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JW
06-28-2011, 02:41 PM
Hi guys, I would like to ask a question specifically of the people who are NOT into the whole Internal Strength thing. Some people are feeling left out of conversations, and I'd love to hear what you have to say. It's the kind of thing that interests non-IS pursuers as well as IS practitioners. You don't even have to be into sparring or anything-- this is a theoretical budo question.

The question is:
Given that in aikido, we do not overcome an attacker with superior strength, how is it that we survive an attack and defeat aggression?

I don't mean what technique to use, or other "ask your sensei" type things. I mean, in the big picture, theoretically, how does it happen? Not because we are bigger and stronger. Are we faster? Smarter? Not interested in 'defeating?' What lets us as aikidoka come out alright, theoretically?

For instance, if you say, "we use our attacker's power against him so he defeats himself," how is it that we are able to do that? I have been playing with a guy who spars and does judo, and let me tell you, if you are messing with his "power" to use it against him, he will rapidly change where he is putting power as soon as he feels that. So how does an aikidoka affect his power without him knowing? Would you do it through tricks (playing with his mind, baiting him, etc), or do you strive to do things more quickly than he can change? (In the case of the latter, that means you survive just because you are faster.)

I know how I currently would answer, but I am interested in discussion that reveals common ground with people who don't feel like part of the whole "bring back internals" thing. Thanks!

Marie Noelle Fequiere
06-28-2011, 03:03 PM
How long have you been training?

Marc Abrams
06-28-2011, 03:08 PM
"Musubi"

You will know it when you can achieve it. When it is still you vs. the opponent, you are not there yet.

Marc Abrams

JW
06-28-2011, 03:23 PM
Either 3 years or 13 years depending on how you count it, but that isn't really the point (I didn't mean to start an 'advice' thread). I was hoping people might want to share their own understanding, for the sake of discussing the nature of our art.

Shadowfax
06-28-2011, 04:06 PM
if you are messing with his "power" to use it against him, he will rapidly change where he is putting power as soon as he feels that. So how does an aikidoka affect his power without him knowing?



One of my teachers talks a lot about not giving the attacker your address. If you "mess" with his power. If you give him anything top push against, if you push back, you have given him your address. I'm still trying to make this work, now and then I get a glimpse of it... but you have to not mess with the attacker at all really. It's not a matter of taking his energy and firing it back because then his energy becomes your energy. It's more a matter of directing his energy in a way that he defeats himself. If the technique is done right you don't throw him he throws himself... Its hard for me to put into words. Let me use an example from my own background.

In my horse training/collage days my riding instructor would tell us to let the horse use his energy. Methodically applied directional pressure was used to create shapes that a horse could follow. Or, "send him and let him", as my teacher would say. So once the energy was there you just provided a corridor of aids that the horse would naturally follow leading him to do what you wanted him to do. No pushing or pulling or force was to come from the rider once the energy was initiated. We didn't make the horse do it we just showed him the path so that it became the most logical thing for him to do and then we let him do it. Aikido is kinda like that. :)

dps
06-28-2011, 04:07 PM
Kuzushi.

dps

JW
06-28-2011, 05:01 PM
Hi Cherie, I like that answer. What has been your impression of IS conversations? Annoying, interesting, disagreeable?

Kuzushi.

dps

Hi David, I used to think similarly. But it turns out IME, a person can recover his balance very quickly if he is motivated. (ie, not colluding) So, why do you as an aikidoka have an increased ability to gain or maintain kuzushi, is it just a matter of skill/practice in stand-up grappling?

phitruong
06-28-2011, 05:16 PM
The question is:
Given that in aikido, we do not overcome an attacker with superior strength, how is it that we survive an attack and defeat aggression?


that's a loaded question. so if we drop the whole internal thing out of the equation, then we need to consider a few things.

1. power
2. speed
3. skills or usages

so we got the combination and permutation of those three things to consider of the attacker as well as ourselves. that's a lot to consider.

if an attacker with only superior strength but is slow and/or not know how to apply such power, then we would use speed and superior techniques. and so on. the main thing is to displace or prevent the attacker to use his/her/its advantage(s), then exploit the disadvantage(s). if you fight a muay thai guy, then fight in the muddy field around hips deep. if you fight a BJJ guy, you fight in the mud too where it's very slippery. thus, you have the Art of War, the Five Ring, and so on. incidentally, there is a mud wrestling event this weekend, i wonder what sort of excuse i can come up with, so that my lady won't suspect; thus, i won't be killed by shot, hang, and quarter. :D

jonreading
06-28-2011, 05:26 PM
For me the short answer is balance and mechanics. Kuzushi is a continuing state of unbalance, not just a point; once you break your partner's balance you must also maintain that state of unbalance. Secondly, good technique employs mechanical advantage that increases your "working" strength. These concepts transcend aikido and are found in most fighting arts.

As a personal comment, I think we have trouble maintaining a state of kuzushi because of timing. That is, we run into trouble because our movement stops and gives our partner time to recover.

I was just reading an Aiki News where Chiba Sensei recalled that O'Sensei would deliberately leave suki, only to close his opening before his uke could attack but after his uke committed to attacking. I think we often leave our openings exposed too long for a good uke who then is able to foil our movement.

Secondly, I think some of our techniques have lost their mechanical advantages in an effort to be "softer." We get a less "martial" technique (i.e. "softer") but at the expense of functionality. We miss the whole mis-definition of "soft" in aikido, too.

Internal strength in my opinion is an enhanced mechanical training that uses ki. The stuff has merit but I think is trying to find its logical place in aikido. I think learning correct movement is essential in internal strength conditioning. Conversations about internal strength can be difficult because it falls into my "gooey" category - stuff that you need personal experience to understand. You can talk all you want, but until you grab someone that can move you without sweating...

dps
06-28-2011, 05:57 PM
Hi David, I used to think similarly. But it turns out IME, a person can recover his balance very quickly if he is motivated. (ie, not colluding) So, why do you as an aikidoka have an increased ability to gain or maintain kuzushi, is it just a matter of skill/practice in stand-up grappling?

Ditto what Jon said.

Practice, practice, practice and more practice gives you the ability to now when to unbalance your opponent, how to unbalance your opponent, and how to control your opponent after he/she is unbalanced.

dps

graham christian
06-28-2011, 06:17 PM
Hi Jonathan.

A different kind of answer .....

http://youtu.be/1iMv3ISazSg

Regards.G.

jester
06-28-2011, 06:47 PM
The question is:
Given that in Aikido, we do not overcome an attacker with superior strength, how is it that we survive an attack and defeat aggression?

Every fight, attack or situation is different and there are many things that can affect the outcome. Also define superior strength? Can he bench press more than you?? Is he faster, younger, experienced etc. Too many factors to apply to a fictitious person.

There is no one solution and it comes down to experience. You have to take what works for you and learn to apply it. I've gotten in fights since I was a kid and learned a lot of what to do and not to do. I've been lucky so far and have never been seriously hurt nor seriously hurt anyone else.

Here's a few things I do know:
Don't knee someone in the forehead or you might hurt your knee!
Kicking someone in the balls doesn't always work.
A good right hook to the jaw works more than it doesn't.
Trying to avoid a fight can actually get you hurt.
Learn how to punch, choke and do elbow locks.
A beer mug to the side of your head will make you see stars.

In a fight you go into auto pilot and don't always recall all the things you did while other times you wait for the right time and knock someone out or make them back off with just one hit.

Avoiding situations and controlling your temper is the best thing you can do though but it doesn't always work.

Aikido doesn't look like it does in class. My instructor told me your initial response is what shows you the art you favor. Do you stand your ground and slug it out? Do you get off the line and punch? Do you grab your attacker and throw them???

Fight or Flight!! All the training and belts in the world won't answer that question until it happens for real. Also, the old adage that "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog" holds true.

-

Mario Tobias
06-28-2011, 07:07 PM
You as nage has an advantage because your uke has not 1 but 2 opponents; YOU, and the laws of physics. The laws of physics apply to everybody, big or small, weak or strong. In using aikido, you are just the "medium" to apply these laws to uke.

IMHO, once you remove "YOU' in the equation and just let physics work on uke, I think this is where IS comes in. I think that was what the founder meant when he said the universe is at your side or something to that effect, probably alluding to the physical laws, and explained it in very escoteric terms as O-sensei as well as 99.9% of the populaton can't explain physics well or at all.

O-sensei was a physicist, and he didn't know it.

JW
06-28-2011, 07:24 PM
OK you guys, here's my thing. Aikido is supposed to NOT be about fighting. Budo is supposed to have a quality of transcendence, right? As in, I choose not to play the "fight" game, because there is another way, which is outside of the fighting paradigm.

(Mind you this is a philosophical and theoretical question, I am not talking right now about taking it to the ring or streets or whatever.)

I was drawn to aikido because of the very clear idea that there is another way, other than playing the fight game. If you tell someone, "in aikido, strength doesn't determine who wins," then how can you honestly then turn around and say, "but speed does, and grappling skill does, and strategy does." You've just described fighting.

Fighting is becoming stronger, faster, more skilled, and more experienced. That's fine, but I am pretty sure that is not Aikido. We are supposed to purify ourselves and thus represent the will of the entire universe-- the attacker is, upon trying to defeat you, supposed to be suddenly faced with the task of defeating the entire universe. That is aikido, right?

I just feel like it is incorrect to represent aikido as "a way to not be defeated if the attacker has much less
skill, speed, or strength than you." It sounds like saying "aikido is a way to reconcile the whole human family.. as long as there is no appreciable discord in the family to begin with."

[oops, just saw Mario's reply. The attacker has the laws of physics on his side too though, right? The only difference is he wants destruction and you don't. So why do the laws favor you but not him?]

jester
06-28-2011, 08:44 PM
Aikido is supposed to NOT be about fighting. Budo is supposed to have a quality of transcendence, right? As in, I choose not to play the "fight" game, because there is another way, which is outside of the fighting paradigm.

(Mind you this is a philosophical and theoretical question, I am not talking right now about taking it to the ring or streets or whatever.)


What you seem to be looking for is the works of Ghandi. Look up Ahimsa. If you see Martial Arts as more spiritual then you should go that route. A lot of people seem to see Aikido as Faith or something akin to Religion.

Philosophical and Theoretical only exists in your mind. It's like the student who always says "What if" all the time. To me there's only What is.

-

dps
06-28-2011, 08:45 PM
OK you guys, here's my thing. Aikido is supposed to NOT be about fighting. Budo is supposed to have a quality of transcendence, right? As in, I choose not to play the "fight" game, because there is another way, which is outside of the fighting paradigm.

I prefer to not play the "Beat The Crap Out Of Me" game.

I was drawn to aikido because of the very clear idea that there is another way, other than playing the fight game. If you tell someone, "in aikido, strength doesn't determine who wins," then how can you honestly then turn around and say, "but speed does, and grappling skill does, and strategy does." You've just described fighting.

Fighting is becoming stronger, faster, more skilled, and more experienced. That's fine, but I am pretty sure that is not Aikido. We are supposed to purify ourselves and thus represent the will of the entire universe-- the attacker is, upon trying to defeat you, supposed to be suddenly faced with the task of defeating the entire universe. That is aikido, right?
I just feel like it is incorrect to represent aikido as "a way to not be defeated if the attacker has much less
skill, speed, or strength than you." It sounds like saying "aikido is a way to reconcile the whole human family.. as long as there is no appreciable discord in the family to begin with."



That would be the kind of crap that would get beat out of you in a fight

dps

Mario Tobias
06-28-2011, 09:05 PM
Don't know about the others but Aikido is a fighting art. O-sensei even though he is the founder didn't come up with the techniques by himself from scratch.

Aikido is a mutation or probably "improvement/deviation" of the martial arts that went before it. Probably its more a matter of who's fighting what? As I've said if you can remove you from the equation, your opponent is not fighting you per se but a much more formidable opponent which is on your side ie if you have mastered it, you are just the medium. But it is still fighting, coming from a different perspective.

Anthony Loeppert
06-28-2011, 09:28 PM
A lot of people seem to see Aikido as Faith or something akin to Religion.

Philosophical and Theoretical only exists in your mind. It's like the student who always says "What if" all the time. To me there's only What is.

-

Can I get an Amen?! ;)

Shadowfax
06-28-2011, 10:37 PM
Hi Cherie, I like that answer. What has been your impression of IS conversations? Annoying, interesting, disagreeable?


Fascinating, useful, interesting, and I think greatly misunderstood by those who have not physically worked with someone who is working on that sort of thing. I had the pleasure of taking a class with Mark Murray several months ago and found it to be very interesting. Since then I have played with what we learned and have found that it is very complimentary to the aikido training I have had thus far. Especially helpful to me in understanding the things I have seen Ikeda sensi doing in seminars. Can one do aikido without it? Yes. But I am all for having one more tool in my tool box.

The conversations themselves here often start out interesting but sadly tend to fall into ridiculous arguments and name calling which is a shame and a huge turn off so I tend to just avoid them. My suggestion is don't base your own conclusions on what you read on the web. Go meet one of these guys in person when you get a chance, and feel what it is they are trying to tell us. ;)

As for whether aikido is about fighting not fighting etc...

Mary Heiny sensei said something along the lines of; we should never forget that what we are practicing is deadly. It is serious. The techniques when applied full force on someone who is not trained to move with them can kill. We should never forget this. Just because we choose not to do harm to to cause a death does not mean that we are not capable.

hughrbeyer
06-28-2011, 10:58 PM
I've just had three beers and a glass of port, so I probably shouldn't be posting at all, much less on a subject like this. But then, I probably wouldn't post on this subject stone cold sober.

Aikido's not about confrontation. Whether or not it's about fighting has a lot to do with the intent of your attacker. Confrontation gives sente to your attacker--by confronting his attack you've accepted his terms for the confrontation. You're playing by his rules.

Aikido is about dealing with the attack in a way that doesn't so much neutralize confrontation as make it irrelevant. Your instinct is correct--if I deal with a strong attack by being faster, what happens when I have a faster opponent? If I deal with it by stealing balance, what happens if my attacker is better at keeping balance than I am at stealing it? If I deal with it by using their force against them, what happens if they are quicker at altering the force than I am at using it? All these alternatives are dealing with the force by countering it, ultimately, on uke's terms.

So if I'm receiving a punch, You can't deal with it by dodging. A competent boxer will eat your lunch. You can't deal with it by blocking. The aforesaid competent boxer will be elsewhere before you can recover. The principle of irimi teaches to enter, connect, and own the situation in one movement. If you can learn that, it's not about being better--it's about continually being in a place where you can't be touched and you own the situation. If you can do that consistently, your students call you by some over-the-top term like "O-Sensei".

(I think I did pretty well with that, considering that the question as you asked it translates to: Without considering Aikido, please explain how you would deal with this situation using Aikido. But never mind.)

Also, Aikido as currently practiced in most dojos is a study of principle. Actually fighting is a different skill, or maybe an additional skill involving things like multiple chained attacks and getting clocked without losing your cool.

JW
06-28-2011, 11:35 PM
Cherie and Hugh, no fair, you guys both are working on IS, correct? Hugh through Gleason sensei, and Cherie after working with Mark Murray. I understand the approach to the topic from the point of view of the practitioner of IS.

Tim and David. Tough guys, eh? There might be more practical interpretations of what I said about "one w/ the universe" then you are allowing for. I am pretty strongly interested in practical usage, though you seem to think by my words I am airy-fairy.

Mario and Jon, I like what you have said, it is kind of what I was thinking of when I started the thread: if you have an interest in being able to fluently maintain kuzushi (Jon), if you want to take "you" out of the equation (Mario), then how does aikido enable that? What about our art makes that possible? In other words, how does it work? Aikidoka should be able to say how "what we do" operates.

danj
06-29-2011, 12:03 AM
On the physics /biomechanics of Aikido, I recently came across the toppling moment equation - it seemed to explain for rigid bodies quite nicely the optimum angle to unbalance an object (such as a person). When used in conjunction with the exploitation of the base of support i.e. the ground shadow between toes and heels from one foot to the other it was clear that aikido techniques exploited this.

Moving from a rigid body to one with give and take it was possible to see how the exploitation of small changes in angle and height could allow access to passing on huge forces or not being affected by huge forces. The key force in this is the ground reaction force i.e. what the ground pushes with when something is placed on it, the magnitude and direction always equals that applied to it (this is what keeps building up.)

