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6kyu
05-18-2011, 12:43 PM
I am a 6th kyu who has been training for about a year-and-a-half.

I train at an aikido dojo and one of my senseis, a shodan, is very into connection exercises. He sometimes makes an entire class out of them.

My last class was spent "connecting" to my partner, trying to move him with one finger, trying to "center" myself, doing breathing exercises, trying to do a tenkan without arm strength, etc. There were no techniques and I took no ukemi. I left confused, frustrated, and having never sweated a drop.

I have no problem with any of these things in and of themselves, but I have two problems with them being taught this way.

First of all, my understanding of aikido is that most of its great masters (including O Sensei and his teacher himself) learned technique first, then once they grasped the basics of the art, set about learning softness and ki. Trying to teach this stuff to a sixth kyu seems backwards to me, like trying to teach Einsteinian physics to someone who hasn't learned Newton yet.

Second, the sensei made no attempt to connect any of this to any technique, so I never got see how any of it fits into aikido.

I love aikido and don't want to quit, and classes are not always like this one, but at the end of a class like this, I can't help wondering if I should go find something else. I feel like this class was a complete waste of my time.

I'm not here to ask for advice, really. I'm still a beginner, and have no business telling any instructor (even just a shodan) how to teach. What I'd like to know from more experienced aikidoka than myself is whether or not I'm being reasonable about this.

Is it reasonable for me to expect the teaching of technique in every class? Is it reasonable for more me to expect an aikido class to provide me with at least a little bit of a workout? Is it reasonable for me to expect that as a beginner I will be spending most of my time on basic technique rather than abstract principles of the art? Is it reasonable to expect at the end of a class to feel that I know more than when I began?

Richard Stevens
05-18-2011, 01:23 PM
It is unreasonable to expect every dojo to train in the same way. However, it is reasonable to want to train at a dojo that is a better fit with the way you want to train. It sounds like your dojo might not be the best fit for you. Have you visited any other dojos in your area?

6kyu
05-18-2011, 02:03 PM
It is unreasonable to expect every dojo to train in the same way. However, it is reasonable to want to train at a dojo that is a better fit with the way you want to train. It sounds like your dojo might not be the best fit for you. Have you visited any other dojos in your area?
Sadly, the pickings are pretty slim around here. The only other aikido dojo nearby is an independent dojo that gives out ranks on its own authority and refers to its third dan founder as a "shihan".

But again, I'm not really looking for advice on what to do next. My options are to stay and deal or leave. What I really want to know is whether I'm being presumptuous and unreasonable in my assessment of the class, whether I'm whining about something that is normal at most dojos.

phitruong
05-18-2011, 02:09 PM
connection, centering, breathing - those are the things that make aikido techniques work. don't know about you, but i really don't want to stop breathing; that would put a cramp into my almost none existence social life. :) without connection, how's you plan to throw some body? sort of trying to phone someone without connection. without centering, wouldn't you be off-balance while trying to take someone else balance?

Saotome sensei mentioned often that aikido isn't about techniques, but is about principles and ideas. who am i to argue with one of O Sensei's uchi-deshi? Besides, there aren't that many aikido techniques; you could learn them in less than a year. what you plan to do after that?

if you just want to sweat, wouldn't an aerobic kick boxing class be better, since you will be sweating and enjoying the leotard view at the same time. :) that remind me i need to find a manly leotard. is there such thing? and wonder if the women will hate me because i am beautiful. :D

Demetrio Cereijo
05-18-2011, 02:44 PM
Kata should embody the principles.

I would leave the place if this is not the case.

DH
05-18-2011, 02:47 PM
I would kindly suggest to you that you have a view of the value of connection that is flawed by your lack of experience with it. There are shihans with decades of experience who are frustrated for not "getting" a stronger level of connection and aiki in their careers.
if I had only one thing...I would choose connection and aiki over all else.
I cannot speak for your teacher-I have seen my fair share of people teaching "connection" who simply did not have any idea of what they were talking about and others who were just so-so, but if you run across someone who really does get it, it can be quite stunning in any venue- frightenling so.
Good luck in your training.
Dan

lbb
05-18-2011, 03:01 PM
First of all, my understanding of aikido is that most of its great masters (including O Sensei and his teacher himself) learned technique first, then once they grasped the basics of the art, set about learning softness and ki.

