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nuxie
07-16-2011, 12:10 AM
Okie Dokie so I am approaching my one year mark in training ( august) and I keep hearing all about how I need to move with my center. My teachers are working very hard to teach this to me but I seem to not be getting it. So I am looking for other ways to learn how to connect with my partner, move with my center, and extend key past my hand. One problem I believe I have is I have good energy everywhere else in my body but from my shoulders to my hands I am like a hot spaghetti noodle. I have absolutely no energy from my shoulders to my hands... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms HA. I open my hands up for tenhohenko... and I am just a trying like hell to get that energy through to my hands but nope not happening. I have asked several people outside my Aikido training circle and it seems to baffle them. The look at my technique and then scratch their heads. One person had to check to see if my arms were dead. LOL. It is almost as if I do not even have arms. If I could just connect my arms to my center that would be great.

So the question to you guys is... How did that little epiphany happen for you? What was it that finally clicked inside you and made that extension of energy finally make sense for you? Is there a such thing as energy blockage? I know I am not going to get this overnight and might take 4 years or so to figure this out... but I am not even making a tiny bit of progress with my hands. ( I know i shouldn't be moving with my hands and thus that is where moving from center comes into play. ) I am trying to do a slight amount of shikko stuff and also trying to do things that require me to lower my hamni stance. I am by no means discouraged or heartbroken that I haven't figured this out yet. I am a very determined person and that is why I am asking others for what they think.

Was looking at some clips I found on youtube by Doug Wedell wich then gave me the idea to ask on the forums here about how others found their center.

Lee Salzman
07-16-2011, 03:28 AM
Okie Dokie so I am approaching my one year mark in training ( august) and I keep hearing all about how I need to move with my center. My teachers are working very hard to teach this to me but I seem to not be getting it. So I am looking for other ways to learn how to connect with my partner, move with my center, and extend key past my hand. One problem I believe I have is I have good energy everywhere else in my body but from my shoulders to my hands I am like a hot spaghetti noodle. I have absolutely no energy from my shoulders to my hands... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms HA. I open my hands up for tenhohenko... and I am just a trying like hell to get that energy through to my hands but nope not happening. I have asked several people outside my Aikido training circle and it seems to baffle them. The look at my technique and then scratch their heads. One person had to check to see if my arms were dead. LOL. It is almost as if I do not even have arms. If I could just connect my arms to my center that would be great.

So the question to you guys is... How did that little epiphany happen for you? What was it that finally clicked inside you and made that extension of energy finally make sense for you? Is there a such thing as energy blockage? I know I am not going to get this overnight and might take 4 years or so to figure this out... but I am not even making a tiny bit of progress with my hands. ( I know i shouldn't be moving with my hands and thus that is where moving from center comes into play. ) I am trying to do a slight amount of shikko stuff and also trying to do things that require me to lower my hamni stance. I am by no means discouraged or heartbroken that I haven't figured this out yet. I am a very determined person and that is why I am asking others for what they think.

Was looking at some clips I found on youtube by Doug Wedell wich then gave me the idea to ask on the forums here about how others found their center.

Do not kid yourself, connecting the arms to the spine is not a little epiphany, and it would take you probably months of daily practice of specifically this aspect when you know physically the thing your body is trying to accomplish and frequent correction/guidance from a qualified teacher to actually get it - that was my experience. It is the most difficult thing I've ever learned about how to use my body

It is probably the hardest part of the body to connect, precisely because we condition in bad habits there so frequently throughout our entire lives which need to be unlearned and replaced in all movements with an entirely different understanding of how to use them.

That said, about the most useful pointer I can offer is that, in a way, the shoulders operate like your hips and the arms operate like a set of legs. If there is something your hips/legs are doing that your shoulders/arms are not, investigate that and try to equalize their function. If the hip gets power by extending, the shoulder gets power by extending. If the legs aren't turning into floppy jello that causes you to fall in a puddle of bones and skin to the ground during practice, then your arms shouldn't be doing this either. In essence, if you were strong enough to flip the problems upside down so that you stood on your arms and contacted people with your legs, your aikido would still be similar. This principle also works for the pelvis/tailbone and the ribcage/neck. On the flip side, if your understanding of the top half of your body is lacking, probably so is your understanding of the bottom half - do always use the problems and strengths of either one to offer insights onto the things you need to work on on the other half. If they have to be used in fundamentally different ways, you're doing something wrong. Without a teacher who can point the way, that may be your singular most useful piece of training strategy.

You are a bridge between another person and the ground, so any point of failure in this bridge makes the whole bridge useless. Explore those things, play with the spine and how it bridges them. Try pushing against heavy or immovable things and feel where you feel localized stress, and try to distribute that stress over the entire chain, not by completely relaxing and taking the joint out of the bridge, and not by stiffening up the part like an immovable statue, but by making the joint move in complete and utter unison of direction and goal with the other joints of your body. Those are two ways to cause an "energy blockage": 1) by going limp or collapsing away from the force to bleed it off in another direction, or 2) letting the joint go rigid as an overcorrection to the flip-side problem of going limp or collapsing, so that the action of the joint fighting its own active movement absorbs any kinetic energy. Work on erasing those in every major joint of your body, not just your shoulders and arms, but doing that in your upper body will be harder than anything else.

But still, given all of that, there is no "center". Every part of your body is connected as one giant center, every part of you is the center. So you must be everywhere in your body at once.

ryback
07-16-2011, 03:33 AM
Okie Dokie so I am approaching my one year mark in training ( august) and I keep hearing all about how I need to move with my center. My teachers are working very hard to teach this to me but I seem to not be getting it. So I am looking for other ways to learn how to connect with my partner, move with my center, and extend key past my hand. One problem I believe I have is I have good energy everywhere else in my body but from my shoulders to my hands I am like a hot spaghetti noodle. I have absolutely no energy from my shoulders to my hands... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms HA. I open my hands up for tenhohenko... and I am just a trying like hell to get that energy through to my hands but nope not happening. I have asked several people outside my Aikido training circle and it seems to baffle them. The look at my technique and then scratch their heads. One person had to check to see if my arms were dead. LOL. It is almost as if I do not even have arms. If I could just connect my arms to my center that would be great.

So the question to you guys is... How did that little epiphany happen for you? What was it that finally clicked inside you and made that extension of energy finally make sense for you? Is there a such thing as energy blockage? I know I am not going to get this overnight and might take 4 years or so to figure this out... but I am not even making a tiny bit of progress with my hands. ( I know i shouldn't be moving with my hands and thus that is where moving from center comes into play. ) I am trying to do a slight amount of shikko stuff and also trying to do things that require me to lower my hamni stance. I am by no means discouraged or heartbroken that I haven't figured this out yet. I am a very determined person and that is why I am asking others for what they think.

Was looking at some clips I found on youtube by Doug Wedell wich then gave me the idea to ask on the forums here about how others found their center.

Hi there!Epiphany?I don't know if there is such a thing at least concerning martial arts training.I know however,that the only word that i can think of when it comes to progress is only one:Practice!This is the answer that my teacher has when the question is about any kind of progress in Aikido and in my humble opinion and through my experience i can say that with practice you can achieve anything as long as it is consistent and serious.So don't worry,if you get the stance straight and you try to move correctly according to the..."choreography" there will come a time that you will "get it".But it won't be overnight,it takes time and effort and...practice.Breathing correctly is also of the utmost importance for the extend of Ki.Anyway,i hope that my post will help you in some way...

Mario Tobias
07-16-2011, 07:15 AM
hi mary,

the reason why it's very difficult to understand this concept is because there are prerequisites before you can accomplish this consistently. you need to learn first or discover how nage and uke are connected and how the connection is manipulated. Moving with the center is just one of the many principles in effectively manipulating the connection.

although i wont be able to give you answers to your original question, what i suggest is that when you train, that you not only focus on what you train but how you train.

Aikido is a difficult art to learn and it will take years/decades to master. Only by constantly practicing will you get the answers. the answers though will present themselves one at a time. It may take a very long time to get an answer to some of your questions but if you focus on how you train, you can accelerate your pace of learning.

What helped me accelerate my learning was that I told myself to be fully aware of what's going on. observe sensei carefully, observe ukes reaction during a technique, observe yourself when moving. In aikido, the answers are in the smallest/finest of details. They are very subtle but significantly helps with techniques. next, you will then realize that there are commonalities (principle/moves) regardless of what technique you are doing. look for these common things. by being aware of the smallest details will you have epiphanies coming to you more often. One by one you will "get it".

sorry i didnt give you direct answers but hope that the above is of some help to help your aikido.

Abasan
07-16-2011, 11:13 AM
Before you can ride a bike, you need to get 'it'. Same thing here, and its not a big deal.

Everybody's minds are wired differently, so to get to one point, there are many approaches you can take. So far nothing's working. One problem is if you believe that there are set rules that you must follow to accomplish awareness of your body. There isn't, only guides. Thus you are at the stage of fudo genri... its not about generating energy. Its about unification of your body, mind and spirit.

So one of the easiest way to control your body is not by commanding it, but by fooling it. You are trying to command your ki extension from your center to your hands. In essence, your ability to use your hands already mean you can extend ki. But that's not the type of feeling you want with tenkan. So, don't command it to flow there, instead put it in a situation where it is already there.

One way is to imagine you are holding a baby with both your hands. Hold underneath it gently, it is sleeping, now as your partner takes hold of you, forget about him and concentrate on that baby. You can't let the gap enlarge between your hands. Hold it lightly so as not to disturb the baby. Now move, make sure you hold the baby steady. See how that tenkan works for you.

Adam Huss
07-16-2011, 11:58 AM
No epiphanies for me. In my training, which is based on the Yoshinkan style, we do a lot of training on just learning how to move and control one's own body, before attempting to control and move someone else. A lot of solo (tandoku) practice I do is to learn how to move while maintaining good posture, balance, and power. These are basically forms that start off with fully body control and power generation from generally static posistions, then graduate to maintaining the same control while doing various movements; shifting, then pivoting and stepping, etc. Once a student acquires some idea of this, they graduate to doing the same movement forms, but with the addition of a partner (sotai dosa), who gradually adds more resistance to the student's movement...the level of resistence being in proportion with the student's ability.

In my opinion, this is the most important aspect of training, and one that is often negelected. I feel it a disservice to attempt to expect a student to control another person while that student has not the ability to slide step, cross step, shift their weight or pivot, while maintaining good posture and balance and generating power. Being that I actively train in both a Yoshinkan offshoot, and an aikiaki based style, I would say we speak about the Five Principles of Aikido, but instead of telling a person to correct themselves by 'extending their ki' or 'maintaining their center' we show them how they are lacking those qualities in each particular movement/technique they are doing and show them how to correct it. Well, that's how I like to takle the issues of balance and control and power. But I am practical, so I feel whatever works for you, works....

best,
A

Michael Douglas
07-16-2011, 12:41 PM
... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms ...
White palms?
You are expecting something else, perhaps a colour change?

