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Mary Eastland
02-14-2011, 08:38 AM
The future of Aikido is not important to me. I train in the present day. Now is all that is.
Today we had three students: one man in his late 50's, one woman who is 66, another woman who is 50, Ron who is 63 and me at 53.

We had a wonderful class. We all can take ukemi. We train very regularly so everyone is in good shape. Today we focused on connection, Ki development and waza. We explored so much together that was perfect for the combination of people that gathered to practice Aikido at that moment.

Accepting "what is" is an imporatnt part of training to me. If a teacher spends time whining about what is, what used to be, and what may happen, the teacher cannot be in the now. Can a teacher be centered and be whining about what is lacking? Blaming and wishing take away from positive mind. All that we need it right in front of us.

Woman and older or younger people are not place holders for young athletic men. Whoever is on the mat provide the picture of Aikido for that day.
If Ron waited for just young men to teach he would be very lonesome in his practice. Embrace the students you have, let go of the past and future and enjoy each class for the beauty and fun it brings.
We get on the mat with who shows up in a gi and we train together.
Here, grab my wrist and follow me to a centered moment where our energies mingle and creat a feeling of powerful peacefulness.

Aikido happens. All is well.
Mary

mrlizard123
02-14-2011, 09:43 AM
Hi Mary,

I don't post on here often but wanted to ask something. Firstly let me say that agree that being mindful and "present" is very important when we are on the mat and it is something we should strive for, unfettered by outside concerns. In this sense I agree with you, but I think there is a time and place for "worrying" about the future.

You say that the future of aikido isn't important but I'm wondering what your views on Aikido continuing or ceasing are? As in; is there not some benefit to being mindful/caring of the future to ensure that there is continuation? Is it not laudable, to try and ensure that others get to experience the pleasure that you, I and many others, get from daily training? I have spoken to people who would not want to be involved in teaching because they are only interested in training and I can understand this, but what happens if everyone has this approach? When no one considers who will be teaching next week, next year, in X years time, how will aikido be practiced?

The reasons that I got involved with teaching were varied but the one that is apt to this topic is that I enjoy training so much I felt that I wanted to help people find that same passion for enjoyment of training I have. Without any concern for the future or taking stock of the past I feel that we could be doing the futherment of aikido a disservice.

I'm not saying we should fret or worry but, off of the mat, I believe we should allow ourselves to be informed by the past, allowing it and our daily experience guide our actions to bring about a pleasant future for others to be able to enjoy what we have had.

Kindest regards
Rich

lbb
02-14-2011, 10:08 AM
As I said to Sensei the other day when the temperature rose above 30 degrees and got me thinking of plans for a new dojo garden expansion, "The work you put into your soil will pay you back a hundred times." Gardeners always think about the future -- always. Note that thinking about the future is not the same thing as living in the future. It seems to me that trying to live in the future or the past, or only thinking of the present -- either is a recipe for failure.

aikishihan
02-14-2011, 10:44 AM
It seems to me that if an idea is truly valid, that nothing can prevent its continued development and acceptance. Conversely, it an idea is inherently invalid, then no action taken can keep it viable for long.

The Founder, and the countless other great teachers and thinkers of human history, did their work in the Now, realizing that their “nows” were the key connections to the past and the future of their respective purposeful contributions.

Agree that there is no useful need to dwell on what may be for anything. Yet we have learned that to ignore or forget the past, dooms us to repeat our mistakes again in the future. The plight of any future does depend on enlightened planning, and the follow through of persistence.

Aikido to me is an idea, with a chain of historical authenticity, that is valid mainly because of its tradition of forward thinking, coordinated effort and purposeful planning by teachers dedicated to such a transmission of truth.

I do not believe your first sentence at all, Mary. You and Ron are excellent teachers, carrying forward your unique versions of the Founder’s gift of genius. Admit it now, you do really care about Aikido’s future as I do, humbly accepting of the fact that we may not have much to say about how it happens.

in oneness,

dps
02-14-2011, 10:57 AM
The future of Aikido is not important to me. I train in the present day. Now is all that is.
Today we had three students: one man in his late 50's, one woman who is 66, another woman who is 50, Ron who is 63 and me at 53.

We had a wonderful class. We all can take ukemi. We train very regularly so everyone is in good shape. Today we focused on connection, Ki development and waza. We explored so much together that was perfect for the combination of people that gathered to practice Aikido at that moment.

Accepting "what is" is an imporatnt part of training to me. If a teacher spends time whining about what is, what used to be, and what may happen, the teacher cannot be in the now. Can a teacher be centered and be whining about what is lacking? Blaming and wishing take away from positive mind. All that we need it right in front of us.

Woman and older or younger people are not place holders for young athletic men. Whoever is on the mat provide the picture of Aikido for that day.
If Ron waited for just young men to teach he would be very lonesome in his practice. Embrace the students you have, let go of the past and future and enjoy each class for the beauty and fun it brings.
We get on the mat with who shows up in a gi and we train together.
Here, grab my wrist and follow me to a centered moment where our energies mingle and creat a feeling of powerful peacefulness.

Aikido happens. All is well.
Mary

The sky is falling, the sky is falling !!!!

Thank God for you and Ron who live and train in the present. If the sky does fall it will raise again because of people like you.

"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34

dps

philipsmith
02-14-2011, 11:12 AM
Surely all teachers (of any discipline) are concerned with the future. Otherwise why teach?

Janet Rosen
02-14-2011, 11:17 AM
Surely all teachers (of any discipline) are concerned with the future. Otherwise why teach?

To have somebody to train with :)
(in all seriousness...your point is well taken)

I don't worry about who shows up and am happy to train with anybody who is ready to be present to the best of his/her abilities with me. But I'm glad the dojo offers kids and youth classes so there is ongoing community outreach.

dps
02-14-2011, 11:20 AM
Surely all teachers (of any discipline) are concerned with the future. Otherwise why teach?

Some are more concerned with the future of their revenue stream.

dps

George S. Ledyard
02-14-2011, 11:38 AM
The future of Aikido is not important to me. I train in the present day. Now is all that is.
Today we had three students: one man in his late 50's, one woman who is 66, another woman who is 50, Ron who is 63 and me at 53.

We had a wonderful class. We all can take ukemi. We train very regularly so everyone is in good shape. Today we focused on connection, Ki development and waza. We explored so much together that was perfect for the combination of people that gathered to practice Aikido at that moment.

Accepting "what is" is an imporatnt part of training to me. If a teacher spends time whining about what is, what used to be, and what may happen, the teacher cannot be in the now. Can a teacher be centered and be whining about what is lacking? Blaming and wishing take away from positive mind. All that we need it right in front of us.

Woman and older or younger people are not place holders for young athletic men. Whoever is on the mat provide the picture of Aikido for that day.
If Ron waited for just young men to teach he would be very lonesome in his practice. Embrace the students you have, let go of the past and future and enjoy each class for the beauty and fun it brings.
We get on the mat with who shows up in a gi and we train together.
Here, grab my wrist and follow me to a centered moment where our energies mingle and creat a feeling of powerful peacefulness.

Aikido happens. All is well.
Mary

Hi Mary,
I understand what you are saying... but I do think it is important to be "intentional" about what one is doing. I noticed that you guys are independent but that you came out of the Kokikai. Decisions like that aren't made simply by focusing on the present... usually they come about because we realize one day that where we want to go, the direction we wish to pursue, isn't where we will go unless we make some change.

One of the reasons one encounters people who do not get better with each passing year, they just keep doing the same stuff over and over, is the lack of intentionality in their training. They just train expecting things to take acre of themselves. I sincerely doubt that you and Ron do that. You have your own school... that doesn't happen without effort and planning and a long term effort to be ready from a technical standpoint and organizational efforts that require planning, etc.

One of the reasons that I post about the future of Aikido so frequently is that I want to encourage everyone to realize that they are the future of Aikido. And folks who are teaching, even more so. In the same way I look at my own training and direct it towards the set of skills I wish to end up with ten or twenty years down the line, I have to do the very same thing with my students. I have to provide direction to their training so that they have what they need to be their own teachers when I am gone.

I am sure you guys do the very same thing with your own training and with the training you provide your students. It's only one step beyond that to look at not only your training, and not only your dojo, but your larger Aikido community. For me, as a member of the ASU, I think about what I can contribute to make the organization better... but why stop there? If I really think I have something positive to offer the folks in my own organization, why shouldn't I take that out into the larger Aikido community?

Often, folks go independent because they get tired of all the BS with a given teacher or organization. They look around, and probably correctly, realize that they'd find the same stuff anywhere else they went so they simply break with the whole system and become independent. Often, they simply drop of the face of the Aikido earth so to speak. I think this is a terrible shame. Quite often these folks could be a huge help in getting Aikido back on track. But once you are independent, you lose "access" in the way you might have had it when you were formally part of a larger group.

So folks like you, who love Aikido, are willing to do it without the support of some organization or Shihan, just because, should care about the future of the art and should be intentional about how they might go about creating the future they'd like to see. I think all of us who are teachers should feel that responsibility. The future is coming regardless...we can have hand in creating that future. There is no reason for folks to limit their thinking to their own little world. If what you are doing is of value to the folks at your own dojo, it is probably of value to the larger community beyond. But making that happen requires intentionality. Making a difference in the larger scheme of things requires direction and that involves something more than just being in the present.

DH
02-14-2011, 11:39 AM
Tough to read someone talking about the future of aikido,
Then talking about the fact that they don't care about it.
Then drawing attention to their own "now"
All while calling the statements of others "whining." and it discounting them from being in their own now. Insinuating that their research is somehow less than and expresses a weakness.

There have been several recent damning comments of others efforts to include casting doubts on your fellow senior Aikido teachers evaluations who see value in going outside of aikido to explore IP/aiki, Yet, those who make these statements are not to be found among those who have gone out to meet and train with other people being discussed. You stay away from it, and do not approach it while condemning it.
I think this type of narrative is counter productive to any genuine recognition of your peers and seniors efforts and views. What it does is help close doors, cause a separation and ends discussion among peers with good intentions.
It can lead to protectionism and circling the wagons.
There is a good analogy to this mindset in the life of acorporation:

First entrepreneurial spirit and creation
then defining a brand or product
then setting a standard by competing
then sitting on your laurels believing you have it all and failing to grow
then being out of touch with the R&D of the present market
then leaving old exec's to be complacent
then prolonged decline
then failure

There are so many teachers who actually do care about the future of the art, and who are making it. They are not whining, they are doing R&D...
They are most certainly ....in the now.
All parties are part of the narrative and of what the future of aikido is going to be.

Dan

jonreading
02-14-2011, 12:43 PM
I remember the first time I saw the broadway musical "Wicked." Instead of a moral that one should be good, we get this perspective shift to understand why someone is bad. Sometimes perspective shifts can cause confusion, or miss the point of the original perspective...

We should absolutely live in the moment. This is one of the virtues derived from bushi preparing oneself to die each day, the appreciation for what you have now. Ichi go ichi e. However, I understand these bushi where most aware of the future... Bathing prior to battle. Funeral expenses pre-paid. The calculation of impact their death will have... To have a life where you were "square" with your friends, enemies, family; this is something I admire. To live in the present, but also have a clear future, untangled and not messy.

That being said, I think your perspective is throwing me off - didn't think I'd be able to work "Wicked" back into this? :). To me, a good teacher draws focus on training now, but gives care to how training now will impact future training. I appreciate those teachers who think forward so that my training is one of continuity and progress.

It is difficult for me to tell if you are referring to a specific instance where instruction was harmed because a demographic was not present in class. Or, were you referring to your implication of preference there were no YAMs in class?

I don't think a teacher should withhold proper instruction because of a "preferred" demographic. For example, is there some benefit students miss when young athletic men are absent from class? Based upon other arguments presented on Aikiweb, I would have to say, yes, each demographic on the mat brings with it some benefit. Is the lamentation against which you advocate for more YAMs on behalf of those missing benefits? Would you consider it a responsibility of sensei to seek any element which might improve your aikido but is currently lacking? Or, more generally, do you consider it a responsibility of sensei to plan for and provide to the dojo that which is lacking?

Marie Noelle Fequiere
02-14-2011, 02:00 PM
The present is the foundation of the future.
This seems so simple, so common sense. Still, I was told the story of an instructor who had plans for his dojo. He was so focused on his plans that he did not realize that his students were not ready, and / or had other plans. The school collapsed.
In order to take good care of the present, one must have a carful eye on the future. And in order to pave wisely the way of the future, one must take good care of the present.;)

guest1234567
02-14-2011, 02:16 PM
The future of Aikido is not important to me. I train in the present day. Now is all that is.
Today we had three students: one man in his late 50's, one woman who is 66, another woman who is 50, Ron who is 63 and me at 53.

We had a wonderful class. We all can take ukemi. We train very regularly so everyone is in good shape. Today we focused on connection, Ki development and waza. We explored so much together that was perfect for the combination of people that gathered to practice Aikido at that moment.

Accepting "what is" is an imporatnt part of training to me. If a teacher spends time whining about what is, what used to be, and what may happen, the teacher cannot be in the now. Can a teacher be centered and be whining about what is lacking? Blaming and wishing take away from positive mind. All that we need it right in front of us.

Woman and older or younger people are not place holders for young athletic men. Whoever is on the mat provide the picture of Aikido for that day.
If Ron waited for just young men to teach he would be very lonesome in his practice. Embrace the students you have, let go of the past and future and enjoy each class for the beauty and fun it brings.
We get on the mat with who shows up in a gi and we train together.
Here, grab my wrist and follow me to a centered moment where our energies mingle and creat a feeling of powerful peacefulness.

Aikido happens. All is well.
Mary

Hi Mary, how was the weather like? maybe the others couldn't come, also today is Valentine's day, perhaps they had to be with wifes or girlsfriends. I wouldn't worry about the future of Aikido, one day you have only 5 students, but maybe next you'll have ten.
In our dojo are more than 30 registered, when there is a great soccer game, most of the "young athletic men" don't come:) We use that days to practice our ukemis, as we have more space.
So enjoy the moment, I hope you got a nice Valentines gift, I saw in internet that in Japan men are getting chocolates, here in Spain we women receive the gifts:D Last class our teacher asked us about what he could give to his wife:)

Toby Threadgill
02-14-2011, 02:21 PM
Hummm.....

I hope this does not come off as too preachy but.....

I fail to understand what all the hair pulling is about. Modern budo enjoys freedom to evolve, adapt and improve as it's history is in the making, not made. Koryu on the other hand is much more restrictive, striving to maintain and preserve, in the manner of a historical preservation society. Both have their strengths and challenges to face but they also have very different reasons to be.

Look, why shouldn't aikido instructors look outside aikido for technical perspective and knowledge? Aikido is not koryu and not technically unique. It is aikido's ethos that makes it a unique representation of Nihon budo. It appears that some aikidoka are so closed minded as be threatened by perspectives existing outside their own art? It's almost like a level of insecurity is embraced by some aikidoka and that by stepping outside some imagined boundaries they are abandoning or compromising their beloved aikido. IMHO, this is nonsense. Aikido is all about manifesting flexibility isn't it? It seems to me that aikido's ability to function with a flexible paradigm is one of its its primary benefits. Ikeda sensei and I are good friends and we teach together every year. The topic of aikido's evolution is a frequent subject of conversation between us. I may lead a koryu jujutsu school but I enjoy interacting with an aikidoka like Ikeda sensei because we actually have a lot in common. To a guy like me who see's the context of budo in a manner that is perhaps more historical than most, aikido is just one modern jujutsu school among many. Consequently, our traditions share so many common principles that a real technical meeting of the minds is possible between us. Why such a technical meeting of the minds should threaten anyone in aikido is beyond my capability to grasp. It certainly doesn't threaten a wonderful and gifted aikidoka like Ikeda.

Let me provide something interesting and relevent....

Wado ryu karate is technically descended from Shindo Yoshin ryu jujutsu and Okinawan Te. So, Shindo Yoshin ryu is to Wado ryu karate what Daito ryu is to aikido. I have a very close relationship to many Wadoka, in fact I have several Wado ryu shihan in my organization and have taught seminars alongside Japanese Wado ryu shihan representing JKF Wadokai's technical committee. This is unprecedented but makes sense given the two schools historical connection. I have met with the JKF Wadokai Board of Directors in Tokyo and taught a seminar at their World Cup. Sure, my presence is raising eyebrows and making some of the old timers uncomfortable, but the technical heritage and historical perspective TSYR brings to many Wado ryu practitioners is so obviously positive that many of todays up and coming Wado ryu instructors view TSYR as an important resource which promotes a more cohesive understanding of their Wado ryu both technically and historically. Understand...most of these Wado ryu people have no interest in becoming students of a koryu jujutsu school with its arcane perspectives and practices, they just recognize TSYR for what it is, a technical and historical link to their legacy. It is an example "Keiko Shokan" or studying the past to understand the present.

Despite all aikido's lip service about flexibility of spirit and harmonious relationships can you guys imagine a seminar where the technical head of aikido and the technical head of Daito ryu got together in an effort to appreciate their shared technical legacy and historical relationship to one another? How many of you think a one on one meeting like this would ever be possible, but how many of you would love to attend this event? It's almost as if aikido suffers from institutionalized technical paranoia. Well...here's the good news. A new generation of aikido instructors are saying technical isolation is nonsense, and steeping out into the public arena with confidence and an open mind. They understand that aikido is more than a series of techniques, it is an art rich in principles and theory. These people understand that principles compatible with aikido exist in other arts and are willing to go outside aikido to investigate them regardless of their origin, whether it be a koryu like TSYR, an aikijujutsu school like Daito ryu, a Okinawan karate school like Shindo ryu or one of the many internal Chinese martial arts. It is these open minded instructors that demonstrate real love for the art and legacy of aikido. They are not abandoning aikido, they are the ones dedicated to making aikido's future brighter.

After years of study in modern budo I chose to follow the path of koryu. Why is a subject for another day, but to the aikido community I say, embrace the flexibility that modern budo has to offer you and seek to improve on the foundation of knowledge provided for you. Who knows, by manifesting such flexibility of spirit aikido's golden age may be in the future, not its past.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Demetrio Cereijo
02-14-2011, 02:27 PM
It's almost as if aikido suffers from institutionalized technical paranoia.
^This.