I don't think that connection (kokyu) is synonymous with softness,or in fact related to it in any way. It is true that when you get most people in a physical contest (or what they think of as such), they're more likely to be too hard than too soft, but I don't think that the solution to being connected is to find the exact right spot on the hardness-softness axis. I guess it's a necessary but not sufficient condition: you can screw up your connection to your partner with too much hardness or too much softness, but to get connectedness, there are more elements that need to fall into place.

Connectedness is one of Chiba Sensei's five pillars. It's a fundamental, not an advanced topic, but you do have to experience it through technique and mechanics. When connection exists, that's how you get the sense of what you can do and when you should do it. When connection is lost, that's when the opportunity comes for a reversal. Unfortunately, the connection exercises in isolation make it very hard to see this.

The first time I got a glimmer of what this "connection" blather was all about was doing sitting kokyuho with my sensei. He kept saying, "Stay connected, stay connected," and I was thinking, "What does that even mean?" Then he did the technique and talked his way through it, while losing connection: "Now I've got it...now I just lost it." As soon as I started focusing on "what's happening now/what am I feeling", I could feel the difference. We practiced for probably half an hour straight like that. From that point, I could start to feel when connection went away during a technique or wasn't there. If "connection" is a big deal at your dojo, maybe you can get your sensei or one of your sempai to try something similar: a very simple technique where they deliberately lose connection at some point. It is a good practice -- awareness of connection, and the ability to maintain it, will really make your techniques much more effective.

Mark Freeman
05-18-2011, 03:02 PM
Hi,

I'd take heed of what Dan says, annonymous user, if I were you.

I'd only like to add that frustration and confusion are par for the course in aikido, learn to love it and keep practicing.;)

regards

Mark

Janet Rosen
05-18-2011, 03:12 PM
Is it reasonable for me to expect the teaching of technique in every class? Is it reasonable for more me to expect an aikido class to provide me with at least a little bit of a workout? Is it reasonable for me to expect that as a beginner I will be spending most of my time on basic technique rather than abstract principles of the art? Is it reasonable to expect at the end of a class to feel that I know more than when I began?

I feel like I'm at a Seder answering 4 questions....:D
1. Well it would be NICE to have the principle connected to a practical application, but in the long run, what is one class out of many?
2.No. Whatever gave you the idea aikido = a "workout"? Join a gym.
3. If you don't integrate form and principle, then the form is learned using the wrong things and years later you have to unlearn it - a real wast of time
4.No. It is reasonable to leave class with questions and a certain amount of frustration - use them to identify your weaknesses and your boundaries - those unwilling to do so never really last long in aikido or just become muscle-bound throwers of their partners.

verily
05-18-2011, 03:27 PM
Hi,
I'd take heed of what Dan says, anonymous user, if I were you.

I'd echo this too.
And I'd make damn sure that the teacher had the real stuff if I was going to stay around. There is lots of baloney around there. But the real stuff is like gold. It may be that it is worth the wait working on this kiso, that is, if he's got the knowledge to make it for real.

Now as to how to tell if he's for real: well; that's a good question.

gregstec
05-18-2011, 04:06 PM
I am a 6th kyu who has been training for about a year-and-a-half.

First of all, my understanding of aikido is that most of its great masters (including O Sensei and his teacher himself) learned technique first, then once they grasped the basics of the art, set about learning softness and ki. Trying to teach this stuff to a sixth kyu seems backwards to me, like trying to teach Einsteinian physics to someone who hasn't learned Newton yet.



Just to add to what Dan, Phi, and a couple others mentioned...

IMO, connection IS Aikido and at 6 kyu, that is exactly where the basics need to start. Techniques are nothing without the connection to center. If more traditional Aikido dojo's took this approach, I think there would be less Shihan going outside to people like Dan to get that real connection to center :)

Greg

sakumeikan
05-18-2011, 04:31 PM
I am a 6th kyu who has been training for about a year-and-a-half.

I train at an aikido dojo and one of my senseis, a shodan, is very into connection exercises. He sometimes makes an entire class out of them.

My last class was spent "connecting" to my partner, trying to move him with one finger, trying to "center" myself, doing breathing exercises, trying to do a tenkan without arm strength, etc. There were no techniques and I took no ukemi. I left confused, frustrated, and having never sweated a drop.