Ground path, or balancing force vectors to line up with the ground are the key.
Ensuring that an applied force (e.g. an attack) is matched by the ground after passing through some structure (us) into the ground makes one really strong.

Further manipulating the base of support (by toppling and good positioning) in someone applying force can prevent them from being able to effectively apply the force.

For me in my practice these have helped me see how the soft touch of the master might work, given insight beyond the busy work of practices like aiki-age, aiki-sage also after years of doing Ki Society Aikido when i first started I think I see a bit more about what the toitsu taiso and ki-testing pedagogy are about.

As an anecdote recently I put my wrists on the line and discovered that the application of above ideas prevented nikkyo from a much respected and ferocious budo buddy being applied - without the feeling that I was resisting. Its not much to write home about but I felt it was a reasonable measure of progress

I think for me the biomechanics give clues to what aspects of internal strength might be all about, from a laymans point of view. (till i can meet a aikiweb peer reviewed internal strength practitioner and feel what they have)

Apologies,the above is not so good in words but hope its helpful. I've been sketching up some diagrams and hope to submit for aiki-web peer review soon.

Dan

ChrisHein
06-29-2011, 12:59 AM
There are lots of things you can "use" as an Aikidoka or any martial artist to defeat someone who is stronger, faster, more coordinated, or more knowledgeable/experienced than you are.

Surprise
Numbers
Weapons
Environment

Those four major factors outweigh anything found in most sport martial arts that are know to be "effective".

That's my "big picture" answer, I think it's important to keep that in mind, so I said it first. But I think you are asking, more specifically, what do I believe is the "aiki" way of defeating someone who is physically superior to me.

I believe Aiki is the ability to work within someone else's rhythm. That is to use what they believe is happening against them. To use their desired attack as your offense.

How does one do this? As Marc suggested, musubi. The ability to reach out and touch the intention of your attacker. To know his mind, to read his actions, linking them with your own. Then we follow that up with awase, a way to move within the attack that gives our attacker no information about what it is we are doing. Moving in a way so that he believes his attack is still successful; but when it's all over he is not.

We use our attackers belief that he is "wining" against him.

mathewjgano
06-29-2011, 02:04 AM
Nice thread! There is a lot of great stuff to consider...particularly when you consider the idea that no one starts out being very strong or fast or able. If we look at the continuum of learning, I think it's this kind of topic which is most important to begin with when we talk about self-defense issues, whether it's through the lense of Aikido or what have you. Even the "IS" issue is subject to the axiom that there is always someone stronger and faster (i.e. better). So how do you overcome such a person? I like the idea of using the concepts of musubi, tsukuri, and kuzushi to guide one's actions. We connect (generate musubi) to the things within ("IS") and without (other people are things too), to understand how to create an opening to enter through which allows the attacker to be unbalanced...or some reasonable facsimile thereof; "enough" that we can do whatever we have to in order to protect what needs protecting.
In short: Are we faster? Smarter?
Smarter.

Tim Ruijs
06-29-2011, 03:39 AM
[oops, just saw Mario's reply. The attacker has the laws of physics on his side too though, right? The only difference is he wants destruction and you don't. So why do the laws favor you but not him?]

Perhaps in here lies the answer: you want uke to fight the laws whereas uke wants to fight you. In effect, you do not fight and he fights the universe. or something to that extent...

dps
06-29-2011, 03:43 AM
Blend with Uke ( Musubi)

Position Uke (Tsukuri)

Break Uke's balance (Kuzushi)

Finish Uke (Kake)

dps

phitruong
06-29-2011, 07:05 AM
question, are we assuming that the attacker isn't outclass us in every way? if our attacker is stronger, faster, more experience, can out think us, can out class us in weaponry, empty hand, etc and etc, do we still think we can do what we do and live?

just curious about folks expectation. reminded me of a quote "plan for the worst, hope for the best".

Shadowfax
06-29-2011, 07:19 AM
Cherie and Hugh, no fair, you guys both are working on IS, correct? Hugh through Gleason sensei, and Cherie after working with Mark Murray. I understand the approach to the topic from the point of view of the practitioner of IS.
i

I don't consider myself a practitioner of IS I consider myself an aikidoka and the answer I gave you cam from my experiences as such to date. IS did not enter the picture until you asked me what I thought about it. I then answered you that question honestly based again on my experience. I'm not sure I understand why it matters if I have experience with IS or not since my earlier comments were not related to that subject.

chillzATL
06-29-2011, 07:33 AM
I'm into the IS aspects these days, but having used my aikido in a couple of fights long before I knew about IS I would say it's just good technique earned through hard, honest practice with people who aren't just giving it to you. At least that's the best answer I can give because I don't really have anything better to point too as to why it worked for me when it did. Especially when so many people want to say it doesn't work.

Tim Ruijs
06-29-2011, 07:48 AM
question, are we assuming that the attacker isn't outclass us in every way? if our attacker is stronger, faster, more experience, can out think us, can out class us in weaponry, empty hand, etc and etc, do we still think we can do what we do and live?

just curious about folks expectation. reminded me of a quote "plan for the worst, hope for the best".

It is what I tell my students: we practise to 'defeat' the attacker we cannot 'defeat'. Everyone that already can be 'defeated' is not of interest form a learning point of view.
In actual battle: be the best you can be and hope for the best (the other can make mistakes...

gates
06-29-2011, 08:18 AM
Given that in aikido, we do not overcome an attacker with superior strength, how is it that we survive an attack and defeat aggression?

When I hear a question such as this it reminds me of the famous Terry Dobson train story. Not just because it exemplifies the power of Aiki (Love - not the other one), but because I often think about the old man.

Consider the old man faced with the aggressive drunk, you assume stronger and physically more able to fight (although drunk). What is it that the old man has that enables him to act to control the aggressor with such ease?

Is it that he was a secret IP master that gave him his confidence? I doubt it. Is it that he had nothing to fear as he was half dead already? Maybe a little. Or is it his life long experience that gave him wisdom, wisdom enough to see to the motivation of the young drunk?

"Budo: Bu - Physical movement; Do - Tao, Logos.
The true way of physical action exactly follows the activity of a priori Life Will. This definition was later narrowed to apply only to the martial arts of Japan. The goal of their exercise was to open up to their highest human capacity. Today people misunderstand this to mean self-defence or a sportive activity."
(First person who can PM me where this quote came from I will donate $50 to the charity of their choice)

Mario Tobias
06-29-2011, 08:28 AM
Tim and David. Tough guys, eh? There might be more practical interpretations of what I said about "one w/ the universe" then you are allowing for. I am pretty strongly interested in practical usage, though you seem to think by my words I am airy-fairy.

Mario and Jon, I like what you have said, it is kind of what I was thinking of when I started the thread: if you have an interest in being able to fluently maintain kuzushi (Jon), if you want to take "you" out of the equation (Mario), then how does aikido enable that? What about our art makes that possible? In other words, how does it work? Aikidoka should be able to say how "what we do" operates.

I suggest you take a look at Endo sensei's videos in youtube. He is the closest example of what I am saying taking "you" out of the equation and you just being the medium of the physical laws.

The reason I said this is because Endo sensei doesn't grab any part of uke. He just redirects uke's energy and let physics take over.

mathewjgano
06-29-2011, 11:18 AM
question, are we assuming that the attacker isn't outclass us in every way? if our attacker is stronger, faster, more experience, can out think us, can out class us in weaponry, empty hand, etc and etc, do we still think we can do what we do and live?

just curious about folks expectation. reminded me of a quote "plan for the worst, hope for the best".

I think you have to outclass the attacker in some way (numbers, speed of running, whatever), or any "victory" is a matter of luck. Like you said, plan for the worst, hope for the best. It's the planning that provides how we could potentially outclass the attacker.

mathewjgano
06-29-2011, 11:31 AM
Blend with Uke ( Musubi)

Position Uke (Tsukuri)

Break Uke's balance (Kuzushi)

Finish Uke (Kake)

dps

yeah, I like this set, although, now I'm curious what the difference might be between awase and musubi. My understanding is that awase is closer to the meaning of blending, while musubi, implies more of a connection...might not be much difference in this context?
In terms of function, I tend to think of musubi as "tracking," though it implies some related action, which certainly sounds like blending to me...
Hmmm...

SeiserL
06-29-2011, 11:35 AM
I am one of those who come from more aggressive strength oriented bashing arts.

IMHO, intelligence and mobility are good points to start with.

Thoughts?

JW
06-29-2011, 11:44 AM
Hi all, I'm really glad to read these replies, thanks! I hope anyone in the future who has more technical, strategeic, or philosophical answers can add them to the thread.

What I am seeing is that even if a person tries to speak directly to non-IS people, you still get similar answers as if you asked IS types, as long as people are talking in vague/general enough terms. If borne out by further replies, this would suggest that even on the internet, it is apparent that aikido folks are interested in the ideas and material that IS folks are discussing and teaching.

Still thinking about the replies, but I have to go b/c there is work to do in 'real life'..

question, are we assuming that the attacker isn't outclass us in every way? if our attacker is stronger, faster, more experience, can out think us, can out class us in weaponry, empty hand, etc and etc, do we still think we can do what we do and live?

just curious about folks expectation. reminded me of a quote "plan for the worst, hope for the best".

Yeah, sorry the original question is so ridiculous! Obviously if totally outclassed, it is close to impossible to defeat aggression. But I think some of the replies here speak to what I was getting at-- do we just have to be smart about judging skill level, strength, speed, weapons, etc, or is there a "something else" at work in aikido besides all that.
The something else would be a transcendent quality that people like O-sensei, Endo sensei, Sunadomari sensei, etc seem to address. I think that's the heart of "aiki," so the question is, how does one develop that in aikido? If you do IS it is a no-brainer, but if you don't, there must still be some answer!

JW
06-29-2011, 11:47 AM
IMHO, intelligence and mobility are good points to start with.

Thoughts?

I value those very much!
One thing though, the idea of merging (ai, blend, musubi, however you parse it), is coming up more and more in the thread and I think that is right on. If you say "mobility" people might think "escaping" rather than merging.

dps
06-29-2011, 11:57 AM
I am one of those who come from more aggressive strength oriented bashing arts.

IMHO, intelligence and mobility are good points to start with.

Thoughts?

Intelligence, like when outclassed, outnumbered, outgunned mobility kicks in as in feet don't fail me know? :)

I agree.

dps

Ketsan
06-29-2011, 12:05 PM
Hi guys, I would like to ask a question specifically of the people who are NOT into the whole Internal Strength thing. Some people are feeling left out of conversations, and I'd love to hear what you have to say. It's the kind of thing that interests non-IS pursuers as well as IS practitioners. You don't even have to be into sparring or anything-- this is a theoretical budo question.

The question is:
Given that in aikido, we do not overcome an attacker with superior strength, how is it that we survive an attack and defeat aggression?

I don't mean what technique to use, or other "ask your sensei" type things. I mean, in the big picture, theoretically, how does it happen? Not because we are bigger and stronger. Are we faster? Smarter? Not interested in 'defeating?' What lets us as aikidoka come out alright, theoretically?

For instance, if you say, "we use our attacker's power against him so he defeats himself," how is it that we are able to do that? I have been playing with a guy who spars and does judo, and let me tell you, if you are messing with his "power" to use it against him, he will rapidly change where he is putting power as soon as he feels that. So how does an aikidoka affect his power without him knowing? Would you do it through tricks (playing with his mind, baiting him, etc), or do you strive to do things more quickly than he can change? (In the case of the latter, that means you survive just because you are faster.)

I know how I currently would answer, but I am interested in discussion that reveals common ground with people who don't feel like part of the whole "bring back internals" thing. Thanks!

Personally I don't buy into the "using his own strength against him" thing; that sounds to me rather like Judo which I regard as being radically different technically from Aikido as I have experienced it.
For me Aikido has always been about rapidly acquring a position which neutralises his ability to generate power and then using your own to defeat him.

If you consider Shomen uchi irimi nage where is uke's power and where is it going? It's mostly in their arm and it's heading via an arc into the mat but irimi nage is about bringing uke around in another circle around your hips; clearly uke's power isn't contributing to the technique.

For me Aikido has become about waiting for the moment when uke is open and then performing a movement such that my initial contact destoys uke's posture rendering them helpless. That's Aikido for me in nutshell; the technique that comes after it is almost an irrelevence because if you've broken uke's posture you can do what you like.

mathewjgano
06-29-2011, 12:43 PM
What I am seeing is that even if a person tries to speak directly to non-IS people, you still get similar answers as if you asked IS types, as long as people are talking in vague/general enough terms. If borne out by further replies, this would suggest that even on the internet, it is apparent that aikido folks are interested in the ideas and material that IS folks are discussing and teaching.


I think they're "same same, but different." I'm not an IS guy per se...I'm barely an "ES," guy, for that matter. They seem to be two sides of the same coin, one is more top-down in approach while the other is more bottom-up, but they both develop the body's ability to withstand and generate force. I don't think either one is necessarily superior to the other. Then again, I'm ignorant.
I'm mostly replying to this thread because I grew up the smallest kid in class who was friends with (and wrestled with) the biggest kids in class and so I've thought about this question in one form or another for a long time (I actually have a sense of having real experience here, which is rare). What eventually came to mind was the idea that while I couldn't control the bigger kids, I could control the context of their attack. So I would present something to be attacked and then suddenly change that something. It worked a lot for me (relatively speaking); I even remember one time a friend of mine who was a foot taller and outweighed me by 40lbs (I was 12-ish) charged at me. So I charged at him, only I stopped just short of contact and then continued forward again. I ended up pushing him backward even though I was nowhere near as strong as he was. In my current line of thinking, I see it as having bounced my ki off the ground to over extend him and then entering to exploit it. At the time I just thought, "psych!!!! ...Hey I just pushed him backwards!!!" (Something I don't think I ever was able to accomplish as well again). This has always seemed to typify for me a good way for meeting a superior force head on: on my own sneaky terms. The ability to suddenly change directions (mobility) became my M.O. for dealing with my much stronger friends...and I developed an awareness of that by being forced to be smarter about how I engaged them (intelligence).

lbb
06-29-2011, 12:47 PM
I'm reminded of something that my sensei says: "'When' is the most important thing, 'where' comes after that, and 'what' is least important." Successful aikido, I'd say, is one where you learn the "whats", but more importantly, learn when and where to use them.

Shadowfax
06-29-2011, 01:40 PM
Something also to consider. If the bigger, stronger, more skilled guy is acting in anger and aggression he is not in full control and is going to leave openings that someone who is calm, cool, collected and not allowing emotion to color his actions can exploit. And if that person is in full control and not acting in anger or aggression... well there is nothing to defend against. ;)

Hellis
06-29-2011, 01:51 PM
Something also to consider. If the bigger, stronger, more skilled guy is acting in anger and aggression he is not in full control and is going to leave openings that someone who is calm, cool, collected and not allowing emotion to color his actions can exploit. And if that person is in full control and not acting in anger or aggression... well there is nothing to defend against. ;)

Dear Ms Cherie

Something also to consider. If the bigger, stronger, more skilled guy is acting in anger and aggression he is not in full control

Just curious, have you ever faced such a person ??

Henry Ellis
British Aikido
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

jonreading
06-29-2011, 02:03 PM
Mario and Jon, I like what you have said, it is kind of what I was thinking of when I started the thread: if you have an interest in being able to fluently maintain kuzushi (Jon), if you want to take "you" out of the equation (Mario), then how does aikido enable that? What about our art makes that possible? In other words, how does it work? Aikidoka should be able to say how "what we do" operates.

From a basic point of view, kuzushi is the state of unbalance, musubi is the state of dependency. Aiki is the entire interaction of connecting to you partner and maintaining that connection. I will also say that I believe there is a logical order of things: break your partner's balance, transition you partner's balance structure onto your balance structure, extend your movement through your partner.

I believe that the "connection" in aikido is simply seizing your partner's balance to be dependent upon your structure. Effectively, in this state of musubi (unification of center) your partner's balance and yours become one (your balance). Once joined, the kuzushi state is easier to maintain. So it is really not as much about removing "you' and is it about creating "us". Aikidoka like Endo Sensei or Saotome Sensei simply always are "us".

