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Mary Eastland
01-24-2011, 09:14 AM
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don’t have it because one of my students doesn’t have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don’t have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-24-2011, 09:57 AM
Great topic, Mary.

I have come to see aikido as a continuous research into what it means that human beings are always connected (to one another and to all that lives) and at the same time forever in conflict within those connections. What to do about that? There are many kinds of conflict within this scenario, and many skills that may be needed to deal with them adequatly. A huge number of them can be explored in aikido.

If someone is interested in the kind of conflict that involves actual fighting, IS (understood as the technical designation for a complex set of physical and mental body organisation skills) is a very vaulable area of research.

There are many other valuable areas of research for other kinds of conflicts that can be explored in aikido. And of course there is interal strength of all kinds once we leave the above definition.

I believe power (and its other side, vulnerability) is the "life koan" of most, if not all, dedicated martial artists, anyway. I would like to think that it was the life koan which Morihei Ueshiba solved for himself. If one's life koan is about power, there is nothing wrong in pursuing it to its resolution. If that requires searching for power, than that will be necessary. Saying "I do not want power" can be as much of a delusion as obsessively pursuing power without awareness. (Not talking about you here!)

Again, great topic.

Chris Li
01-24-2011, 09:58 AM
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice�he development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary

What was Gozo Shioda missing when he went outside the art? What about Koichi Tohei? Kisshomaru, for that matter, was made to go outside the art by his own father, for sword training. It seems to be more the rule than the exception.

Aren't you always trying to improve your training? It's not a matter of trying to be the strongest person alive, it's a matter of a training method that is just...better.

I haven't trained with the others, but I highly recommend Dan's classes if you get the opportunity. I think you'll find that he's not quite the soulless fighting machine you seem to be thinking of :) .

Best,

Chris

Mary Eastland
01-24-2011, 10:25 AM
I am not sure where you got that idea. I am sure Dan is a fine fellow. However, I am not looking for what he is offering.
And what were they (Tohei, for ex) missing when they went outside the art? They can't speak to us but we can speak for ourselves.
I know I was missing being able to defend myself in my early years. So out I went to find a way to be safe.
Now I only train in Aikido. I am not judging others as wrong I am really interested in the thoughts and process.
Mary

Dazzler
01-24-2011, 10:39 AM
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary

Good questions.

From my personal perspective I suspect IS is what I've seen referred to as Kokyu Ryoku which is for me one of the bases of Aikido.

A long time ago one of my major influences expressed concerns that 'modern Aikido' was more concerned with the joy of movement and failed to recognise that the development of breath power was fundamental to the practice of Aikido.

Now on this forum there is a growing body saying the same thing.

So I'm very interested.

Some of the guys that post here are specialists with seemingly vast subject knowledge .

Naturally I'm interested ...sadly the person who initially evoked my interest is now in his 90's and no longer travels, ...so I do need another source since to date I've not been able to work it out for myself...If Aikido were more of a kicking art I'd kick myself for not paying enough attention when I had the chance...but perhaps I was not ready.

I'm ready now though - So this is why I'm looking ...i agree with you of course, Aikido is whole practice, it is all the good things in a dojo, it is also still a martial art so to me has to 'work' ...but if there are some shortcuts available or even just a few pearls of wisdom then why not look to those that have focussed on this Internal aspect and then bring that into the framework of your whole practice Aikido?

Regards

D

David Orange
01-24-2011, 10:51 AM
And what were they (Tohei, for ex) missing when they went outside the art? They can't speak to us but we can speak for ourselves.
I know I was missing being able to defend myself in my early years. So out I went to find a way to be safe.
Now I only train in Aikido. I am not judging others as wrong I am really interested in the thoughts and process.
Mary

Mary,

The problem, to me, is whether one is even doing "the art' at all. I've been around the US a good bit and I've seen very little aikido deserving of the name. Mostly, I find people doing something so symbolic and formalized that there is no real life in it. And the teachers of these classes have mutliple degrees of black belt. But they are the student of a student of a student of someone who was a student of someone who trained with Ueshiba. And when I say they have that distant lineage, that may be after they hop around from organization to organization over many years, gradually going up in rank, so that they don't have a very long or direct relationship at all to the roots of the art.

So most places you go, it's very questionable that "the whole art" or "the real art" is even there.

But even when you get to the supposed "mainline" aikido, you're still left to wonder how closely it relates to Morihei Ueshiba's art. And that's the rub. It seems there was something more to Morihei Ueshiba's art than there is to modern aikido. So what I want is the root of the art--not the dead leaves I can find scattered all over the ground.

But aren't you guys in Tohei style? As far as I know, mainline aikido (aikikai) does not consider Tohei styl "real aikido" . Tohei added a lot of material that Ueshiba didn't include and aikikai took out a lot of what Ueshiba had.

I went back to Mochizuki Sensei, who had pre-war training with Ueshiba, but he had expanded the technical repertoire to include all of judo and a vast array of jujutsu--all performed from what we would call an "aiki opening". Since Morihei Ueshiba performed techniques spontaneously, causing people to say "What was that?", his aikido was limitless. And people were completely free to resist him as much as they wanted--if they could. So Mochizuki Sensei just opened the gates wide on technique, but it was all rooted in the fundamentals of tai sabaki and kuzushi. And to me, that really carries the spirit of Morihei Ueshiba much better than any modern style available.

Mochizuki Sensei waved off the idea of "ki" for reasons I understand much better now, but is it wrong of me to want to understand ki, now that I've reached full codgerhood? And is it wrong to want to understand how Ueshiba was able to stand in a natural stance and be unmoved when strong men pushed him? Or to understand how he defeated Tenryu, the sumo champion, while sitting in seiza? Maybe you guys teach that, but as far as I know, the "official" art of aikido does not. So your question on why we want to learn IS contains another question: why don't you drop all the Tohei stuff and teach only what Moriteru Ueshiba teaches now? That's the "official" aikido and they don't even teach sword work.

I think the answer to your original question is "Because 'official' aikido drops more and more of what Morihei Ueshiba did as the years roll on."

How's that?

David

So to me, mainstream aikido is symbolic and not living and that rather bores me.

Mark Uttech
01-24-2011, 11:00 AM
Onegaishimasu, if I may add a thought to this discussion, I think more and more folks are exploring internal strength because internal strength is the core of why we are even alive after all. Internal strength also seems to be the mountain that all religions and philosophies lead to.

In gassho,
Mark

Budd
01-24-2011, 11:02 AM
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary

Well, I think this is where the current initiative amongst aikido practitioners to get some skills in internal strength will start to pay off - hopefully. On one hand you have people chasing internal strength, saying, "Yes!! This is what I was missing!" on the other hand you have people saying "We already do that!" and then (assuming this is akin to the many-handed giants of greek myth) there are still other hands "Not important", "Those people are mean", "Aikido is love", "My association forbids it", "Shut up and pay your dues", "I just train because I enjoy it - leave me alone", etc.

I think it's great that there are different flavors of aikido, but I think it wouldn't hurt if they were called out as what they are when measured against some objective standards (no idea of what those would be, either) . . but if you say that you do internal strengh, there's some basic things you should be able to demonstrate. If you say that you train aikido as a martial art, then some modicum of martial integrity needs to be present, if you say aikido is moving zen . .etc. The same. If the argument is that aikido is a blanket that encapsulates all of these things (which, being "formless" I can see how that gets rationalized) . . fine, but then it's even more important to have standards and some objective definitions around how each of the facets work.

ChrisHein
01-24-2011, 11:07 AM
Why is a great question. Why is something we should always ask. If we don't know why, we can never know how. I believe this is the real key to understanding Aikido.

JW
01-24-2011, 11:10 AM
Here's my reasoning. Aiki using I.S. seems to me based on the evidence to be the path that O-sensei himself was following. He suggested it might have some value for all of us, and wrote things like the Doka about it. But, his students (can't fault them mind you) in general imitated him and his movements (as has happened in a lot of arts that use IS).
So when the above slowly became evident to me, I was faced with the decision: should I continue to mimic a guy who was following this path, and hope to gain all that such mimicry could offer in terms of life enrichment, or follow that path myself, and then hope to see first-hand what O-sensei was talking about and enrich my life via the same path he was on?
The former had enough in it to hook me for 12 years. I'm sure I could have felt happy sticking with it for the rest of my life. It is not worthless as a source of enrichment. But-- the latter seems to be the heart of what I am really after.

Kind of like being inspired by Ansel Adams, and chosing between becoming a photographer or becoming an environmental advocate through photography. One is following the message and one is imitating the activity. And as this analogy starts to break down let me cling to it one last bit: let's suppose fictionally that the reason Adams' photos were so amazingly striking and mine for 12 years were only kind of "nice looking" in comparison is because he had a camera-building technological technique that was not popularized, and the mechanics of that design simply do things with light differently than my Canon camera. Things that I could imitate in a studio but could NEVER get out in the wild like he did.

Alfonso
01-24-2011, 11:20 AM
Speaking for myself; I wanted to understand what is it I was supposed to be teaching. I found myself leading classes where I went through a good 1/2 hour of movements which were supposed to make sense in some way, and I felt I could not teach something in that way. I also wanted to understand what was supposed to be missing, what this aiki thing was that the old schoolers kept pointing as missing in modern Aikido, and so on. Because the terms are so over used (see the current example on training internal strength thread) and because there has been secrecy and honour and whatnot involved in the topic it's hard to navigate through all of this. I think that the reality of internal strength as a non magical thinking subject is going to end up taking the day.

phitruong
01-24-2011, 11:21 AM
*beware, one man's opinion follows*
that question deserves another question, what does power mean for you?

much of our education have either implicitly or explicitly pushed us away from power, because "power tends to corrupt. absolute power corrupt absolutely." most of us can not trust ourselves with power and we do not trust those who have power or those who seek it. it has now becomes our social subconscious.

the search for internal strength (the physical kind, not the spiritual kind) has been going on for millenniums. before the invention of gun, where we still fought, in up close and personal, having the right kind of power was the different between life and death. how does a smaller and weaker person survives against stronger, faster, and more numerous? you trained for better fighting techniques, tactics, strategies, viciousness, deviousness, weaponries, and so on and so for. you find anything that would give you an edge over the other person. those who did not, had not the chance to pass on the knowledge, i.e. selective process to weed out the stuffs that didn't work. internal power in martial arts was one of the many edges.

power doesn't corrupt. we, human, are. throughout our history, many of the major changes happened because of some of the most vicious bastards we produced. most are very bad, but they were the catalyst for change. we hated them. we associated power with such as they. what we didn't realize, is that in each and everyone of us, there is a vicious animal lies dormant, only wait for the right condition to unleash. many of us aware of such animal, and shy away from it. if we admit such animal exist, then we admit that we are bad, which we cannot see or allow ourselves to be view as such. because, in our mind eyes, we cannot be bad.

so, the search for internal power in martial arts, for some are to continue the old tradition of survival; for other, dominion; other stills, scholar topic, fad, and other reasons that we try to tell ourselves.

i won't tell you my reason to seek it, because it's mine and mine alone, my beast (it's a chihuahua :D ).

btw, for those who think IS training is quick and easy, i can tell you now. you are absolutely wrong! it requires great dedication, pain and sweat, more than you can imagine. no quick and easy buck here.

jonreading
01-24-2011, 11:23 AM
As I trained and engaged in historical/political research into both Japanese history and aikido history, 3 things became clear to me:
1. Those instructors (including many of the uchi deshi and early aikido leaders) who I respect all have experience in martial arts outside aikido;
2. The current leaders in aikido and individuals who I respect have experience in other martial arts and much of the "new" instruction breaking into aikido is centered around larger martial concepts, some of which are better explained by other arts;
3. O'Sensei deliberately removed particular components of his aikido from the curriculum. In this sense, aikido as we know it is an abridged version of earlier aikido. I believe many of these missing components are found in other arts and could (in theory) be re-assembled into aikido.

Internal strength/internal power is one of those components no longer considered part of aikido curriculum. I believe Kuriowa Sensei refers to this concept as it relates to [true] kihon waza; Tohei Sensei also referred to it... Trouble is we don't do it in aikido so we need to look elsewhere.

I believe internal power is desireable to aikido because it is the root of our strength; i.e. I think internal power is what generates the energy we express into our partners. I think some of the IP people may be able to provide a more complete statement about why internal power is desireable to aikido...

kewms
01-24-2011, 11:23 AM
The human spirit is larger than any single art. Other arts (and other practices, martial or not) offer different views of the vast realm of human possibility.

Similarly, other arts offer different views of aiki (or whatever you want to call it). Not that these views are necessarily "better" or "worse," but different perspectives often help deepen understanding.

Katherine

David Orange
01-24-2011, 11:26 AM
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it?

I think it's not "going outside aikido to find something else," but it's a search for the "real aikido," itself.

Best to all.

David

MM
01-24-2011, 11:33 AM
Hi Mary,

I would not equate "inner strength" with "internal strength". Those are two completely different things to me. And "internal strength" doesn't mean being the strongest person alive.

If you'll step back a moment with me, I would look towards Ueshiba's martial skills and what he accomplished. He had people push on him and try to topple him over or to make him move but none truly succeeded. That is one qualifier of defining "internal strength". It has to do with training the body a specific way to achieve that capability.

"Inner strength", on the other hand, I would look to Ueshiba's spiritual pursuits and see how he manifested that. For instance, he took the principle of Daito ryu to break and kill a person and he added another choice of sending the person outwards unharmed. That takes an inner strength to make that choice (understand that there has to be a martial capability, but that is another matter), to be the better person, to change how people view budo.

While I think that Kisshomaru altered his father's spiritual ideology to allow for a worldwide appeal, there is still that "inner strength" message in Modern Aikido.

What is lacking in Modern Aikido is the martial capabilities that Ueshiba had and that is where "internal strength" comes into play. "Internal strength" is a core body skill that allows better martial training in whatever art you choose to do. It only very tangentially touches upon the spiritual/mental/emotional concept of "inner strength" as learned in Modern Aikido. The two are very, very different things but are also very, very complementary. One does not invalidate the other.

As you noted, "inner strength" can be found in aikido training all over. It is part of the mold. "Internal strength" is not found in aikido training and can only be seen in a very few Aikido Greats such as Ueshiba, Shioda, Shirata, etc.

The very apt questions about whether someone has good "internal strength" or not are these:

Can you have a sumo champion try to push you over and you not only don't move, but you pin the sumo champion such that he admits defeat? (Ueshiba, Takeda)

Can you have 5th dan judo champions try to throw you and you not only don't get thrown, but you toss them at will? (Takeda, Mifune)

If you don't have a clue as to how that is at all possible, then you are not training "internal strength" and no amount of "inner strength" training will get you there.

That isn't to say "inner strength" is worthless. It is not that at all. I'm just trying to show the difference between the two and why people are going out and training "internal strength". They have resources for "inner strength" training in aikido, but not for "internal strength".

It isn't a matter of being the "strongest person alive" but a matter of trying to follow Ueshiba's vision. He not only had the "inner strength" but he also had the "internal strength". They were both seamlessly intertwined.

Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary

MM
01-24-2011, 11:34 AM
Onegaishimasu, if I may add a thought to this discussion, I think more and more folks are exploring internal strength because internal strength is the core of why we are even alive after all. Internal strength also seems to be the mountain that all religions and philosophies lead to.

In gassho,
Mark

That's not the definition of "internal strength" that I have. I would equate your post with "inner strength". The two are not the same for some people.

Shadowfax
01-24-2011, 11:41 AM
Why are you searching for internal strength?Mary

Why not? Why search for anything? I see IT as a compliment to aikido. I also see it as another compliment to other areas of my life. I have a feeling it can have a good influence on my horsemanship. It can only deepen my understanding of how my body works and offer me a broader realm of possibilities.

Why is it missing from your Aikido training?

I don't believe it is or ever was. I have perceived aspects of IT as part of my training from day one although I did not know how to recognize them or isolate and train them.

Why are you going outside your art to find it?Mary

I'm not. I am exploring it within my art. However if teachers from other arts ,who understand it better, are willing to share what they know why would I not take them up on the offer?

When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.

It is not what is lacking... it is what can make something good even better? Ice cream by itself is delicious. Ice cream with Sarri's hard cap on top is out of this world....;)


Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into.

And I had the same sentiments before I got a little taste of IT. Nor do I think that this training is necessarily for everyone. But for myself personally. I want to continue the exploration. I'm relatively new to aikido. If all of these people who discovered it so late into their training have good results I can only imagine what someone who has had training like this ,alongside their regular training, might experience.

Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?

I am neither impatient nor interested in being the strongest person alive. I can see that this may be the goal of some. But just because one explores IT does not mean their goal is to be a great fighter. But then I also did not come to aikido looking for self defense. ;)

My question to you is.

Why does it bother you that some wish to explore this aspect of training?

lbb
01-24-2011, 11:46 AM
Why not? Why search for anything? I see IT as a compliment to aikido.

Information Technology?

If there's a central theme to this thread, it's different people using the same (or similar) words to mean different things. It's a shaky basis for discussion.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-24-2011, 12:25 PM
Why are you searching for internal strength?

So I can stand in the floating bridge.

Chris Li
01-24-2011, 12:36 PM
I am not sure where you got that idea. I am sure Dan is a fine fellow. However, I am not looking for what he is offering.
And what were they (Tohei, for ex) missing when they went outside the art? They can't speak to us but we can speak for ourselves.
I know I was missing being able to defend myself in my early years. So out I went to find a way to be safe.
Now I only train in Aikido. I am not judging others as wrong I am really interested in the thoughts and process.
Mary

I think that you're confusing things if you think that internal strength is all about fighting or self-defense. Of course, the applications are obvious, but what we're talking about is really a superior way of moving and using your body.

For my money, it's not "outside" of Aikido at all - unless what Morihei Ueshiba was doing was "outside" of Aikido.

I also think that Mark's distinction between "inner strength" and "internal strength" is very important. On the other hand, I think that the two were intimately connected in Morihei Ueshiba's training method - so much so that you need one to understand the other.

Best,

Chris

jss
01-24-2011, 12:37 PM
Why are you searching for internal strength?
I'd rather think of myself as 'training' than 'searching', but the reason is simple: I enjoy it.
One could argue that Aikido is not Aikido without internal strength, but I'm no longer interested in that discussion. People should decide for themselves how and what to train.

Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it?
I quit Aikido some time ago, but it's really quite simple: if you can't find what you're looking for in Aikido, you go look somewhere else.

When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
A very specific skill set. Most people that have felt what Mike Sigman, Akuzawa, Dan Harden, etc, can do (not that they all do exactly the same thing) seem to agree, by the way. And the operative word sure seems to be 'felt' here.

Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Ironically, a lot of the feats that make internal strength impressive have more to do with skill (coordination) than with strength (conditioning). Not that conditioning is not an important requirement, but the conditioning alone won't get you that far. It's the skill set that becomes accessible through the conditioning that makes up the fun part of internal strength. So I wouldn't say I want to become the strongest person alive and am thus missing the point.

[...], but what we're talking about is really a superior way of moving and using your body.
Devil's advocate-time: superior in what way(s)?

Shadowfax
01-24-2011, 12:45 PM
Information Technology?

If there's a central theme to this thread, it's different people using the same (or similar) words to mean different things. It's a shaky basis for discussion.

I don't necessarily believe that they mean different things. Yeah we seem to have several acronyms going on. I settled on IT (internal training) as the one closed to my current understanding. As that grows perhaps I'll find a different way to name it.

You asked some questions. I answered them from my POV. You have not yet answered mine. :)

Chris Li
01-24-2011, 12:45 PM
Devil's advocate-time: superior in what way(s)?

Stability, power generation, and stress on the body. Not to mention the interesting effects that start to happen when interacting with a partner.

Best,

Chris

Keith Larman
01-24-2011, 12:48 PM
I think that you're confusing things if you think that internal strength is all about fighting or self-defense. Of course, the applications are obvious, but what we're talking about is really a superior way of moving and using your body.

For my money, it's not "outside" of Aikido at all - unless what Morihei Ueshiba was doing was "outside" of Aikido.

I also think that Mark's distinction between "inner strength" and "internal strength" is very important. On the other hand, I think that the two were intimately connected in Morihei Ueshiba's training method - so much so that you need one to understand the other.

Best,

Chris

Here I am writing this long post then Chris posts. Okay, fine...

Delete it all.

What Chris said.

Then add "because I want to be able to do what I sometimes feel from some of my sensei without waiting another 20 years to get there.". Impatient? Maybe. Or could we consider the possibility that there may be better models available now to understand what was being done hence a maybe more efficient means of transmission of this one aspect of a larger art? I don't think the art *itself* is missing anything. However, people do differ considerably on what the art *is* and whether it has been faithfully transmitted.

If the previous is correct, well, then maybe I can in turn become a better teacher for the few students I teach. I do feel a responsibility to my art. To transmit it the best I can. And if I find another way to convey something to a student that is of value to them, well, I'm a happy guy.

But in the larger picture... If you feel things are just ducky the way they are, more power to ya. I shrug a lot about this stuff. Whatever floats your boat as my dad used to say. Or, another way of putting this point is to point out that nobody ever asks why I like playing tennis. Or why I try different ways to fix my swing. I know someone who does Aikido as a form of dance and movement. He is about as martially effective as a dead bird. But he's okay with that, he's getting what he wants from what he does. Great for him. Just not for me, however. We can, however, coexist without the universe imploding on itself.

The answer to me is quite mundane. Because I'm interested. Because I like it. Because it's fun. Because it is stimulating. Because maybe it will give me a way to be a better student of something I love. Or maybe make me a better teacher in turn.

Aikido as an art for me isn't a question of absolute slavish devotion to some idealized icon. To me it's about simply going where the path leads me. And doing so sincerely.

mathewjgano
01-24-2011, 12:54 PM
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary
Well, I think the point varies based on individual values. On some level I agree you don't have to go to an expert to find out how to use what you already have. It does make a difference though. For the same reason we might go outside ourselves to train in Aikido might we go outside our Aikido to train in other versions of it, or other practices which fit well with it. The question to my mind is always one of individual purpose. It might not have much to do with anything missing so much as with recognizing complimentary sets of skills.
Speaking as someone who really tends to avoid power, I can see why people might be very concerned with developing "internal power." With that comes a degree of empowerment and healthfulness which can lend itself to a variety of life experiences. Some folks are probably more drawn to the power at the expense of other important subtleties, so I also think the questions you posed are important. I knew a lot of people growing up who typified that behavior, and I would agree with the idea that power, even lasting forms of it, is...fleeting; situational. As such I don't put much faith in it...on the whole, anyway. I've always tended toward concepts like "inner strength" because they helped me remain flexible in an often inflexible world. Still, i think "IP" is an important thing to consider because its usefulness is so widely applicable.

jss
01-24-2011, 01:10 PM
Stability, power generation, and stress on the body.
I don't think these are very relevant for the average aikido practitioner during practice. The implied health benefits, however... OTOH, one could also argue that similar health benefits are easier to gain in the gym.

Not to mention the interesting effects that start to happen when interacting with a partner.
They don't really just happen out of themselves, do they? ;)

Dave de Vos
01-24-2011, 01:19 PM
I don't feel that aikido is lacking. My aikido is surely lacking, but I am just a beginner, so I don't worry about that. I just admire the skill of my sempai and sensei and I hope that some day I will be as skillful as they are.

But I'd like my solo training to be effective in conditioning my body for aikido. From different sources I understand that muscle training would not do my aikido much good, so I've just been doing the warming up and stretching exercises we do at the beginning of a class.

Then I read about IS here on AikiWeb and my curiosity was aroused. From further reading, I understand that it is not a martial art in itself. It's a way of conditioning the body, like weight training, yoga or Ki exercises. But IS conditioning could be more effective for aikido than other conditioning exercises.

I just want to find out for myself if IS exercises are indeed what I am looking for.

kewms
01-24-2011, 01:19 PM
I don't think these are very relevant for the average aikido practitioner during practice.

Really? Stability doesn't matter in your practice? Ability to absorb/channel mechanical stress isn't important to you? Okay...

Katherine

Chris Li
01-24-2011, 01:29 PM
I don't think these are very relevant for the average aikido practitioner during practice. The implied health benefits, however... OTOH, one could also argue that similar health benefits are easier to gain in the gym.

Stability isn't important during practice? I think that most Aikido people really underestimate how unstable they are, and how much stress it puts on their body.

The "better in the gym" argument is, for me, a pointless argument. It would be better for my flexibility to do ballet - but I don't do ballet.

Best,

Chris

jss
01-24-2011, 01:57 PM
Really? Stability doesn't matter in your practice? Ability to absorb/channel mechanical stress isn't important to you? Okay...

Stability isn't important during practice?

That's not what I said. I did suggest however that to the average hobby Aikido practicioner the superior stability, power generation and stress channeling/absorption one can gain through internal training aren't of that much use. Of much more use is what happens when you can redirect forces with little to no overt movement.

I think that most Aikido people really underestimate how unstable they are, and how much stress it puts on their body.

The "better in the gym" argument is, for me, a pointless argument. It would be better for my flexibility to do ballet - but I don't do ballet.
Fair enough.

kewms
01-24-2011, 02:01 PM
That's not what I said. I did suggest however that to the average hobby Aikido practicioner the superior stability, power generation and stress channeling/absorption one can gain through internal training aren't of that much use. Of much more use is what happens when you can redirect forces with little to no overt movement.

Except you don't get one without the other. At least as I understand it, the stable platform is the literal foundation for everything else that internal training does.

FWIW, I agree with Christopher that most people aren't as stable as they think.

Katherine

Chris Li
01-24-2011, 02:26 PM
Except you don't get one without the other. At least as I understand it, the stable platform is the literal foundation for everything else that internal training does.

I agree :). Anyway, both would rate pretty highly for me!

