense" attitude that often takes over these threads, where people seeking input on early explorations are dismissed as knowing nothing.

OF COURSE they don't know anything! They're beginners!

If the goal really is to encourage the development of internal skills -- as opposed to promoting some personal agenda -- squelching beginners doesn't help.

Katherine

DH
01-27-2011, 11:24 AM
How about belonging to a group that focuses on excellence?

Which of course is easier said than done. Even fairly senior teachers have had trouble bringing their students along with them as they explore this stuff. The phrase "beginner's mind" keeps running through my head...

Katherine
Well, my goal was in response to students writing in here. It seems that when they came back they couldn't get time to train this in a dojo where:
a) They could not yet demonstrate real skills so who would believe them?
b) They did not have the authority to set training agendas and goals.

So, teaching the teachers at least (hey, not a perfect plan I know) was a way to establish a training time in a dojo and get this stuff jump started. Most guys have set a separate night for training IP/aiki. And guess what? It worked.
And those teachers are going out and training with other teaachers as well. So, In one fell swoop it got exposure on a much wider and more vetted scale.
I can only hope they go learn from others and explore these skills and then get inventive and expressive as the develop it in their own way. I think the next ten years are going to be a lot of fun.
Look at what people are saying about Ikeda, Gleason and Ledyard changing? There are going to be dozens of those examples to feel and play with, and they...are going to feed off each other as well.
Cheers'Dan

DH
01-27-2011, 12:37 PM
I think people are capable of considering the source and drawing their own conclusions.

I'm more concerned with the "thesis defense" attitude that often takes over these threads, where people seeking input on early explorations are dismissed as knowing nothing.

OF COURSE they don't know anything! They're beginners!

If the goal really is to encourage the development of internal skills -- as opposed to promoting some personal agenda -- squelching beginners doesn't help.

Katherine
+1 and Amen.
There is a lot of support and positive work being done with teachers and students, preserving their hard work and recognizing the pitfalls and trails and false starts...and....and...well we all know that road. Friendliness and support DOES NOT equal cults and group think and all the other negatives. These teachers I have met who stepped up are a self selected bunch of hard workers.
Look at Ikeda. How many teachers do YOU know who would put on a white belt and go do systema to feel it?
Or Gleason who wanted to come at me with everything he got to see the results.
Or George who has put himself out there with all manner of outside teachers.
Do we think that sort of mindset is into cult making? Nope. That is "permanent student mindset" that keeps these men going.
Good Grief if that doesn't say it all I don't know what does..
Cheers
Dan

MM
01-27-2011, 12:49 PM
Mark, in my own life I accept that I cannot control how others think of me and at a certain point simply refuse to engage in fruitless back and forth. At a certain point (and I'm talking about personal stuff, not issues of civil rights or human rights) It matters not who is "good" or "being demeaned" or right or wrong - it just takes one of the parties to politely bow and refuse to engage in what is essentially meaningless repetitions of the same two statements back and forth.
My two cents FWIW.

Janet,

Thank you for your reply. It would appear that we come from different worlds. You're probably from Earth while I think I'm an alien from beyond the galaxy. :)

Seriously, though, I can be a bit altruistic. I typically stand up for what's right and good, no matter if it's insignificant or overtly large. While in the Air Force (as a lowly airman no less), I made a Captain so made that he turned several shades of red and wouldn't talk to me. He asked me for my opinion and I gave it to him. He didn't like it.

There's a difference between someone's actions being out of sorts or in the grey area a couple of times and when someone's actions are always out of sorts from healthy interactions. We all tend to have patience with the former. But, I find most people like to ignore the latter. It's easier on them, especially online, especially when it's the "small stuff", and especially when the brunt of those unhealthy interactions are not directed at them.

That's where we differ, it seems. It does matter to me. The good. The right. It does matter that there is demeaning behavior. And I think it matters for both sides otherwise how would *I* know to change if no one addressed my demeaning behavior but let it go unchecked because people just bowed out? How would *I* become a better person? Not to mention the other side of the coin for the people who are being demeaned and looking out at the online audience and hearing crickets. What hope do they have for their view of fellow mankind/womankind from the deafening silence?

But I'm altruistic. We're from different worlds. Doesn't mean we're bad people, just different. And that's what makes this world so interesting to live in, no? :)

Mark

Budd
01-27-2011, 01:38 PM
I suggest that as people grow, they make rounds again. There is an education loop isn't there.

Yup, I think this is where I'm building to, again. At most another year of work, get the kids a bit older and then I'll start going to see what people are doing (or they'll keep trickling in to see me, here and there).

Heck, I might even start by visiting the local aikido dojos ;) (fortunately, one is at a judo club, the other is at a bjj school)

Back on to the original topic . . what Ikeda Sensei is doing and showing. I have to call out/tease Lynn Seiser for immediately cautioning about talking about Ikeda. Folks, break out of this rut that the sensei is beyond reproach or examination - in Ikeda's case, obviously, he's trying to get people to get it!

If you aren't looking at everyone you meet in martial arts that has skills you want to emulate or surpass - through the lens of "how can I steal everything from this person as soon as possible" . . then you've already made a decison towards a slower track of learning.

Once again, the original topic - Ikeda, in every video demo I've seen - is showing a very basic, fundamental skill of making the connection between himself and the other person(s) such that there's one combined unit that he's controlling with his intent/middle/ground/gravity manipultion.

So, two discrete things - managing the connection between you and other person as a third force that naturally combines with the two primary forces (ground/gravity, earth/heaven) already acting upon you as a developed skill. The other one being training your body to most efficiently propogate, generate and manipulate those forces.

To me, what Ikeda is trying to show people is the very fundamental thing you need to be able to do to make any of the cooler stuff work. So the question comes back to those training with him - beyond how he manipultes you . . how well is he showing you how to do it back to him or others? How much is explicitly broken down and explained, versus - how much do you have to steal . . how are you stealing it, vetting it, testing it, breaking it down into components pieces, etc.?

Seems like a good topic of discussion ;)

phitruong
01-27-2011, 01:50 PM
To me, what Ikeda is trying to show people is the very fundamental thing you need to be able to do to make any of the cooler stuff work. So the question comes back to those training with him - beyond how he manipultes you . . how well is he showing you how to do it back to him or others? How much is explicitly broken down and explained, versus - how much do you have to steal . . how are you stealing it, vetting it, testing it, breaking it down into components pieces, etc.?

Seems like a good topic of discussion ;)

budd, how far down the rabbit hole you want to go? it could be pretty deep, as in, do you want to go down as far as basic body conditioning? or at level where folks have the basic body conditioning already? just want to gauge the starting level.

Budd
01-27-2011, 01:56 PM
budd, how far down the rabbit hole you want to go? it could be pretty deep, as in, do you want to go down as far as basic body conditioning? or at level where folks have the basic body conditioning already? just want to gauge the starting level.

That's a fair question - and I think I'd keep it, for now within context of what Ikeda is showing and trying to get people to do? Is it the connection, joining, moveing the two-person single-unit? That's enough of a starter and if it then goes down the path of how to optimally condition the body to do that, great!

Anyhow, just suggestions for some productive discussion areas - certainly not my place to mandate anything.

MM
01-27-2011, 02:04 PM
If you aren't looking at everyone you meet in martial arts that has skills you want to emulate or surpass - through the lens of "how can I steal everything from this person as soon as possible" . . then you've already made a decison towards a slower track of learning.


I don't look at it that way. Never have, really. I don't want to steal anything. I'm appalled at the concept of it overall. There should never be a dynamic where a student has to "steal" anything. Hard work, yes. Step by step learning, yes. Investigations of the art on one's own, yes. But, if the teacher is seeing that the students aren't getting it,that teacher knows how to teach it such that the students would get it, and doesn't teach because he/she thinks the students should "steal" it? Sorry, that's not a good teacher.

I don't want to "steal" to learn "as soon as possible". I want a learning environment that's healthy, strong, and creates bonds between all involved. Having to "steal" doesn't do that. Having to look at it like you need to steal it as soon as possible doesn't do that. This teaching mentality about students needing to be smart enough to figure things out for themselves is wrong.

The person that spends hours thinking of some new way to teach so that a student having trouble finally gets past the issues is a teacher. Someone worth training with. A person that just lets their student meander along waiting for the student to finally get it, isn't a teacher. This kind of person should be avoided.

This "stealing" is not the environment I want, not the kind of person I want to be, and definitely not the kind of teacher I'd like to become.

None of the teachers I've met and trained with were like that. I have had and have some outstanding teachers. This "stealing" ideology is something I'd rather see die a quick, horrible death than be perpetuated.

But that's just me.

Marc Abrams
01-27-2011, 02:33 PM
Back on to the original topic . . what Ikeda Sensei is doing and showing. I have to call out/tease Lynn Seiser for immediately cautioning about talking about Ikeda. Folks, break out of this rut that the sensei is beyond reproach or examination - in Ikeda's case, obviously, he's trying to get people to get it!

If you aren't looking at everyone you meet in martial arts that has skills you want to emulate or surpass - through the lens of "how can I steal everything from this person as soon as possible" . . then you've already made a decison towards a slower track of learning.



Budd:

I do not think that many people are trying to get other people to not look at their idols with scrutiny. I think that most people are trying very hard to get everything they can from a teacher (maybe I'm being too optimistic). I think that Dan's statement "You don't know what you don't know." is a wise cautionary note. The hubris contained in some people's beliefs that they can gain all from seeing a video, or from watching a person do something, should speak for itself. How many times have you made advances in some area and when you look back on something, you go, "Oh my GOD, it was always there in front of me! Why could I not see it then?" How many times have you directly trained with someone and find more going on than meets your eye? Even hands-on experience will be limited to our ability to be open to learn and experience new things.

All of us, our teachers included, are all students on some path. Many struggle with their own progress and then compound that with their struggles in how they can teach their students what they have learned (or are learning). We know that having skills is a different subset from being able to teach a skill. We then have to compound that mess even more by recognizing that people learn in many different ways and at very different paces.

I think that this learning and transmission process has always been a convoluted affair. I would assume that many generations before us struggled with similar issues that we debate within ourselves and with others. History tends to indicate that "the greats" have been the result of serendipitous interactions between certain people at certain times. Maybe someone can find a more efficient and effective means of transmission. We all are trying to find that elusive "holy grail."

I think that we all need to keep a good dose of humility, open-mindedness, a willingness to share, a willingness to be wrong, a willingness to try and experience as much as you can - First Hand, as we try and learn new and different things. I greatly appreciate your efforts to tone down the rhetoric and bring things back on topic. At the same time, we also have to be careful to place a caveat around what we state to reflect the distinct possibility that there is always more there than meets our eyes at this moment in time. Ushiro Sensei cautions people that the greatest impediment to learning is what we already think that we know.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

lbb
01-27-2011, 02:38 PM
At a certain point (and I'm talking about personal stuff, not issues of civil rights or human rights) It matters not who is "good" or "being demeaned" or right or wrong - it just takes one of the parties to politely bow and refuse to engage in what is essentially meaningless repetitions of the same two statements back and forth.

Emphasis mine.


But I'm altruistic. We're from different worlds.

Again, emphasis mine.