Second, kuzushi is about seizing balance and not giving it back. This sort of principle exists in many arts, not just aikido. I personally look to judo and daito ryu aikijujitsu because I think they have good fundamental techniques that illustrate this point. In fact, I think the old judo stuff better defines kuzushi than many aikido people.
In sticking with a judo illustration, I love to demonstrate this principle with harai goshi:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gzk4M3OA0U
(I am not familiar with this judo club - I simply picked a youtube clip to illustrate the throw)
You can see in harai goshi, after nage seizes his partner's balance you have this obvious transition of balance from tori to nage; you can also see that tori's balance becomes wholly dependent upon nage. Finally, you see nage fit tightly with his partner, making nage's movement affect his partner. While not aikido, this is an example of kushi and musubi.

Now, aikido has more subtle interaction, but we have to start somewhere... Our kata needs to be precise. Almost palm up is not palm up. Left foot forward is not right foot forward. Kinda getting kuzushi and getting kuzushi are two different things. After we have precise kata and can perform kata no kihon waza with some success we develop these rough techniques. As we train and improve our techniques they will become more efficient, which means less force is required for the same effect.
I think a lot of the IS guys are going to advocate that we should already have a strong internal structure before starting waza, and I do not disagree.

Without wishing to tangent the thread, I think it is realistic to expect aikido people to know what it is they are doing, explain what they are doing, and solicit a desired response every time they do it. Aikido becomes a whole lot more complicated when you start throwing out zen koans and teaching by mystery. Not that aikido should not explore those things, but I think students have a right to receive clear instruction.

You have your balance; I am going to take that balance, make your ability to stand dependent upon my structure, then I am going to move you as I please.

Martial arts were made for people to fight against others who are in some respect a better fighter. A valid martial art must be able to prepare its students to deal with an opponent better then they [are].

Janet Rosen
06-29-2011, 02:17 PM
I value those very much!
One thing though, the idea of merging (ai, blend, musubi, however you parse it), is coming up more and more in the thread and I think that is right on. If you say "mobility" people might think "escaping" rather than merging.

Running with this: I tend to think of it as connecting or uniting rather than blending for just that reason. I have been part of too many "blending exercises" that focused just on timing and position w/o connection and as a result became empty dances.
To me connecting or uniting gets to the heart of the fact that in a center to center connection hopefully I as nage am providing the structural integrity for a unified system that includes both of us - if I'm not, then uke is and should take over :)
Can I always do it? Of course not...but its what I aim for all the time....

Shadowfax
06-29-2011, 02:23 PM
Dear Ms Cherie

Something also to consider. If the bigger, stronger, more skilled guy is acting in anger and aggression he is not in full control

Just curious, have you ever faced such a person ??

Henry Ellis
British Aikido
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

Yup.

Hellis
06-29-2011, 02:40 PM
Yup.

Dear Ms Cherie

Would you care to share such an experience ?

Henry Ellis
British Aikido

http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

Shadowfax
06-29-2011, 02:57 PM
Dear Ms Cherie

Would you care to share such an experience ?

Henry Ellis
British Aikido

http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

Lets just say that being a child growing up in a violent home, who was also the victim of a lot of physical bullying by school mates and neighborhood kids, before the lesson was learned, is very educational in that department. I would much prefer not to revisit these things in detail. :)

phitruong
06-29-2011, 02:59 PM
I think you have to outclass the attacker in some way (numbers, speed of running, whatever), or any "victory" is a matter of luck.

not necessary luck. necessary will. as in willing to die to take the other person down with you, i.e. almost suicidal. can't fight with that sort of people if you are not willing to risk everything. log bridge concept. on death ground, fight.

guest1234567
06-29-2011, 03:06 PM
The experience of Matthew and the video of the monks of Graham shows that a fearless and strong attitude of our whole body and most important of our face is a main point too.

Another point is what our teacher told us in yesterdays class, that we should think of our weight and our strong position and when we use our hips put 2 or 3 times our real weight in the technique. That will take many years to learn too, but we have our all life to learn every detail step by step:)

dps
06-29-2011, 03:26 PM
Here are som interesting demonstrations about Kuzushi;

From Kaze Uta Budo Kai

http://www.kazeutabudokai.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=1796

http://www.kazeutabudokai.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=1933

dps

mathewjgano
06-29-2011, 03:44 PM
not necessary luck. necessary will. as in willing to die to take the other person down with you, i.e. almost suicidal. can't fight with that sort of people if you are not willing to risk everything. log bridge concept. on death ground, fight.

Interesting; I'm not familiar with the log bridge concept, but I agree will-power is an important thing. When in serious trouble I was raised to go for the throat, so to speak. My understanding of Aikido is that this is in keeping with that whole "life and death in an instant," thing. Plan for the worst (e.g. "rip his guts out"); hope for the best (e.g. make a new friend with shiatsu:D ). Whatever the case, it's probably best to avoid getting hurt, but if I must get hurt, I generally intend to teach my assailant that it's dangerous to harm nice short people...something along the lines of the concept of Natural Consequences: this little bit of the universe doesn't like it when you try to hurt nice short people.:D

Janet Rosen
06-29-2011, 04:12 PM
Interesting; I'm not familiar with the log bridge concept,

I assume this refers to Robin Hood facing Little John on a log bridge. SOMEBODY has to end up in the water.
Apropos of which, George Ledyard addresses this in his dvd on "entering" in which he points out that on the katatetori irimi-tenkan blend exercise you often see nage simply entering alongside uke - if they were on a log bridge, nage would be the one in the water - better to connect with and disrupt uke (my choice of words, not his - I'm not watching it at the moment :) ) so uke is the one in the water.

jester
06-29-2011, 04:43 PM
Something also to consider. If the bigger, stronger, more skilled guy is acting in anger and aggression he is not in full control

Who's to say he needs FULL control to do anything?

Some people work pretty damn well driven by anger. Fine motor skills (full control??) are reduced on both sides.

You might mean bigger, stronger etc and very drunk! :D

-

Mario Tobias
06-29-2011, 05:33 PM
In addition and just a brief explanation of kuzushi. From a physics point of view which I will explain in laymans terms, kuzushi is the misalignment of a person's center of mass with his center of gravity.

A person is balanced when the center of mass (CoM) and center of gravity (CoG) coincide into one point which is the hara or tanden. This is the significance of the hara in the physics context. A person's center of mass location doesn't change but the center of gravity does. The center of gravity may lie within the person or outside the person. I think this is what a lot of people call 3rd points. There are numerous (infinite imho) 3rd points (CoG) but only one center of mass. You are strong when "you maintain the one point". ie hara/center of mass/center of gravity are one location.

A person is in a state of unbalance when these 2 centers stray away from each other. Unbalancing is achieved by misaligning the spine from an upright position to an angle (even a very small one) so that the CoG starts to stray away from the CoM. And this is again achieved by connection (musubi) with the other parts of the body (typically the arm, wrist, hand, palm) to "start" misaligning the spine and connecting to/unbalancing uke's hara. That is why once balance is taken, you can easily do techniques on partners even without "grabbing" any body part of uke, just leading and letting gravity do the rest. This is also part of the reason why we want our backs straight in aikido because of this spinal alignment.

There are a lot of escoteric explanations which can be explained with physical terms if you just think about it.

mathewjgano
06-29-2011, 06:08 PM
I assume this refers to Robin Hood facing Little John on a log bridge. SOMEBODY has to end up in the water.
Apropos of which, George Ledyard addresses this in his dvd on "entering" in which he points out that on the katatetori irimi-tenkan blend exercise you often see nage simply entering alongside uke - if they were on a log bridge, nage would be the one in the water - better to connect with and disrupt uke (my choice of words, not his - I'm not watching it at the moment :) ) so uke is the one in the water.

Oodelally! I like that analogy. Thanks Janet!

JW
06-29-2011, 06:58 PM
Still short on time but just some quick notes. Part of my main idea was to talk about mechanism. I know the mechanism by which I want to do things in my practice-- I can describe kuzushi, I can describe mechanics, and even the role of misogi and how it has a practical meaning. But I want to hear others' descriptions of mechanism (is it really different from how I would describe it, or is it actually the same), and that is what people are starting to do here, so thanks.

Mario-- using physical terms to describe mechanism is excellent, thanks. But I think you have some physical concepts wrong. The CoG is always colinear with your CoM and the earth's CoM. You and the earth share a single CoG but the 2 of you have 1 CoM each. But I think I know what you are trying to say, which is that your CoM has to be over your base, yes? But I think we should nail down the correct technical terms.

Carina-- if you have a mechanism for how to do what you said about 2x or 3x your weight, that would be interesting. Or, if you can think of a mechanism for how "pretending" to do that is useful, I think that would be really interesting.

Mary-- you are talking about making the right decisions throughout an interaction? i.e. aikido works via you learning to make appropriate choices in an "on-line" manner? (Meaning choosing as the situation develops, more than having a plan)

Chris-- this is interesting, how does it happen? Well there might be too much to get into. But in general-- do you mean making choices on-line, as in the OODA loop?

Thanks all!

Peter Goldsbury
06-29-2011, 07:04 PM
I assume this refers to Robin Hood facing Little John on a log bridge. SOMEBODY has to end up in the water.
Apropos of which, George Ledyard addresses this in his dvd on "entering" in which he points out that on the katatetori irimi-tenkan blend exercise you often see nage simply entering alongside uke - if they were on a log bridge, nage would be the one in the water - better to connect with and disrupt uke (my choice of words, not his - I'm not watching it at the moment :) ) so uke is the one in the water.

Hello Janet,

When Saito Morihiro Sensei told the story (standing right agaisnt the wall of a room to represent the confined space of the bridge), it was Benkei on the Gojo Bridge in Kyoto during the Gempei war. Benkei used his superior size--and long staff--to defeat 999 swordsmen, but was defeated by Minamoto Yoshitsune and became his disciple.

PAG

Janet Rosen
06-29-2011, 07:59 PM
Hello Janet,

When Saito Morihiro Sensei told the story (standing right agaisnt the wall of a room to represent the confined space of the bridge), it was Benkei on the Gojo Bridge in Kyoto during the Gempei war. Benkei used his superior size--and long staff--to defeat 999 swordsmen, but was defeated by Minamoto Yoshitsune and became his disciple.

PAG
Ah, Peter, but Errol Flynn is so much sexier.... :D

jester
06-29-2011, 08:28 PM
Ah, Peter, but Errol Flynn is so much sexier.... :D

Green tights or white Fundoshi?

Thoughts?

Shadowfax
06-29-2011, 09:11 PM
Who's to say he needs FULL control to do anything?

Some people work pretty damn well driven by anger. Fine motor skills (full control??) are reduced on both sides.

You might mean bigger, stronger etc and very drunk! :D

-

Never said he needed to be in full control. But someone not in full control makes mistakes. The kind of mistakes that someone who is calm and in full control can take advantage of if they are paying attention. And by take advantage I don't necessarily mean beating the snot out of the guy. Actually the very drunk ones are the easiest to deal with. The schizophrenic ones can be a little more tricky.;)

I

BKK
06-29-2011, 09:52 PM
There are a lot of good things being said here, and my ideas on this aren't much different from a lot of it, but I'll add my two cents anyway...

George Simcox sensei, who was the Chief Instructor of the Virginia Ki Society at one time, once said something along the lines of "I don't need to out-muscle someone, I just out-relax them." And that is an important part of what it takes, of course, but it isn't the only thing.

Another part is that a fight, or any conflict, requires two opposing forces, and opposing ideas, to happen. So part of the solution is physical, and part is mental. If I am trying to blend physically, but in my mind I am still opposing, not accepting, my attacker, it's not going to work so well.

A lot of problems arise when we try to control either the attack or the attacker. Not so hard if you are stronger, not going to happen if you are weaker. So instead, control your response to the attack, moving correctly for the technique, and allowing the technique to work, instead of trying to make the technique work. If you do this, you will find that it is easy to "out-relax" your attacker as well.

Brian

BKK
06-29-2011, 10:28 PM
In addition and just a brief explanation of kuzushi. From a physics point of view which I will explain in laymans terms, kuzushi is the misalignment of a person's center of mass with his center of gravity.

A person is balanced when the center of mass (CoM) and center of gravity (CoG) coincide into one point which is the hara or tanden. This is the significance of the hara in the physics context. A person's center of mass location doesn't change but the center of gravity does. The center of gravity may lie within the person or outside the person. I think this is what a lot of people call 3rd points. There are numerous (infinite imho) 3rd points (CoG) but only one center of mass. You are strong when "you maintain the one point". ie hara/center of mass/center of gravity are one location.


Hi Mario,

Actually, your center of mass can and does move, and can be outside or inside your body depending on what position your body is in. In fact, the center of mass and center of gravity are essentially the same thing. Center of gravity refers to the center of the weight of the body. Weight and mass are not the same thing. You need gravity to have weight, you don't need it to have mass. For our purposes, I think they can be considered the same (since we are always operating within a gravitational field), and will move together, depending on the position of the body, but not dependent on whether the body is in balance or not.

You achieve kuzushi when you move the center of mass to a position outside of the supporting structure (legs usually, but not always), or you move the supporting structure out from under the center of mass.

Also, your one point is not necessarily at your center of mass. It's an imaginary point, after all, and is where ever you imagine it to be, and if you are standing upright you would probably want it to coincide with your center of mass, for most purposes. OTOH, during a forward roll, for example, your center of mass (and center of gravity) would be outside your body (near the center of the approximate circle formed by your body) but you would probably still want to imagine your one point to be in your lower abdomen. I would anyway. :-)

Brian

jester
06-29-2011, 10:52 PM
But someone not in full control makes mistakes. The kind of mistakes that someone who is calm and in full control can take advantage of if they are paying attention.

Can you say that if your attacked unexpectedly that you'll be calm and in full control?

Seriously??

-

Mario Tobias
06-29-2011, 10:52 PM
The CoG is always colinear with your CoM and the earth's CoM.

No, The CoG does not necessarily lie on the object (ie the body). Once you are unbalanced, the CoM still is in the body but the CoG will lie outside your body so it will not be colinear with that (there will now be 2 axes), that is what I was saying about misalignment which will lead to you benig unbalanced.

JW
06-29-2011, 11:32 PM
No, The CoG does not necessarily lie on the object (ie the body). Once you are unbalanced, the CoM still is in the body but the CoG will lie outside your body so it will not be colinear with that (there will now be 2 axes), that is what I was saying about misalignment which will lead to you benig unbalanced.

There's bigger fish to fry in the thread but sometimes a little detail keeps nagging me. Your CoM moves freely. The CoG for the you+earth system is waaaay under the ground near the earth's CoM. Anyway, just nitpicking. G'night all..

Mario Tobias
06-29-2011, 11:41 PM
jonathan,

I'll concede this time :D

cheers,

guest1234567
06-30-2011, 02:32 AM
Carina-- if you have a mechanism for how to do what you said about 2x or 3x your weight, that would be interesting. Or, if you can think of a mechanism for how "pretending" to do that is useful, I think that would be really interesting.



Hi Jonathan,
I don't think I could explain it, because I don't know how to do it and because I have not enough vocabulary. We did a few exercises like embrace our uke and bringing him to the floor with our weight, as I said it takes many years. My teacher does it, he is a slim person(aprox 70 kg) and always takes the heaviest ukes(100 kg) we have, and even they won't let him he always managed to control them.

sakumeikan
06-30-2011, 04:35 AM
Green tights or white Fundoshi?

Thoughts?

Tim,
Why not wear both?, Cheers, Joe

danj
06-30-2011, 05:22 AM
Hi Jonathan,
I don't think I could explain it, because I don't know how to do it and because I have not enough vocabulary. We did a few exercises like embrace our uke and bringing him to the floor with our weight, as I said it takes many years. My teacher does it, he is a slim person(aprox 70 kg) and always takes the heaviest ukes(100 kg) we have, and even they won't let him he always managed to control them.

i suggest embracing uke moves ukes CoM outside their base of support (the imaginary area between ukes feet and respective toes and heels) now that they are unbalanced and toppled they will need to step or fall. At this point a mostly downward directioned force will accelerate the fall such that recovery is difficult.

Dropping a 70kg mass even just 5cm will generate for a short period of time an effortlessly large amount of downward force, though sometimes its helpful to think of power transfer to really get an idea of the dynamic interaction.


Doing all this on the mat is harder though ...

dan

guest1234567
06-30-2011, 05:53 AM
Thanks for the explanation:)

Shadowfax
06-30-2011, 06:36 AM
Can you say that if your attacked unexpectedly that you'll be calm and in full control?

Seriously??