Ketsan
02-14-2011, 02:42 PM
Can a teacher be centered and be whining about what is lacking? Mary

Can one perfect one's technique without wondering what is lacking?

Marc Abrams
02-14-2011, 03:36 PM
Stanley Pranin made a lot of friends and a lot of enemies when he began his research into the art of Aikido. Stanley Pranin made even more friends and enemies when he put together the Aiki Expo series in the United States. Understanding the past is helpful in understanding the present and navigating into the future.

I was fortunate to be able to attend every expo. Mr. Threadgill was one of the people whom I was fortunate enough to have met. He, along with some other teachers from other arts and traditions, opened our eyes to recognize that some of the cherished opinions that we held about what our Aikido was, were less than accurate. Some of us were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to pursue some of these arts and traditions, NOT with the intention of leaving Aikido, but to help Aikido live up to it's potential. If the founder of Aikido was able to look for inspiration and influences in other areas throughout his life, then should this not be our legacy as well?

Living in the moment is not that simple. This moment is made up of the past, the immediate perception and the future. I applaud the Aikido teachers who are firmly anchored in deeply understanding the past, giving fully in the present and aiming toward the future. I think that the opportunity to look around at the larger world is one that should be seized. It has been my experience that when I have done so, I have developed a better ability to understand what my teacher was doing. Through this exploration, I also try and explore ways to deeply understand the roots of what I am doing so that I can display it in the execution of the art and to teach the art.

I think that a myopic perspective is easy to develop when we stop looking outside of what we are doing. Another great benefit is that meeting and getting to know some of these other people, Toby Threadgill, Dan Harden, Kenji Ushiro, etc., is a gift that is contained not only in who these people are, but in what they have to offer us.

Marc Abrams

kewms
02-14-2011, 04:15 PM
When someone asks me how to become a writer, I tell them to read a lot, and to write a lot.

Unless you read, you don't know what's been done, you don't know what the medium is capable of, you don't know what its strengths and weaknesses are.

Unless you write, you can't get better at writing. I'll bet even Shakespeare's first drafts were terrible.

In aikido terms... the past lays the foundation for the future. A dojo with no new students will die. A dojo with no senior students has no grounding.

Katherine

SeiserL
02-14-2011, 04:17 PM
IMHO the most powerful present (now) is the one that includes the past and the future, giving it foundation and direction.

RonRagusa
02-14-2011, 04:43 PM
The future of Aikido is not important to me.

It seems to me that if an idea is truly valid, that nothing can prevent its continued development and acceptance.

Hi Francis -

Both Mary and I believe that the idea that is Aikido is not only truly valid but increasingly relevant in our modern age so besotted with the glorification of violence. If you look at the first sentence of her OP in the light of the first sentence of your post then her real meaning becomes clear. The truth of the matter is that nothing will prevent the development and acceptance of Aikido, that the future of Aikido in this global sense is assured and therefore need not concern us.

Admit it now, you do really care about Aikido's future as I do, humbly accepting of the fact that we may not have much to say about how it happens.

I hope that you can see now that we do indeed care about the future of Aikido in the small realm where we have a temporary say in the form of its future. This is where our commitment lies.

All the Best,

Ron & Mary

phitruong
02-14-2011, 05:05 PM
H The truth of the matter is that nothing will prevent the development and acceptance of Aikido, that the future of Aikido in this global sense is assured and therefore need not concern us.

Ron & Mary

i respectfully disagree. the future of good quality aikido is not assured and should be our concern. the number of aikidoka across the globe doesn't speak to the quality of aikido. that's the under lying concern in most threads on aikiweb. ask yourself this. have you achieved the level of aikido as your teacher? have any of your students achieved your level of aikido? what about their students? then do the math for next few generations out. say that you have only achieve 80% of your teacher. your student achieve 80% or your. their 80% of their. the math will tell a better tale.

we want to assure the future of aikido. then we should be better than our teachers. and our students should be better than us.

RonRagusa
02-14-2011, 05:30 PM
i respectfully disagree. the future of good quality aikido is not assured and should be our concern. the number of aikidoka across the globe doesn't speak to the quality of aikido. that's the under lying concern in most threads on aikiweb. ask yourself this. have you achieved the level of aikido as your teacher? have any of your students achieved your level of aikido? what about their students? then do the math for next few generations out. say that you have only achieve 80% of your teacher. your student achieve 80% or your. their 80% of their. the math will tell a better tale.

we want to assure the future of aikido. then we should be better than our teachers. and our students should be better than us.

Hi Phi -

Therein lies the rub Phi. Show me the math. Show me your yardstick for measuring how "good" someone is at Aikido. Define what you mean by "level of Aikido" in rigorous quantifiable terms. Then show me how past results must be indicative of future performance.

Best,

Ron

crbateman
02-14-2011, 06:54 PM
IMHO, if one does not look to and nurture the future, then when one gets there, who will be to blame if it's not right? Yes, what is, is... But what will be has not been decided, and I'd like to think we all have some say in the matter.

graham christian
02-14-2011, 07:32 PM
HI folks.
I fully agree with what Mary says. I think it's quite sensible from the way she puts it.

Sometimes I shock people by saying ' in my religion worrying is a sin.'

I think when she says worry she means worry which is the modus operandi of many and is a waste of time, completely. She doesn't mean to not be responsible for, it's seeing this difference that is needed from my view. In fact I would say worry is inverted responsibility.

To look at with a clear mind, to face without fear, to act and handle in a calm efficient manner. Isn't that more budo? Isn't that wiser? Isn't that responsible? As I said worry is a waste of time.

Mary points out present time and don't care about the future and acceptance. Once again I believe it's understanding what is meant here.

Acceptance. I see acceptance relating directly with center. This includes accepting the scene as it is, in now. On so doing there is is no 'yeah but' for that only shows your lack of acceptance and thus lack of center. The aim is surely to remain centered, therefore practice accepting all. Once again don't care is to do with worry and so a responsible person can say that but maybe for sake of not being misunderstood maybe should say I don't worry about it.

Finally, to do with past and future. I didn't hear her say she's never studied any history. So I suggest a better understanding of what is meant by being in the present rather than assuming it means no responsibility for past or future. That leaves the major point about the future of Aikido.

Let me run this by you. If a person is doing Aikido in the present, doing it well, receiving all those who want to learn, delivering what is offered, then they are operating in a stable space. They are on line so to speak. They are responsible. If others do the same then you have a good overall scene. If they communicate to each other you have a network and maybe also an organization.

Then along comes worry disguised as a friend and destroys it all. Very simplistic I know but done so to emphasise a point.

In my view even if I study greats of the past then I find they didn't worry abt. the future. They got on with what they were passionate abt. and practiced and delivered and didn't care what others thought. They created their own space, their own scene and maintained their center so to speak. Some, like some famouse artists or musicians were only recognised after their death. To me that's budo also. Of course you can also share with others etc. but the point is FAITH and CONFIDENCE in what you are doing far outweighing worrying abt others. For in my humble opinion that is what moves mountains.

Regards.G.

George S. Ledyard
02-14-2011, 07:51 PM
Hi Phi -

Therein lies the rub Phi. Show me the math. Show me your yardstick for measuring how "good" someone is at Aikido. Define what you mean by "level of Aikido" in rigorous quantifiable terms. Then show me how past results must be indicative of future performance.

Best,

Ron

Hi Ron,
The question reminds me of Robert Pirsig's assignment to his university class to define "quality". The students uniformly agreed when someone or something was "quality" yet they couldn't adequately define it. With Aikido it's even harder because two people can look at precisely the same person doing Aikido and have opposite opinions about whether its good Aikido or not. The worst Aikido I ever saw done in public was by an 8th Dan at the Aiki Expo. Of course that was just my opinion... I am use he thought he was wonderful. In fact I am sure he did since he pretty much kept telling everyone that throughout the demo.

Of course we can't quantify how good someone's Aikido is. But I think we know it when we see it (in our own subjective manner). I know a bit about how you trained. I can't believe that you think the kind of Aikido you were taught is the standard Aikido one encounters generally. I would presume that you wouldn't feel that Aikido in in pretty much the opposite manner than the manner in which you do things would be good Aikido. So, while you may have trouble defining or quantifying what you feel is good Aikido, I doubt you have any trouble knowing it when you see it.

So, in these discussions, we do talk about there not being enough good quality Aikido out there. I know very few people who would disagree. What they don't agree with is what good quality Aikido looks like. I have finally come to the point at which I understand that there are a number of approaches, some fairly incompatible with each other. Each has its own set of paradigms operating. But within each approach there still seems to be some that is a good quality version and some that seem like bad quality version, regardless of which paradigm is operating.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

aikishihan
02-14-2011, 08:39 PM
Hello again, Mary and Ron,

Thank you for your welcome clarification.

I find that it is often easy to misinterpret words, and perhaps even easier to misinterpret, or inaccurately anticipate intent.

Rest assured, your commitments and your contributions do count!

in oneness,

RonRagusa
02-14-2011, 10:20 PM
I have finally come to the point at which I understand that there are a number of approaches, some fairly incompatible with each other. Each has its own set of paradigms operating. But within each approach there still seems to be some that is a good quality version and some that seem like bad quality version, regardless of which paradigm is operating.

Hi George -

I like that. It's very apples to apples, oranges to oranges.

Weather permitting Mary and I are planning to attend the Friday night Aiki and Connection class at your seminar in Bedford Hills. It's the only class we'll be able to attend due to teaching commitments Saturday and Sunday. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Best,

Ron

George S. Ledyard
02-15-2011, 02:23 AM
Hi George -

I like that. It's very apples to apples, oranges to oranges.

Weather permitting Mary and I are planning to attend the Friday night Aiki and Connection class at your seminar in Bedford Hills. It's the only class we'll be able to attend due to teaching commitments Saturday and Sunday. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Best,

Ron
I hope you can make it. If you don't have to head out too quickly maybe we cab do dinner together...

mrlizard123
02-15-2011, 03:35 AM
Some are more concerned with the future of their revenue stream.

dps

I'm sure this is true for some and I think that it's the wrong approach if your goal is merely revenue, we agree; it's also not a reality for me since I work full time, study in my spare time, train and still put in a lot of what's left for students. It is self-serving, in that improving them improves my training environment and experience as well as laying foundations for a more solid future.

Revenue cannot be completely discounted as it is important as long as you need a roof and lights otherwise everyone loses out.

In my view even if I study greats of the past then I find they didn't worry abt. the future. They got on with what they were passionate abt. and practiced and delivered and didn't care what others thought. They created their own space, their own scene and maintained their center so to speak... the point is FAITH and CONFIDENCE in what you are doing far outweighing worrying abt others.

Why do Aikido? Why are you not starting something of your own? We are all building on the past to one degree or another. Faith and confidence are fine as long as we know what it is we are putting our faith and confidence into; what do you use as a yard stick? If it is "this is something I like" then it matters not, if it is "this is good aikido" then we venture in a slightly more narrowed direction since it must fit some criteria in order to be Aikido and where do these come from?

The past present and future all play a part:
Past: Let's not reinvent the wheel, or more accurately; let's not try all the failed attempts at wheels that came before
Present: When teaching/training let's be focused on the "now"
Future: Plan for the future; who will teach when I cannot? What will they be teaching and will they understand to the degree that they can pass it on again? Do I know everything?(!)

It is ok to be on the path and only look at the step you're taking but I think that without an idea of where you're heading you might find that you aren't where you expected to be when you get there.

Show me your yardstick for measuring how "good" someone is at Aikido... in rigorous quantifiable terms

This is indeed the rub but I would say that just because it is not easy it cannot be accomplished at least within some degree of confidence. I also think it's something particularly difficult to discuss online (at least I prefer to wave my arms around when I talk!). If one eats at 3 different restaurants that all claim to serve the same cuisine and have no specific complaints you can likely say which was the "best one" or which was better than another but I think it would be difficult in many circumstances to say "exactly" why; this does not mean that one is or is not better. Some may be able to describe the subtle differences in the chef's technique, or the nuances of the effect the furniture and decor on the experience, the manner/knowledge/appearance of the staff and so on. We may not know all these specifics ourselves but we feel the result.

I think that there is no reason we shouldn't be able to develop a means of discussing what is "good" and "bad" even though this may in fact not gel with everyone's perspective. Just because you or I believe something is good or bad whilst another believes it not to be so is no reason not to discuss; it may mean that looking for people who are trying for the same specific goals to have such discussions with will be more fruitful as we all know there will be groups of people who will simply disagree on points though as long as people accept this there is no harm is evaluation/discussion.

There is a big difference between whining about something, rationally evaluating and learning from, closing ones eyes and ears to the past and the destination ahead, etc... I'm not suggesting that anyone fits into such pigeon holed behaviour and perhaps there may be a degree of misunderstanding on my part in the intent of the OP; the only umbrage I take is the implication (possibly incorrectly) that being concerned about the future and mindful of the past equates whining and lack of centre.

phitruong
02-15-2011, 07:12 AM
Hi Phi -

Therein lies the rub Phi. Show me the math. Show me your yardstick for measuring how "good" someone is at Aikido. Define what you mean by "level of Aikido" in rigorous quantifiable terms. Then show me how past results must be indicative of future performance.

Ron

I have two yardsticks: Saotome and Ikeda. with most aikido folks, i used Ikeda sensei. currently, in ASU, the folks that can do what Ikeda doing, the number is ..... NONE! i would consider someone aikido is good if they could do half of what Ikeda sensei. I don't even bother to pull out Saotome yardstick. outside of my aikido organization, i have another yardstick: Endo sensei. outside of aikido yardsticks: Howard Popkin, Mike Sigman. those are the folks i have my hands on at one time or another. i am planning to update my yardsticks bundle whenever i can get my hands on other folks like Toby, Dan Harden, Akuzawa, Ushiro, Kuroda, and others. there are so many folks who have an incredible amount of knowledge and experience. At time, i felt like a kid standing in the pit and looking up at the sky full of candies. :D

ps. i didn't mention Ledyard sensei because i have elected him to be my guidance counselor. :)

Marc Abrams
02-15-2011, 09:03 AM
I have two yardsticks: Saotome and Ikeda. with most aikido folks, i used Ikeda sensei. currently, in ASU, the folks that can do what Ikeda doing, the number is ..... NONE! i would consider someone aikido is good if they could do half of what Ikeda sensei. I don't even bother to pull out Saotome yardstick. outside of my aikido organization, i have another yardstick: Endo sensei. outside of aikido yardsticks: Howard Popkin, Mike Sigman. those are the folks i have my hands on at one time or another. i am planning to update my yardsticks bundle whenever i can get my hands on other folks like Toby, Dan Harden, Akuzawa, Ushiro, Kuroda, and others. there are so many folks who have an incredible amount of knowledge and experience. At time, i felt like a kid standing in the pit and looking up at the sky full of candies. :D

ps. i didn't mention Ledyard sensei because i have elected him to be my guidance counselor. :)

Phil:

NEVER give up that perspective! I truly believe that it prevents institutional myopia from narrowing our understandings within our art. I openly tell people that Stanley Pranin is a true hero in having provided invaluable opportunities to see the depth of knowledge and experience that is out there and how much it can directly benefit us in the deepened understanding of our art. It was suffering from institutional myopia until Stanley blew through the "doors created by a narrow vision."

Regards,

marc abrams

dps
02-15-2011, 09:17 AM
I have two yardsticks: Saotome and Ikeda. with most aikido folks, i used Ikeda sensei. currently, in ASU, the folks that can do what Ikeda doing, the number is ..... NONE! i would consider someone aikido is good if they could do half of what Ikeda sensei. I don't even bother to pull out Saotome yardstick. outside of my aikido organization, i have another yardstick: Endo sensei.


NEVER give up that perspective! I truly believe that it prevents institutional myopia from narrowing our understandings within our art.

I don't understand how defining Aikido by using only a narrow sample of people as yardsticks prevents the narrow understanding of Aikido.

dps

Marc Abrams
02-15-2011, 09:24 AM
I don't understand how defining Aikido by using only a narrow sample of people as yardsticks prevents the narrow understanding of Aikido.

dps

David:

Are you intentionally misusing my statement? I was referring directly to his willingness to experience exemplary martial artists OUTSIDE of Aikido in order to deepen his understanding of Aikido. It is also important to note that both Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei do that as well. They are outstanding examples of open-mindedness ( and I am not in the ASU).

Marc Abrams

dps
02-15-2011, 09:27 AM
David:

Are you intentionally misusing my statement? I was referring directly to his willingness to experience exemplary martial artists OUTSIDE of Aikido in order to deepen his understanding of Aikido. It is also important to note that both Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei do that as well. They are outstanding examples of open-mindedness ( and I am not in the ASU).

Marc Abrams

No, it was not clear that you were only referring to part or what part of his post.

dps

dps
02-15-2011, 09:32 AM
I have two yardsticks: Saotome and Ikeda. with most aikido folks, i used Ikeda sensei. currently, in ASU, the folks that can do what Ikeda doing, the number is ..... NONE! i would consider someone aikido is good if they could do half of what Ikeda sensei. I don't even bother to pull out Saotome yardstick. outside of my aikido organization, i have another yardstick: Endo sensei. outside of aikido yardsticks: Howard Popkin, Mike Sigman.

It seems that your main experience of Aikido is within the ASU and you go outside of Aikido to gain understanding of what is inside of the Aikido you know.

Is this correct?

Why not experience more of the different styles of what is inside Aikido as well?

dps

phitruong
02-15-2011, 09:55 AM
It seems that your main experience of Aikido is within the ASU and you go outside of Aikido to gain understanding of what is inside of the Aikido you know.

Is this correct?

Why not experience more of the different styles of what is inside Aikido as well?

dps

i do. i have trained with folks at their dojo such as AAA, AWA, USAF, and others. when i travel, even if there is an ASU dojo in town, i usually look for other dojo and visit them. and not just aikido either.

dps
02-15-2011, 10:02 AM
i do. i have trained with folks at their dojo such as AAA, AWA, USAF, and others. when i travel, even if there is an ASU dojo in town, i usually look for other dojo and visit them. and not just aikido either.