I think you might be trying too hard to not use muscle ... at this stage. What do you think?

Kevin Flanagan
07-16-2011, 01:33 PM
Dear Mary,
I think that I can help with this. One of my teachers taught me this to improve my bokken strikes. it works also for splitting fire wood and kokyu nage.

Imagine tht you dip the tip of your bokken, or the tip of your fingers into a can of paint. Strike as though you want to spray a line of paint along the ceiling and into your partner's center. That is extending your ki.

Eventually, this motion is like a fly fishing cast. It starts in the earth, moves up our legs, thru our bodies and out our arms.

Remember, you are already connected within yourself. If you were not, you would be dead. Our training makes us move conscious of this and more able to use this reality.

When you can do this, you have aiki. When you can do this consistently, you are sensei.

I hope this helps. Feedback appreciated.
Sincerely
Kevin Flanagan

JW
07-16-2011, 04:33 PM
Hi Mary, it is funny but "move from your center" might mean different things to people (there's lots of diversity in aikido).

So whatever advice you get here may be NOT what your teacher is looking for.. but who knows till you play with it.

If you are going to play with things, there's a nice grab bag of advice in this thread. I also suggest thinking about the breathing practice on aikidojournal.com written by Mike Sigman about "Putting ki back in aikido practice." (Can't find the link b/c aikido journal seems to be down right now) But that will be something to work on every day for a long time, not something that will help you right now.

I second what Lee and Ahmad said. With Lee's trick of pushing something heavy, after you experiement with what he said, you can rehearse the correct feeling later. Pretend to push the thing, and pretend to spread the feeling out. Since you are pretending, you don't have to flex a single muscle (you could be laying in bed). But even so, the ki will do what you are pretending. With Ahmad's baby-holding trick, you can do that at home when you can take your time and not worry about a partner. And it could be a bag of bricks as well as a baby-- just concentrate on feeling that weight bearing down on you (in your mind.. again, pretending), and letting it stack on the ground through you, rather than you straining to lift it.

Anyway... good luck. And if what I (or anyone) is saying doesn't work or confuses you.. that'll teach you to take advice on the net! :p j/k, I really hope it helps.

Activeghost
07-16-2011, 04:40 PM
You need to learn to connect these parts of your body before you do so while moving with connection. To create the feeling of connection through the arms and across the back first have the feeling of your elbows being gently pulled throughout your movement. Some teachers talk about the elbows being "heavy" and the back rounded, whatever imagery works but you should feel the connection being made from the elbows across the back in all movement.

That will help with the one specific thing (connecting your upper body). Working on moving from your center can be done through Shiko or zhan zhuang (standing like a post) plus some form of slow movement like tai chi or aiki taiso....focusing on maintaing that feeling you get from the standing. I'd recommend standing since it has more fringe benefits than Shiko ( for me).

...and if you practice 3 or more hours a day you will start to pick it up over the next few months.

Since I'm wandering a bit in giving some advice...You might also try doing funokogi undo (rowing exercise) daily, with the same feelings. It should look and feel like the fajin exercises the Chinese guys do.

graham christian
07-16-2011, 10:20 PM
I agree with Ahmad. Read what he says carefully.

I could add that if you concentrate on relaxing shoulder only you may forget that you should also be relaxing your arm and hands too.

If your so intent on relaxing shoulder only that can make your arm tighten and you'll find you are actually drawing energy in rather than extending. T he feeling you should have is more a feeling or intention of offering or giving.

Very similar to Ahmed I could advise imagining you are holding a saucer of water which you must not spill. These type of creative things
definitely help you put your ki in your hands and help you relax the arm in the beginning.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-16-2011, 10:28 PM
Just a quick add on to my last post. If you feel the hold is tight or too strong practice letting that strong energy go into your centre and back out into the bowl.

Regards.G.

dps
07-17-2011, 02:19 AM
Moving from your center;

Have someone pull you by your belt. Your center will move first. Try to duplicate that feeling on your own.

Arm and hand extension;

Focus on touching something beyond your reach ( across the room) while standing still by stretching your arm ( with elbow sightly bent ) and fingers stretched out.


dps

dps
07-17-2011, 09:35 AM
Don't lean.

dps

HL1978
07-17-2011, 07:45 PM
White palms?
You are expecting something else, perhaps a colour change?

I think you might be trying too hard to not use muscle ... at this stage. What do you think?

Some arts I have trained in state that when you see "splotchy" red dots on the palms, that is ki manifesting itself (I have no opinion one way or the other and yield to those with greater expereince, at the very least I assume its more circulation). If you engage in some of the stuff talked about in the non-aikido forum, it may happen, but I can't state wether or not I expressed more "correct" movement or not when it occured.

I assume that is what the original poster was referring to.

As for moving with the center, you will probably get better discussion out of the non-aikido forum as well for specific exercises.

dps
07-17-2011, 09:27 PM
As for moving with the center, you will probably get better discussion out of the non-aikido forum as well for specific exercises.

No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

dps

mathewjgano
07-17-2011, 10:23 PM
Some arts I have trained in state that when you see "splotchy" red dots on the palms, that is ki manifesting itself (I have no opinion one way or the other and yield to those with greater expereince, at the very least I assume its more circulation). If you engage in some of the stuff talked about in the non-aikido forum, it may happen, but I can't state wether or not I expressed more "correct" movement or not when it occured.

I assume that is what the original poster was referring to.

As for moving with the center, you will probably get better discussion out of the non-aikido forum as well for specific exercises.

For whatever it may be worth, after I began training seriously (when I did such a thing) I experienced this (or something similar, at any rate). The first time I noticed this I thought I was bleeding from my pores, but it wouldn't wipe away. I just chalked it up to increased circulation...which is, I believe, an example/attribute of increased ki flow, right?
Also, I remember being told my first day of class that I should consider the feeling of pushing a shopping cart while getting groceries; which resonates with the phrase, "when one thing moves, everything moves," and suggests to me something about how one might begin to approach moving from center, making the arms extentions of it instead of pushing with arm strength.

mathewjgano
07-17-2011, 11:30 PM
No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

dps
Sorry for a touch of tangent, but I have to disagree. This thread is in the right place for the Aikido perspective, but it's not a bad idea to check out the non-Aikido forum for other views on "moving from your center." It may come from a somewhat non-Aikido tradition, but other practices' views of hara-based movement are quite relevant to learning some of the body mechanics that are involved in Ueshiba Aikido...certainly there is overlap and while I would agree it wouldn't be right to hijack this thread with the same ol' stuff many people have come to...er...love so much, I can't see anything wrong with suggesting people check out the non-Aikido section in order to get more info, which is what I see Hunter as suggesting.

Lee Salzman
07-18-2011, 02:27 AM
For whatever it may be worth, after I began training seriously (when I did such a thing) I experienced this (or something similar, at any rate). The first time I noticed this I thought I was bleeding from my pores, but it wouldn't wipe away. I just chalked it up to increased circulation...which is, I believe, an example/attribute of increased ki flow, right?
Also, I remember being told my first day of class that I should consider the feeling of pushing a shopping cart while getting groceries; which resonates with the phrase, "when one thing moves, everything moves," and suggests to me something about how one might begin to approach moving from center, making the arms extentions of it instead of pushing with arm strength.

Let's just take that phrase, "when one thing moves, everything moves". This does not mean "moves in space", as in your arms are rigid sticks affixed to a body that is moving, such that the arms get pushed along in space like they were just that, dead sticks. This does not mean your arms are limp noodles being whipped around as if they were injected with botulinum It means they actually move, as in they articulate, relative to their parent body. Dead sticks is no ki. Limp noodles is no ki.

The problem with arm strength is not that you shouldn't use it, just that most people's body, minus the arms, is actually in its totality a dead stick or a limp noodle that doesn't help at all, actually detracts, with the action of the arm just pushing them away or pulling them in, rather than acting on what its trying to act. This would be exemplified by the mindset of dps's example, "Have someone pull you by your belt. Your center will move first.", i.e. your body has just collapsed into a wet noodle or you have move yourself like a giant stick lever, the better to push you over with, either way assuredly disconnecting yourself from the floor, so what's left for the arms if you can't even get the ground up to your legs? :confused:

With the shopping cart, pushing it away from you as quickly or as fast as possible might be a better example. It's light, so no problem right? If any part of you moves back away from the cart during this, that was a collapse, a bleed, an energy blockage. If one part of you maintains fixed just to ride on the momentum of the other parts, same deal. Even if it happens for an instant and is later (over)corrected, same deal. "When one part moves, all parts move." Now try the pushing with something heavier, a car would be perfect, but we don't always have cars to push around. If you can get the car to move without anything collapsing backwards away from the car, maybe you're getting closer, so long as you tried to move everything, and the car in effect held them in place, not you. Subtle point: if your feet skid backwards, that's a collapse, sending force in the wrong direction, backwards, not down. The only thing that moves away is the car, not you.

Absurd example to point this out, imagine you had a little elf sitting on your shoulders around your neck. Call him Mr. Armsly (http://us.cdn1.123rf.com/168nwm/natulrich/natulrich0809/natulrich080900137/3608163-the-father-and-the-son-sitting-on-shoulders-vector-illustration.jpg). If all you do is carry him around and he just sits there doing nothing freeloading off of your movement, he's a dead weight, may as well be carrying a sack of potatoes, little more than a glorified elf-potato-sack club (or flail, if you prefer). If Mr. Armsly starts falling backwards off your back, and he tries to push something, he will have nothing to keep him from falling further, and every time he pushes, he will in fact pull you backwards. If he falls forward and starts bending your neck over, and he tries to push something, all his push just goes further into collapsing your neck and pulling your farther over forwards. If Mr. Armsly falls onto one of your shoulders or the other, he similarly starts pulling you over off. Mr. Armsly does his job precisely best when he is sitting directly on top of you, all his pushing going straight down through your structure, I daresay your skeleton, your spine, maybe that is even a "center" of sorts, but that would be reductionist. Mr. Armsly has a tough job to balance there, and in fact has to actually actively use his legs and hips to grasp onto you while he pushes or else he will feel guilty if he accidentally pulled you over. If you move ahead of him, or let him move ahead of you, it basically causes the same thing. The more he goes at cross-purposes with you, the more you two are not acting as a team. Likewise, he hates it when you give him nothing to do, because he fancies himself more than a potato sack on your shoulders. He really wants to act as a team, but you keep making it so hard. In fact, sometimes Mr. Armsly feels you are too prideful, too erect in posture, for him to actually do his job well, and that sometimes you two both need to compromise on your stuffy upright positions to best get the job done, there is no I in team! Maybe he needs to work forwards, but you are telling him you only want to go straight up - there's no way you two could cooperate. Round off those sharp edges in the disagreement, bend a bit in your resolve to bring your two disparate directions in closer unison. Take one for the team.