Best,

Chris

SteveTrinkle
01-24-2011, 02:43 PM
I don't know if "searching" applies to me, maybe pursuing? Basically, I really, really like aikido. Perhaps because it continues to astound (and frustrate) me. And I'm willing to go to great lengths to continue to be astounded (and frustrated). I just really like it. I was curious (I enjoy being curious) about all this IS stuff. I was recently fortunate enough to be able to experience a tiny taste of it and I was astounded. And for me, it is just highly enjoyable to pursue the astounding. Just me.

Diana Frese
01-24-2011, 02:47 PM
This is a long thread, a great thread, and a lot of posts today, so I feel like jumping in now, but will re read all the posts. It is worth it.

I like the topic of balance, and of other arts, because this is how it happened for me. I will have to re read the difference between inner strength and internal strength, however.

Other black belts entered the area, and in practicing with them, I found I needed to work on balance because the speed of the practice left me feeling as if I wasn't keeping up.

I already had exercises for balance in the classes I taught but found I needed more.

I ended up in a cultural exchange with a neighbor I met at the Y where I was teaching, he was trying out Aikido which his teacher of Shotokan karate had also taught and thus he had heard about it and was curious.

At first I thought the Shotokan kata (in this case Bassai, "storming a fortress" ) he showed us looked rather fierce and when he offered to teach some karate at a backyard practice one of my students was hosting, I made some polite comment but didn't think I would be interested in one of the "striking arts'

Anyway, too long of a story for now, except to say, I ended up a gofer for his carpentry company after taking Shotokan from some of his friends and their teacher, since it looked to be what I needed to improve my balance.

Then he agreed to teach locally. This was about thirty years ago, but at the time when anyone asked me, I said, well Joe Namath the football player took ballet to improve his football....so?

To make a long story short, often you find out what you need and in previously unexpected places. And you get things you didn't expect, like nineteen beautiful kata (no I haven't tried them all but I have seen most of them performed)

Since my friend and I eventually got married and I'm planning on training again will let you know, as Aikido for sure and maybe Shotokan too.

I guess the point of my post is, if you look around you can find what you need. This will infuriate some, especially those who believe it is important to be goal oriented, but it has worked for me.

Maybe I was indeed goal oriented because I knew what I lacked in terms of training. Yes I have missed training with Aikido, and Karate friends for years, but after non martial arts injuries job concerns various family obligations etc etc. it is probably time to train again, and thanks to all who have been encouraging me to re start.

gregstec
01-24-2011, 04:11 PM
I don't know if "searching" applies to me, maybe pursuing? Basically, I really, really like aikido. Perhaps because it continues to astound (and frustrate) me. And I'm willing to go to great lengths to continue to be astounded (and frustrated). I just really like it. I was curious (I enjoy being curious) about all this IS stuff. I was recently fortunate enough to be able to experience a tiny taste of it and I was astounded. And for me, it is just highly enjoyable to pursue the astounding. Just me.

Hi Steve,

Glad we could help 'astound' you - keep hanging around and we will see how much more we can contribute to your further 'astounding' :)

Best
Greg

Mary Eastland
01-24-2011, 04:34 PM
Wow...off I went to spend time with my grandson and lots of replies.
Ineteresting thoughts all....
To Shadowfax...it doesn't bother me.
To Chris: I needed to learn about self defense not internal strength.

To Mark:
I like the distictions between inner and internal.
Since those (Sumo and Judo) are contests, they will never happen for me. I will just continue to trust that my development of correct feeling is going as it should be.
I think there is plenty of internal strength development going on inside some Aikido dojos...You are welcome to visit ours.
Mary

Rob Watson
01-24-2011, 04:36 PM
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary

Because after 10 years of hard serious training there are folks that I cannot impose my will upon. Maybe IT/IP/IS/aiki is the missing factor. Maybe the pursuit is a pipe dream but the american way is to pursue the dream. The other options don't readily present themselves and doing nothing is not an option. For me the power to dominate must precede the enablement of the spiritual development of how best to use the power. Perhaps binging order to chaos is impossible but I want to do it anyway.

kewms
01-24-2011, 04:39 PM
Because after 10 years of hard serious training there are folks that I cannot impose my will upon.

Perhaps the desire to impose your will is the problem?

Katherine

Chris Li
01-24-2011, 04:44 PM
Wow...off I went to spend time with my grandson and lots of replies.
Ineteresting thoughts all....
To Shadowfax...it doesn't bother me.
To Chris: I needed to learn about self defense not internal strength.

To Mark:
I like the distictions between inner and internal.
Since those (Sumo and Judo) are contests, they will never happen for me. I will just continue to trust that my development of correct feeling is going as it should be.
I think there is plenty of internal strength development going on inside some Aikido dojos...You are welcome to visit ours.
Mary

Why would you think that they are incompatible? Anyway, I suspect that what you are talking about as internal strength development and what most of others are talking about as internal strength development are quite different.

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
01-24-2011, 05:04 PM
But aren't you guys in Tohei style? As far as I know, mainline aikido (aikikai) does not consider Tohei styl "real aikido" . Tohei added a lot of material that Ueshiba didn't include and aikikai took out a lot of what Ueshiba had.

Hi David -

Mary and I trace our lineage back to Tohei thru Maruyama Shuji sensei. I don't know what the Aikikai considers real Aikido and, to be truthful, I don't care. We learned Ki development as an integral part of our Aikido from Maruyama sensei and, though we are now organizationally independent, continue to teach it to our students.

Understand though, training to become relaxed and strong (correct feeling) is only a part of Aikido for us. We don't train solely to become the strongest people on the planet. We also don't judge people who choose to emphasize internal strength development as the core of their practice. Our view is that people are free to choose their own paths and we wish them well no matter the direction they take. We believe that Aikido should be inclusive in the extreme; a very large umbrella with room under it for the woo woos, the bone breakers and everyone in between.

But even when you get to the supposed "mainline" aikido, you're still left to wonder how closely it relates to Morihei Ueshiba's art.

Ya know David, at the risk of being branded a heretic, I think if folks stopped trying so hard to become the next Ueshiba and concentrate on developing the Aikido that naturally emerges from their own practice they'd find that there's a lot more there than they think.

So most places you go, it's very questionable that "the whole art" or "the real art" is even there.

Here'a a question for you: With all of Ueshiba's direct students internalizing only a portion of the teachings how do you even define "the whole art" or "the real art"?

[rampant supposition] I believe that Ueshiba really wanted Aikido to spread world wide. It's possible that he realized that if Aikido became a koryu like art that its dissemination would always remain limited and secretive. To prevent that from happening he purposely made sure that no one got the full monte as he understood it. That is to say the fracturing of Usehiba's Aikido into the convoluted tree of interpretations that exists today was planned from the outset in order to appeal to the widest possible audience. [/rampant supposition]

Best,

Ron

Demetrio Cereijo
01-24-2011, 05:15 PM
Hi Ron,

[rampant supposition] I believe that Ueshiba really wanted Aikido to spread world wide. It's possible that he realized that if Aikido became a koryu like art that its dissemination would always remain limited and secretive. To prevent that from happening he purposely made sure that no one got the full monte as he understood it. That is to say the fracturing of Usehiba's Aikido into the convoluted tree of interpretations that exists today was planned from the outset in order to appeal to the widest possible audience. [/rampant supposition]


You mean Morihei or Kisshomaru?

RonRagusa
01-24-2011, 05:16 PM
Hi Ron,

You mean Morihei or Kisshomaru?

Morihei.

Janet Rosen
01-24-2011, 05:19 PM
Perhaps the desire to impose your will is the problem?

You beat me to the answer....
I have trained in dojos where "imposing" technique on a partner was the norm ("here's how to do ikkyo when the attack isn't appropriate for it....") and it seems to me after some time that their approach really was based on muscling through no matter what.... which 1) isn't realistic for a little old lady like me and 2) isn't what I thought aikido was supposed to be about.
Rob I am NOT saying that your training is of that muscle type - but I also wonder about going in to train w/ the mindset of imposing will and wonder how that affects breathing, intent and body use versus a mindset of, say, "where does uke tell me he wants to go?" or "where can we go together?"

Demetrio Cereijo
01-24-2011, 05:52 PM
Perhaps the desire to impose your will is the problem?
Well, to equip your inner-self with the power to move the enemy according to your own will is the true Way of the Gods.

kewms
01-24-2011, 05:57 PM
Well, to equip your inner-self with the power to move the enemy according to your own will is the true Way of the Gods.

Maybe, but even Ueshiba didn't claim he could do it. (He claimed that he was merely manifesting the harmony of the universe.)

Katherine

MM
01-24-2011, 06:03 PM
To Mark:
I like the distictions between inner and internal.
Since those (Sumo and Judo) are contests, they will never happen for me. I will just continue to trust that my development of correct feeling is going as it should be.
I think there is plenty of internal strength development going on inside some Aikido dojos...You are welcome to visit ours.
Mary

Thank you, Mary. I may take you up on that offer when I'm in the area. :)

Mark

Demetrio Cereijo
01-24-2011, 06:04 PM
Being in harmony with the universe is manifested by having the power for imposing your will over the disharmoniuous enemy.

George S. Ledyard
01-24-2011, 06:05 PM
I did suggest however that to the average hobby Aikido practitioner the superior stability, power generation and stress channeling/absorption one can gain through internal training aren't of that much use. Of much more use is what happens when you can redirect forces with little to no overt movement.

Hi Joep,
Personally, I have come to the conclusion that everything starts with the platform. I am not saying that the emphasis needs to be on power development at the start or even that the kind of power the IP folks are talking about is necessary to be doing great Aikido. But the stable platform is simply the foundation of all technique, without it, waza is just a hollow shell with no content. It should be taught and developed from day one.

In my opinion, most of us have trained backwards. The emphasis in my training was overwhelmingly on movement and execution of whole technique. Static technique was important but overall probably wasn't more than 20% of the practice at most. For Sensei it was all about movement. And our daily training focused on whole waza the vast majority of the time. The very first technique I did after donning my brand new gi in class when I started was yokomenuchi shihonage. That's an absolutely crazymaking way to learn anything. Talented people may actually get some skills that way but it has to be the most inefficient way to do it I can think of.

My experience recently, after working with a variety of folks at the Aiki Expo, training in Daito Ryu, seeing how folks like Don Angier, Mike S, Dan H, Akuzawa, and others teach proper body mechanics, experiencing how Ikeda Sensei is trying to translate this stuff for Aikido folks, I have come to the conclusion that I should train my students quite differently.

I actually think that, at the beginning, we should do at least 50% paired static work designed for getting folks to understand connection, proper relaxation, and how to give direction to the energy of the connection without compromising ones own balance and structure and without tension. I think that another 20% should be learning and doing the various solo conditioning exercises that develop the structure to do this. And maybe 30% would be devoted to the various entries used in Aikido with the aim of being able to execute the same skills one can do in the static context from movement. I'd focus on the ability to get kuzushi from every attack we do and not worry much at all about lots of actual technique. Once people could adequately do all of the above, I would start adding waza.

Of course, I don't actually train my people this way. Why? Because I am responsible for teaching Aikido within a certain organization. This organization has a set of requirements wit recommended time in grade requirements etc. Were I to do what I am talking about, at the five year point at which everybody is supposed to have taken Shodan, my students wouldn't be able to pass the 3rd kyu test. I'd still be teaching them the component pieces of what I believe to be great Aikido. However, at the ten year mark, I think I'd have some folks that were better than I was at 20 years.

Another factor would be whether folks would be patient enough to put up with the idea that after five years or so they still would be able to do diddly martially. Folks always want to feel like they are moving towards some goal and that is difficult to see working in the manner I am suggesting. All the rapid change was at the end of the process in this manner rather than at the beginning as it was when I trained.

So, what I am actually doing is somewhat in between. I don't have the complete freedom to experiment... I do not wish to put my students completely our of kilter with the folks in the rest of the organization. Sensei expects that our people know certain things at a certain level of competency at a certain stage. But I think I may try my ideas out at some point in the future...

I think that it is important to recognize that there are more than one variation of "internal skills". The folks posting here, while undeniably extremely high level, do not represent the sum total of what is available out there. They simply represent a set of teachers who, quite generously, are open to working with people from arts not their own, and therefore offer easier access for Aikido folks.

It's a good idea to know as much about what is out there as possible and also to understand precisely what ones goals are for ones Aikido. Is Endo Sensei your idea of great Aikido? Because he does not put much emphasis on power at all. Is Chiba Sensei? Then I think internal power development would be crucial unless you are already someone with ridiculous physical power already. For me, Saotome Sensei represents the "Gold Standard". He certainly uses some subset of internal power skills to do what he does at 130 pounds but he'd be the first to admit he didn't have the kind of power O-Sensei had and that's what the IP guys are trying to convey.

I think Aikido folks should look at this stuff with a couple of consideration: a) I don't think anyone's Aikido wouldn't be improved by some work in this area b) introducing enough of this work to radically change your Aikido for the better isn't difficult; even a bit of experience can change everything you are doing for the better c) this work is trans stylistic. You can introduce this training into your routine and still execute any technique with the outer form required by whatever style you are following and finally, it is quite possible to do what i think is really fantastic Aikido without having the degree of skill in IP that is discussed here.

But "aiki" cannot be separated from internal skills. If one aspires to do Aikido that involves more than physical strength, then internal skills are required on some level. To me the baseline is can a 130 pound person do the kind of Aikido that the teacher is showing? Can a female student do it just as well as a male? Is it the kind of Aikido that can keep improving after age 50 or does it deteriorate as one loses standard physical strength with age.

For most of the Aikido out there, the answer would by no to most of those questions. For the Aikido that involves an understanding of "aiki" the answer would be yes to all of those questions. Internal skills are an important part of the "aiki" equation. I see no pint in doing what I did which was train my brains out for 25 years only to discover that there was another paradigm operating in what my teacher was doing. I think we might as well take the trouble to teach folks properly right from day one. It will be slower at the beginning but will keep people from wasting a lot of time later on.

On the other hand, if folks like the purely physical Aikido, then hit the weight room, get out the kettle bells, and build your structure to the nth degree. This is still just a series of choices folks make about what they want the end point to be in their training.

kewms
01-24-2011, 06:06 PM
Being in harmony with the universe is manifested by having the power for imposing your will over the disharmoniuous enemy.

*shrug* Maybe, but I haven't found that visualization particularly helpful.

Katherine

George S. Ledyard
01-24-2011, 06:17 PM
*shrug* Maybe, but I haven't found that visualization particularly helpful.

Katherine

I have to say that "imposing my will on my partners" has been a singularly ineffective way of looking at what I do. No one "imposes his will" on my friend Robert Deppe as far as I can see. On the other hand, he can be persuaded to fall down if one listens to him telling you how he'd like to do so.

For someone of just over 100 pounds, I think "imposing the will" is just about the most useless way to think about your Aikido. Doesn't even work for me at over 250 lbs.

In the larger picture, I don't think any of my teachers ever talked about "imposing ones will" on anyone.

gates
01-24-2011, 07:07 PM
People have given some great reasons why they are searching for "internal strength", and some people have given great reasons why they aren't searching outside of their Aikido practice for "internal strength".

I don't feel I can add anything to the debate at this level, however I am interested to know peoples thoughts as to where the line gets drawn in the sand in the search to be greater, stronger, more power and ability. If people feel there is a line at all.

I am reminded of an essay by Masahilo Nakazono Sensei, I think it is entitled "About Power", from My Past Way of Budo and Other Essays.

In it Nakazono Sensei describes as his training progressed, when he used Kiai strange things started to happen, lightbulbs exploding, large pockets of air forming under the mats which could only be pushed down with ki and not just pushed down with physical strength. Nakazono Sensei describes how he felt that he could have learned to control this power but chose not to pursue it, and outright rejected it.

In Esoteric Shingon Buddhism I have also read that as mediation progresses to the higher levels and the consciousness transcends to higher states that super human powers can manifest, but within the teaching it is critical that they not be pursued.

In both cases it is sighted that a desire of chasing power is ultimately detrimental to the real human quest. It bolsters the ego and, as has been said suggested, can distort and corrupt ones life. Hasn't this been repeated in history a myriad times? People acting out of a desire of power and control. Isn't this also central to Aikido philosophically? Sadly I feel that Demetrio's desire to "impose his will" over others highlights the dangers of such a quest.

Now I am not saying that IP is wrong, or bad, or searching for it is not a potentially good and positive thing to do. I am however questioning that maybe in the broader debate perhaps we are missing something, once somebody has acquired this strength then what, what next?

I think intrinsically we already all know the answer to this question. The search, everybody is on a endless quest for is not power, but for something much greater, Truth. I just hope that whilst we (myself included) are all searching around for strength and power that we don't get too distracted and forget the real search for Truth.

Chris Li
01-24-2011, 07:32 PM
In it Nakazono Sensei describes as his training progressed, when he used Kiai strange things started to happen, lightbulbs exploding, large pockets of air forming under the mats which could only be pushed down with ki and not just pushed down with physical strength. Nakazono Sensei describes how he felt that he could have learned to control this power but chose not to pursue it, and outright rejected it.

I think that the "internal strength" under discussion here has really nothing to do with any of the kinds of things above. It is a different kind of body usage and conditioning.

Best,

Chris

Mike Sigman
01-24-2011, 07:40 PM
In it Nakazono Sensei describes as his training progressed, when he used Kiai strange things started to happen, lightbulbs exploding, large pockets of air forming under the mats which could only be pushed down with ki and not just pushed down with physical strength. Nakazono Sensei describes how he felt that he could have learned to control this power but chose not to pursue it, and outright rejected it. Cowabunga. That sounds like some sort of acid trip that might have happened in Keith Richards' hotel room. In terms of internal power, I've never heard of such a thing.

Now I am not saying that IP is wrong, or bad, or searching for it is not a potentially good and positive thing to do. I am however questioning that maybe in the broader debate perhaps we are missing something, once somebody has acquired this strength then what, what next?
Next comes old age, your muscles and normal strength atrophy and so you wind up with an investment (IP) that really pays off in terms of quality of life. As Gozo Shioda mentions in "Aikido Shugyo", these things are considered to be an investment for old age. If it was all as powerful as you indicated there wouldn't be any need for techniques, etc.... but since a good and complete martial-art is needed to go with the IP, I'd suggest that the 'power' aspects not be overstated.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

gates
01-24-2011, 07:57 PM
Next comes old age, your muscles and normal strength atrophy and so you wind up with an investment (IP) that really pays off in terms of quality of life.

I think you make a great point and I totally agree with you. I am merely highlighting a potential danger in a more general thirst for power.

FYI
For anybody that hasn't heard of Nakazono Sensei and are interested to see what his Aikido looked like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEY-67b2K4k
(There are no exploding light bulbs in the clip !!)

Mike Sigman
01-24-2011, 08:13 PM
I think you make a great point and I totally agree with you. I am merely highlighting a potential danger in a more general thirst for power.
In the real world, the general range of the "power of internal strength", while not totally encapsulated within the video, can pretty much be seen in the body mechanics of Chen Yu in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGRXaYbUCs4

Note how the whole body moves when he releases, think about how a dantien is part of that movement, and so on. While that might explode a light-bulb from shaking a room, it's not like lightning bolts from the hand of Zeus. Note, too, that Chen Yu is probably around 5'3" or 5'4", so don't mistake this for the typical "big strong guy demonstrates internal power and is awesome". Figuring that Ueshiba was about 5-feet tall and understanding that he had a more linear version of this type of power, you can see where IP certainly has it's place.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

David Orange
01-24-2011, 08:14 PM
Perhaps the desire to impose your will is the problem?

Probably....unless your will is one with that of Heaven, as Morihei's was.

But didn't he say something like, "The art of aiki is to harmonize with another person to make him do what you want"?

And if what you want is to live in accord with Heaven and not be budged from that path, you only impose "your will" on those who want to move your will (through attacking you).

Best to you.

David

gates
01-24-2011, 08:28 PM
Figuring that Ueshiba was about 5-feet tall and understanding that he had a more linear version of this type of power, you can see where IP certainly has it's place.

I don't doubt for one second that what you say isn't true, or that internal power doesn't have a great deal of usefulness and validity. And I am not here to promote a dead Sensei I never even met. Although I think as you can see from the clip, Nakazono Sensei is about as grounded and connected as could be, and "internal power" (not necessarily manifesting in the same way as the Sensei in your clip) but it seems apparent that whatever it is he clearly had it in abundance.

Again I am more referring to the those who wish to gain such powers and strength in order to control others, and that this is potentially a dangerous path (Which you could say equally for a myriad of things). And asking the question where do we draw the line in our desire for power and control.

Modern man tries to impose his will onto all sorts of things, even nature, perhaps ultimately to his own demise. This is not Aikido, this is not living in accordance with the way, it is not truth.

Mike Sigman
01-24-2011, 08:39 PM
And I am not here to promote a dead Sensei I never even met. Couldn't you at least give him a teensy-weensy eleventh dan out of the goodness of your heart? :p Modern man tries to impose his will onto all sorts of things, even nature, perhaps ultimately to his own demise. This is not Aikido, this is not living in accordance with the way, it is not truth.Ermmmmmm.... that's pretty fraught with Christian symbolism, so I'll pass. I think you're missing the fact that the "power" is usually used in conjunction with the opponent's power; thus the opponent's power/attack is used to defeat him.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

gates
01-24-2011, 08:57 PM
that's pretty fraught with Christian symbolism, so I'll pass. I think you're missing the fact that the "power" is usually used in conjunction with the opponent's power; thus the opponent's power/attack is used to defeat him

Our justapostion is getting us nowhere. I offer you my respect and I absolutely understand that "opponent's power/attack is used to defeat him". I just don't like the connotations of control and power over others, as I see it serves no real purpose to the true purpose of Budo.

David Orange
01-24-2011, 09:19 PM
Mary and I trace our lineage back to Tohei thru Maruyama Shuji sensei. I don't know what the Aikikai considers real Aikido and, to be truthful, I don't care. We learned Ki development as an integral part of our Aikido from Maruyama sensei and, though we are now organizationally independent, continue to teach it to our students.

I agree with that. I'm not the least concerned with what aikikai thinks is or is not aikido.

However, Mary's question was "Why go outside aikido?" and I'm saying that from the mainline point of view, she's already outside of aikido...so......

And if it's alright to go "outside aikido" in that regard, why not go on and find internal power?

Understand though, training to become relaxed and strong (correct feeling) is only a part of Aikido for us. We don't train solely to become the strongest people on the planet. We also don't judge people who choose to emphasize internal strength development as the core of their practice. Our view is that people are free to choose their own paths and we wish them well no matter the direction they take. We believe that Aikido should be inclusive in the extreme; a very large umbrella with room under it for the woo woos, the bone breakers and everyone in between.

I don't see where the question comes in, then. Personally, I don't see "aikido" as any kind of big rope that has to include every kind of goo-goo-woo-woo-hee-ha-hoo. The bone breakers are wrong. The dive-bunnies and Senseis who insist that uke must fall no matter what kind of limp response nage gives are also wrong. Aikido flows in the middle path--no hurting training partners, no falling for ridiculous technique. In my opinion.

Ya know David, at the risk of being branded a heretic, I think if folks stopped trying so hard to become the next Ueshiba and concentrate on developing the Aikido that naturally emerges from their own practice they'd find that there's a lot more there than they think.

I've said it before: my aikido has never failed me. And Dan's proclamations notwithstanding, I don't think I can reach (much less surpass) Morihei Ueshiba's level. Mochizuki never saw himself as having reached that level. So that's not my aim. However, I do believe that the only way I can progress beyond what I found through technical training is to move to internal training, to work not by outer "aikido-looking" form (which even the weakest of people can present) but to work from an inner movement that expresses technique spontaneously. I'm feeling very refreshed an invigorated by this pursuit.

Here'a a question for you: With all of Ueshiba's direct students internalizing only a portion of the teachings how do you even define "the whole art" or "the real art"?

Mochizuki Sensei said, "Nobody does Ueshiba's aikido but Morihei Ueshiba." And by that, he meant not Kisshomaru, not Tohei, not himself. But there is an essence there that, if we connect with it, it is aikido and we each have our own.

However, in violating any of the character of that essence (violence or limpicity), that's "going outside aikido" by trying to make aikido what we think it ought to be. And I have been convinced that internal power (and Mike identifies Tohei as a major figure in this) is a part of the essence of the real and whole art of aikido.

[rampant supposition] I believe that Ueshiba really wanted Aikido to spread world wide. It's possible that he realized that if Aikido became a koryu like art that its dissemination would always remain limited and secretive. To prevent that from happening he purposely made sure that no one got the full monte as he understood it. That is to say the fracturing of Usehiba's Aikido into the convoluted tree of interpretations that exists today was planned from the outset in order to appeal to the widest possible audience. [/rampant supposition]

I think Ellis' description of Morihei's seeing himself as a shaman and all the rest of us as people stirring the energy pot to support him is probably closest to the truth of what Morihei wanted "us" to be doing. He apparently saw early on that his real art was not being passed on and I think he also understood that very, very few people were ever going to approach that because it was so completely and idiosyncratically his own. He definitely loved Mochizuki as a friend as well as the son he wished he'd had. And he didn't give Tohei judan because he didn't like him. And there was Saito and little Shioda, the human tornado. Morihei loved them all and appreciated and criticized each of them for their own characters and short-comings as he saw them, but still none of them really did quite what Morihei truly did. I think he just realized, too, that human nature and the Japanese character demands that a strong individual make his own way, just as he broke away from Sokaku Takeda, who loved and criticized him. If you help someone become strong, you have to accept that eventually, they will go their own way. So I just think the fracturing and splintering of aikido was unavoidable, but that, by adhering to the real core principles something does live on.

Best to y'all.