Ok, thank you

dps

DH
02-15-2011, 10:39 AM
Ok, thank you

dps
Okay
So David follow that up. What does it say that he has discovered something quite substantial...to...his aikido....outside of aikido?

Some people in this thread, have said elsewhere:

*That everything they need is already in Aikido
*That their teacher has IT (contextually when discussing the IP/aiki debate)

Yet the same people who have said that -have not trained with the people being discussed to feel and experience aiki-outside of their art.

What does it say, when those same people read year after year their peers and seniors in the art arriving at the same conclusion. That the study of IP/aiki has substantially changed their Aikido for the better, and the validity of that is denied..

Experience is an interesting thing and agenda is ugly and contrary to good will. Slowly and steadily more people with good will are coming together (in defiance of some people who have agenda written all over them...on both sides of this issue)..and they are arriving at conclusions that benefit the art of Aikido.

I don't know why it has to be confrontational, but apparently when people feel so passionate about a hobby, these things happen. I am going to continue to strive to be better at listening and being reasonable in light of some of the resistance I face on line, since it always seems to end in a shared common interest I keep arriving at in person.
IP/aiki is the cornerstone of what made the Asian arts legendary. It is a shared pedagogy for all of us who pursue these arts. It is my hope that this new movement doesn't get absorbed...in itself... into factionalism as some are now trying to do. Nor does it get absorbed into even more factionalism within the arts.

Remember that the aikido teachers are encountering something that they cannot do. I know that as I go out and meet so many teachers in an amazing array of arts, that my eyes have been opened to some interesting things as well. This collaborative effort has been positive and is growing and I for one am striving to keep it that way, (as Ellis first mentioned in his book) by extending an open hand.
Cheers
Dan, .

George S. Ledyard
02-15-2011, 11:02 AM
Some are more concerned with the future of their revenue stream.

My version of protecting my revenue stream is making darn sure that absolutely nothing happens to my wife, Genie, since she's the one with the real job.

OwlMatt
02-15-2011, 11:18 AM
Look, why shouldn't aikido instructors look outside aikido for technical perspective and knowledge? Aikido is not koryu and not technically unique. It is aikido's ethos that makes it a unique representation of Nihon budo. It appears that some aikidoka are so closed minded as be threatened by perspectives existing outside their own art? It's almost like a level of insecurity is embraced by some aikidoka and that by stepping outside some imagined boundaries they are abandoning or compromising their beloved aikido. IMHO, this is nonsense. Aikido is all about manifesting flexibility isn't it? It seems to me that aikido's ability to function with a flexible paradigm is one of its its primary benefits.
...
Despite all aikido's lip service about flexibility of spirit and harmonious relationships can you guys imagine a seminar where the technical head of aikido and the technical head of Daito ryu got together in an effort to appreciate their shared technical legacy and historical relationship to one another? How many of you think a one on one meeting like this would ever be possible, but how many of you would love to attend this event? It's almost as if aikido suffers from institutionalized technical paranoia. Well...here's the good news. A new generation of aikido instructors are saying technical isolation is nonsense, and steeping out into the public arena with confidence and an open mind. They understand that aikido is more than a series of techniques, it is an art rich in principles and theory. These people understand that principles compatible with aikido exist in other arts and are willing to go outside aikido to investigate them regardless of their origin, whether it be a koryu like TSYR, an aikijujutsu school like Daito ryu, a Okinawan karate school like Shindo ryu or one of the many internal Chinese martial arts. It is these open minded instructors that demonstrate real love for the art and legacy of aikido. They are not abandoning aikido, they are the ones dedicated to making aikido's future brighter.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but isn't there a danger of losing aikido altogether if we take our flexibility too far? It seems that every year the definition of the word aikido grows more and more vague. Where is the line between being informed by our martial arts relatives and disappearing into them?

.

Keith Larman
02-15-2011, 11:32 AM
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but isn't there a danger of losing aikido altogether if we take our flexibility too far? It seems that every year the definition of the word aikido grows more and more vague. Where is the line between being informed by our martial arts relatives and disappearing into them?

.
Maybe that's the exact reason some are looking back trying to reconnect the dots. Things have become quite gray and fuzzy.

Things evolve and while some (many?) may like the direction it has taken, some may prefer to instead go back to what the old guy was doing before things became quite so popular... I personally have no problem with Aikido going in all sorts of directions. I think that's fine, inevitable and natural. The question for each of us is where *you* want to go with it. For me it is looking back to understand where it came from so I can take it where it will naturally go *for me*.

I don't get the wailing and gnashing of teeth on this issue. Some are perfectly content to do what they're doing and what they've always done. That's cool. Others want other things. That's cool too. Me, I'm constantly looking around trying to find things to help me better understand where I came from and what I'm doing. That is, I think, the biggest compliment I can pay to my teachers -- to sincerely try my best to understand what they were taught and are teaching me. Trying to get better. And we all do it our own ways.

OwlMatt
02-15-2011, 11:39 AM
Maybe that's the exact reason some are looking back trying to reconnect the dots. Things have become quite gray and fuzzy.

Things evolve and while some (many?) may like the direction it has taken, some may prefer to instead go back to what the old guy was doing before things became quite so popular... I personally have no problem with Aikido going in all sorts of directions. I think that's fine, inevitable and natural. The question for each of us is where *you* want to go with it. For me it is looking back to understand where it came from so I can take it where it will naturally go *for me*.

I don't get the wailing and gnashing of teeth on this issue. Some are perfectly content to do what they're doing and what they've always done. That's cool. Others want other things. That's cool too. Me, I'm constantly looking around trying to find things to help me better understand where I came from and what I'm doing. That is, I think, the biggest compliment I can pay to my teachers -- to sincerely try my best to understand what they were taught and are teaching me. Trying to get better. And we all do it our own ways.

I guess what I'm trying to do is differentiate between trying to understand aikido and trying to change aikido. If we are doing the former (which I think is what is being suggested both here and in the previous post I quoted), that's great. I just think caution must be taken to make sure that we are not stretching the definition of aikido to mean whatever we want it to mean.

graham christian
02-15-2011, 11:47 AM
I hope you can make it. If you don't have to head out too quickly maybe we cab do dinner together...

I'm sure this is true for some and I think that it's the wrong approach if your goal is merely revenue, we agree; it's also not a reality for me since I work full time, study in my spare time, train and still put in a lot of what's left for students. It is self-serving, in that improving them improves my training environment and experience as well as laying foundations for a more solid future.

Revenue cannot be completely discounted as it is important as long as you need a roof and lights otherwise everyone loses out.

Why do Aikido? Why are you not starting something of your own? We are all building on the past to one degree or another. Faith and confidence are fine as long as we know what it is we are putting our faith and confidence into; what do you use as a yard stick? If it is "this is something I like" then it matters not, if it is "this is good aikido" then we venture in a slightly more narrowed direction since it must fit some criteria in order to be Aikido and where do these come from?

The past present and future all play a part:
Past: Let's not reinvent the wheel, or more accurately; let's not try all the failed attempts at wheels that came before
Present: When teaching/training let's be focused on the "now"
Future: Plan for the future; who will teach when I cannot? What will they be teaching and will they understand to the degree that they can pass it on again? Do I know everything?(!)

It is ok to be on the path and only look at the step you're taking but I think that without an idea of where you're heading you might find that you aren't where you expected to be when you get there.

This is indeed the rub but I would say that just because it is not easy it cannot be accomplished at least within some degree of confidence. I also think it's something particularly difficult to discuss online (at least I prefer to wave my arms around when I talk!). If one eats at 3 different restaurants that all claim to serve the same cuisine and have no specific complaints you can likely say which was the "best one" or which was better than another but I think it would be difficult in many circumstances to say "exactly" why; this does not mean that one is or is not better. Some may be able to describe the subtle differences in the chef's technique, or the nuances of the effect the furniture and decor on the experience, the manner/knowledge/appearance of the staff and so on. We may not know all these specifics ourselves but we feel the result.

I think that there is no reason we shouldn't be able to develop a means of discussing what is "good" and "bad" even though this may in fact not gel with everyone's perspective. Just because you or I believe something is good or bad whilst another believes it not to be so is no reason not to discuss; it may mean that looking for people who are trying for the same specific goals to have such discussions with will be more fruitful as we all know there will be groups of people who will simply disagree on points though as long as people accept this there is no harm is evaluation/discussion.

There is a big difference between whining about something, rationally evaluating and learning from, closing ones eyes and ears to the past and the destination ahead, etc... I'm not suggesting that anyone fits into such pigeon holed behaviour and perhaps there may be a degree of misunderstanding on my part in the intent of the OP; the only umbrage I take is the implication (possibly incorrectly) that being concerned about the future and mindful of the past equates whining and lack of centre.

Hi Rich.
Like your post. You asked me some questions so I'll try to answer.

Why do I do Aikido? Cos I love it and find it's good for self developement and to help others. That's the simplicity for me.

What do I use as a yardstick? I have many yardsticks but the most important one for me is how are the students doing. Are they learning the principles? Improving their application of them in their practice? Applying those same principles to the different areas of their life to good effect? Bottom line are they winning students?

If so the garden is rosy and I give thanks to the past and have confidence in the future.

I look at it this way, a teacher has a product and his or her product is winning, happy students. So you could say my yardstick is in present time, in review and for extra information I study the past, especially the words of O'Sensei and his allocated teachers. Having said that I also include the wisdom of others from all fields. Future for me is simply a matter of organizing in the present and when the present isn't going so well the future looks bleak. That could make a person worry and blame and lead to saying others must worry and blame but I see that as counter productive.

If your not happy and the future looks bleak then it's time to review. The answer lies where you are and the simplicity is teaching and winning students.

In my experience if your own scene is good and you then are shown that the scene generally elsewhere is not good then you will be surprised.

On the other hand I find that if your own scene is not good and then you are shown that the scene elsewhere is also not good then you will be worried, annoyed, looking to blame etc.

Finally in response to something else you said. My personal belief is that if you want to improve yourself you must learn how to be and act selflessly. Sounds strange maybe but not to me.

Regards. G.

Keith Larman
02-15-2011, 11:47 AM
No doubt about it, Matt. You see, I don't have a problem with thinking of words as having a history, evolution and flexible meaning. In other words, even *if* aikido has evolved in such a way that what most practice today is quite different from what was being done by O-sensei, that's fine with me as well. It *did* change. Tohei had a major hand in that. Then it really changed quite extensively with the Kisshomaru's taking over. It became incredibly popular in a way I'm sure O-sensei would never have imagined.

So what it is today in various places may in fact be the perfect thing for many, providing exactly what the students want out of the art. But many of those changes may not be what everyone wants. Some may want to go back to a different time. Or a different aikido.

The point for me is that I've heard people ask "what is aikido *really*?" as if there's an answer to that question. To me the question makes no sense given the broad acceptance and multiple directions it took, heck, well before O-sensei passed away. Some of the changes in some places may be wonderful for some. Those very same things may in fact be the absolute worst for others. Just the nature of evolution of this type.

It's greatest strength is the widespread popularity. It's greatest weakness is the widespread popularity. It just depends on what you want.

Nothing will be lost by those folk looking back because there will always be those who are quite happy now, and rightfully so for them. I honestly don't see why people need to worry about what others are looking for. My concern is for what I'm pursuing. Y'all do whatever you want... :)

AsimHanif
02-15-2011, 12:03 PM
Well its obvious that aikido means many different things to many different people. I for one like what Tamura Sensei said about ‘not trying to sell it' to paraphrase. Each person has to be content with what they are doing. As an instructor what you are doing may or may not attract some sort of following but either way the individual has to make a personal choice.
I've been fortunate to feel an Endo, Ikeda, Nadeau, Sugawara, and others from within aikido as well as practitioners from outside of aikido. I have at this moment a very clear idea of where I'd like my practice to go so thankfully I have an instructor from within aikido who not only has a practice that inspires me but has always encouraged me to challenge myself.
So with regards to the future of aikido, yes I share some of the same concerns as others regarding quality but I also realize that you can only control yourself.

Eric Winters
02-15-2011, 12:57 PM
Hello,

I felt I had to go outside of aikido to get what I want out of my training. I have trained with Toby Threadgill's students for a while and visit Toby every so often. The IS training I am doing within TSYR and the jujitsu principles that I plug into my aikido does not change the outer appearance of my aikido that much. It just makes it more efficient. I also try to do the TSYR kata because it is really cool and it gives me something that aikido does not. I see nothing wrong with going outside of aikido to get other things that aikido does not teach. From what I understand Koryu did it all the time because they need to know what the other guy was doing so they could counter it.

Best,

Eric

phitruong
02-15-2011, 01:25 PM
My concern is for what I'm pursuing. Y'all do whatever you want... :)

i am concern about what you are pursuing. if you pursuit the same stuffs as i am, then i have to find way to off you. can't have competition, you know! :)

Keith Larman
02-15-2011, 01:27 PM
i am concern about what you are pursuing. if you pursuit the same stuffs as i am, then i have to find way to off you. can't have competition, you know! :)

Hey, dude, if you're going to do the "there can be only ONE!" thing you have to remember I live in a house FULL of swords... :)

Mark Freeman
02-15-2011, 01:40 PM
I guess what I'm trying to do is differentiate between trying to understand aikido and trying to change aikido. If we are doing the former (which I think is what is being suggested both here and in the previous post I quoted), that's great. I just think caution must be taken to make sure that we are not stretching the definition of aikido to mean whatever we want it to mean.

Hi Matthew,

aikido - the way of harmony with ki, I guess that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people.

If you feel you are achieving that in your practice, then you are doing aikido, your own form of aikido, but aikido nonetheless. Plenty of people may point and say 'you are not doing the real aikido' or you are not doing O Sensei's aikido, or 'you are not doing the aikido that I do'.

Whether your aikido is 'martially effective' is a whole other ball game, which can be debated ad nauseum.

Who is to define what aikido is apart from the teachers who claim to be teaching it. If you come to me I will teach you 'my' aikido as I understand it, and I'll teach you in much the same way as I was taught by my own teacher. I'll also define it in terms of how it makes sense to me.

I think Keith is right, aikido is widely popular and is practiced in many different ways. I'm not sure if O Sensei was alive today, what he would think, but I would like to think he would see that his desire for aikido to be for everyone, was making some progress. He might raise an eyebrow as to some of the more 'out there' practices, but at least it is global and being enjoyed by many.

It is up to the individual teachers to try to hone their own skills, to be the best that they can be, to go in search if they feel what they are doing is lacking in some way. Because if they don't, they are being lazy and complacent and their students in the end will suffer.

The future of aikido is in the hands of the teachers who are alive today, not those whose legacy we draw on from the past.

regards

Mark

jonreading
02-15-2011, 01:54 PM
Consipracy time. Since this thread is taken a different turn...

I think the undercurrent of the exploration of aikido outside aikido is one of fear. What happens to our ethos when a karate guy can better explain "aiki"? Or a kung fu guy that can better explain the role of dominant and recessive pressure? or the Systema guy that can better explain relaxation? Voiced or not, I think we all have a bit of trepidation, if not concern, that these things may be true. Trouble is, these scenarios are becoming more common - these people are getting better and pushing aikido into the sidelines. We have a great opportunity to recover and learn from these people.

The future of aikido is similar. We see more, better, people who are challenging the aikido people. Our principles are being challenged and quite frankly, many of us are not prepared to handle those people. Our principles are faltering under pressure (i.e. they are not working). But how many principles do we have? How many different interpretations do we have? Heck, we cannot even agree on the definition of "ki".

What do we do with these people who attack our principles or challenge our betterment? Marginalize. Ostracize. Ridicule. We need to understand the number of people better then us is increasing, while the number of us better then them is decreasing. We hide behind our ethics and our morals and our stance that aikido is not about fighting. But on some level isn't that just avoiding the fact a young athletic male who has some wrestling experience can hand us our lunch? We got some elitism going on and now the common folk are better at what we do than we are... We need to shape up.

We need stewards of aikido who are interested in the future of aikido. Some of the instructors of whom I am aware are doing these things and their aikido (and their explanations of aikido principle) are improving. At one point in time other arts came to aikido seeking knowledge. You want my measuring stick? When was the last time a karate guy came into your dojo to learn better karate? Or a judo guy? It's been about 2 months since I asked a judo guy to make my aikido better... I am looking forward to the day a judo guy comes into my dojo asking to make his judo better.

I am making some gross statements here to outline a point and I aim to cast a blanket statement across aikido but realize there are people doing these things... and it shows.

sakumeikan
02-15-2011, 02:18 PM
Some are more concerned with the future of their revenue stream.

dps

Maybe the class register could be renamed the cash register?Some teachers are not motivated by money but I have known gentlemen who might be classed as Breadheads.
Cheers, Joe

dps
02-15-2011, 02:34 PM
My version of protecting my revenue stream is making darn sure that absolutely nothing happens to my wife, Genie, since she's the one with the real job.

Dittos George, except my wife is not named Genie.

dps

Cady Goldfield
02-15-2011, 02:44 PM
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but isn't there a danger of losing aikido altogether if we take our flexibility too far? It seems that every year the definition of the word aikido grows more and more vague. Where is the line between being informed by our martial arts relatives and disappearing into them?



What if the skills being offered by some of these people "outside of aikido" are actual skills that Ueshiba O-Sensei had and used to forge his personal vision of his aikido? What if you, as aikidoka, thus had access to the same means by which Ueshiba was enabled to create -his- aikido?

Wouldn't that mean that you would be bringing -your- aikido even closer to, not farther from, the model provided by O-Sensei?

Mark Freeman
02-15-2011, 04:42 PM
What if the skills being offered by some of these people "outside of aikido" are actual skills that Ueshiba O-Sensei had and used to forge his personal vision of his aikido? What if you, as aikidoka, thus had access to the same means by which Ueshiba was enabled to create -his- aikido?

Wouldn't that mean that you would be bringing -your- aikido even closer to, not farther from, the model provided by O-Sensei?

Hi Cady,

that's some pretty hefty what if's.

How do we know if the skills that those outside of aikido are offering are the same skills that Ueshiba had?

I am not aiming to disparage those with skill, I'm just posing the question. If someone here has practiced with both Ueshiba and those with skills outside of aikido and can say they are the same, then great, we have at least that persons subjective benchmark.