Most days I feel like Mr. Armsly is real and he needs some ritalin. That's to say nothing of Mr. Legsly. Sometimes they decide they're having a party and Spiney is not invited, and then all hell breaks loose. Probably more useful thinking of helper elves than going looking for red spots or warm hands. But I digress. :D

And that gets back to, who made up the moving with the center thing anyway? Perhaps an oversimplification overglorification of that whole hara thing the Japanese seem so obsessed with? I don't think it was O'Sensei, that's for sure. Oh sure, he mentioned a hara, but did he really say it was a single point or that it operated in isolation? I really don't know the answer to those questions myself. I am no scholar or historian. But, are we putting too much stock in one, perhaps even misguided, interpretation amongst any other cool ones we could create that might work better, or just as well? Hmmm. What's aikido? What's not aikido? Probably doesn't matter at all anymore, so long as it improves performance in the thing.

Tim Ruijs
07-18-2011, 07:23 AM
Perhaps learn to move as a whole, all bodyparts in their right (relative) position. When moving like this, one could say is centered.

AFAIK O Sensei never explained any techniques..let alone speak of hara, center, extension or what have you.

BTW loved the examples... MrArmsly and MrLegsly

phitruong
07-18-2011, 07:33 AM
And that gets back to, who made up the moving with the center thing anyway? Perhaps an oversimplification overglorification of that whole hara thing the Japanese seem so obsessed with? I don't think it was O'Sensei, that's for sure. Oh sure, he mentioned a hara, but did he really say it was a single point or that it operated in isolation?

it's because of the loin cloth thingy where you tied the knot right in front and the back looked like a thong. so when someone grabbed the knot and pull, you have to move or it would be painful (involved high pitch breathing that we called kokyu that sounded like aaaiiiii...yekkiiii *origin of aiki*); thus, the phrase of "move the hara" or "moving from the center" was born (and the less well known phrase "move your ass"). you can say the same thing with Chasity belt for women. in conclusion, moving with your center has nothing to do with aikido, but with fashion runway stuffs (with or without high heels). :D

dps
07-18-2011, 08:04 AM
it's because of the loin cloth thingy where you tied the knot right in front and the back looked like a thong. so when someone grabbed the knot and pull, you have to move or it would be painful (involved high pitch breathing that we called kokyu that sounded like aaaiiiii...yekkiiii *origin of aiki*); thus, the phrase of "move the hara" or "moving from the center" was born (and the less well known phrase "move your ass"). you can say the same thing with Chasity belt for women. in conclusion, moving with your center has nothing to do with aikido, but with fashion runway stuffs (with or without high heels). :D

Isn't that Sumo wrestling?:)

dps

lbb
07-18-2011, 08:12 AM
I think that for so many who practice aikido, discussions of "extension of energy" and the like are like critiques of the emperor's new clothes. That is to say, you're trying to understand the nuances of something that may be a metaphor, may be a colorful way of describing a series of mechanical actions, may be literal truth...could be all of the above. Maybe. I don't think it helps, though, to get engaged in a discussion of whether the emperor should be wearing that shade of blue, when you're not really sure if he's even wearing clothes. If you're not seeing the clothes (either because you're not able to yet, or because the clothes aren't even there, doesn't matter which), then don't get involved in a fashion discussion, that's my advice. Don't get involved in a fashion discussion, and also, don't waste your time trying really really hard to see the clothes. If they're there, they will become apparent in due course.

Meanwhile, practice. Don't worry if you don't have the grand unified theory of energy extension. You know enough by now to do good practice, so concentrate on what you do know. Focus on basic mechanics: "energy extension" can't make up for a sloppy stance, badly distributed weight, hands held carelessly, pivoting on the heels, etc. It's my personal belief that good basic mechanics are a prerequisite to anything like "energy extension": you can't go off into a room somewhere and gaze at your navel until you have an "energy extension" breakthrough, and then bazing, all your mechanics are superb. Rather, having bad mechanics is a perennial obstruction to any breakthroughs at a higher level, and having good mechanics clears the way so that such breakthroughs can happen. They don't guarantee that it will happen, mind you -- that's where patience comes in. Focus on doing the things right that you know how to do right, be patient and content with striving for that, and let breakthroughs happen in their own good time. Personally, I've never experienced or noticed a martial arts breakthrough in the moment, as it were. It's always a case that I suddenly notice something that's been there for a while...never a case that I do something right for the first time and say, "Aha!"

chillzATL
07-18-2011, 08:38 AM
Hi Mary,

Try softly pushing on a wall, just enough to feel "connected" to it. Then breath into your abomen until you feel some pressure there. Try to avoid tighting up your abs too much to contain or increase that pressure. Once you feel some pressure there in your middle, push that ball of pressure, with your foot, towards the wall. Again, very lightly. Just enough of a push to feel the connection between your feet and the wall increase slightly. If you push too hard you'll feel all sorts of muscles tense up, so adjust to just below that point. You can do that exercise pushing or pulling and from a variety of stances. Constantly monitor your body for tension. Take a break, relax, shake it out and go again. This will help you with the connection in you and moving from your center. There are a variety of other points of interest that could be discussed in this exercise, but this should help for now.

Lee Salzman
07-18-2011, 09:02 AM
I think that for so many who practice aikido, discussions of "extension of energy" and the like are like critiques of the emperor's new clothes. That is to say, you're trying to understand the nuances of something that may be a metaphor, may be a colorful way of describing a series of mechanical actions, may be literal truth...could be all of the above. Maybe. I don't think it helps, though, to get engaged in a discussion of whether the emperor should be wearing that shade of blue, when you're not really sure if he's even wearing clothes. If you're not seeing the clothes (either because you're not able to yet, or because the clothes aren't even there, doesn't matter which), then don't get involved in a fashion discussion, that's my advice. Don't get involved in a fashion discussion, and also, don't waste your time trying really really hard to see the clothes. If they're there, they will become apparent in due course.

Meanwhile, practice. Don't worry if you don't have the grand unified theory of energy extension. You know enough by now to do good practice, so concentrate on what you do know. Focus on basic mechanics: "energy extension" can't make up for a sloppy stance, badly distributed weight, hands held carelessly, pivoting on the heels, etc. It's my personal belief that good basic mechanics are a prerequisite to anything like "energy extension": you can't go off into a room somewhere and gaze at your navel until you have an "energy extension" breakthrough, and then bazing, all your mechanics are superb. Rather, having bad mechanics is a perennial obstruction to any breakthroughs at a higher level, and having good mechanics clears the way so that such breakthroughs can happen. They don't guarantee that it will happen, mind you -- that's where patience comes in. Focus on doing the things right that you know how to do right, be patient and content with striving for that, and let breakthroughs happen in their own good time. Personally, I've never experienced or noticed a martial arts breakthrough in the moment, as it were. It's always a case that I suddenly notice something that's been there for a while...never a case that I do something right for the first time and say, "Aha!"

Mary, I'll dare to put words in your mouth, this sounds like a shaddup-and-train. :p

But, what's good mechanics? Is it possible for someone to really have them after a year of training? And if, perhaps, good mechanics are to be regarded as what-sensei-says, and shaddup-and-train is to be regarded as do-what-sensei-says, but when sensei can't point out what's going wrong, ain't there a problem there?

Could it be that good universal mechanics that apply to all movement is the entire problem of this whole martially-artsy-fartsy endeavor, and that if they were so basic that you already had them, and it was just a matter of applying them, there wouldn't be much point in training a lot anymore? If you only focus on what you think you already do right, what're you gonna learn?

What if it wasn't right, what would you compare it to say it wasn't if that's all you did? Maybe it was right in only a limited context, and then going off into a wider movement context, suddenly everything you did before was wrong and needed to be discarded, hmm? Could focusing on too limited a set of "basics" actually force one into the rut of local maxima, a "flavor" or perhaps "smell" of moving, rather than helping to discover more globally applicable ways of moving that are perhaps less, well, odoriferous in nature?

A decade in a hakama left me feeling pretty naked, and I guess, borrowing the last metaphor, pretty "flavorful". But being isolated in the grand aikido nudist colony you tend not to notice. :p And geez, once I learned that martial artists could actually wear clothes, I had to throw out entire wardrobes ten times over in the span of months just because one shade of blue somewhere was not quite right, which usually turned out to be that it wasn't in fact that the shade of blue on the shirts and pants weren't matching, but that I was missing pants, which was why they didn't look very blue, or maybe should have been wearing a turtleneck, or something that didn't make my ass look so big, or maybe I just needed a nice belt to go with it... But, hey, Mary, if you like walking around in the buff, no complaints from me. I'm a man, I can take it. :D

lbb
07-18-2011, 09:19 AM
Mary, I'll dare to put words in your mouth, this sounds like a shaddup-and-train. :p

I wouldn't argue with someone who wants to interpret it that way. If someone sees that as a bad thing, that's their problem and their loss. Aikido is a physical skill. I'm not going to get into any religious wars about whether it can also become something else -- mileage varies. But you can't get to the "something else" without the physical part first. It is the medium and the frame of reference, and just as you can't draw a line with a single data point, you can't extrapolate the "something else" unless you have abundant data points in the physical stuff.

But, what's good mechanics? Is it possible for someone to really have them after a year of training?
I'm sure you can argue the definition of "good mechanics" around to support either view, but I didn't say anything about "having" them. I was talking about working on them, and letting any "something elses" happen in their own good time.

And if, perhaps, good mechanics are to be regarded as what-sensei-says, and shaddup-and-train is to be regarded as do-what-sensei-says, but when sensei can't point out what's going wrong, ain't there a problem there?

Were we talking about the situation of a sensei who can't explain or good mechanics? Or is this a digression?

Could it be that good universal mechanics that apply to all movement is the entire problem of this whole martially-artsy-fartsy endeavor, and that if they were so basic that you already had them, and it was just a matter of applying them, there wouldn't be much point in training a lot anymore? If you only focus on what you think you already do right, what're you gonna learn?

That's the classic mistake of equating "basic" with "easily and trivially mastered". As a former sensei of mine once said, "It is simple. It isn't easy."

Lee Salzman
07-18-2011, 09:37 AM
I wouldn't argue with someone who wants to interpret it that way. If someone sees that as a bad thing, that's their problem and their loss. Aikido is a physical skill. I'm not going to get into any religious wars about whether it can also become something else -- mileage varies. But you can't get to the "something else" without the physical part first. It is the medium and the frame of reference, and just as you can't draw a line with a single data point, you can't extrapolate the "something else" unless you have abundant data points in the physical stuff.