-

If you are attacked unexpectedly you are not paying attention and therefore already not in full control. When you regularly work with 1,000 pounds of unpredictable you lean how to be aware, stay calm and in control in sudden situations...or you get hurt.

I have been in situations where there was a pretty serious threat in which I stayed loose and relaxed and in control and the threat was withdrawn.If I had reacted in fear or if I had pushed back things may well have come out very differently. This was before I took up aikido. The last guy who got in my face found himself pinned against a wall. Because I was in control I didn't deck him. It was pretty close though. I need to keep working on it. ;)

lbb
06-30-2011, 07:33 AM
I assume this refers to Robin Hood facing Little John on a log bridge. SOMEBODY has to end up in the water.

Or nobody. Or somebody can step back to let the other person pass. Or you can both decide that rather than one (or both) of you getting wet and wounded, you'd much prefer to go get a beer. A lot of people like to call that "aikido"; I don't know that it's necessary to fancy it up. Aikido isn't the birthplace of common sense, keeping your nose clean and keeping your hands to yourself.

lbb
06-30-2011, 07:40 AM
Mary-- you are talking about making the right decisions throughout an interaction? i.e. aikido works via you learning to make appropriate choices in an "on-line" manner? (Meaning choosing as the situation develops, more than having a plan)

Sure, but at the same time, things happen too fast in the moment for you to be able to reason it out. So, that's why we train. It's just that in order to be effective, you can't just train in the techniques, you also have to train in the intangibles and less-tangibles. "When" is an intangible element, but as soon as you make a choice about when, you start to solidify the less-tangibles and gradually narrow your choice of the tangibles. That's not to say that your choices might not open up later, but that would be the result of a wise choice made earlier on.

(And of course, "the earlier, the better" is not true. Don't believe it? Do weapons work.)

jester
06-30-2011, 08:05 AM
The last guy who got in my face found himself pinned against a wall. Because I was in control I didn't deck him. It was pretty close though. I need to keep working on it. ;)

Ha! Awesome! ;)

-

Richard Stevens
06-30-2011, 08:15 AM
I've always been interested to see video of Aikido techniques demonstrated on a freely attacking (i.e. bum rushing and heavily swinging) opponent. I recall having seen video of Tohei in a similar situation, but if I recall correctly his opponent was a large foreigner simply trying to get a hold of him. I've also seen a few videos of Aikido "sparring", but it was fairly obvious the Aikidoka wasn't very skilled.

Richard Stevens
06-30-2011, 08:24 AM
If you are attacked unexpectedly you are not paying attention and therefore already not in full control. When you regularly work with 1,000 pounds of unpredictable you lean how to be aware, stay calm and in control in sudden situations...or you get hurt.

I have been in situations where there was a pretty serious threat in which I stayed loose and relaxed and in control and the threat was withdrawn.If I had reacted in fear or if I had pushed back things may well have come out very differently. This was before I took up aikido. The last guy who got in my face found himself pinned against a wall. Because I was in control I didn't deck him. It was pretty close though. I need to keep working on it. ;)

You make an excellent point. Developing an ability to stay calm and in control in a violent situation is probably more useful than having great technique.

A friend of mine is a manager at a recycling yard, a Shorin-Ryu black belt, and frequently has to deal with unseemly individuals and has been threatened with violence numerous times. While he has never had to defend himself, the confidence he has in his ability to do so has allowed him to remain calm and in control. He manages to diffuse each situation with a smile and the occasional invitation to "swing away".

chillzATL
06-30-2011, 08:33 AM
I've always been interested to see video of Aikido techniques demonstrated on a freely attacking (i.e. bum rushing and heavily swinging) opponent. I recall having seen video of Tohei in a similar situation, but if I recall correctly his opponent was a large foreigner simply trying to get a hold of him. I've also seen a few videos of Aikido "sparring", but it was fairly obvious the Aikidoka wasn't very skilled.

Kinda hard to do since most people are going to hold back unless it's a real situation. Just wait till this whole life-casting thing takes off, i'm sure you'll get one then! One of my two "aikido-in-the-street" incidents was basically what you described, right hook from a guy who wanted to take my head off. Alas, no vids though.

Tim Ruijs
06-30-2011, 08:45 AM
Why would you think Aikido techniques are efficient in an actual fight?

Richard Stevens
Developing an ability to stay calm and in control in a violent situation is probably more useful than having great technique.

This is the perhaps the essence of studying Aikido +1

JW
06-30-2011, 11:04 AM
I think there is more to the "will it work in a fight" discussion than we need to have in this thread.
Suffice to say, Jason's experience is an example of training right and having it "work" when tested. Which is not to say that the ability to prevent or diffuse trouble before engagement isn't hugely important. People in this thread (and others) have seen that both can work.
How it works (and why things fail when they do) is more interesting than "yes it does," "no it doesn't," back and forth.

Daniel-
I don't know enough to know what you mean by "power transfer," but sounds like a useful quantity, I'll look it up. Anyway, regarding dropping your mass 5cm to get a large amount of force, I think it's really right on (combined with your earlier post about the grf, sounds like you just hit "ki of heaven" and "ki of earth" pretty squarely). But I'd take the "5cm" comment a step further-- if there is good tensile connection going on, the useful force starts in theory before any motion happens at all, so you can see why subtle things might start to have crazy large effects..

David Skaggs-
I can't believe you called what I said "crap" and then you posted those vids at the top of page 2 of the thread. ... just when I think I know where you're coming from, you throw me for a loop!

And finally--
I have for a while done a lot of single-person practice.. ki cultivation, aka tanren. So one thing that really made me perk up was people talking about something specific to multi-person interaction. Matthew made it really clear:
while I couldn't control the bigger kids, I could control the context of their attack. So I would present something to be attacked and then suddenly change that something.
A lot of people do aikido thinking about 2-person stuff right off the bat, and thinking about motion right off the bat (Janet, your comment about "blending excercises" comes to mind). I think these are more advanced ideas, but that's just my point of view.

The point is that here we have a nice example of transcendence of what I was calling the "fighting game." You don't try to control an "attacker." You are in charge of yourself and you control how you carry yourself. His aggressive intent fills in the blank. So you don't have to fight him, you just manage the blanks so that fighting you is not easy. This way of thinking comes out of not wanting to fight.

Keith Larman
06-30-2011, 12:08 PM
A new take on an old concept comes to mind. OODA Loop. We train to get to the point where we can "get inside" the operations of the attacker. We're not reacting, we're actually controlling the confrontation while blending, leading, and moving. To get to that place requires extensive experience, the ability to stay calm, the ability to stay centered, the ability to not so much react but to take over control. Yes, we are in some sense a defensive art but properly done it is anything but reactive.

JW
06-30-2011, 12:49 PM
OODA Loop. We train to get to the point where we can "get inside" the operations of the attacker. We're not reacting,

Hi Keith. I brought that up earlier but no takers yet. I think your statements above are exactly what I am getting at: fighting means getting smarter at decision, faster at action, crafty about orienting, and fast/skilled at observing, that kind of thing. Work on any of the OODA items, and you are working on fighting.

Work on something that is *separate from* interacting within the OODA loop, and you are talking about the "something special" or transcendent quality. I think this is at the heart of what aikido is, so my question is, how is it that we accomplish it?

My point is, if you have this goal, then you can say how you are working on it. I think the IS folks are talking about exactly this, so I started this thread thinking, if their descriptions are the "noise" on this board, let's hear the "signal." (Maybe we would see that this supposed signal matches up well with IS when talked out in detail.)

How, mechanistically, can we "get inside the OODA loop" of the attacker, so that we don't have to be quicker than him or stronger than him? The only answers I can give fall squarely within the IS paradigm, and I would love to hear if there is another point of view-- other than, "keep training and it will come."

Keith Larman
06-30-2011, 02:33 PM
Well, Jonathon, I'm firmly in the IS crowd and I this is the stuff where it makes the difference. I remember the first time I got on the mat with Toby Threadgill. I laughed when he did a technique because I realized I couldn't "feel" him through a connection that he used to throw me. I've worked long and hard but here was a guy that just wasn't "there" until he wanted me on the ground. I had nothing to grab, nothing to move, no "handles". Now I've felt that before from a number of very good Aikidoka, but never so clearly and consistently as that day. Because it wasn't just that there was a connection, but that it could become so powerful instantly. And I realized at that moment that he could feel me, had that handle on me, had me under control but that I didn't feel it in return. That was a huge advantage for him. From then on I got more serious about getting out and seeing people doing this stuff. And I think that the sort of connection that is not just about speed, not just about balance, not just about subtlety, but also includes these abilities is what I am after. That's the elusive "power" of aiki for me. That instantaneous connection that uke cannot use in return. That "advantage" gets inside their ooda loop. It made me reconsider o-sensei's phrase "Shodo-O-Seisu". The original version of OODA.

Just my novice opinion...

JW
06-30-2011, 03:13 PM
This thread would be a great chance for someone to say something like:

"Well Keith, I'm glad you enjoy standing for long periods of time, doing funekogi the "right" way while the rest of us do it wrongly, hanging out with friends gently pushing on each others' chests and shoulders, etc. But stop stinking up this place with IS-noise!
IS is not the heart of aikido --there is a totally different mechanism that lets aikido work, and here is a description:"

Let's hear it. My point is purely to end the feeling of divisiveness that people say they are perceiving. I am claiming that if anyone can continue the quote above, we will see that they are in fact looking for exactly what the IS people are offering-- not something different/separate.

Tim Ruijs
06-30-2011, 04:01 PM
"It is all about mechanics. "

In practise you improve your sense of distance and (relative) speed. When making contact this happens at that point where your partner is already (close to) off balance. You can affect him/her, but not other way around.
In the end both parties are just human, have two legs, a core, two arms and a head. You figure it out. The techniques are exercises to study the mechanics.

Obviously when you are calm, relaxed everything 'goes' it bit better.

danj
06-30-2011, 06:04 PM
Well, Jonathon, I'm firmly in the IS crowd and I this is the stuff where it makes the difference. I remember the first time I got on the mat with Toby Threadgill. I laughed when he did a technique because I realized I couldn't "feel" him through a connection that he used to throw me. I've worked long and hard but here was a guy that just wasn't "there" until he wanted me on the ground. I had nothing to grab, nothing to move, no "handles". Now I've felt that before from a number of very good Aikidoka, but never so clearly and consistently as that day. Because it wasn't just that there was a connection, but that it could become so powerful instantly. And I realized at that moment that he could feel me, had that handle on me, had me under control but that I didn't feel it in return. That was a huge advantage for him. From then on I got more serious about getting out and seeing people doing this stuff. And I think that the sort of connection that is not just about speed, not just about balance, not just about subtlety, but also includes these abilities is what I am after. That's the elusive "power" of aiki for me. That instantaneous connection that uke cannot use in return. That "advantage" gets inside their ooda loop. It made me reconsider o-sensei's phrase "Shodo-O-Seisu". The original version of OODA.

Just my novice opinion...

That resonates strongly with what i have felt inskilled individuals and gained some clues when presenting some of the ideas about toppling, CoM and Base of support to aikidoka recently I took along some force plates (these measure ground reaction forces) to see if it was helpful...actually it was but not in the way that i suspected. What was discovered was that people with 10-20 yrs of aikido experience (myself included) weren't sensitive to mass/weight transfers until a threshold of about 10kgs. interestingly this is about the threshold around which toppling (or maybe kuzushi) occurs. IS training in part maybe develops this sensativity in self and in feeling uke i am thinking?

On OODA ideas Amdur's HIPS mentions 'oshikiuchi' (or inside the threshold) in his birth of DR chapter. Whilst it might mean literally just for those in the palace maybe its also an OODA naming??

from personal experience when I setup toppling in my partner techniques are easier (feather weight) to apply, and as uke if i can set up toppling in nage their techniques are rendered less effective.

graham christian
06-30-2011, 06:47 PM
Jonathan.
Nice thread and your persistence in keeping it to the point.

Some food for thought If I am understanding where your trying to get to.

Overcoming Aggression: I see you believe it's possible from a transcendence point of view. So may I say that it may be worthwhile inspecting the reality of what that word means.

You question fighting and indeed the use of a transient Aikido in a fight, implying true Aiki is indeed a transcendant thing. Am I right?

Regards.G.t

JW
06-30-2011, 08:19 PM
Hi Tim-
Thanks! Here's another step, going off your post. I would like to start by stressing that we agree very much about something: the description of the end-state. This:

In practise you improve your sense of distance and (relative) speed. When making contact this happens at that point where your partner is already (close to) off balance. You can affect him/her, but not other way around.
is very much what I would hope would happen should I be attacked. It doesn't say how it felt from my POV, or what I did to make it happen-- it just says objectively what happens. So, we know the "what"-- what about the "how?"

How do we bring about this goal, in our training? It sounds like you are arguing this:
We do techniques, which are really 2-person kata. They aren't realistic, but rather they are highly stylized. They are VERY similar from rendition to rendition-- they don't vary much. They are used with strange exaggerated attacks. We do these for years (maybe with some randori thrown in to hone things?).
While we do these reps, our bodies distill some kind of information from the design of the techniques, something embedded in there. Then, if we are not decrepit by the time our bodies fully get the info, we will be able to respond without much thought or effort to any kind of attack, even if we have never seen it before, by using the information "programmed" into our bodies from the technique repetitions.
Is that what you are saying?

What about budo being about transformation? What about heaven and earth and unity? What about not fighting?
I know you will have answers for these questions, but if you are interested in the things O-sensei talked about, think about parsimony. What if there is one answer, one single way of thinking, that accounts for all this, instead of a "list of stuff" that is on our aikidoka menu?

JW
06-30-2011, 08:23 PM
Hi Graham-
Glad you think it is staying focused-- that is something I worried about before I even posted.
Regarding the word transcendence, I meant "being beyond the constraints/limits of" moreso than "busting through the limits of." I looked it up after your post to see that the word could be applied to both. Or maybe I am using it wrong. Is there a better word?

But now I don't know what you mean by "transient aikido!" Please clarify. Did you mean transcendent?

Anyway I think me clearing up what I meant by transcendence might answer your questions, or maybe change them-- let me know. What I meant:
The example of the OODA loop is the best I can think of. There are limits on the "speed" parameter of the "action" (the "A" in OODA).There are limits on the bredth of sensory input that is successfully processed in the "observe" part of OODA. These are examples of limits that are in play when you are fighting someone, where both parties are OODA-ing.

The bigger a person's limits in these parameters, the better he will fare in a fight. So my idea was, transcendence in budo means not straining to improve your limits of these parameters, but rather learning to do a different behavior altogether. So, the attacker has an OODA loop going on, but you are doing something else. You aren't making decisions, you aren't changing what you are paying attention to ("orienting"), you are just "being." So your limits of the OODA parameters are no longer relevant, because you are not employing that kind of behavior.
That's a description of an extreme, and ideal, but it is what I am working on. Even to be able to do it a little is a good thing.

graham christian
06-30-2011, 08:57 PM
Hi Graham-
Glad you think it is staying focused-- that is something I worried about before I even posted.
Regarding the word transcendence, I meant "being beyond the constraints/limits of" moreso than "busting through the limits of." I looked it up after your post to see that the word could be applied to both. Or maybe I am using it wrong. Is there a better word?

But now I don't know what you mean by "transient aikido!" Please clarify. Did you mean transcendent?

Anyway I think me clearing up what I meant by transcendence might answer your questions, or maybe change them-- let me know. What I meant:
The example of the OODA loop is the best I can think of. There are limits on the "speed" parameter of the "action" (the "A" in OODA).There are limits on the bredth of sensory input that is successfully processed in the "observe" part of OODA. These are examples of limits that are in play when you are fighting someone, where both parties are OODA-ing.

The bigger a person's limits in these parameters, the better he will fare in a fight. So my idea was, transcendence in budo means not straining to improve your limits of these parameters, but rather learning to do a different behavior altogether. So, the attacker has an OODA loop going on, but you are doing something else. You aren't making decisions, you aren't changing what you are paying attention to ("orienting"), you are just "being." So your limits of the OODA parameters are no longer relevant, because you are not employing that kind of behavior.
That's a description of an extreme, and ideal, but it is what I am working on. Even to be able to do it a little is a good thing.

Hi Jonathan.
You're right I should have used the word transcendent.

I asked because even when used that word can mean to some being better than and superior to in an egotistical way.

I also asked for another reason though. To look at the concept of it and the process of it to better understand what it means and the reality of it.