Huh?

phitruong
01-27-2011, 02:40 PM
That's a fair question - and I think I'd keep it, for now within context of what Ikeda is showing and trying to get people to do? Is it the connection, joining, moveing the two-person single-unit? That's enough of a starter and if it then goes down the path of how to optimally condition the body to do that, great!
.

how's about using an example as a way to start the discussion?

uke stands in forward stand with fist out like so (hopefully the image shown) http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/1026193/2/istockphoto_1026193-karate-punch-oi-zuki.jpg

nage stands in natural stand in front of uke with left palm rested against the front knuckles of the fist (i had seen Ikeda sensei did it with one finger and on the receiving end of such finger too). so, Ikeda sensei was nage. he would said three things (with accent): "connected", "unity", "change my inside". after a time, slowly, you can see uke posture shifted slowly toward his rear "third leg" (toward right rear) and lose his/her/it balance and staggered. and you will notice that Ikeda sensei body didn't move.

so, would that example be an ok starting point for the discussion?

Budd
01-27-2011, 02:43 PM
I'm sure it's not just you, Mark (you had to go there already? Don't make me come kick your soapbox). And while I agree with the idea that the teacher *should* do all the things you say. And a healthy learning environment is great.

But for my money, I'm hungry. I'm not willing to be told I'll get it in 20 years. I want to try something out, kick the tires, put it in a pressure grinder, question it, look at it academically, debate it, look at it again. I take responsibility for myself and my learning - if I am not getting it somewhere, I move along.

I don't look at it that way. Never have, really. I don't want to steal anything. I'm appalled at the concept of it overall. There should never be a dynamic where a student has to "steal" anything. Hard work, yes. Step by step learning, yes. Investigations of the art on one's own, yes. But, if the teacher is seeing that the students aren't getting it,that teacher knows how to teach it such that the students would get it, and doesn't teach because he/she thinks the students should "steal" it? Sorry, that's not a good teacher.

I don't want to "steal" to learn "as soon as possible". I want a learning environment that's healthy, strong, and creates bonds between all involved. Having to "steal" doesn't do that. Having to look at it like you need to steal it as soon as possible doesn't do that. This teaching mentality about students needing to be smart enough to figure things out for themselves is wrong.

The person that spends hours thinking of some new way to teach so that a student having trouble finally gets past the issues is a teacher. Someone worth training with. A person that just lets their student meander along waiting for the student to finally get it, isn't a teacher. This kind of person should be avoided.

This "stealing" is not the environment I want, not the kind of person I want to be, and definitely not the kind of teacher I'd like to become.

None of the teachers I've met and trained with were like that. I have had and have some outstanding teachers. This "stealing" ideology is something I'd rather see die a quick, horrible death than be perpetuated.

But that's just me.

Budd
01-27-2011, 02:58 PM
Budd:

I do not think that many people are trying to get other people to not look at their idols with scrutiny. I think that most people are trying very hard to get everything they can from a teacher (maybe I'm being too optimistic). I think that Dan's statement "You don't know what you don't know." is a wise cautionary note. The hubris contained in some people's beliefs that they can gain all from seeing a video, or from watching a person do something, should speak for itself. How many times have you made advances in some area and when you look back on something, you go, "Oh my GOD, it was always there in front of me! Why could I not see it then?" How many times have you directly trained with someone and find more going on than meets your eye? Even hands-on experience will be limited to our ability to be open to learn and experience new things.

All of us, our teachers included, are all students on some path. Many struggle with their own progress and then compound that with their struggles in how they can teach their students what they have learned (or are learning). We know that having skills is a different subset from being able to teach a skill. We then have to compound that mess even more by recognizing that people learn in many different ways and at very different paces.

I think that this learning and transmission process has always been a convoluted affair. I would assume that many generations before us struggled with similar issues that we debate within ourselves and with others. History tends to indicate that "the greats" have been the result of serendipitous interactions between certain people at certain times. Maybe someone can find a more efficient and effective means of transmission. We all are trying to find that elusive "holy grail."

I think that we all need to keep a good dose of humility, open-mindedness, a willingness to share, a willingness to be wrong, a willingness to try and experience as much as you can - First Hand, as we try and learn new and different things. I greatly appreciate your efforts to tone down the rhetoric and bring things back on topic. At the same time, we also have to be careful to place a caveat around what we state to reflect the distinct possibility that there is always more there than meets our eyes at this moment in time. Ushiro Sensei cautions people that the greatest impediment to learning is what we already think that we know.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Marc,

That's fair - and I'm not advocating everyone just assume they know what's going on from a video - but what I am saying is to use the available resources - video, testimonials, hands on, etc. . .get the experiences you can, compile them.

Both Dan's comment "You don't know what you don't know" and Ushiro's "impediment to learning is what we already think that we know" I think speak a lot to this. I used to be the poster child for getting out and meeting people. I will get back to it in the next year, hopefully.

But on that topic - I understand where people don't want their idols maligned - or even perceived to being maligned. But I'd really like us to get to the point where someone can give an opinion or assessment of someone else's skills (respectfully, I'd hope) without getting attacked or everybody being fast to assume that they didn't "get" what was happening.

But that's just me ;)

Marc Abrams
01-27-2011, 03:09 PM
Marc,

That's fair - and I'm not advocating everyone just assume they know what's going on from a video - but what I am saying is to use the available resources - video, testimonials, hands on, etc. . .get the experiences you can, compile them.

Both Dan's comment "You don't know what you don't know" and Ushiro's "impediment to learning is what we already think that we know" I think speak a lot to this. I used to be the poster child for getting out and meeting people. I will get back to it in the next year, hopefully.

But on that topic - I understand where people don't want their idols maligned - or even perceived to being maligned. But I'd really like us to get to the point where someone can give an opinion or assessment of someone else's skills (respectfully, I'd hope) without getting attacked or everybody being fast to assume that they didn't "get" what was happening.

But that's just me ;)

Budd:

I know that you are talking about some people's perceptions of Ushiro Sensei. I have always encouraged everybody I know to get some hands-on with him. I would love it if some people could explain some of the things that he can do. I simply object to behind-the-back, negative comments spoken from a place of no experience. If people want to come out and say that from what they think that they see......, fine, no problems, but then that person should follow it up with some hands-on to confirm one's opinion. That to me, is the basis of integrity. If you put it out there, do so for all to see and then back it up with experience. You and I are ex-wrestlers. We both know that at the end of the day, the person's hand that is raised is from what really happened and not from conjecture.

Regards,

marc abrams

graham christian
01-27-2011, 03:29 PM
I'm sure it's not just you, Mark (you had to go there already? Don't make me come kick your soapbox). And while I agree with the idea that the teacher *should* do all the things you say. And a healthy learning environment is great.

But for my money, I'm hungry. I'm not willing to be told I'll get it in 20 years. I want to try something out, kick the tires, put it in a pressure grinder, question it, look at it academically, debate it, look at it again. I take responsibility for myself and my learning - if I am not getting it somewhere, I move along.

Hi Budd. I'm sure you do want to do all those things and I'm sure most students do too so I don't quite understand how you equate that with 'being told you'll get it in 20 years' as that's just a saying, I've never heard anyone say it or or believe it literally. In fact it's the type of thing people who have nothing to do with martial arts may say at a party to sound impressive.
I also think you've missed the point of what Mark was saying. He was trying to point out that if you promote 'stealing' and fast track learning, if you use that kind of terminology then all it does is give the impression of a con going on. It makes it sound like some smooth slick salesman.
I would advise you not to dress things up with things like that and any other salestalk as it doesn't show you in a good light.
Having said that, if you are discussing a respected persons way, actions, demonstrations, then why not do it in a positive manner?
For example: In such and such video I liked how he moved the uke in a smooth circle from his center and then........(you get the picture?) That would be from someone who says they know what's happening. Otherwise it would be more like: 'I get how he moves uke around from center but didn't understand how he then caused her to come back in towards him'
This would be far more of a progressive discussion than pointing out it's JUST this or it's just that and he didn't do this or that or mentioning his students or his teacher or anything else for that matter.
Food for thought I hope. I'm sure you know the principles you know but I'm not sure what your purpose is? Are you trying to learn something? Are you trying to share something? Are you trying to sell something? I'm curious.
Regards.G.

Budd
01-27-2011, 04:59 PM
Hey Marc,

Promise I wasn't even thinking about Ushiro when I wrote that - I was referring to my own asking about what we see Ikeda doing in the vids (yanno, the topic of this thread!) and subsequent thread drift (see Graham's post, where he feels the need to talk about me rather than the topic).

I am really wishing I could make it to your neck for Ushiro's visit. Heck, you have me curious what you're working on with the wrestlers - I have some of my own ideas for that game as well. But that said - I think if people can offer opinions here - regardless of whether or not we like the content, we can stick to commenting about the topic and keep it on track, each and every one of us.

Because I think it's very important for people to get - admit - comment on as they can - what is happening with those basic demos of Ki. It's entry level stuff - and that is NOT a dig, I think it's intentional because the skill component to pull it off can be shown fairly easily - as well as the conditioning steps. From there, six months of work or so and you should be on your way - most likely not nearly as polished, because performing the exact drills is also a practiced skill. But you'll be able to more easily spot more and more the "how it works" pieces, methinks. And you need to have done that basic work and be able to exhibit that basic conditioning before you can do the more advanced stuffs (similar to Tohei's Ki tests in that regard).

And I'm still not talking about Ushiro or what other people say about him!! :p

Budd:

I know that you are talking about some people's perceptions of Ushiro Sensei. I have always encouraged everybody I know to get some hands-on with him. I would love it if some people could explain some of the things that he can do. I simply object to behind-the-back, negative comments spoken from a place of no experience. If people want to come out and say that from what they think that they see......, fine, no problems, but then that person should follow it up with some hands-on to confirm one's opinion. That to me, is the basis of integrity. If you put it out there, do so for all to see and then back it up with experience. You and I are ex-wrestlers. We both know that at the end of the day, the person's hand that is raised is from what really happened and not from conjecture.

Regards,

marc abrams

Marc Abrams
01-27-2011, 05:16 PM
Hey Marc,

Promise I wasn't even thinking about Ushiro when I wrote that - I was referring to my own asking about what we see Ikeda doing in the vids (yanno, the topic of this thread!) and subsequent thread drift (see Graham's post, where he feels the need to talk about me rather than the topic).

I am really wishing I could make it to your neck for Ushiro's visit. Heck, you have me curious what you're working on with the wrestlers - I have some of my own ideas for that game as well. But that said - I think if people can offer opinions here - regardless of whether or not we like the content, we can stick to commenting about the topic and keep it on track, each and every one of us.

Because I think it's very important for people to get - admit - comment on as they can - what is happening with those basic demos of Ki. It's entry level stuff - and that is NOT a dig, I think it's intentional because the skill component to pull it off can be shown fairly easily - as well as the conditioning steps. From there, six months of work or so and you should be on your way - most likely not nearly as polished, because performing the exact drills is also a practiced skill. But you'll be able to more easily spot more and more the "how it works" pieces, methinks. And you need to have done that basic work and be able to exhibit that basic conditioning before you can do the more advanced stuffs (similar to Tohei's Ki tests in that regard).

And I'm still not talking about Ushiro or what other people say about him!! :p

Budd:

I will PM you regarding my work with the wrestler's. They are eating it up and have been able to rapidly employ the small tidbits that I am feeding them. My apologies for the misdirection to the Ushiro Sensei topic.

It is interesting in that people who are getting some sense of what is going on are describing some similar experiences with the hands-on with Ikeda Sensei. I think that they are providing us with feedback as to where they are and what they are able to get from how Ikeda Sensei is moving.

The conditioning stuff is interesting in that the more I do some of the stuff that I do, the more aware I become of some body corrections that I was not aware that I was messing up so bad! That whole self-discovery stuff again. I love the wormhole nature of this work.