Yes, yes, abundant data points. My contention here is, I guess, that the aikido curriculum tends to have a bias in its data points, and that may reflect that it is a chopped down curriculum from something that was initially vastly bigger, and has resulted in a certain flavor, or flavors, and makes it hard to occasionally see the forest for the trees...


I'm sure you can argue the definition of "good mechanics" around to support either view, but I didn't say anything about "having" them. I was talking about working on them, and letting any "something elses" happen in their own good time.

Were we talking about the situation of a sensei who can't explain or good mechanics? Or is this a digression?


It's not really a digression. I think it's part of the core issue. Ultimately the only authority we have for good mechanics in the beginning, and in the end, is perhaps our teachers. Monkey see, monkey do. If, even at an early phase, there are holes that even a teacher can't address, and yet mechanics the student is working on are defined by this teacher. Where there is a hole in the diagnosis, and the student is floundering, there's probably a basic missing. How do you work on something that's missing, and that nobody realizes is missing?

That's the classic mistake of equating "basic" with "easily and trivially mastered". As a former sensei of mine once said, "It is simple. It isn't easy."

Okay, but what if it's not basic, and not simple, and that without definitive and focused training on it, you'd probably never get it, or would require several lifetimes or have a genius intellect beyond the majority of people to get it all in one lifetime, such that, with a teacher who knows what he's doing, and concentrated effort, it's still going to take a long-ass time to actually train it and do it? By not simple, I mean even if your brain fully understand what you had to do, you couldn't automatically do it. It's not simple. There is conditioning, a lot of conditioning, before it feels simple in any sense. And to be specific here, by "it" I mean elite-level athletic performance. I think we totally misrepresent the difficultly of athletics, do them a profound disservice, by calling them simple or basic, or by reducing them away with quaint aphorisms like "move with your center" or "flux-capacitate with your dantien". It's fookin' hard. It requires a guide who knows what they are doing, truly knows what they are doing beyond doubt. Effort alone is not enough, 'cause god knows a lot of people are putting in a lot of effort, mind-boggling amounts of effort, and still turning up short.

JW
07-18-2011, 10:42 AM
Focus on basic mechanics: "energy extension" can't make up for a sloppy stance, badly distributed weight, hands held carelessly, pivoting on the heels, etc. It's my personal belief that good basic mechanics are a prerequisite to anything like "energy extension"

Speaking of diversity of viewpoints.. I just want to point out that it is my personal belief that good basic mechanics are separate from something that is called things like "energy extension." Using that terminology, energy extension can make up for sloppy stance, etc (once you are pretty good at the energy stuff). By the same token, good stances could make up for bad energy extension, so that by using special mechanical configurations, one could blow off all the "energy" work. But personally, I was pretty good at the strong stance stuff before and it only got me so far. So I'd rather go the other route.

One problem I believe I have is I have good energy everywhere else in my body but from my shoulders to my hands I am like a hot spaghetti noodle. I have absolutely no energy from my shoulders to my hands...

I just wanted to come back to this because I realized I was barking up the wrong tree. If someone grabs your shoulder or lapels, rather than wrist, you are fine? So maybe you are GREAT at moving from your center in general, but simply have a connection deficit b/w hands and body?

mathewjgano
07-18-2011, 11:07 AM
Let's just take that phrase, "when one thing moves, everything moves". This does not mean...your arms are rigid sticks affixed to a body that is moving, such that the arms get pushed along in space like they were just that, dead sticks. This does not mean your arms are limp noodles being whipped around as if they were injected with botulinum It means they actually move, as in they articulate, relative to their parent body. Dead sticks is no ki. Limp noodles is no ki.

Great points! The way the cart analogy was described to me (bearing in mind this was a first-day level of instruction) was that the arms are relaxed and sort of pushed by the center, but I really like that balancing Armsly analogy! I'll have to read that a few more times.

And that gets back to, who made up the moving with the center thing anyway? Perhaps an oversimplification overglorification of that whole hara thing the Japanese seem so obsessed with? I don't think it was O'Sensei, that's for sure. Oh sure, he mentioned a hara, but did he really say it was a single point or that it operated in isolation? I really don't know the answer to those questions myself. I am no scholar or historian. But, are we putting too much stock in one, perhaps even misguided, interpretation amongst any other cool ones we could create that might work better, or just as well? Hmmm. What's aikido? What's not aikido? Probably doesn't matter at all anymore, so long as it improves performance in the thing.
In my dojo there is the concept of working on parts in order to integrate into the whole. The goal is whole-body interaction, so any time any part is given emphasis, that emphasis is (hopefully) understood to be a degree of progression, to be then added to the whole "tool set."

Lee Salzman
07-18-2011, 01:13 PM
In my dojo there is the concept of working on parts in order to integrate into the whole. The goal is whole-body interaction, so any time any part is given emphasis, that emphasis is (hopefully) understood to be a degree of progression, to be then added to the whole "tool set."

I'm curious. What kind of things do you focus on when working on integration of the upper body specifically?

mathewjgano
07-18-2011, 05:53 PM
I'm curious. What kind of things do you focus on when working on integration of the upper body specifically?
When i do practice, I tend to think in general terms. Don't use the shoulders to raise the arms is the main thing for me. There are a few other things I play around with though, and I'll try to organize them here.
I should begin by saying that I haven't been a good student for quite some time and that I have only the most superficial understanding of anything (whatever I might be said to actually have an understanding of) to begin with.
On the whole, my focus is on balancing tension where ever I notice it, and trying to have a full, relaxed feeling.
Right now I begin by trying to have a strong extention along the vertical axis (spinal alignment); a feeling of "good" posture, reaching up through my crown and down through my perinium. So I start with an attempt at having a full sense of vertical expansion ("expanding my central column"). For this I try to reach up with my crown then "dangle" my body from it, then I bounce back and forth between this dangling feeling and the pushing up from the hips/legs feeling until I can have a sense of both at the same time, some times better than others. I also try to have a feeling of "sitting back within myself." Once I'm satisfied with the relaxed and expanded feeling I'll start playing with powering my arm movements by it, using my legs to lift and drop the column for cutting and raising movements, trying to use momentum more than muscle. I do a kind of "reverse furitama" where I reach through my arms and fingers and try to raise them with that up and down movement of my central column, usually bouncing my arms off my body (tricepts bouncing off chest area). For this I try to feel like my hara leads the movement: hara up pushes arms up, hara down pulls arms down. I try to time it right so I'm pulling down before gravity does.
For my upper body more specifically, I constantly try to feel my shoulder girdle pressing down until I get a sense of it resting on my spine/central column (and keeping it firmly resting there as much as I can, since once I start moving it tends to not rest "down" quite so well). I try to have my shoulders balanced with respect to the spine (e.g. my left shoulder and chest area droops and is somewhat concave compared to my right side). I try to keep my humorus drawn into the shoulder socket and pay close attention (as close as I am able) to whether or not it's being seperated. I also try to feel all the way around it at the same time. In fact this is the basis for my meager practice: sequential feeling of contiguous lines and areas. If I feel for my shoulders as I practice cuts, for example, I notice I'm usually just feeling portions of them; some more than others, and some not at all. My efforts are centered around feeling the whole thing at the same time (one thing moves everything moves?). Sometimes I feel something like a band running around the shoulder joint, more or less vertically, but I'm not sure if that's because I'm using too much latisimus dorsi or trapezius or whatever it is I'm using.
As usual, the more I write the less confident I feel. Like I said, i don't practice enough...and I probably shouldn't try to chime in because of it, but FWIW, there's a start. I might get ballsy and shoot a video of what I look like. I'll try to think more about it and see if I can't find a better description...might help to practice more too...have I mentioned I don't practice enough? :o :D
What do you tend to focus on?
p.s. in my defense I'm juggling my 2-year old, my 5-day old and this post, so I apologize for any haphazard descriptions.
Take care,
Matt

DH
07-18-2011, 07:22 PM
Hunter Lonsberry wrote:
As for moving with the center, you will probably get better discussion out of the non-aikido forum as well for specific exercises.
No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

dps
Interesting.
I haven't heard or read much of anything here that had good practical value for training "moving from your center" from any source in aikido. I've met top Japanese teachers and many shihan under them. I've yet to meet anyone teaching modern Aikido who had students who were good at these things who learned it from within modern Aikido. They all went outside the art as well.
Can you tell us who you were referring to from Aikido™, so it just doesn't sound like sour grapes?
The fact that you still think moving from your center is different in Aikido™ then elsewhere, pretty much defines where you're at. For everyone else who knows better, your points make no sense at all.

Good luck in your search. I would suggest either going outside modern Aikido yourself or going to some of the teachers who have been going outside to learn. There are more and more of them. But wait...if you go to people like Ikeda and others like him...you are doing what you just advocated against. Because they went outside Aikido™ to get it as well.
Dan

Lee Salzman
07-18-2011, 07:28 PM
When i do practice, I tend to think in general terms. Don't use the shoulders to raise the arms is the main thing for me. There are a few other things I play around with though, and I'll try to organize them here.
I should begin by saying that I haven't been a good student for quite some time and that I have only the most superficial understanding of anything (whatever I might be said to actually have an understanding of) to begin with.
On the whole, my focus is on balancing tension where ever I notice it, and trying to have a full, relaxed feeling.
Right now I begin by trying to have a strong extention along the vertical axis (spinal alignment); a feeling of "good" posture, reaching up through my crown and down through my perinium. So I start with an attempt at having a full sense of vertical expansion ("expanding my central column"). For this I try to reach up with my crown then "dangle" my body from it, then I bounce back and forth between this dangling feeling and the pushing up from the hips/legs feeling until I can have a sense of both at the same time, some times better than others. I also try to have a feeling of "sitting back within myself." Once I'm satisfied with the relaxed and expanded feeling I'll start playing with powering my arm movements by it, using my legs to lift and drop the column for cutting and raising movements, trying to use momentum more than muscle. I do a kind of "reverse furitama" where I reach through my arms and fingers and try to raise them with that up and down movement of my central column, usually bouncing my arms off my body (tricepts bouncing off chest area). For this I try to feel like my hara leads the movement: hara up pushes arms up, hara down pulls arms down. I try to time it right so I'm pulling down before gravity does.
For my upper body more specifically, I constantly try to feel my shoulder girdle pressing down until I get a sense of it resting on my spine/central column (and keeping it firmly resting there as much as I can, since once I start moving it tends to not rest "down" quite so well). I try to have my shoulders balanced with respect to the spine (e.g. my left shoulder and chest area droops and is somewhat concave compared to my right side). I try to keep my humorus drawn into the shoulder socket and pay close attention (as close as I am able) to whether or not it's being seperated. I also try to feel all the way around it at the same time. In fact this is the basis for my meager practice: sequential feeling of contiguous lines and areas. If I feel for my shoulders as I practice cuts, for example, I notice I'm usually just feeling portions of them; some more than others, and some not at all. My efforts are centered around feeling the whole thing at the same time (one thing moves everything moves?). Sometimes I feel something like a band running around the shoulder joint, more or less vertically, but I'm not sure if that's because I'm using too much latisimus dorsi or trapezius or whatever it is I'm using.
As usual, the more I write the less confident I feel. Like I said, i don't practice enough...and I probably shouldn't try to chime in because of it, but FWIW, there's a start. I might get ballsy and shoot a video of what I look like. I'll try to think more about it and see if I can't find a better description...might help to practice more too...have I mentioned I don't practice enough? :o :D
What do you tend to focus on?
p.s. in my defense I'm juggling my 2-year old, my 5-day old and this post, so I apologize for any haphazard descriptions.
Take care,
Matt