David

gates
01-24-2011, 09:32 PM
Nicely said David,

by adhering to the real core principles something does live on

Now we just need to agree what "the real core principles" are and we are all sorted.

RonRagusa
01-24-2011, 09:53 PM
However, Mary's question was "Why go outside aikido?" and I'm saying that from the mainline point of view, she's already outside of aikido...so......

And if it's alright to go "outside aikido" in that regard, why not go on and find internal power?

It's totally alright. She asked the question with no implication that it's somehow wrong to do so. She wanted to illicit responses because she's interested in peoples' thoughts on the subject as a whole.

Mochizuki Sensei said, "Nobody does Ueshiba's aikido but Morihei Ueshiba." And by that, he meant not Kisshomaru, not Tohei, not himself. But there is an essence there that, if we connect with it, it is aikido and we each have our own.

Totally agree.

And I have been convinced that internal power (and Mike identifies Tohei as a major figure in this) is a part of the essence of the real and whole art of aikido.

Can't argue with that. It's why we continue to put major emphasis on Ki development in our training.

Best,

Ron

David Orange
01-24-2011, 09:57 PM
In Esoteric Shingon Buddhism I have also read that as mediation progresses to the higher levels and the consciousness transcends to higher states that super human powers can manifest, but within the teaching it is critical that they not be pursued.

In both cases it is sighted that a desire of chasing power is ultimately detrimental to the real human quest. It bolsters the ego and, as has been said suggested, can distort and corrupt ones life. Hasn't this been repeated in history a myriad times? People acting out of a desire of power and control. Isn't this also central to Aikido philosophically? Sadly I feel that Demetrio's desire to "impose his will" over others highlights the dangers of such a quest.

I was recently discussing my sudden awareness of my own ki with a good friend and he gave me a surprising outline of yoga that closely parallels what I experienced. And he added that after a certain amount of study and seeking, one would suddenly find that he could manifest "strange powers" (called Siddhi, I believe), more or less along the lines of being immoveable, being able to propel others a big distance, and so on, much like the results of internal power training. But as you said, the teachings warned that when you begin to experience these Siddhi powers, you must not pursue them because then you get side-tracked into them and can lose the way in focus on the powers. If you avoided this, you could reach greater and greater depths of understanding, moving toward Wisdom.

And in the internal power circles, it has also been suggested that the "power" comes spontaneously when the body has been properly conditioned and disciplined. And it has also been said that these skills are only a side-benefit of the training.

Reading this thread, I had a sudden insight about what seems to frighten Mary and some others: that we're seeking really great strength, and they're associating that with great "muscular" strength and the kind of power that goes along with that. This gave me a sudden laugh because what we're seeking is not more muscular power, but the power to do more with less muscle! We want to be unaffected by an opponent's power while remaining completely relaxed and unexerted! We're not talking wild-man hell-raising burning-red eyes and uncontrolled frenzy. We're talking about calm, smiling, amused, relaxed, funny absorption of all power that comes against us, leaving us unexerted, unstrained and completely free to move no matter what kind of load comes upon us. When done properly, it feels like we're not doing anything at all, yet nothing can hold us back or divert us.

And I think that's really the essence of what amazed people about Morihei Ueshiba and first made people want to be like him.

The general problem is that when we signed up to learn to be like Ueshiba, we weren't given this ability to be unexertedly free: we were given techniques which sidetracked us into learning their complex twists and turns and placement of the feet and how does he attack an did he attack right and is he trying to mess up our technique, and do you start with this foot first or that foot first and on and on in a way that really takes us down the rabbit hole. The only thing keeping that pursuit at all relevant to aiki would be learning to keep our balance and to move without conflicting with the opponent's power.

I decided right after I left Mochizuki Sensei's dojo that aikido was being taught "backward," much as George Ledyard said a few posts back. My answer was an overview of the human body first, to make it freely moving. But because my view of aikido meant always moving and never letting uke's weight settle on me, my method was trained completely without loading.

Now I can see all that in a new light and while I still believe that aikido is taught backward and that we must begin with making the body free, I understand now that we must learn to keep the body free and unexerted even when a great load comes upon us.

As for Demetrio's comment, I'm sure he's not talking about any kind of world domination or even dominating other individuals in a power sense, but in the way Morihei said "Aiki is blending with another person in order to make them do what I want them to do." But that blending means going along with what they want to do to bring them back to where you want them to be: in harmony. Just to force them egotistically to go where we want them to is not aikido, but to lead them back to where we want them to be--in their right relation to life--that's really worthy and I think that is the essence of Truth as you hope to see it.

Now I am not saying that IP is wrong, or bad, or searching for it is not a potentially good and positive thing to do. I am however questioning that maybe in the broader debate perhaps we are missing something, once somebody has acquired this strength then what, what next?

Well, next is to cultivate it and use it to build up good people to make a better society and life for us all.

Best to you.

David

Rob Watson
01-24-2011, 10:07 PM
Rob I am NOT saying that your training is of that muscle type - but I also wonder about going in to train w/ the mindset of imposing will and wonder how that affects breathing, intent and body use versus a mindset of, say, "where does uke tell me he wants to go?" or "where can we go together?"

It is not a training methodology but an end state.

David Orange
01-24-2011, 10:07 PM
Our justapostion is getting us nowhere. I offer you my respect and I absolutely understand that "opponent's power/attack is used to defeat him". I just don't like the connotations of control and power over others, as I see it serves no real purpose to the true purpose of Budo.

Well, Keith, the true purpose of budo, as Morihei explained it, is "to stop violence." And that means the violence in our own hearts, yes, but it also means the ability to stop a strong man from hurting the weak people in his path. Which means having the ability to control a strong man. That's the real meaning of budo, along with controlling ourselves.

Best to you.

David

phitruong
01-24-2011, 10:12 PM
But as you said, the teachings warned that when you begin to experience these Siddhi powers, you must not pursue them because then you get side-tracked into them and can lose the way in focus on the powers. If you avoided this, you could reach greater and greater depths of understanding, moving toward Wisdom.

David

always curious of why folks don't want to focus on powers or believed that powers and wisdom are mutually exclusive. strange creatures we human. afraid of our own shadows.

David Orange
01-24-2011, 10:13 PM
Can't argue with that. It's why we continue to put major emphasis on Ki development in our training.


So I don't see it as "going outside aikido" if we learn more about it. It's fun, humbling, uplifting, funny and inspiring like nothing I've felt in aikido since 1975—when I was reading "Aikido in Daily Life".

Best to you.

David

gates
01-24-2011, 11:05 PM
Well, Keith, the true purpose of budo, as Morihei explained it, is "to stop violence." And that means the violence in our own hearts, yes, but it also means the ability to stop a strong man from hurting the weak people in his path. Which means having the ability to control a strong man. That's the real meaning of budo, along with controlling ourselves

I don't disagree, but would note that it is not that we use power and control to dissipate the situation it is more as Mike suggested; that the force and aggression of the opponent is what ultimately results in the futility of their own actions. We as Aikidoka just want to lend a guiding hand.

As we know this takes an immense amount of skill physically, emotionally and spiritually, much more than it if would if we were simply using our own power and control to defeat them.

kewms
01-25-2011, 01:20 AM
Probably....unless your will is one with that of Heaven, as Morihei's was.

But didn't he say something like, "The art of aiki is to harmonize with another person to make him do what you want"?

And if what you want is to live in accord with Heaven and not be budged from that path, you only impose "your will" on those who want to move your will (through attacking you).

*shrug* As I said before, I haven't found that way of looking at things to be terribly helpful. If you'd like to indulge in semantic hair-splitting, feel free, but I'll pass.

Katherine

kewms
01-25-2011, 01:30 AM
Reading this thread, I had a sudden insight about what seems to frighten Mary and some others: that we're seeking really great strength, and they're associating that with great "muscular" strength and the kind of power that goes along with that. This gave me a sudden laugh because what we're seeking is not more muscular power, but the power to do more with less muscle! We want to be unaffected by an opponent's power while remaining completely relaxed and unexerted! We're not talking wild-man hell-raising burning-red eyes and uncontrolled frenzy. We're talking about calm, smiling, amused, relaxed, funny absorption of all power that comes against us, leaving us unexerted, unstrained and completely free to move no matter what kind of load comes upon us. When done properly, it feels like we're not doing anything at all, yet nothing can hold us back or divert us.

For those who find the pursuit of power worrisome, the kind of power you describe is at least as fraught with danger as the muscular kind, and probably more so.

Katherine

DH
01-25-2011, 01:57 AM
For those who find the pursuit of power worrisome, the kind of power you describe is at least as fraught with danger as the muscular kind, and probably more so.

Katherine
Hello Ms. Derbyshire
I don't think so.
Power is expressed in aikido to invade and displace (irimi) or in evasion.all the time. It is the "quality" of that power that is being debated.

What if you can do both at the same time instantly and the result is that there power is neutralized?
What if their force was mirrored back at them when they contact you?
What if their force, directed at you, could also be continually sent one degree off...to where you willed it to go. They would think they were continuing with their effort but you guided it to a place of your determination...without you hoping around and evading their power?.
What if you could do it...at speed outside of traditional arts with no cooperattion?

I think that power, real power,must be present in order to do the soft arts, in order to make the softest controlling aiki.
Without IP/ aiki....no one can produce the aikido of the founder.
.
What if many are finding that when facing certain people with an unusual type of power; they are steadfastly undone by them.
I respectfully submit to you that something very substantial must be going on, for there is no way...no way you are going to get the type of experienced professionals I am meeting to change the path of their training this late in life unless it was major league.
As one Shihan said to me with a gleam in his eye.
"This is the stuff I went to Japan to find."
Another Shihan
"You don't understand, Dan, You may be flying on casual (his words) but this has changed everything for me."
I'm not trying to sell it...you really can't, they have to do the work. It is after all just more hard work!!. But, it sells itself because many martial artists see the practical and pragmatic use in whatever their work is.
All the best
Dan

kewms
01-25-2011, 02:06 AM
What if you can do both at the same time instantly and the result is that there power is neutralized?
What if their force was mirrored back at them when they contact you?
What if their force, directed at you, could also be continually sent one degree off...to where you willed it to go. They would think they were continuing with their effort but you guided it to a place of your determination...without you hoping around and evading their power?.
What if you could do it...at speed outside of traditional arts with no cooperattion?

I think that power, real power,must be present in order to do the soft arts, in order to make the softest controlling aiki.

I'm not disagreeing. I'm just saying that there is no connection between personal character and the ability to develop that kind of power: it is entirely possible to have a "Darth Vader" of internal power, and many people are wary of the pursuit of power in any form.

Katherine

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2011, 02:39 AM
Sadly I feel that Demetrio's desire to "impose his will" over others highlights the dangers of such a quest.


Don't worry Keith, I was citing O Sensei's words in "On the Martial Ways of Japan - The Training of Unification of Body and Spirit". (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=676)

Taken out of context, of course, but not more out of context than his words about "harmony", "love" or "sport".

MM
01-25-2011, 06:45 AM
But as you said, the teachings warned that when you begin to experience these Siddhi powers, you must not pursue them because then you get side-tracked into them and can lose the way in focus on the powers. If you avoided this, you could reach greater and greater depths of understanding, moving toward Wisdom.
David


always curious of why folks don't want to focus on powers or believed that powers and wisdom are mutually exclusive. strange creatures we human. afraid of our own shadows.

I think the warning was more in reveling in the power and chasing it for its own end, rather than a warning against power. If you gain that kind of power and chase after it (focus solely on making it better) because you like having it, then you miss out on other training to take you beyond that. Look to Ueshiba who in his early years was described like being an electric shock when grabbed but in later years was ghosty soft. If you focus on the power and like the "electric-shock" type of skill, then you won't get to the ghosty part.

The phrase, you have to give up strength to gain strength didn't always apply to just physical muscle strength. :)

David Orange
01-25-2011, 07:24 AM
For those who find the pursuit of power worrisome, the kind of power you describe is at least as fraught with danger as the muscular kind, and probably more so.

Well do you want a car that can't accelerate? Do you want a kitchen sprayer that puts out a trickle of water? Do you want a computer that takes ten minutes to let you type a sentence?

Enough is enough, but too little is just too little.

We're talking about being able to do whatever work needs to be done with as little expenditure of energy as possible.

Do you think we should always have to struggle when he encounter someone with great strength? I thought aikido was specifically supposed to eliminate that. And IS is how it eliminates it.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
01-25-2011, 07:28 AM
I'm not disagreeing. I'm just saying that there is no connection between personal character and the ability to develop that kind of power: it is entirely possible to have a "Darth Vader" of internal power, and many people are wary of the pursuit of power in any form.

George Ledyard gave an example of a guy who certainly misused his aikido power. Maybe aikido itself should never have been revealed to the public?

Many people think that any kind of martial arts training at all is motivated by the desire to make oneself a walking weapon. Would that be true?

Best wishes.

David

gates
01-25-2011, 07:54 AM
Many people think that any kind of martial arts training at all is motivated by the desire to make oneself a walking weapon. Would that be true?

Fine to be a sharp blade but;
"a good sword stays in its saya"

Nothings puts it better than this true story of an Aikido combat encounter, which I am sure many of you are familiar with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA08qeQ8Q28&feature=related

Budd
01-25-2011, 09:50 AM
I'm not trying to sell it...you really can't, they have to do the work. It is after all just more hard work!!. But, it sells itself because many martial artists see the practical and pragmatic use in whatever their work is.


I think this is pretty key. It's the people searching and chasing and obsessing in "this stuff" that are going to get somewhere with it. Dan, or others, you may have different experiences - but I see it as such a deep subject requiring vast mental and physical commitment that the casual customer may not really be suited to this study?

Asking others at this point - especially those trying to teach this in their schools. Is it an additional series of exercises as an add on? Has it foundationally changed how you're looking at aikido?

I actually liked very much George Ledyard's post about how he would do things - spending the time to do the foundational work before worrying about waza - is anyone else trying this? I think that's going to be something of the breaking point for mainstream aikido to get to a place where "this stuff" is truly integrated - because I can also see it being a commercial axe. If dojo membership is already declining, or you aren't relying on income generated from the joint - you may have more wiggle room.

Some close peeps that are also into this stuff and I have a similar mindset in how we'd do it - in that there would be the general "this is fun we grab each other and fall down" activity to keep the lights on in a school. Then the "by invite only" goup that does the "work" part to really build the necessary foundational stuffs - moves onto hard sparring (and light sparring to re-work fundamental applications), crosstrains other arts, etc.

Anyhoo, please continue.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2011, 10:11 AM
George Ledyard gave an example of a guy who certainly misused his aikido power. Maybe aikido itself should never have been revealed to the public?

Maybe aikido was stripped of power to avoid examples like this one told by Ledyard being more common and causing more damage than a injured shoulder.

This way you can make it widely available while the number of the fatalities caused by powerful uncontrolled practitioneers is kept at an acceptable minimum.

Sell guns to the people, but the right to bear arms doesn't include having a fully functional Abrams tank in your lawn even if you can afford it.

kewms
01-25-2011, 10:30 AM
Well do you want a car that can't accelerate? Do you want a kitchen sprayer that puts out a trickle of water? Do you want a computer that takes ten minutes to let you type a sentence?

No, no, and no, but I don't need a Ferrari, a fire hose, or a supercomputer, either.

Balance in all things. I wouldn't think that would be such a radical idea among martial artists.

Katherine

DH
01-25-2011, 10:42 AM
I think this is pretty key. It's the people searching and chasing and obsessing in "this stuff" that are going to get somewhere with it. Dan, or others, you may have different experiences - but I see it as such a deep subject requiring vast mental and physical commitment that the casual customer may not really be suited to this study?

Asking others at this point - especially those trying to teach this in their schools. Is it an additional series of exercises as an add on? Has it foundationally changed how you're looking at aikido?
Some close peeps that are also into this stuff and I have a similar mindset in how we'd do it - in that there would be the general "this is fun we grab each other and fall down" activity to keep the lights on in a school. Then the "by invite only" goup that does the "work" part to really build the necessary foundational stuffs - moves onto hard sparring (and light sparring to re-work fundamental applications), crosstrains other arts, etc.

Anyhoo, please continue.
Six schools that I am aware of do exactly that; they have separate days for training this. And they also incorporate training it in regular class. I think it is too soon to tell who is going to follow through,and who might excel etc. Some -with self serving, competitive motivations- are critiquing and commenting on their progress. I think that is counterproductive to the debate at such an early stage.

There is a lot being talked about in separating this work from external movement and technique which is fine...yet make no mistake, every source in the martial arts outlines the necessity for tackling that difficult step of getting it into external movement. In fact the use of it ...in...movement is yet another milestone...still outside of waza. While that in and of itself is martially effective (something BTW, which has never been covered here either) it is that work that many find intriguing and revealing while they are slowly progressing. Itis difficult and you can default back to bad habits...it's a mindfield.
All the best
Dan

David Orange
01-25-2011, 10:58 AM
Maybe aikido was stripped of power to avoid examples like this one told by Ledyard being more common and causing more damage than a injured shoulder.

This way you can make it widely available while the number of the fatalities caused by powerful uncontrolled practitioneers is kept at an acceptable minimum.

And I don't think the influence of Minoru Mochizuki and Kenji Tomiki can be overlooked in that process. I think O Sensei was really impressed with Jigoro Kano's work in judo--to create a powerful art that would nonetheless be safe for those who were not full-time martial artists. He did, after all, incorporate the dan system that Kano invented. And I think we can see that the art was made generally safer in the process.

Sell guns to the people, but the right to bear arms doesn't include having a fully functional Abrams tank in your lawn even if you can afford it.

Over here, we can get almost anything. And what law-abiding citizens can't get, criminals can go crazy with.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
01-25-2011, 11:08 AM
No, no, and no, but I don't need a Ferrari, a fire hose, or a supercomputer, either.

I don't need a Ferrari, either. But you do need enough power for the task at hand, don't you? I hate SUVs but I can understand that some people have a legitimate need for them. And when the firemen come to put out your fire, you want them to have plenty of water pressure, don't you? If you're a genetic scientist, you might need a super computer, mightn't you?

And if someone is coming to help you fend off an attacker, you want them to be at least strong enough to stop him (or her) don't you?

Or maybe there's some way to make sure that people with bad intentions can't get more strength. Then no one would need to have unlimited ability to stop them as necessary.

How do you determine where we should stop improving our abilities and increasing our capacities? In martial arts, greater strength is nothing more than greater capacity. Why imagine that there's some universal "enough" that no one should want to exceed?

Likewise, is there a limit to how "smart" we should be? How tall we should be? How much money we should have? How is strength any different? No one tells an oak tree "You're strong enough. Stop getting strong." It's just natural to develop oneself as far as possible.

Balance in all things. I wouldn't think that would be such a radical idea among martial artists.

It's not. In fact, that's the essence of most of this internal strength training--tuning our bodies for unshakable balance in six directions. Or should we also leave ourselves to be unbalanced to a certain degree, just so we don't carry it too far?

Can't quite see why you feel that there should be a limit to human capacities.

David

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2011, 11:16 AM
Over here, we can get almost anything. And what law-abiding citizens can't get, criminals can go crazy with.


Over there today is not exactly all around the world 40-50 years ago when aikido started to spread outside Japan.

BTW, have you noticed any differences between aikido pioneers in USA and in their counterparts in Europe?

DH
01-25-2011, 11:28 AM
No, no, and no, but I don't need a Ferrari, a fire hose, or a supercomputer, either.
Balance in all things. I wouldn't think that would be such a radical idea among martial artists.

Katherine
I see your point.
At some point there has to be an ackowledgment of what martial arts are. Power, as well as aiki or connection and control is the goal of the martial arts.Even were one to think he can defeat an opponent without hurting them.. then the requirements above apply even more so.
Anything else ..while it may be fine...just isn't martial arts.
I think the real dilemma and challenge to the spiritual and to the personal growth is to have power and not wield it. This is a challenge not just for traditional martial artists, it applies to MMA, it applies to Power lifters, anyone, who has power,and or skill above the norm.
I think that legacy played out many times in stories of martial artists who were undefeatable and took a look at themselves and evaluated what they wanted. I think Ueshiba while looking for a better way...never mistook the fact that mercy belonged to the victor. It was he who said before before Rob Watson that he exerts his will on others. If we do not understand that, that is the cornerstone of aiki....we will never have aiki, instead we will be owned by the will of others. It is our control of our own energy, that we can manage the force of others to not harm us. Meaning?
You made a choice to control their violence toward you. thus exerting your will on theirs. Otherwise all we have done is just get beat up or controlled.
Just say'n
Dan

kewms
01-25-2011, 11:36 AM
How do you determine where we should stop improving our abilities and increasing our capacities? In martial arts, greater strength is nothing more than greater capacity. Why imagine that there's some universal "enough" that no one should want to exceed?

Please don't put words in my mouth. I never said anything of the sort.

It's simply that all training has costs as well as benefits. All power brings with it responsibility. Not everyone seems to think about that side of the equation.

Katherine

George S. Ledyard
01-25-2011, 11:48 AM
I think that many folks still don't quite understand what this training is all about. This isn't anything that interferes with anything an Aikido practitioner or instructor is currently doing. It's just a way to do it better. It's trans style. You can do your Aikido techniques with any outer form you want... but the content will be much greater.

Also, everyone needs to realize that, in these discussions, we are getting to listen to a couple of total type-A, super perfectionist personalities who have taken this subset of skills to an extremely high degree. I think a lot of folks get intimidated by the tone of these discussions which often sound like, if I don't take this work up to some super high level I am a failure as a human being. That's like saying that your Aikido isn't worth doing unless you can be an 8th Dan.

I have done only a bit of this training, most of it second hand, a bit directly with these guys... certainly not every day. Usually a few times a week as exercises in isolation and the rest is simply within the context of my normal practice. Even the little bit I have done has transformed my Aikido. Even a little of this work helps a lot. Then if you find you want to take it out to some amazing degree, like anything else, that will take a lot of focus and work.

And the debates between some of the folks who are teaching this stuff? For most of us, I think it is entirely irrelevant. Worrying about who is better and which one of these folks one should train with? Well, for most of us, that's like worrying whether I should train with the guy who won the Gold Medal or the Silver Medal at the Olympics when I am ranked 150th in the world...

I put my efforts behind the guy who is moist supportive of my work and even who it's most fun training with because content wise these guys all have the goods. Folks can make their own decisions about that.

This is not mysterious work... it's no where near as esoteric as some stuff you'd see in Systema for instance. It's a retooling of your understanding of how your body works. It's a reprogramming of how ones body deals with force. It's fascinating because for most of us, the various connections that are possible within the body were simply below the radar. The teacher gives you some relatively simple instructions, mostly just visualization on some level, and suddenly you do feel a connection between your thumb on your right side and your left heel (I probably have that wrong but you get the idea). It's really, really cool stuff...

I think these discussions get way to heavy sometimes and scare people off. They think that a new approach negates what they have been doing, rather than simply enhancing it, and the whole thing sounds heavy and serious, when in fact, it is really quite fun and exciting. Sure, it takes some work. Yes, you get more effect if you put up with the burn longer when you are holding your arms up. But on the whole, it's really interesting and healthy. I find that most of it is more mentally exhausting than physically so. It takes a lot of concentration, at least at the beginning. But it's really great stuff. And especially for those folks out there who have always been sort of second class citizens because they simply didn't have the plain physical strength to deal with the big bruisers, this stuff is the cat's meow.

It's not a question of why would you seek internal power or internal skills as an Aikido practitioner. It's why wouldn't you want to? It's great stuff, fascinating, can keep you interested for years, will make you aware of your body on a level you never thought possible, and it only makes whatever kind of Aikido you want to do better. Seems like a no brainer to me... Pay no attention to all the rest of the yadda yadda yadda... it's of no import.

David Orange
01-25-2011, 11:56 AM
Please don't put words in my mouth. I never said anything of the sort.

It's simply that all training has costs as well as benefits. All power brings with it responsibility. Not everyone seems to think about that side of the equation.

Well, it seems you're putting words in the mouths and motivations in the minds of everyone who's doing IP. The tone of your posts indicates that you believe that there is a reasonable limit to how much power anyone should want or it reflects evil intent.

If you don't mean to come across that way, I'd encourage you to review what you're posting.

It's not wrong to want greater power, especially if it's only because you want to be the best you can be. Also, someone threw out the phrase "wanting to be the strongest person on the planet" or something like that. It's really a distortion of the motivations and thinking of internal artists.

Best to you.

David

Budd
01-25-2011, 12:07 PM
Six schools that I am aware of do exactly that; they have separate days for training this. And they also incorporate training it in regular class. I think it is too soon to tell who is going to follow through,and who might excel etc. Some -with self serving, competitive motivations- are critiquing and commenting on their progress. I think that is counterproductive to the debate at such an early stage.

Makes sense and I think will just have to be something that's worked out over time. At least they are doing it. I know when I took a stab at it, there was a single day dedicated to just the exercises, with efforts on the "waza" days to incorporate it back in. But then things I was doing then versus things I'm doing now, I'd do differently of course - hindsight 20/20 and all. Oh well, gotta start somewhere.

There is a lot being talked about in separating this work from external movement and technique which is fine...yet make no mistake, every source in the martial arts outlines the necessity for tackling that difficult step of getting it into external movement. In fact the use of it ...in...movement is yet another milestone...still outside of waza. While that in and of itself is martially effective (something BTW, which has never been covered here either) it is that work that many find intriguing and revealing while they are slowly progressing. Itis difficult and you can default back to bad habits...it's a mindfield.
All the best
Dan

Which is partly the rub, right? Where's the sweet spot in doing the foundational work before tackling the integration back into external movement. As you say, the traditional arts all do (or should) address this in some way. The use of it in movement . . I keep refining what that means as I figure more things out . . then try it out with the guys at the gym (some experiments are more painful than others, but the harder learned lessons tend to stick).