I personally have met Mike and will soon meet Dan. I really enjoyed my experience with Mike and I'm optimistic that I will enjoy my experience with Dan. Have these guys got what Ueshiba had? I have no way of knowing. Has my own teacher got what Ueshiba had? Again I have no idea, I do know from experience that he certainly has what I am striving for or I wouldn't still be with him. I also know that neither Mike, Dan, or any other person with skill from outside of aikido, can give me the depth of knowledge and experience of aikido that my own teacher has. Do I need to go out and look to these guys to make my aikido more like Ueshiba, again I am unsure that there is a definite answer to this.

My experience with Mike did not give me any new skills as such, it did however give me a way of viewing what I already do with a very logical and rational language. As well as some exercises that were completely complimentary to what I am already teaching. This in turn has informed the way I describe to my own students what it is that I am doing. This in turn has helped me understand what my own teacher is doing. So, it was well worth the time cost and effort to meet him.

I'm hoping my experience with Dan will be just as beneficial if not more so, we'll see.

Am I closer to Ueshiba's aikido? I don't know, I'm certainly one step closer to my own:)

Some good questions to pose though.

regards

Mark

Hellis
02-15-2011, 05:07 PM
Mark Freeman

"" Am I closer to Ueshiba's aikido? I don't know, I'm certainly one step closer to my own ""

Mark

Believe me, as a student of Sensei Ken Williams you are as near to O Sensei as you can get..

Henry Ellis
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Mark Freeman
02-15-2011, 05:37 PM
Mark Freeman

"" Am I closer to Ueshiba's aikido? I don't know, I'm certainly one step closer to my own ""

Mark

Believe me, as a student of Sensei Ken Williams you are as near to O Sensei as you can get..

Henry Ellis
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Deep Bow

Henry,

that is a deeply moving thing for me to hear you say.

Thank you, with great respect and appreciation.

Regards,

Mark

AsimHanif
02-16-2011, 08:04 AM
"You want my measuring stick? When was the last time a karate guy came into your dojo to learn better karate? Or a judo guy."

Jon, I've had boxers come in while our aikido class was in session and express interest in learning.One in particular said to me "its in the hips right?', which I thought was pretty astute. I think most realize the efficiency of movement and like how they perceive power generated. But I don't think any of them (boxers) like the 'falling' part:-)

Again I think its a matter of 'you'. It took me probably 10 yrs to realize what I actually wanted out of aikido, although from day 1, I felt there was something about the art I was already getting.

Ketsan
02-16-2011, 08:57 AM
Consipracy time. Since this thread is taken a different turn...

I think the undercurrent of the exploration of aikido outside aikido is one of fear. What happens to our ethos when a karate guy can better explain "aiki"? Or a kung fu guy that can better explain the role of dominant and recessive pressure? or the Systema guy that can better explain relaxation? Voiced or not, I think we all have a bit of trepidation, if not concern, that these things may be true. Trouble is, these scenarios are becoming more common - these people are getting better and pushing aikido into the sidelines. We have a great opportunity to recover and learn from these people.

The future of aikido is similar. We see more, better, people who are challenging the aikido people. Our principles are being challenged and quite frankly, many of us are not prepared to handle those people. Our principles are faltering under pressure (i.e. they are not working). But how many principles do we have? How many different interpretations do we have? Heck, we cannot even agree on the definition of "ki".

What do we do with these people who attack our principles or challenge our betterment? Marginalize. Ostracize. Ridicule. We need to understand the number of people better then us is increasing, while the number of us better then them is decreasing. We hide behind our ethics and our morals and our stance that aikido is not about fighting. But on some level isn't that just avoiding the fact a young athletic male who has some wrestling experience can hand us our lunch? We got some elitism going on and now the common folk are better at what we do than we are... We need to shape up.

We need stewards of aikido who are interested in the future of aikido. Some of the instructors of whom I am aware are doing these things and their aikido (and their explanations of aikido principle) are improving. At one point in time other arts came to aikido seeking knowledge. You want my measuring stick? When was the last time a karate guy came into your dojo to learn better karate? Or a judo guy? It's been about 2 months since I asked a judo guy to make my aikido better... I am looking forward to the day a judo guy comes into my dojo asking to make his judo better.

I am making some gross statements here to outline a point and I aim to cast a blanket statement across aikido but realize there are people doing these things... and it shows.

That's a good post.

graham christian
02-16-2011, 10:48 AM
That's a good post.

I'll second that.

I've had many different people from other arts come to learn, Is that so unusual?

Regards.G.

CitoMaramba
02-16-2011, 11:50 AM
In our dojo we have a couple of karateka who regularly train in our aikido classes. One of them, a yudansha in karate, said that aikido training has led him to a deeper appreciation of the bunkai in karate kata.

kewms
02-16-2011, 12:30 PM
In our dojo we have a couple of karateka who regularly train in our aikido classes. One of them, a yudansha in karate, said that aikido training has led him to a deeper appreciation of the bunkai in karate kata.

I think we may have found at least the beginning of a definition of "good aikido:" aikido that attracts people from other martial arts.

Katherine

Mark Freeman
02-16-2011, 02:19 PM
I think we may have found at least the beginning of a definition of "good aikido:" aikido that attracts people from other martial arts.

Katherine

Hi Katherine,

I can't see how that that would be an accurate measure.

You could have someone quietly practicing good aikido in their own place in their own way. Not advertising or inviting the other arts, just doing what they do for it's own sake.

You could have someone practicing average aikido but with a much better sense of outward looking and networking, they could easily attract folk from other arts through their enthusiasm to engage.

by your measure above, the average aikido would be good, and the good would not be rated at all.

I have had students who are ex judo, jujitsu and karate, but that is no measure of whether my aikido is good.

For me if you can execute technique without effort, with full centre to centre connection, with extension and intent, and with dare I say it 'a joyful feeling' then it's 'good' aikido. If all of those things are not in place then it is 'looks like' aikido but actually isn't.

regards

Mark

Benjamin Mehner
02-17-2011, 01:33 AM
Consipracy time. Since this thread is taken a different turn...

I think the undercurrent of the exploration of aikido outside aikido is one of fear. What happens to our ethos when a karate guy can better explain "aiki"? Or a kung fu guy that can better explain the role of dominant and recessive pressure? or the Systema guy that can better explain relaxation? Voiced or not, I think we all have a bit of trepidation, if not concern, that these things may be true. Trouble is, these scenarios are becoming more common - these people are getting better and pushing aikido into the sidelines. We have a great opportunity to recover and learn from these people.

The future of aikido is similar. We see more, better, people who are challenging the aikido people. Our principles are being challenged and quite frankly, many of us are not prepared to handle those people. Our principles are faltering under pressure (i.e. they are not working). But how many principles do we have? How many different interpretations do we have? Heck, we cannot even agree on the definition of "ki".

What do we do with these people who attack our principles or challenge our betterment? Marginalize. Ostracize. Ridicule. We need to understand the number of people better then us is increasing, while the number of us better then them is decreasing. We hide behind our ethics and our morals and our stance that aikido is not about fighting. But on some level isn't that just avoiding the fact a young athletic male who has some wrestling experience can hand us our lunch? We got some elitism going on and now the common folk are better at what we do than we are... We need to shape up.

We need stewards of aikido who are interested in the future of aikido. Some of the instructors of whom I am aware are doing these things and their aikido (and their explanations of aikido principle) are improving. At one point in time other arts came to aikido seeking knowledge. You want my measuring stick? When was the last time a karate guy came into your dojo to learn better karate? Or a judo guy? It's been about 2 months since I asked a judo guy to make my aikido better... I am looking forward to the day a judo guy comes into my dojo asking to make his judo better.

I am making some gross statements here to outline a point and I aim to cast a blanket statement across aikido but realize there are people doing these things... and it shows.

There is a difference between being a group of pajama wearing hippies and following the Budo Path.

This is a martial art and I feel that so many of us have ceased treating it as such.

I've been in competitive martial arts before and I know some of the Aikidoka in my dojo couldn't hold up in those competitions. That's not to say I'm a great fighter myself. I know the feeling of facing someone who really knows his stuff and losing to him. Most of my Sempai have never studied another martial art and have probably never experienced that despair themselves.

This means that, unlike I, they have probably never been faced with a real win/lose fight situation. I've spent plenty of time sparring and have been in a few fist fights. Mostly with my old man. He was a Golden Gloves Boxer in his day, so it wasn't exactly a cake walk, but I "won" most of the time if you can call beating your own father winning.

I think that all the shame of kicking my own father's ass is what lead me to a more peaceful path after he died (from type 1 diabetes complications).

I've heard Buddhists say that each life is precious and irreplaceable. I am a Zen Buddhist and I say that each moment is precious and irreplaceable. There is no past and the future is not yet written. There is only the now. Enjoy it and act accordingly.

jonreading
02-17-2011, 07:55 AM
I am a firm believer that the measure of a man (or woman) is made by the quality of his (or her) friends. My point was that my aikido is usually judged...by me. And according to me, I am a... (fill in the blank). I think it a boon when my aikido is observed by, and commented on, as being of quality by those people whom I respect to be honest, good, martial arts people.
A few years back ASU started applying some pressure to our sandans, yondans and godans (and some nidans) to be present in front of Sensei more. Summer camp, winter camp, etc. Why? So Sensei could see what they were up to, how they looked. Probably some political reasons too. Aikido Bridge seminars are the same. These venues are where other people who are quality martial artists can check out what aikido is up to and who is doing good things in aikido.

I think Mark touched on something that I have seen also... Attracting poor students from another martial art isn't necessarily a good thing. I believe the "hobbyest" aikido mentality has invited a number of people from other arts because the "bar" was lower in aikido than what they were doing... That is different than a quality student soliciting advice to make their primary art better. Or, a quality student transitioning into aikido from a primary art as a continuation of serious training. The exposure to other arts and validation of aikido by a larger community is an important metric that we sometimes shy away from.

Mary Eastland
02-17-2011, 09:18 AM
Comparing ourselves to others is just a distraction from becoming as good as we can be.
Mary

Anjisan
02-17-2011, 09:51 AM
I am a firm believer that the measure of a man (or woman) is made by the quality of his (or her) friends. My point was that my aikido is usually judged...by me. And according to me, I am a... (fill in the blank). I think it a boon when my aikido is observed by, and commented on, as being of quality by those people whom I respect to be honest, good, martial arts people.
A few years back ASU started applying some pressure to our sandans, yondans and godans (and some nidans) to be present in front of Sensei more. Summer camp, winter camp, etc. Why? So Sensei could see what they were up to, how they looked. Probably some political reasons too. Aikido Bridge seminars are the same. These venues are where other people who are quality martial artists can check out what aikido is up to and who is doing good things in aikido.

I think Mark touched on something that I have seen also... Attracting poor students from another martial art isn't necessarily a good thing. I believe the "hobbyest" aikido mentality has invited a number of people from other arts because the "bar" was lower in aikido than what they were doing... That is different than a quality student soliciting advice to make their primary art better. Or, a quality student transitioning into aikido from a primary art as a continuation of serious training. The exposure to other arts and validation of aikido by a larger community is an important metric that we sometimes shy away from.

I agree with what you are saying and I appreciate you putting it so consicly. It would seem that martial effectiveness is also a good metric to judge Aikido by as well. However, those who state that it is primarily only about personal development can then dodge that metric. Perhaps there a perception out there that for the sake of inclusiveness that Aikido has to lower the bar, otherwise Aikido may die out.

Mark Freeman
02-17-2011, 10:27 AM
I agree with what you are saying and I appreciate you putting it so consicly. It would seem that martial effectiveness is also a good metric to judge Aikido by as well. However, those who state that it is primarily only about personal development can then dodge that metric. Perhaps there a perception out there that for the sake of inclusiveness that Aikido has to lower the bar, otherwise Aikido may die out.

Hi Jason,

I don't see Aikido dying out anytime soon, well hopefully not anyway.

I think if someone is practicing for personal development with little focus on martial effectiveness and they get what they are after from aikido practice, then good. It has served them well. If they are under no illusions that what they are doing will not be much use in a 'real' situation, then where is the problem for them?

Maybe it is possible to learn martially effective aikido with little or no focus on personal development, great if that is what you want, but you may just end up as a more effective fighting person with little or no personal morals or integrity

Martial effectiveness is only one measure, it was not, as far as I read it O Sensei's vision for aikido to become the ultimate 'martial' art. It is a much bigger art than that.

There are plenty of arts out there to teach effective fighting.

Aikido should be appreciated precisely for its ability to be inclusive.
Why not have an art that is great for kids to practice, great for old people to practice, great for those with disabilities to practice. As well as great for young fit men and women to practice ( I love the young fit blokes - cannon fodder for me :D )

There is a philosophy embedded in the movements and the principles of aikido, everyone can benefit from understanding them.

Martial effectiveness alone is a measure, admittedly, but a limiting one.

regards,

Mark

Diana Frese
02-17-2011, 10:28 AM
Here is some personal experience on some of the topics that have been brought up in this thread. First of all, I'd like to say that my husband and I are fascinated to read about Ron and Mary, their dojo and their background, even if we never get to build our own it is still inspiring to know about them and what they are doing.

Our marriage grew out of a cultural exchange down at the local Y. In fact one of my first students Edie had studied jiu-jitsu in town, but the class ended. She wanted to make sure I would be around to teach in the future before she "put her heart into Aikido" as she had put her heart into jiu-jitsu. This was in 1975 and I called my six week class "Introduction to Aikido."

Another student, Eric, was her husband's student in kung fu. The kung fu teacher was Hungarian and had traveled in Asia on business. So right there were people from other martial arts interested in Aikido, just as soon as I got back from Japan. They just learned whatever was taught and I was glad they kept up interest. Edie didn't stay, because she wasn't sure what my future would be, I wasn't sure either, it was just my home town I had returned to.

Eric stayed, and about five years later introduced me to a friend from his informal kung fu class with Edie's husband. So he was actually our "nakodo" his friend Chuck is the same Chuck I later married. Chuck tried Aikido and comes back to it from time to time.
But I ended up studying Shotokan with his friends in NY and later he started teaching at our friend Ray's dojo in the neighboring town Norwalk.

Many years have passed, but I just wanted to say that such cultural exchanges do strengthen the martial arts if people sincerely want to learn from each other. In my case I needed extra work on speed and balance as I got older. In my own classes, which were two hours long at the Stamford Y, I had devoted time to what I called, respectfully "Nureyev lessons" because I felt it was important to get one's own balance before practicing with partners.
These were whatever footwork exercises I had picked up from teachers and senpais.

I feel that we look for what we need and I'm happy to have been validated by so many on studying different arts, short term or long term.

By the way, about martial effectiveness, another member of that kung fu class was attacked by two people at once and what happened is the aikido technique from the couple of classes at the Y he had attended just happened effortlessly ---- it worked just like in the photographs in the books. Of course he was a natural for martial arts, had been a high school wrestling champ, studied kung fu, trained with his brother on throwing techniques. He was exceptional, but it is worth notice that the Aikido technique was what happened when he was attacked.

DH
02-17-2011, 11:05 AM
Comparing ourselves to others is just a distraction from becoming as good as we can be.
Mary
Thats ridiculous.
We all learned what we know from someone else, from mimicing and patterning movement, then growing and deepening. If we are using ourselves as a pattern and examplar of excellence than sure...we will be all we can be...whatever that is. I think I would say...ouch!

Good grief, if Ueshiba thought that way there would be no AIkido to begin with. He got what he got by learning everything from someone else, then adding to it, changing it, personalizing it, what have you. How many times did he ask for Koryu teachers, send people to koryu teachers, he went out to play in Judo dojos. Ever changing, ever growing.
Virtually all of his peers from Daito ryu...every one of them, stated they grew past their initial understanding of aiki and never stopped searching and experimenting. Do you think they made all those discoveries....on their own???
The key to success is usually in embracing others ideas and, letting them challenge yours and comparing the outcomes.
Looking at what others are doing and comparing it to ourselves spurs change and growth and prevents stagnation..
Closing your mind and thinking you have all the information and or even knowing the best methods to learn something is the first step on the path to decline. Examining...failing.. then re-examining, absorbing and experimenting is the first step on the path to genius

I think this time...right now, is a nexus in the path of Aikido. I think it is going to be defining and inescapable, I know senior teachers in the art who are out there right now experimenting and coming back and stating that their recent exposure is changing their aikido forever. In the fullness of time people are going to refer back to the openness and sharing of this time period (and also to certain key people) as a significant change in the art of Aikido. It will be interesting to see who those people are going to be. I don't think anyone knows just yet, but its going to interesting, thats for sure.
Cheers
Dan

CitoMaramba
02-17-2011, 11:18 AM
Nishio Sensei wrote in the preface to his book, "Yurusu Budo":


I often tell people who come to train with me my view that the value of a budo is determined through comparison with other budo; even if you're superficially mastered techniques like ikkyo and nikyo, these are pointless unless you can make them work in the context of other budo. Judo, kendo and karate all have their own stong points and we must study these too. Budo techniques are not permanent and unchanging; if other things change, then naturally budo change in response. What does not change, of course, is the spirit of aikido as it was taught to us by the Founder.

guest1234567
02-17-2011, 11:31 AM
Maybe somebody will interest the opinon of Christian Tissier about this topic http://www.christiantissier.com/articles/ChrisitanTissier-Aikido-InterviewByMorena-20100519.pdf

AsimHanif
02-17-2011, 11:41 AM
Comparing ourselves to others is just a distraction from becoming as good as we can be.
Mary

I agree Mary. I certainly try to learn from others, take what is useful to me, keep what may be useful to others I teach but I certainly don't waste my time comaring myself to others. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. I try to focus on being the best I can be (self competition).
I would not say your statement is ridiculous at all.

Diana Frese
02-17-2011, 12:19 PM
Replying to Asim, Carina and Mark thanks so much.

Carina, I read with interest the Christian Tissier article and will study it. He is a great and dedicated Aikidoka I met him in Japan and he had beautiful Aikido and was very kind to all. Some people just don't care for the no touch aspect but I respect Watanabe Sensei and the fact that Christian Tissier explained that was the particular path that Watanabe Sensei chose to pursue. So for myself I will try to find the more recent video if I can find one that will play, the 2006 one would not. It has got me curious. If my friends and I try the techniques, will they eventually turn into no touch throws? I'd better get back to practice. Just do the techniques and see what happens. No transpo to get to the local dojo at the moment, much less to get to Japan.