Time to teach the adult class!

Regards,

marc abrams

Budd
01-27-2011, 05:37 PM
Graham - "Steal the technique" is a well known axiom in Asian martial arts. I've had it explicitly said to me in both gendai and koryu budo training. On a related tangent, I heard a pretty well known guy in these circles say one time, "Budo is about learning how to get close to someone, learning what they know and gaining the ability to kill them".

I won't claim it was said in all seriousness - nor am I going to ascribe any meaning to their personality, their intent, etc. But on that level I do understand where they're coming from in that at root there was a pragmatism inherent in this kind of training - that did become a form of self-cultivation over time - even while stemming from the ability to get the most personal power from a combative sense (ie, Now I can kill you).

I've also heard the" get it in 20 years" philosophy espoused in more than one milieu. If your experience is different, then great. I'm sure everyone has their own experiences. Though your salesman analogy has me a bit puzzled, I'm speaking of personal responsibility. The "goods" in many of these arts are reserved for those that are smart enough to figure out what's going on without being explicitly told (or by demonstrating that, get access to the "goods" - familial and ethnic proprietary "stuff" still sometimes being withheld).

So, while I appreciate your advice, I'd advise you to contribute to the topic, if you have anything to contribute and like has been asked many times - save the personality discussions for your gossip circles.

Regarding your thoughts indirectly "about" the topic - I'd disagree - I think people need to be able to contribute what they're seeing, if they want to have that discussion, and not be afraid to admit they know, don't know, have questions, have thoughts, ideas. That's if people do want to discuss the "how to's" and "how's it work's". If they don't, cool, nobody is forcing anyone to participate. Based on your description of a "progressive" description below, people should only speak about it if they are going to offer "I like how so and so did X". Given the reaction to the videos you posted of your practice, I understand why you'd feel that way - but I don't think it's productive to a discussion *about* what one is seeing and analyzing.

About me? Always trying to share and learn. Not part of a particular school or style anymore. Internal strength is my main obsession. I go try it out against people doing MMA as a kind of lab. Actually going to start fencing next week. Looks fun and I like swords. Have nothing for sale, sorry.

Though I actually do want to jump on the video train at some point because I do think it helps people as a tool to analyze what's going on. Will probably start over at QiJin though and I need to round up some *cough* volunteers.

Best/Budd

Hi Budd. I'm sure you do want to do all those things and I'm sure most students do too so I don't quite understand how you equate that with 'being told you'll get it in 20 years' as that's just a saying, I've never heard anyone say it or or believe it literally. In fact it's the type of thing people who have nothing to do with martial arts may say at a party to sound impressive.
I also think you've missed the point of what Mark was saying. He was trying to point out that if you promote 'stealing' and fast track learning, if you use that kind of terminology then all it does is give the impression of a con going on. It makes it sound like some smooth slick salesman.
I would advise you not to dress things up with things like that and any other salestalk as it doesn't show you in a good light.
Having said that, if you are discussing a respected persons way, actions, demonstrations, then why not do it in a positive manner?
For example: In such and such video I liked how he moved the uke in a smooth circle from his center and then........(you get the picture?) That would be from someone who says they know what's happening. Otherwise it would be more like: 'I get how he moves uke around from center but didn't understand how he then caused her to come back in towards him'
This would be far more of a progressive discussion than pointing out it's JUST this or it's just that and he didn't do this or that or mentioning his students or his teacher or anything else for that matter.
Food for thought I hope. I'm sure you know the principles you know but I'm not sure what your purpose is? Are you trying to learn something? Are you trying to share something? Are you trying to sell something? I'm curious.
Regards.G.

Budd
01-27-2011, 05:41 PM
Excellent - look forward to having the discussion. Most of the grappling I'm doing now is the no-gi submission stuff, but wrestling still seems to rule the day as the takedown from standing/clinch work.

Regarding body conditioning - a year and a half ago, I started to finally "get" where I was being uber tight and directing power locally from the shoulders. Been working on isolating and correcting that ever since - with steps forward and back, making incremental progress and having exceedingly cranky moments about the whole business. So I understand the pain around connection/discovery/rework/oh-crap-not-again . . ;)

Best/Budd

Budd:

I will PM you regarding my work with the wrestler's. They are eating it up and have been able to rapidly employ the small tidbits that I am feeding them. My apologies for the misdirection to the Ushiro Sensei topic.

It is interesting in that people who are getting some sense of what is going on are describing some similar experiences with the hands-on with Ikeda Sensei. I think that they are providing us with feedback as to where they are and what they are able to get from how Ikeda Sensei is moving.

The conditioning stuff is interesting in that the more I do some of the stuff that I do, the more aware I become of some body corrections that I was not aware that I was messing up so bad! That whole self-discovery stuff again. I love the wormhole nature of this work.

Time to teach the adult class!

Regards,

marc abrams

graham christian
01-27-2011, 06:36 PM
Budd, appreciate the reply, now I understand where you're coming from.
The comments on usage of words still holds though as it's not an attack on your charachter or personality. I too understand where the concept of stealing comes from but feel it has been largely misunderstood and can be easily misunderstood and so it's best not to use it in my opinion.
In fact it could be explained better to others to stop them seeing it as stealing and why that strange idea come to exist in the first place.
As far as doing what you do and why you do it then I can only admire it for if they are the reasons then they are very admirable.
Discussing points to do with 'internal strength' would also be very interesting under it's own heading but for me not under this heading as I find it disrespectful to Ikeda Sensei and to good manners.
If he himself had posted it then that would be a different story for he knows what he is doing and thus could take questions about it.
So when you mention gossip then I think using another as a reason to discuss falls more into that category than using yourself under your own heading to do with your own views on the subject.
That said I know the term 'internal strength' is used by the many to represent an added untapped reservoir of ability but although I 100% agree with that fact I would never myself call it internal strength.
Anyway, thanks for your time and thoughts and I hope you are successful in your ventures.
Regards.G.

Budd
01-27-2011, 06:52 PM
Hi Graham,

I know what you mean regarding words being misunderstood. Regarding disrespectful to Ikeda, I can see either side and if I got wind that he didn't want videos of himself dissected, I'd definitely take it further under consideration.

That being said - he's one of the guys I'd be out there busting my butt to emulate, if I was still doing aikido. My understanding is that he's essentially the inheritor of the ASU, but has no issues throwing on a white belt and going to learn from a teacher of a different style. He's one of the premier aikido practitioners in the US, but still keeps a student's mind? That's the kind of guy I'd wanna be modeling myself after.

So definitely no disrespect intended here when I analyze what he's doing and trying to show. It's honestly my hope that more and more people are doing that and busting their butts to figure it out - whether they talk about it here, in private, or wherever.

graham christian
01-27-2011, 07:14 PM
Thanks for the generous reply Budd. I fully agree with you. In fact as I tell my students a true master is always learning for he has taken responsibility for being the best student and teacher he can be
Regards. G.

SeiserL
01-28-2011, 05:47 AM
Back on to the original topic . . what Ikeda Sensei is doing and showing. I have to call out/tease Lynn Seiser for immediately cautioning about talking about Ikeda. Folks, break out of this rut that the sensei is beyond reproach or examination - in Ikeda's case, obviously, he's trying to get people to get it!
That is certainly not what I said or meant.

I invite and enjoy examining and discussing what I have learned on this journey.

I am cautious about discussing issues with people who have nothing to add, have no direct experience with the individual/subject, but know you are wrong in your direct experience and personal conceptualization.

Sometimes the caution is not about what is being discussed but who you are discussing it with.

Mike Sigman
01-28-2011, 08:04 AM
I am cautious about discussing issues with people who have nothing to add, have no direct experience with the individual/subject, but know you are wrong in your direct experience and personal conceptualization.

Sometimes the caution is not about what is being discussed but who you are discussing it with.I've seen that approach a number of times in the more 'spiritual' arts, like Aikido and some sects of Tai Chee. In one Aikido dojo, run by a famous Japanese shihan, I was told that there were 2 Republicans among the Aikido students and none of the other students would talk to them. I'm sure the shihan wasn't told about this, though; if I told you who the shihan was it would rock your boat.

The disappointing thing about your commentary, to me, Lynn, is that it once again discusses personality issues and not facts. I've been watching these discussions purely to see if someone comes up with some facts that a newby can use. So far, nothing I've seen can be used, but there's been a lot of discussion about who conforms enough to meet approval of a select few. When challenged for actual facts, there is wide and vague assurance about who knows anything, but no facts to support it. Me, I take someone's word, but I ask for facts.

Ikeda Sensei is not, as far as I'm aware, making sure that only the right kind of believers and conformers come to his workshops. Not that he's oblivious to practicality... one of his long-term students indicated to me that Ikeda Sensei is pretty much aware that a number of 'seniors' are not ever going to change to using ki/kokyu skills and so he doesn't focus much on them. But he doesn't cut them out of discussion, as far as I've heard.

I wonder at what level is an Aikidoist's demonstrations above discussion and dissection? Is it the yudansha ranks and above or could we include some mudansha as being undiscussable, particularly by outsiders? We should be careful where we start the segregation.

I would personally assume, unless told otherwise, that Ikeda's putting on public demonstrations indicates that he's aware of and doesn't mind that people try to discuss *how* things are done.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Budd
01-28-2011, 08:58 AM
Phi, that's an excellent example and damn if Ushiro isn't hitting the three fundamental pieces . . (my interpretation - someone else feel free to jump in and disagree):

1) Connected - Make the physical connection between yourself and the other person (this is easy, it's accomplished on touch)

2) Unity - Unify your center with the other person's so that you are a "four-legged animal" that you are in control of (this needs to be felt and grasped as a "skill", then conditioned with training partners giving you a dumb force to work with so that you can develop the skill)

3) Change my inside - Move your center through the other person's center and you will move them (the internal part of this being that once you have some skill, you don't have to visibly "move" to accomplish this based on what most observers can see, hence uke's balance moving back until it's broken while Ushiro doesn't appear to "move"). On a related note, I've heard from attendees to Chen Bing's lessons that his recommendation on addressing an incoming force (push, pull, grab, etc.) is to "change the inside".

Anyways, them's my $0.02 based on Phi's example - anyone want to add, disagree, or otherwise participate?

Best/Budd

how's about using an example as a way to start the discussion?

uke stands in forward stand with fist out like so (hopefully the image shown) http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/1026193/2/istockphoto_1026193-karate-punch-oi-zuki.jpg

nage stands in natural stand in front of uke with left palm rested against the front knuckles of the fist (i had seen Ikeda sensei did it with one finger and on the receiving end of such finger too). so, Ikeda sensei was nage. he would said three things (with accent): "connected", "unity", "change my inside". after a time, slowly, you can see uke posture shifted slowly toward his rear "third leg" (toward right rear) and lose his/her/it balance and staggered. and you will notice that Ikeda sensei body didn't move.

so, would that example be an ok starting point for the discussion?

MM
01-28-2011, 09:05 AM
The disappointing thing about your commentary, to me, Lynn, is that it once again discusses personality issues and not facts. I've been watching these discussions purely to see if someone comes up with some facts that a newby can use. So far, nothing I've seen can be used, but there's been a lot of discussion about who conforms enough to meet approval of a select few. When challenged for actual facts, there is wide and vague assurance about who knows anything, but no facts to support it. Me, I take someone's word, but I ask for facts.