I think aikido is trickier . . because the "in movement" portion - unless the teacher is already aware of all the facets being worked on - can easily derail the good efforts being made because of their "interpretation" (stylistic, aesthetic, practical, etc.) based on a limited-information understanding. Just like I keep questioning things that "work" as well as the things that "don't". It is a minefield (and mindfield, even) and I don't have answers, just shared frustrations and the equivalent of sore-feet from the path being trodden.

So I am very curious about others' "how's it working, how's it going?" explorations (assuming past the initial question in thread of "why?" - that being answered and now they've moved onto "how?"). I don't think there's shame in admitting when you're a rank beginner in something - versus have taken some baby steps on the path (example, I am gonna try fencing, I did Japanese weapons, which may help or hurt, but I'm a no-nothing noob, no two ways about it, I can't just assume that they will apply). What's going to be more important over time I think is the progress you make over time based on the efforts you put into it.

DH
01-25-2011, 12:24 PM
Let's all step back a bit about motivations that may be negative. Most MA and MMA people I have met run the gamut from young and old, blue and white collar, hobbyist or professionals and are not in it to personally be the toughest person in the world.:rolleyes:
What if we look at power in a different way.
Central balance
What if I were to say that there was a way for you to train to make you this stretchy gumby unmovable object. What if anyone who contacts you get their balance interrupted and they become part of you and your choice of where to move them?
What if you can move yourself while retaining all those qualities and your movement moves them?
What if there was some nifty things you could do to people because of the way your body was connected?
What if there were ways to make aiki happen all the way out to the limbs, in the arms and legs...like kokyu ho or aiki age from the back of your knee, or kuzushi on contact?
What if you could absorb their efforts to throw you and it helped them throw themselves?
What if all of the above applied to weapons as well?

No where in the above did I discuss hitting, kicking, or throwing them. So the use of power in the above is all defensive.
Make sense?
Cheers
Dan.

phitruong
01-25-2011, 12:32 PM
No, no, and no, but I don't need a Ferrari, a fire hose, or a supercomputer, either.

Balance in all things. I wouldn't think that would be such a radical idea among martial artists.

Katherine

i need a ferrari. how do you expect me to pick up interesting women without one? can't do it by declaring meself an internal power master. that sort of pickup line just won't work (i tried). and i absolutely need the fire hose, because the dirt on my body just won't come off with less water pressure. and of course, a super computer is a must to be able to handle the various shear model that eric mead threw out. :D

Tony Wagstaffe
01-25-2011, 02:14 PM
I think that many folks still don't quite understand what this training is all about. This isn't anything that interferes with anything an Aikido practitioner or instructor is currently doing. It's just a way to do it better. It's trans style. You can do your Aikido techniques with any outer form you want... but the content will be much greater.

Also, everyone needs to realize that, in these discussions, we are getting to listen to a couple of total type-A, super perfectionist personalities who have taken this subset of skills to an extremely high degree. I think a lot of folks get intimidated by the tone of these discussions which often sound like, if I don't take this work up to some super high level I am a failure as a human being. That's like saying that your Aikido isn't worth doing unless you can be an 8th Dan.

I have done only a bit of this training, most of it second hand, a bit directly with these guys... certainly not every day. Usually a few times a week as exercises in isolation and the rest is simply within the context of my normal practice. Even the little bit I have done has transformed my Aikido. Even a little of this work helps a lot. Then if you find you want to take it out to some amazing degree, like anything else, that will take a lot of focus and work.

And the debates between some of the folks who are teaching this stuff? For most of us, I think it is entirely irrelevant. Worrying about who is better and which one of these folks one should train with? Well, for most of us, that's like worrying whether I should train with the guy who won the Gold Medal or the Silver Medal at the Olympics when I am ranked 150th in the world...

I put my efforts behind the guy who is moist supportive of my work and even who it's most fun training with because content wise these guys all have the goods. Folks can make their own decisions about that.

This is not mysterious work... it's no where near as esoteric as some stuff you'd see in Systema for instance. It's a retooling of your understanding of how your body works. It's a reprogramming of how ones body deals with force. It's fascinating because for most of us, the various connections that are possible within the body were simply below the radar. The teacher gives you some relatively simple instructions, mostly just visualization on some level, and suddenly you do feel a connection between your thumb on your right side and your left heel (I probably have that wrong but you get the idea). It's really, really cool stuff...

I think these discussions get way to heavy sometimes and scare people off. They think that a new approach negates what they have been doing, rather than simply enhancing it, and the whole thing sounds heavy and serious, when in fact, it is really quite fun and exciting. Sure, it takes some work. Yes, you get more effect if you put up with the burn longer when you are holding your arms up. But on the whole, it's really interesting and healthy. I find that most of it is more mentally exhausting than physically so. It takes a lot of concentration, at least at the beginning. But it's really great stuff. And especially for those folks out there who have always been sort of second class citizens because they simply didn't have the plain physical strength to deal with the big bruisers, this stuff is the cat's meow.

It's not a question of why would you seek internal power or internal skills as an Aikido practitioner. It's why wouldn't you want to? It's great stuff, fascinating, can keep you interested for years, will make you aware of your body on a level you never thought possible, and it only makes whatever kind of Aikido you want to do better. Seems like a no brainer to me... Pay no attention to all the rest of the yadda yadda yadda... it's of no import.

Yes George quite a lot of yadaayaddayaddayaddayaddayadda.. :rolleyes:

Cady Goldfield
01-25-2011, 02:45 PM
Yes George quite a lot of yadaayaddayaddayaddayaddayadda.. :rolleyes:

You know, Tony, in all the years I've read George Ledyard's posts, I've never seen anything but honesty and humility in everything he's written. Though I've never met the man, I have read enough of him to see that he is a thoughtful person who doesn't just jot off posts without carefully considering what he has written.

So, to read your casual dismissal of his efforts -- however beyond your attention span they might have ranged -- drives home the realization that you're just being a troll. Please stop it. If you don't have any interest in this type of discussion, just...don't...read this type of thread anymore! It's as simple as that.

Otherwise, some of us might suspect that you 1. enjoy trolling and insulting people OR 2. you really are intrigued by the idea of IP and aiki, and just don't know how to go about asking about it in a civil manner. If the latter, I hear tell that there will be a seminar in London, this May, that would give you an excellent hands-on introduction to this fascinating subject.

David Orange
01-25-2011, 02:51 PM
Otherwise, some of us might suspect that you 1. enjoy trolling and insulting people OR 2. you really are intrigued by the idea of IP and aiki, and just don't know how to go about asking about it in a civil manner. If the latter, I hear tell that there will be a seminar in London, this May, that would give you an excellent hands-on introduction to this fascinating subject.

I think his motivations are both, Cady.

And to top it off, he's afraid to go and lay hands on Dan or Mike and have to admit he has been seriously wrong. And the truth hurts...bloody hurts!:p

Best to you.

David

gregstec
01-25-2011, 03:00 PM
You know, Tony, in all the years I've read George Ledyard's posts, I've never seen anything but honesty and humility in everything he's written. Though I've never met the man, I have read enough of him to see that he is a thoughtful person who doesn't just jot off posts without carefully considering what he has written.

So, to read your casual dismissal of his efforts -- however beyond your attention span they might have ranged -- drives home the realization that you're just being a troll. Please stop it. If you don't have any interest in this type of discussion, just...don't...read this type of thread anymore! It's as simple as that.

Otherwise, some of us might suspect that you 1. enjoy trolling and insulting people OR 2. you really are intrigued by the idea of IP and aiki, and just don't know how to go about asking about it in a civil manner. If the latter, I hear tell that there will be a seminar in London, this May, that would give you an excellent hands-on introduction to this fascinating subject.

Ditto to Cady about George. I have met the man and he is a true professional in his approach to Aikido as well as his other training and teaching. The casual dismissal of one his most germane posts tells a lot about the character and depth of knowledge of an individual.

Greg

RED
01-25-2011, 03:21 PM
Yes George quite a lot of yadaayaddayaddayaddayaddayadda.. :rolleyes:

Illiteracy is a bitch, ain't it hun?...just kidding.

Ledyard Sensei said a lot, but none of it was nonsense. It warrants an equally concise response IMHO.
Not sure why you'd bother responding actually...??? If that's all you had to add to discussion, why waste the electricity?


But I digress. I've left this conversation alone until now because I think it is out of my pay grade frankly to even pretend to have an opinion on. And from your dismissal of Ledyard Sensei, it might be out of your pay grade as well.
Whether this adds to the discussion or not; I think the cultivation of mutual respect goes hand in hand in the cultivation of good internal training habits. So for the sake of selfishness, let's not act like bitches.

David Orange
01-25-2011, 04:21 PM
Ditto to Cady about George. I have met the man and he is a true professional in his approach to Aikido as well as his other training and teaching. The casual dismissal of one his most germane posts tells a lot about the character and depth of knowledge of an individual.

Greg

In fairness to "Evil-Eye" Tony, he may have been saying that other people were putting out a lot of yada, etc. and he thought George was responding to that.

However, the tone of his posts so far has been so unworthy of serious consideration, let's say, that it's easy to get the impression you and Cady got.

All in all, not very productive of him, but if someone trolls too much, soon everyone sees them as simply a troll.

Best to all.

David

David Orange
01-25-2011, 04:23 PM
Illiteracy is a bitch, ain't it hun?......let's not act like bitches.

:rolleyes:

George S. Ledyard
01-25-2011, 04:31 PM
Ease up on Tony... he's just a curmudgeon, like a number of my friends. I am sure we'd like each other if we went out for a brew... At least he is straight up about what he thinks, you don't have to guess. He doesn't pull any punches and, maybe because I am from the NE originally, I don't mind that. He wouldn't be happy in Seattle.

Janet Rosen
01-25-2011, 04:46 PM
He doesn't pull any punches and, maybe because I am from the NE originally, I don't mind that. He wouldn't be happy in Seattle.

The Brooklyn girl who lives in Mendopia is giggling her head off. :)

David Orange
01-25-2011, 04:47 PM
Ease up on Tony... he's just a curmudgeon, like a number of my friends. I am sure we'd like each other if we went out for a brew... At least he is straight up about what he thinks, you don't have to guess. He doesn't pull any punches and, maybe because I am from the NE originally, I don't mind that. He wouldn't be happy in Seattle.

Tony and I are about the same age. I know I'm a bit of a curmudgeon, too, so what can I say? I probably wouldn't be too happy in Seattle either, though I hear it's a nice place to visit.

Best to you.

David

Cady Goldfield
01-25-2011, 04:52 PM
George,
I just knew you'd say that. :)

Agreed. I do respect skeptics who have a lot of experience miles behind them. But I respect, even more, someone who will seize an opportunity to test something first-hand, instead of just pass off all the arguments to do so as useless blather.

What truly amazes me, is that up to a couple of years ago, it was just a few lonely voices in the forest talking about this stuff, and now there are all of these enthusiastic folks sharing notes. about "internal." There finally is an open flow of discourse.

Since I started reading the aikido- and other MA listservs 15 or more years ago, and then the MA websites as they came into being, talk about IP and aiki has gone from one person to scores of people, many of whom are speaking from firsthand experience. People now are now talking about -how- to develop IP and aiki, and not whether or not there is such thing as IP and aiki. It has gone from myth and mystique to being recognized as a substantial and discrete form of skill with concrete, tangible methods. That's the real news here. It's unprecedented!

So, a few lingering skeptics aren't necessarily a bad thing. I just wish they'd get off the pot and find out for themselves why there is all this "yaddayadda" to begin with. ;)

Diana Frese
01-25-2011, 05:03 PM
Glad to revisit this thread, when I last posted I mentioned I needed to learn better balance from Shotokan Karate, or at least that was
the opportunity that presented itself, and it had other benefits too, like the beauty of the kata and understanding of another martial art, at least to the degree I was able to learn it, and what I heard from the person I eventually married...

He and I very much "like" Tony's video and plan to study it when we get a chance. Maybe if you ask him very nicely he will post it to any of you who are interested. I've seen a lot of Aikido and, hey, you might be surprised to find he has what this thread may be about IM maybe not so H opinion......

But I'm just an old codgeress hoping to train once the ice is out of the driveway and the woodpile is no longer in the vestibule where we were intending to practice..... Is that the NE you remember?

Seems to me this winter is Hokkaido or Minnesota, Maine or Quebec. thanks Mary for reminding us of its beauty.

Regards Tohei Sensei, I remember his explanation of the meaning of tenkan, "See his point of view" Or was it Maruyama Sensei who said that. Anything anyone gave me that would help my students I passed on to them, and that was an important one.

Just a few thoughts, I will definitely read the many posts thoroughly when I get a chance.

Tony the Tiger, from an American, I hope others can see your kindness. Your Aikido is the real thing, in my not so humble opinion. As Snoopy says, in Charlie Brown, "I calls them as I
sees them". But we only have dial up and will have to wait till a
day we can spend an afternoon, but the benefit is all the stops and pauses will enable us to learn the real secrets of an Aikido video.
You have two real fans in this house.

gates
01-25-2011, 06:11 PM
I have no real hands on experience of IP.
I am relatively young and it is early days in my Aikido journey.
I have a lot to learn.
I am intrigued about IP and thirsty in my pursuit of Aikido. If IP can add to this then why wouldn't I endeavor to find out more.

However I think it is critically important to consider the true motivations of my actions and desires. I will search inside myself and ask what is the motivation for wanting to learn IP.

If it is to become more powerful so I can defeat the evil doers and defend the weak from the strong, then I will try to forget it or at least proceed with caution. I will also be cautious of the motivations and mindset of any instructor I chose to teach me.

If however it is another means by which I can learn how to resolve conflict with subtle uses of a mind body connection. Then great - count me in.

RED
01-25-2011, 06:28 PM
:rolleyes:

Yeah, that last part was as much for me as for him. :D hehee

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2011, 06:53 PM
However I think it is critically important to consider the true motivations of my actions and desires. I will search inside myself and ask what is the motivation for wanting to learn IP.


May I suggest you get your hands on a copy of Ellis Amdurs' "Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions" and read the chapter about the origins of Araki-ryu. I think you'll find it interesting.

gregstec
01-25-2011, 07:13 PM
Ease up on Tony... he's just a curmudgeon, like a number of my friends. I am sure we'd like each other if we went out for a brew... At least he is straight up about what he thinks, you don't have to guess. He doesn't pull any punches and, maybe because I am from the NE originally, I don't mind that. He wouldn't be happy in Seattle.

OK - I may have been quick on the trigger with my post. Tony should have highlighted the end of your post so maybe the intent of his post would have been more clear.

I also understand your appreciation of someone being direct, speaking their minds, and not pulling punches - I believe I have a good friend like that who teaches IP/IS :) Others may find him abrasive, but I love him like family.

The only other thing I would like to add is to say to Tony that no one knows it all and there are many on the IP side that have had the exact same mind set you have presented in this thread - I won't mention names ( but if you ask Dave O in a PM, he may enlighten you a bit there) anyway, I am a live and let live type of person and will fight to defend anyone's right to present their views and beliefs as they see fit as long as they don't infringe on the same from others. My advice to anyone is to check out these guys teaching IP if you get a chance before you dismiss this stuff altogether - if after that you maintain the same mind set, so be it - at least you looked into it and found it is not for you - simple as that.

Best to all

Greg

David Orange
01-25-2011, 07:29 PM
I will search inside myself and ask what is the motivation for wanting to learn IP.

If it is to become more powerful so I can defeat the evil doers and defend the weak from the strong, then I will try to forget it or at least proceed with caution. I will also be cautious of the motivations and mindset of any instructor I chose to teach me.

Geeesshhh.

Well, I guess you wouldn't have wanted to study with Morihei Ueshiba, then. Do you know why he started training?

He saw his father beaten by a gang over a political dispute and he determined that he would never be pushed around like that.

Aikido without the capacity to stop a violent attacker is just very bad modern dance.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
01-25-2011, 07:44 PM
...I think it is critically important to consider the true motivations of my actions and desires. I will search inside myself and ask what is the motivation for wanting to learn IP.

If it is to become more powerful so I can defeat the evil doers and defend the weak from the strong, then I will try to forget it or at least proceed with caution. I will also be cautious of the motivations and mindset of any instructor I chose to teach me.

Where this is concerned, I have been happy for many years with my aikido for self defense and defense of others. That is not my motivation for IP training.

Since I began following Ark, Dan and Mike's thinking, I've learned incredible things and learned to use less muscle and strength than ever in my experience. And I have found the real nature of ki in myself, which I did not find through over 35 years of technical aikido training.

This stuff is at the heart of aikido, which is a serious martial art. You won't become any more like Morihei Ueshiba ignoring the martial nature of aikido. So skip it if you like, but sniping remarks about the motivations and mindset of people who really follow Morihei simply reflect poorly on your own motivations.

Good luck.

David

David Orange
01-25-2011, 07:54 PM
He and I very much "like" Tony's video and plan to study it when we get a chance. Maybe if you ask him very nicely he will post it to any of you who are interested. I've seen a lot of Aikido and, hey, you might be surprised to find he has what this thread may be about IM maybe not so H opinion......

Are you talking about Tony Wagstaffe and the video on his profile page?

He gets kicked in the stomach once, stands in place and lets the attack actually reach him before he moves, performs an escape from a knife to his throat in which the attacker has free use of the knife while Tony changes his hand position, just to mention a few.

And among his students, one young woman gets stabbed in the back and in another example grabs the knife blade with her hand....

But maybe we're not talking about the same video...

Oh. I read further down and saw that you were viewing it on dial-up. It has some interesting moments, but the very serious flaws detract severely from that. Better watch closely.

Best to you.

David

gates
01-25-2011, 10:58 PM
but sniping remarks about the motivations and mindset of people who really follow Morihei simply reflect poorly on your own motivations

I think you have misjudged me, and I am aware of Morihei's initial teenage motivations. I have made no sniping remarks. I have stated my opinions openly, I have not badmouthed any individual or IP itself. There has however, seemed to have been, an underlying theme in this thread that the reason one should add IP to training is to become stronger in a combat situation, wanting to be like Morihei a double hard badass. Other people have quietly added that IP can be fun, interesting, add value to Aikido study, and that having power doesn't mean you will abuse it.

I don't know you I am not judging you, or your motives. But I do know Morihei prayed to the kami every day, chanted sutra's and practiced kototama intently, he considered martial arts training as misogi. "Aikido is misogi. Misogi of ourselves".

As I see it there are different ways you can want to 'follow' Morihei. Last week I happened to be sitting at the Aiki-Jinja in Iwama, praying to the kami and practicing Kototama myself, so please before you judge my motivations, get to know me. I sat exactly where he sat, recited the same kototama, following his footsteps right up to the front of the Aiki-Jinja. As I said before I believe Morihei was in a search for truth not power, despite how it may have started out.

People have alluded to the fact that they are not sure where Morihei's subtle internal power came from, and nobody thus far seems to have considered that perhaps it was the hours of daily kototama practice. After all in his final public address he did say:
"Aikido is the technique of Ki, and the subtle uses of kototama. I am now standing on ame no ukihashi and going to dance the kagura mai while praying for a great love of all nations of the world.."

David Orange
01-25-2011, 11:19 PM
I think you have misjudged me, and I am aware of Morihei's initial teenage motivations. I have made no sniping remarks. I have stated my opinions openly, I have not badmouthed any individual or IP itself. There has however, seemed to have been, an underlying theme in this thread that the reason one should add IP to training is to become stronger in a combat situation, wanting to be like Morihei a double hard badass.

Well, there's your sniping. Show me one comment by anyone saying they want to be a double hard badass. And you seriously misunderstand aikido and budo if you think there is another standard behind them than the ability to stop very violent people in their tracks.

Other people have quietly added that IP can be fun, interesting, add value to Aikido study, and that having power doesn't mean you will abuse it.

Fun, interesting and adding Truth to your aikido have been the main motivations for all involved. And I know way too many people who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag who abuse the power of being a "sensei" with their nidan of form-only aikido. So just because someone has real power and knows the real value of form...seems to elicit a lot of jealousy and defensiveness from people who know only the form and aren't even very good at that. At least with real "form" of aikido you can still defend yourself. With the addition of IP, you can also have the incredible experience of learning the real truth of aikido.

I don't know you I am not judging you, or your motives. But I do know Morihei prayed to the kami every day, chanted sutra's and practiced kototama intently, he considered martial arts training as misogi. "Aikido is misogi. Misogi of ourselves".

Same Morihei who taught at the Imperial Naval Academy of Japan during the war....and who really changed his views after the virtual destruction of his country due to their own militarism. The same Morihei who said that "Aiki is harmonizing with the other person so that I can make them do what I want. You're quoting the leaves. We're looking at the roots. You can't just take the old man without knowing the young man that he was. He continued to show his power all his life. So you shouldn't act like power is something bad and that Morihei had no power and wanted no power. You have to take the whole thing. A person with real power is the only one who can be "merciful". Those without power can only flee.

As I see it there are different ways you can want to 'follow' Morihei. Last week I happened to be sitting at the Aiki-Jinja in Iwama, praying to the kami and practicing Kototama myself, so please before you judge my motivations, get to know me. I sat exactly where he sat, recited the same kototama, following his footsteps right up to the front of the Aiki-Jinja. As I said before I believe Morihei was in a search for truth not power, despite how it may have started out.

You were there how long? 3 months?

Get to know me before you try to impress me with something like that. Morihei was a great man and his art is great--IF it contains the real essence of what he was doing. You can follow the form and appearance all you want, but without the essence, it's just a tea cup. I'll take the tea he was drinking.

People have alluded to the fact that they are not sure where Morihei's subtle internal power came from, and nobody thus far seems to have considered that perhaps it was the hours of daily kototama practice.

Sure, that was part of it, but he had that kind of power long before he was so religious. He got it from what Takeda Sokaku taught him--the same place Sagawa and Horikawa got it.

After all in his final public address he did say:
"Aikido is the technique of Ki, and the subtle uses of kototama. I am now standing on ame no ukihashi and going to dance the kagura mai while praying for a great love of all nations of the world.."

And that's very good, but it's not really the totality of who he was or what he did. I knew people who knew him as a man. And they were very good people, too. Morihei was not a god. He was not someone who floated above the ground. He was attached by the roots of how he got to where he was, which was hard training in very serious and dangerous aiki-jujutsu.

Like so many American Christians who would crucify Jesus again for preaching that "the love of money is the root of all evil," most modern aikidoka would reject the real Morhihei Ueshiba if they actually knew what he did to achieve his legendary status.

Reality to you.

David

gates
01-25-2011, 11:56 PM
David you know how long I was there for because I havn't hidden it and saying I am trying to impress you is ridiculous.

I refuse to be batted into a childish egotistical driven argument with you. We clearly have differing opinions on what Aikido means to us, and thats fine by me.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-26-2011, 05:47 AM
After all in his final public address he did say: "Aikido is the technique of Ki, and the subtle uses of kototama. I am now standing on ame no ukihashi and going to dance the kagura mai while praying for a great love of all nations of the world.."

Citation please.

SeiserL
01-26-2011, 06:58 AM
Perhaps another type of internal strength is the ability to enter and blend (harmonize) with those who question, doubt, or totally disagree with us.

Our tendency is that the more energy someone gives us, the more resistance we offer back.

I remember being told about a rule of 10. If your opponent gives you 9 units of energy, you only need to respond with 1 (9+1=10). If an opponent gives you 5 units of energy, you only need to respond with 5 (5+5=10).

IMHO, the more internal strength (physically, energetically, and psychologically) we have the more we can invite disagreement without giving up our own balance or center. If someone can take our balance and center by simply questioning or disagreeing with us, it only proves we need more training.

The only reason we shoot the messenger is that they just might be speaking the truth.

lbb
01-26-2011, 07:28 AM
So, a few lingering skeptics aren't necessarily a bad thing. I just wish they'd get off the pot and find out for themselves why there is all this "yaddayadda" to begin with. ;)

Perhaps it's because they've seen the advocates of IP as self-represented in these forums, and their presentation and expressed attitudes towards categories of people here causes doubts about what they'd be like in person, as a teacher.

gates
01-26-2011, 07:31 AM
Citation please.
My pleasure;

On January 15, 1968, the annual “Kagami Biraki” ceremony was held at Hombu Dojo and the Founder gave the following speech:

“Aikido is the technique of ‘ki’ and the subtle uses of kotodama. I am now standing on “ame no ukihashi” (a floating bridge to Heaven) and am going to dance the “kagura mai” (sacred dance) while praying for a great love of all nations of the world….”

(Aikido Journal Article: Founder of Aikido (42): Passing On)

Again similar lines:

"Aikido is the marvelous functioning of kototama [cosmic vibrations] and misogi [purification of body and mind]"

Source: The Heart of Aikido, The Philosophy of Takamusu Aiki, Morihei Ueshiba.

gregstec
01-26-2011, 07:48 AM
Perhaps another type of internal strength is the ability to enter and blend (harmonize) with those who question, doubt, or totally disagree with us.

Our tendency is that the more energy someone gives us, the more resistance we offer back.

I remember being told about a rule of 10. If your opponent gives you 9 units of energy, you only need to respond with 1 (9+1=10). If an opponent gives you 5 units of energy, you only need to respond with 5 (5+5=10).

IMHO, the more internal strength (physically, energetically, and psychologically) we have the more we can invite disagreement without giving up our own balance or center. If someone can take our balance and center by simply questioning or disagreeing with us, it only proves we need more training.

The only reason we shoot the messenger is that they just might be speaking the truth.

Ah, the psychological IP - yes, that is a higher level that is often overlooked - some very good points - thanks for bringing it out to our attention :)

Greg

David Orange
01-26-2011, 08:13 AM
Perhaps another type of internal strength is the ability to enter and blend (harmonize) with those who question, doubt, or totally disagree with us.