I have no problem with any of these things in and of themselves, but I have two problems with them being taught this way.

First of all, my understanding of aikido is that most of its great masters (including O Sensei and his teacher himself) learned technique first, then once they grasped the basics of the art, set about learning softness and ki. Trying to teach this stuff to a sixth kyu seems backwards to me, like trying to teach Einsteinian physics to someone who hasn't learned Newton yet.

Second, the sensei made no attempt to connect any of this to any technique, so I never got see how any of it fits into aikido.

I love aikido and don't want to quit, and classes are not always like this one, but at the end of a class like this, I can't help wondering if I should go find something else. I feel like this class was a complete waste of my time.

I'm not here to ask for advice, really. I'm still a beginner, and have no business telling any instructor (even just a shodan) how to teach. What I'd like to know from more experienced aikidoka than myself is whether or not I'm being reasonable about this.

Is it reasonable for me to expect the teaching of technique in every class? Is it reasonable for more me to expect an aikido class to provide me with at least a little bit of a workout? Is it reasonable for me to expect that as a beginner I will be spending most of my time on basic technique rather than abstract principles of the art? Is it reasonable to expect at the end of a class to feel that I know more than when I began?
Dear anon user,
I do not think it is unreasonable to be practising waza.I think you teacher is trying to make you run while you can barely crawl.
'Connectedness' only comes by training in Aiki principles.
Perhaps your Shodan teacher is using you as guinea pigs to perfect his /her own understanding of aiki?
Cheers, Joe.

Aikibu
05-18-2011, 04:53 PM
A Shodan teaching "connection" :hypno: ???

What Mary & Dan said....:)

William Hazen

Mark Gibbons
05-18-2011, 07:07 PM
William

Does rank mean all that much? Two of the best people I've ever played with are still nidans.They are capable of explaining difficult concepts to beginners.

Mark

Nick P.
05-18-2011, 09:45 PM
OP: How often (percent, ratio, etc) does this get taught by this teacher?

I would say if it is less than, say 30%, then relax, enjoy, and be more resonable. 2 out of three classes are fine, no? If that ratio is too high for you, then move on.

NagaBaba
05-18-2011, 10:42 PM
Leave this dojo as fast as possible and don't look back. If you can't find other aikido dojo start to practice judo or jujutsu.

Abasan
05-18-2011, 10:49 PM
Two things:

1. Can your sensei use his connection exercise to affect you and take control of you without the need for strength, technique or coercion?

2. Are you frustrated that you can't do the exercise well?

a. Yes. No. = stay
b. Yes.Yes. = stay and try harder
c. No. No = Leave or take over.
d. No. Yes = leave and don't look back.

Janet Rosen
05-19-2011, 01:44 AM
Not a bad practical algorithm!

Two things:

1. Can your sensei use his connection exercise to affect you and take control of you without the need for strength, technique or coercion?

2. Are you frustrated that you can't do the exercise well?

a. Yes. No. = stay
b. Yes.Yes. = stay and try harder
c. No. No = Leave or take over.
d. No. Yes = leave and don't look back.

Eva Antonia
05-19-2011, 03:34 AM
Hello,

just yesterday evening I had the pleasure to get a 90 minute special training on connection and "feeling uke's movements" with an aikido friend who showed up especially for this purpose. We had discussed about an Endo seminar, and I said to him that I went once to Endo, getting out completely frustrated at my ineptitude to comprehend and, even worse, apply, what he showed. Not that 90 minutes brought me enormously ahead and made me grasp the concept, but even a 100 km walk is composed of many small steps. So I'd say it was very good.

Obviously no one can judge from outside if your shodan sensei does this well or not. I don't think that the connection issue is very much linked to rank. There are some people who have more talent for this type of approach, and others, who have less. I also belong rather to those who tend to do bulldozer aikido, but we have one 1st kyu, one 2nd dan and several others in our dojo who seem to have understood this concept and can effortlessly turn the "connection" or the loss of it into a technique whenever you least expect it.