You, yet again, bring up personalities in that you've seen nothing that can be used except people only discussing conformity and approval of authority. You've set yourself up as an authority to know all this, yet you have not truly contributed to this thread, either. Do you actually have something that you *want* to share? I bold "want" because I *know* that you do have the skills and abilities to actively contribute a lot of very good information. Instead, you sit back, poke people with subtle and not-so subtle jabs, and wait for people to post information.

Asking for information is fine, but how about actually contributing *your* truthful, factual, and detailed breakdown of Ikeda sensei's demos of ki and letting people start their conversations from there? Your words, "If anyone is interested in dissecting various demonstrations until the principle is very clear". As someone who has set himself up as a person who can determine good, bad, fact, assumption, etc in the world of internal skills, how about leading the way?

thisisnotreal
01-28-2011, 09:18 AM
I've been watching these discussions purely to see if someone comes up with some facts that a newby can use. So far, nothing I've seen can be used..

I respectfully challenge this. In what way is it true?
Even just this morning; these two excellent posts are usable by beginners 1/here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=274991&postcount=136) & 2/here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=274985&postcount=155).

Alfonso
01-28-2011, 09:58 AM
Budd, a couple of disagreements. One , Ushiro is not on this thread is he? Phi is interpreting Ikeda

1) Yes, but as nage, how do you push or pull or what? How much connection do you need?

2) I know what you mean, but can you parse this? This is buzz word without explanation. What happens to the other four legged animal?

3) more buzzwords; move your center through their center? you mean take my belly button and rub it against his ( I know you know, please unpack)

thanks Phi and Budd

Phi, that's an excellent example and damn if Ushiro isn't hitting the three fundamental pieces . . (my interpretation - someone else feel free to jump in and disagree):

1) Connected - Make the physical connection between yourself and the other person (this is easy, it's accomplished on touch)

2) Unity - Unify your center with the other person's so that you are a "four-legged animal" that you are in control of (this needs to be felt and grasped as a "skill", then conditioned with training partners giving you a dumb force to work with so that you can develop the skill)

3) Change my inside - Move your center through the other person's center and you will move them (the internal part of this being that once you have some skill, you don't have to visibly "move" to accomplish this based on what most observers can see, hence uke's balance moving back until it's broken while Ushiro doesn't appear to "move"). On a related note, I've heard from attendees to Chen Bing's lessons that his recommendation on addressing an incoming force (push, pull, grab, etc.) is to "change the inside".

Anyways, them's my $0.02 based on Phi's example - anyone want to add, disagree, or otherwise participate?

Best/Budd

kewms
01-28-2011, 10:39 AM
Budd, a couple of disagreements. One , Ushiro is not on this thread is he? Phi is interpreting Ikeda

1) Yes, but as nage, how do you push or pull or what? How much connection do you need?

2) I know what you mean, but can you parse this? This is buzz word without explanation. What happens to the other four legged animal?

3) more buzzwords; move your center through their center? you mean take my belly button and rub it against his ( I know you know, please unpack)

thanks Phi and Budd

Proving the point I was about to make. If you already have some idea what Ikeda Sensei is talking about, his explanation gives you something to work with. If you don't, I think it's likely to go sailing right over your head.

Arguably, the primary role of someone in his position should be to teach the teachers anyway, who will then go back and teach their own students. The extent to which that is actually happening is a topic for another thread.

Katherine

Budd
01-28-2011, 11:17 AM
Ooh, disagreements and a gauntlet? Accepted!!

Budd, a couple of disagreements. One , Ushiro is not on this thread is he? Phi is interpreting Ikeda

Is that one or two disagreements? Kidding, point taken.

1) Yes, but as nage, how do you push or pull or what? How much connection do you need?

So, the demo was nage to put the flat of his palm on the knuckles of the outstretched punching hand (Phi mentioned finger/finger - tried that and I can get it to work fine on a dumb force). That should be enough connection, but I can see it being really easy for nage to use local arm/shoulder inappropriately. My preferred position for practice purposes would a hybrid Greco over/under pulled out from the body-body clinch range to be more in the judo grips range - this pic of Kano and Mifune should illustrate the distance I'm talking about:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5a/Jigoro_Kano_and_Kyuzo_Mifune.jpg/200px-Jigoro_Kano_and_Kyuzo_Mifune.jpg

On second thought, the grips are fine, but I prefer to use a hooked hand around uke's close arm (which they mirror) and the flat hand on the neck/collarbone area to just emphasize that you ideally are letting the arms "hang" on the other person rather than trying to use them for anything more than to connect and transmit your other forces (more buzzwords - I know - I'll come back on this one). The point being is that to start to train this skill - more contact points are good. As you improve and refine, though - the idea is you can do steps 1-3 on any touch (ie. kuzushi on contact).

2) I know what you mean, but can you parse this? This is buzz word without explanation. What happens to the other four legged animal?

I struggle with appropriately explaining this one as well - but if we look at the "cosmology" diagram of Person bridging Heaven/Earth and translate that to being in balance such that you can direct the push of the ground up underneath you in coordination with gravity pulling down on you (probably still in buzzword territory, but this imagery has been the most useful for me as I train the inside stuffs) so that you have constant harmony between those two forces (and how they naturally join, relate, *cough* spiral - is a whole 'nother discussion). Your center/middle/hara is the "router" (metaphor, yadda) for the management of how this is happening (other buzzterms are dantien, articulated through training/conditioning can do other things, too), while your brain is the cpu.

When I make physical contact with another person (and my wife wallops me when I hug her and do this without thinking - true! Okay, fine, sometimes I do this on purpose, too *ouch*) I am able to extend the management of the up/down forces balanced inside me to the other person, such that I also manage their up/down balance through their middle via mine as I adjust the alignment of their up/down (can be overt to very subtle). How this happens (based on my caveman's grasp of science) has to do with micromuscles connecting the bones, muscles, ligaments, etc. that can be trained to react to our intent/mind-directed forces. It begins as a not-necessarily-impressive skill, but then can be conditioned over time (lots of places to go awry with this, so should be done with care and the input of someone with a clue) to be very powerful.

3) more buzzwords; move your center through their center? you mean take my belly button and rub it against his ( I know you know, please unpack)

Fair question - So if we accept my earlier descriptions - this part assumes that you made a successful connection by which you are now managing the natural up/down forces acting on yourself and the other person. At this point it's mentally directing your combined up/down into a break in uke's balance point (to use Phi's example, the "third leg" between and behind uke's feet). This doesn't mean they can't bring other forces to bear! Which is why it's pretty critical when you are just learning to do this against a dumb force.

But as your skill of "force management" gets more sophisticated over time and your body gets better conditioned to physically handle and deliver loads appropriately (think relaxing the upper boy, strengthening the lower body, strengthening and learning how the middle coordinates - just for starters) - this can become both powerful and subtle such that if someone tries to push me, I can reply with our combined up/downs slightly tangental to their incoming push such that they move themselves into a compromising position. Or maybe better put - I maintain harmony with the natural forces of heaven and earth and the other person defeats him or herself.

And again, this is the entry level foot in the door stuff you have to be able to do in order to get to any of the really WTF things, based on my current level of understanding.

thanks Phi and Budd

I hope that helped some - it's hard and tiring to both think these things through AND then figure out a way to speak them plainly to folks that don't necessarily use the same terms (or DO . . which can be another problem).

That said, I hope others find it useful and participate - agree, disagree, argue, etc. Whatever. :p

Budd
01-28-2011, 11:21 AM
Proving the point I was about to make. If you already have some idea what Ikeda Sensei is talking about, his explanation gives you something to work with. If you don't, I think it's likely to go sailing right over your head.

I totally get that. Hopefully, others are also getting interested in chasing down that basic "some idea what" and can add their input, help the discussion, etc.

Arguably, the primary role of someone in his position should be to teach the teachers anyway, who will then go back and teach their own students. The extent to which that is actually happening is a topic for another thread.

Katherine

Right, I understand that's the model and a larger breakout discussion regarding its transmission is definitely merited. I'd be interested in how the folks within aikido would drive that discussion.

graham christian
01-28-2011, 11:29 AM
Mike, I think you've misunderstood what Lynne Sensei was saying.
It's not a matter of 'not wanting others to know' or keeping things secret and for the selected few, it's a matter of is this person receptive to what I have to say or even able to be open minded enough to at least acknowledge it even if they disagree.
This thread just reached a point where someone gave an example and someone else gave their understanding as to what would be happening from their understanding of 'internal strength'. That's fair enough isn't it?
Then that brings up, as Katherine points out the difficulty of conveying what you know in a way that the other person will understand, or even others following the thread will understand.
It's hard to convey an understanding just with writing, it's quite a skill in it's own right, and add to that when you are teaching someone who doesn't understand but wants to, if you know them and their interests and way that they think then you can convey it from 'their point of view' so to speak. For example: if your student is an artist you could relate extending ki and leading the partner to two people sharing the same paint brush and painting a circle or some such visualization.
The main point basically I'm making is to understand it's not an easy thing to do on this media which doesn't mean don't try it just means understand the difficulty.
Regards.G.

Alfonso
01-28-2011, 11:35 AM
Proving the point I was about to make. If you already have some idea what Ikeda Sensei is talking about, his explanation gives you something to work with. If you don't, I think it's likely to go sailing right over your head.

Arguably, the primary role of someone in his position should be to teach the teachers anyway, who will then go back and teach their own students. The extent to which that is actually happening is a topic for another thread.

Katherine

I actually have an idea of what he says ( I even have held his hand) and I can work with it. Likewise I know Phi has had face to face and can grasp the demo. It is a simple demo; It is not supposed to be only for the illuminated; If you grab sensei you get to feel in addition to listen.

Points- Uke provides a steady push in the direction of the "attack" , for Nage to work on

- Nage allows that force into him, straight to the ground. No pushing back required if force is incoming

- Nage can "resolve" the sum of vectors in such a way that the resulting force vector is towards an imbalance point in Uke.

- The change of vectors of force does not require moving nage's limbs or stance, the change is of alignment in your body, through very small but widespread re-setting of your sails (to throw in more metaphors ), this does not involve tensing big muscles, it uses Nages body held together by tissue and even breathing affects the paths which force goes through Nage...

- There is no gotcha thing going on here;

Ikeda sensei has said repeatedly that being a teacher does not mean you know this; and in this respect (basic movement principles) beginners and teachers are in the same boat. Don't save it for later; all it means is you start later.

SeiserL
01-28-2011, 12:03 PM
It's not a matter of 'not wanting others to know' or keeping things secret and for the selected few, it's a matter of is this person receptive to what I have to say or even able to be open minded enough to at least acknowledge it even if they disagree.
Exactly and thank you.

Nothing is secret to an open mind.

jonreading
01-28-2011, 12:27 PM
Having some direct experience with Ikeda sensei, my thoughts:
1. What Ikeda sensei shows in his seminars is based upon the presumption that those attending have a basic understanding of proper structure and body alignment. I believe he also expects most in attendance to have a basic comprehension of technique.
2. I believe much of the instruction Ikeda sensei is based upon layering on top of proper structure and alignment internal movement that strengthens the entire shape. I believe this is the advanced level of training where Sensei is showing "make connection."

I think you need to give Sensei a reasonable expectation that he will work on something more than basic training even if it still looks like basic training. I think Ikeda sensei relies on other instructors (and certainly dojo sensei) to prepare students to see what he is doing and eliminate the "gee, that's exactly what we do in class," responses; no, but if what you are doing in class is the proper structure than you can spend more time seeing what is different in Ikeda sensei's technique than what is similar.