There is some truth in that, Lynn. However, the further we get from the roots of the martial art of aikido, the more we see people trying to neuter all martial utility from the art. When this happens, the form of technique becomes an end in itself and even that becomes subservient to a philosophy loosely based on Morihei Ueshiba's words, but which, along with the strange way of practicing techniques, he would not recognize. As he shouted in anger at his students, "That is not my aikido!" I say in some irritation, "That is not aikido!"

Our tendency is that the more energy someone gives us, the more resistance we offer back.

Well, we could see it as "resistance" or simply as fudoshin.

I remember being told about a rule of 10. If your opponent gives you 9 units of energy, you only need to respond with 1 (9+1=10). If an opponent gives you 5 units of energy, you only need to respond with 5 (5+5=10).

IMHO, the more internal strength (physically, energetically, and psychologically) we have the more we can invite disagreement without giving up our own balance or center. If someone can take our balance and center by simply questioning or disagreeing with us, it only proves we need more training.

Again, that is true and it is also true that on the internet everyone may appear equally valid--especially if they have some credentials, however smalll. And it is important that posters understand that it's a bad idea to preach a philosophy of aikido that distorts the original roots and truth of the art and the people who created it, especially when they simultaneously insult people who are still following that root path. If someone with some small credentials is not challenged by his slightly more experienced peers, that kind of thing can take roots of its own. Already in the US, that kind of attitude has grown large (though hardly strong--Heaven forbid any strength should appear anywhere). We see empty technique and more and more we're seeing elaborate ukemi that would have been dangerous to the uke if the nage were someone like O Sensei, Saito Sensei or Gozo Shioda Sensei. It is important that inexperienced people mislead those with even less experience by suggesting that we remove the heart of aikido because it is evil--that by removing the real spirit of budo, we can more closely approximate what O Sensei intended. It simply isn't so.

The only reason we shoot the messenger is that they just might be speaking the truth.

Well, take any video clip of Gozo Shioda in action. Take away all the internal power. Take away all the strength. What do you have left? There would be nothing. Who would find Shioda interesting or inspiring in the least? No one.

Now we see people doing this flowery spinning art they call aikido and when anyone questions its validity, the practitioners cannot prove it. They have to tell you a long (and usually very fanciful) story about how great Morihei Ueshiba was. Or maybe they'll show you a video clip of him throwing people everywhere with the very internal strength that they don't have and which they have labeled "power hungry" or "badass". But take those elements out of the videos and what's left? It wouldn't even impress the people who are doing the flowery philosophical modern dance kind of thing in hakama.

It's really unfortunate when people try to edit history. Living where you do, you must have heard many people explain that the Civil War was not fought over slavery. Even when the various states' proclamations of secession specifically cite threats to their rights to hold slaves as a prime motivation for secession, these people continue to preach that slavery was not a motivation. That kind of lie (or mistaught history) has to be confronted.

And so it is, for me, with aikido.

I'd much rather go to a dojo and encounter someone who is far too strong and centered for me to move them than to go where everyone falls when I just turn my head.

So I accept your criticisms and I stand by my own.

Best to you.

David

phitruong
01-26-2011, 08:15 AM
Again similar lines:

"Aikido is the marvelous functioning of kototama [cosmic vibrations] and misogi [purification of body and mind]"

Source: The Heart of Aikido, The Philosophy of Takamusu Aiki, Morihei Ueshiba.

thought i throw out some information for thought. Gleason sensei has written a book or so about kotadama and misogi. i believed he has been training IS with Dan Harden who probably sing off-key most of the time and believed misogi involved beer chugging (now i am going to hide from dan). :D

gates
01-26-2011, 08:20 AM
thought i throw out some information for thought. Gleason sensei has written a book or so about kotadama and misogi. i believed he has been training IS with Dan Harden who probably sing off-key most of the time and believed misogi involved beer chugging (now i am going to hide from dan). :D

There are some obvious and interesting links between the Kototama Principle and IS. Gleason's kototama publications are on my list, once I have read what I have got.

Keith

gregstec
01-26-2011, 08:54 AM
There are some obvious and interesting links between the Kototama Principle and IS. Gleason's kototama publications are on my list, once I have read what I have got.

Keith

Interesting point - IMO, most people focus on the spiritual aspect of Kototama. However, If you strip away that spiritual wrapper, what is left is a very physical internal vibration that is set up in the body when the Kototama is recited. Now take your mental intent and direct that vibration to different parts of your body. This does two things: 1) it gives you mental awareness of areas of the body your mind normally does not visit, and 2) the vibration internally exercises those areas you take it to. Just a thought to consider :)

Greg

jonreading
01-26-2011, 08:59 AM
As an aside...

I used to get up in arms when I saw someone teaching bad aikido or passing bad information about aikido. As I studied aikido history and the history of other arts something started popping out to me... O'Sensei and some of the other early shihan cut things from the core curriculum of Aikido but they made references and left a path for others to find that stuff if you looked hard enough. I think in some regard they did this to protect the art; if you don't have the motivation, you don't get the goods. This thinking allowed me to relax somewhat when I hear the "there is no..." arguments.

You don't believe in internal power. Fine. It doesn't exist.
You don't believe in striking in aikido. Fine. There is no striking in aikido.
You don't believe in weapons in akido. Fine. There are no weapons in aikido.

I think the question for those of use who believe in internal power is why do we feel its important to our larger training, and how do we incorporate it into our training. Do we need an expert to host a seminar to get that information, can we incorporate training exercises in our class time, etc.

The larger fear that exists is that the number of have-nots will exceed the number of haves and force the haves to the fringe of the art. If this happens, aikido will undergoe a huge shedding of practicioners who understand the art and leave behind the shell of practioners who will transform aikido into a modern exercise. Internal strength is one of those lost components of aikido and that makes the have-nots nervous because they are ignorant of it and they are not motivated to learn more about it. I believe this is a similar modality to how aikido pushed the knowledge of and use of atemi to the fringe of aikido.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-26-2011, 09:08 AM
Hi Keith,

My pleasure;
Thanks.

Leaving aside the possibility of an exercise of ideology in the translator's work (which I'm not prepared to adress properly), have you considered that for standing on Ame-no-ukihashi dancing the Kagura-mai while praying for a great love of all nations of the world, etc., a great degree of IS developement is not only required but essential?

What if IS developement, the psycho-physical changes it provides, what allows a person with a cosmology/set of religious-spiritual beliefs like the ones O Sensei espoused consider himself not the ultimate badass but the ultimate shaman?

thisisnotreal
01-26-2011, 09:20 AM
So I can stand in the floating bridge.

Hi Demetrio - Curious, Why did you say that?

George S. Ledyard
01-26-2011, 09:24 AM
Perhaps it's because they've seen the advocates of IP as self-represented in these forums, and their presentation and expressed attitudes towards categories of people here causes doubts about what they'd be like in person, as a teacher.

Hi Mary,
Interestingly enough, they do much better in person...by magnitudes.
- George

gates
01-26-2011, 09:28 AM
Interesting point - IMO, most people focus on the spiritual aspect of Kototama. However, If you strip away that spiritual wrapper, what is left is a very physical internal vibration that is set up in the body when the Kototama is recited. Now take your mental intent and direct that vibration to different parts of your body. This does two things: 1) it gives you mental awareness of areas of the body your mind normally does not visit, and 2) the vibration internally exercises those areas you take it to. Just a thought to consider :)

Greg

I think that you are dead right, as I understand it (without citation), it is the physical vibrations sounded through the human voice that synchronize with brain activity, to form certain states, like alpha brain waves for instance. And if mind and body are mindbody, ie linked (which they surely are) then this brain activity has to have a physical effect on the body. It is also interesting to note that the kanji for ki is derived from steam coming from a pot, (vertical fire/horizontal water?). I may even go so far as to suggest that this point of union between spirit-matter is ameno ukihashi.

I can see that the kototama void-space at the center of a whirlpool, (like a black hole) to which energy expands and concentrates is the one point. Presumably IP is the ability to connect, or absorb the 'opponents' outpouring of ki into your own center. Sure that this is only scratching the surface of what is a deep and intricate topic, it is very interesting.

I attended a Tada seminar in Tokkyo a couple of years back and he had us all doing Kototama (sounding SU) - breath concentration exercises and movements, focusing the energy into hara and circulating it around the body. Some info got lost in translation but in essence you could see him making the connection between kototama and the one point as the center of ki generation in the body.

lbb
01-26-2011, 09:39 AM
Hi Mary,
Interestingly enough, they do much better in person...by magnitudes.
- George

Hi George,

It's reassuring to hear that that's so in general. Unfortunately, for someone in one of the certain categories, it might not be. Attitudes slip and show up in posts in Aikiweb, and they don't come from thin air, so where do they come from?

gregstec
01-26-2011, 09:41 AM
.

I attended a Tada seminar in Tokkyo a couple of years back and he had us all doing Kototama (sounding SU) - breath concentration exercises and movements, focusing the energy into hara and circulating it around the body. Some info got lost in translation but in essence you could see him making the connection between kototama and the one point as the center of ki generation in the body.

:)

Lorel Latorilla
01-26-2011, 09:44 AM
All this talk about 'seeking power' and its moralistic implications has made me think a bit.

Before, I thought doing Bujutsu in and of itself would make better people, but I don't see that now. That is, advanced skills in martial arts does not necessarily correspond to high moral character. Look around you, in the world of martial arts--there are snakes, jealousy, arrogance, teachers that deliberately lie and hide from students, and the whole bit of it. A lot of these guys got serious skills too.

In some sense, the knowledge in Bujutsu can make you a better person in the sense that it will give you a sense of awe at the dynamics of nature--but you can say the same about quantum mechanics, or music. All of these things are morally neutral. In the end, how a person is is what will determine how he will use his knowledge in Bujutsu--either for selfless purposes of self-aggrandizement. A person who has the same level of knowledge as Einstein can, for instance, make weapons of mass destruction and sell it to military officials and make big bucks off it. Or a brilliant writer can cloak his writing and keep it from looking propagandistic and use it to persuade people to his ideology.

There are those also that see Bujutsu as vessel, a mechanism to bring about mercy to those who are weak, and justice to those who feed upon the weak (the tyrants, the bullies, etc.) and to do all these as efficiently as possible. It could be as simple as defending yourself, defending your family and friends, or to more specific like stomping through the doors of a tyrant and punching him in the throat and ending a 20 year reign of terrible oppression.

I can see why some people would question the 'search for internal power' as there are possible Faustian consequences. But power, in and of itself, is morally neutral as I mentioned above (haven't you guys learned anything from Star Wars??!). Nothing wrong with power at all--in fact, devoid of any power, the ideals of Aikido are merely fluffy idealisms. Harmony sounds nice, but it is a nasty business often brought about through the destruction, the humiliation, and the justice brought to the one who refuses to 'harmonize'--it is impossible for someone like that to willingly 'harmonize' with you. Of course, this nasty business of harmony must be accomplished through Bujutsu, through power and efficiency. You training in tenkan and irimi are exercises to bring about efficiency in achieving your goal--in other words, there is a push for power there.

All the IP guys are saying is that there is a better way to train, a method and a way of movement that is more efficient. Whether that is true or not is tested on the mat, not on the net. However, I think it is misguided to think that people are doing something wrong when they are pursuing power when you yourself are seeking a form of power.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-26-2011, 09:44 AM
Hi Demetrio - Curious, Why did you say that?

To see what happens.;)

Mike Sigman
01-26-2011, 09:59 AM
Hi Mary,
Interestingly enough, they do much better in person...by magnitudes.
- GeorgeUmmmmmmm..... I dunno, George. I always see two sides to a story. Go back and look at some of the posts by some high-ranking Aikidoists a few years back who were trying to shut down discussions about internal strength or trying to discount the fact that there was anything they didn't know that was related to Aikido. Would that be "attitude"? How about the lengthy thread on Aikido (trust me, there are worse ones on other forums like rec.martial-arts, etc.) about why people don't like ('hate' was the term used) Aikidoists. The way to avoid all the back-and-forth about attitudes and personalities is to discuss the topic, not make the constant snide references. Period. At least in my opinion. What Aikidoists can do to improve their image in the outside world has got a lot to do with the same topic.

In terms of searching for internal strength (the topic of the thread) the main thing that I've seen which kills most chance of progress is ego and fear of loss of face. The other thing that kills actual progress is what I call "TMI from TMS".... too much information from too many sources. Meaning that most people seldom get their basics right, so they either go nowhere or they go down some limited dead-end. What people need to do is to go find out what internal strength is (not via showy demo's... I mean find out what it is definitively) and decide whether it was worth the effort Ueshiba Sensei put into it or whether a lot of teachers of 'Aikido' today actually do know better than Ueshiba did. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

phitruong
01-26-2011, 10:00 AM
There are some obvious and interesting links between the Kototama Principle and IS. Gleason's kototama publications are on my list, once I have read what I have got.

Keith

i don't know whether there is or not the link between kotatama and IS, since i am not an expert in either one. the point i tried to bring up, is that an person who spent many years practicing kotatama, yet, later in years, went in search for IS in a practitioner who had not (probably) focus on kotatama. one has to pause and wonder and ask why is that?

George S. Ledyard
01-26-2011, 10:09 AM
I really think that a number of people are turned off a) both the tone these discussions often take (manly men doing manly things) and b) the term "internal power" itself.

As a person who is doing a bit ofhis work but certainly is no expert, I'll say that whereas power is a result of this work, I don't see it as the main point fro an Aikido perspective.

If you wish to understand O-Sensei's statements about "I am the Universe" or "I am at the center of the Universe" or "I am standing on the Bridge of Heaven" etc, doing some internal work is the way to do it. The work is about developing a far more sophisticated understanding of how the complex web of connections work in the body on the myo-fascial level and developing some conscious control over them using the intent.

Aikido people spend all their time learning to bring the forces of the attacker into balance with the defender. I would think that pretty much any Aikido person would agree with that. The problem with normal muscle power is that as the source of power for Aikido waza it can be countered by superior muscle power. Yes, good movement and efficient application of forces can be successful, but when the power of the attacker is too much greater than yours. this way of doing things becomes increasingly difficult until you reach the failure point.

Internal work is about bringing your own body into complete balance. Outward energy is in complete balance with receiving energy. The body is given structure, not by muscle tightness, which is how most of us accomplish stability, but by using the ligaments, tendons, and fascia to set up balanced, counter tensions, that support the structure, make it strong but flexible, and allow you to keep your musculature relaxed.

As you start to be able to do some of his, even on a remedial level, technique becomes about moving you, not moving the other guy. Anyone who has had the fortune to work with Ikeda Sensei recently will recognize that this is what he's demonstrating, in fact the flat out states it. Whereas he certainly has more power than he ever had, when you watch him do his Aikido work, he is seldom showing it. Most of what he does is soft, effortless, and requires almost zero effort, other than moving himself.

He does a good job, I think, of showing that this work is a continuum. He'll start quite large and progressively shrink the size of the movement until he gets to the point at which all motive force is internal. The partner runs up and grabs and instantly has his balance broken, at the instant of contact. Unless he has some reason to really uncork, the partner typically takes a lot less beating than in a more conventional way of doing technique i which there is some opposition between what uke wants and what nage wants. This stuff is really about finding ways to give direction to the energy of he connection.

I simply can't envision an Aikido practitioner who wouldn't like to have technique like that if he or she could. This shouldn't be a controversial topic... The way some of the advocates interact with each other and with folks from the Aikido community can put folks off, certainly. But if yo can get past the Presentation to the actual work itself, I can't emphasize enough how helpful it can be to taking ones Aikido to another level, especially for the folks who never had and never will have the strength and power that many of the large, strong males have.

Mary Eastland
01-26-2011, 10:15 AM
That puts it in a nutshell, George.
thanks,
Mary

David Orange
01-26-2011, 10:17 AM
Hi Mary,
Interestingly enough, they do much better in person...by magnitudes.

And I think that's because in person, all the reality filters have to drop and everyone has to deal with pure reality. Intellectual arguments just have to stop when they're physically and immediately shown to be nonsense. And then we can all have an great time together, making real and serious improvements in our lives and our shared art.

I remember, man, I hated Rob John on the internet. But he was very nice in person, very calm and intellectually sharp. And his technique was the kind of thing that would have inspired the old-time guys to call "divine."

Best to you.

David

David Orange
01-26-2011, 10:23 AM
However, I think it is misguided to think that people are doing something wrong when they are pursuing power when you yourself are seeking a form of power.

And it's pretty funny to hear some people complaining about "attitudes" of other people when they, themselves, constantly dig to find and broadcast some point of contention. Very contentious people, who constantly accuse other people of contentiousness! :p

Gassho.

David

Lorel Latorilla
01-26-2011, 10:29 AM
And it's pretty funny to hear some people complaining about "attitudes" of other people when they, themselves, constantly dig to find and broadcast some point of contention. Very contentious people, who constantly accuse other people of contentiousness! :p

Gassho.

David

Wow, I was actually gonna write that but I felt it was a distraction from the rest of the post. Nice addendum. Ki-communication there, bud!

George S. Ledyard
01-26-2011, 10:30 AM
And I think that's because in person, all the reality filters have to drop and everyone has to deal with pure reality. Intellectual arguments just have to stop when they're physically and immediately shown to be nonsense. And then we can all have an great time together, making real and serious improvements in our lives and our shared art.

I remember, man, I hated Rob John on the internet. But he was very nice in person, very calm and intellectually sharp. And his technique was the kind of thing that would have inspired the old-time guys to call "divine."

Best to you.

David

I long ago gave up expecting to find decent social skills amongst a group of eccentric martial arts geniuses. Folks who take their skills to such a level have usually done so by being fanatic about their training. Being fanatic about anything is not the road to personal balance and geniuses have historically been terribly difficult people in many ways. All of the folks posting here are far, far more enjoyable when a) they aren't talking to each other and b) you can work with them in person. The internet and written communication does NOT bring out the best in these folks, and their best friends would be the first to admit that, I think.

kewms
01-26-2011, 10:34 AM
I'm reminded of a discussion thread on a political forum which began when the blog host pointed out that calling your political opponent a "Nazi" or a "socialist" (or both at once!) is not actually an effective way to persuade people to your side and convince them that you're serious.

It very quickly devolved into a debate over whether President Obama is in fact a Nazi, or a socialist, or both.

Assuming that someone who disagrees with you has evil intentions (for however you define "evil") is not usually all that productive. Telling them that they do is even less so.

Katherine

Mike Sigman
01-26-2011, 10:38 AM
The way some of the advocates interact with each other and with folks from the Aikido community can put folks off, certainly. But if yo can get past the Presentation to the actual work itself, I can't emphasize enough how helpful it can be to taking ones Aikido to another level, especially for the folks who never had and never will have the strength and power that many of the large, strong males have.Again, though, I'd suggest that now you're aware of the fact that there are some body skills focused on "internal strength", you should go back and re-read some of the discussions on AikiWeb a few years back. IIRC, a lot of discussion about "attitude" was also very common, but if you look at the discussions now, you can see that the "attitude" had a lot to do with attacks from "senior" Aikidoists trying to trivialize and personally attack. Not to bring in recriminations, but to point out, for the second time, that there's usually two sides to a discussion about "attitude".

Manly, I don't know about, but my inclination is that *any* folderol that is not directly on topic can lead to problems. Including people with attitudes constantly bringing up 'attitudes'. ;)

There were also some discussions early on about how these kinds of skills could benefit smaller-framed people with less physical strength, but at the time the idea was discarded by "seniors" on AikiWeb. Regardless, I'm glad you agree with the idea. I've thought about that aspect of it for years and a lot of what I do is constantly work in the direction of finding the quickest and most effective way of training those kinds of skills/strengths, with that in mind. I don't envision training those skills in terms of Aikido or any particular martial-art, but I agree that it's an area of great interest.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

David Orange
01-26-2011, 10:39 AM
Aikido people spend all their time learning to bring the forces of the attacker into balance with the defender.

The problem I see in modern aikido is that it has cut out the "forces of the attacker" and also the necessity of nage's "bringing those forces into balance" because the "attacker" is not attacking but handing his own "forces" into the defender's hands and refusing even to let himself be detached by the defender's irrelevant movements. In other words, the attacker will fall almost regardless of what the defender does.

And people who have trained exclusively in that milieu develop the deep instinct that any real use of any real forces is at best "wrong" and at worst "evil" (or maybe even somehow worse than evil :p ).

So that kind of person puts out crazy criteria which would eliminate the real Morihei Ueshiba and get him banned from half the dojos in the US!

So you take a passive-aggressive person who disdains real interactions, preaching an idealized morality found nowhere in nature and put them with a person who really wants only the truth no matter how much it blood hurts (:p ). Why shouldn't the truth-seeker be just as aggressive in his POV as the passive-aggressive truth-constructor?

There's just bound to be disagreements, arguments and some bad behavior and hurt feelings all around (and the hurt feelings are often among the honest seekers of truth when some cadre of the passive-aggressive tries to enforce the fantasy "truth").

So sad.

Best to you.

David

DH
01-26-2011, 11:01 AM
Dan Harden..... who probably sings off-key most of the time and believed misogi involved beer chugging (now i am going to hide from dan). :D
Well, considering I used to sing and play professionally and I prefer wine or martinis....I just consider it as accurate as some other things I read here about me. So, no need to hide Phi!;)
Cheers
Dan

Diana Frese
01-26-2011, 11:49 AM
This thread is very popular, and I noticed that something that sparked my interest was picked up again, so I feel the need to
comment. It is, "the floating bridge."

Now it will take me quite some time to read Peter Goldsbury's fascinating explanations of Kojiki, which contain what would be called in anthropology the Japanese creation myths.

I don't have a copy of Sugano Sensei's DVD "between heaven and
earth" but when I can responsibly spend family money to buy it, (I guess even if we don't have a DVD player we could use the regular computer for it)

I think it will be of interest to see what he has to say about the
floating bridge if that is indeed what the title means. I have heard
Aikido described as Ame no Ukihashi, no doubt one of the other direct deshi who said this heard it from O Sensei himself

Anyway, I saw Demetrio's comment way back when balance had been brought up in the thread and used it simply to motivate myself to post a simple comment on my own need to learn to train for better balance. Francis on this month's column validated my concern with attending to whatever physical limitations one may have in order to train and learn further....

Fire and water, someone mentioned. Waiting for the well repair technicians, we have been using water my brothers brought and some from the roof which we collect under the drainpipe and bottle in milk and water containers to save for daily needs. And constantly bringing in firewood to save on fuel and electric costs.

Then my husband mentioned that the snow from the logs had melted onto the hearth and since I insisted on re using hand paper towels would I please go mop it up with some of them.....

Sometimes I wonder about "lessons from nature"....and then
there are those wonderful people who post about the beauty of winter. It warms my heart.

But Demetrio, help me out here. What did you mean by your statement, now that I have given what it means to me?

Diana Frese
01-26-2011, 12:05 PM
Following what I call the volleyball approach to life, I'm going to bat it into the air one more time. Regarding "Suuuu -- it symbolizes the origin, Saotome Sensei told us years ago. Then I think it went on to O and then A and then E(y) I (ee) But you will have to check this out for yourselves, those of you who haven't studied this. I just heard of it a couple of times. One time it was connected with the actual technique Irimi Nage. ASU people, help me out here, I just batted the topic into the air one more time for you to take over. I have not seen Saotome Sensei since 1983 due to my aforementioned job changes, marriage, non aikido related injuries and various family obligations financial concerns etc etc

You all on Aiki web have caused the techniques to come alive for me again and I think this time I really will be back to practice, whatever shape I may or may not be in. Thank you so much, I hope at least some of my posts are helpful to strengthen parts of the threads others are interested in as I am.

Gary David
01-26-2011, 12:28 PM
Folks
I had a conversation yesterday with a friend to now lives in Hawaii about this whole subject of what can be taught and what can be learned. His general approach is that all you can get from your teachers is a "Google" type map with a few locations labeled. The journey through that map is yours to take and yours to discover what other locations may be on the map. His comment about individuals like Morihei Ueshiba is that the map has even fewer location clearly defined and one is even more on there own. Even the aspects of the art that are codified into a syllabus are still presented through the perspective of the individual creating it and reflect their vision…a vision that the rest of us individuals can never duplicate in its sameness. Each of us create our own path. It is like Johnnie Cash's sone about building the car from pieces he (in the song) took from the factory one at a time ending up with a 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952…….. car. This is what our art is and it is up to each of us to mold it in to something that is usable. We all need help in this, we need the mechanical help, we need the electrical help, we need to understand how ignition and the lighting works…..repairs skills…all this that can be learned from someone. The tools are out there to be found and they used in a way that is personal to each of us as individuals. What is being put forward here by many when talking to the need of IS training is a another sets of tools that are available if one wants to utilize them. Not necessary, but available. It is my opinion that for most on the main track these tools were not made available even as an option. I don't see this as a failure, just a lost opportunity. Why do I say this….

Much of my time through the early 90's was spent in a pushed training environment. In that time and since I have developed a solid base, movement with that base and my center dropping into the movement, thinking I was leading with that center, and a certain level of awareness that helps understand what may be coming. During that period I took a limited amount of ukemi from a broad spectrum of the big time Aikikai and KI instructors. In the late 70's Koichi Tohei came to our dojo every time he was in southern California. I got my hands on him and even tried to apply techniques to him. I felt him and he had something beyond the general sysllabus. He had a number of tests and checks for some of what we are talking about here, but the details are always what get us and there just was not enough detail in the approach to get you past a starting level. Of all of the of the folks associated with him at the time, and that I had the opportunity to touch, none had the feel he had.