Let's say a person say's they have transcended the need, the mindset of fighting for example. I bet you've heard people say they wouldn't lower themselves and things like it's barbaric etc and yet they are sure they have transcended that Neanderthal urge.

Well mostly they havn't at all and are merely removed from. Not wanting anything to do with. This is not transcending I think you'll agree.

So when you really inspect it. It is A) When a person has so thoroughly understood it and with that thoroughly understood the limitations or indeed folly of it. Plus B) When that person has replaced it with a new thoroughly understood set of principles or mindset that not only works better but also nullifies, dissipates, is totally unaffected by those old 'rules' and operations thereof.

Now the OODA loop you refer to is yet another terminology I am unfamiliar with yet I totally get what you are saying and have personally experienced such things myself.

The example of just 'being' is good enough to convey what you mean and I thoroughly agree. To me that is the attraction of Aikido.

Thus if someone is still of the mindset of fight and self defence then they cannot see what someone is doing who is handling an attack or indeed aggression without being aggressive or without fighting. Thus in my view true Aiki will elude them both in action and thought.

Regards.G.

Kevin Leavitt
06-30-2011, 11:29 PM
Good discussion on OODA! Most important thing to understand in fighting.

JW
06-30-2011, 11:39 PM
Good discussion on OODA! Most important thing to understand in fighting.

Hi Kevin, want to guess where I first heard about it?:D
From your posts, here.

Anyway do you have any feeling regarding what I said about changing yourself so that your actions don't operate within that paradigm anymore? Do you think it is far fetched? Thanks!

Keith Larman
07-01-2011, 01:31 AM
Good discussion on OODA! Most important thing to understand in fighting.

Yeah, it was a number of years ago when I was training a lot with some very good people with lots of experience. We were occasionally mixing it up on the mat when it was just a few of us. I found that when I was successful it was when I had that level of control of the entire thing. And when I wasn't it was when I lost that control in the whole feedback loop. Kind of like being a half step behind all the time.

So I keep standing around, doing solo exercises, trying to build a different body, trying to burn in pathways inside... As I said elsewhere, it "informs" my techniques. It "informs" my waza. It allows me to be there first, to flow more easily, to change more fluidly. So I find that, for myself, it *is* the "how" you're talking about. Yeah, I know all about "let your ki flow", I know all about "relax". But most of us also remember how frustrating that was to hear when we first started. And as we got better we'd say the same thing to others. But... Do we really understand "how" that works? Why it works sometimes now when it didn't before? What's going on "under the covers" that makes it work? I don't think I've answered that question to my own satisfaction yet, but I'm a lot more satisfied with making progress.

Tim Ruijs
07-01-2011, 02:07 AM
transcendence in budo means not straining to improve your limits of these parameters, but rather learning to do a different behavior altogether
This is in fact something I point out almost every lesson: respect your limitations and physical range and learn to (maximise the) use it properly.


distill some kind of information from the design of the techniques...
something embedded in there...
Would this not in fact be why all teachers tell you to look what is 'inside' the technique, what the technique 'tells' you? That the technique itself is not important (it is a vessel to exchange that embedded info to your body)...


Then, if we are not decrepit by the time our bodies fully get the info, we will be able to respond without much thought or effort to any kind of attack, even if we have never seen it before, by using the information "programmed" into our bodies from the technique repetitions.
Is that what you are saying? Yup!


What about budo being about transformation? What about heaven and earth and unity? What about not fighting?
I know you will have answers for these questions, but if you are interested in the things O-sensei talked about, think about parsimony. What if there is one answer, one single way of thinking, that accounts for all this, instead of a "list of stuff" that is on our aikidoka menu?
I think that if you try to get to the right position where you can affect your
partner, but not vice versa, and do not use any force you ar actually united with the universe, apply all the rules, and thus do not fight. You are busy trying to be in harmony with the universe to achieve this. Hope this makes sense....
To me this all is what Aikido means: be able to be in the right place at the right time (the way of energy and harmony (Japanese meaning of harmony!)
This would mean one way of thinking.

JW
07-01-2011, 11:30 AM
Graham- I think it is clear we agree regarding concepts, ideals, words, that kind of thing. In fact I have expected this would be true! The next level of investigation and understanding would come at the level of talking about how to implement those ideals-- how to train them, on the mat. The same set of ideals could translate into all different kinds of training methods and practices.

Tim- thanks, that is pretty clear. In fact the ideas about technique-based training are intimately familiar to me. But I've had a change of heart. ;)
If one group of people feel technique-based will do the job, and another group feels tanren-based training will do the job, then it is just a difference of opinion-- unless long-timers in those 2 camps get together and share in person, or we discuss evidence like videos or results of visits to judoka/mma folks, or things like that.
My idea a few years ago was, well, let me hear out the "evidence" that people like Dan and Mike are talking about on the net-- short of meeting them, it's the best I could do. Then it became a question of, now that I know what "qigong" means, isn't it odd that aikido is chock-full of things that fit the bill but aren't being taught that way? And that the accounts of O-sensei's physical abilities seem so different than what is going on in aikido. <end soapbox, sorry!>

Keith, awesome post, fully agree. But besides talking about how your training applies to your goal, you even dig up something from the back of my mind:

Yeah, I know all about "let your ki flow", I know all about "relax". But most of us also remember how frustrating that was to hear when we first started. And as we got better we'd say the same thing to others. But... Do we really understand "how" that works? Why it works sometimes now when it didn't before? What's going on "under the covers" that makes it work?
People talk about IS people "drinking the koolaid" or being brainwashed. I was uneasy about that when I started training.. but now, look at this! I used to train while thinking the same nebulous phrases that I was taught as a beginner, not knowing what they really mean or how they mechanistically work. I was sort of feeling around in the dark, and basically hoping for enlightenment. One change of point of view, a bunch of training and talking and reading, and all of a sudden I understand exactly what is happening (conceptually), what is supposed to happen, and how to build it. So wouldn't it be closer to the truth to say I broke OUT of being brainwashed?

Keith Larman
07-01-2011, 12:22 PM
People talk about IS people "drinking the koolaid" or being brainwashed. I was uneasy about that when I started training.. but now, look at this! I used to train while thinking the same nebulous phrases that I was taught as a beginner, not knowing what they really mean or how they mechanistically work. I was sort of feeling around in the dark, and basically hoping for enlightenment. One change of point of view, a bunch of training and talking and reading, and all of a sudden I understand exactly what is happening (conceptually), what is supposed to happen, and how to build it. So wouldn't it be closer to the truth to say I broke OUT of being brainwashed?

Well, I agree to a point. I think it is easy to become an evangelist and annoy the hell out of everyone else. I also think there is a very real point about all of this that some miss -- namely that this is part of a much larger whole. *I* personally find the IS stuff fascinating and helpful. I think it is critical to my practice. However, as many have noted Aikido evolved tremendously and appeals to a wide spectrum of people with a varied set of expectations. So, if we see someone who is attempting to become one with universal truth and does so by swinging ribbons and basically doing rhythmic gymnastics, well, more power to them. Of course we could argue about what aikido "really" is, but that to me is a huge waste of time. It did evolve in a lot of ways and there are, what, millions of people studying it in various ways. I see people doing collusive stuff that would get their asses handed to them most anywhere else. I've seen people work on focusing their ki and seeing if others can feel it from a distance. I've seen all sorts of things. That said, for me my goals are more prosaic -- I wanted to study a way of doing martial arts that seemed to be able to do amazing, nearly impossible things. I will admit I'm not looking for enlightenment, guru status, or anything of the sort. Spirituality is something that is part of all of my life, not just my practice and certainly not reliant on my training.

So... I will say I think Ueshiba was doing many things using a level of IS that few in Aikido have today. Same with many of his first generation of students. For a variety of reasons, however, how aikido spread beyond that introduced a whole lot of variety. And today we have a landscape that is mind mindbogglingly (is that a word?) diverse. So... Some of us will focus back on IS. Some will do it to the exclusion of all else but I *personally* find that missing the point as well. Unless the goal is doing "Silly ki tricks" then it needs a context within which to exist. And that context is a huge area that varies tremendously.

So... I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but I will say I think those who discount IS out of hand would likely benefit from opening up their minds a bit. I do think that there is ample historic evidence that these things were integral to O-sensei's practice and the "how" of what he did. It seems today many want to emulate what he did without bothering with that sweet, creamy filling of "how". What they end up with is "different", but it is where a lot of things evolved. And those doing that often have a great deal of other things they get out of their training, especially on the spiritual side. So ... Shrug...

I am a practical man. I was raised in a family of scientists. I tend to view the world through those lenses so my focus has always been on "how" do you do that? I mean, really, how?! What's happening inside? What makes that possible? When I say my ki is flowing what's really happening inside my body? I don't see it at metaphorical nor do I see it as magical. It is real. And I think I have a better understanding now of what that is through my training in IS. Which so far seems to have given me the ability to apply it better, faster, more often, in new ways, etc.

So yeah, I wouldn't call it "koolaid" because I do think there is a solid basis for considering these things WRT what Ueshiba was actually doing. But I would also say that some become mindless cheerleaders with fanatical enthusiasm and are probably just as ridiculous (and close-minded) as some who are running around with ribbons while wearing Japanese horsie pants. Chudo... And to each his/her own. Live and let live. You can't convince everyone because not everyone is asking the same questions nor are they even interested in the same things.

So... Okay, I'm done rambling. :) Woke up with a nasty headache and the drugs are making me ramble. I"m gonna go lie down now and come back to this later and cringe... :crazy:

JW
07-01-2011, 01:07 PM
Don't cringe, those are great points. I hope your head feels better soon.
I'll try to cool it on the cheerleading, you are right. The net is a place for sharing info, not being obnoxious.

I guess what I mean is the value of the net is in addition to what takes place upon real contact, not a replacement for it.

Keith Larman
07-01-2011, 01:36 PM
Don't cringe, those are great points. I hope your head feels better soon.
I'll try to cool it on the cheerleading, you are right. The net is a place for sharing info, not being obnoxious.

I guess what I mean is the value of the net is in addition to what takes place upon real contact, not a replacement for it.

Oh, I don't think you're one of the cheerleaders. Some just get a bit out of hand at times which makes it easy for others to (unfairly) discount everyone.

graham christian
07-01-2011, 01:41 PM
Agreed Jonathan.

So now to on the mat. From the no competition view and reality comes a certain freedom and the consequence of it is only self and nothing to do with the other person.

There is no 'how do I counter' or 'get out of' or 'do to' or 'make' or 'control' or even disturb or disrupt for these are all part of competing with.

When someone grabs me let's say in a bear hug I have no feeling of got to get out of or counter or must do something to escape. All the bear hug is to me is something asking for harmony so I harmonize and do what I want to do.

If someone attacks tsuki and I harmonize with it in the way that others would call tai sabaki with kotegaishe then that's what I decided to do. The fact that the aggressor isn't flying through the air into a nice breakfall as it 'should be' makes those viewing it from the outside come up with odd conclusions.

The aggressor hasn't a clue why he's now sitting or lying on the mat, all he knows is 'that's different'

Breakfalls actually come under just one aspect of Aikido and that is the aspect of projections. It's actually how you protect the aggressor if you project him away from you.

In truth what you are observing when someone really is harmonizing and not competing at all is what the aggressor is now doing to their-self.

Like I said before I have met many from various arts and oriental arts who used various 'internal' methods. Always the same result even if interesting. The funny thing is none of them called it or labelled it as such but merely wondered how I knew what they were doing and more importantly for me how comes it didn't work on me.

The one thing I thus learned was they hadn't yet transcended competition even if their 'special ki skills or internal power was impressive.

I remember one guy a couple of years ago who taught some form of sword in his country. It was an oriental country and the style as he described it to me seemed similar to iaido although the country wasn't Japan. My 'friend' had said he was sending his 'mate' to kick my ass. Thus this guy turned up.

We had a chat while everyone warmed up where he told me what he did and said he also knew some Aikido and by his explanation I could see he was for real and seemed to know a lot of what I would call Aikijutsu. I knew he had some tricks up his sleeve so knew it would be interesting.

He said he would do Aikido as I do it even though I offered to let him show me any of his stuff if he wanted to. Inside I knew he would do something though.

Low and behold after an hours training he asked me to do Kote gaeshe on him where he had all kinds of ways of countering it but to no avail. He was impressed and I showed him why as best I could. Then he asked to do the same on me. He had a few attempts trying to do it as I had instructed but found it hard and said he wouldn't do it like that anyway but would do it in a way I couldn't resist. What happened next was interesting, he did one that personally I would ban from my way of Aikido even though it was very 'good' and any of my students would have been down and probably in severe pain. However I was still there unmoved smiling at him and he was looking at me like he had seen a ghost.

Suffice to say he knew subtle intricacies and add on to that specific painful pressure points but obviously didn't know they too can be harmonized with.

I merely told him 'we don't do that here' and he apologised profusely.

I will end here by saying the biggest problem for anyone understanding the true potential of Aikido is that they don't believe what O'Sensei said as real and try to say he meant a, b, c.

Regards.G.

sakumeikan
07-01-2011, 04:41 PM
Why would you think Aikido techniques are efficient in an actual fight?

Richard Stevens
Developing an ability to stay calm and in control in a violent situation is probably more useful than having great technique.

This is the perhaps the essence of studying Aikido +1

Dear Tim,
If you consider that aikido waza is ineffective in an actual fight why do you train in Aikido ?Do you consider it a Martial art?If you do ,why will it be ineffective , if you do not consider aikido as a martial art, are you practicing meditation , philosophy , keep fit [in fancy uniforms ] or what?In my opinion the Aikido community is slowly but surely taking a martial art and diluting it to a point where it compares with synchronised swimming or ballroom dancing.
Next thing we will have is Olympic competition for the the
best presented aikidoka sequence dancing.
Cheers, Joe.

Kevin Leavitt
07-01-2011, 04:47 PM
Hi Kevin, want to guess where I first heard about it?:D
From your posts, here.

Anyway do you have any feeling regarding what I said about changing yourself so that your actions don't operate within that paradigm anymore? Do you think it is far fetched? Thanks!

Thanks. Well I think if it generates thought and discussion about what you guys are talking about then the conversation is valuable.

I am not sure I am understanding everything especially the stuff on transcendence so can't comment on that directly.

However this thought comes to mind when reading the entirety of the discussion:

OODA is a model for a theory. It gives us a reference point to talk about this stuff. So in that since it is awesome cause it helps us put words and concepts around the subject.

OODA is not a methodology or fight strategy. You can apply the principles of OODA but it in itself does nothing for you.

I think we have a tendency to want to make simple things complex. Again, OODA is a simplistic model that was wonderfully organized and explained by Boyd that describes a process related to decison making and action.

I think the discussion around it is awesome!

IMO, the beauty of OODA is its simplicity. Either you are ahead of the loop or you are no. If you are not then you are losing and will continue to lose. Recognizing this is paramount for fighters or anyone that is working in areas of martial arts or physical conflict.

Failure to recognize this means you are experiencing dissonance. This is what causes the delay in your process and it is the thing you can affect. Recognising the dissonance is the first step and the second step is taking action to resolce or mitigate it.

So by transcedence I take it to mean you are trying to transcend the dissonance you experience to improve your response.

An important fact in the equation. But transcending the dissonance doesn't mean we will prevail necessarily. Only that we recognize cognitively what is going on.

We still have the issue of the other person to deal with and what they are doing to us and with what object etc.

It may mean that we can do nothing but recognize that we are screwed and going to die.

We can be the best martial artist on the planet. In shape, at one with the universe, AWESOME Internal Strength skills, have the whole no mind thing going for us.......

And A 98 year old woman with no skill, the element of surprise and a baseball bat can ruin our day.

I think OODA is as simple as understanding that fact.

As far as OODA helping us with our training:

Once we understand the role of dissonance and the importance of getting ahead of the decision cycle and that OODA in concept has NOTHING to do with martial techincs or skills and everything to do with strategy and opportunity.....

It liberates us to break down the barriers and paradigm imposed on us through our own preconceptions, experiences....and the various methodologies, styles, art, systems and begin to make better informed decisions about where we should spend our time training in order to best "shorten" or mitigate the situations (OODA) we believe we might find ourselves in martially.