We do what we can wherever we are. So thanks Mark, I am an older person now and have some old injuries (not from Aikido, probably) You posted while I was still writing, and I was glad to read that you emphasized the inclusiveness of Aikido. It's in Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba 's book The Spirit of Aikido too.

And thank you Asim, that summarizes how I feel and gives me confidence for the future.

guest1234567
02-17-2011, 12:35 PM
I were looking for the number of aikidokas in Spain to put something in this thread, but I could't find anything, instead I found this interview of Ch. Tissier. But I just saw the new thread of Jun Number of Currently Active Aikido Practitioners? , what a coincidence !, so I sent an email to someone of the Federation and as soon as I'll get the reply, I'll tell Jun.

Ketsan
02-17-2011, 12:39 PM
Thats ridiculous.
We all learned what we know from someone else, from mimicing and patterning movement, then growing and deepening. If we are using ourselves as a pattern and examplar of excellence than sure...we will be all we can be...whatever that is. I think I would say...ouch!

Good grief, if Ueshiba thought that way there would be no AIkido to begin with. He got what he got by learning everything from someone else, then adding to it, changing it, personalizing it, what have you. How many times did he ask for Koryu teachers, send people to koryu teachers, he went out to play in Judo dojos. Ever changing, ever growing.
Virtually all of his peers from Daito ryu...every one of them, stated they grew past their initial understanding of aiki and never stopped searching and experimenting. Do you think they made all those discoveries....on their own???
The key to success is usually in embracing others ideas and, letting them challenge yours and comparing the outcomes.
Looking at what others are doing and comparing it to ourselves spurs change and growth and prevents stagnation..
Closing your mind and thinking you have all the information and or even knowing the best methods to learn something is the first step on the path to decline. Examining...failing.. then re-examining, absorbing and experimenting is the first step on the path to genius

I think this time...right now, is a nexus in the path of Aikido. I think it is going to be defining and inescapable, I know senior teachers in the art who are out there right now experimenting and coming back and stating that their recent exposure is changing their aikido forever. In the fullness of time people are going to refer back to the openness and sharing of this time period (and also to certain key people) as a significant change in the art of Aikido. It will be interesting to see who those people are going to be. I don't think anyone knows just yet, but its going to interesting, thats for sure.
Cheers
Dan

Amen

jonreading
02-17-2011, 12:39 PM
First, I do not think comparison is what we are talking about. Exposure and scrutiny is what we are talking about. I am talking about allowing others to observe and scrutinize our aikido. These peers have something to offer if we are willing to listen.
Competition is one of those buzz words we use to discredit something we don't like in aikido. We don't have competition, right? Call it competition. Bang. Discredited.

Second, I think we are talking about exposing ourselves to good martial artists. While I absolutely believe the people I respect and from whom I seek advice bring the goods, I think the implication in the posts is that these people are only bringing physical knowledge (i.e. martial effectiveness). I would also advocate they have intellectual knowledge to share with us. Again, I don't want to marginalize this point by simply using another buzzword tactic, Martial effectiveness. Aikido is not about fighting, right? We are not concerned with being able to actually use fighting skills. Bang. Dead.

Aikido should not be about someone else, but that does not mean we cannot ask someone else to help us.

Ketsan
02-17-2011, 12:52 PM
Maybe it is possible to learn martially effective aikido with little or no focus on personal development, great if that is what you want, but you may just end up as a more effective fighting person with little or no personal morals or integrity



How exactly does learning Aikido make you a more moral person? That's massive statment to make. One version of shihonage will save your life but another will teach you ethics, morality and give you personal integrity? How are you measuring for that?

kewms
02-17-2011, 12:54 PM
Aikido should not be about someone else, but that does not mean we cannot ask someone else to help us.

Wise words. Many people are shining lights on the Way for those who follow them. Not all of those people study aikido.

Katherine

George S. Ledyard
02-17-2011, 01:12 PM
Comparing ourselves to others is just a distraction from becoming as good as we can be.
Mary

Hi Mary,
I have a different take on it... People generally have their "story". It's what they tell themselves to make themselves feel ok, to make the world seem comprehensible, to justify their actions, to justify their inaction, etc.

I am always trying to look at other folks. And I compare what I see with myself. I know I have my own "story"... does that "story" line up with what I am seeing with others? It is so easy to fool oneself. Am I really trying to be the best I can be? Or is that just my story? Looking outside oneself can function as a reality check.

I might be inclined to tell myself that I can't do something... I tried my best, but I just couldn't do it. But then I see other folks doing it. They are succeeding, why am I not? Did I really try my best? Or was that just my story?

Existing in the moment without seeing oneself in relation to some outside set of standards or accomplishments is a very advanced state spiritually. Most people can't do it. Most folks who think they are doing it are really just listening to their own story. That's why , even in Zen, you have teachers who provide the reality check for the students since its really easy to go off into la la land.

I am not saying that what you said isn't desirable or true. It just isn't very useful for most people. There are folks who are totally self sustaining in their training, as you described. Kuroda Sensei, Ushiro Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, Michael Ryabko... these people are all at the very top of their games. There isn't anyone they would compare themselves to in their fields. Yet they constantly get better. Their quest for an unattainable perfection is totally self motivated and not in relation to anyone else.

Most people simply can't do that. Without role models, without something to shoot for, without comparisons which allow them to peg their "progress", they take the easier road to mediocrity. So, I think we should look outside ourselves. It serves to keep us humble. It serves to show us what is possible when we don't believe it ourselves. Given the human capacity to lie to oneself, I think outside reference points serve a very important function.

DH
02-17-2011, 01:17 PM
Wise words. Many people are shining lights on the Way for those who follow them. Not all of those people study aikido.

Katherine
It's probably important to note here that not all of the people helping by sharing what they know, consider the exchange...a competition at all.
What are we competing for? Instead it is becoming a free and cordial exchange.
Cheers
Dan

Lee Salzman
02-17-2011, 01:40 PM
George, you know what this reminds me of, if we were to classify it as a state of mind? Depression! When you are depressed, you just want to shut out more and more of the world in an attempt to cocoon yourself from the dangers of life. You convince yourself that this is truly the best possible state of affairs, when in actuality, no matter how painful, the more you start partaking of outside stimulation again, the better you get. I have way more familiarity with this cycle than I would like. :)

The thought that we are possibly inadequate in our training is very frightening to contemplate, but then again, coming across people who can not just point out you're in a nasty rut, but show you a better way, can be rather ecstatic.

Hi Mary,
I have a different take on it... People generally have their "story". It's what they tell themselves to make themselves feel ok, to make the world seem comprehensible, to justify their actions, to justify their inaction, etc.

I am always trying to look at other folks. And I compare what I see with myself. I know I have my own "story"... does that "story" line up with what I am seeing with others? It is so easy to fool oneself. Am I really trying to be the best I can be? Or is that just my story? Looking outside oneself can function as a reality check.

I might be inclined to tell myself that I can't do something... I tried my best, but I just couldn't do it. But then I see other folks doing it. They are succeeding, why am I not? Did I really try my best? Or was that just my story?

Existing in the moment without seeing oneself in relation to some outside set of standards or accomplishments is a very advanced state spiritually. Most people can't do it. Most folks who think they are doing it are really just listening to their own story. That's why , even in Zen, you have teachers who provide the reality check for the students since its really easy to go off into la la land.

I am not saying that what you said isn't desirable or true. It just isn't very useful for most people. There are folks who are totally self sustaining in their training, as you described. Kuroda Sensei, Ushiro Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, Michael Ryabko... these people are all at the very top of their games. There isn't anyone they would compare themselves to in their fields. Yet they constantly get better. Their quest for an unattainable perfection is totally self motivated and not in relation to anyone else.

Most people simply can't do that. Without role models, without something to shoot for, without comparisons which allow them to peg their "progress", they take the easier road to mediocrity. So, I think we should look outside ourselves. It serves to keep us humble. It serves to show us what is possible when we don't believe it ourselves. Given the human capacity to lie to oneself, I think outside reference points serve a very important function.

graham christian
02-17-2011, 02:20 PM
Comparing, compairing. IT all depends on why your comparing. Compairing for the 'wrong' reason will lead you knowhere of any use.

I think Mary seems to be 'at the top of her game' and doing well thank you very much. I also think the teachers mentioned are also at the top of their game and doing well thank you very much. Definitely not an example of depression.

Compairing in order to learn is good also. The difference between between Mary and let's say anyone who learns by going to other arts and also if I may say so Dan is nothing to do with who's right and who's wrong.

Dan has a Purpose to share and help. That's brilliant. Mary has a purpose to share and help. Equally brilliant. Both are good at what they do. Brilliant.

One travels around, one doesn't so much. So what?

One welcomes anyone and so does the other.

I am now comparing and contrasting. I THINK what I see thus is true.

Just some thoughts.

Regards.G.

AsimHanif
02-17-2011, 02:20 PM
"spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure" (Wikipedia)

I would also add ...for or against a certain 'method' or 'way'.

phitruong
02-17-2011, 02:22 PM
Exposure and scrutiny is what we are talking about. I am talking about allowing others to observe and scrutinize our aikido. These peers have something to offer if we are willing to listen.
.

are you talking about *gasp :eek: * peer review? do we look like we are in some sort of higher learning place, like a university or something? did i not say that we are descendants for barbarian? there is no place for higher learning here. soon you will be talking about tenure and grant and research. it will be down hill and the death of us all! horrible thought! although i wouldn't mind a PhD in aikido where folks would call me, Dr Phister. however, i hated writing research paper. if i have a research paper on aikido, it would have one line,

Aikido, please grab my wrist and hold on!

:)

graham christian
02-17-2011, 02:33 PM
"spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure" (Wikipedia)

I would also add ...for or against a certain 'method' or 'way'.

Asim. That said, some may be using spin, some may merely be promoting and some may be offering impartial advice or opinion.

Regards.G.

dps
02-17-2011, 02:51 PM
Decisions like that aren't made simply by focusing on the present... usually they come about because we realize one day that where we want to go, the direction we wish to pursue, isn't where we will go unless we make some change.

Decisions like that are made because one day you realize your worries and anxieties are not yours. The leaders, teachers and people who are showing you are also burdening you with their worries and anxieties about the past and future and how they compare to others. That is depressing.

Their quest for an unattainable perfection is totally self motivated and not in relation to anyone else.

Most people simply can't do that.

Most people simply do not try.

dps

Michael Hackett
02-17-2011, 03:58 PM
I compare myself to others all the time, but not in the sense that "I'm better than him", but rather seeing that they have skills or a level of skill that I aspire to. One fellow I train with has the most connected and softest ukemi I've ever seen. Mine by comparison is more like a brick. As a result of my comparison I've asked him to help me improve my own ukemi and it's starting to happen. I don't see this manner of comparison to be a distraction at all, but rather a valuable training aid to improve myself.

Mary Eastland
02-17-2011, 05:35 PM
Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture. How could they be fighting with their big horns when there was so much space for them both? Everyone's reality is different, and the universe is vast enough to support trillions of viewpoints. Why must we agree? What is worth defending? These are thoughts only I can answer for myself.
Mary

Mark Freeman
02-17-2011, 06:01 PM
How exactly does learning Aikido make you a more moral person? That's massive statment to make. One version of shihonage will save your life but another will teach you ethics, morality and give you personal integrity? How are you measuring for that?

Hi Alex,

I did not say that learning aikido made you a more moral person, only that it is possible to focus on narrow aspects of it, to the exclusion of others.

regards

Mark

Lee Salzman
02-17-2011, 06:34 PM
Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture. How could they be fighting with their big horns when there was so much space for them both? Everyone's reality is different, and the universe is vast enough to support trillions of viewpoints. Why must we agree? What is worth defending? These are thoughts only I can answer for myself.
Mary

Mary, from an external vantage point, it seems like one cow knows there is something amiss in the pasture and is merely trying to alert the other cow that they are potentially being hauled off to slaughter. Who can blame the other cow from trying to alert the other? (Did I really just use that metaphor?) I could be reading the between-the-lines signals wrong, but that's what it seems like, FWIW.

DH
02-17-2011, 07:30 PM
Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture. How could they be fighting with their big horns when there was so much space for them both? Everyone's reality is different, and the universe is vast enough to support trillions of viewpoints. Why must we agree? What is worth defending? These are thoughts only I can answer for myself.
Mary
Ahhh but you don't even know you are different.
That's the by product of isolation and a reality set by our own vision and limitiations.
Then again...why even bring it up; being different or same...if you are all into being your own example of perfection the thought of *others* is not in your reality...er...right?

I'm trying to reconcile someone being all into their own path and not concerned with comparisons, just "being all they can be" with no outside input....consistently joining in the IP/aiki threads and making statements like this.
Here I will say it again. Ron Ragusa Sensei has" IT". Honest, not that you will ever come here to find out. How could anyone in a tiny Aikido dojo in the Berkshires have it?
Well he does. He has IT...
I don't agree with George about Ryobkov, Ushiro, Ikeda, etc either but It's worth noting that they are at least not actively making comparisons and discussing comparisons. They are actually just doing their own thing.
Stating Ron has IT ...is.... a comparison in a discussion. It is both a judgement and a conclusion.

This somewhat bitter or assumed prejudice from other readers seems out of place to that mindset as well...
not that you will ever come here to find out. How could anyone in a tiny Aikido dojo in the Berkshires have it?
It certainly interesting to hear that from someone so close to home who had the same thing said of them. What could someone from the woods in Massachusetts really know?
But why have you continued to deny repeated requests for visits to share?

Oh well. To each their own.
When I had a closed dojo we still went out to test and compare. It fostered change, growth and a true deepening of a body method. At a certain point I walked away from my teacher. Why? Because I knew I had surpassed him and staying would have only warped and hindered real growth..so I get that mindset, But we did something to ensure growth and it wasn't just depending on ourselves it was in testing with the finest we could get access to.
No judgement from me. I'm just trying to reconcile what appears to an consistency.It looks like you are very much discussing others while disassociating yourselves or being a little defensive.
Cheers
Dan

Just say'n
Dan

Ketsan
02-17-2011, 08:02 PM
Hi Alex,

I did not say that learning aikido made you a more moral person, only that it is possible to focus on narrow aspects of it, to the exclusion of others.

regards

Mark

Yup you did. You said that if a person focuses on martially effective Aikido it can leave them lacking in the moral and personal integrity departments. By extension there must be part of training which such a person misses which builds morality and encourages personal integrity otherwise all Aikido would be is the aspect that is concerned with being martially effective. There would be no prospect of personal development, the concept would be alien to Aikido and your statement would be superfluous.

"To the exclusion of others"

So what is it about Aikido training that makes a person moral and gives them personal integrity?

kewms
02-17-2011, 08:32 PM
So what is it about Aikido training that makes a person moral and gives them personal integrity?

Theoretically, the need for self-awareness and self-examination.

In practice, though, I don't think aikidoka are any more (or less) self-aware than anyone else. Those who do use aikido to develop their personal integrity were probably inclined in that direction to begin with and would have probably found another avenue if aikido didn't exist. Those who don't, wouldn't.

Katherine

Mike Sigman
02-17-2011, 08:42 PM
Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture. True. Who would argue with a cow? ;)

Gary David
02-17-2011, 10:32 PM
"There's a pounding my head
There's glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
……………………
Trying to connect the dots………
……………………
That was such an epic fail………….."
Katy Perry

We have the original master teacher Sokaku Takeda with a number of prominent students like Takuma Hisa, Kodo Horikawa, Kotaro Yoshida, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Morihei Ueshiba and others. Each of these individual reproduction masters of some but not all aspects of the original. In turn each of these gentlemen produced 2nd generation students that were in themselves reproduction masters of some aspects of their 1st generation teachers. With Morihei Ueshiba we have 2nd generation pre-war students that are different than the post war 2nd generation students. Now we have 3rd, 4th, 5th and even 6th generation students of the various lines coming out of Morihei Ueshiba in the mix all with different views, purposes and filters through which they develop their Aikido…….if you laid reproduction prints out side by side how different would they all look? Would you find brush strokes and touches that were similar….likely.…would a strangers see similarities…likely, but maybe not. Why do we worry over the future of Aikido….it has already taken many varied tracks and paths….the future of Aikido is already here….it is change and evolution.

I spend a few hours on the mat last Saturday with Frank Doran, who is as elegant and precise as ever. He started the class with exercises that were some where between silk reeling and push hands, giving credit to Tai Chi as a source for what he was doing. During the whole of the class Frank emphasized body movement and whole body as the foundation of what he was doing. While I have not been around Frank for the past few years, this was new from him for me……change and evolution. Folks like Dan Harden and the others are just helping with this, adding exercises and skills that provide support in the change and evolution. For some this may be a threat, some back to the future and for others a boost up.

Gary

Mike Sigman
02-17-2011, 10:40 PM
I spend a few hours on the mat last Saturday with Frank Doran, who is as elegant and precise as ever. He started the class with exercises that were some where between silk reeling and push hands, giving credit to Tai Chi as a source for what he was doing. Well surely you know enough by now to be able to give an objective opinion about what Doran did as to whether it was "silk reeling" or whatever, Gary. I'd be really interested in seeing what he did for silk reeling. If it's legitimate, it should fit in with the traditional and well-known-throughout-Asia internal strength training. What's your opinion?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

crbateman
02-17-2011, 11:52 PM
True. Who would argue with a cow? ;)
Anybody could, but the cow wouldn't care... :D

Gary David
02-17-2011, 11:53 PM
Well surely you know enough by now to be able to give an objective opinion about what Doran did as to whether it was "silk reeling" or whatever, Gary. I'd be really interested in seeing what he did for silk reeling. If it's legitimate, it should fit in with the traditional and well-known-throughout-Asia internal strength training. What's your opinion?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike
My comments about Frank Doran, who I consider a friend, where to show a change in approach from the past and from what I consider the usual Aikido training model. Was it silk reeling..no. Was Frank moving like Chen Xiaowang and Chen Bing...not at all. Was Frank making an effort to connect flowing body movements, connecting shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, feet...yes. When we were doing the initial solo flowing movement preceding the paired practice that then turned into doing an Aikido technique.....it had to me the look if not the substance of silk reeling and some sense of pool noodling if not the substance.