Lately, Ikeda sensei has been including new exercises many students have not seen. These exercises need to be incorporated into aikido curriculum and used as part of daily training so the next time Sensei is in town we can move onto the next step. I think Ikeda sensei, along with others in the US, are trying to re-incorporate some of these basic internal exercises back into daily class... They almost have to be collusive exercises at this point because we're like virgins rolling around in the dark with the stuff.

That being said, Ikeda Sensei is starting to raise the bar slightly too by giving back to aikido these exercises... Don't think he won't notice the 3rd time you attend a seminar and you're still not getting what he is showing...

DH
01-28-2011, 01:12 PM
Lately, Ikeda sensei has been including new exercises many students have not seen.
Can you describe at least the outer form if not the inner?
Interesting that they are recent. Did he say where they came from? That might be of interest to me..
Cheers
Dan

phitruong
01-28-2011, 01:25 PM
Nothing is secret to an open mind.

to hide things, sometimes you leave them out in the open.

you know we could go at this sort of things for days. :)

jonreading
01-28-2011, 03:02 PM
Can you describe at least the outer form if not the inner?
Interesting that they are recent. Did he say where they came from? That might be of interest to me..
Cheers
Dan

Dan- I wish I could tell you more. I started noticing more of these "exercises" maybe starting 3-4 years ago. Sensei did not voice to me from where he derived his exercises or new[er] explanations; I did not presume to ask though. My suspician is that timing is awfully close to some serious overlap with Ushiro Sensei visiting Colorado, getting involved in summer camp, and spending some time with Ikeda sensei. I got suspicous and bought some Ushiro sensei DVDs from Sensei when he was in SC last year. I am looking through them now for an origin and to see how the exercises relate...

As for many of the exercises... I have seen a number of old-skool stuff, (torifune, sayo undo, hasso/happo undo, zenpo undo) coming back in style. These are centering exercises exploring the directions of extension while maintaining balance and posture. Now, these are not the sloppy, "throws your hands out and back" stuff, they really remind me of stance-building kata and proper breathing.

Another series of exercises I have seen are a little more touchy-feely. Your partner assumes a strong/comfortable stance and you apply an external pressure to solicit and shift in balance. This is where Ikeda sensei talks about the "aiki" connection - at the point preceding interaction. Some amount of this exercise is focusing on where you want your partner to feel pressure from your hand - his back foot, his front toe, his inside back knee, etc. Ideally, you're reducing the amount of pressure applied while achieving the same balance shift.

Truth be told, I do not know if these exercises and demos would qualify as internal strength or not. To me, it seems clear we are focusing on centering ourselves and becoming sensitive to how we connect with our partner. 20 years ago, Kuriowa sensei would probably just call it kihon...

Also, it may be that Sensei has been doing the same thing all along and he is just better explaning it now; part of that improvement may be his [better] selection of exercises and explanantions...

Mike Sigman
01-28-2011, 03:04 PM
You, yet again, bring up personalities in that you've seen nothing that can be used except people only discussing conformity and approval of authority. You've set yourself up as an authority to know all this, yet you have not truly contributed to this thread, either. Do you actually have something that you *want* to share? I bold "want" because I *know* that you do have the skills and abilities to actively contribute a lot of very good information. Instead, you sit back, poke people with subtle and not-so subtle jabs, and wait for people to post information.

Asking for information is fine, but how about actually contributing *your* truthful, factual, and detailed breakdown of Ikeda sensei's demos of ki and letting people start their conversations from there? Your words, "If anyone is interested in dissecting various demonstrations until the principle is very clear". As someone who has set himself up as a person who can determine good, bad, fact, assumption, etc in the world of internal skills, how about leading the way?
Mark, have you really read the early part of this thread? Why don't you try to one-up the details that I gave instead of taking shots? Let's see if you can add anything.

Mike Sigman

Demetrio Cereijo
01-28-2011, 03:24 PM
Dan- I wish I could tell you more. I started noticing more of these "exercises" maybe starting 3-4 years ago. Sensei did not voice to me from where he derived his exercises or new[er] explanations; I did not presume to ask though. My suspician is that timing is awfully close to some serious overlap with Ushiro Sensei visiting Colorado, getting involved in summer camp, and spending some time with Ikeda sensei. I got suspicous and bought some Ushiro sensei DVDs from Sensei when he was in SC last year. I am looking through them now for an origin and to see how the exercises relate...
Would you also consider Uzawa Sensei (http://www.bujindesign.com/seminar_reviews/2008_06_article_1.html) as a possible source?

jonreading
01-28-2011, 03:35 PM
Would you also consider Uzawa Sensei (http://www.bujindesign.com/seminar_reviews/2008_06_article_1.html) as a possible source?

Wouldn't suprise me in the least.

bkedelen
01-28-2011, 03:45 PM
Uzawa Sensei's two seminars at Boulder Aikikai were totally fucking awesome.

Matt Fisher
01-28-2011, 04:18 PM
Having some direct experience with Ikeda sensei, my thoughts:
1. What Ikeda sensei shows in his seminars is based upon the presumption that those attending have a basic understanding of proper structure and body alignment. I believe he also expects most in attendance to have a basic comprehension of technique.
2. I believe much of the instruction Ikeda sensei is based upon layering on top of proper structure and alignment internal movement that strengthens the entire shape. I believe this is the advanced level of training where Sensei is showing "make connection."


I think Jon touches on a key point here. I have been going to seminars with Ikeda Sensei for 20 years, and while that isn't nearly as much interaction with him as someone like George Ledyard has, it means that I have been watching him and working on what he teaches for a while. Back around 2000, two students of Ikeda Sensei - Ron Meyer and Mark Reeder - published a book titled Center: The Power of Aikido that attempted to capture in dialogue format many of the concepts that Ikeda Sensei was teaching at that time in seminars. The concepts were things like centeredness, relaxation, alignment, connection, grounding, uprooting, spiraling, timing and position. I bought a copy of the book when it first came out, reread it a few times over the next five or six years, and consciously tried to work on incorporating these principles into my aikido (others are in a better position to judge how successful I was). But what I have noticed in the past few years is that the time I put into understanding those concepts from seminars Ikeda Sensei was teaching 6-12 years ago has helped me understand what he is teaching now in seminars.

So not only would I agree with Jon that how Ikeda Sensei now approaches seminars involves "a presumption that those attending have a basic understanding of proper structure and body alignment", but I would suggest that much of what he presumes is outlined in Ron and Mark's book.

phitruong
01-28-2011, 07:57 PM
1) Connected - Make the physical connection between yourself and the other person (this is easy, it's accomplished on touch)

Best/Budd

lets take a look at the first part. it's not as simple as a touch. a number of things need to happen for the "connected". Ikeda sensei often asked uke to be "strong as you can", i.e. provide a stiff frame of your body, stiff force if you will. this would take the "slack" out of uke body which makes it easier for nage to work with (learning stage here). now if uke just goes limp noodle, then it makes it much harder, because there would be too much slack, i.e. gaps in the body for good force conduction.

the next part, nage has to take the slack out of his/her/it body as well. otherwise, we have the same issue as uke slackness. however, unlike uke, nage takes the slack out of his/her/its body through body conditioning to create a fully connected body without stiffness like uke. with such body conditioning, nage could create a condition where there is little to no resistance between the palm and the ground contacts at the bottom of nage's feet. sort of a "force conductor" body, using electrical analogy where losses in electrical signal determine the level of IS expertise; so for an expert IS, he/she/it could create a "force superconductor" body. so the terms the IS folks use "bring the ground to certain part of the body", in this case, bring the ground to nage's palm that touched uke's fist. and since the ground is so vast, uke's power essentially grounded or nullified. essentially, the power equation at this point is zero. keep this part in mind because point #3, "move your inside", will change this.

as the contact point, palm and fist, there should be zero force registered. if there is force at contact point, then it's not a single unit but two units, which negates the next portion - Unity.

comments, before we move to #2 "Unity"?

thisisnotreal
01-28-2011, 08:34 PM
Uzawa Sensei's two seminars at Boulder Aikikai were totally fucking awesome.
Hi Ben, Why? What kind of stuff did you learn? It sounds intriguing..
Cheers//Josh

DH
01-29-2011, 01:33 AM
Phi
It is not always to just "ground their power" to neutralize it. Oh were it so. That is far...far.. too simplistic. At a point when they are not using dumb force; things can get dicey and you need to be capable of much more. In a face off with other people with better understanding of power you will be played and manipulated rather than them let you have a stand off of power to power, Hell even a good soft wrestler (yes they exist) will pick that apart. At that time, the ability to make change far surpasses the one point connected model.

There are reasons that Tohei swayed sometime under force and moved differently than Ueshiba. His model was a starting point and that's about it. I know some people here are big fans, but I never was. It is one level. A beginning step. I have looked for certain things in him and never seen them. Well, I haven't seen them in anyone in Aikido...yet. And In my opinion, In comparison I think Shioda was more developed. Moving from the one point while compelling and potent....can be stilted and can be had. In a fight... it can see you undone.
The one point, expressed and evident at any point on the body can still be manipulated. In fact beyond a certain point, it's all about manipulation inside...and that is where it all gets interesting. At that juncture the one point is no longer even in the discussion, as it is a given. To put it another way, there is so much Tohei did not discuss and was not evident in his movement either so I do not believe it was for lack of desire to discuss it.;)

With others actively teaching and for "demonstrations of Ki"...I will reserve my opinions for them and them alone, Yup, it is that protective. I continue to meet Shihan and other prominent people in the arts. Since, I actually wish to help, with no agenda, I would rather honor someone for stepping up and help improve their game in private.

Cheers
Dan

Jeff Sodeman
01-29-2011, 02:30 AM
I started Aikido under Ikeda sensei almost 20 years ago and he has been my teacher ever since. In hindsight I see several general phases to what he has focused on in his teaching.

At the time I started he was in a generating/amplifying power phase, mostly through hip/body movement "koshi power". Back then you really got an appreciation for just how hard sensei can throw when he feels like it.

As he began doing more and more seminars his teaching focused on connecting to and manipulating the uke through complex spiral movements. Basically combining koshi power with balance breaking.

Upon meeting Ushiro sensei, Ikeda sensei undertook a deep and focused study of internal work. The earlier balance breaking was something done to the uke, where the internal balance breaking is something done within the nage, making it more subtle (hidden even) and difficult to resist. Removing the uke's power rather than generating nage power. I would guess 4 years or so were spent in this stage.

My take on what sensei has been doing for the last year is taking the internal work and now applying it back to the earlier stages. So a lot more application of internal into familiar techniques, internal combined with koshi power, basically folding the new stuff back into old. Also I think through the laboratory of his seminars he has been adjusting and refining how to transmit the internal work.

I think one of the more common problems people have in picking up what he is showing is that they don't take him literally when they should. Between the language barrier, and just a lack of a common vocabulary when discussing concept I think it's tempting to think that he's talking in metaphor when sometimes he is not.

When he was first talking about "change your insides" I was baffled as to what that meant. Then at a break during a seminar we were having some coffee and in response to one of my questions he asked me to put a hand on his shoulder. Because he was wearing a t-shirt instead of a loose fitting dogi I was able to see his abdomen actually moving around as he took my stability away. So when he says change your insides, he actually means (at least in part) to move your abdominal organs into a different position.