But I think you are right in expecting that at some point the exercise should turn into waza. Maybe this is just the pupil's attitude that there should also be some fun in aikido, or that every advance should be measurable in quantifiable indicators (like: "today I learnt this aspect of ikkyo ura footwork), and this is not the right approach, but I also get enormously frustrated if I have to do only exercise and no application. We have another prof who indulges in endless tai sabaki. I'd never contest the usefulness of repeating and repeating tai sabaki, but it is still boring. But then again, I think it's part of the overall package, and I make a sour face and do my 200 tai sabaki and 300 ten kan...

Resuming, I think you are partly right (also 6th kyus have a right to judge their experiences and like or not like), but this connection thing (and breathing, and footwork, and suburi, and and) is necessary, and you'd have to learn it anyway.

Wish you much success and satisfaction in your training!

Eva

danj
05-19-2011, 06:57 AM
Random thoughts....
Who's got the aikido you want?
What about the other teachers in the school?
Who floats your boat?
Sometime the juice is worth the squeeze, sometimes its not

BTW anyone that starts their own school can call themselves what ever they want, its their school and they are entitled to make the ground rules and are technically outside of the dan system they implement. Wether they are a schmuck or the next O'Sensei or somewhere in between is in the eye of the beholder.

Mary Eastland
05-19-2011, 07:25 AM
If a shodan can't teach about connection isn't the style lacking?
Mary

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 07:43 AM
Two things:

1. Can your sensei use his connection exercise to affect you and take control of you without the need for strength, technique or coercion?

2. Are you frustrated that you can't do the exercise well?

a. Yes. No. = stay
b. Yes.Yes. = stay and try harder
c. No. No = Leave or take over.
d. No. Yes = leave and don't look back.

This.

Shadowfax
05-19-2011, 07:44 AM
I have been training for two years at my dojo and we do a lot of the connection stuff. Sometimes whole classes. I have to say that I am really grateful that my own teachers believe that even a 6th kyu can get something from learning this stuff early.

I am more sensitive to connection than a lot of people so to me the subject is endlessly fascinating and doing them for a solid hour is really very much ok with me. But I know that the majority of other students in the dojo feel the same way and while I see a couple who find it a little difficult and frustrating I can also see their sensitivity improving over the time they are with us. And it does make the technique better. Even if you can't quite see it's direct application just yet.

The other nice litle perk is when you go to a seminar with someone like Hiroshi Ikeda sensei you will be one of the ones who actually has a clue as to what he is doing. I've been in the situation at these seminars where I was working with someone, sometimes far senior to me, who had no real idea what it was we were supposed to be working on because they had so little experience with this kind of training.

Sometimes the workout you get in the dojo is more mental than physical. If you want to sweat and get a physical workout join a Gym or another martial art. Or grab one of your dojo mates and do some jyu waza before or after class. :D

Dazzler
05-19-2011, 08:29 AM
If a shodan can't teach about connection isn't the style lacking?
Mary

Hey Mary

Maybe...maybe not...is a shodan representative of a whole style?..are they all identical?......when I was shodan I was really just interested in kicking ass.:o

Didn't make me a bad shodan...I think I was a pretty good one...i just wasn't into this stuff at that stage.

Now I am into it - I can still kick ass too ...just choose not to mostly.

If the guy is trying to develop himself through teaching fair play to him...think he needs to tweak the balance a bit so those students that need a more physical work out feel like they are getting what they paid for maybe...but his dojo = his rules. If numbers aren't a concern then he can teach what he likes.

My way or the highway I guess.

If he's not trying to develop...and thinks he has it all then yep - move on...but it doesn't sound like that.

Who are we to criticise based on a beginners post anyway? Anyone here prepared to go and take the guys classes week in week out and have the rest of the world dissect us on the net?

An enthusiastic 'young' (as in aikido age) instructor with a willingness to put himself out there and take good advice when its on offer Versus someone a little more experienced but who's cup is full?

Maybe worth staying along for the ride.

Regards

D

Aikibu
05-19-2011, 12:42 PM
William

Does rank mean all that much? Two of the best people I've ever played with are still nidans.They are capable of explaining difficult concepts to beginners.

Mark

Sorry I meant it a more of a joke. :) and...

Yeah they're NIDANS :D I am a Nidan long over due for a promotion to at least Godan ;) LOL ( Money and A New Dojo would help) So rank doesn't not mean all that much but in my experience a Shodan knows the basics that's it...and it seems the poster has a question about how that knowledge is being transmitted.