What Frank was to me last Saturday was a step off the standard line, creating space for an emphasis or interest in continuing the whole body first aspect of Aikido. What this space allows is room for the input of folks like you, Dan and others to help those who are interested in internal training. The idea of silk reeling or pool noodling , or maybe even pole shaking, may lead to some in Aikido looking at these training tools and finding the internal aspects they can lead to.

Gary

Lee Salzman
02-18-2011, 02:04 AM
Well surely you know enough by now to be able to give an objective opinion about what Doran did as to whether it was "silk reeling" or whatever, Gary. I'd be really interested in seeing what he did for silk reeling. If it's legitimate, it should fit in with the traditional and well-known-throughout-Asia internal strength training. What's your opinion?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike, I don't really think this is the thread to get into that sort of tangent. I have also been present at seminars where Frank Doran has shown these exercises, and, the point is, they are vessels for getting across an idea he wants to teach. And they do. In terms of the general outlines, they are at least inspired by the originals enough to show what Frank Doran is getting from them. That's what counts. That's what is relevant to this thread.

If you want to pick nits, I think they are ridiculous exercises even when used as directed in tai chi, but what's that matter? Even in tai chi, they are only vessels for practicing a pre-existing understanding of mechanics, and are not actually good for actually imparting that initial understanding of the mechanics.

Mike Sigman
02-18-2011, 09:06 AM
The idea of silk reeling or pool noodling , or maybe even pole shaking, may lead to some in Aikido looking at these training tools and finding the internal aspects they can lead to.
Well, my general thought was that in terms of the "Future of Aikido" there are a lot of potential missteps, some of which can be avoided by reasonably precise usage of terms. "Silk Reeling", or any other of the numerous buzzwords, has a fairly precise connotation and it refers to the famous 'natural movement' of the human body, a basis for all the real "internal" movement. It's easy to make general statements like "Joe Blow teaches Aikido exercises as part of his Kung Fu class", when in fact that might be a slightly skewed perception of what Aikido is. Thus the conversation begins to warp off-course. I appreciate your clarifying the remarks.

Best.

Mike

DH
02-18-2011, 10:51 AM
Good Grief
There is no precise usage of the terms in Chinese arts either. Attempting to highjack terminology as "precise definitions" is just plain ignorant of the Chinese community at large. There has been so many arguments among students and even, master class people about all sorts of terms and movements, even to the point of some madter class people correcting the teaching of other master class people and openly stating THEY didn't get it. All while quoting the "classics" (compare it to Takeda/ Sagawa/Ueshiba in the aiki arts arguing about the term, aiki).
For any single person to say "All agree to this precise definition of this or that" is utter nonsense. It's easy to do in private discusions with rank beginners- where are all the experts in these discussions who agree and will step up and debate and vet these opinions?

Again I don't really care, but I do think the Japanese community should put some of this rhetoric into proper perspective. There is just as much, if not more, arguing among the Chinese artists.on terms and precise definitions. We've seen this all before
It's no different than some Japanese artists trying to control the definition of aiki. Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba... none of them agreed to some precise definition. Imagine some noob showing up and telling you "Everyone in the Japanese arts agrees this is what aiki is!"
You can have your opinion, you can be very good. You can be Sagawa...it still doesn't make that statement true or factual. At the end of the day, all most certainly do NOT agree.

As this thread has pointed out there are some great teachers out there sharing right now. Some avoid the typical catch phrases alltogether. Since people go to seminars, I strongly suggest people get out and feel a good cross section of the teachers mentioned in this thread and see what they have. While it is good to be careful of misteps..keep in mind that includes following individuals who try to convince you so much that they are the only ones who can help you avoid them. ;)
The future of aikido is not so easily defined or mapped out. These are VERY interesting times, I would encourage people to join in and explore.
Dan

Keith Larman
02-18-2011, 11:08 AM
The first time I saw silk reeling I immediately flashed on Futari Sayu Kaeshi-lkkyo. How's that for terminology... :) Hmmm, another way to approach and teach the technique.

DH
02-18-2011, 11:23 AM
The first time I saw silk reeling I immediately flashed on Futari Sayu Kaeshi-lkkyo. How's that for terminology... :) Hmmm, another way to approach and teach the technique.
And therein lies the rub.
Personal experience: Not having any experience in taiji nor claiming to, I was shown a certain outer movement by an Chinese expert in the field. I didn't pay allot of attention to the outer form as it matched some things I knew from a Japanese art-which sure as hell was not driven by the outer form. Teacher comes over again, watches....puts his hands all over my middle and asks "No taiji?" The tells me I am doing *chansi jin* It wasn't because of my outer form. Had a repeat a year later, though more in depth. They applied terms to something from a different cultures art.
Now I compare that to friends from that art who were...uhm...not doing the same things as me...on the inside. So where would we presumably be getting this alleged consensus to what is supposed to be being done in a form?
Cheers
Dan

phitruong
02-18-2011, 11:26 AM
silk reeling is only good for making silk pajamas and bed sheets. however, combining the two, silk pajamas and bed sheets, often lead to extreme ukemi which might ruin the harmony and loving feeling that you have in mind with your mate (don't ask me how i know). so there is no future in such thing. in conclusion, there is no future for silk reeling in aikido. :)

Mike Sigman
02-18-2011, 12:00 PM
Good Grief
There is no precise usage of the terms in Chinese arts either.

This is exactly what I mean. There is a precise definition of "reeling silk" in that it is a way of practicing Six Harmonies movement. The Six Harmonies movement involves the 3 internal harmonies and the 3 external harmonies. Everyone's pet, ad hoc definition isn't valid and a lot of peoples' guesses are not as valid as everyone else's. In the same sense, people can't just come up with their own definition of "aiki" with no comparison to the original way it was used, and so on.

My point had more to do along the lines of the early UFC's where they made a big deal out of "Joe Blow is a 3rd degree blackbelt in Aikido" (or some other art like Silat, Hung Gar, whatever) and yet when you see what they do, it has nothing to do with the named art except in their own imagination and role playing. In terms of Aikido and the future of it, it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. To just dumbly nod without anything going through the head but fleecy clouds is to ask for trouble. The idea that anyone can assert anything publicly and that no one is allowed to ask questions is a sure sign of trouble in an art.

Any discussion about a 'future' should allow for critical and specific questioning (not some of these "I demand you explain this" absurdities to crop up occasionally on the forum).

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-18-2011, 12:53 PM
keep in mind that includes following individuals who try to convince you so much that they are the only ones who can help you avoid them. ;)I keep hearing about such individuals.... can you provide us with a quote, please? Or is this just another oblique personal shot? I.e..... for once how about staying on topic.

Mike Sigman

Gary David
02-18-2011, 01:22 PM
............it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. To just dumbly nod without anything going through the head but fleecy clouds is to ask for trouble. The idea that anyone can assert anything publicly and that no one is allowed to ask questions is a sure sign of trouble in an art.

Good Grief!!
I am expressing my reaction to a process I was ask to do last Saturday and from my limited experiences it reminds me of silk reeling and as a partner practice similar to push hands. The purpose of the solo practice and the paired practice, both prior to working into a technique were relaxed integrated movement and keeping this while working with a partner and then keeping this as we went on to do a technique utilizing the outer movement. I have practiced on a very limited basis both both silk reeling and push hands....make no claims to having any skill or more than a limited understand of either. I do know that if I say silk reeling most, even on a forum that is Aikido based, folks will get a ready image of what I am talking to. I guess I could have taken a lot of time to explain what was going on, but that is not me. Frank made no reference to silk reeling and only mentioned push hands and Tai Chi as a contributing source of what he was having us do. It was my place to go with it.......... T

Any discussion about a 'future' should allow for critical and specific questioning (not some of these "I demand you explain this" absurdities to crop up occasionally on the forum).


If critical and specific questioning is going to be directed by name at individuals I am having no part of it. Actually discussion of this nature are best conducted in small groups between people who know each other...or at least have respect for each other. Otherwise they will all end badly. The future of Aikido is already moving along a number of paths whose outcomes none are dependent upon critical discussions on this or other forums...outcomes are dependent for the most part upon how much change and evolution is present in the individuals involved or on how clear these folks are about staying exactly where they are now.

Gary.....

Diana Frese
02-18-2011, 01:25 PM
I know I mentioned this in another thread, but "The Professor" Chen Man-Ching's student Lou Kleinsmith was an assistant instructor at NY Aikikai.

His original background was judo, I believe, so he knew three martial arts. His picture was in a judo book as one of the participants , he taught class regularly at NY Aikikai and he also taught class as an assistant to "The Professor." The Tai Chi students simply called the place where Chen Man-Ching taught "downtown" .

Yamada Sensei was the chief instructor at NY Aikikai and he had several "senpais" (thought we didn't know the word.) help teach us. And Sensei knew Lou studied Tai Chi. One time he teased us while assisting as Tohei Koichi Sensei was teaching a technique based on the famous "relax completely" principle.

"What are you doing, Tai Chi?" he said mischievously watching us as we tried to copy what had been shown.

Although this was many years ago, it shows that at one time several students went to both places. The Tai Chi people even put a notice on the Aikikai bulletin board inviting us to watch a class, because they knew some of us were curious.

About Lou, I especially remember how he did ikkyo ura. He had the arm and he just walked behind uke holding uke's arm loosely with his own arms relaxed and just put the arm on the ground.
That's what he told us, just put the arm on the ground. His posture was perfectly well balanced, there was no strain and it was effective.

Through our minds went the thought, "How did he do that, it looked so easy." I'm sure most of you know what was going on, but back then we just thought it was a good way to learn to do ikkyo ura. Those tai chi people were always telling us to relax. But they were also aikido people.

Push hands was another thing to our minds, however and it was quite an experience to be on the receiving end of that, when someone dropped their center and with non stiff arms splatted us against the wall with our shoulders aiming towards imaginary clothespins on an imaginary clothesline.it seems to me now. They had fun doing that to us outside of Aikido class, I'm not sure they ever tried it in the dojo after class. I don't remember being splatted against the dojo walls by them...( That was one way to be reminded by friends to keep one point, but theirs were lower at least lower than mine, and my best friend took tai chi and decided to share that part with me....)

Yes there was some sharing and some cross training going on. Some of us actually tried the forms for a few months but it was hard keeping two training schedules.

One funny thing I remember from seeing the film of the Professor, Sudden recognition. Although he had gray hair and a little gray beard he was almost skipping through some of the movements. He seemed to be almost laughing, like a kid, "lookit what I'm doing, it's fun."

(Lou had a kind of mysterious smile, too, a bit similar, but totally American.)

You may not believe this next, but I have to tell it. One day quite some time before the visit "downtown" to see what our friends were practicing, I was riding on the West Side IRT or IND or something, I forget which one. I saw a gray haired Chinese gentleman laughing at me.

This was disconcerting, because at the time Bob Newhart had already come out with the record about looking in the mirror and finding out he had been walking around in public with a bit of spinach in his front teeth. I checked, I had no spinach. And my clothes seemed to be average.

This was in the back of my mind and bothered me until the invitation by my Tai Chi friends. What a relief to know he might have just been quietly laughing to himself and not at me.

Funny stories aside, I just wanted to contribute something about sharing from the Chinese arts way back in the sixties.

Patrick Hutchinson
02-18-2011, 01:25 PM
so it goes:

MS says define silk reeling
DH says there isn't a single agreed on definition
next
MS will say suspect all those who can't define the simplest concepts. I can, but I won't.
DH will say How come you talk the talk only up to point, never mind not being able to walk the walk
MS will say beware those bearing jin tricks
DH will tell us he has 42 pairs of stretch socks
MS will say that is irrelevant
Phi will make a lascivious joke about stretch socks and "the suit"
Chris Hein will say that you can find perfectly adequate stretch socks within aikido
DH will ask what could "a kid" know about stretch socks
MS will point out that the Chinese invented stretch socks, they just called them "peng" because of the smell
etc.

Diana Frese
02-18-2011, 01:34 PM
Thanks Gary, I can't claim to understand everything on this thread but I just added some personal memories to show some sharing also occurred decades ago. So it was nice you posted while I was writing my lengthy recollections something I had been curious about while skimming in and out of the thread from time to time looking to understand some of the things mentioned.

Now I can re read, and have a better idea of silk reeling since you mention it is similar to push hands. It is helpful for those of us with not much background in Chinese Arts to have these similarities to keep in mind.

Thanks again for helping.

dps
02-18-2011, 01:50 PM
.

Now I can re read, and have a better idea of silk reeling since you mention it is similar to push hands. It is helpful for those of us with not much background in Chinese Arts to have these similarities to keep in mind.

Thanks again for helping.

Hello Diane,

Here are a couple of videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eltVM5A89lM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoeFpsujqU4

dps

Diana Frese
02-18-2011, 01:56 PM
Hi Patrick, I was correcting my post when you posted, so yes, I will go back and see what MS and DH were saying about silk reeling.

Diana Frese
02-18-2011, 02:00 PM
Hi David, this sure is an active topic with overlapping posts. Great!
Thanks for the links. I will study them this evening, I have to go out now. My husband took kung fu and is interested in any similarities between tai chi and aikido, so it should be interesting to watch it together tonite or over the weekend. Thanks again.

Mike Sigman
02-18-2011, 02:04 PM
Hello Diane,

Here are a couple of videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eltVM5A89lM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoeFpsujqU4
Those would be good examples of pro's and con's, too. Knowing *what* silk-reeling is would be handy for people to know, in principle, rather than just looking at some outward set of movements and saying "this is an example of silk reeling". In other words, people need to ask questions rather than just "Oh, so that's what silk reeling looks like... we do something that looks like it in class, so we have that part of it covered". In terms of the 'future of Aikido', it's easy to see how that can go astray.

If someone wants to leave it at "well, all definitions of 'silk reeling' are OK because opinions vary among different teachers', then we're back to Mary Eastland's argument and she's right. Whatever she wants to call "internal strength" is just as valid as whatever Dan is talking about, Ushiro is talking about, Joe Blow is talking about, and so on. If all opinions are valid and no one wants to say "Billy Bob's opinion is wrong and here's why", then basically the future of Aikido is going to be pretty much what the present is. ;)

In terms of what Doran Sensei is teaching, I haven't seen it (I'll check YouTube), and my comment was more that I'd like to see it (if someone will read my post... it's still there). Actual reeling-silk would be valid for Aikido (can be logically demonstrated as a fact), but a loose use of the term "reeling silk" just leaves the usual vague questions and assertions floating around. I.e., buzzword talk.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Gary David
02-18-2011, 02:44 PM
Mike
Frank Doran is not teaching silk reeling or push hands, he is just framing his approach, at least this one time that I was with him, using some solo practice and pair practice that does a better job of preparing folks for a less muscular approach to the technique. There are a lot of people in Aikido that are capable of what I think you would call muscular jing. This to me is a step away from that. As for Frank himself he has always been a model for me and one of those I consider having had impact on my art.

Gary

dps
02-18-2011, 04:44 PM
Hi Diana.

I have found Bagua / Pakua has more similarities than tai chi.

dps

Diana Frese
02-18-2011, 06:23 PM
We will try to check that out, thanks. I guess I have always been curious about these topics, and it reminds me of a question I asked an assistant of mine who had studied Shorinji Kenpo I think it was. (Someone affirmed on another thread that Shorinji means Shaolin in Japanese but I don't know if I knew that fact at the time)

Anyway I mentioned to him that I thought Karate was linear. I didn't know much about karate either at the time. And he seemed to be picking up on the circular stuff in class.

He answered " Shorinji Kenpo is Japanese people trying to do Chinese things."

He didn't mean it to be disrespectful to either the Chinese or Japanese martial arts, he was just trying to answer my question in a simplistic way I could understand!

(He was great with beginners by the way, he said " Wheels roll, boxes don't," when I was trying to show how to curve the elbow and arm and hand and the diagonal from shoulder to opposite hip)

Lots of depth of study available on various types of Chinese martial arts among the people on Aiki Web. Fascinating. Thanks, I appreciate it and my husband will too.

jonreading
02-19-2011, 09:15 AM
I think that necessarily we need to consolidate some of our terminolgy and better define those terms. For some reason aikido has avoided the codification process. I guess because its more art than science or whatever the excuse. At some point we need to press eachother to better define what we are doing and why.

The instructors I appreciate most can both do aikido, and explain it. Its become cliche now, but Einstein's quote about explanation is very true. I think some of us have become more armchair and less quarterback. I think it reasonable for students to A. Expect an instructor to comptetently demonstrate aikido and B. Expect an instructor to competently explain the demonstration. I would argue that we have many instructors out their spreading aikido they do not understand, or aikido they cannot do. And to be clear, I think that this is not bad because it is part of the learning process to explore what you do not understand. However, we need to set some precedent of expectation when we will "get it".

Again, I think some of these issues come from pushing aikido people into the real world. What would happen is a karate instructor could provide a better explanantion for aikido than we could? I have a couple of decent judo books that cover many aikido pricniples better and aikido books that talk about the same principles. In fact, an important personal discovery for me came from reading a judo lesson from Mifune Sensei. How does our instruction stack up against other arts? How can we trash talk that neanderthal UFC guy when his coach can not only hand us our lunch, but he is better at explaining what is going on. Dang.

Mike has a point about our precision. Sometimes we are over vague in our aikido. Am I doing tenkan? Or, am I doing ushiro ayumi ashi tenkai? Similar movement, but two different things. Am I extending palm up? or palm down? We need to be prepared not only to assert a preference of movement but also a reason why. I believe this is most important because I believe the deep parts of aikido (the "ura") are in the "why" of the technique. How can you learn bunkai if you don't care why you are doing the kata? How can you learn kaishiwaza if you don't care why your structure is compromised?

PhillyKiAikido
02-19-2011, 10:54 AM
Read through the thread, just got confused that a lot of Aikido people here visited and learnt from many outside Aikido arts to pursue the true Aikido but nobody ever mentioned Ki-Aikido and Koichi Tohei's teaching, as if they never exist in the Aikido world.