I hope this makes some sense. It is just off the top of my head.

graham christian
07-01-2011, 04:56 PM
Dear Tim,
If you consider that aikido waza is ineffective in an actual fight why do you train in Aikido ?Do you consider it a Martial art?If you do ,why will it be ineffective , if you do not consider aikido as a martial art, are you practicing meditation , philosophy , keep fit [in fancy uniforms ] or what?In my opinion the Aikido community is slowly but surely taking a martial art and diluting it to a point where it compares with synchronised swimming or ballroom dancing.
Next thing we will have is Olympic competition for the the
best presented aikidoka sequence dancing.
Cheers, Joe.

Hi Joe.
I'm not going to answer for Tim but I think you bring up a great point. A lot of people think such things lead to what you point out.

Here's the thing. Even more who do it end up as you point out.

However, in the end the ones who do it properly do not enter into competitive fighting yet if life brings it then they are in a fight and handling it. To the outsider they were fighting but to them they were merely exercising principles of non-competition. Thus they have no fear of fighting.

What do you think?

Regards.G.

Keith Larman
07-01-2011, 05:05 PM
Made a great deal of sense to me, Kevin. Great post and thanks.

JW
07-01-2011, 05:12 PM
Hi Graham, those are great anecdotes, thanks. So great in fact, some might call them Paul Bunyan tales. But, of course I have no evidence upon which to call you a liar. (If people call you strange after looking at the hats in your vids for instance.. ok, there are plenty of reasons to call me strange as well, so I hope "strange" doesn't make one a liar.)

One thing though is we don't have that fellow's side of the story. He might say, "oh that guy clearly couldn't handle me, so I never really tried with him." Example here, when people were alarmed at Dan's posts here long ago, they went to check him out. They stayed with us to share their sides of the story, and that helped people like me really perk up.

OK so all that said-- you might be doing a fine job of telling the objective truth about your anecdotes. So let's start there. How in the world did you accomplish this? You have described your feeling during the encounters (harmonizing, just "be," don't fight, that sort of thing). Now there is some physical ramification of this state of mind, surely-- and that's what the other guy ran into. Anyway we won't hit on a black-and-white correct answer right off the bat-- but we have to theorize and experiment, if we really do want those answers.

One last thing that is of central importance: I presume you did not do things like read a bunch of philosophy (O-sensei's words included) and then suddenly have these abilities. Instead, there is some kind of training there-- something that made you become able to do these things. Even if you want to keep your methods private, maybe we could discuss the specific effects of your training.
Would you care to share regarding what exactly are these changes in body and mind that your training has produced, that allow these abilities? Thanks!

Hi Kevin-
Excellent, thanks. I need lots more partner practice!

Tim Ruijs
07-01-2011, 05:13 PM
Do you consider it a Martial art?

No. Martial discipline would be better (please consider: aikibudo, aikijitsu, aikido, aiki-ken, aiki-jo). Do you for example seriously believe that you learn to how to fight with a sword in Aikido? Really? Katori shinto ryu is a whole damn harder to master, whereas the sword techniques in Aikido are relatively easy.


If you consider that aikido waza is ineffective in an actual fight why do you train in Aikido ?

I practise aikido, not aikijitsu. The first , to me means discipline, the second art. Jitsu form is actual combat, fight to survive. Do is disciplinairy practise in martial context to understand why something (in jitsu) works.

So I practise/train to understand and learn the body mechanics according the philosophy of aiki. I do not have focus on learning how to fight (jitsu). I merely use that aspect to understand the principles and to verify my understanding (do).

To my understanding in Aikido I must try and learn to be able to get in the right place at the right time to be in control of the (any) situation. Then I decide whether or not to inflict damage. Aikido happens before that decision. O Sensei: when someone decides to attack me he has already lost....

Others probably feel different on the subject which is fine by me.

Tim Ruijs
07-01-2011, 05:28 PM
In fact the ideas about technique-based training are intimately familiar to me. But I've had a change of heart. ;)

....but aren't being taught that way? And that the accounts of O-sensei's physical abilities seem so different than what is going on in aikido.
I cannot help but think "depends on the style and your teacher". How do you know your teacher is any good? How can you judge him when you have hardly (no is more likely) knowledge of Aikido? When you want to advance you search, and probably change teachers until you find that teacher that fits your idea of what Aikido is (supposed to be).

O Sensei has displayed seemingly unhuman power which where essentially a mechanical trick.....we have done some of these exercises.

Kevin Leavitt
07-01-2011, 05:37 PM
Yeah, it was a number of years ago when I was training a lot with some very good people with lots of experience. We were occasionally mixing it up on the mat when it was just a few of us. I found that when I was successful it was when I had that level of control of the entire thing. And when I wasn't it was when I lost that control in the whole feedback loop. Kind of like being a half step behind all the time.

So I keep standing around, doing solo exercises, trying to build a different body, trying to burn in pathways inside... As I said elsewhere, it "informs" my techniques. It "informs" my waza. It vgyallows me to be there first, to flow more easily, to change more fluidly. So I find that, for myself, it *is* the "how" you're talking about. Yeah, I know all about "let your ki flow", I know all about "relax". But most of us also remember how frustrating that was to hear when we first started. And as we got better we'd say the same thing to others. But... Do we really understand "how" that works? Why it works sometimes now when it didn't before? What's going on "under the covers" that makes it work? I don't think I've answered that question to my own satisfaction yet, but I'm a lot more satisfied with making progress.

Cool. For me I describe it as "branches and sequels" as we gain experience we begin to recognize patterns and movements and we develop responses. Getting better we begin to reduce proprioceptions and create situations where when we are ahead our opponent can't catch up and when we are behind we have the ability to make up the gap. There are a number of ways to do this. As you know working with someone like Toby Threadgill this becomes very apparent.

JW
07-01-2011, 05:48 PM
when we are behind we have the ability to make up the gap.

This is a critical overlooked thing, I think.
I get obsessed with working towards an ideal-- for instance, always being ahead is a great ideal. But then what? If that falls through for just one moment then I could be hosed. Correcting that momentary failure is a big task to study.

graham christian
07-01-2011, 06:03 PM
Hi Graham, those are great anecdotes, thanks. So great in fact, some might call them Paul Bunyan tales. But, of course I have no evidence upon which to call you a liar. (If people call you strange after looking at the hats in your vids for instance.. ok, there are plenty of reasons to call me strange as well, so I hope "strange" doesn't make one a liar.)

One thing though is we don't have that fellow's side of the story. He might say, "oh that guy clearly couldn't handle me, so I never really tried with him." Example here, when people were alarmed at Dan's posts here long ago, they went to check him out. They stayed with us to share their sides of the story, and that helped people like me really perk up.

OK so all that said-- you might be doing a fine job of telling the objective truth about your anecdotes. So let's start there. How in the world did you accomplish this? You have described your feeling during the encounters (harmonizing, just "be," don't fight, that sort of thing). Now there is some physical ramification of this state of mind, surely-- and that's what the other guy ran into. Anyway we won't hit on a black-and-white correct answer right off the bat-- but we have to theorize and experiment, if we really do want those answers.

One last thing that is of central importance: I presume you did not do things like read a bunch of philosophy (O-sensei's words included) and then suddenly have these abilities. Instead, there is some kind of training there-- something that made you become able to do these things. Even if you want to keep your methods private, maybe we could discuss the specific effects of your training.
Would you care to share regarding what exactly are these changes in body and mind that your training has produced, that allow these abilities? Thanks!

Hi Kevin-
Excellent, thanks. I need lots more partner practice!

Hi Jonathan.
Glad you liked them, I have many as have some I know but I don't usually tell my personal encounter stories for fear of being seen as arrogant or lying. That's why I just communicate what I know is possible to achieve for those who doubt it.

As to central importance and methods of training which led me the current point, well that's been stated by me many times in past posts. Basically Toheis four rules of mind and body unification and his five rules of Aikido application.

As far as sharing goes then I do and have many times and learned it's more of a matter of what is done with what I have shared. Nothing I do is secret or private it's no different to any other discipline in as much of keeping applying principles. The process is the same, some of the principles are indeed different and those are the ones that make the difference in my opinion.

Changes in body and mind? Well if you have read what I have said before then I emphasize three things: spirit, mind and body. The changes are many but to boil it done it is this: Awakened spirit, calm mind and relaxed body.

Regards.G.

Janet Rosen
07-01-2011, 06:38 PM
And A 98 year old woman with no skill, the element of surprise and a baseball bat can ruin our day.
And my goal in life is to BE that 98 year old woman albiet with a bit of skill... :D
(serious note: Kevin, GOOD to see you live and posting!)

Kevin Leavitt
07-01-2011, 08:00 PM
Thanks Janet. LOL. Starting to get my life back to "normal" although making a move to Germany in about three weeks!

Kevin Leavitt
07-01-2011, 08:11 PM
This is a critical overlooked thing, I think.
I get obsessed with working towards an ideal-- for instance, always being ahead is a great ideal. But then what? If that falls through for just one moment then I could be hosed. Correcting that momentary failure is a big task to study.

Not to get off the subject, but there are systems that work this very specifically. That is from "point of failure"

I think O Sensei and the other leaders in Aikido wanted us to train under specfic constraints and conditions in situations that force us to think and deal with some very specific things.

I think those reasons are probably very valid and worth studying.

Things like musubi and mushin come to mind. These things are important to understand if ultimately you want to achieve a higher level of skill giving all other things equal. Keith Larman addresses this above.

However, I agree, that "but then what" is also very important. Recognizing the various components of study and then piecing it back together in an over all strategy of study iswhat I think we all struggle with. There are only so many hours in the day!

hughrbeyer
07-01-2011, 09:54 PM
Y'know Jonathan, it would be nice if we were all working on the same thing underneath and we could all get together and join hands and sing kumbya while waving ribbons around, but I'm guessing it's not going to happen.

Just going by the evidence of the posts of the past month on these forums people have very different ideas about what makes Aikido work. They use entirely different language, and I think that language reflects the reality of what they're practicing.

So we have a set of folks who see Aikido as forces and vectors, moving the CofM away from the CofG, applying force perpendicular to the line between uke's feet, etc. For them it's a problem of technique, positioning, and applying force appropriately.

Closely related are the jutsu guys, who love to lock up the joints and use the pain and mechanical leverage they gain to move uke.

Then we have the folks who think Aikido is based on momentum, using your partner's force against him, using his attack to unbalance him, and so forth. I would put Koichi Tohei Sensei in this group, at least when he's in bouncy-bouncy mode. For them it's about blending with the attack and redirecting it.

Then you have the group who worry about hara-to-hara connection, usually with a healthy dose of ki thrown in. The post I wrote above in response to J's original question is entirely in the language of this group. They talk about "receiving" more than "blending". They talk about "connection" almost in a taiji push-hands kind of way. I think Tohei (when he plants his feet on the ground), Yamaguchi Sensei, and Saotome Sensei are in this group.

And then you've got the IS folks, who are not in any way to be confused with the connection folks. It seems to me, tho still a neophyte, the IS approach is very different. It avoids connection--instead of receiving the attack into your hara you direct the intention of the attack around you. Rather than being a wall, you're invisible. Rather than extend ki out in any one direction, you are complete and stable in yourself. I don't know how much the various shihans have been in this group, but Gleason Sensei says the IS perspective has allowed him to recognize and understand things about Yamaguchi's waza that he'd never seen before.

So these people aren't going to agree, and why should they? What a boring world that would be. I'm much more interested in hearing how they disagree, how they think what they're doing works, and what they see are the advantages over other people's approaches.

Of course, all this suggests the question: Which style of Aikido was O-Sensei's Aikido?

But that's above my pay grade.

Janet Rosen
07-01-2011, 10:30 PM
Hugh that's a pretty good summary/distillation though I'm not yet far enough into IS to differentiate it from the connection camp...perhaps some more work and seminars will have that make more sense to me Thank you for the thought and articulation.

JW
07-02-2011, 12:19 AM
Hi Hugh, that's totally true. You and Keith hit the diversity nail on the head, and I like it.

Regarding everyone agreeing on something, I would only expect the very most basic stuff, which would be shared amongst the groups, to be what we could all analyze together (though you are right, lots of differences/variations on the basics will persist to muddy the discussion.. but that's great, more food for thought). The idea that something significant is shared is far from proven, so I won't say I firmly think it is true.. but I'm still leaning that way. But certainly I agree that looking at the differences would be a good thing to do.

I would be very surprised if Gleason sensei agreed with you about a "connection" camp that is distinct from an "IS" camp. I think the "directing force around yourself" thing is just one specific aspect-- in general, I would characterize IS as the study of connection. But I'm no expert, just saying how I see it.

danj
07-02-2011, 06:34 AM
Y'know Jonathan, it would be nice if we were all working on the same thing underneath and we could all get together and join hands and sing kumbya while waving ribbons around, but I'm guessing it's not going to happen.

Just going by the evidence of the posts of the past month on these forums people have very different ideas about what makes Aikido work. They use entirely different language, and I think that language reflects the reality of what they're practicing.


Bring on the diversity (with out the zealotry), every discipline has its own language, methods and jargon and once past that there is probably a lot of common ground as well as unique insights(certainly this has been my experience working in interdisciplinary science). Call it the 30 odd views of Mount Fuji or the 3 blind men and the elephant analogy I think there is plenty of room for different tools/view points to improve understanding. Time is short but hopefully there is enough time to try many approaches when the opportunity presents

Having sampled a few of the mentioned ideas I find myself always on the lookout for the next thing around the corner that might bring some improvement (because there is plenty of room there)

One of my favourite quotes from a seminar a few years back "Your aikido will only improve when your concept of aikido improves" Kenjiro Yoshigasaki Sensei

hughrbeyer
07-02-2011, 06:39 AM
Jonathan -- Speculating on what Gleason Sensei thinks is definitely above my pay grade.

I didn't say that there's no connection in IS--but how you achieve it and what you do with it seems very different to me.

chillzATL
07-02-2011, 07:26 AM
Y'know Jonathan, it would be nice if we were all working on the same thing underneath and we could all get together and join hands and sing kumbya while waving ribbons around, but I'm guessing it's not going to happen.

Just going by the evidence of the posts of the past month on these forums people have very different ideas about what makes Aikido work. They use entirely different language, and I think that language reflects the reality of what they're practicing.

So we have a set of folks who see Aikido as forces and vectors, moving the CofM away from the CofG, applying force perpendicular to the line between uke's feet, etc. For them it's a problem of technique, positioning, and applying force appropriately.

Closely related are the jutsu guys, who love to lock up the joints and use the pain and mechanical leverage they gain to move uke.

Then we have the folks who think Aikido is based on momentum, using your partner's force against him, using his attack to unbalance him, and so forth. I would put Koichi Tohei Sensei in this group, at least when he's in bouncy-bouncy mode. For them it's about blending with the attack and redirecting it.

Then you have the group who worry about hara-to-hara connection, usually with a healthy dose of ki thrown in. The post I wrote above in response to J's original question is entirely in the language of this group. They talk about "receiving" more than "blending". They talk about "connection" almost in a taiji push-hands kind of way. I think Tohei (when he plants his feet on the ground), Yamaguchi Sensei, and Saotome Sensei are in this group.

And then you've got the IS folks, who are not in any way to be confused with the connection folks. It seems to me, tho still a neophyte, the IS approach is very different. It avoids connection--instead of receiving the attack into your hara you direct the intention of the attack around you. Rather than being a wall, you're invisible. Rather than extend ki out in any one direction, you are complete and stable in yourself. I don't know how much the various shihans have been in this group, but Gleason Sensei says the IS perspective has allowed him to recognize and understand things about Yamaguchi's waza that he'd never seen before.

So these people aren't going to agree, and why should they? What a boring world that would be. I'm much more interested in hearing how they disagree, how they think what they're doing works, and what they see are the advantages over other people's approaches.

Of course, all this suggests the question: Which style of Aikido was O-Sensei's Aikido?

But that's above my pay grade.

Hugh,

The IS folks are just focused on building a body capable of actually doing the things you mentioned in a more effective, less cooperative way. IS is nothing more than a process of conditioning the body so that it is relaxedly connected and relaxedly supported against outside forces. This support and connection is strengthened by various things (breath, etc) and then the entire unit is moved from the center/hara/dantien. How you use it to affect another person is up to you, but once you have that body you can do a lot of different things with it. Connecting to another persons center and moving them (up, down, around) is just one of them. On the surface it's the same thing that most aikido says it does too, only without the specifics of building that body. You're expected to get it through waza, IF the instructor is even aware of it, which is pretty well proven to not work without some inside knowledge into the process of actually building the body itself, and even then only maybe.