William Hazen

SeiserL
05-19-2011, 05:33 PM
IMHO, it would be reasonable to have this conversation with your Sensei and see if they can help you connect the connectedness to your technique.

Abasan
05-20-2011, 03:34 AM
Not a bad practical algorithm!

I remembered my 1st year game theory halfway through the post. Lol.

jester
05-20-2011, 08:40 AM
Is connection the same thing as timing? I assume it is but I've never heard it explained as connection. Just having correct timing.

-

Dave Forde
05-20-2011, 08:56 AM
Is connection the same thing as timing? I assume it is but I've never heard it explained as connection. Just having correct timing.

-
my understanding of connection is that if you grab you are not grabbing an arm you are grabbing the whole person and you are grabbing with your whole body. just like a boxers punch starts from his toes if you like.
my teacher has a saying that sums it up for me 'when your are grabbed - who's grabbing who?' by that he means can the other person let go of you, can he kick or punch? and when I try to let go of him there are consequences ;). timing is related but slightly different but still vital i reckon if one is to blend and 'connect' with uke.

Carsten Möllering
05-20-2011, 08:59 AM
Is connection the same thing as timing? I assume it is but I've never heard it explained as connection. Just having correct timing.
To me connection is a different thing. The word Endo sensei uses is "atari (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFIaxVfGmNM)". It is a certain way of "touching" uke and getting connected to his center through this way of touching and moving this.

uhh it's even difficult to explain this in my own language ...

sakumeikan
05-20-2011, 10:01 AM
Is connection the same thing as timing? I assume it is but I've never heard it explained as connection. Just having correct timing.

-
Dear Tim.
No-timing is not the same as connection.Cheers, Joe

jester
05-20-2011, 11:14 AM
Dear Tim.
No-timing is not the same as connection.Cheers, Joe

Thanks for that explanation! :D

Janet Rosen
05-20-2011, 11:44 AM
Connection is the joining of the two peoples centers to form one unit. The goal of the attacker should be an attack that connects to the others center. The goal of the one being attacked is to make the connection earlier than the attacker does. As I currently understand things.

jonreading
05-20-2011, 11:54 AM
At this time, my sense of the connected state is a dependency achieved (and maintained) through balance, kuzushi. My partner becomes dependent upon my balance to maintain hers; this can be done will little pressure (or resistance). "Who's grabbing who?" is a great statement because your balance and ability to move are demonstratively affected if your partner controls your balance (kuzushi).
Similarly, the timing in which I achieve and maintain kuzushi is a window of opportunity that depends upon my partner's sense of balance and body awareness. If I do not seize my partner's balance within that window of opportunity I need to again search for an[other] opening (suki) in my partner's structure.
Finding out the "when" to act is very important to good aikido. Getting the chance to feel how your balance structure can affect others is very important to aikido. Don't let "soft" get confused with "in-effective".

Fred Little
05-20-2011, 12:43 PM
Is connection the same thing as timing? I assume it is but I've never heard it explained as connection. Just having correct timing.

-

No. Take an gas or diesel automobile -- there is the timing of the driver, and there is a considerable amount of timing internal to the engine system. Both could be perfect, but if the tranny is slipping, the u-joint is trashed, and the tires are bald, the effective transmission of power isn't going to happen and that ride just won't go down the road the way it should.

(This is an illustration. Don't take the analogy too far.)

Hope this helps.

FL

jester
05-20-2011, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the comments. :)

For me it seems like it's more semantics. Without a "connection" your timing is off so bad timing equals bad connection. :yuck:

My boss studies Ki Aikido and we basically agreed that what I group in as timing also includes connection and off balance. I can now add this term to my vocabulary!

-

Janet Rosen
05-20-2011, 02:07 PM
Tim, I'm not sure they are always so, you should pardon the expression, connected.... what I mean is, you can do partner practices from static grabs or even via balancing a horizontal jo between the two people's extended tegatanas that explore establishing/losing/establishing connection and they have nothing to do with timing.
I would say, without connection, you can still have the "right" timing in terms of moving/entering and ending up at the right place at the right time....you just either won't affect your partner or you will do so via muscling through.

cguzik
05-20-2011, 02:46 PM
The problem with training solely in technique without parallel training in connection is that it can develop really bad habits that will be very hard to eliminate once they are ingrained. There's nothing wrong with training waza -- at 6th kyu you definitely need to learn basic aikido movements as well, but I would consider yourself very fortunate that you get to study in classes that are focused on connection from time to time.