Here is a thought-provoking article by a master who is outside of Aikido, Mike Sigman sensei. http://www.aikidojournal.com/blog/2009/04/11/using-toheis-model-as-a-baseline-by-mike-sigman/

MM
02-19-2011, 08:54 PM
My point had more to do along the lines of the early UFC's where they made a big deal out of "Joe Blow is a 3rd degree blackbelt in Aikido" (or some other art like Silat, Hung Gar, whatever) and yet when you see what they do, it has nothing to do with the named art except in their own imagination and role playing. In terms of Aikido and the future of it, it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. To just dumbly nod without anything going through the head but fleecy clouds is to ask for trouble. The idea that anyone can assert anything publicly and that no one is allowed to ask questions is a sure sign of trouble in an art.

Any discussion about a 'future' should allow for critical and specific questioning (not some of these "I demand you explain this" absurdities to crop up occasionally on the forum).

Mike Sigman

Bold mine.

Mike's response when asked to explain silk reeling:


So my recommendation is to stick with absolute kokyu/breathing basics and branch out into techniques and applications only after the basics have been truly ingrained.

Mike Sigman

Does Mike know silk reeling? Let's see what he says:


Someone misunderstanding exactly what is being practiced/conditioned in the breathing (and related) exercises is going to blow the reeling-silk exercises (or misunderstand what is being talked about) and is going to have some wrong idea about "moving from the hara", in addition. I.e., these things are easily misunderstood without a common dialogue established in person. Most of the people I see nowadays who are "using internal strength" are still moving from the shoulders, etc., which means all the talk about 'silk reeling', 'breathing exercises', 'hara', etc., is actually something else and the terminologies are getting crossed.

As always, "these things are 'easy to learn' but difficult to correct". Mike Sigman

and

This is exactly what I mean. There is a precise definition of "reeling silk" in that it is a way of practicing Six Harmonies movement. The Six Harmonies movement involves the 3 internal harmonies and the 3 external harmonies. Everyone's pet, ad hoc definition isn't valid and a lot of peoples' guesses are not as valid as everyone else's. In the same sense, people can't just come up with their own definition of "aiki" with no comparison to the original way it was used, and so on.

Mike Sigman

It seems fairly straight forward that he does. Then why hedge on explaining it? What is silk reeling? After all, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. " If Mike stays true to form, it'll either be silence or a turn-around asking the poster to explain it.

Speaking of explaining, how about explaining knowing what Ueshiba's breathing practices were and what Ueshiba's traditional system was in regards to kokyu? Especially considering most of Ueshiba's students had a very hard time understanding what Ueshiba was doing, let alone recreating those skills. Bold below is my addition:


In other words there's a trick to getting hold of and conditioning the right things. Although Tohei and Ueshiba were careful to delineate this problem by insisting on very relaxed breathing practices, my personal opinion is that they would have helped a lot more people if they'd been further explicit than just saying "relax".

Kokyu, hara, ki/breath/suit, all together is not really a difficult idea to conceptually grasp, but to implement it is pretty hard because it means changing the way the body moves and breathes. Well, of course I referring to the traditional system that Ueshiba seemed to subscribe to, not other approaches.

2 cents.

Mike

Remember, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. "

gregstec
02-19-2011, 09:49 PM
Read through the thread, just got confused that a lot of Aikido people here visited and learnt from many outside Aikido arts to pursue the true Aikido but nobody ever mentioned Ki-Aikido and Koichi Tohei's teaching, as if they never exist in the Aikido world.

Here is a thought-provoking article by a master who is outside of Aikido, Mike Sigman sensei. http://www.aikidojournal.com/blog/2009/04/11/using-toheis-model-as-a-baseline-by-mike-sigman/

Some may view this as odd coming from me with all things considered, but overall, good article and on point. :) Prior to Tohei's split, Ki was an integral part of the teachings in the Aikikai. It is not only prevalent in "This is Aikido", first printing 1968 ( I have an original copy) but also in Kissahomaru's writings before the split as well. Tohei's Ki teachings are an excellent first step to help establish a basic foundation for IS, but, as mentioned by others, it does not go to the next level.

Greg

Mike Sigman
02-19-2011, 10:35 PM
Bold mine.

Mike's response when asked to explain silk reeling:

Does Mike know silk reeling? Let's see what he says:

and

It seems fairly straight forward that he does. Then why hedge on explaining it? What is silk reeling? After all, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. " If Mike stays true to form, it'll either be silence or a turn-around asking the poster to explain it.

Speaking of explaining, how about explaining knowing what Ueshiba's breathing practices were and what Ueshiba's traditional system was in regards to kokyu? Especially considering most of Ueshiba's students had a very hard time understanding what Ueshiba was doing, let alone recreating those skills. Bold below is my addition:

Remember, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. "

Mark are you trying to further the conversation or are you taking another one of your endless follow-Mike-around shots at me? This is the umpteenth time... you need to figure whether you have some goal in life other than harrassing me.

My point was pretty clear... before people start talking about "reeling silk" the place to start is with breathing techniques. If you don't understand breathing techniques, reeling-silk is a waste of time. Why don't you, for once, tell us what you know as part of the conversation rather than wasting your time with the attempts to smear?

Mike Sigman

Ketsan
02-19-2011, 10:51 PM
I think that necessarily we need to consolidate some of our terminolgy and better define those terms. For some reason aikido has avoided the codification process. I guess because its more art than science or whatever the excuse. At some point we need to press eachother to better define what we are doing and why.

The instructors I appreciate most can both do aikido, and explain it. Its become cliche now, but Einstein's quote about explanation is very true. I think some of us have become more armchair and less quarterback. I think it reasonable for students to A. Expect an instructor to comptetently demonstrate aikido and B. Expect an instructor to competently explain the demonstration. I would argue that we have many instructors out their spreading aikido they do not understand, or aikido they cannot do. And to be clear, I think that this is not bad because it is part of the learning process to explore what you do not understand. However, we need to set some precedent of expectation when we will "get it".

Again, I think some of these issues come from pushing aikido people into the real world. What would happen is a karate instructor could provide a better explanantion for aikido than we could? I have a couple of decent judo books that cover many aikido pricniples better and aikido books that talk about the same principles. In fact, an important personal discovery for me came from reading a judo lesson from Mifune Sensei. How does our instruction stack up against other arts? How can we trash talk that neanderthal UFC guy when his coach can not only hand us our lunch, but he is better at explaining what is going on. Dang.

Mike has a point about our precision. Sometimes we are over vague in our aikido. Am I doing tenkan? Or, am I doing ushiro ayumi ashi tenkai? Similar movement, but two different things. Am I extending palm up? or palm down? We need to be prepared not only to assert a preference of movement but also a reason why. I believe this is most important because I believe the deep parts of aikido (the "ura") are in the "why" of the technique. How can you learn bunkai if you don't care why you are doing the kata? How can you learn kaishiwaza if you don't care why your structure is compromised?

Yep. I've always felt that in Aikido I'm kinda left trying to figure a lot of things out for myself. I have my own vocabulary for describing different body movements I find in techniques. There's nothing in Aikido terminology that actually tells you what you're doing, it just describes an end state i.e shiho nage. But how do you get to shihonage? There's no way, that I know of, of describing techniques and what you actually need to do to perform them.

Mike Sigman
02-19-2011, 11:20 PM
Yep. I've always felt that in Aikido I'm kinda left trying to figure a lot of things out for myself. I have my own vocabulary for describing different body movements I find in techniques. There's nothing in Aikido terminology that actually tells you what you're doing, it just describes an end state i.e shiho nage. But how do you get to shihonage? There's no way, that I know of, of describing techniques and what you actually need to do to perform them.Actually, just to make a thumbnail response, every physical movement is, or should be, predictable in terms of optimal development. The whole qi/ki thing is extremely logical and comes from, hold your hat, the Yin-Yang dichotomy of body movements. If you look at the basic acupuncture diagram of the body, there is a Yang motion going up the back, in terms of normal direction and power, and there is a Yin motion coming down the front. Ack... there's no way to say this succinctly... but let me just say that I disregarded this logic early in my martial career as being superfluous, but I wound up having to go back and figure all of this out ultimately. Why is there never enough time to do things right the first time, but there's always enough time to re-do the job when you're forced to?

Anyway, there are two basic ways to move and wind the body in terms of optimal strength. This is called "natural movement". All movements can be viewed as derivative variations of these two basic movements. So, for instance, kokyu/jin works optimally in one best way for kokyu-ho dosa, but also the way you respond with wrist/arm twisting to aid the kokyu-ho has an optimal method, also. What I'm getting at is that when you boil it all down there is going to be an optimal response to an opponent's force using not only kokyu, but also body position, so something like shiho-nage, assuming it's an optimal response, should actually be deducible via the ancient cosmology. It's actually a lot more practical than it sounds.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

graham christian
02-20-2011, 12:16 AM
Yep. I've always felt that in Aikido I'm kinda left trying to figure a lot of things out for myself. I have my own vocabulary for describing different body movements I find in techniques. There's nothing in Aikido terminology that actually tells you what you're doing, it just describes an end state i.e shiho nage. But how do you get to shihonage? There's no way, that I know of, of describing techniques and what you actually need to do to perform them.

Alex, I'm surprised by your comment. NO-one's ever taught you what shihonage is? Is this common?

Regards.G.

Dave de Vos
02-20-2011, 04:47 AM
Alex, I'm surprised by your comment. NO-one's ever taught you what shihonage is? Is this common?

Regards.G.

I think what Alex means is that (for example) the description kosa dori shiho nage does not describe the movements between kosa dori and shiho nage. It describes only the start A and finish B, not how to get from A to B.

MM
02-20-2011, 07:00 AM
Mark are you trying to further the conversation or are you taking another one of your endless follow-Mike-around shots at me? This is the umpteenth time... you need to figure whether you have some goal in life other than harrassing me.

My point was pretty clear... before people start talking about "reeling silk" the place to start is with breathing techniques. If you don't understand breathing techniques, reeling-silk is a waste of time. Why don't you, for once, tell us what you know as part of the conversation rather than wasting your time with the attempts to smear?

Mike Sigman

Endless? Really? Do you really want to go there? It's pretty much in black and white posts on when I started calling you on your attitude and it's relatively recently. Again, you're trying to portray yourself as some victim of personality attacks when, if you read my posts, I'm using your exact words to get you to do exactly what you're telling other people to do.

Let's go back and repost your words, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it."

Are you going to explain silk reeling or not? You were the one who said it was perfectly legitimate to ask. Of course, with the post above, it's clear to everyone that you aren't going to explain it. It's *beyond* everyone here. Everyone should go back to breathing techniques. Everyone is wasting their time if they are doing silk reeling. You know where everyone is at in their training, Mike?

How about just doing exactly what you said for everyone else to do and start explaining silk reeling and quit portraying people as either too dumb to understand or not skilled enough to be at that level.

Howard Popkin
02-20-2011, 08:27 AM
so it goes:

MS says define silk reeling
DH says there isn't a single agreed on definition
next
MS will say suspect all those who can't define the simplest concepts. I can, but I won't.
DH will say How come you talk the talk only up to point, never mind not being able to walk the walk
MS will say beware those bearing jin tricks
DH will tell us he has 42 pairs of stretch socks
MS will say that is irrelevant
Phi will make a lascivious joke about stretch socks and "the suit"
Chris Hein will say that you can find perfectly adequate stretch socks within aikido
DH will ask what could "a kid" know about stretch socks
MS will point out that the Chinese invented stretch socks, they just called them "peng" because of the smell
etc.

Yo Patrick,

That was some funny stuff :)

Diana Frese
02-20-2011, 10:31 AM
Not to take sides, but once "funny stuff" is mentioned I start laughing and remembering teaching shiho nage out of cat food commercials.

( Daian always going back to few short years at a Y....)

I asked my new students: "You think this is some kind of complicated Asian martial art?

" Look at the cats on tv, the Chow Chow Chow (the old Purina Cat
Chow commercial) Step the foot forward, then step the foot back."

This was the entry when uke grabbed your wrist when you stepped forward and then you stepped back to begin the lead.
Then they had trouble getting under their own arm, so I said think of a towel, you're just drying your rear off on an imaginary towel.

Not to be disrespectful of senior practicioners of the various arts and styles out there, but come on, people admit you use examples to get a technique across to students who really want to learn.

I can't be the only one even though I taught at a Y. The Y is where you can really reach students who may not have realized they wanted to learn a martial art. And I did teach it for effectiveness too, the best I knew how.

Not trying to start a dispute, but if they have everyday descriptions in the Chinese arts, why not in Aikido? Terry Dobson, who many people feel was one of the Greats, used a lot of examples....

Still, it's rather hard to get the real thing across with words if you are not there. Some people on this thread say you have to feel the technique to understand it.

I'll go back to reading, I hope Howard at least thinks this post is funny.

George S. Ledyard
02-20-2011, 10:31 AM
so it goes:

MS says define silk reeling
DH says there isn't a single agreed on definition
next
MS will say suspect all those who can't define the simplest concepts. I can, but I won't.
DH will say How come you talk the talk only up to point, never mind not being able to walk the walk
MS will say beware those bearing jin tricks
DH will tell us he has 42 pairs of stretch socks
MS will say that is irrelevant
Phi will make a lascivious joke about stretch socks and "the suit"
Chris Hein will say that you can find perfectly adequate stretch socks within aikido
DH will ask what could "a kid" know about stretch socks
MS will point out that the Chinese invented stretch socks, they just called them "peng" because of the smell
etc.

Meanwhile the Systema folks are busy punching the punky out of each other...

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 10:50 AM
Let's go back and repost your words, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it."

Are you going to explain silk reeling or not? Show me the post where I claimed to be teaching reeling silk to anyone on this forum, Mark. Or to Aikidoists. The comment was made that Doran Sensei was teaching silk reeling or something like it to Aikidoists. I certainly never have stated, AFAIK, something like that on this forum.

Last time. Quit following me around, a la Justin Smith, with the harrassing posts, Mark.

Mike Sigman

Gary David
02-20-2011, 10:52 AM
How about just doing exactly what you said for everyone else to do and start explaining silk reeling and quit portraying people as either too dumb to understand or not skilled enough to be at that level. (Mark Murray)

Not to be disrespectful of senior practicioners of the various arts and styles out there, but come on, people admit you use examples to get a technique across to students who really want to learn.(Diana Frese)

My point was pretty clear... before people start talking about "reeling silk" the place to start is with breathing techniques. If you don't understand breathing techniques, reeling-silk is a waste of time. (Mike Sigman)

Mike
Don't you offer 'pool noodling' at your workshops as a entry to silk reeling? Isn't pool noodling your creative approach to getting folks into the a body connective type of movement, saying that pool noodling was easier for those of us will little knowledge of CMA to get a handle on? I think I remember someone saying that when showing pool noodling to Chen Bing (or someone at his level) he responding that it was silk reeling. Many of us Aikido folks have been to your workshops and were introduced to pool noodling, which I still work at when I want to feel all of my body moving. I think you talked about breathing in connection with the poodle noodling. Maybe it would be helpful for other here if you talked to pool noodling.
Gary

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 11:23 AM
Mike
Don't you offer 'pool noodling' at your workshops as a entry to silk reeling? Gary, I do not give Aikido workshops. We were talking about an Aikido workshop, IIRC.

Isn't pool noodling your creative approach to getting folks into the a body connective type of movement, saying that pool noodling was easier for those of us will little knowledge of CMA to get a handle on? I think I remember someone saying that when showing pool noodling to Chen Bing (or someone at his level) he responding that it was silk reeling. No, it was Chen Youze and he recognized the principles of it immediately; but it is not silk-reeling. Many of us Aikido folks have been to your workshops and were introduced to pool noodling, which I still work at when I want to feel all of my body moving. I think you talked about breathing in connection with the poodle noodling. Maybe it would be helpful for other here if you talked to pool noodling.
Why don't you talk to it, Gary? It's been a couple of years since you were at that workshop, so I assume you have pretty good expertise and understanding of the principles, now. It's not rocket science.

Go back and look at the very useful and detailed discussion of some of the ki demonstrations that Ikeda Sensei did. Notice how the thread was destroyed (not contributed to) by 'friends' of yours, Gary. Why don't you ask them some public questions.... or do you think I'm the only person capable of giving practical answers?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 11:37 AM
Yo Patrick,

That was some funny stuff :)

Pretty funny. Maybe Patrick can give you some info on internal strength, too. :D

Howard, why don't you post some detailed "how to" stuff on AikiWeb? That might be helpful.

Mike Sigman

Mary Eastland
02-20-2011, 12:00 PM
You made me chuckle, Diana...the best metaphors are the ones that work in the moment. I bet you are fun to train with.
Mary

DH
02-20-2011, 12:02 PM
NONE OF THIS IS IN FACT...PERSONAL. It is asking a question of someone using their own standards. Gees!
You will note that neither Gary or Mark or Marc offered opinons on the topic.
And Marks questions still apply.
1. If someone calls into doubt others statements about silk reeling and offers their own opinions about silk reeling....
2. Then go on continually that it is far game to ask for details about those opinions...
3. Then it is fair game to ask them for details.

Mark also pointed out what the response was going to be
4.. Attack the person asking Mike a Question
Which is exactly what Mike did
5. Then challenge the person to offer their own-even though that person never mentioned a thing about the topic and calling them an expert (passive /agressive insult)..
Which is exactly what Mike did
6.Offer no answer
Which is exactly what Mike did
7. All this...while claiming personal attack for asking a freakin question!!

Good grief!
We need to do better than this, and others are trying to do just that.

Lets stay on topic

The future of aikido
I'm waiting for my own questions to be answered. If the future of aikido is going to involve teachers and students in the art, investing years into a body of work as yet unknown to them,and Mike wants to be a part of that, then some evidence of the sucess of that methods is in order.
Where are Mikes students?