Well, it's been a fun year. I have spent much time on trying to decipher "drive your spine into your arms" and "drive your spine into your legs" to be balanced with the koans "no sharp angles" and "you don't see naked skeletons walking around", and I didn't directly hear this one, but I think it was implied at times just by how spectacularly I managed to screw up the first two, "let's step back a moment, first try to drive your spine into your spine", actually phrased more like "no no, you're using your spine like a giant stick" , until it eventually started to sink in that it is all one drive and that it went, well, through things. That was a lot of quality time pushing walls in all number of variations - sitting on butt, on knees, facing wall, facing away from wall, shoulder against wall, arms against wall, head against wall, butt against wall, back against wall, with arms collapsing, with legs collapsing, with neck collapsing. But within each of those it was working on looking for and diagnosing collapses at specific points in the body - like pushing the head against the wall while sitting on butt for trying to monitor collapse of the cervical spine. Lots of pushing people while they are pushing on me just the same - I guess you could say sumo style - to test all that against real resistance - on the ground, standing up, on the knees, sitting down, gripping the arms, gripping the neck, gripping the legs. Then lots of practicing that in a wild variety of movements trying to make sure nothing got lost in translation, and still a lot of doing that, but for almost different reasons now.

Somewhere along the line came the realization of Mr. Armsly, that he is really Mr. Legsly, and that Mr. Legsly is really also Mr. Armsly - there is really quite a striking and beautiful symmetry to the pelvis and the ribcage, and it really still sort of amazes me. But going back a few years ago, I don't think I realized I could have and should have worked on all of that, and maybe all I would have worked on was zazen, funekogi undo, irimi-tenkan, suburi, stuff like that, and looking back on the decade of trying that, it feels like I got more out of an hour sitting on the floor pushing the top of my head into a wall than all of it, so I am starting to think it is less a matter of simply time-in than a matter of time well spent.

stan baker
07-18-2011, 08:41 PM
No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

dps

Hi David
you are mistaken,if you want to understand the deeper aspects of aikido or chinese martial arts Dan can show and teach what one needs to know that is why the so called experts are studying with him.

stan

Thomas Campbell
07-18-2011, 08:58 PM
my 5-day old

Congratulations, Matt. ;)

thisisnotreal
07-18-2011, 09:08 PM
Congratulations, Matt. ;)

Indeed! Wonderful news. Congratulations :)

mathewjgano
07-18-2011, 10:44 PM
Well, it's been a fun year. I have spent much time on trying to decipher "drive your spine into your arms" and "drive your spine into your legs"
That's very interesting. Would you be able to describe it a bit further? Is there a specific process you follow for driving the spine into the arms, for example?

And to check if I'm going off-topic too much: would you say that working on "spine driving" helps to connect movement to center? It seems like it would, though your "giant stick" comment makes me think perhaps not necessarily so. I'd definately like to hear what ever else you could share about it.

To Thomas and Josh, thank you! :D I'm pretty happy, despite the lack of sleep.

Lee Salzman
07-18-2011, 11:33 PM
That's very interesting. Would you be able to describe it a bit further? Is there a specific process you follow for driving the spine into the arms, for example?


The term drive is meant to be descriptive. Think driving a nail into the wall with a hammer, you don't hit the nail on the side, you hit the nail on the head, driving through it into the wall. Or if you want something a little more impressive sounding, think driving a spike into the ground with a sledgehammer. There are in a sense specifics, but they are best arrived at by grasping the idea somewhere and just expanding it to everywhere else, but that will really require a teacher to help you do.


And to check if I'm going off-topic too much: would you say that working on "spine driving" helps to connect movement to center? It seems like it would, though your "giant stick" comment makes me think perhaps not necessarily so. I'd definately like to hear what ever else you could share about it.


That drive is in and of itself a sort of connection. Is it the connection in aikido we're all seeking in the end? Dunno, still working on that question, and there are certainly other interpretations or terminology, probably more mainstream ones than that. But, if the spine were nothing more than a rigid stick, then how could it drive into things? In the hammer-and-nail analogy, it's like bashing into the nail with the handle of the hammer, rather than its striking surface. You don't bash into things with the side of your spine, you drive through the spine into things. The spine must be articulated to do that, which requires doing more than holding it in place like a fixed rod, it can flex and extend.

And then there are things it runs into, like the ribcage and the pelvis, which also have significant lives of their own, and in some sense the spine drives into them, and they drive into the spine, and the limbs drive into them, and they drive into the limbs, and you can subdivide it further looking for smaller and smaller drives in between the bigger ones...

But, what provides the drive/articulates it all, and for that matter how best to articulate it (cf: "you don't see naked skeletons walking around")? That's a big can of worms, and that's again where you probably are best leaving interpretations up to a specific teacher who can guide you through figuring that out hands-on in-person with a definite plan in mind. But it is certainly using a lot more stuff throughout the body than merely doing funny movements with your stomach (cf: "flux-capacitate with your dantien").

chillzATL
07-19-2011, 05:15 AM
Hi David
you are mistaken,if you want to understand the deeper aspects of aikido or chinese martial arts Dan can show and teach what one needs to know that is why the so called experts are studying with him.

stan

and Dan wonders aloud why he gets the types of messages he gets... :)

DH
07-19-2011, 06:29 AM
I agree
Stan doesn't help with these kinds of posts, and neither does personalizing an entire field of study to an individual.
Dan

Carsten Möllering
07-19-2011, 11:11 AM
... if you go to people like Ikeda ...I will visit a seminar of Ikeda sensei next weekend. Never met him before.

And I never "met" IS/IP like you teach it and like it is discussed here so often. Just know this issue from reading here.

Can I get an impression of what you are talking about by practicing with him? (Or by watching him. ;) I don't expect giving ukemi ...)
To what do I have to pay attention or watch out for?
Can you guide my eyes or even better my feeling , my attentivness?

SteveTrinkle
07-19-2011, 12:31 PM
No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

dps

I disagree pretty strongly with the above advice. Been doing aikido for 17 years plus and learned some about "moving from center," but working with Dan (just a short time) has REALLY accelerated and improved my aikido practice. Certainly it's NOT just for MMA. One of my aikido teachers from Japan is coming to visit next month and I can't wait to see if he notices changes in me.

Janet Rosen
07-19-2011, 03:26 PM
When I was at a seminar w/ Ikeda Sensei a few months ago, for the first time, and after doing some solo IS exercises for a while, I found that it is explicitly what he is teaching, in very clear terms, and that while people were training he was very active on the mat having students of all levels grab him. Enjoy!

I will visit a seminar of Ikeda sensei next weekend. Never met him before.

And I never "met" IS/IP like you teach it and like it is discussed here so often. Just know this issue from reading here.

Can I get an impression of what you are talking about by practicing with him? (Or by watching him. ;) I don't expect giving ukemi ...)
To what do I have to pay attention or watch out for?
Can you guide my eyes or even better my feeling , my attentivness?

chillzATL
07-19-2011, 04:10 PM
I will visit a seminar of Ikeda sensei next weekend. Never met him before.

And I never "met" IS/IP like you teach it and like it is discussed here so often. Just know this issue from reading here.

Can I get an impression of what you are talking about by practicing with him? (Or by watching him. ;) I don't expect giving ukemi ...)
To what do I have to pay attention or watch out for?
Can you guide my eyes or even better my feeling , my attentivness?

I would second what Janet said. He is basically doing the same things, though IMO you'd have some difficulty figuring out what he's asking you to do without some previous IS/IP experience.

Do not be shy about trying to get some hands on time with him.

hughrbeyer
07-19-2011, 08:45 PM
No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

I guess I'm just dense. I interpreted this to mean: If you want to talk about improving your Aikido, keep it in the Aikido portion of Aikiweb because that's where Aikido discussions belong. If you're talking about improving your Aikido with IP, keep it in the Aikido portion of AIkiweb because ditto. And if Dan or Mike or anybody else comes along to add insight about how to improve your Aikido with IP or IS or any of that internal stuff, it's fine to do that in the Aikido portion of Aikiweb because ditto.

This is one art, not two. If I want to talk about how carrying a blue plastic chew toy in my mouth improves my Aikido, I'll claim the right to do it in the AIkido portion of Aikiweb because ditto.

No ghettos.

lbb
07-19-2011, 09:07 PM
Heeeere comes ol' number 9, chuggin' down the tracks...and...uh...

http://www.fearlessgrowth.biz/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/trainwreck2-300x201.jpg

Oh gosh darn, it happened again.

rob_liberti
07-19-2011, 09:45 PM
So Mary, how do you move with center? Let's get back on track.

hughrbeyer
07-19-2011, 09:54 PM
LOL. Mary, you get extra points for the pic.

Mike Sigman
07-19-2011, 10:15 PM
Moving with the center as part of internal-strength skills is like the rest of internal-strength.... there are levels and additions so someone showing people how to move with the middle may be, for example, totally unaware of later/fuller components. The reason I say this is because it's unclear that various "names" in Aikido (Ueshiba, Tohei, Shioda, Abe, etc., etc.) all did the same thing. It can be difficult to tell. So the implication is that "tell me how to move with my center" is not necessarily a question with a simple answer.

The question of exactly how Ueshiba, Tohei, et al moved "with their center" is another question worth taking a look at.

I've watched so many variations of "this is how to move with the center/dantien/hara" over the years that I'm more or less watching how this develops . One thing I'd point out is that to effect a physical result a certain amount of force is used; doing something "with your center" doesn't take away whatever the required force is. You have to train other parts of the body to generate the force. So if someone posts "I'm trying to use my shoulders less", I always think: "what are you doing that replaces the forces that your shoulder was providing?". Most people have no real idea. As a clue I'd point to the fact that someone who really uses his middle (say, Chen Xiaowang and many other Chinese), one of the giveaways is that they have small upper arms: if you truly generate power from the middle, that's where the muscle is.

So instead of just blindly talking about "moving with your center", shouldn't some of the questioning/commentary be around the question of "why is moving from the middle an advantage"?