Knowing that and doing it are of course two different things. I know I could wiggle my ears but I haven't worked out quite how to do it even though they say 15 minutes in front on a mirror will do it. I think for a lot of people they don't have a system for learning how to move their insides around. I have exercises that I've picked up from Systema for working internally with strikes that I have found work very well. It sounds like the Daito Ryu folks and others have their own approaches as well (check out some belly dancing tutorials on YouTube, impressive stuff). The comments from several people about schools' teachers needing to prep their students for Ikeda sensei's work are spot on in my opinion.

Ikeda sensei already had the physical ability and control that he could apply to Ushiro sensei's approach, so he was able to skip over a phase that many of us require. He not just doing advanced work, he's doing advanced-advanced work. I think we'll see more exercises from him to address the development of internal coordination as part of his presentation in the future.

Finally, a comment on the title of this thread. Ikeda sensei has always intentionally avoided using the word "ki" in his teaching and discussions of Aikido. I think I finally heard it for the first time last year, and it was a surprise to me. In it's place he always used the word "energy" - I believe because he wanted to distance what he's doing from any kind of mysticism or magic. Even when something can't be explained, I think he would assert that there's some combination of subtle physical and psychological principles at play.

Any time there are non-Aikido people at a seminar, like some Karate students who sat in on some of his classes at the Expo, he has used them for ukemi as much as possible. He knows that there are people skeptical of the internal work, that seeing it looks fake, and that feeling it is the only way to really get an appreciation for it. Luckily he is very receptive to questions and letting people feel his work first hand.

To pass along one comment, my own internal movement was originally tied to my breathing. I think it's easier to pick up that way, but in discussing it with sensei he clearly stated that the internal work is independent of breath. So kokyu might start you down the path, but it's something you should eventually be able to drop.

thisisnotreal
01-29-2011, 08:55 AM
as the contact point, palm and fist, there should be zero force registered. if there is force at contact point, then it's not a single unit but two units, which negates the next portion - Unity.

comments, before we move to #2 "Unity"?

I just found these clips:Unity1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG1R-zylyvs&feature=related): Unity2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1fi3laBQRM&feature=related)

Matt Fisher
01-29-2011, 11:50 AM
I started Aikido under Ikeda sensei almost 20 years ago and he has been my teacher ever since. In hindsight I see several general phases to what he has focused on in his teaching.

Jeff,

Thanks for the extended description of what you have observed with Ikeda Sensei over 20 years...what you wrote matches perfectly with my experience seeing him only in seminars over 20 years. But what you wrote is a much clearer presentation of the changes that he has gone through over time.

To others participating in this discussion...read Jeff's post carefully. He has given a real gift to this discussion.:)

Matt

DH
01-29-2011, 12:04 PM
Very encouraging isn't it Jeff?
There are others as well as Mr. Ikeda who are exploring this as well-with different teachers and in different ways or accents.
How do you feel it is affecting the progress of his students?
Your own?
Cheers
Dan

George S. Ledyard
01-29-2011, 04:54 PM
I started Aikido under Ikeda sensei almost 20 years ago and he has been my teacher ever since. In hindsight I see several general phases to what he has focused on in his teaching.

At the time I started he was in a generating/amplifying power phase, mostly through hip/body movement "koshi power". Back then you really got an appreciation for just how hard sensei can throw when he feels like it.

Of course that was also when his knees seemed immortal. I never saw anyone go lower than he did... often his butt seemed about six inches off the floor. Huge power anf relatively large movement, compared to what he does now. On the other hand, when compared to standard Aikikai technique, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei have always been smaller.

Looking back and remembering his "instruction", such as it was, I call this his "no escape" period.

As he began doing more and more seminars his teaching focused on connecting to and manipulating the uke through complex spiral movements. Basically combining koshi power with balance breaking.

This was a fairly long period in which his predominant instruction, at seminars anyway, seemed to be "just catch it". He focused on showing how he gave direction, externally, to the energy of the connection. His way of showing this was misleading, I think. Most of us did not get it. What he showed you was changing hand angles largely. Then you'd try it and it wouldn't work. We were all looking at the wrong thing and he didn't know how to explain it.

Upon meeting Ushiro sensei, Ikeda sensei undertook a deep and focused study of internal work. The earlier balance breaking was something done to the uke, where the internal balance breaking is something done within the nage, making it more subtle (hidden even) and difficult to resist. Removing the uke's power rather than generating nage power. I would guess 4 years or so were spent in this stage.

The Aiki Expos changed things for a number of us, none more than Ikeda Sensei. He trained in everyone's classes. He formed a special relationship with Ushiro Sensei although I know he found Systema quite amazing and has continued to look for input from that source i his spare time, such as it is.

Ushiro gave him a principle based vocabulary to understand this stuff. Once he began organizing his thinking about what is really going on in "aiki" his progress has been continuous and accelerating. While wonderful to see and inspiring to watch, it is frustrating to see how he's left folks "eating his dust" so to speak. Kevin Choate Sensei described it as feeling like the Coyote as he watches Road Runner zoom off into the distance.

The thing that is totally amazing about Ikeda Sensei is that he simply does not care whom he gets stuff from. He is constantly looking for ways to either get better or explain what he knows more clearly. His explanations are light years more complete than the "just catch it" days. I know of two occasions in which I found him using explanations that he had seen me use in class. He doesn't care one wit that I am far junior.

My take on what sensei has been doing for the last year is taking the internal work and now applying it back to the earlier stages. So a lot more application of internal into familiar techniques, internal combined with koshi power, basically folding the new stuff back into old. Also I think through the laboratory of his seminars he has been adjusting and refining how to transmit the internal work.

Both he and Saotome Sensei have started offering drastically more detailed explanations. I am absolutely sure that this is due to their exposure to Ushiro Kenji. Saotome Sensei in particular never explained much at all. I have been in classes with him lately when he broke things down in a way that I only dreamed of back inthe day. I want to shake people and say "do you know what a gift that guy just gave you? I worked on that for ten years and he just put it on a plate for you." It's the same with Ikeda Sensei except that his Aikido is changing constantly while he's doing this.

I think one of the more common problems people have in picking up what he is showing is that they don't take him literally when they should. Between the language barrier, and just a lack of a common vocabulary when discussing concept I think it's tempting to think that he's talking in metaphor when sometimes he is not.

When he was first talking about "change your insides" I was baffled as to what that meant. Then at a break during a seminar we were having some coffee and in response to one of my questions he asked me to put a hand on his shoulder. Because he was wearing a t-shirt instead of a loose fitting dogi I was able to see his abdomen actually moving around as he took my stability away. So when he says change your insides, he actually means (at least in part) to move your abdominal organs into a different position.

Knowing that and doing it are of course two different things. I know I could wiggle my ears but I haven't worked out quite how to do it even though they say 15 minutes in front on a mirror will do it. I think for a lot of people they don't have a system for learning how to move their insides around. I have exercises that I've picked up from Systema for working internally with strikes that I have found work very well. It sounds like the Daito Ryu folks and others have their own approaches as well (check out some belly dancing tutorials on YouTube, impressive stuff). The comments from several people about schools' teachers needing to prep their students for Ikeda sensei's work are spot on in my opinion.


Because I had started with Saotome Sensei, it was easier for me to get what Ushiro was doing because, despite not understanding what Sensei was doing, I had always been aware that some o0ther paradigm was operating than what we could see with our uneducated eyes. Even Ikeda Sensei said, "Saotome Sensei was always doing this stuff, we were just to stupid to understand it." Folks who have never had that advantage are at a disadvantage because what they have always felt from their teachers and seniors really was different from what these Shihan are doing.

I think, more than anything anyone could say, this should make the case for principle based instruction against the "steal the technique" model. Saotome Sensei did not have a more devoted student than Ikeda Sensei and yet it took Ushiro and others to supply the missing connections to what Saotome Sensei had been doing.

Ikeda sensei already had the physical ability and control that he could apply to Ushiro sensei's approach, so he was able to skip over a phase that many of us require. He not just doing advanced work, he's doing advanced-advanced work. I think we'll see more exercises from him to address the development of internal coordination as part of his presentation in the future.

I think this is definitely true... As he sees how breaking down skills into discrete elements before combining those elements into more complex waza is the most effective way to reprogram our minds and bodies, I think he'll keep moving in that direction. The questions for many of the rest of us is whether we can start training our own students that way... can I take a few years to prep the skills before I start teaching a lot of waza? Our standards in the ASU state that it takes about 4.5 - 5.0 years to work through the requirements for Shodan (training three times a week). Would students be patient with slower progress towards something tangible? Would the organization be supportive of a give teacher totally changing the guidelines for his or her students?

Finally, a comment on the title of this thread. Ikeda sensei has always intentionally avoided using the word "ki" in his teaching and discussions of Aikido. I think I finally heard it for the first time last year, and it was a surprise to me. In it's place he always used the word "energy" - I believe because he wanted to distance what he's doing from any kind of mysticism or magic. Even when something can't be explained, I think he would assert that there's some combination of subtle physical and psychological principles at play.

Ki is s term, like any other. You can use other terminology to describe the same thing... Personally, I don't think use of other terminology makes it any more clear. You still have to teach people what any term means in the context of our "aiki" work. The reason the term "ki" has been so misused is that people read and heard the term but didn't really understand any more than the simplest rudiments of what it meant. So it became a term associated with New Age, wishful thinking Aikido. That wasn't the fault of the term itself but of the practitioners who didn't understand what the term really meant.

Any time there are non-Aikido people at a seminar, like some Karate students who sat in on some of his classes at the Expo, he has used them for ukemi as much as possible. He knows that there are people skeptical of the internal work, that seeing it looks fake, and that feeling it is the only way to really get an appreciation for it. Luckily he is very receptive to questions and letting people feel his work first hand.


He is definitely a show me guy himself... And he respects that in others. He'll get the biggest, stiffest, most resistant guy in the place and let him feel hit, just so everyone knows he can really do it.

To pass along one comment, my own internal movement was originally tied to my breathing. I think it's easier to pick up that way, but in discussing it with sensei he clearly stated that the internal work is independent of breath. So kokyu might start you down the path, but it's something you should eventually be able to drop.

I think there is a natural progression one can follow that will eventually get one to the level that Ikeda Sensei has attained and beyond. Fisrt we find physical, body movement / posture based ways of accomplishing a desired result with our partner

Then, you can play with how the breath can accomplish many of those same things without the larger body movements. Finally, you move everything "inside" and play with how the Intent can create internal movement which can move the partner. Once you start making these connections, the sky is the limit... Sagawa kept going into his eighties and just kept getting better. Of course he trained like a maniac. But he clearly was able to take the paradigm he had been given by Takeda and run with it, going into areas he had never been taught by another teacher.

That is almost the entire focus of what Ikeda Sensei is showing these days. He is demoing how to change the paradigm. Once you do that, you can become your own teacher to a large extent and it's simply a matter of how hard you choose to train. This is crucial because without an understanding of the paradigm shift, another twenty years of working in the old way will still not magically yield understanding of what these teachers are doing. It sure didn't in my case.

Jeff Sodeman
01-29-2011, 06:02 PM
How do you feel it is affecting the progress of his students?
Your own?


I've very glad to see Aikidoka opening up to the idea that other arts have knowledge that can help enrich our Aikido practice and learning.

The reception of that knowledge is a tricky thing. I think you have to have a lot of trust in your teacher, especially when you're used to doing things in the traditional manner. Ikeda sensei's personality and the way he lives his life makes it easy for me to trust him when he says that something has merit. Especially with his avoidance of mysticism, for him to praise the internal work said to me that it was something that I should take seriously. But then if he said to jump in a lake, I'd probably kick my shoes off and go for it with the feeling that he has a good reason for telling me to. I don't blindly believe and follow everything I'm told, but I'll at least make the effort to explore for myself. His endorsement of Systema played a large part in me getting into it, and that's hugely benefited my Aikido.