I have produced people with power and skills... many of you have met them
Ark has produced people of power and skill...we have met them.
So has Toby...I have met them
So has Ushiro...look at Ikeda and others who are just now training with him.
Mike will not produce people for us to go test
Instead he is quoted telling teachers he has people currently developing,,,and wait till the world meets them, then they will see the real IP.
Okay, no problem with me.
All that does though is firmly and finally establish the pecking order Mike talks about
Mike is the new kid on the block

All I can say is that we are pulling for you, Mike. I am truly hoping for the best from you and I wish you good luck. I just wish you would tone down the rhetoric and be more even handed and fair with others who are working this as well; both with and within the aikido community at large. As many here are discovering more and more are instead just walking away because of certain attitudes and behaviors..
We have to begin by offering an open hand to those we are claiming we want to share with.
Mutual respect and professional conduct goes a long way when martial arts are involved.
Cheers
Dan

DH
02-20-2011, 12:06 PM
You made me chuckle, Diana...the best metaphors are the ones that work in the moment. I bet you are fun to train with.
Mary
Analogy and metaphor for concepts that are felt more than delineated are pretty common in the arts. I think the failure of many Asian teachers are that they lack details even when they are available. It's not the norm in the Asian model.
I also think some American Aikido teachers and Asians who have been teaching for a long time IN America are in fact doing better at explaining physical skills,.even while using metaphor.
Cheers
Dan

MM
02-20-2011, 12:23 PM
Show me the post where I claimed to be teaching reeling silk to anyone on this forum, Mark. Or to Aikidoists. The comment was made that Doran Sensei was teaching silk reeling or something like it to Aikidoists. I certainly never have stated, AFAIK, something like that on this forum.

Last time. Quit following me around, a la Justin Smith, with the harrassing posts, Mark.

Mike Sigman

If you aren't going to explain silk reeling, why not just tell people up front instead of telling them they should go back to basics because you think they aren't advanced enough to understand.

And following? Have I replied to your every post? No. And harrassing? I asked you the exact question that you asked everyone else. Are you then harrassing everyone?

Janet Rosen
02-20-2011, 12:39 PM
Please stop thread hijacking via bickering. Thank you.

DH
02-20-2011, 01:01 PM
Not to take sides, but once "funny stuff" is mentioned I start laughing and remembering teaching shiho nage out of cat food commercials.

( Daian always going back to few short years at a Y....)

I asked my new students: "You think this is some kind of complicated Asian martial art?

" Look at the cats on tv, the Chow Chow Chow (the old Purina Cat
Chow commercial) Step the foot forward, then step the foot back."

This was the entry when uke grabbed your wrist when you stepped forward and then you stepped back to begin the lead.
Then they had trouble getting under their own arm, so I said think of a towel, you're just drying your rear off on an imaginary towel.

Not to be disrespectful of senior practicioners of the various arts and styles out there, but come on, people admit you use examples to get a technique across to students who really want to learn.

I can't be the only one even though I taught at a Y. The Y is where you can really reach students who may not have realized they wanted to learn a martial art. And I did teach it for effectiveness too, the best I knew how.

Not trying to start a dispute, but if they have everyday descriptions in the Chinese arts, why not in Aikido? Terry Dobson, who many people feel was one of the Greats, used a lot of examples....

Still, it's rather hard to get the real thing across with words if you are not there. Some people on this thread say you have to feel the technique to understand it.

I'll go back to reading, I hope Howard at least thinks this post is funny.
Hi Diane (if I may)
I think it is indeed common. I routinely talk with teachers and I steal some of their terms (with permission and credit of course). Some Aikido teachers have developed excellent skill at getting others to understand the physical. My students and I steal from each other as some have better ways to get people "to feel" things than others.

I just got off the phone with another teacher, who brought a 6th dan to an event. The message is relevant to the topic at hand.
The 6 dan Aikido teacher was impressed with the practical and applicable teaching he was offered at a workshop- finding it coherent and immeadiately applicable to his Aikido. He has gone on to purchase reading material that was referenced and is practicing certain exerices in earnest.
Interestingly, the teaching he was offered was done in a composite of science, mechanics, and... metaphor, in order to understand; what, how, and then create... a feel for things that were not easily accessed through a mental understanding or a detailed explanation. Many times what is moving, why it matters and then how to to move it are difficult to make happen on a physical level. Otherwise we could all just read a book and be masters of something or other. I've lost track of metaphors and exercises I have invented to solve a teachers struggles. and then delighted to see and hear them creating their own for for their students
I think that is a tale that goes back generations!!
Cheers
Dan

Diana Frese
02-20-2011, 01:30 PM
Thanks for the validation, friends. Here is something from Saotome Sensei and Dobson Sensei in the late seventies because you mentioned "generations"

I think it relates to keeping your center during multiple attack, Saotome Sensei I think carried a baby doll onto the stage during a demo, if I remember correctly. I do remember the baby doll distinctly. You are protecting something live, something valuable, if not a baby, you are still protecting yourself, the vital organs of the body while multiple people are attacking you, so you start to turn, and it generates a circular force and they can't connect with this spinning force, and they fall off (like tangents to a circle, or is my geometry mixed up?)

Terry did this in static, just standing there to begin with.He would have one person push from the front, one from the back, one pushing each shoulder and then he would start to turn on the axis of his body and people couldn't keep pushing against a turning person, so they spun off and had to roll out.....

DH
02-20-2011, 01:46 PM
Thanks for the validation, friends. Here is something from Saotome Sensei and Dobson Sensei in the late seventies because you mentioned "generations"

I think it relates to keeping your center during multiple attack, Saotome Sensei I think carried a baby doll onto the stage during a demo, if I remember correctly. I do remember the baby doll distinctly. You are protecting something live, something valuable, if not a baby, you are still protecting yourself, the vital organs of the body while multiple people are attacking you, so you start to turn, and it generates a circular force and they can't connect with this spinning force, and they fall off (like tangents to a circle, or is my geometry mixed up?)

Terry did this in static, just standing there to begin with.He would have one person push from the front, one from the back, one pushing each shoulder and then he would start to turn on the axis of his body and people couldn't keep pushing against a turning person, so they spun off and had to roll out.....
Isn't teaching challenging?
I think time and effort and feedback...will improve teachers, but only in as much as we are willing to invest and listen.

That baby model hilarious and further proves my point. I will ask for some students to verify if needed... I use a model called protecting the baby as it does something to them physically and mentally in movement. There are some rather interesting thigns about turning having to do with in yo ho that are not normal and hard to do at first that greatly enhance that drill.Most people turn while really only focusing on the vector of attack and one side of their body opening...terribly inefficiennt,

I also teach a model about gripping and entering- using a snake as a model. If you grab a snake by the tail and shake and apply force in different directions the snake cannot climb up its own body to get you. After a minute or so it goes completely limp. Then....when it tries again, do the same inconsistent movements and it goes dead again. I've done it on an 11 foot python as well-though it wasn't so dramatic it completely relaxed on me letting go and sliding off my leg as it tried to catch itself. .
This ties in with three different arts teaching I know where they document certain physical response failures in multiples. The neuro/muscular system cannot respond.
Now if I were some ancient Japanese teacher my snake discovery would probably be an arts origin legend: I learned from watching the animals rolleyes:
Instead it's just some white boy from the woods in Massachusetts messing about!.
Cheers
Dan

graham christian
02-20-2011, 04:07 PM
I think what Alex means is that (for example) the description kosa dori shiho nage does not describe the movements between kosa dori and shiho nage. It describes only the start A and finish B, not how to get from A to B.

Dave, I understand that but that's the same for the names of most techniques anywhere isn't it, especially chinese. The name refers to an aspect of it but the discription of it would have to be a step by step thing.

Secondly, what it's based on. I assumed everyone knew where the techniques come from and what they're based on. An explanation of such should come from the teacher and remove a lot of confusion as the student can then visualise it and see what they are supposed to be replicating.

Regards.G.

sakumeikan
02-20-2011, 05:14 PM
Yep. I've always felt that in Aikido I'm kinda left trying to figure a lot of things out for myself. I have my own vocabulary for describing different body movements I find in techniques. There's nothing in Aikido terminology that actually tells you what you're doing, it just describes an end state i.e shiho nage. But how do you get to shihonage? There's no way, that I know of, of describing techniques and what you actually need to do to perform them.

Dear Alex,
I find it staggering that you state that there are no methods of describing waza to let you know what to do.As far as making up your own vocabulary, why not simply learn the normal names?If you are also being left to figure out things for yourself, where are /what are your instructors doing? Aikido terminology [if you know it?] tells you exactly what you are doing.However if you make up your own names is it any wonder you are confused?
Do you self a favour buy a book or print out stuff from a Web Page on Aikido terminology.
Cheers, Joe.

Janet Rosen
02-20-2011, 08:02 PM
Dear Alex,
I find it staggering that you state that there are no methods of describing waza to let you know what to do.

I agree. And they are not fancy-shmancy words either: off the top of my head and in no particular order (I am NOT describing one particular technique here) the verbal parsing of most waza in terms of body movement can be described with words like "pivot" "step""enter" "extend outward" "extend upward" "cut" etc....

Within our dojo, where ki exercises are done at the start of every class, students also can parse out a technique by being reminded of the relevent exercise: funekoki waza back, then forward, take a step while doing udemawashi... etc.

sakumeikan
02-21-2011, 05:50 AM
I agree. And they are not fancy-shmancy words either: off the top of my head and in no particular order (I am NOT describing one particular technique here) the verbal parsing of most waza in terms of body movement can be described with words like "pivot" "step""enter" "extend outward" "extend upward" "cut" etc....

Within our dojo, where ki exercises are done at the start of every class, students also can parse out a technique by being reminded of the relevent exercise: funekoki waza back, then forward, take a step while doing udemawashi... etc.

Dear Janet,
Thanks for support of my blog.Is it any wonder that Aikido is seen as some mystic art?In my opinion if an instructor cannot or will not give clear instructions /and or the student cannot comprehend basics , there is certainly something amiss in the dojo.Assuming of course that there is not a communication problem eg different lanquage/disability [deafness ]involved.Cheers, Joe.

Janet Rosen
02-21-2011, 05:58 AM
Dear Janet,
Thanks for support of my blog.Is it any wonder that Aikido is seen as some mystic art?In my opinion if an instructor cannot or will not give clear instructions /and or the student cannot comprehend basics , there is certainly something amiss in the dojo.Assuming of course that there is not a communication problem eg different lanquage/disability [deafness ]involved.Cheers, Joe.

Now having agreed on that... I also am one who uses imagery and metaphor to describe the *feeling* or essence of the underlying principles.... but yeah, in terms of describing the body movement...well I'm not a natural athlete and as a beginner in aikido the only way I COULD learn was to parse it out into steps and speak them as I did them :)

jonreading
02-21-2011, 09:32 AM
I think that some of our trepidation is the "what will everyone say if I say 'silk reeling'?" Or, more appropriately, what will everyone say if you include a non-common exercise in your training? Part of our trouble is the confidence issue to say, "I teach X" and withstand the onslaught of critics who say "how do you know you correctly are teaching the exercise? How do you know the exercise is beneficial? How are you showing something not approved by your organization? etc. These are tough questions and we will have to answer them. And we need to answer them to demonstate we have a clear idea of what we are doing, even if it can be improved upon.

Next, we need to understand as the critiquing public that our contributions should be directed at improving aikido, not bashing someone for trying to incorporate a new exercise into our classes. As instructors we need to be honest with ourselves that if we cannot correctly instruct an exercise, we need to find someone who can (or learn from someone). Some of the best instructors I know are the first to drag in an instructor to show something they are not familiar with...

Also, it sounds silly but a good lexicon will help our teaching when we delve into the creepy stuff. When the "feel this" and "feel that" starts to come out, enough of the equation is resolved to allow the student to focus on the "feel" of the exercise.

For example, I advocate zeppo undo as a great exercise for developing a strong base. I usually focus on the exercise in much the same fashion I learned my baseball swing and now use in my golf swing - the firing of leg muscles and ab muscles to generate hip torque... the proper rotation of the knees as your hips open, the extension of you quads... placing your weight behind the push... any hitting coach or golf coach will tell you these are positive traits. Heck, I could probably pull 10 articles from my golf digest that are great for transferring leg strength into rotational movement. But how many of us do zeppo undo by simply turning at the waist? There are so many great exercises out their that we can use if we have the *#^$& to use them. And while I used sports in my example, the same is true of other martial arts. Check with someone who knows, stick em in and wait til someone who knows tells you a better thing to do.

Mike Sigman
02-21-2011, 09:58 AM
I think that some of our trepidation is the "what will everyone say if I say 'silk reeling'?" Or, more appropriately, what will everyone say if you include a non-common exercise in your training? Part of our trouble is the confidence issue to say, "I teach X" and withstand the onslaught of critics who say "how do you know you correctly are teaching the exercise? Well, obviously these are valid considerations. Think, for instance, of how many basic Aikido exercises (Aiki Taiso) that are within the Aikido syllabus and people have done them since day 1, but how many people in Aikido doing those exercises have wound up with the basic kokyu skills that should have resulted from doing Aiki Taiso correctly? Not many, or there wouldn't be this current consternation about kokyu/ki skills, right?

So if there is a valid question about in-house exercises being done, to a widespread degree, incorrectly, then there is a valid concern about 'outside' exercises being understood even less correctly and brought into Aikido or some other art.

One of my objections to "reeling silk" exercises is that in the Taiji community, reeling silk talk is very common. "Spiralling energy", and so on. Yet it also becomes sort of a buzzword more than anything else because copying the external exercise is most of what people tend to do. Knowing that, I'm not enthusiastic about one more buzzword exercise being added to Aikido since the art has more than adequate exercises as it stands.... when used correctly.

Another factor to think about is what I call "Too Much Information from Too Many Sources", although it's along the same lines as the idea that Aikido has plenty of good exercises. I usually try to get a feel of where someone's training is by feeling their results in very basic situations. I let them push me backwards, I feel their arms as they're moving, I feel their "root", etc. Most people need work at that basic level, so learning new things is just one more way to get their mind occupied with something other than the simple basics that they need to work on. It's like those people who go to a workshop every month and "learn so many good things", but they don't have basic internal-strength skills because they're too busy going to workshops to stay home and work on the basics.

Think about this for a second.... "reeling silk" sounds interesting, but what does it really do and how does it do it? Is there something similar in Aikido that would actually bring the point home better and more quickly? I think so. The trick is to get that original information of how to do it and the "what does it do" out there accurately. I actually explained how to do some of this 4 or 5 years ago somewhere in a thread on AikiWeb, but who remembers it? Is it worth trying to write it out again so that 4 or 5 years from now no one can remember it again? ;) I think it's better to just show a few Aikido people when I meet them and let them pass it on.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

jonreading
02-21-2011, 12:00 PM
I think the consideration of what we do and why we do it would apply pressure to correct poor aikido exercises. Sometimes it's easier to fix something broken than build something new from the ground up. I include myself in this group BTW; I sometimes wear the idiot hat when I see an exercise done correctly [from what I've been doing]. Dang.

I think what I find very often is that aikido has a good exercise, even if a poor demonstation and explanation comes with it. Sometimes that outside exercise provides a better demonstration of what we are doing and a better explanation of why are we doing it. I appreciate the people who act as translators in these cases to allow us to integrate a better demonstration and explanation for what we are doing and why...

Keith Larman
02-21-2011, 01:39 PM
Jon.

Just wanted to say I like you post quite a bit. I think the issue has long been one of communication. And as such maybe we've wandered quite a ways away from the original "core" of many of these exercises. We are faced with discussions about things we really don't understand for which we really don't have good physical models. People use all sorts of terms and while some may go back 1000's of years, it doesn't necessarily mean they're any good or accurate. They've just survived and have some success in transmission.

I am heartened when I see articles on these issues popping up here and there. There's an article in this month's "men's health" here in the US about the biomechanics of running and how one guy started talking about using spiraling movement to the entire body to activate long length internal connections to add more power. It even had exercises which are remarkably familiar if you are in the mindset of training connections. It also talks about how the fascial connections can improve balance, alignment, and awareness of location in space of the entire body. All good stuff, neh?

What we need is a better model. Better understanding. Then we can better build these bodies, improve our skills, and then hopefully transmit that information to future students.

Keith Larman
02-21-2011, 01:44 PM
Oops, since these posts say around forever, Men's Health, March 2011, Page 112. Article by Paul Scott. "The Revolutionary New Science of Speed".

Also, on-line here:

http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/run-faster-1

Janet Rosen
02-21-2011, 01:56 PM
Cool link - I have another earlier article printed out some time ago from same website on fascia issues.

jonreading
02-22-2011, 12:03 PM
Jon.

Just wanted to say I like you post quite a bit. I think the issue has long been one of communication. And as such maybe we've wandered quite a ways away from the original "core" of many of these exercises. We are faced with discussions about things we really don't understand for which we really don't have good physical models. People use all sorts of terms and while some may go back 1000's of years, it doesn't necessarily mean they're any good or accurate. They've just survived and have some success in transmission.

I am heartened when I see articles on these issues popping up here and there. There's an article in this month's "men's health" here in the US about the biomechanics of running and how one guy started talking about using spiraling movement to the entire body to activate long length internal connections to add more power. It even had exercises which are remarkably familiar if you are in the mindset of training connections. It also talks about how the fascial connections can improve balance, alignment, and awareness of location in space of the entire body. All good stuff, neh?

What we need is a better model. Better understanding. Then we can better build these bodies, improve our skills, and then hopefully transmit that information to future students.

Thank Keith. My environment puts me close to athletes and people from other arts. I played several sports myself and still continue to be athletic outside of aikido. To me, aikido has a freedom as a modern art that many koyru do not have and it seems a waste to prohibit information gathering outside of aikido. I enjoy the instructors who are also share this perspective and I am pleased their aikido demonstrates the advantages of this mentality. I alos appreicate the innovators who are open enough to hear out how and why we incorporate new methods into our aikido.

Graham Farquhar
02-23-2011, 06:01 AM
Mark Freeman

"" Am I closer to Ueshiba's aikido? I don't know, I'm certainly one step closer to my own ""

Mark

Believe me, as a student of Sensei Ken Williams you are as near to O Sensei as you can get..

Henry Ellis
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Sorry I have just been catching up on this thread and others that are similar. Henry - What a wonderful comment. I am also a student of Sensei Williams and it is humbling to see other esteemed Aikido practioners such as yourself hold my teacher in such high regards. It makes you realise how fortunate you are.
I would love to come over and watch one of your classes in Bracknell at some point.

Apologies to all for the thread drift.