PhillyKiAikido
05-20-2011, 03:44 PM
As a student, you have every right to expect what to study in class, but it doesn't mean your expectations or interests are the best for your growth in Aikido. If you do Aikido just for fun, pick a dojo that best meets your need or ask the teacher to teach something that won't make you bored. If you're serious about studying the true art, you need good teachers, hard training and tallents. Considering you're now a beginner, your teacher may know better about the art than you.

Connection is the core of Aikido, you should feel fortunate that your teacher knows the importance of it. As you see more in the Aikido community, you'll find not many teachers know about that, and fewer teachers unstand what connection really is.

IMHO, connection is just connection, it has nothing to do with anything else such as timing, centers or Kuzushi. It's like two rivers merge and become one, it's like your forearm linked with your upper arm through your elbow joint, blood and flesh, you'll feel nothing when you have the connection. It's easier to understand it if you study Ki. Once you have the connection, the rest parts of Aikido techniques such as timing, center or Kuzushi ... are just consequences.

Enjoy Aikido!

sakumeikan
05-20-2011, 05:02 PM
No. Take an gas or diesel automobile -- there is the timing of the driver, and there is a considerable amount of timing internal to the engine system. Both could be perfect, but if the tranny is slipping, the u-joint is trashed, and the tires are bald, the effective transmission of power isn't going to happen and that ride just won't go down the road the way it should.

(This is an illustration. Don't take the analogy too far.)

Hope this helps.

FL
Hi Fred,
Did you buy your dodgy car from a smooth talking salesman?As it happens your description fits my very first car -a junkheap from Vauxhall motors.What a pig!!!
Cheers, Joe

sakumeikan
05-20-2011, 05:07 PM
Thanks for that explanation! :D
Dear Tim,
Did you want a more detailed answer?You asked the question , I gave you the answer.Let me know if you wish more info.
Maybe P.M you???Cheers, Joe.

jester
05-20-2011, 05:09 PM
you just either won't affect your partner or you will do so via muscling through.

Thanks for that Janet and PhillyKiAikido. I've just never heard the term Connection used in Tomiki Aikido or Judo.

I think my idea of timing differs from others. Timing to me is getting the correct off balance and keeping Uke off-balance until he's in an unstable position and falls on his own accord. Timing is like the gears of a watch.

If the timing breaks, you get out of sync and have to get back in time. I guess you can replace timing with connection and say If the connection breaks, you get out of sync and have to regain your connection??

I always have grouped Off balance, Entering and Throwing as parts of Timing. Do you see connection as keeping Uke off-balance? Do you see keeping Uke off-balance as controlling Uke's center?

Tomiki Aikido is very linear and I don't do a lot of circular movements. The throws are more direct so the connection issue doesn't seem to be as prevalent as it would be if you are leading someone.

Thanks

-

jester
05-20-2011, 05:10 PM
Dear Tim,
Did you want a more detailed answer?You asked the question , I gave you the answer.Let me know if you wish more info.
Maybe P.M you???Cheers, Joe.

I was just kidding with you Joe, hence the smile! If you can add anything, I'd appreciate it.

-

Janet Rosen
05-20-2011, 06:04 PM
Connection is not "like" anything; it is not a metaphor but a real, palpable energetic physical link between two people and as such can be specifically trained to feel for. In many dojos this is the intent of kokyu dosa - not to "do the throw" so much as to learn to feel the connection then move your center so that your partners is lifted ( kuzushi not being connectedness but flowing from connection) and then, yes he can be thrown. Done slowly it's an excellent way for both partners to give verbal feedback as it is very easy for connection to be fleeting - as soon as a person thinks about moving his partner it can vanish and you have to breath, relax, find it again. Happens to me all the time.....

Janet Rosen
05-20-2011, 06:09 PM
To answer your question...as I understand things at the moment...I'd express it as: intent>connection>kuzushi; connection permits moving as a unit; kuzushi being the undermining of uke's structure that enables the technique. Timing gets you where you need to be at the right time and certainly can't be disregarded!