Dave de Vos
07-02-2011, 09:08 AM
Then you have the group who worry about hara-to-hara connection, usually with a healthy dose of ki thrown in. The post I wrote above in response to J's original question is entirely in the language of this group. They talk about "receiving" more than "blending". They talk about "connection" almost in a taiji push-hands kind of way. I think Tohei (when he plants his feet on the ground), Yamaguchi Sensei, and Saotome Sensei are in this group.

And then you've got the IS folks, who are not in any way to be confused with the connection folks. It seems to me, tho still a neophyte, the IS approach is very different. It avoids connection--instead of receiving the attack into your hara you direct the intention of the attack around you. Rather than being a wall, you're invisible. Rather than extend ki out in any one direction, you are complete and stable in yourself.

I'm new to this, only started conditioning my body a few months ago (and not sure if I do it correctly), but I'd say that the IS folks don't avoid connection (rather the opposite IMO) and being a wall is definitely one of the options. (As far as I understood from what Dan taught in his seminar in the Netherlands and from my temporary membership of the QiJin list)

So I don't think there is a distinction in the way you describe here.

But perhaps it depends on which IS teacher you have in mind.

sakumeikan
07-02-2011, 11:22 AM
No. Martial discipline would be better (please consider: aikibudo, aikijitsu, aikido, aiki-ken, aiki-jo). Do you for example seriously believe that you learn to how to fight with a sword in Aikido? Really? Katori shinto ryu is a whole damn harder to master, whereas the sword techniques in Aikido are relatively easy.

I practise aikido, not aikijitsu. The first , to me means discipline, the second art. Jitsu form is actual combat, fight to survive. Do is disciplinairy practise in martial context to understand why something (in jitsu) works.

So I practise/train to understand and learn the body mechanics according the philosophy of aiki. I do not have focus on learning how to fight (jitsu). I merely use that aspect to understand the principles and to verify my understanding (do).

To my understanding in Aikido I must try and learn to be able to get in the right place at the right time to be in control of the (any) situation. Then I decide whether or not to inflict damage. Aikido happens before that decision. O Sensei: when someone decides to attack me he has already lost....

Others probably feel different on the subject which is fine by me.
Dear Tim,
On what basis do you consider Katori Shinto ryu is more difficult to learn than Aikiken?Is this your own opinion or can you substantiate this claim?Surely it depends on whether you train in basic Aikiken and do not practise the multi dimensional aspect of aikiken[Sword /Stick Sword /Tanto/Sword /body art applications .Both Kashima /Aikiken training methods are invaluable yo Aikidoka in general.I do not imagine anybody studying these two systems will go on a rampant rage and use these skills in the public domain.
You have your own views here, I have mine.I would not say one method is harder to learn than the other.It depends on the trainee and the quality of instruction given.
Have a nice day, Joe.

Carsten Möllering
07-02-2011, 11:45 AM
Thank you for your "classification" Hugh!

For me who never someone of the "IS-Group" this is the first time to grasp a little understanding of what makes this group different.
And it helps me a little bit to classify what we do in this landscape.

graham christian
07-02-2011, 03:00 PM
Y'know Jonathan, it would be nice if we were all working on the same thing underneath and we could all get together and join hands and sing kumbya while waving ribbons around, but I'm guessing it's not going to happen.

Just going by the evidence of the posts of the past month on these forums people have very different ideas about what makes Aikido work. They use entirely different language, and I think that language reflects the reality of what they're practicing.

So we have a set of folks who see Aikido as forces and vectors, moving the CofM away from the CofG, applying force perpendicular to the line between uke's feet, etc. For them it's a problem of technique, positioning, and applying force appropriately.

Closely related are the jutsu guys, who love to lock up the joints and use the pain and mechanical leverage they gain to move uke.

Then we have the folks who think Aikido is based on momentum, using your partner's force against him, using his attack to unbalance him, and so forth. I would put Koichi Tohei Sensei in this group, at least when he's in bouncy-bouncy mode. For them it's about blending with the attack and redirecting it.

Then you have the group who worry about hara-to-hara connection, usually with a healthy dose of ki thrown in. The post I wrote above in response to J's original question is entirely in the language of this group. They talk about "receiving" more than "blending". They talk about "connection" almost in a taiji push-hands kind of way. I think Tohei (when he plants his feet on the ground), Yamaguchi Sensei, and Saotome Sensei are in this group.

And then you've got the IS folks, who are not in any way to be confused with the connection folks. It seems to me, tho still a neophyte, the IS approach is very different. It avoids connection--instead of receiving the attack into your hara you direct the intention of the attack around you. Rather than being a wall, you're invisible. Rather than extend ki out in any one direction, you are complete and stable in yourself. I don't know how much the various shihans have been in this group, but Gleason Sensei says the IS perspective has allowed him to recognize and understand things about Yamaguchi's waza that he'd never seen before.

So these people aren't going to agree, and why should they? What a boring world that would be. I'm much more interested in hearing how they disagree, how they think what they're doing works, and what they see are the advantages over other people's approaches.

Of course, all this suggests the question: Which style of Aikido was O-Sensei's Aikido?

But that's above my pay grade.

Que???

Janet Rosen
07-02-2011, 04:23 PM
Can people please trim the posts they are quoting? Very tiresome scrolling scrolling through the same post eight times just to find a couple of new sentences at the end - esp those of us reading on a handheld device. Thanks!!!

JW
07-02-2011, 05:18 PM
For me who never someone of the "IS-Group" this is the first time to grasp a little understanding of what makes this group different.
And it helps me a little bit to classify what we do in this landscape.

While I still appreciate Hugh's process and sharing of thoughts-- please keep in mind that Jason, Janet, and I all thought there was something wrong about the categories.. particularly regarding connection.
Not saying Janet and Jason were totally saying the same thing as me, but I still think there is something fundamental about "connection" in IS.

That is to say the exploration of unification, connection, bridging of "gaps," and that sort of thing are the basis of IS as I understand it. Like when Mike S calls it "vector force," or "force-skill," as I understand there is a central importance of summation, or recombination of things into a new whole. (you know, like how a single resultant vector is equivalent to the net effect of all other vectors in a system)

In other words, in my understanding you could say IS is the fruits of cultivation of musubi. Maybe these are the types of comments that should only be discussed in the company of those more knowledgeable though.

hughrbeyer
07-03-2011, 09:06 AM
Being only a small fish in the pond, I'm not going to try to argue that my interpretation is the only one. I'd just suggest--think about how elbow power is used; think about how spirals are used. Both alter the nature of connection profoundly.

Keith Larman
07-03-2011, 11:08 AM
...And then you've got the IS folks, who are not in any way to be confused with the connection folks. It seems to me, tho still a neophyte, the IS approach is very different. It avoids connection--instead of receiving the attack into your hara you direct the intention of the attack around you. Rather than being a wall, you're invisible. Rather than extend ki out in any one direction, you are complete and stable in yourself. I don't know how much the various shihans have been in this group, but Gleason Sensei says the IS perspective has allowed him to recognize and understand things about Yamaguchi's waza that he'd never seen before.

I would most strongly disagree with this. I would also hesitate to separate out Tohei even in "bouncy" mode. How do you suppose that bounce effected such a profound result in the uke? Connection at a fundamental level. And watch other videos where he does the same without the bouncing (as compared to his students who tend to be more bouncy). The connection is the key in that. How it is made, how it is managed, how it is distributed, how it can be "hidden", how it can be made very obvious, etc. They're simply able to do more with it, hide it, use it, feedback through it, bounce off it, whatever. As a result it functions on many levels including many of the things you put in to your other groups.

hughrbeyer
07-03-2011, 03:06 PM
Truth is, any categorization is going to be too pat. You can't really take something that's an integrated whole and divide it into parts, even if trying to do so does aid understanding.

I don't have anything like a satisfactory understanding of Tohei Sensei's approach. See the "Strength vs. Ki" thread for a better exploration of that. That's in part why I put him in two places.

For this thread, just to throw fuel on the fire evileyes , seems to me that people who adopt approaches further down the list incorporate the approaches earlier in the list, but not vice versa. So if you care about connection or IS, it doesn't mean you can't work with momentum, or joint locks, or positioning. Of course you do--but from your point of view none of those things work well without the internal skills, as you said.

But if I've understood the posts people have written here, there are plenty of people who are willing to say that positioning, or joint locks, or maybe using momentum, is all there is--and that any of the internal stuff is hooey if it can't be explained in terms of mechanical principles.

Anyway, even if you like the list, it's not exclusive. In fact, in my view Aikido encompasses all these things in the context of a practice that allows them to be tested and refined. Which is what makes it fun.

Cyril Landise
07-03-2011, 03:39 PM
I' d be careful about my definition of Superior Strength.
The Aikido instruction, "Don't use strength" more closely means to me something
like, "Don't rely solely on that one muscle group that you are in the habit of using because it
is preventing you from attaining your personal best. You need to subordinate that set of
muscles for a while in your training so that you can learn to bring in other muscles and other
skills as well. After you have developed that new skill set, of course you want to use all of
your muscle strength in a coordinated and balanced fashion."
The above would be quite a mouthful to recite at every training session, so
understandably, many have come to rely on the shorthand phrase, "Don't use strength."

PS - This is taken from Aikido for Recovering Engineers

(http://archive.usafaikidonews.com/articles/aikido_for_recovering_engineers.pdf)

which is an attempt to talk about all this from an engineer's standpoint...but that Ki stuff just keeps sneaking in.:ki:

Mary Eastland
07-03-2011, 03:40 PM
Robin is 16 and and an orange belt. She was on a train with 1 man in Germany. He grabbed her wrists. She relaxed and in her own words " gathered herself". She let him have her arms and pushed him in the stomach with her foot. He fell back. She hopped off the train and got on another one.
I would say that is a wonderful example of overcoming an agressive attack without superior strength.

JW
07-03-2011, 03:41 PM
Ohhh now I get it, Hugh! In terms of progressive inclusion of ideas, I like that list a lot now. But not just because you have IS at the end of the list! I agree with the progression of increasing inclusion, and even think we could add items to the end of it-- in other words there are people who like everything you listed, and more. And, there are people who stop specifically where your list stopped.

But I think most of what I am getting at there is off topic--I am thinking of those who infer metaphysical understanding based on budo studies. I place O-sensei squarely in that camp, and I am entertained by those ideas myself.

Hi Mary- thanks for the anecdote, yup that is the kind of thing I am thinking about. If it was arms vs arms, the guy would "win" absolutely. Of course he probably had pretty weak budo skills himself, which helped Robin. But the point is, she didn't engage in the arm contest, and proceded to do something else. How was she able to do so, considering she was supposed to be actively restrained at that time? That is the key. I think there is some of the "disappear" trick involved there, which has been mentioned previously. Anyway I hope that guy is incarcerated.

Tim Ruijs
07-03-2011, 03:42 PM
Dear Tim,
On what basis do you consider Katori Shinto ryu is more difficult to learn than Aikiken?Is this your own opinion or can you substantiate this claim?
Like you said everybody has his own view on the matter. I just shared mine.

To my understanding O Sensei used tanto, jo and boken as means to study particular aspects of aiki(do). I have never understood he taught how to fight with a sword, as you would in katori. Katori shinto ryu is a complete system in which you (learn) to master the sword. To compare the two is apples and oranges.
But...there could be Aikido styles where this difference is not so big and mastering the sword is integral part of that Aikido.

graham christian
07-03-2011, 03:53 PM
Anyway, even if you like the list, it's not exclusive. In fact, in my view Aikido encompasses all these things in the context of a practice that allows them to be tested and refined. Which is what makes it fun.[QUOTE]

Hugh.
I like it. Well said.

Here's something you may think strange coming from me. Would you believe that in 30 years of training, prior to visiting Aikiweb I have never used the word connection. When I came on here and saw everyone talking about it I wondered what they were talking about.

We were taught to align with, share, give to etc. The difference being I suppose from a kind of buddhist or spiritual view is that we are all one, oneness is natural, co-existence is natural and so to us Aikido was getting back to the truth which we deny.

Thus connecting centre seemed strange to me as it was only one aspect for we trained in 'connecting' all.

Just thought you may find that interesting as I admire your curiosity.

Regards.G.

sakumeikan
07-03-2011, 05:10 PM
Like you said everybody has his own view on the matter. I just shared mine.

To my understanding O Sensei used tanto, jo and boken as means to study particular aspects of aiki(do). I have never understood he taught how to fight with a sword, as you would in katori. Katori shinto ryu is a complete system in which you (learn) to master the sword. To compare the two is apples and oranges.
But...there could be Aikido styles where this difference is not so big and mastering the sword is integral part of that Aikido.

Dear Tim,
May I point out that you compared the apples to the oranges? I stated that both systems are good and useful for any aikidoka. There are groups such as Birankai International who train in Aikiken/Aikijo /Tanto. They also include Batto Ho . To be precise Shindo Munen Ryu/omori ryu in the study of the sword.
Cheers, Joe.

Tim Ruijs
07-04-2011, 01:55 AM
Dear Tim,
May I point out that you compared the apples to the oranges?
That was not my point. I meant if one were to compare them; not that you actually did ;)
And I would say katori is much harder to learn than the sword work we (I?) do in Aikido. Years ago I practised with someone who also picked up katori (with Eric Lauw, Amsterdam). The things he had to master in a short period of time exceeded the amount of sword work what we did Aikido by large. He combined Aikido and katori for a long time (several years), but in the end settled for katori.

Tim Ruijs
07-04-2011, 04:52 AM
Robin is 16 and and an orange belt. She was on a train with 1 man in Germany. He grabbed her wrists. She relaxed and in her own words " gathered herself". She let him have her arms and pushed him in the stomach with her foot. He fell back. She hopped off the train and got on another one.
I would say that is a wonderful example of overcoming an agressive attack without superior strength.
Great example on how to use to use parts of your body that can still move opposed to forcefully try to move that which cannot move. :D

hughrbeyer
07-04-2011, 09:08 AM
Would you believe that in 30 years of training, prior to visiting Aikiweb I have never used the word connection.

Acutally, I'm not sure how widely "connection" is used in the Aikido world. It's a common term in Saotmote Shihan's ASU, but I don't recall it being used in Tomiki style at all, and as you say it doesn't seem to be an explicit concept in the Ki Society. I'm not sure I heard it at the AIkikai, either.

It's implicit in "ki musubi", but ki musubi is not the same as the kind of hara-to-hara connection that I'm familiar with; and the way IS uses connection is, I claim, entirely different again.

How widespread is "connection" as a concept? Anyone outside of the ASU use the term?

Keith Larman
07-04-2011, 09:29 AM
In Seidokan I hear it all the time. Explicit. Aiki, oneness, connection...

Tim Ruijs
07-04-2011, 09:30 AM
How widespread is "connection" as a concept? Anyone outside of the ASU use the term?
We use kino nagare and ki musubi/ ma ai. I do sometimes use the term connection(e.g. stay connected: focus/intention) to indicate that tori/uke must follow through during the technique. On many occasions aite runs into trouble simply because uke is no longer committed (I believe this is also referred to 'checks out'?).

JW
07-04-2011, 01:36 PM
I've heard it a lot *I think.* The reason I can't remember is that, although "connection" can mean many things, to me it sounds like a translation of "musubi" when used in aikido contexts. I know I've heard "musubi" a lot.
For instance I have heard zanshin explained as the partners being "still connected."

Kevin Leavitt
07-04-2011, 03:30 PM
I don't think you can really do anything without "connection".

At some point I think you have to establish a "feedback" system of some sort in order to be able to "make decisions" about what you are doing and it's success or failure.

I think you need to be able to connect, index, feel, construct a feedback loop in order to actually do something of value in a physical sense.

of course, you could just blindly throw a frag into the room and ignore it all together too and maybe accomplish the same desired endstate!

For most of us though, I think we are looking at situations in which we must use the right amount of force etc...to control the situation or...better yet...make the appropriate and right decisions.

can't be done without connection of some sort either physically, mentally, or spiritually.

In training in CQB I tell the guys I am training that once they get a hand on the bad guy to maintain contact until the person in no longer a threat. In dark confusing environments this is the only way you can sometime keep the communication channel open and read what he is doing.

connection is necessary in order for any of this to work IMO.

dps
07-04-2011, 11:02 PM
Acutally, I'm not sure how widely "connection" is used in the Aikido world. It's a common term in Saotmote Shihan's ASU, but I don't recall it being used in Tomiki style at all, and as you say it doesn't seem to be an explicit concept in the Ki Society. I'm not sure I heard it at the AIkikai, either.