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

DH
07-19-2011, 10:37 PM
Heh heh heh
Okay, I'll play. Moving from your center imparts a certain conditioning there. One of the giveaways of those who really don't get it is their non-conditioned loose fat belllies and stiff bodies, which rock their frame on to their heels and outer edges of their feet when they receive load- which defies any real capabilities to use dantian beyond a hopeful intellectual curiosity. It's good to get your hands on some accomplished people to see and feel the difference. :cool:

JW
07-19-2011, 10:50 PM
So instead of just blindly talking about "moving with your center", shouldn't some of the questioning/commentary be around the question of "why is moving from the middle an advantage"?


As far as this thread is concerned, the advantage question is off-topic. The OP's sensei said to do it.

BUT-- that's a great idea for a new thread so I will now start one called "Why move from the center?"

Graham Farquhar
07-20-2011, 07:20 AM
[QUOTE=Dan Harden;288142]Heh heh heh
Okay, I'll play. Moving from your center imparts a certain conditioning there. One of the giveaways of those who really don't get it is their non-conditioned loose fat belllies and stiff bodies, which rock their frame on to their heels and outer edges of their feet when they receive load- which defies any real capabilities to use dantian beyond a hopeful intellectual curiosity. It's good to get your hands on some accomplished people to see and feel the difference. :cool:[/QUOTE

Having recently had the very unexpected opportunity to get my hands on an accomplished person it was a real eye opener. Like being back at the beginning ( actually had a white belt on too - which was very apt;) ) and getting your mind round something like this. For those who have an open mind to learning it is one of the best feelings - one that I want to repeat again in the not too distant future.

Mike Sigman
07-20-2011, 09:25 AM
[Having recently had the very unexpected opportunity to get my hands on an accomplished person it was a real eye opener. Like being back at the beginning ( actually had a white belt on too - which was very apt;) ) and getting your mind round something like this. For those who have an open mind to learning it is one of the best feelings - one that I want to repeat again in the not too distant future.Exactly why I recommended in another thread that people go see someone with a world-acknowledged level of accomplishment in order to get a feel for what the "Real Stuff" feels like. That's what I did as soon as China opened its doors and it gave me the ability to avoid a lot of time-wasting later on.

Notice that I said "feel" (well, and see, of course)... the development and usage of the body and movement is quite different in real experts. The reason I say "feel" is that while they're generally very friendly, etc., they seldom reveal much information. I was just talking to a friend of mine about a bunch of Americans that have been following one reasonably knowledgeable teacher in California for 20 years and they're basically about where they were 20 years ago, although they know a number of nice-looking forms now.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

lbb
07-20-2011, 09:35 AM
So Mary, how do you move with center? Let's get back on track.

It's just mechanics. It doesn't have to be anything ethereal.

Basia Halliop
07-20-2011, 10:59 AM
I've been told in dance classes to move from the core rather than the legs or the arms, and let your arms/legs move because they're attached to the core. They didn't mean anything mysterious about it...

gregstec
07-20-2011, 11:21 AM
I've been told in dance classes to move from the core rather than the legs or the arms, and let your arms/legs move because they're attached to the core. They didn't mean anything mysterious about it...

Did they explain how they were connected to center? was it a hard connection with tense muscles or more of a soft connection with the slack taken out of the ligaments, tendons, and fascia?

Thanks

Greg

Basia Halliop
07-20-2011, 11:25 AM
They just showed it, and danced with you and let you feel it, and watched and felt what you were doing and told you if you were doing what they meant. So no, they didn't go into anatomical detail.

gregstec
07-20-2011, 12:15 PM
They just showed it, and danced with you and let you feel it, and watched and felt what you were doing and told you if you were doing what they meant. So no, they didn't go into anatomical detail.

So, it really had to be felt to truly understand it :D

thanks for the response

Greg

chillzATL
07-20-2011, 12:16 PM
So, it really had to be felt to truly understand it :D

thanks for the response

Greg

how about putting up a video???

/sarcasm

:)

gregstec
07-20-2011, 12:33 PM
how about putting up a video???

/sarcasm

:)

It's in the mail :)

Basia Halliop
07-20-2011, 01:11 PM
So, it really had to be felt to truly understand it :D

thanks for the response

Greg

LOL. Well, maybe. But it didn't feel particularly strange or new or counterintuitive or anything, it was more or less like walking....

thisisnotreal
07-20-2011, 01:37 PM
It's just mechanics. It doesn't have to be anything ethereal.

quantum mechanics is just mechanics too. but on a different order..

graham christian
07-20-2011, 01:55 PM
In 'defence' of Mary (not that she needs defending) if you understand what mechanics means the of course it's all to do with mechanics.

Mechanics are the result of principles naturally or can be constructed to fit principles for optimum usage.

Regards.G.

JW
07-20-2011, 01:59 PM
They just showed it, and danced with you and let you feel it, and watched and felt what you were doing and told you if you were doing what they meant. So no, they didn't go into anatomical detail.

So.. basically like most aikido classes around the world (including the OP's).

I think we need more people like the OP to say, "thanks, but that really isn't helping me do it or understand." I should have been more vocal especially when someone once said at a dojo I visited, "you'll just get it someday."

gregstec
07-20-2011, 02:09 PM
So.. basically like most aikido classes around the world (including the OP's).

I think we need more people like the OP to say, "thanks, but that really isn't helping me do it or understand." I should have been more vocal especially when someone once said at a dojo I visited, "you'll just get it someday."

On serious note, you are exactly right - more needs to be shown and coached in this area to get that mind and body coordinated, which is crucial for establishing the foundation for effective aiki.

Greg

rob_liberti
07-20-2011, 03:07 PM
It's just mechanics. It doesn't have to be anything ethereal.

Hi Mary,

I understand that perfectly. I was curious to hear you describe those mechanics.

Or, come visit us in Spencer, Mass sometime. I can show you what I mean and you can show me what you mean.

Rob

DH
07-20-2011, 03:25 PM
Hi Mary,

I understand that perfectly. I was curious to hear you describe those mechanics.

Or, come visit us in Spencer, Mass sometime. I can show you what I mean and you can show me what you mean.

Rob
It's been suggested several times. I offered to go there as well. It's never gonna happen, Rob.
Dan

lbb
07-20-2011, 04:59 PM
It's been suggested several times. I offered to go there as well. It's never gonna happen, Rob.
Dan

Don't make this personal, Dan. I have reservations that I have refrained from mentioning publicly out of consideration for you. Don't try to take advantage of my silence.

DH
07-20-2011, 05:33 PM
Don't make this personal, Dan. I have reservations that I have refrained from mentioning publicly out of consideration for you. Don't try to take advantage of my silence.
Where do you see anything personal?
It's been suggested several times. I offered to go there as well. It's never gonna happen, Rob.
Dan
Two of the invitations have been discussed here on aikiweb, though if I recall correctly, they involved Ron and Mary.
Where do you see any need to bring up your feelings about me?
Where do you see the need to go personal and mention why, at all?
Is this the formal reply from your group AFTER your group had asked me to come and share our aiki together, and no one replied to my email?
If so, it would have probably been more professional to let me know of your reservations by email, instead of letting me know by choosing to use aikiweb to state publicly that you have some sort of negative feelings.

It's sometimes difficult to navigate various people's standards. You'll understand that I now have reservations of my own.
Oh well.
Dan

hughrbeyer
07-20-2011, 08:21 PM
It's just mechanics. It doesn't have to be anything ethereal.

And another attempt to get the train back on the rails goes down in flames.

Does it strike nobody else that the OP's question is very odd? The ratio of people who get on the mat with overly stiff arms to those who get on the mat with overly limp arms is, it seems to me, about 1000:0.

I'd sort of like to hear from the OP if she's tried any of the advice and how it went for her.

JW
07-20-2011, 08:37 PM
And another attempt to get the train back on the rails goes down in flames.

Does it strike nobody else that the OP's question is very odd? The ratio of people who get on the mat with overly stiff arms to those who get on the mat with overly limp arms is, it seems to me, about 1000:0.

I'd sort of like to hear from the OP if she's tried any of the advice and how it went for her.

I would like to hear too.
Yes I thought it was pretty much the opposite problem from most folks. But, in theory it is equally as big an issue.. we just seem to generally see a bias toward stiff. But this is EXACTLY what should happen if people are told to relax, but are not given something specific to replace what the arms were doing.
So I am glad that we can see the one in 10,000 threads where this rare thing is actually happening.

Lee Salzman
07-20-2011, 09:22 PM
I would like to hear too.
Yes I thought it was pretty much the opposite problem from most folks. But, in theory it is equally as big an issue.. we just seem to generally see a bias toward stiff. But this is EXACTLY what should happen if people are told to relax, but are not given something specific to replace what the arms were doing.
So I am glad that we can see the one in 10,000 threads where this rare thing is actually happening.

Is it really that odd, especially for someone who has been training a bit? But the idea of Tohei Senseii's ki principles, which I was ironically more exposed to through my various ASU teachers than through the one Ki Society student (who had trained under Imaizumi Sensei), but to quote:


1. Keep one point.
2. Relax completely.
3. Keep weight underside.
4. Extend ki.


Is it any wonder that, hearing those things, as random quips from a teacher among others, a student might get confused, take them literally, and go to extremes that send them shooting in entirely unproductive directions? As a set of principles, they are not very informative and rather unbalanced in their attachments to one extreme over another.

graham christian
07-20-2011, 09:45 PM
Is it really that odd, especially for someone who has been training a bit? But the idea of Tohei Senseii's ki principles, which I was ironically more exposed to through my various ASU teachers than through the one Ki Society student (who had trained under Imaizumi Sensei), but to quote:

Is it any wonder that, hearing those things, as random quips from a teacher among others, a student might get confused, take them literally, and go to extremes that send them shooting in entirely unproductive directions? As a set of principles, they are not very informative and rather unbalanced in their attachments to one extreme over another.

Hi Lee.
May I say hearing those four principles as quips would indeed lead to confusion so no argument there.

Taking them as a set of principles however then your view is rather confusing. It shows me your lack of understanding of principle and of their relationship to each other.

I don't blame you as such I merely correct you. The fault lies purely in the art of teaching, not in the principles.

If O'Sensei himself had a weakness, a something he had yet to improve and learn, it was how to communicate (teach) the principles he knew in such a way that others could understand and grasp.

Now that's not a put down it's a facet one only comes across when they have realized and can demonstrate something and the others want to know how they do that. Sounds simple but I assure you it isn't for you are now trying to teach something that has become so simple to you yet others get confused if you tell them it's simplicity.

Regards.G.

mathewjgano
07-20-2011, 10:44 PM
Does it strike nobody else that the OP's question is very odd? The ratio of people who get on the mat with overly stiff arms to those who get on the mat with overly limp arms is, it seems to me, about 1000:0.