I have grabbed onto a bunch of others folks I ran into around Aikido over the years and of these only a very few let drop something that I felt was outside the normal syllabus and only one of these was Japanese. This was Mitsugi Saotome Sensei who destabilized me during a throw that left me wondering how he had done it when it was clear to me it was not muscle, not perfect placement or position, not just timing or technique. I never figured it out nor got any details in what/how had happened. The only other individual that I have had contact with that has been able to throw me this way has been John Clodig, an Aiki Jujitsu practitioner in the San Diego who studied for some years with Don Angier, the links in part going back through Kenji Yoshida. Kotaro Yoshida and Takeda Sokaku. I have been friends with John for over 30 years, but have only in the past few years have I gotten around to talking about his being able to destabilize on contact. John would throw me without effort or a feeling forced effort on his part. Even when I set up, settling myself into a stabilized frame and structure he threw me without much effort on his part. Only when John slowed way down so I could feel the weight transfer down to my feet did I have an idea what was happening. I didn't know I was on the edge until it was to late and there was nothing I could work against.

Two other Americans who had spent actual face time with Morihei Ueshiba did some things that were outside what I would consider the normal syslabus . One was Terry Dobson, he of the moldy rope. Once when I was setting up to attack Terry during a seminar I couldn't get settled enough to initiate the attack. After a moment he moved a bit and I was free to attack. Don't ask because I don't know. Whatever it was it was not part of the normal syllabus.

During a weeklong camp in the San Francisco area in the 80'a while taking an evening class with Robert Nadeau, who is noted for his interest in good technique and human consciousness development, we were way in the back and started to play around with kotodarma sounds. My friend was training Aikido in San Diego with BJ Carlisle, a Native Hawaiian Kahuna, who had a strong interest at the time in the use of sounds in his Aikido. We had talked about this on the drive up to the camp and the sounds seemed to us to fit into what Robert Nadeau was talking to that evening. As I said we were way in the back of the mat and decided to play with the sound at a barely auditable level. In a short time Robert was back there with us like he had sensed something and was trying to find it….we shutdown and he went back to the front of the class. It just struck me that he caught something on the edge of his awareness that pulled him back to us. Again we just shut down and never said anything.

All of the other named folks I took ukemi from all had great skills, with timing and all included. None of the other instructors who passed through showed anything other than what I would consider the standard technical syllabus, it was to me just good technique, great movement and impeccable timing. All that could be achieved through the basics we were offered and standard training over time. That is not to say they didn't have it, but they were not showing it or teaching it.

What individual like Dan Harden, Minoru Akuzawa, Kenji Ushiro, Mike Sigman, Howard Popkin, and others are offering are exercises to help develop these tools, body skills and the experience of these tools/skills that offer a window into what more is possible. These gentlemen offer this in public locations that allows anyone to come and "check it out" hands on. Individuals like Don Angier, Toby Treadgrill, John Clodig, and others here in the west are offering similar skills sets within their arts in a more private setting. Others like Ellis Amdur are writing about these body skills in their columns and books. Books like the "Transparent Power" by Tatsuo Kimura as a discussion of his Daito-Ryu teacher Yukiyoshi Sagawa skills and experiences point to the possibility that something more exists beyond technical training we have so far been exposed to. None of this tells people they have to do this.

I did take ukemi from another of major Aikikai instructors on more than a few occasions when the group I was part of was in his organization back in the 80's. I spent most of my time trying to keep out of his way so I didn't lose anything. On those times when I crossed weapons with him I could feel him coming, and I continued to get out of his way. I mention this because I have crossed training weapons with Dan and I couldn't feel his movement of the weapon coming. Dan said this is how I do it and here are the exercises that will get you to this point if you work hard enough. Part of what Dan was showing was use of the dantien, an articulated movement of the dantien. Dan also provided experiences and exercises to help with this. Mike Sigman, like Dan offers exercises and experiences that help understand what is going on and what you need to do to get there. The problem is that the solo work is boring and hard to stay with.

Another point here is that I am trying to get to the minimum use of power stuff and I see the display of the overt power, like the heavy hitting and resisting heavy pushes as one end of the spectrum and the most likely visible evidence of the existence of more. Is it easier to accept the possibilities of the all if you can see some part of the whole spectrum.

Long post....sorry for all of this length.....

phitruong
01-26-2011, 01:03 PM
Long post....sorry for all of this length.....

where is the kitchen sink, gary? go back and write some more, you lazy person! :)

David Orange
01-26-2011, 01:29 PM
Folks
I had a conversation yesterday with a friend to now lives in Hawaii ...

Wow. Very good.

Thanks!

David

Budd
01-26-2011, 02:19 PM
The problem is that the solo work is boring and hard to stay with.


This is a big reason why a lot of people don't get very far. Or just do a little bit and they they have it well enough to incorporate and then they are just "doing" it . . without actually developing tangible skills.

You really do have to transform your body from how it fundamentally moves to get the discrete skillset. Some arts have(had) that as part of the foundational practice. Maybe some will again in the future.

Mike Sigman
01-26-2011, 02:32 PM
You really do have to transform your body from how it fundamentally moves to get the discrete skillset. Just to toss this in..... back in the 90's there were a number of people who were studying "secret qigongs" from anyone who they could convince to take their money. One of the common phrases I'd hear and see on internet forums was something like "I can feel my body changing". Be careful when you get into the "transform your body" stuff.... it could just be the onset of puberty. :D

Mike

Eric in Denver
01-26-2011, 02:46 PM
Just to toss this in..... back in the 90's there were a number of people who were studying "secret qigongs" from anyone who they could convince to take their money. One of the common phrases I'd hear and see on internet forums was something like "I can feel my body changing". Be careful when you get into the "transform your body" stuff.... it could just be the onset of puberty. :D

Mike

If that is what is going to happen, I am quitting all this IS stuff.:yuck:

Budd
01-26-2011, 03:09 PM
Just to toss this in..... back in the 90's there were a number of people who were studying "secret qigongs" from anyone who they could convince to take their money. One of the common phrases I'd hear and see on internet forums was something like "I can feel my body changing". Be careful when you get into the "transform your body" stuff.... it could just be the onset of puberty. :D

Mike

Yeah but I write-off the normal shit talkers that have convinced themselves that all it takes is a seminar to incorporate "this stuff" . . . ;)

As for puberty - anyone believing IS will make THAT happen . . should buy a bridge from me . .

George S. Ledyard
01-26-2011, 04:38 PM
Ummmmmmm..... I dunno, George. I always see two sides to a story. Go back and look at some of the posts by some high-ranking Aikidoists a few years back who were trying to shut down discussions about internal strength or trying to discount the fact that there was anything they didn't know that was related to Aikido. Would that be "attitude"? How about the lengthy thread on Aikido (trust me, there are worse ones on other forums like rec.martial-arts, etc.) about why people don't like ('hate' was the term used) Aikidoists. The way to avoid all the back-and-forth about attitudes and personalities is to discuss the topic, not make the constant snide references. Period. At least in my opinion. What Aikidoists can do to improve their image in the outside world has got a lot to do with the same topic.

In terms of searching for internal strength (the topic of the thread) the main thing that I've seen which kills most chance of progress is ego and fear of loss of face. The other thing that kills actual progress is what I call "TMI from TMS".... too much information from too many sources. Meaning that most people seldom get their basics right, so they either go nowhere or they go down some limited dead-end. What people need to do is to go find out what internal strength is (not via showy demo's... I mean find out what it is definitively) and decide whether it was worth the effort Ueshiba Sensei put into it or whether a lot of teachers of 'Aikido' today actually do know better than Ueshiba did. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

From my standpoint, I was being quite inclusive in my statement while addressing the fact that the folks I was addressing had certain individuals in mind. Aikido folks are absolutely no more functional than anyone else and the folks that are the most skillful are generally not the folks one picks to emulate in ones own life. The folks most of us would feel we'd like to emulate are usually the ones we consider "well balanced". I am not altogether sure that great mastery of anything is conducive to this kind of balance. On some level great mastery is abnormal. It takes more talent, more focus, more effort, pretty much more everything than an average person would put into anything. We may have evolved with the capacity for mastery but it was never the norm throughout or evolution, or even required for survival. Therefore, I'd say that most folks who have achieved great mastery over anything are very likely not what anyone would consider well balanced. And in the martial arts, so many folks come to the training our of fear as the original motivator, that not very functional people at the top is more the norm than not. This is certainly true of Aikido.

Mike Sigman
01-26-2011, 04:52 PM
And in the martial arts, so many folks come to the training our of fear as the original motivator, that not very functional people at the top is more the norm than not. This is certainly true of Aikido.I understood your point, George, and it's a valid one. My point is more along the lines that most dysfunctional people may not have a balanced-enough ability to determine whether someone else is attitudinally dysfunctional. The fact that there is so much discussion about other peoples' attitude in an art that largely espouses quasi-spiritual ideals has puzzled me since 1974. It doesn't puzzle people on the outside very much, if you've ever read perspectives on Aikido in other forums. Be that as it may, as soon as someone starts talking about "attitudes" on an Aikido forum I tend to give a grin. Friendly grin, of course. ;)

Mike

Diana Frese
01-26-2011, 10:06 PM
This is a long thread and I'm sorry I missed David's answer to my
post when I later jumped back in and posted on another page. Yes I will be viewing the video again when we have an afternoon to deal with dial up but whatever we may find, we still have much to learn from it.

my husband and I just got into a discussion of knife attacks and he said in those circumstances it's not going to be easy, and as a matter of fact in a book by Shigeru Egami of Shotokan he said the advice was that in such cases you have to do whatever it takes to save your life even if it means grabbing the knife.

But returning to the video, yes I did note much that did indeed look like what we seem to be aiming for, and furthermore it was filmed in a teaching situation. My husband says the student did very well in general.

It reminds me of my teaching days, not very many years in duration and many years ago at the local YMCA and a nearby YWCA. I hope I taught both aspects of Aikido, and by taught, I mean worked on with the help of my students, hoping they learned something too. I used examples from what may be called the popular culture, such as Lucy the comedienne of television in the famous mirror image scene, I had the students mirror the hand movements of each other as if standing behind a screen. I don't think I was trying to teach IP or IS per se, I was just trying to teach them how to keep track of uke at all times. We also attempted some more heavy duty stuff, like where uke's line of force actually is. In ushiro tekubi tori "in the motion" my assistant had his energy directed at the right wrist, but hadn't extended toward the left while coming around. So I just pointed down with the hand that had actually been grabbed. From the ground my assistant was heard to comment, "Eat mat...."

I'm not trying to sound like an expert or put down the value of training in IP or IS, but there are a lot of things we can get a glimpse of even in our own dojos. Knowing where uke is and where his or her energy is is a start, I think.

Erick Mead
01-26-2011, 10:43 PM
And I think that's because in person, all the reality filters have to drop and everyone has to deal with pure reality. Intellectual arguments just have to stop when they're physically and immediately shown to be nonsense. And then we can all have an great time together, making real and serious improvements in our lives and our shared art.
You say that as though true intellectual engagement is less sincere or honest than physical engagement. It is true they cannot substitute for one another, but they are necessary complements, and have been seen so since ancient times, in all arts of war.

Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won. Whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
-- Sun Zi
Hou Shi (commentator) "In warfare, first lay plans which will ensure victory, and then lead your army to battle; if you will not begin with stratagem but rely on brute strength alone, victory will no longer be assured."

Intellect is also power, especially when training, and deciding how to train. Understanding is not merely physical, though that aspect cannot be diminished -- grasping the intellectual "what" of the thing -- as well as the physical display of it -- will enable its manipulation in ways that are not necessarily obvious from the method by which it is first learned.

But a refusal to play, carefully, with some of the the sharp knives in the intellectual drawer -- that just leaves us all with this gaping disconnect between action, understanding and explanation -- and that cannot be a good thing -- if for no other reason, than it simply feeds this very manner of false controversy that keeps cropping up on this topic.

Not here, and not now, thankfully.

Erick Mead
01-26-2011, 10:46 PM
Yeah but I write-off the normal shit talkers that have convinced themselves that all it takes is a seminar to incorporate "this stuff" . . . ;)

As for puberty - anyone believing IS will make THAT happen . . should buy a bridge from me . .
I have this floating bridge I can sell you -- wholesale ... and, for you, ... I make special price ...;)

Eric in Denver
01-27-2011, 12:16 AM
Yeah but I write-off the normal shit talkers that have convinced themselves that all it takes is a seminar to incorporate "this stuff" . . . ;)

As for puberty - anyone believing IS will make THAT happen . . should buy a bridge from me . .

Do you take counter checks?:D

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-27-2011, 02:07 AM
Just to toss this in..... back in the 90's there were a number of people who were studying "secret qigongs" from anyone who they could convince to take their money. One of the common phrases I'd hear and see on internet forums was something like "I can feel my body changing". Be careful when you get into the "transform your body" stuff.... it could just be the onset of puberty. :D

Mike

You got that one wrong Mike, it's the onset of old age, not puberty. People keep saying IS counters waning physical strength, and is good for the prostate, perineum and sphincters, no wonder middle-agers (and the soon-to-be) all feel attracted. :D

Demetrio Cereijo
01-27-2011, 06:59 AM
But Demetrio, help me out here. What did you mean by your statement, now that I have given what it means to me?
What did I mean? Meaning is meaningless.

But maybe the landscape seen from there is worth watching. Who knows?

David Orange
01-27-2011, 07:29 AM
This is a long thread and I'm sorry I missed David's answer to my
post when I later jumped back in and posted on another page. Yes I will be viewing the video again when we have an afternoon to deal with dial up but whatever we may find, we still have much to learn from it.

my husband and I just got into a discussion of knife attacks and he said in those circumstances it's not going to be easy, and as a matter of fact in a book by Shigeru Egami of Shotokan he said the advice was that in such cases you have to do whatever it takes to save your life even if it means grabbing the knife.

But returning to the video, yes I did note much that did indeed look like what we seem to be aiming for, and furthermore it was filmed in a teaching situation. My husband says the student did very well in general.

Diana,

I was a bit hard on Tony because he was such a donkey about the serious matters we were discussing, then went on about how only tough technical aikido training mattered. And then I saw his video.

So I was just equally critical.

Still, there were many points where serious errors were presented. If the yodan teacher can't avoid being kicked in the stomach by an ikkyu student, where he leaves himself open by fundamental mishandling of an attack it doesn't look like such reasonable aikido teaching. The student did well enough for a student. They all had good spirit, it seemed, but I saw nothing to justify old Tony's evil eyes in his profile. I'm sure you can easily find better clips to study.

I'm sure old Ton' is a good enough chap, but he came in like a prig and got worse and worse, so...On mats I've been on, someone who goes all tough and savage generally gets the same kind of thing back. And when you have literally no ground to stand on...."It's only a flesh wound!!!"

No biggie.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
01-27-2011, 08:40 AM
You say that as though true intellectual engagement is less sincere or honest than physical engagement. It is true they cannot substitute for one another, but they are necessary complements, and have been seen so since ancient times, in all arts of war.

Erick, the key word is "true intellectual engagement". And that, unfortunately, is what you're missing.

When the "intellectual engagement" is true, there is no discrepancy and everything flows well. But when the "intellectual engagement" is false or simply ignorant, it will stop cold when it encounters the physical truth.

And in your case, since you are clearly afraid to meet Dan, Mike, Ark or Rob, it's clear that you're just amusing yourself by generating meaningless froth. Unfortunately, you want everyone to take it seriously. But how can we take someone seriously who can't be man enough to back up his arguments with a physical proof?

And besides not having the personal integrity to step up and prove your intellectual froth, you have the nerve to pass around baseless rumors about Dan's hurting people in cooperative practice to justify yourself.

Okay, then. You're too weak to face Dan. What about Mike, Ark or Rob?

No.

Again. To place your frothy idle musings beside "true intellectual engagement" is fine for meaningless blather, but in martial arts you only "know" what you can "do." And it's clear you don't know much at all about this topic.

But the worst is to be so cowardly as to impugn the integrity of a fine teacher and then to continue your farthings of "intellectuality" from the safety of your keyboard.

I happened to see your silly response when I opened this thread before logging in. So I took you off "ignore" long enough to say that your bragging and smug superiority deserve absolutely no recognition and no respect until you apologize for the lies you have spread about Dan and show that you're man enough to put up and meet him face to face. Otherwise, you should just shut up.

Don't bother addressing me in any way again until you've done those things. I can get sewage off cable TV. I don't need it from you.

David

Diana Frese
01-27-2011, 08:44 AM
Perhaps I can get away with re-entering this controvery, because in scrolling down and up I saw the quote from Lao Tzu and wonder if the blade is handy should I pick it up.

If I don't present myself as an expert, maybe people will see my points of view, just as someone who observed a few things years ago.....

The Great Panda is surprised at herself for such a martial metaphor. Nowadays she reads of avatars and realizes she has had one for years, She who in a controversy manages to get a symbolic black eye from both.

I'm not backing down from saying I saw things worth studying in that dial up viewing of Tony's video, and what I saw did show among the solid technique of which he writes, what I think IP etc. may be.

Overdramatizing myself, I invoke the name of the great Terry Dobson a few of whose classes and seminars I attended way back when in the mists of time. Now reentering the stream of Aikido via Aiki Web where I intended to find out what people were doing these days as a modern Rip Van Winkle delighted to learn of new people, and old timers I had and old timers I hadn't known years ago......

And find a raging torrent of controversy. Shall I step back, and wait for it to subside, or shall I step forward into the fray with my examples from the mists of time fluttering from my jo and bokken?
Where is Valerie from Fighting Woman News? How can I learn to write well enough to present my points?

The answer seems to come from the air around me. Why not make some points, then.

Seriously, all I can offer is this. Terry Dobson was trying to get one of my students to make a concerted attack. Hit me, he ordered. So Robert, the wiry soccer player type, hauled off and slugged him in the stomach. "Are you trying to kill me?" Terry complained.

No disrespect to Terry, I admire him a lot, so maybe the point is the generosity of the teacher. Like the famousTerry, one time uchideshi one may say, of O Sensei, Tony may have been focusing on drawing the students out, not on protecting himself. After all, my husband pointed out, it wasn't a demo, it was a class, kind of like being on Candid Camera, because the students just filmed it themselves.

The Dobson story is only a start. Tune in later if any of you are not totally bored with my posts. Next time, what about IP and kokyu ryoku in the early days of NYAikikai. There seemed to be a lot of both there, to my mind. And that was, and I'm sure still is, a major solid dojo.

Please, nobody get offended at anything I write. I really would like to participate in Aiki Web to the best of my ability, and will make an effort to understand any posts that are over my head. O Negai Shimasu. Arigato Gozaimasu.

Erick Mead
01-27-2011, 09:16 AM
Erick, the key word is "true intellectual engagement". And that, unfortunately, is what you're missing.

When the "intellectual engagement" is true, there is no discrepancy and everything flows well. But when the "intellectual engagement" is false or simply ignorant, it will stop cold when it encounters the physical truth.

And in your case, since you are clearly afraid to meet Dan, Mike, Ark or Rob, it's clear that you're just amusing yourself by generating meaningless froth. See, David, the answer to an offer for honest intellectual engagement is NOT to question the other person's motives or sincerity.

Need I add more ? My ideas about such things are right or wrong, effective or ineffective, independent of anyone's opinions about "manly courage" in their source or development. I have not been to ANY seminar training outside my local area in the last ten years. My observations don't depend on what others tell me or don't -- and precisely becauseI have been working largely alone on the nature of body and its workings on these points. Why is solo work the sine qua non in the physical sense in your school of thought but utterly disallowed in the intellectual sense?

If you think that restrictions on my time and travel have anything to do with your suppositions -- you need to become a tad more charitable in your outlook toward other people. If you do, your overall outlook and obvious frustrations might improve immensely.

Circumstances that you simply do not know -- at all, and which are frankly, none of your business -- at all -- much less to idly guess at them in such low, and crude terms, are not the basis to rebut anything, certainly not in an intellectual sense, -- nor for me to accept the invitation to continue in such a mode -- so I will leave it at that .

All the best, all the same.

jonreading
01-27-2011, 09:57 AM
I think I am seeing the undercurrent of my earlier post. I believe those who advocate internal strength training (and advocate IS is not typically found in aikido) are presenting a dangerous issue to those in aikido who has previously been training under our "modern" aikido system.

We are talking about an aikido culture that has culled much of the martial aspect from its curriculum since the 40s first under a presumption that students held a basic martial skill before entering aikido and later because of martial incompentency within aikido.

Now we are learning that there is training which strengthens our aikido skills. I beleive and expect resistence from those aikido people who have trained under the non-martial aikido, or who do not have the motivation to refine the aikido they learned using these new concepts. If you are doing non-martial aikido dance arguably you do not need IS, nor weapons, nor striking. However, internal strength training is another wedge in the fissure between aiki-dance and aikido. As more practioners begin to include internal strengthening exercises in their aikido it will become much more clear who "has it" and who does not.

In example, I believe you can already see skill separartion from those instructors who still heavily engage weapons training in their aikido and those who do not. Same with those who still employ striking in their aikido.

I stopped losing sleep over those who choose not to include these components in their aikido. Whether they want aikido or aiki-dance is their choice, not mine and I will be no worse off from their decision. What rubs these people is that if these components do improve aikido, they will be left behind. Better keep everyone back than let few come forward...

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-27-2011, 10:07 AM
I think I am seeing the undercurrent of my earlier post. I believe those who advocate internal strength training (and advocate IS is not typically found in aikido) are presenting a dangerous issue to those in aikido who has previously been training under our "modern" aikido system.

We are talking about an aikido culture that has culled much of the martial aspect from its curriculum since the 40s first under a presumption that students held a basic martial skill before entering aikido and later because of martial incompentency within aikido.

Now we are learning that there is training which strengthens our aikido skills. I beleive and expect resistence from those aikido people who have trained under the non-martial aikido, or who do not have the motivation to refine the aikido they learned using these new concepts. If you are doing non-martial aikido dance arguably you do not need IS, nor weapons, nor striking. However, internal strength training is another wedge in the fissure between aiki-dance and aikido. As more practioners begin to include internal strengthening exercises in their aikido it will become much more clear who "has it" and who does not.

In example, I believe you can already see skill separartion from those instructors who still heavily engage weapons training in their aikido and those who do not. Same with those who still employ striking in their aikido.

I stopped losing sleep over those who choose not to include these components in their aikido. Whether they want aikido or aiki-dance is their choice, not mine and I will be no worse off from their decision. What rubs these people is that if these components do improve aikido, they will be left behind. Better keep everyone back than let few come forward...

Not sure I agree John (but maybe I am misunderstanding you?) - I see more opposition in this field from people who believe their aikido to be sufficiently martial already (and it may be, I really don't care). Some have invested a lot in the role of the tough guy amongst the bunnies, and hate hearing even the indirect suggestion they may be off-track.

For the more harmony-oriented, they are, in my view, often as happy with their practice as you describe for yours. They lose no sleep over whether anybody else wants to "fight" or be martial. Why should they, it does not interest them.

But again, I may have missed your point.

David Orange
01-27-2011, 10:23 AM
Perhaps I can get away with re-entering this controvery, because in scrolling down and up I saw the quote from Lao Tzu and wonder if the blade is handy should I pick it up.

Diana,

I've had no problem with anything you posted. I did just want to let you know that video looks a lot different on a fast computer than on a slow one.

I once visited a dojo where the students felt thretened because I actually struck with my sword where they were standing. This scared the bejeezus out of them. Then I noticed that whenever any of them attacked with a bokken, they actually attacked far wide of where nage was standing. And nage, therefore, developed a very poor sense of evading a sword strike.

The teacher stepped in to demonstrate and caught the "blade" of the bokken with his thumb and looked at the class as if to say, "Well, it doesn't work every time..." He would have had his thumb cut cleanly off.

So there was something fundamentally wrong with what he was teaching about sword evasion. It worked fine and looked good if the student swung wide (and if the observer failed to note that). But when the sword strike was true, the evasion was disastrous for nage. It was a serious problem with their fundamental understanding of irimi.

In Tony's case, it looked to be almost exactly the same error (1:45). And that's just in "ordinary" aikido training, which he claims is superior to IP training.

Well, show me some really good unarmed aikido if you want to say it's better than IP. When it isn't even really good "ordinary" aikido, it leaves me with a lot of doubt. And when that is all backed up with the evil eye....gimme a break!

Look at 2:21 for his version of a real IP skill: where Ueshiba and Shioda do the same thing without hands, he does something I guess he considers "just as good" by shoving with two hands. It'll pass if the observer doesn't know or doesn't notice. Ueshiba and Shioda, using IP, receive uke's force directly into their shoulders, to the ground, and rebound it straight into uke, so that he propels himself up and back. In Tony's case, nothing of the sort happens. It's all done with his shove and is accomplished by timing alone. If uke had been a bit earlier, Tony couldn't have successfully shoved him.

For serious knife defense errors, see how the blade is left at nage's throat, uncontrolled, time after time while nage develops the techniques: from 2:26 to 2:31. Nage does well with what she was taught. I just hope she never tries that in an actual situation of that kind. In this case, you have to look to the teacher.

Also, see 2:52. :sorry:

I could say that's a mere randori error. Everyone does that...but it happens more if the fundamental instruction is riddled with subtle flaws. Strangely enough, IP training develops very subtle awareness...attention to small details, in other words. Also, see 3:02. I see that she actually is attempting to work the side of the blade, but it looks unneccessarily risky. And again, stopping it at 3:02, her hand is actually wrapping around the blade.

Okay. Emergency, life or death in a real situation, you might end up doing that unavoidably...but to train someone to do it is inexcusable. Again, she's pretty nicely skilled in general, but she is being taught some seriously dangerous mistakes and it may get her killed before she understands that and has a chance to correct it.