I don't think everyone is as accepting of a teacher's direction, and with the internal work especially I think it's difficult. With his traditional kuzushi work an outsider might not see that the uke was affected, but the uke could feel it. With the internal work not even the uke can feel that anything has changed. Ushiro sensei's work at the summer camps was received by some people with "they're just tricks" and other forms of skepticism, sometimes even after people got to experience it personally.

My experience has been that change is hard for people, and especially things that they can't fully explain. What I see is that more of the resistance to the internal work is in the yudansha than the beginners and that it'll take some time for it to become a normal part of practice.

George talked a little about the issue of integrating internal work with our established testing and promotion curriculum. I'm trying to reconcile how to put all the pieces together. One the one hand I need to make sure my students fulfill their testing requirements and get the proper technical kihon skills. At the same time I'd prefer to start someone with much more breath, relaxation, and internal work. I feel like the kihon focus by itself actually instills a lot of tension and other habits that are difficult to break later.

On top of that you need to keep people showing up and for a beginner the internal work might not have as much of a "wow fun" factor that will keep them going past the first few months. I'm sad to admit that when potential students are watching a class that I'll avoid doing much internal work in it; I know it's just not exciting to watch people stand around doing what looks like nothing. So from that end it seems like something that, while it would benefit every level of student, maybe only the advanced or truly dedicated student would appreciate studying in any depth.

Loosing students and rewriting the curriculum aren't things that I'm ready for right now, so I'll keep trying to fit the internal work in as I can.

I think what you'd notice the most in my students from the internal work is that their ukemi is different. The first few years that I was teaching ukemi seminars I was doing a lot of the soft "feather" type high falls. The last couple years of seminars have focused more on internal work, how to take the power of a throw and transform it internally in a way that doesn't require slapping, crashing into the mat, or even "feather" gymnastics. You throw them hard and they just quietly sink to the mat. I believe that this feel will ultimately carry over to the throwing side for them.

Mike Sigman
01-29-2011, 06:02 PM
Ki is s term, like any other. You can use other terminology to describe the same thing... Personally, I don't think use of other terminology makes it any more clear. You still have to teach people what any term means in the context of our "aiki" work. The reason the term "ki" has been so misused is that people read and heard the term but didn't really understand any more than the simplest rudiments of what it meant. So it became a term associated with New Age, wishful thinking Aikido. That wasn't the fault of the term itself but of the practitioners who didn't understand what the term really meant.
I was aware back in the 1970's when Saotome came to the U.S. outside of permission from Yamada that Saotome had been known to give "ki" exercises at Hombu Dojo. Hence I went and attended a few classes when I could at the Sarasota dojo. I think there are a number of misunderstandings that are slowly being put aright at the moment, so it's encouraging.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

kewms
01-29-2011, 06:24 PM
I think one of the more common problems people have in picking up what he is showing is that they don't take him literally when they should. Between the language barrier, and just a lack of a common vocabulary when discussing concept I think it's tempting to think that he's talking in metaphor when sometimes he is not.

I've noticed this with a number of teachers. Every once in a while, the light bulb will go on and I'll realize that when Sensei said X, that's exactly what he meant. Not a metaphor, not a visualization, just do X.

Which is why this stuff (aikido in general, not just IP) is so hard to do, and to teach. Once you get it, you realize that it was right there in front of you the whole time.

Katherine

phitruong
01-30-2011, 01:29 PM
lets take a look at the first part. it's not as simple as a touch. a number of things need to happen for the "connected". Ikeda sensei often asked uke to be "strong as you can", i.e. provide a stiff frame of your body, stiff force if you will. this would take the "slack" out of uke body which makes it easier for nage to work with (learning stage here). now if uke just goes limp noodle, then it makes it much harder, because there would be too much slack, i.e. gaps in the body for good force conduction.

the next part, nage has to take the slack out of his/her/it body as well. otherwise, we have the same issue as uke slackness. however, unlike uke, nage takes the slack out of his/her/its body through body conditioning to create a fully connected body without stiffness like uke.

a few more things to add. when you heard Ikeda sensei said "no space". it meant to remove all the slack within nage body and uke body, i.e. no gaps for better force conduction which is one of the requirement for the second portion of Unity. "no space" doesn't mean external physical space.

one thing that i had problem with the setup. Uke provided the stiff force, "strong as you can", which inevitably folks would tensed up all the muscle in their body. read about tetanus in this paper http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/301notes3.htm. once Uke has tensed up muscle for awhile, the muscle fibers had not the chance to relax. then Uke switch role with Nage to perform the exercise. the result is that the new Nage now too tensed to do the exercise. i usually felt my body tensed within an hour practicing stuffs. so for folks who attend seminar with Ikeda sensei, don't tense up when you are Uke. you can still provide a stable, stiff platform for nage to use (this is a learned thing), yet not tensing.

phitruong
01-30-2011, 01:36 PM
Phi
It is not always to just "ground their power" to neutralize it. Oh were it so. That is far...far.. too simplistic. At a point when they are not using dumb force; things can get dicey and you need to be capable of much more. In a face off with other people with better understanding of power you will be played and manipulated rather than them let you have a stand off of power to power, Hell even a good soft wrestler (yes they exist) will pick that apart. At that time, the ability to make change far surpasses the one point connected model.

Dan

sometimes in the near future, would like to meet up with you to learn about your model. i have few points of reference so i am limited in view. would like to know more about the holes/gaps/limits in my model.

George S. Ledyard
01-30-2011, 04:32 PM
sometimes in the near future, would like to meet up with you to learn about your model. i have few points of reference so i am limited in view. would like to know more about the holes/gaps/limits in my model.

Phi,
Am I going to see you at Aikido of Lake Keowee next weekend?
- George

phitruong
01-30-2011, 06:11 PM
Phi,
Am I going to see you at Aikido of Lake Keowee next weekend?
- George

sensei, i could only make one day, Sat. family schedules are breaking havoc on my ability to attend various seminars. looking forward to see you again and learn new things and fix old things.

George S. Ledyard
01-30-2011, 06:26 PM
sensei, i could only make one day, Sat. family schedules are breaking havoc on my ability to attend various seminars. looking forward to see you again and learn new things and fix old things.
Slacker! You probably think getting the kids to sports,spending some quality time with the spouse, and paying the bills, should take precedence over your training... well, I will look forward to seeing you!!! Should be fun.

Mike Sigman
02-01-2011, 07:20 AM
And thus another potentially interesting discussion of the exact how's of internal strength comes to a predictable end on AW.

Speaking to that 1% who are *clinically* interested in the how's, mechanics, etc., of internal strength and are motivated to work as opposed to discuss, the QiJin forum is a possible resource of information for getting started. If you're that rare sort of person who wants to avoid the agenda stuff, you can p.m. me and see if there's meshing of goals.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

phitruong
02-01-2011, 08:33 AM
And thus another potentially interesting discussion of the exact how's of internal strength comes to a predictable end on AW.

Mike Sigman

hold your horse! grab a pitcher of coffee! i am busy responding to other threads and collecting my thoughts on the next portion. besides, i was waiting for other folks to jump in. otherwise, i might as well talking to meself, which isn't a bad thing, which i have done quite often, well most of the time actually. the evil phi has all kind of interesting stuffs. :)

Shadowfax
02-01-2011, 09:02 AM
Hey I'm still following this thread (and the others) so I would hope it continues on.

Perhaps once Ive had some time to experience and work with it I will have something useful to contribute. Next week I'll have the opportunity to meet Mark Murray and see/feel it for myself. I am very much looking forward to that.

Meanwhile I have to hope that those of you who are far beyond my level of experience continue to try to share and discuss this. :)

chillzATL
02-01-2011, 09:19 AM
Why don't you remain within the walls of your own forum, instead of trying to direct people to you by denigrating what is going on with the AW community.

Marc Abrams

What exactly is going on in the AW community? I see very little technical discussion.

gregstec
02-01-2011, 10:17 AM
What exactly is going on in the AW community? I see very little technical discussion.

One the more fascinating attributes of people is that one person is never the same as another - you can always be guaranteed someone just will not see everything as you do. This of course can make for some good conversations as long as both sides understand that and respect the other person's position. However, another attribute of people is that most do want others to see as they do and in some cases will insist that they do - IMO, one of the major reasons there is war.

So, my opinion is that internet forums are probably the worst medium to use for a serious 'how to' presentation/discussion associated with the physical and mental interactions of two people that occur in the MA, and this goes beyond the IS stuff. IMO, these forums are an excellent place to present opinions and ideas that can be shared with others or debated in a civil manner. If someone does not agree with that , fine - they should just keep the subtle, and not so subtle, cheap shots to themselves - we all have a right to our opinions and that should be respected.

With all that said, I respect the position of those that may want to use this forum for their 'how to' stuff - so how about if Jun just creates another section in the forum strictly for that - those that want to exchange detailed 'how to' stuff can, and those that do not, can just stay out of that section and reserve their opinions for threads in the forum's other sections.

Greg

Thomas Campbell
02-01-2011, 12:37 PM
I respect the position of those that may want to use this forum for their 'how to' stuff - so how about if Jun just creates another section in the forum strictly for that - those that want to exchange detailed 'how to' stuff can, and those that do not, can just stay out of that section and reserve their opinions for threads in the forum's other sections.

Greg

Good overall post, Greg, although I don't know if yet another section of the AW forum is necessary. I usually look to the "Training" and "Techniques" sections for "technical" discussions. Assuming that the, or at least a, primary goal of posts on AW regarding internal skills is how IS principles and exercises can be applied to aikido, then the exchange of detailed "how to" material could logically be placed there, or in the "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" page as a specifically "technical" thread, so indicated in the initial post.

What ruins the "technical" discussions are the personal snipings and not-so-hidden agendas. Apparently even the tightly-controlled QiJin forum is not immune to this aspect of human nature.

I think it's a lot to ask of Jun to moderate every aspect of what are supposed to be discussions among adults with ostensibly common interests and training goals. I for one appreciate him making this forum available, and have learned a lot from what the aikido community shares. It's really up to each of us individually to police our own posts and refrain from diatribe, subtle or overt, where none is called for.

gregstec
02-01-2011, 01:00 PM
Good overall post, Greg, although I don't know if yet another section of the AW forum is necessary. I usually look to the "Training" and "Techniques" sections for "technical" discussions. Assuming that the, or at least a, primary goal of posts on AW regarding internal skills is how IS principles and exercises can be applied to aikido, then the exchange of detailed "how to" material could logically be placed there, or in the "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" page as a specifically "technical" thread, so indicated in the initial post.

What ruins the "technical" discussions are the personal snipings and not-so-hidden agendas. Apparently even the tightly-controlled QiJin forum is not immune to this aspect of human nature.

I think it's a lot to ask of Jun to moderate every aspect of what are supposed to be discussions among adults with ostensibly common interests and training goals. I for one appreciate him making this forum available, and have learned a lot from what the aikido community shares. It's really up to each of us individually to police our own posts and refrain from diatribe, subtle or overt, where none is called for.

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the comments. My basic point was that there should be a segregated part of the forum where those that want to focus on that type of stuff can go and be left alone to do as they want with those of a like mind. That would leave the rest of the forum available for those not of that mindset to feel safe from those that like to prey on them simply because they do not want to discuss a topic to the extent of some others, etc.