It did strike me as uncommon, but I've trained with a person who I would describe as almost completely limp. No amount of asking to try with more force would yield more than the slightest sense of contact even. I've felt it when people just grab on lightly and don't do anything; what I'm remembering was somehow even less than that.
I'd like to hear more from the OP as well though.

DH
07-20-2011, 11:04 PM
It did strike me as uncommon, but I've trained with a person who I would describe as almost completely limp. No amount of asking to try with more force would yield more than the slightest sense of contact even. I've felt it when people just grab on lightly and don't do anything; what I'm remembering was somehow even less than that.
I'd like to hear more from the OP as well though.
When they noodle... stuff their arms into their bodies and then use their arms to throw their bodies. There's no point in letting their lack of understanding be reinforced. Keep throwing them till they get that, that type of "relaxed" is nonsense.
You see some aikido people lumbering around, flat on their feet, and sliding their feet all over the place with their arms dead. It's just plain stupid, and it's not low level, it's no level... of understanding.
Relax completely and extend ki is one of the poorest or incomplete descriptions I have ever heard. It has led to a whole bunch of people limping around or flexing their arms under stress because they don't know how to connect to their center..
Dan

JW
07-20-2011, 11:20 PM
I've trained with a person who I would describe as almost completely limp. No amount of asking to try with more force would yield more than the slightest sense of contact even.

I'm interested in how this person did anything to you-- as in, did the limpness go away and get replaced with regular old arm- and shoulder-driven movement when they were nage?

rob_liberti
07-20-2011, 11:22 PM
If O'Sensei himself had a weakness, a something he had yet to improve and learn, it was how to communicate (teach) the principles he knew in such a way that others could understand and grasp.

Doesn't O-sensei mean Great teacher?

偉大な秘密キーパー ???

As far as Tohei sensei goes, my opinion is that those 4 principles Tohei sensei describes are much better thought of as "principles of validation" than "principles of implementation".

I have experienced so many people trying to "extend ki" in a way that is just stupid in terms of martial arts. If he said something like: "expand intent in six directions all at once such that you are able to support the spirals you create while engaged with attacks" - it would be a bit more helpful to me...

Rob

DH
07-20-2011, 11:47 PM
....If he said something like: "expand intent in six directions all at once such that you are able to support the spirals you create while engaged with attacks" - it would be a bit more helpful to me...

Rob
Actually he did talk about six directions..specifically.
He did talk about intent in the fingers coming from the hara.
None of it made it through the translation process, coming from the the modern aikido people translating who were completely unaware of what was going on. Thus the readers never had a chance.
Spiral energy would not ever have come from Tohei. He didn't exhibit it. But Ueshiba's whole art was based on spiral energy, just as it is in DR. At least DR states it and gives a clue, Ueshiba didn't even go that far -even though it is evident in his movements and in the Daito ryu waza that all of Aikido's waza is built on.
When you paint a picture of the modern students and their level of understanding and compare it to what we know of the prewar guys it is pretty revealing. It's no wonder none of the pre-war guys really wanted to come back when they saw what was going on.
I think Ueshiba's shouting of "this is not my aikido" when he saw what was going on after he retired was probably echoed in their voices as well
Cheers
Dan

graham christian
07-21-2011, 01:49 AM
Oh Dear. Correction time once again.

Relax completely and extend Ki is not a description.

Calling it so and thus assigning it as the cause for failure is due to A lack of understanding.

Regards.G.

Marc Abrams
07-21-2011, 05:42 AM
Oh Dear. Correction time once again.

Relax completely and extend Ki is not a description.

Calling it so and thus assigning it as the cause for failure is due to A lack of understanding.

Regards.G.

Graham:

Your level of understanding "astounds" me! Unfortunately, you missed teaching Dan last time he was down the street from you. Luckily for you, he will be back in your neighborhood in the near future. You should extend an invitation to him to attend one of your classes so that he can learn about his failures and lack of understanding. Please video tape that class and post on Youtube.

Marc Abrams

Carsten Möllering
07-21-2011, 06:01 AM
Please excuse this interruption, but don't those four principles belong to the teaching of Shin shin toitsu do, i.e. the Tempukai?
I don't think they are usable to teach aiki like used in aikido or daito ryu?
And I don't think, Ueshiba osensei ever used them?

There are only 27 dojo of ki aikido all over Gemany and they follow a certain Yoshigasaki sensei. They don't claim to use "aiki", but try to just use "ki". Which is different.
So the way of using aiki / ki musubi and connecting using atari which I try to learn, simply doesn't exist in their aikido.

So I think those four principle are simply not designed to teach what for example Daito ryu calls aiki?

chillzATL
07-21-2011, 06:37 AM
FWIW, I agree that Tohei's four basic priciples can lead to some confusion. Heck, I've seen it and explained around it myself, but there are other things in what he taught that provide clarification for some of those principles. Relax completely goes hand in hand with orenate (unbendable arm). It's often seen as one of his ki tests, but it is also a foundational, physical thing that should be stressed and focused on in EVERYTHING you do. You can't have one without the other. If someone spends some time resolving those two concepts they can get a pretty good idea of what it means to be strong and connected, but also relaxed and soft.

gregstec
07-21-2011, 08:11 AM
Please excuse this interruption, but don't those four principles belong to the teaching of Shin shin toitsu do, i.e. the Tempukai?
I don't think they are usable to teach aiki like used in aikido or daito ryu?
And I don't think, Ueshiba osensei ever used them?

There are only 27 dojo of ki aikido all over Gemany and they follow a certain Yoshigasaki sensei. They don't claim to use "aiki", but try to just use "ki". Which is different.
So the way of using aiki / ki musubi and connecting using atari which I try to learn, simply doesn't exist in their aikido.

So I think those four principle are simply not designed to teach what for example Daito ryu calls aiki?

IMO, the proper understanding and implementation of those four principles will help establish a coordinated mind and body, which is required as a foundation to build aiki on.

Greg

graham christian
07-21-2011, 09:36 AM
Graham:

Your level of understanding "astounds" me! Unfortunately, you missed teaching Dan last time he was down the street from you. Luckily for you, he will be back in your neighborhood in the near future. You should extend an invitation to him to attend one of your classes so that he can learn about his failures and lack of understanding. Please video tape that class and post on Youtube.

Marc Abrams

Are you astounded Marc? Fair enough.

The statement I made remains true no matter how astounded or flabbergasted you may feel. Shame it has that effect on you.

I didn't assign failure to Dan thank you very much.

To imply what I should do is quite amusing, but I'll say thanks for the suggestion anyway.

Denigrating another style of Aikido is at best bad manners. As I've said before it's totally unnecessary and in my view there is no excuse for so doing. It reflects badly on the person saying it.

My level of understanding on this kind of Aikido is indeed very high, much higher in fact than you even dare to believe I would say according to your reactions. However, for me to comment on your style from the view of expertise on it would be really stupid of me.In fact it would be quite arrogant wouldn't you say?

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-21-2011, 10:03 AM
Please excuse this interruption, but don't those four principles belong to the teaching of Shin shin toitsu do, i.e. the Tempukai?
I don't think they are usable to teach aiki like used in aikido or daito ryu?
And I don't think, Ueshiba osensei ever used them?

There are only 27 dojo of ki aikido all over Gemany and they follow a certain Yoshigasaki sensei. They don't claim to use "aiki", but try to just use "ki". Which is different.
So the way of using aiki / ki musubi and connecting using atari which I try to learn, simply doesn't exist in their aikido.

So I think those four principle are simply not designed to teach what for example Daito ryu calls aiki?

Hi Carsten.
Just for perspective those four principles are A set to do with mind and body unification. You should look at this as the meditation side. Then there are other sets of principles, the next most known set being the five principles of Aikido. They work in unison. So, along with the other sets, plenty to learn.

When practiced as a discipline over however long it takes then it leads to understanding Aikido. That was Toheis aim. No different to others who formed their own teaching methods and principles to follow to achieve the same ends.

Doing so does indeed lead to discovering musubi, etc.

As with all styles and all arts there is of course the factor of good teaching and the factor of time. Most people in my view, especially in this day and age are looking for the 'quick fix' the 'easy way' and so we get hundreds if not thousands blaming either the teaching or coming out with excuses of 'i did that for x amount of time' and so I'm now an expert in how it doesn't work. To me basically they didn't keep at it and go through the necessary barriers. We even have experts based on hearsay and opinion but they can't do it, have never done it etc. Everyone in a hurry, wanting to be at the top, gleefully putting others down. A sign of the modern person rather than the state of the art.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-21-2011, 10:18 AM
Doesn't O-sensei mean Great teacher?

偉大な秘密キーパー ???

As far as Tohei sensei goes, my opinion is that those 4 principles Tohei sensei describes are much better thought of as "principles of validation" than "principles of implementation".

I have experienced so many people trying to "extend ki" in a way that is just stupid in terms of martial arts. If he said something like: "expand intent in six directions all at once such that you are able to support the spirals you create while engaged with attacks" - it would be a bit more helpful to me...

Rob

Great Teacher, indeed it does. That does show what great esteem he was held in over and above the norm. However if you find and research and hear peoples accounts of WHEN he got angry it was almost always to do with when students were not understanding what he was trying to get across or indeed sticking to it in action.

All caring teachers will have experienced this and find it is actually them being angry with themself for they want everyone to understand straight away. They have so much to share their own frustration with the time it takes others to understand tends to get to them sometimes.

As far as Toheis principles go then I'm glad you preceded it by 'my opinion'. I assume that you do some style that emphasises six directions etc. Maybe Tomiki? Anyway whatever it is I wish you well.

Regards.G.

DH
07-21-2011, 10:33 AM
IMO, the proper understanding and implementation of those four principles will help establish a coordinated mind and body, which is required as a foundation to build aiki on.
Greg
Hmmm...
I would agree whole heartedly with that, The only caveat being that they are not enough and in and of themselves, not complete. As you have stated, they are a foundation.

That said we have to hand it to the guy that he made an attempt at laying things out, as it was not that common in his generation. As a teacher he should be remembered; both for his power, and his attempts to come up with a teaching model to help others. For a Japanese teacher to not only care but to try and understand how to teach foreigners is a valuable example for those claiming to want to teach.

Ueshiba made his own attempts as well. Only recently have I seen the disconnect between what Ueshiba actually said and what the translators said he said. The founders message was actually clearer than he has been given credit for (if you knew what to look for) and it proves out his later approval of Tohei's work. Unfortunatley many had no clue of what he was talking about and he apparently offered little clarification. As an aside, I think Shirata's work is more complete than Tohei's model.