Also, see 3:05 and 3:41.

Overall, it looks like generally decent run-of-the-mill aikido, but Tony is no Dan Harden or Mike Sigman. And just as there are some dangerous gaps between the mats on his floor, there are some seriously dangerous gaps in what he's teaching. Ironically, it's a great analogy that everyone simply ignores those dangers the same as they ignore the gaps between the mats, skimming over them as if they aren't there. Just as those mats need to be safely secured for good training, the holes in the technique and teaching need to be taken care of before he steps out and criticizes others.

And for a teacher to come up and say repeatedly that far more capable people than he are "selling snake oil," well, it speaks for itself.

I hate to be so hard on Tony, but I have more concern for the lives and safety of his students than for Tony's ego.

Best to you.

David

Demetrio Cereijo
01-27-2011, 10:30 AM
. Ironically, it's a great analogy that everyone simply ignores those dangers the same as they ignore the gaps between the mats, skimming over them as if they aren't there. Just as those mats need to be safely secured for good training, the holes in the technique and teaching need to be taken care of before he steps out and criticizes others.

I fully agree. The gaps between the mats show a lack of concern about high standards.

Diana Frese
01-27-2011, 10:43 AM
I guess my question isn't too far off the OP. Why do some people believe both are not present in many dojo and recent lineages in Aikido (post 1969) I keep mentioning NYAikikai in a few posts, but noone has commented. Maybe it's because I beat around the bush too much and people lose interest before I get to the point, but hey I've only been on Aiki Web a couple of months and posting too takes practice.

Since Mary Eastland started this thread maybe its appropriate to acknowledge her lineage by saying Tohei Sensei visited New York Aikikai in 1967 and stayed and taught for about four months. Aikido in Daily Life was published around that time, and I believe was later re named Ki in Daily Life. I for one am interested in the history and fascinated that Mary's husband studied long time with Maruyama Sensei who taught at the summer camps prior to 1973.
Students of Chen Man Ching also attended New York Aikikai in the late sixties, one of them, Lou Kleinsmith, taught both places as assistant instructor. By the way, he came from judo, and I think I saw his picture in one of the judo books....

Maybe I want to know all of your impressions in their diversity and (gasp) controversy because I want to know how Aikido looks these days. From what I've seen stopping by to watch a class or seminar at the local dojo, sandwiched in among daily life and work stuff, it looks real good to me. Just a guess though, on the general controversy about fake ukemi, maybe some of it just looks that way because some styles derive more from sword and if they've got your center you don't want to hold out too long.... but that's another post or even thread. Has anyone contrasted the styles heavily descended from Yamaguchi Sensei's kohais and students and what I call the more circular styles? Or is this just two ways I noticed when I tried to pass on what I learned to students at our local Y's.

I guess I have two points to make. Are the difference between some of the deshi of O Sensei in terms of IP and kokyu ryoku or in center line emphasis contrasted with the power of circular motion, or do all of them actually teach both types of motion? I for one would like to see some opinions and descriptions and example if you can do it verbally, as I mentioned before we are still stuck on what seems to be an outmoded form, dial up on our computer.

Diana Frese
01-27-2011, 10:45 AM
thanks David, I will read your latest post now. You posted while I was typing and it is good that the topic is an active one. I'm just letting you know I hadn't seen your latest when I wrote.....

Diana Frese
01-27-2011, 11:02 AM
David, I don't know what else to say, I only know that there is a lot in Tony's video that will be of great help to me and my husband training together. Maybe later on we will have the means to travel to various dojo. Certainly openings must be guarded against and sharp edges must be avoided (there is even an article on that it in one of our latest Kitchen and Bath Business magazines for our cabinetmaking trade)

I appreciate your commentary it will help me to become a good observer whether on the mat or watching from the sidelines. I had no idea when I joined Aiki Web that I would be participating in so many discussions and I want to thank all for your help in learning more about Aikido, which I always intended to re enter some day.

Diana Frese
01-27-2011, 11:16 AM
Just another note, not to add to the controversy, but to express thanks to a good point in the video, which I haven't even enumerated one previously......specifically.....

My husband, from one of the"striking arts" commented that the students, non black belts, seemed to be doing good attacks, which he feels are very important as Aikido ukes....

In respect to Tohei Sensei, I always mention to one of my brothers whenever conversation becomes a bit negative "Plus calls plus"

By all means point out openings, but I intend to also look to what Tony is actually getting across, and for the rest on this thread, I look forward to whatever you can tell me about IP in your training. I think it was Mary who started another thread asking for specific exercises to develop ki. can we try to do some of that here? Or maybe I belong back on one of the history threads.

thisisnotreal
01-27-2011, 11:50 AM
Long post....sorry for all of this length.....
Why sorry? That was a pleasure to read.

Gary David
01-27-2011, 11:51 AM
Random comments and thoughts……in no particular order……

Most of us don't live in environments where self-defense is always a concern…..though there are many locations in big cities or in unstable places in the world where this is true….

Self-defense situations these days for most of us, especially those of us posting here, seem to happen more out of no where without a lot of build up proceeding the attack…..ambushes in bars, robbery, break-ins, and drive bys….

Self-defense today seems to be more about guns and small bladed weapons….

Close quarters combat seems more about staying on your feet and surviving the initial attack…that could be covering up to protect or initially tying the attacker up before responding or just getting out of the way....

None of us carry swords or long bladed weapons in our daily lives, though some may carry guns and small bladed weapons.…

When I started Aikido in 1974 I heard the term non-violent self-defense use…I always found this interesting….

I may have had self-defense in mind when I started Aikido, but I lost that idea in the fun I was having with the movement and interaction with the people I trained with….

The idea of augmenting my Aikido with cross training sent me out for small trips to a bunch of different martial arts and a whole lot of other teachers…

I still consider Aikido my base movement skill set….

I don't think anything is missing from anyone's skill set or training….there is just MORE that can be learned and incorporated in the skills….

Everyone is at exactly the right spot for were they are at NOW….No need to defend or put down anyone for this….

Your map for travel (Training) is your map, you take the base Google map and work it as you need...PLEASE remember just because you have not found a place on that map it doesn't exist….Choices…choices…..

PLEASE consider that if someone hasn't found some places only tell them once or twice……repeated telling just has them quit listening…..

AND for those of you who have not grabbed Dan Harden, Minoru Akuzawa, Mike Sigman, Kenji Ushiro, or some others who have some insight into the more….take a chance….

Keep in mind there is more to all of this than even Dan, Ark, Mike, Kenji know or have touched on…….

To answer Diana question about Koichi Tohei Sensei teaching in the early days…..I lived that and he had stuff none of us had. He gave us some simple tests to do to support the idea of relax, weight underside, extending and keeping one point…..these were essentially viewed as warm-ups by most and the progressive pressure needed to get really good at it was not there. How to integrate all of this into your movement was not explained or set in exercise to help beyond the voicing the four principles. How do you carry the ability to hold a very light push to maintaining frame and structure when hit while moving?

jonreading
01-27-2011, 12:05 PM
Not sure I agree John (but maybe I am misunderstanding you?) - I see more opposition in this field from people who believe their aikido to be sufficiently martial already (and it may be, I really don't care). Some have invested a lot in the role of the tough guy amongst the bunnies, and hate hearing even the indirect suggestion they may be off-track.

For the more harmony-oriented, they are, in my view, often as happy with their practice as you describe for yours. They lose no sleep over whether anybody else wants to "fight" or be martial. Why should they, it does not interest them.

But again, I may have missed your point.

Sorry, let me clarify one point Nicholas mentions. There are those aikido people out there who have retooled their aikido after years of training because they found something they liked and integrated that concept into their training. For example, I believe Ikeda sensei's aikido today is different that it was 10 years ago (I believe in large part due to his exposure to other arts and instructors like Ushiro Sensei). I admire that Ikeda sensei altered how he was doing aikido to incorporate his new concepts; I told him as much the last seminar I attended because it impacted the quality of the seminar so significantly.

I think we need to understand, even for those more martially competent that others, the next logical step after acknowledging the benefits of internal strength training will be to incorporate it into their aikido. There will be some aikido people out there who will not make this choice. I do not know if I would call it "off-track" as a critique against those who do not make this choice for their aikido; there may be a number of reasons why an instructor or dojo or student does not incorporate IS into their training and I don't think that is a critique against aikido. I think my critique would be more directed at someone who could incorporate IS into their training and did not make that choice because they were not motivated to change their aikido.

Does that help?

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-27-2011, 12:40 PM
Sorry, let me clarify one point Nicholas mentions. There are those aikido people out there who have retooled their aikido after years of training because they found something they liked and integrated that concept into their training. For example, I believe Ikeda sensei's aikido today is different that it was 10 years ago (I believe in large part due to his exposure to other arts and instructors like Ushiro Sensei). I admire that Ikeda sensei altered how he was doing aikido to incorporate his new concepts; I told him as much the last seminar I attended because it impacted the quality of the seminar so significantly.

I think we need to understand, even for those more martially competent that others, the next logical step after acknowledging the benefits of internal strength training will be to incorporate it into their aikido. There will be some aikido people out there who will not make this choice. I do not know if I would call it "off-track" as a critique against those who do not make this choice for their aikido; there may be a number of reasons why an instructor or dojo or student does not incorporate IS into their training and I don't think that is a critique against aikido. I think my critique would be more directed at someone who could incorporate IS into their training and did not make that choice because they were not motivated to change their aikido.

Does that help?

OK, get it. I was just giving a voice to the bunny in me!
(What a bad image...)
Best
N

RonRagusa
01-27-2011, 06:26 PM
To answer Diana question about Koichi Tohei Sensei teaching in the early days…..I lived that and he had stuff none of us had. He gave us some simple tests to do to support the idea of relax, weight underside, extending and keeping one point…..these were essentially viewed as warm-ups by most and the progressive pressure needed to get really good at it was not there.

Hi Gary -

I can't comment on Tohei sensei having not started Aikido until 1977 or thereabouts. However I do remember Maruyama sensei stressing that the Ki tests were also tools for strengthening one point and developing correct feeling which could then be applied in the practice of technique. To that end we always practiced Ki development exercises with pressure appropriate to the level of the student. As we grew stronger we applied progressively greater amounts of force in the exercises. Mary and I have continued to stress this area of training since leaving Kokikai in 2001. Over the years we have added to the Ki exercise syllabus in order to more fully develop correct feeling.

Best,

Ron

DH
01-27-2011, 06:30 PM
Sorry, let me clarify one point Nicholas mentions. There are those aikido people out there who have retooled their aikido after years of training because they found something they liked and integrated that concept into their training. For example, I believe Ikeda sensei's aikido today is different that it was 10 years ago (I believe in large part due to his exposure to other arts and instructors like Ushiro Sensei). I admire that Ikeda sensei altered how he was doing aikido to incorporate his new concepts; I told him as much the last seminar I attended because it impacted the quality of the seminar so significantly.

I think we need to understand, even for those more martially competent that others, the next logical step after acknowledging the benefits of internal strength training will be to incorporate it into their aikido. There will be some aikido people out there who will not make this choice. I do not know if I would call it "off-track" as a critique against those who do not make this choice for their aikido; there may be a number of reasons why an instructor or dojo or student does not incorporate IS into their training and I don't think that is a critique against aikido. I think my critique would be more directed at someone who could incorporate IS into their training and did not make that choice because they were not motivated to change their aikido.

Does that help?
I think that as a natural progression, those who embrace IP/aiki and make even fairly decent progress are going to just simply be the "Go to guys."
It has been my experience that IP/aiki is so practical and obvious that when Martial artists feel it from someone who not only has it ...but can actually use it...they want it.
There is another debate to be had is whether or not this is THEE essence of Aikido. So far Shihans I train with all agree this is it. YMMV.
As I wrote elsewhere, there is going to be an interesting panoply of uses as people "get it" in various amounts, and use it in various ways. Both can be complex and creating aiki effects from IP can be stressed in different ways according to someones wishes and emphasis.
For that reason (assuredly among the flops,false starts and outright failures) ...a lot of intellect, insight, even genius will unfold with a new era of interesting teachers.
And we may find that the Japanese teachers coming out of Japan are going to have to work very hard to keep up.;)

All the best
Dan

Howard Prior
01-27-2011, 08:22 PM
...Mary and I trace our lineage back to Tohei thru Maruyama Shuji sensei.

As a matter of interest, would this be the Maruyama sensei who taught in Philadelphia, or at least hosted a seminar in Philadelphia with K. Tohei in or about 1975?

Thanks.

Howard

Gary David
01-27-2011, 09:28 PM
Hi Gary -

I can't comment on Tohei sensei having not started Aikido until 1977 or thereabouts. However I do remember Maruyama sensei stressing that the Ki tests were also tools for strengthening one point and developing correct feeling which could then be applied in the practice of technique. To that end we always practiced Ki development exercises with pressure appropriate to the level of the student. As we grew stronger we applied progressively greater amounts of force in the exercises. Mary and I have continued to stress this area of training since leaving Kokikai in 2001. Over the years we have added to the Ki exercise syllabus in order to more fully develop correct feeling.

Best,

Ron

Ron

When I was working the KI testing back in the 70's these were just simple tests that once passed each time we moved on. It was a small part of the training picture. The push pressure was never excessive and the idea at the time seemed to make sure no one failed rather than progressive improvement at continuing harder levels. Once I figured out how to bypass the push by some simple inaction with the person pushing I moved on. I will say the possibilities of Tohei Sensei's abilities, the feel I got when working against him, what I felt on a couple of occasions from him, the KI exercises, along with all of the other glimpses I had to the ‘more' over the following years kept me looking. I am appreciative of the efforts you have continued.

Maybe if I had understood that relax completely had to do with tension all over the body, especially in the shoulders and the kua, that weight underside was gravity related, everything dropping naturally with the center down and in, extension to do with intention and keeping one point with whole body (more to it than this) I might have been further along today. HOLD UP…before anyone corrects me or lets me know I am wrong this is what works for me.

What Dan, Ark, Mike, Kenji Ushiro, along with others have provided are clear and concise explanations of what is going on with exercises to move forward with progressively higher levels of pressure. All are offering ways to interconnect breath, frame, structure, force flows and more into the mix to better the whole. I have experiences with both Dan and Mike. Both have a lot to offer. What Dan offers for me is more details on breath, use of the articulated dantien and stuff I could relate to my technical set right away. Some of what crossed between us I could relate immediately with past Aikido adventures and questions that couldn't be answered years ago. For any who know me, Dan sense of humor fit right in with me. I have had no connections with either Ark or Kenji Ushiro, but have friends that have. All four are to me on separate paths traveling in the same direction.

When I say others my example would be John Clodig, who is Aikijijutsu and a friend of 30 plus years. He can move me around without me understanding how he does it. To me this is just another part of the ‘more' that is unknown to me and worth looking into. I know others, some have posted here, with different approaches that work for them that I can't explain away.

My wife Maureen and I are planning to go to Rhode Island to visit a friend in late June. We plan to go to Boston to see some of our history and Mo understands I will be visiting some folks during that time that are working this stuff. Maybe it will be possible for me to come up and visit you folks.

A couple of things in closing…….though it may hurt my credibility I have to say that I met up with Mark Murray a couple of times when he was out here on the left coast and consider him a friend…..that goes for Dan Harden also.

Just go straight

Gary

RonRagusa
01-27-2011, 09:55 PM
As a matter of interest, would this be the Maruyama sensei who taught in Philadelphia, or at least hosted a seminar in Philadelphia with K. Tohei in or about 1975?

Thanks.

Howard

Hi Howard -

Again, 1975 was before my time, but Maruyama sensei taught for many years in Philadelphia on Arch Street.

Best.

Ron

RonRagusa
01-27-2011, 10:43 PM
Maybe if I had understood that relax completely had to do with tension all over the body, especially in the shoulders and the kua, that weight underside was gravity related, everything dropping naturally with the center down and in, extension to do with intention and keeping one point with whole body (more to it than this) I might have been further along today. HOLD UP…before anyone corrects me or lets me know I am wrong this is what works for me.

Gary -

Sensei always told us "You decide which is better." I tell my students to devise their own metaphors for what's going on inside their bodies. For us it's all about arriving at and strengthening correct feeling. If you are fortunate enough to find what works for you run with it, that's how you will progress toward whatever goals you have in mind related to your training.

What Dan, Ark, Mike, Kenji Ushiro, along with others have provided are clear and concise explanations of what is going on with exercises to move forward with progressively higher levels of pressure.

I guess I'm a bit of a dinosaur in that regard. I'm not an anatomist not am I versed in CMA lingo. The exercises I give students to work on are used mainly to produce reactions to the input that either work or don't. We start out slowly with not a whole lot of pressure until the student can feel what works. Once what works is felt explanations aren't really necessary as the student will devise mental and physical cues that will aid in reproducing the effects in subsequent trials under increased pressure. With continued practice it all becomes second nature and correct feeling arises naturally. At that point even the cues can be dispensed with.

Maybe it will be possible for me to come up and visit you folks.

PM me or Mary E. when your plans are firmed up and maybe we can arrange a visit.

A couple of things in closing…….though it may hurt my credibility I have to say that I met up with Mark Murray a couple of times when he was out here on the left coast and consider him a friend…..that goes for Dan Harden also.

I can't imagine why you would think that would hurt your credibility.

Best,

Ron

David Orange
01-27-2011, 11:52 PM
To me, seeking to understand Internal Power is not really primarily about "getting more power" but about the absolute best and most efficient use of the power I have.

In my college days, I really admired one of my professors, Dr. Ed Passerini, more than anyone else. He was the inventor of the world's first solar electric car, called The Bluebird. He was big into Buckminster Fuller and all kinds of environmental issues. He was talking about Peak Oil in 1974. And we were still smarting from the first Arab Oil Embargo. He won the solar car race, The Tour du Sol, in France, while I was living in Japan in the early 90s.

As years went by, I learned more about Buckminster Fuller and the incredible qualities of domed structures--things like the fact that a domed structure of a given surface area encompasses twice the volume of a cubical structure of the same surface area, that the heat loss from a domed structure, therefore, is half that of the cubical structure, that the dome is stronger with less material than the cubical structure because the whole thing is self-interfering and any force applied to the dome draws support from the whole dome, unlike a cubical structure, which is subject to collapse from shearing and torquing.

About two years ago, I went to Italy, Texas, to attend the Monolithic Dome Builder's Course. In one week, we did actual construction on a 30' dome and sat through hours of class instruction on concrete, polyurethane foam, rebar, airforms, air pressure, and the dynamics of utility cost in the lifetime expensing of a monolithic dome as compared to a conventional structure, as well as the effects of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, earthquake, flood, etc, on a monolithic dome and a conventional structure. It turns out that David South, the inventor of the monolithic dome and lots of other stuff is also a huge fan of Buckminster Fuller and his concepts of economy.

While some might decry the use of concrete at all, and especially the use of polyurethane foam, with all its chemical components, it actually turns out that, since the dome can realistically last for hundreds of years with proper maintenance, it comes out "greener" to go ahead and use the relatively small amounts of concrete, steel and chemicals in a monolithic dome than to use almost any other material available to construct any other kind of building.

Another serious factor is that this method produces a "super-insulated" building with extremely low heat-loss per square foot of surface. As David South puts it, "The greenest way to use energy is to use it in a building that requires very little energy to begin with." So he doesn't recommend big investments in solar panels unless you just want to add them. He thinks in terms of not using energy at all, rather than using alternative ways to generate it. His buildings require much smaller heating and cooling units than any building of similar interior volume.

So, to me, IP is a very similar approach. You get the greatest possible strength out of the least material used. You get the greatest content in the smallest package. You get the incredible strength of a system that is self-supporting, where force applied to any part of the system has to deal with the strength of the entire system instead of the strength of just the one part. And the most efficient use of energy is to not use it.

IP is all those things: not more power, but best use (sometimes meaning no use at all) of whatever power is available. It's the martial arts version of "Less is more." IP means using less muscle, less movement, less effort, less power, to get greater results. So it looks like a LOT more power, but it's actually much less power. Which leaves all the rest of your power in reserve and still ready to use.

It's just fantastic economy of movement and energy. And if you learn it early on, it means less use of your time, which is the one thing we can never get more of. If you're poor today, you might get more money or even great riches tomorrow. But rich or poor, you can never gain another minute of life. The only hope is to use that time better, so that, like a skillful chess player, you always seem to have far more time available than your opponent.

If I had learned IP twentyyears ago, I would have been decades ahead by now because, like compounding interest, the energy I didn't waste and did accumulate over those years would have added up instead of adding down. But since I started studying this a few years ago, I'm way better off than if I just started today. And if anyone starts today, just as with compounding interest, they'll be better off than if they wait five or ten more years to start.

And that is why I've become so interested in IP--not to have or get more power, but to learn best how to use my power and my time.

Best to all.

David

Lorel Latorilla
01-28-2011, 05:29 AM
I think that as a natural progression, those who embrace IP/aiki and make even fairly decent progress are going to just simply be the "Go to guys."
It has been my experience that IP/aiki is so practical and obvious that when Martial artists feel it from someone who not only has it ...but can actually use it...they want it.
There is another debate to be had is whether or not this is THEE essence of Aikido. So far Shihans I train with all agree this is it. YMMV.
As I wrote elsewhere, there is going to be an interesting panoply of uses as people "get it" in various amounts, and use it in various ways. Both can be complex and creating aiki effects from IP can be stressed in different ways according to someones wishes and emphasis.
For that reason (assuredly among the flops,false starts and outright failures) ...a lot of intellect, insight, even genius will unfold with a new era of interesting teachers.
And we may find that the Japanese teachers coming out of Japan are going to have to work very hard to keep up.;)

All the best
Dan

Don't let the robots fool you but Japan is so behind it is not even funny. Not even in martial arts, but in education (I work as an elementary school teacher here). While they are busy ritualizing, exotifying, and hierarchizing (I made this word up) bodyskill, people in the West are now in a maddening frenzy to expose, analyze, dissect, industrialize and to make formulas out of what was once exotic and mysterious. That's what I love about living in North America. This Western scientific approach to put things to the 'test' is something that Japan does not do at all, and it is the arrogance of the society that will not allow them to do it. It is only when they are eating grass that they will adopt the critical and scientific method of the West...until then, I have no hope that they will catch up with the teachers who work this like mad scientists and not like priests who can't enter the holiest of holies. Not that I care of course, ha.

gregstec
01-28-2011, 07:44 AM
A couple of things in closing…….though it may hurt my credibility I have to say that I met up with Mark Murray a couple of times when he was out here on the left coast and consider him a friend…..that goes for Dan Harden also.

Just go straight

Gary

Well, I have no credibility and consider both friends as well :)

Also, I view Tohei's four principles much the same as you.

Best

Greg

Howard Prior
01-28-2011, 08:10 AM
...Maruyama sensei taught for many years in Philadelphia on Arch Street.

I figure they must be one and the same.

Thanks again,

Howard

Adman
01-28-2011, 10:00 AM
Empasis mine:
When I say others my example would be John Clodig, who is Aikijijutsu and a friend of 30 plus years. He can move me around without me understanding how he does it.
C'mon Gary. Give yourself some credit. I'm pretty sure you could at least intellectually explain what you think he is doing.

Best,
Adam

Jaon Deatherage
02-01-2011, 09:09 AM
I think it depends on how you see internal strength. I've recently returned to Aikido after several years of studying internal kungfu systems. To me, 'internal strength', means efficient and integrated body connection (among other things), which is something Aikido seems to be trying to develop as well. All of the martial arts are pursuing the efficient connection of the body (among many other things), so I would consider 'connection' to be a principle in common. If you accept my reasoning, then I would assert that it follows that it is beneficial to your Aikido to look at 'connection' from different angles in order to better understand it. Having done aikido 15 years ago, and then being able to come back to it after several years of internal training ,has increased my appreciation of good Aikido a million-fold. Aikido has also very positively informed my kungfu practice. I believe there are other principles as well that are held in common between most martial arts; what those are can be subject to debate, but I consider my martial studies to be the pursuit of those principles rather than the pursuit of a single 'style'. Aikido is an incredibly important part of that pursuit for me because of the clear way it uses many of the deeper principles, but I think a truly serious student has to look outside occasionally to maintain perspective and keep their mind open.

jonreading
02-01-2011, 12:01 PM
I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)...
I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation. Probably, it was some of the older solo and breathing exercises that are not as popular today. Moreso, I think the curriculum was probably initially understood by students coming from others arts, thus requiring less emphasis in training. Eventually, this curriculum was isolated and pushed out of mainstream aikido.

Some are endeavoring to bring this training back but aikido itself does not provide a blueprint, having since lost the elements in mainstream aikido. Note that I believe there are still individuals and smaller dojo clusters that has preserved this training. Going outside of aikido may allow individuals to find some of this training and re-integrate it into aikido. I am not convinced the end product will be what is called internal strength, but I believe it will at least strengthen our aikido and provide insight into better movement.

Some individuals will go farther and have a look at internal strength, which I believe is a study in itself. I think maybe some of the confusion I read about suggests internal strength is an aftermarket add-on to aikido while ignoring that fact that it is possible the "aiki" that exists in aikido is actually an add-on to internal strength training. This is pure speculation. Probably also heresy...

Jaon Deatherage
02-01-2011, 12:55 PM
I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)...
I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation. Probably, it was some of the older solo and breathing exercises that are not as popular today. Moreso, I think the curriculum was probably initially understood by students coming from others arts, thus requiring less emphasis in training. Eventually, this curriculum was isolated and pushed out of mainstream aikido.

Some are endeavoring to bring this training back but aikido itself does not provide a blueprint, having since lost the elements in mainstream aikido. Note that I believe there are still individuals and smaller dojo clusters that has preserved this training. Going outside of aikido may allow individuals to find some of this training and re-integrate it into aikido. I am not convinced the end product will be what is called internal strength, but I believe it will at least strengthen our aikido and provide insight into better movement.