Basia Halliop
05-24-2011, 03:17 PM
Well, I don't know how well I understand it or if we're all talking about the same thing, but in any case it's interesting to try to explain and see if what I say makes any sense.... From what _I_ understand in my own mind, a fairly basic and 'visible' example of what I think I'd probably refer to as connection would be through a series of locked joints. E.g. if I am holding a good sankyo, ukes wrist and elbow are locked and I am pushing through their shoulder at such an angle that I have a lever arm connecting their hand to their torso. And if I keep my arms extended in front of me and don't collapse my wrists, there's also a connection from my hips to my hand. So by twisting my hips I can directly move ukes torso, because I've made and maintained a good connection.

Except that in some techniques the leverage and transmission of forces is not as obvious as in a sankyo. But when done right, there is still a connection between your body (usually your hips) and their torso or hips, and I mean connection in a very straightforward physical way using forces and levers, not as a metaphor or anything psychological.

Of course the same words are often used for somewhat different things, so maybe what I'm thinking of isn't what most people mean when they say connection... I don't know...

What the best way to learn how to do that is is another question, though... through separate exercises, through actual techniques, etc...

Hanna B
05-25-2011, 04:10 AM
I train at an aikido dojo and one of my senseis, a shodan, is very into connection exercises. He sometimes makes an entire class out of them.


I think this shodan might be overdoing it. This is probably not a clever way to run a class, since unevitably some people will get very frustrated (like I would be if an entire class was speant on hip throws, since I suck mightily at hip throws). The first years one teach, one very easily overdo things and way too often, people who start teaching and the head of the dojo have too little conversation on how things are or should be done.

Talking to the main teacher of the dojo might not be a bad idea. The shodan teaching could need a tip or two on class structure, perhaps. If the main teacher says "I think X is doing that just fine" I guess you just sigh and bear with these classes. I take it you have several people teaching in the dojo, so there should be plenty of classes more to your liking.

Personally I would probably have loved this kind of classes, even as a 6th kyu.... eventually you will learn something from them, although you don't quite see the benefits now.

Williamross77
05-25-2011, 10:13 AM
In short, I have trained in kickboxing, Kajukenbo, BJJ and for the past 12 years Aikido in mulitiple systems. I have found that in real combat situations the type of training that Shodan is offering you was most beneifical in that it builds neropathways that are solid and you can not make aikido techniques work without sensing the movements of an attacker. I do think it would be a good idea to allow even a shodan to lead you. I have a long way to go too, I must be open to learning at every opportunity, that is Aiki to me, fresh mind and open to any point that presents itself, and PATIENCE which is a greater lesson. But if you are unhappy you really should find some happiness in your training, you will get what you want if you seek long enough. BEST to you in your path. Domo. BTW i know I can't spell, but I hear that physicist refered to above could not either...

old school aiki
06-03-2011, 09:17 PM
Aikido's core has become weak from too much explaination, from too many who can't , teach. People who can lecture fine but cannot go beyond a pretty demo. Too many are jumping willing to fix this and that with attactive sales pitches that add there slant on aikido adding to the tower of bable that is now a shell of aikido.

Chuck Clark
06-04-2011, 05:02 PM
To answer your question...as I understand things at the moment...I'd express it as: intent>connection>kuzushi; connection permits moving as a unit; kuzushi being the undermining of uke's structure that enables the technique. Timing gets you where you need to be at the right time and certainly can't be disregarded!

Nice post Janet. Easy to say... hard to do. With proper training and good uke that give a real attack and try to recover if you do what you said and do their best within the yakusoku of the training to keep being "dangerous" it can become "not so difficult." Correct intent and continuation of that intent is necessary in both parties to learn timing and where you "need to be."

Best regards,

Janet Rosen
06-05-2011, 11:37 PM
Nice post Janet. Easy to say... hard to do. With proper training and good uke that give a real attack and try to recover if you do what you said and do their best within the yakusoku of the training to keep being "dangerous" it can become "not so difficult." Correct intent and continuation of that intent is necessary in both parties to learn timing and where you "need to be."

Best regards,

Thanks, Chuck - Yes, hard to do, but it helps to have a sense of where the road can lead :-)