Greg

Thomas Campbell
02-01-2011, 01:30 PM
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the comments. My basic point was that there should be a segregated part of the forum where those that want to focus on that type of stuff can go and be left alone to do as they want with those of a like mind. That would leave the rest of the forum available for those not of that mindset to feel safe from those that like to prey on them simply because they do not want to discuss a topic to the extent of some others, etc.

Greg

hi Greg--

Understood. In the sense you've described, I see potential value in separate sandboxes, as long as those playing in one can see what is going on in the other and agreeably participate within the more defined parameters of the other sandbox, if they choose to. As with any online community, it ultimately still remains up to each individual member to monitor and police their own posts to move discussion forward.

phitruong
02-02-2011, 11:44 AM
helloooooo *echo echo echo*......

was hoping someone else besides me discussing the technical stuffs. ok, so moving on to the Unity part. and it isn't about getting together and singing kumbaya.

Unity, or become one. once you have "connected" with uke, you can start focus on being "sticky" like glue to the other person. however, unlike the normal stickiness, you are the control portion of the stickiness. Bud mentioned the 4-legged animal. essentially, you and uke are now a 4-legged animal (could be a cow or a donkey where i would be the front end and the rest of you folks can be the other end, and you know who you are. :D ) . so, if you view the arms are now the spine of such animal, all the force and sensitivity traverse through the spine. the difficult here is nage has to be soft and sensitive enough to detect changes in uke physical body. this allows nage to be able to send energy into specifics area of uke body similar to being able to send impulse to your own legs to move. Ikeda sensei could demonstrate on which part of uke's body he could send his energy to. this is a characteristic, actually basic requirement, of Unity. you heard folks mentioned "center to center" connection. for years i paid lips service on "center to center connection", because i couldn't really feel it. ask yourself this question, can i feel my uke's shoulders, hips, legs, and so on through the arm connection? if you can't, then you don't have it. one way to test, is having uke tensing various parts of his/her/it body and see if you can feel it.

end my thought on Unity (methink). you IS blokes out there should jump in and help me out here. otherwise, i have to hunt you down and start to take name and kick ass. although, i have not really understood the part about taking names. the part about kick ass, i got. :)

Michael Hackett
02-02-2011, 01:52 PM
Phi, thanks for the descriptions leading to the punji pit. "Please Sir, may I have more?"

Amassus
02-03-2011, 01:56 AM
was hoping someone else besides me discussing the technical stuffs

Phi, thank you for your input in this thread. Of all the posts, I can make sense of your's the most. The odd dab of humour you add is great too.

As a complete beginner, I am trying stuff out at home and then taking it to the dojo to test it. Your comments are really clarifying what I should be feeling and looking for and I thank you for that.

So, have you discussed point 3? Or was 'unity' point 3? I'll have to go back and have a look :)

Dean.

Lan Powers
02-04-2011, 12:27 AM
I watched video of Ikeda Sensei tonight and spent all of the two hour class working on Internal aspects, Now, this is common in our class, but tonight (as a beginner on this stuff) I I had a *click* moment watching Sensei demonstrate something very simple.
As Phi has said, connect, unity, movement of inside,,,,,I was ALWAYS just trying, untill Ikeda Sensei said at seminar, to just connect center/center... he pointed out that he was connecting at various times with ukes shoulder, or elbow, or hip etc.
When you use the balanced/integrated structure, you connect to any point and change your focus to another through the ukes center....

Phi said it before I did, but I found....as said before, that the description is EXACTLY what Sensei said it was.
at least as far as my (very very limited) grasp of it all goes.

SeiserL
02-04-2011, 06:18 AM
the description is EXACTLY what Sensei said it was.
When someone can walk the talk, trust the talk.

Mike Sigman
02-04-2011, 08:26 AM
As Phi has said, connect, unity, movement of insideThe idea of make a connection so that you become one unit with your opponent or an object and then moving your middle as the control of the joined 'unit' is the essence of a great cosmological point. You 'become one' with anything and everything in your environment and you become the central controller of your own universe... that's one way to put it and you begin to see how it is not some spiritualistic or metaphysical point. It is an approach based on a realistic phenomenon; living like this become the Tao.

The unfortunate thing is that the beauty of this reality-based concept usually becomes distorted into quasi-spiritualistic discussions in which nice-sounding words turn endlessly around obvious and often-pretended moralisms uttered by the self-absorbed. ;) The Tao is supposed to be a journey, not a solipsism.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Mark Freeman
02-04-2011, 10:59 AM
The idea of make a connection so that you become one unit with your opponent or an object and then moving your middle as the control of the joined 'unit' is the essence of a great cosmological point. You 'become one' with anything and everything in your environment and you become the central controller of your own universe... that's one way to put it and you begin to see how it is not some spiritualistic or metaphysical point. It is an approach based on a realistic phenomenon; living like this become the Tao.

The unfortunate thing is that the beauty of this reality-based concept usually becomes distorted into quasi-spiritualistic discussions in which nice-sounding words turn endlessly around obvious and often-pretended moralisms uttered by the self-absorbed. ;) The Tao is supposed to be a journey, not a solipsism.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Hi Mike,

I am basing all of my aikido practice and teaching on this idea of connection, unity, move from the inside. It's only really sunk in so that I 'know' it on a fundamental level, relatively recently. The point of my agreement is not in the fact that I can do it. It is the fact that there is nothing mystical or magical about it. It's a mind body state that is available to those who want to do what needs to be done to gain it.

Thanks, a good post.

regards,

Mark

phitruong
02-04-2011, 11:03 AM
The Tao is supposed to be a journey, not a solipsism.

Mike Sigman

mike, stop using big word. i had to go about looking up the thing and not appreciate in clearing some specious space in my brain to hold the thing. we are martial artists, descendant of barbarians (sons of barbara if you will. would like to know who's the hell is barbara), we don't need to know them big words. just the small one syllable word like ugh, ooo, ahh, arrgghh work for us. and who the hell is Tao? :D

Mike Sigman
02-04-2011, 11:07 AM
It's a mind body state that is available to those who want to do what needs to be done to gain it.
Well put, Mark. If people can get enough basic kokyu, suit (ki) and hara (these develop over time) and then put that central idea of "make unit connection; move center", Aikido can move ahead by leaps and bounds. The tricky question is getting the basic information about ki, kokyu, and hara into peoples' movements because those skills are antithetical to normal movement. As the old Chinese saying goes: "These things are not intuitive, but must be learned".

Ikeda is making a good effort at teaching in that direction.

Mike

phitruong
02-04-2011, 01:20 PM
some more on the "center to center connection" which is the result of Unity. i have seen explanation on "center to center connection" in which nage turned his/her/its body to line up his/her/its body's center line to uke's body center line. got news for you if you are doing that sort of thing. that's not "center to center connection". that is "lining up center line to center line".

you can have C2CC (tired of typing the whole thing) where nage's center line point in a different direction from uke's center line. and yet, still have Unity. this is for folks who think that one should line up the body structure in order to have C2CC. it helped, but not a requirement. structure isn't kokyu. i have seen Ikeda sensei in a ridiculous compromise positions (not the karma sutra kind. get your head out of the gutter. you people are sicked to even think of such thing! of course, now you have a different image in your head. :D ). yet, while in such position, he still could demonstrate C2CC and affected uke's balance. the C2CC is internal kind of linkage. we are talking about internal skills, right.

Shadowfax
02-04-2011, 01:44 PM
i have seen Ikeda sensei in a ridiculous compromise positions (not the karma sutra kind. get your head out of the gutter. you people are sicked to even think of such thing! of course, now you have a different image in your head. :D ). yet, while in such position, he still could demonstrate C2CC and affected uke's balance.

Actually I heard someone ask him about this one evening, after a seminar. His answer was, "I just move (as in relocate) my center to my hand". :D

So actually he is lined up center to center still. His center is just in a different place.

Don't ask me how he does that. I'm still trying to work it out myself.

Mark Freeman
02-04-2011, 01:49 PM
the C2CC is internal kind of linkage. we are talking about internal skills, right.

I agree, the C2CC (you might want to tm that abbreviation Phi;) ) is not reliant on the physical set up you mention.

I suggest that it can be taken 1 step further than is being mentioned. C2CC is possible to achieve before any physical contact is made at all. Herein lies 'aiki' or my understanding of it at least. The hara/centre/dantien/onepoint is as much a mental concept as a physical one, C2CC is achieved as much with the mind as with the body.

regards,

Mark

SeiserL
02-04-2011, 02:21 PM
In reference to connection, I remember Ikeda Sensei saying it was like a bolt, you need to tighten it (take out the slack). What I experience is a slight spiral (turning his wrist turned my wrist and structure) from his center through our arms into my center (usually aimed at a kuzushi point to take balance).

Thoughts?

SeiserL
02-04-2011, 02:25 PM
It's a mind body state that is available to those who want to do what needs to be done to gain it.
Yes agreed.

IMHO, the mind aims (extends) the connection the body makes.

Well said. Compliments.

Lan Powers
02-04-2011, 03:40 PM
To reference what Cherie mentioned about moving the center to his hand....
Ikeda Sensei would connect (at the last seminar I was priviledged to attend), and then maintain the connection he established through his hand, even as his body dis-connected and moved freely in other directions, this allowed him to make his position not be a factor in the "driving of the four legged unit" untill he moved his hand and effected ukes center.

remarkable really to watch
even more remarkable to hear it explained and freely given to all watching.

DH
02-04-2011, 05:37 PM
Lan
That is a typical benefit to being connected- softness that is independent of the connection point. A deeper skill is to create kuzushi on contact and maintain it while you walk freely and fluidly in any direction. This can be very disconcerting to MAers who think "they got the stuff."
Harder still is being able to create kuzushi and "change" at speed with guys who know how to fight. Its not as dramatic or even visible, but they end up constantly " behind" or open and cannot feel thigs coming at them.

There are a lot of phenomena associated with IP/aiki. Not everyone stresses the same thing. One example might be bouncing someone out- pretty stupid or dangerous in certain venues...and yet not only welcomed but even sought after in others. I have seen certain professionals view it and say...why would I ever.....
I think its great that people are learning some things in IP/ aiki that they can incorporate into their aikido..I just haven't seen anyone yet that is really developed in that are. That said, at the rate some teachers are going in devoting themselves to a bipartison and dedicated work ethic....there is going to be a lot...and I mean years...of catching up to do..by both juniors and seniors in the art.
I am convinced that years from now people are going to be looking back at all of this dialogue and laughing...more or less saying .." Can you imagine that so many in Aikido argued AGAINST this?"

My hats off to Ikeda..but there are others already that he can't handle....and it's only going to make all parties improve even faster.
These are good times and guys like him...with his student mind...I suspect will always be at the forefront of forging ahead.
All the best
Dan

akiy
02-05-2011, 06:27 PM
Hi folks,

I am quite busy and I really have no time to sort through this at the moment. When I find myself with more time, I'll take a closer look to sort through all of your, frankly, rather off-topic and personal discussions.

For the time being -- thread closed.

And, in the mean time, I hope people here will really take a close(r) look at their own manner of conduct rather than someone else's. Just because someone else engages here in some manner does not excuse the same kind of behavior from yourself. And, lastly, I really do wish people would refrain from hanging "dirty laundry" from other discussion boards, websites, and communities here. This is not the place for these kinds of behaviors.

-- Jun