Some individuals will go farther and have a look at internal strength, which I believe is a study in itself. I think maybe some of the confusion I read about suggests internal strength is an aftermarket add-on to aikido while ignoring that fact that it is possible the "aiki" that exists in aikido is actually an add-on to internal strength training. This is pure speculation. Probably also heresy...

I wonder if some of the old masters (not just aikido, but generally) would even be able to articulate these things. Much of the old training was "Do this for 20 years the way I did. Now you can do what I do." The body will teach itself if you're practicing mindfully under the care of a good teacher. I imagine a lot of the 'traditional' training just pounded the student with technique and frequent practice until the body started to 'get it'. The Chinese systems seem to take a more microscopic look at things,whereas the Japanese systems contain all the internal juice, but don't talk about it much, knowing it will show up if you practice long and hard. I think we have a unique learning opportunity at this time in the west; we can dig into the theoretical underpinnings a bit more. As long as we balance this conceptual analysis with hard practice, we can possibly progress faster than was possible in the past. Only time will tell, of course.

I think internal connection shows up in almost any physical task if the person has done the task mindfully for a long time.

MM
02-01-2011, 12:57 PM
I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)...
I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation. Probably, it was some of the older solo and breathing exercises that are not as popular today. Moreso, I think the curriculum was probably initially understood by students coming from others arts, thus requiring less emphasis in training. Eventually, this curriculum was isolated and pushed out of mainstream aikido.



Hi Jon,

I think you have to look at Ueshiba's history to find some very interesting facts.

1915 - Ueshiba spends about 30 days training with Takeda
1916 - Ueshiba spends about 40 days of "official" training with Takeda.

Between 1916 and 1922, Ueshiba must train either alone or with others.

Then in 1922, Ueshiba trains about 6 months with Takeda.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia.php?entryID=723

By 1925, most agree Ueshiba is a giant among martial artists.

We can almost discount 1915 because Ueshiba had only just met Takeda. In 1916, Takeda probably did show some things for IP/aiki. Ueshiba trains until 1922 when Takeda completes his training for aiki. 3 years later, he's a giant. Total years = 11 (including 1915). Total time with Takeda = maybe 1 year.

Takeda creates other aiki giants like Sagawa, Kodo, Hisa, etc, thus proving there is a very trainable method of learning aiki. Sagawa's father supports this as it was Sagawa's father that asked Takeda to teach him aiki instead of techniques (Transparent Power).

Was there ever a curriculum in aikido "which lay the internal strength foundation"? No, IMO, there never was.

jonreading
02-01-2011, 02:27 PM
Was there ever a curriculum in aikido "which lay the internal strength foundation"? No, IMO, there never was.


Two posts??!! That's all it took??!! Dang. Well, thanks for the input Mark, I begrudging acknowledge there isn't too much support for my theory...

Dang, 2 posts.

Mike Sigman
02-01-2011, 02:36 PM
it is possible the "aiki" that exists in aikido is actually an add-on to internal strength training. This is pure speculation. Probably also heresy..."Aiki" is a variant usage of the basic strengths that are the basis of "Yin Yang" (aka Heng-Ha which is A-Un, etc.) strength/body skills. Taking the power from the "Heaven" and the "Earth" using Man to combine the two is/was so important that it achieved religious or quasi-religious importance in ancient times. The "Ju" in "Jujitsu" came from this usage of internal strength. So yes, I don't think there's any question that Aikido represents an offshoot of internal-strength skills rather than the other way around. In fact, among Asians (particularly Chinese) that know their lore, I doubt there would be much discussion about the many Asian martial-arts being essentially offshoots of this kind of body power.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

SeiserL
02-01-2011, 04:14 PM
I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)... I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation....
I would tend to think there was an unspoken or unofficial curriculum that comes from finding certain common denominators in cross training. IMHO, its there in many arts but with a different vocabulary.

Perhaps in that split between Aikikai and Ki-Society some of the synergy got lost.

It would be interesting to assess when Aikido stopped (or slowed) producing and look at how they trained before. Something seems to have been overlooked (not lost).

kewms
02-01-2011, 05:02 PM
Perhaps in that split between Aikikai and Ki-Society some of the synergy got lost.

There may even have been an attitude of "Aikikai/Ki-Society does it this way so it *must* be wrong," and/or a conscious decision (on both sides) to emphasize the differences between the two for what in other contexts we would call marketing reasons. The result being that people on either side of the split only got part of the picture, *and* were more or less banned from talking to the other half for many years.

Katherine

gregstec
02-01-2011, 06:31 PM
There may even have been an attitude of "Aikikai/Ki-Society does it this way so it *must* be wrong," and/or a conscious decision (on both sides) to emphasize the differences between the two for what in other contexts we would call marketing reasons. The result being that people on either side of the split only got part of the picture, *and* were more or less banned from talking to the other half for many years.

Katherine

Interesting point - if you look at Aikikai publications before the split, you will notice that Ki was as prevalent topic. However, after the split, no Ki in Aikikai; only from the Tohei camp - very political of couse.

Greg

graham christian
02-01-2011, 06:33 PM
There may even have been an attitude of "Aikikai/Ki-Society does it this way so it *must* be wrong," and/or a conscious decision (on both sides) to emphasize the differences between the two for what in other contexts we would call marketing reasons. The result being that people on either side of the split only got part of the picture, *and* were more or less banned from talking to the other half for many years.

Katherine

Hi Katherine. I have a new view that may or not be true. Firstly, I never knew of the politics involved in wordwide aikido or in american/japanese views on it. On reading various threads I read about the so called splits but I feel differently about them to most, or at least those who complain.
My first view that many may disagree with with is that it was O'Senseis wish for his teachers to go out into the world and teach his way, their own way. Thus it spread around the world. To me this is as it had always been, much copied in old martial arts films where the master eventually tells the student he has taught him all he needs and now it's time to leave in order to complete his training.
My next view is to do with the traditional way of teaching, much adhered to especially in oriental martial arts. To equate it with western ways of teaching, which I would say was the best way in history also in the west, would be APPRENTICESHIP.
Curriculum, although showing an orderly defined sequence of steps written down can lead to lots of people practicing and following the curriculum but never having hands on experience with an expert or even someone of good understanding. It also leads to lots of academics filling themselves full of data and thinking thus they know and understand.
So that is the why of the way of traditional teaching methods.
Now politically or otherwise I think it's a fact that there will be splits and suspicion and disagreements now and in the future as there already has been in the past and the main reason to me traces back to the original founding of Aikido itself.
For me O'Sensei found a 'new way' and called it Aikido. Yes he was skilled in various martial arts and yes he derived most of the techniques from daito ryo including the term aiki and herein lies the underlying cause for the main differences.
Aiki itself has been around for a very long time but was always to do with blending and energy. It was about blending with the enegy of the attacker and thus came the techniques which assisted that aim.
Now, the difference as far as I am concerned, is that O'Sensei was following this path of aiki which also meant 'in order to overcome and dominate the opponent---and win.' So I say O'Sensei transcended that meaning in his realization and saw true blending and harmony equals no opponent, no enemy, no competition. Thus he transcended the competitive mind, the need to fight, the need to defend etc.
Thus there are those, the many, who want to follow the first explanation of aiki with it's purpose and then there are those who want to learn that but also transcend it in order to understand aikido.
Therefore if there are some in japan who consider that people in the west are still after learning in order to dominate, compete, outwit etc then they would not consider they are on the right path. This would even happen locally let alone worldwide. If both sides do it this way then they are still with the competitve mind and thus they will turn against each other, it's innevitable. A person can find any excuse to be against or say why others are against but they don't even realize that 'against' is the problem.
Just some thoughts.
Happy training.G.

jonreading
02-02-2011, 11:47 AM
I would tend to think there was an unspoken or unofficial curriculum that comes from finding certain common denominators in cross training. IMHO, its there in many arts but with a different vocabulary.

Perhaps in that split between Aikikai and Ki-Society some of the synergy got lost.

It would be interesting to assess when Aikido stopped (or slowed) producing and look at how they trained before. Something seems to have been overlooked (not lost).

The early shihan, particularly Tohei sensei, Shioda sensei and Tomiki sensei seemed to "have it" and be able to demonstrate it. Ironically, they all later split from Aikikai. They all also had some cross-training and exposure to O'Sensei's Daito Ryu before he struck much of the harder stuff from his aikido. An interesting coorelation for sure. And that is not to say other did/do not have aiki, just to point out these particular individuals.

Certainly Tohei sensei seemed to extract the essence of O'Sensei's aikido as that of ki and strengthened his curriculum (and later, his Ki Society style) with "ki" exercises. I am unfamiliar with much of today's ki society though, so I plead ignorace beyond this observation. Again, it is an interesting coorelation.

Allen Beebe
02-02-2011, 12:44 PM
For me the pursuit of internal strength (which I now relate but differentiate from Aiki) came as a series of, "Uh Oh!" moments. I was first taught a series of exercises/practices that were meant to build the body/mind/ki by my teacher. I was also taught a series solo body movement exercises that would build the body/mind/ki but also act as a bridge from the development of the first series to the execution of literally thousands of waza.

Unfortunately, while I did pass on the first series that I was taught, I personally didn't value them too much rather seeing them more as anachronistic warm-ups and strength building exercises that could be essentially replaced by my workouts in the gym. I concentrated much more on the second series of solo exercises as I could see how they informed my waza. This was a mistake of huge proportions in my opinion. And I can't blame my teacher, he was clear and direct, I just acted presumptuously.

Fortunately, due to the amount of training I put into the second set of exercises and perhaps partially due to my occasional perfunctory performance of the first set of exercises, I was able to manifest some of the phenomena that was being discussed on these and other boards, although to a much smaller degree. Despite the tenor of discussion I felt compelled to pay attention, as it seemed to me I might have missed something.

After meeting Rob John where he showed exercises, some of which I had never known, but more importantly some which I had been taught and discounted, I was convinced that I had screwed up royally and was determined to rectify the situation.

Having exercises is not enough. One must know how to properly perform the exercises for them to be effectual. Better still, if one has an adequate conception of what is happening in general, then one can understand the how AND why of the exercises and even potentially explore further and innovate. Consequently I began to look back at all I was taught while also seeking input from knowledgeable outside sources to see if they were congruous.

Presently I have begun to study with Dan Hardin. This makes a lot of sense to me for the following reasons. When I first spoke with Dan I asked him if I could guess at the fundamental practices that he was initially taught. I described four of (what I remember to be) five of the basic practices that he was taught. These practices we both learned (Or perhaps I should say I learned the form and Dan studied the essence and therefore produced results.) came from Daito Ryu in both of our cases. So my information was coming "in house" so to speak and didn't conflict with what I was taught previously. Also, more pragmatically, Dan seemed eager to share, didn't have an attitude of "superiority", and seemed excited and driven to make me further understand the function and performance of the exercises. So, for me, here was a guy that was "family," wasn't playing the all too familiar hierarchical games and "form over function" patterns entrenched in so many martial arts, and was eager to share. Sounds good to me!

So, back to the why choose to pursue internal strength (and I'm tossing in Aiki as well): Because this is what I was taught was fundamental to Aiki-do. One can strip away the taijutsu and buki waza and one would no longer have a Budo, but as long as the Aiki was intact one would have an Aiki-do.

Personally a really value the taijustu and buiki waza that was passed on to me, however it was all taught in the context of the foundational Kokyu, Ki, Aiki, practices, and Tandokudosa (the second series of exercises act as a bridge to understand how the foundational practices leads to waza). . . the point being, no Aiki, no Aiki jujutsu, Aiki no Jutsu or Aiki bukiwaza.

It kind of stinks to discern, after decades of training, that one missed the boat even with the best efforts of one's teacher. However, if I hadn't had such a great teacher I probably would have written the whole thing off. He had "something more" than just great jujutsu or ken. He could "kick my ass" but there was something "more" something really unusual beyond normal athleticism and superior technique, it was more like an "alternate" athleticism and superior technique. Also, he was a humble guy that wanted to be better. He was better than most which, isn't well known today (My understanding is that he taught in Ueshiba's stead during the war at various establishments and in Osaka, he was a bit of a "ringer" for the Kobukan in cases of dojo storming visitors, and he was also asked to go to Manchukuo to be a "Professor" at the University there teaching Ueshiba's art, but couldn't because he was drafted) because he was such a humble guy and he didn't break off to form his own organization like many of his peers, choosing rather to primarily teach out in the "back woods" of his home prefecture. When he taught he not only taught what he could do, but also taught what HE was taught to do by HIS teacher to be able to do the things his teacher could. He couldn't do everything his teacher could, but he taught what he was taught so that maybe his students would be able to do what he couldn't. Well, so far I've recognized what it is that I need to learn. That's something! Next, I just need to learn it. I don't plan on screwing up this time.

What better way to pay back my teacher for all that he gave to me? I do no disservice to his legacy. On the contrary, I think I OWE it to his legacy to continue as best I can in his foot steps: Walk humbly. Train like hell. Think. Learn from those I can (regardless of rank of stature) and share the best I can with those that wish to train with me. (Regardless of "rank" or stature).

Keith Larman
02-02-2011, 01:03 PM
Alan:

Just wanted to say "great post".

I see many nuances to exercises I have been taught (and thought I was teaching myself) for years. Those nuances are not a change per se, just an enlargement, enlightenment, or maybe "re-expansion" of what it was supposed to be. It certainly points to the problem of not understanding the "what and why" of what you're doing. Or a danger I point to all the time in my work about assuming you understand something. Make changes to tradition with great care. It's not what you think you know that bites you in the butt; it's what you don't know you don't.

Good stuff.

Keith Larman
02-02-2011, 01:11 PM
Oh, and Alan's great post derailed me. I was simply going to post that I pursue the internal strength stuff because I can see how it can improve my aikido. To me it is like watching someone else do the same kind of work you do. Years ago I was watching a good friend and fellow craftsman carving a katana tsuka shitaji (wood sword handle core). He did a few things a bit differently than I did. So I asked why he did some of the things and he asked me what I did. So I showed him. I don't know about him but I walked away from that long afternoon with a few new ways to approach things. And I hope a more complete set of skills.

I don't see why this sort of thing even gets questioned. If you feel you've got all you want and/or need, life is really good. If you see or feel something that seems like it could help you, life is really good.

I guess some think that it somehow diminishes the "memory" or "authority" of their original teachers. I have yet to meet a top notch high quality instructor that didn't subtly change things. Or have slightly different approaches. In our group Rod Kobayashi-sensei removed some techniques from our syllabus replacing them with slightly different techniques that are somewhat unique to us. Cool. He was always modifying, revising, changing, and improving. Because that's what drives the very best.

I am also a firm believer in ensuring you have the basics down first. For me, I didn't feel like I had even the slightest understanding of the basics until I hit sandan. From then on it has been me trying to figure out how to do those things better. And I see so much refinement and possibility in the internal aspects.

We can debate until we're blue in the face about when/if/how this stuff belongs in Aikido. I see no conflict. I just keep pursuing it the best I can, as well as my body will allow. And having a series of physical issues has made it quite obvious *to me* that pursuing the internal stuff will be a significant way for me to not only improve my aikido but also heal my body and deal with the issues I have. I can't keep overpowering everyone with muscle.

Ramble of the day for me.

phitruong
02-02-2011, 01:28 PM
i am going to state the thought that folks think about but don't want to voice it.

i am searching for internal stuffs because i want phenomenon cosmic power! where you all bow down to me as your new aiki god and offer up your foods, drinks and women. and when i said foods, i don't mean the stuffs that are growing and moving about at the back of your refrigerator about about. water isn't consider as drink; that's for torturing. and actually, you can keep the women; no point inflicting pain and suffering to my aiki god-like self. :D

Allen Beebe
02-02-2011, 01:49 PM
Actually, for me, I'm not so much into obtaining power in astronomical proportions unless I were to become equally endowed with wisdom in astronomical proportions . . . but I seriously doubt that I'll obtaining either soon. So I guess that's why I'm not too concerned about it.

Mary Eastland
02-02-2011, 03:41 PM
I am not looking for Internal Strength because I have it. Whenever I post this I am told I don't have it by people who have never met me and have no way of knowing what I have. To to this I say, bull. You have no idea what I have. You can say whatever you want on the internet. I don't have to go looking out side Aikido because it has never been missing. I started getting stronger when I started training. Correct feeling continues to develop. I think that Aikido people go outside the art to look for whatever it is they are missing because they feel less disloyal to their teachers. If they go looking for it in a "step child" dojo they will be admitting that Aikikai is missing something and Tohei was right.
Mary

kewms
02-02-2011, 04:33 PM
I am not looking for Internal Strength because I have it. Whenever I post this I am told I don't have it by people who have never met me and have no way of knowing what I have. To to this I say, bull. You have no idea what I have. You can say whatever you want on the internet. I don't have to go looking out side Aikido because it has never been missing. I started getting stronger when I started training. Correct feeling continues to develop. I think that Aikido people go outside the art to look for whatever it is they are missing because they feel less disloyal to their teachers. If they go looking for it in a "step child" dojo they will be admitting that Aikikai is missing something and Tohei was right.
Mary

And the thread was going so well... do we really have to drag politics into it?

In my experience, both the Aikikai and Tohei lineages can produce excellent aikidoka. And both lineages can produce terrible aikidoka. If people are worried about proving which is "better," they're likely to miss out on some excellent training experiences.

Katherine

SeiserL
02-02-2011, 04:41 PM
I am unfamiliar with much of today's ki society though, so I plead ignorace beyond this observation.
Ditto.

I find it hard to get into their seminars being from the Aikikai.

What exposure I have lets me think that Aikikai has the technical proficiency and waza application but the Ki-Society has the connection and energy flow. Perhaps the gestalt is that the sum of the two together is greater than the sum of its parts alone.

I still try to sneak in whenever I can.

RonRagusa
02-02-2011, 04:51 PM
Ditto.

I find it hard to get into their seminars being from the Aikikai.

What exposure I have lets me think that Aikikai has the technical proficiency and waza application but the Ki-Society has the connection and energy flow. Perhaps the gestalt is that the sum of the two together is greater than the sum of its parts alone.

I still try to sneak in whenever I can.

Hi Lynn -

You're welcome to visit us any time you're in the Western Mass area. Although we're now independent we trace our lineage back to Tohei Sensei thru Maruyama Sensei and still include internal work as an important part of our daily practice.

Best,

Ron

Mary Eastland
02-02-2011, 05:11 PM
And the thread was going so well... do we really have to drag politics into it?

In my experience, both the Aikikai and Tohei lineages can produce excellent aikidoka. And both lineages can produce terrible aikidoka. If people are worried about proving which is "better," they're likely to miss out on some excellent training experiences.

Katherine
It is already here, Katherine, just because things are not talked about doesn't mean they don't exist. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying it seems like anyone who is looking for internal strength is coming from an Aikikai background...I could be wrong about that.
Mary

kewms
02-02-2011, 05:36 PM
It is already here, Katherine, just because things are not talked about doesn't mean they don't exist. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying it seems like anyone who is looking for internal strength is coming from an Aikikai background...I could be wrong about that.
Mary

Which -- even if true -- could mean that Aikikai is missing something that is present in Tohei's lineage, but could also mean that Aikikai is more diverse and more open to outside influences.

Again, my experience does not indicate that either group produces noticeably better (or worse) aikido.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
02-02-2011, 05:51 PM
It is already here, Katherine, just because things are not talked about doesn't mean they don't exist. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying it seems like anyone who is looking for internal strength is coming from an Aikikai background...I could be wrong about that.
Mary

I have trained with both.
I believe that the stuff is "there" in the ki exercises but also believe that most folks never "get it" because it isn't explicitly taught ( at least in the Ki Society and offshoot dojos I"ve visited or trained in; admittedly my longer and/or more frequent experience is w/ Aikikai ) Many folks seem to think and train as if moving one's center is physically moving the entire pelvis/hip structure as a unit.
I will admit this is a case of YMMV, again, due to my experience being not that extensive.

Mike Sigman
02-02-2011, 05:56 PM
Again, my experience does not indicate that either group produces noticeably better (or worse) aikido.
My experience says the same thing, but I would caveat that, all things being equal, Ki-Society is more poised *technically* to incorporate internal strength because there is already some there, even though, IMO, it's not taught anywhere near as clearly or extensively as it could be. Also IME I find far too many Aikikai people to be stiff and muscular.... no offense (I'm now an outsider looking back in and exempt from the wrath of "seniors"). Being stiff and muscular is almost impossible to change for most people. If someone is able to change some things, I'm always quick to acknowledge it; if they can't change, I'm not going to be the diplomatic bump on the log that pretends out loud that everything is OK. That's not fair to beginners and believe it or not I still identify with beginners getting caught up and harmed by political BS.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Allen Beebe
02-02-2011, 06:34 PM
LOL, FWIW my first Aikido teacher (5-6 years) was a student of Tohei when Tohei first broke with the Aikikai and was trained to be one of the "new elite." He definitely thought that the sun rose and set on Tohei and was rather reluctant to even acknowledge Ueshiba Morihei . . . well such was the time. I definitely learned things from my first sensei.

I went to Japan with a letter of introduction to Tohei sensei, but he was back in the U.S. Now I was basically taught that those outside of our organization were devil's spawn and should be avoided at all costs. But then, I will probably never be accused of being overly conforming . . . I trained with all the sensei's I could in the Tohoku region. To my knowledge they were all Aikikai, which at the time I assumed meant that they all trained the same way . . . the devi'ls spawn way. So, when I first started I stunk at what they did which wasn't a big surprise, but I tried to learn "their" way. Dojo after dojo I was told, "Oh no. Not like that! That is wrong because X, Y, Z. and ours is right because of A, B, C. It was the same in pretty much every dojo and I quickly became rather depressed. There was no "One true way." There was a whole lot of "our ways."

My primary teacher, the one I referred to in my post, pre-dates Tohei by about a decade. He thought the about Ueshiba Morihei the way my first teacher thought about Tohei sensei. I think he became a member of Aiki-kai by default after the Aiki kai was established, and remained so until the end of his life, out of dedication to his teacher. However, I was never Aikikai, because my teacher never asked me to join although he did give his full approval of the opening of my dojo . . . which I'm almost certain would have NEVER been approved of by the Aikikai. I definitely learned many things from my primary teacher.

Personally I like small groups, rather informal organizations and strong personal relationships. I find I learn best in those circumstances whether it be training in techniques, internal strength, or spiritual development. But that's me. I agree with what Keith wrote when he said:

"If you feel you've got all you want and/or need, life is really good. If you see or feel something that seems like it could help you, life is really good."

But that's just me too. For my part, I was sharing my reasons for training internal strength, which, mistakenly or not, I thought the thread was about. Of course everyone has their own experiences, feelings, reasons, etc. If we didn't there would be no need for sharing I suppose.

Thomas Campbell
02-02-2011, 08:12 PM
What better way to pay back my teacher for all that he gave to me? I do no disservice to his legacy. On the contrary, I think I OWE it to his legacy to continue as best I can in his foot steps: Walk humbly. Train like hell. Think. Learn from those I can (regardless of rank of stature) and share the best I can with those that wish to train with me. (Regardless of "rank" or stature).

Nicely expressed, Allen. Thank you.

Howard Popkin
02-02-2011, 08:17 PM
Hey Al,

I hear ya. Nicely said.

See you soon,

Howie

Dazzler
02-03-2011, 05:43 AM
It is already here, Katherine, just because things are not talked about doesn't mean they don't exist. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying it seems like anyone who is looking for internal strength is coming from an Aikikai background...I could be wrong about that.
Mary

Yes you are.

DH
02-03-2011, 06:34 AM
Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
It is already here, Katherine, just because things are not talked about doesn't mean they don't exist. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying it seems like anyone who is looking for internal strength is coming from an Aikikai background...I could be wrong about that.
Mary
Yes you are.
Most definitely. You can add in; Iwama, Aikikai, ASU, Yoshinkan and....Tohei's group just in my experience alone. Not to mention Karate, Judo, Daito ryu, ICMA and FMA to boot.
Cheers
Dan

gregstec
02-03-2011, 09:43 AM
Most definitely. You can add in; Iwama, Aikikai, ASU, Yoshinkan and....Tohei's group just in my experience alone. Not to mention Karate, Judo, Daito ryu, ICMA and FMA to boot.
Cheers
Dan

Just to add a comment to some of this stuff about the diverse groups and the levels of IS.

My initial training was from the early days of the Ki Society and primary teachers were David H Kalama and Koretoshi Maruyama, who was Tohei's first chief instructor of the Ki Society; who by the way, is not related to Shuji Maruyama of Mary's lineage and the founder of the Kokikai in Philadelphia. Since then I have trained with AAA, AWA, ASU, Iwama, and some independent groups that were a mixture of styles. Currently, my waza training is Daitotryu Aikijujutsu as taught by Howard Popkin. Of all those groups, the only two that had any level of IS stuff going on was the old Ki Society and the Daitoryu training. However, neither of them had the level of IS that I have experienced from Dan.

As previously mentioned by some others, Tohei's training can provide for a good basic foundation to help get your foot in the door for IS. However, it does not go to the next level that teaches how to obtain that aiki body. Of the two, the Daitoryu, as taught by Howard, was my first glimpse into what that next level could be - and then I met Dan and he has further opened that door.

So, for those that say their current Aikido training brings them IS, well maybe to some level, but it has been my experience that there is way more to learn outside of the many diverse Aikido communities.

Greg

SeiserL
02-03-2011, 12:52 PM
You're welcome to visit us any time you're in the Western Mass area.
Thank you.
I don't usually get up that way, but if I do I am taking you up on your kind offer.