Maybe because it is so obvious that you need a connection before you can do any Aikido.

I think Aikido is analyzed way too much.

dps

Carsten Möllering
07-05-2011, 01:47 AM
... It's implicit in "ki musubi", but ki musubi is not the same as the kind of hara-to-hara connection that I'm familiar with; ...A connection hara to hara is a conecpt I am not really familiar with. (aikikai: Endo, Tissier) True: We sometimes speak of affecting the hara of aite. But this is about kuzushi. We (Me) don't aim to have a connection between hara and hara.
I think I couldn't use this term to describe, how the aikido which I practice works. (Or should work.)

How widespread is "connection" as a concept?
There are different concepts of connection I think. I don't know the concept of a hara to hara connection you are familiar with.
But connection in the sense of atari is central in the aikido I learn. It's all about getting connected to aite through "atari" - which is like "touching, feeling" - and using this atari to move aite, to disrupt his ballance, to control him.
True: This is a connection but can connect all parts of the body and doesn't aim to connect to the hara but just to the "structure" of aite. And is used to affect this structure.
This is my (our?) way of understanding and "doing" ki musubi or aiki.

So "connection" is a central concept in our aikido. But it is very different from what you call "hara to hara connection".

I didn't experience neither this form of connection nor what you understand as connection nor even heard the term "connection" when I visitid a dojo of ki-aikido (Yoshigasaki sensei).

chillzATL
07-05-2011, 08:00 AM
Acutally, I'm not sure how widely "connection" is used in the Aikido world. It's a common term in Saotmote Shihan's ASU, but I don't recall it being used in Tomiki style at all, and as you say it doesn't seem to be an explicit concept in the Ki Society. I'm not sure I heard it at the AIkikai, either.

It's implicit in "ki musubi", but ki musubi is not the same as the kind of hara-to-hara connection that I'm familiar with; and the way IS uses connection is, I claim, entirely different again.

How widespread is "connection" as a concept? Anyone outside of the ASU use the term?

Rather than "connection" we use "take the slack out of the body". Same thing. I'm not sure if that's a ki society thing specifically or not though. I like the term connection though and have started using it over everything else as it's very easy to demonstrate what you mean.

Janet Rosen
07-05-2011, 09:33 AM
Rather than "connection" we use "take the slack out of the body". Same thing.


I think our semantics are different: the way I and some other folks I know and have trained with, do not mean "take the slack out of the body" when we say "connection."
I can mechanically apply leverage or change my body position or posture or do other things essentially peripheral to what I consider my center that have the effect of what I/others term "taking the slack out" in order to better have an affect on uke (like to make a final pin work) but this can still be done via combination of, say, proper posture and pure application of strength without centers connected.
As I'm thinking about it, typing this, it strikes me that an affect of being connected includes taking the slack out...but one can also take the slack out without being what I consider connected. Because I can teach a newbie how to do a minor postural tweak in order to take the slack out of my arm/shoulder to apply a pin properly to me...but he is still not really using his center to make a connection to me.
Its early here and my brain may not be firing well enough to explain this cogently...apologies if this is "clear as mud"....

Kevin Leavitt
07-05-2011, 09:42 AM
More on connection.for me it is important that I connect to UK. I am not really concerned that UK share in that process or understand necessarily what I am doing. .....most of the time.

There are situations though in which I do want uke to understand that resistance or action will mean bad things for him. I think this is alot of what we conecnetrate on in Aikido

I think however that the latter comes with some risk and we need to understand that risk and make sure it is warranted and acceptable. I think that first we must establish our own connection and control before we worry about our opponent.

Of course it can generate the whole "chicken or the egg" discussion. Because you can argue that you must first understand or connect with uke before you know what to do. I think this is true.

What concerns me is when we misunderstand when and where this relationship takes place and we try and reason with uke when we really have not grasped the entirety of the situation. We think we are doing a good thing but in reality we are putting ourselves at risk that in unreasonable without really knowing it.

Sometimes the time we have to listen and understand uke occurs in milisecomds and we can brely precieve our listening or understanding and it occurs at a primal level. Regardless I think we still establish a connection at a basic and primal level.

I really honestly think this is the whole point of musubi. Not that we can reason or resolve the situation with a predetermined peaceful result but that we are able to do it at many levels and use what is necessarily and appropriate.

I have seen too many times that we in Aikido place an attachment on the whole connection and harmony thing that is not realistic and that predisposes us to "how we feel" or "how uke feels"

Yes this might be a connec tion and certainly is warranted in peaceful and loving relationships, but in one where we are dealing with bad intentions I think we need to consider connection in a different manner.

Kevin Leavitt
07-05-2011, 09:43 AM
UK = uke sorry for the misspellings doing this from my tablet and it does not always do what I want it to.

chillzATL
07-05-2011, 09:53 AM
I think our semantics are different: the way I and some other folks I know and have trained with, do not mean "take the slack out of the body" when we say "connection."
I can mechanically apply leverage or change my body position or posture or do other things essentially peripheral to what I consider my center that have the effect of what I/others term "taking the slack out" in order to better have an affect on uke (like to make a final pin work) but this can still be done via combination of, say, proper posture and pure application of strength without centers connected.
As I'm thinking about it, typing this, it strikes me that an affect of being connected includes taking the slack out...but one can also take the slack out without being what I consider connected. Because I can teach a newbie how to do a minor postural tweak in order to take the slack out of my arm/shoulder to apply a pin properly to me...but he is still not really using his center to make a connection to me.
Its early here and my brain may not be firing well enough to explain this cogently...apologies if this is "clear as mud"....

Janet,

same same. There's taking the slack out of uke's body and there's taking the slack out of your body. You can't connect to someones center unless you do both. Many of the exercises people out there will show you are designed to condition the slack out of your body and connect it. You use that relaxed, connected body to take the slack out of someone elses body and connect to their center and then move them. Early on it is a very muscular driven thing, but the same process and effect can become much more subtle, as you have experienced. The subtle part and the body conditioning needed to make it happen are a big part of what has been lost or simply not passed on these days.

chillzATL
07-05-2011, 10:06 AM
I think our semantics are different: the way I and some other folks I know and have trained with, do not mean "take the slack out of the body" when we say "connection."
I can mechanically apply leverage or change my body position or posture or do other things essentially peripheral to what I consider my center that have the effect of what I/others term "taking the slack out" in order to better have an affect on uke (like to make a final pin work) but this can still be done via combination of, say, proper posture and pure application of strength without centers connected.
As I'm thinking about it, typing this, it strikes me that an affect of being connected includes taking the slack out...but one can also take the slack out without being what I consider connected. Because I can teach a newbie how to do a minor postural tweak in order to take the slack out of my arm/shoulder to apply a pin properly to me...but he is still not really using his center to make a connection to me.
Its early here and my brain may not be firing well enough to explain this cogently...apologies if this is "clear as mud"....

also keep in mind that this muscular connection is still "connecting to someones center", just not as aikido attempts to study it. Wrestlers, judoka, etc, all still connect to another persons center to move them, it's just not called that or done the way we would hope to do it. It's a very muscular, strength on strength (and technique, leverage, etc) kind of connection, but it is still the same thing, connecting and moving.

phitruong
07-05-2011, 10:56 AM
also keep in mind that this muscular connection is still "connecting to someones center", just not as aikido attempts to study it. Wrestlers, judoka, etc, all still connect to another persons center to move them, it's just not called that or done the way we would hope to do it. It's a very muscular, strength on strength (and technique, leverage, etc) kind of connection, but it is still the same thing, connecting and moving.

you can connect to the other's center, without taking the slack out. however, when you start to channel force through the connection, it would surely break the connection, so the taking the slack out is to create a better channel to apply/receive force.

john.burn
07-05-2011, 12:14 PM
How widespread is "connection" as a concept? Anyone outside of the ASU use the term?

Hi Hugh,

I do... A lot... But then I've been training with Ikeda sensei for a while now, so, at least one dojo in the UK is using the term in the same way.

mathewjgano
07-05-2011, 04:30 PM
I think our semantics are different: the way I and some other folks I know and have trained with, do not mean "take the slack out of the body" when we say "connection."
I can mechanically apply leverage or change my body position or posture or do other things essentially peripheral to what I consider my center that have the effect of what I/others term "taking the slack out" in order to better have an affect on uke (like to make a final pin work) but this can still be done via combination of, say, proper posture and pure application of strength without centers connected.
As I'm thinking about it, typing this, it strikes me that an affect of being connected includes taking the slack out...but one can also take the slack out without being what I consider connected. Because I can teach a newbie how to do a minor postural tweak in order to take the slack out of my arm/shoulder to apply a pin properly to me...but he is still not really using his center to make a connection to me.
Its early here and my brain may not be firing well enough to explain this cogently...apologies if this is "clear as mud"....

I think this is pretty much what I think of when I think of connection. I should be clear I can't claim to represent a very adequate understanding of my own style of Aikido, let alone Aikido in general (I just don't train enough), so I'm speaking purely about my personal sense of the term, but to me connection isn't so much a thing to find as it is a thing to better understand. In other words, I already have connection, but it's not very good, so to my mind, taking the slack out has always been a quality of connection. Since it might also be described as creating a more "pure" connection, I think I can also see why some folks would describe a body with too much slack as having "no" connection.

matty_mojo911
07-05-2011, 08:47 PM
Someone earlier in this thread said "aikido is analysed too much."

Anaylsis is good, developmental, and is what creates an art.

However, over anaylsis is time wasting, un-productive, and self deluding in that a thing is broken down to its tiniest components or meaning, to the point that it becomes meaningless.

So to assist with this self indulgence I offer the following:
Connection = "being linked together" - from the Dictionary.

Thankyou and goodnight.

JW
07-05-2011, 09:29 PM
Although I'm struggling to "stay connected" to the thread.... some thoughts:

1. The meaning and usage of "connection" is central to my own answer to the question in the OP. But... it is such a rich topic it may be a great separate thread.

2. I would like to tell everyone that I am mentally treating this blog post (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20000) as a very strong response to the original question. I think it is worth the read. I think it refers to something important that is slightly outside of what I perceive as the basics.. but it is a great answer.

3. Hugh, I forgot to point out that I have no idea what you meant about spirals and elbow power being related to letting force go around you as opposed to connecting to uke's center. I guess I'm too much of a neophyte. I don't even have a good definition for elbow power. I'm sure the term was coined to refer to something specific, probably having to do with "IS." Maybe another good thread idea?

hughrbeyer
07-05-2011, 11:22 PM
I sorta wondered if your thread was being hijacked. It's okay, irimi and give up the illusion of control...

I think "connection" is ultimately as useful and useless a concept as "ki"--clearly important but used in so many different ways it's hard to know what someone else might mean by the term.

So we have connection == physical connection, a tautology but generally those who bother to use the term at all mean something more, and are often willing to use it when no physical connection exists.

connection == kuzushi, clearly you can't attain and maintain kuzushi without a working connection of some sort.

connection == taking the slack out--certainly you can't be connected in a martially relevant sense if you don't take the slack out--because slack means uke can move in ways you can't control. But you can take the slack out physically through joint locks or you can take the slack out through, for lack of a better description, ki connection.

connection == ki musubi, which in my limited interpretation doesn't require physical connection at all. If, when uke attacks, I "attack the attack" and affect uke before making physical contact, or if I draw out the attack by moving first, or move uke where I want him by leading his ki, I've got connection, and we may be touching, but touching is the least important part.

connection == hara-to-hara, in which the arms and hands are just relaxed vehicles for communicating connection from the hara, so that uke in, say, ryotedori doesn't just run into arm strength but into your hara. Key is arms and shoulders relaxed, not stiff and not limp.

connection == some structural IS weirdness that I don't have a good vocabulary for. As I said earlier it differs from the hara-to-hara connection in that it leads uke's power around the body rather than into the hara. Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_16CoXLMxCs&feature=player_detailpage#t=14s), Gleason Sensei provides an exaggerated illustration of how the spiral from hand/forearm/elbow to opposite knee works. Somewhere I've got a video of him talking about elbow power, I'll see if I can get it posted.

@David and over-analyzing, when you're on the mat, train. When you're writing in a verbal forum such as AIkiweb, what are you gonna write about? The weather?

jester
07-05-2011, 11:40 PM
When you're writing in a verbal forum such as AIkiweb, what are you gonna write about? The weather?

Rocks maybe?? :confused:

graham christian
07-06-2011, 07:10 PM
Funny how things just happen. Today I was getting a student to do Nikkyo on me and he was getting 'flummoxed'

He said he didn't get it as it worked on everyone else but with me it was like he's hitting a wall. I was trying to get him to cut through no matter what was there.

Now, analytically he knew what to do but reality.....mmmm. On trying to stop me doing it on him, the more he tried the more it hurt and the harder he hit the floor.

He realized he was getting more and more aggressive and that was somehow turning back on him and hurting him. This he admitted and found hard to understand but then out came this statement from me- 'to overcome aggression you must first overcome it in yourself'

It was one of those truths that just appear when teaching in the moment in order to explain a point.

Afterwards I was chuckling to myself as I thought of this thread.

Regards.G.

Richard Stevens
07-07-2011, 12:43 PM
Funny how things just happen. Today I was getting a student to do Nikkyo on me and he was getting 'flummoxed'

He said he didn't get it as it worked on everyone else but with me it was like he's hitting a wall. I was trying to get him to cut through no matter what was there.

Now, analytically he knew what to do but reality.....mmmm. On trying to stop me doing it on him, the more he tried the more it hurt and the harder he hit the floor.

He realized he was getting more and more aggressive and that was somehow turning back on him and hurting him. This he admitted and found hard to understand but then out came this statement from me- 'to overcome aggression you must first overcome it in yourself'

It was one of those truths that just appear when teaching in the moment in order to explain a point.

Afterwards I was chuckling to myself as I thought of this thread.

Regards.G.

I have found myself continually amazed at the effects relaxation has on the effectiveness of techniques in aiki-type arts.

graham christian
07-07-2011, 05:39 PM
I have found myself continually amazed at the effects relaxation has on the effectiveness of techniques in aiki-type arts.

Hi Richard.

Not just Aiki-type arts. If you really study carefully be it boxing or kick boxing etc. etc. You will find that 'sweet punch' that knock out punch or kick was relaxed, it was committed, it went through.

Even when I hear about the 'special' ways of doing this and that to release some explosive power the fact is that the release is through a relaxed arm at that point.

Muscles and tendons etc just give structural support for when you are giving or receiving that power.

Regards.G.

hughrbeyer
07-07-2011, 10:31 PM
Not just Aiki-type arts. If you really study carefully be it boxing or kick boxing etc. etc. You will find that 'sweet punch' that knock out punch or kick was relaxed, it was committed, it went through.

Yes. When I was studying boxing, what I mostly heard from my instructors was to relax and stop muscling the punch.

Abasan
07-08-2011, 05:53 AM
Attitude. If your mindset is set on overcoming an aggressive attack, it'll be that from the get go.

Richard Stevens
07-08-2011, 09:29 AM
Hi Richard.

Not just Aiki-type arts. If you really study carefully be it boxing or kick boxing etc. etc. You will find that 'sweet punch' that knock out punch or kick was relaxed, it was committed, it went through.

Even when I hear about the 'special' ways of doing this and that to release some explosive power the fact is that the release is through a relaxed arm at that point.

Muscles and tendons etc just give structural support for when you are giving or receiving that power.

Regards.G.

It reminds me of trying to learn to develop a decent drive in golf. Slow is steady and steady is fast.

JW
07-08-2011, 02:01 PM
Attitude. If your mindset is set on overcoming an aggressive attack, it'll be that from the get go.

Hi Ahmad, this sounds somewhat like what what Graham was saying regarding one's mental/emotional state causing success/safety in the case of receiving an attack. But I have the same question, what do you think regarding the mechanism by which this could happen? I'vee seen your videos on Vimeo-- if someone were to say, "wow that looks unbelievable, how does it work?" would you simply say it was simply because of attitude, or is there a physical reason that uke would be at a loss?

Don Nordin
07-11-2011, 11:54 AM
I saw this guy on the internet who could bench press like 700 lbs. I thought, I hope one day my Aikido is good enough to be able to throw him. In my opinion regardless of style, the goal is to be overcome an aggressive attack without needing superior strength.