Lord knows it sure didn't trickle down to many of the modern students who are seemingly convinced they got it. Even the rather famous ones don't exhibit the same understanding. As has been demonstrated here with some of the recent vids from those gentle souls advocating ki... the movie title "Lost in translation" is more fact than fiction. It's no wonder there were ki wars here and elsewhere!
I'm on the side of the ki folks and yet I would argue against most of what I have seen of their use of ki all day long! I can understand why many in the aikido community had shunned these gentle ner-do-wells who failed under pressure and called them "aiki bunnies." I would too. The sad part is that guys under Tohei who actually had power... got shunned along with them.

Thank goodness there are tests -separate from waza- to blow up the imposters with little actual skill, if only to save others from years of work following them. That they avoid being put to the test is good judgment on their part. I have been witness to some of these people completely falling apart and not knowing what to do when they were outclassed. In their world view there is no good or bad, right or wrong, everyone is equal, even after they can't make anything they know, work. They can't process the obvious. It's weirdly uncomfortable watching them mentally process their inability to stop you, while you can do whatever you want to them and see them re-set and sort of tell themselves they are alright and it is just different. Sort of like the George Dillman stuff; not being able to cast chi energy...with news reporters present. It just doesn't register to them that it only works on the initiated!

Similar things are probably going to happen with the recent IP/aiki training; no doubt that people claiming to know it, are going to muck it up like everything else we do to the martial arts. In the ICMA, I've already met people with decades of training under internal gurus with all sorts of neat information, who for all their effort...suck! They are stiff, shoulder driven, one-legged-army warriors who can't stand any real pressure either.
It's tough when you have to express your understanding in your own hands, under pressure from an educated crowd, with no teacher, no style, no one to support you...just you. Not everyone gets an "A" or turns out to be equally "special."
Oh well
Dan

graham christian
07-21-2011, 11:04 AM
Actually he did talk about six directions..specifically.
He did talk about intent in the fingers coming from the hara.
None of it made it through the translation process, coming from the the modern aikido people translating who were completely unaware of what was going on. Thus the readers never had a chance.
Spiral energy would not ever have come from Tohei. He didn't exhibit it. But Ueshiba's whole art was based on spiral energy, just as it is in DR. At least DR states it and gives a clue, Ueshiba didn't even go that far -even though it is evident in his movements and in the Daito ryu waza that all of Aikido's waza is built on.
When you paint a picture of the modern students and their level of understanding and compare it to what we know of the prewar guys it is pretty revealing. It's no wonder none of the pre-war guys really wanted to come back when they saw what was going on.
I think Ueshiba's shouting of "this is not my aikido" when he saw what was going on after he retired was probably echoed in their voices as well
Cheers
Dan

Dan.
My teacher who taught these principles taught us eight directions.

I was also taught intent both in and through fingers with many many hours of drills on these factors, drilling intent.

We were taught all forms of energy and application from spirals to circles to lines to attraction to extension et al. From centre and from one point and now being so 'modern' I use the word hara as well.

All this from someone who it wasn't taught to? All this from someone who read what wasn't there? I don't think so unless he was a magician and I didn't know.

I was actually taught much about the spiral and teach it to this day. All part of applying the principles of Aikido correctly. From the spiral of sankyo to the spiral of tai sabake, to the use to using it as centripetal force to the use of using it with centrifugal force and the ability to change it at will.

Sometimes now I get people to practice being as a hurricane or tornado for instance when doing a complete Tai sabake. Not in a destructive burst of violence but to get them to be calm like the hurricanes centre whilst spiralling energy, Ki, and thus how it fits certain motions. To do this with a calm centre and a still mind and other principles in at the same time ie zanshin etc is all part of Aikido as I was taught and took foreward.

The reality taught to us, on Toheis principles and more you have no idea of. The many different uses of centre, the many different uses of one point, the fact that shin shin toitsu Aikido wise if a person reaches that level then can be translated as the 'tying' or joining of minds and thus becomes in action sen no sen etc. Many principles, the whys, the hows, the whens, from the viewpoint of body, from the viewpoint of energy, from the viewpoint of space, from the viewpoint of motion, from the viewpoint of weapons, from the viewpoint of Ki, extending, condensing, circling, spiralling, changing the body, healing. Need I go on?

Yet along can come someone as is their right and point to four principles of mind and body unification and think they know all about it. Unfortunate I think.

Now I'm sure I must be guilty of this in some walks of life. I may put down politics and say it's all this or that but in truth I have never been one.

Regards.G.

JW
07-21-2011, 11:59 AM
Thank goodness there are tests -separate from waza- to blow up the imposters with little actual skill, if only to save others from years of work following them. ...
Similar things are probably going to happen with the recent IP/aiki training; no doubt that people claiming to know it, are going to muck it up like everything else we do to the martial arts.

I think this is very important. Imagine, some guy showing as credentials how many Sigman seminars he's been to, or some guy saying "my teacher trained with Dan for years."
OK that's nice to know, but there should be a "show me the money" kind of evaluation. I'm a little worried about what the etiquette would be for that. But it is a near certainty that history will repeat itself. The community just needs to keep getting smarter.

Tests/demos could be part of that. Then even if one guy thinks he can replicate Ueshiba's demos, we don't have to take his word for it, we evaluate it ourselves.

What tests are there? I mean, things that really can't be BSed using other means? Delivering "short power," receiving pushes to the chest with the pusher being free to try to trick you.. are those good? How about, being able to take balance right away upon being grabbed (no matter what the grabber is doing)?
Being "unthrowable?"

We need tests that can't be BSed easily and can't easily be misrepresented.

mathewjgano
07-21-2011, 12:23 PM
I'm interested in how this person did anything to you-- as in, did the limpness go away and get replaced with regular old arm- and shoulder-driven movement when they were nage?
...stuff their arms into their bodies and then use their arms to throw their bodies. There's no point in letting their lack of understanding be reinforced. Keep throwing them till they get that, that type of "relaxed" is nonsense.
Some more thoughts on the memory...
I tend to be a softy (a tight-shouldered softy), particularly when I get the sense the other person isn't a very "physical" person and, more to the point, is uncomfortable with physical force. I would still try to control the trunk through that "noodly" arm though. It was tricky establishing any feeling like I had any connection to it. She certainly made me feel strong, which doesn't happen very often. I remember she reached a point where I had a much easier time feeling the intent of her actions (she became "denser" on some level of action). I remember I kept thinking about the "rule of 10." So at first I would guess I had to use a 9.5 to her .5 input, but over time maybe it became an 8 or 9 to 2 or 1.
One thing I just remembered in working with people I felt "stronger" than, and which seemed to help in general, was to look for the "edge" of their ability. As nage I would try to make it so my newer ukes were just about to fall over and then let them (even tell them to) "fill back in" through the connection point, at certain points in the movement. As uke, I would generally try to push that edge (if I could aproach it at all), though very gradually. Another "trick" would be to tell them to hit me with their free hand (trained folks already tend to do this) since this seemed to at least engage more of their body into the movement. For my very low level of operation, i was generally just happy as long as I could feel an incoming intent.
I do remember being very surprised one time when I was uke and the woman I'm thinking of controlled me in a much more definately way (not that I've ever been a measure of powerful). She had been getting a lot more direct hands-on with sensei and worked hard on having better "coalescence of power."

Marc Abrams
07-21-2011, 12:53 PM
Are you astounded Marc? Fair enough.

The statement I made remains true no matter how astounded or flabbergasted you may feel. Shame it has that effect on you.

I didn't assign failure to Dan thank you very much.

To imply what I should do is quite amusing, but I'll say thanks for the suggestion anyway.

Denigrating another style of Aikido is at best bad manners. As I've said before it's totally unnecessary and in my view there is no excuse for so doing. It reflects badly on the person saying it.

My level of understanding on this kind of Aikido is indeed very high, much higher in fact than you even dare to believe I would say according to your reactions. However, for me to comment on your style from the view of expertise on it would be really stupid of me.In fact it would be quite arrogant wouldn't you say?

Regards.G.

Graham:

Opinions are like rear-ends and everyone has one..... Hey, in your world, everything is good and high level. Your videos speak volumes.

Once again, you have an opportunity to invite a guest to your dojo who will be in your town in the near future. Master level martial artists on down to rank beginners seem to agree that Dan Harden not only knows what he is talking about, can teach it, is a very nice guy and is a good judge of what people can really do (as opposed to their opinions). You think that you know what you know, why don't you let a good judge evaluate you and get back to all of us. You can talk the talk, your videos, to me and a lot of people senior to me, do not show convey to us that you can walk the talk. Since talk is cheap on the internet, it's time for you to step up to the plate and show somebody who can talk the talk and walk the talk, that you can do what you claim that you can do.

What you call arrogance, to me is a degree of respect that people develop with each other based upon the real world, not the world of talk. That is why I have an open-door policy at my dojo, based upon my willingness to always step up to the proverbial plate. That is why I went out of my way to meet and train under him for the first time. That experience let me to invite Dan to teach at my dojo every couple of months. Easy for you since he will be in your town, all you have to do is send him an invite. He's a gentleman so you would not have to worry about him trying to intentionally harm you. He is such a gentleman, if you ask nicely, I'm sure that he'll let you take him out for a spin. I would be fascinated to hear about how you corrected his misunderstandings about you.

Marc Abrams

Gerardo Torres
07-21-2011, 12:53 PM
My teacher who taught these principles taught us eight directions.


Up-down, front-back, left-right and... extra tiny curled-up dimensions per Superstring Theory? :confused: :p

Lee Salzman
07-21-2011, 01:06 PM
Up-down, front-back, left-right and... extra tiny curled-up dimensions per Superstring Theory? :confused: :p

Deasil and widdershins (no, really!)? Why stop at 6? Why 8? Why not 100? Is the body a compass with only a few interesting settings, and it's safe to ignore the entire spectrum?

graham christian
07-21-2011, 01:16 PM
Deasil and widdershins (no, really!)? Why stop at 6? Why 8? Why not 100? Is the body a compass with only a few interesting settings, and it's safe to ignore the entire spectrum?

Lee. Because it's part of Aikido?

Regards.G.

chillzATL
07-21-2011, 01:20 PM
Lee. Because it's part of Aikido?

Regards.G.

what are the eight directions?

graham christian
07-21-2011, 01:44 PM
Graham:

Opinions are like rear-ends and everyone has one..... Hey, in your world, everything is good and high level. Your videos speak volumes.

Once again, you have an opportunity to invite a guest to your dojo who will be in your town in the near future. Master level martial artists on down to rank beginners seem to agree that Dan Harden not only knows what he is talking about, can teach it, is a very nice guy and is a good judge of what people can really do (as opposed to their opinions). You think that you know what you know, why don't you let a good judge evaluate you and get back to all of us. You can talk the talk, your videos, to me and a lot of people senior to me, do not show convey to us that you can walk the talk. Since talk is cheap on the internet, it's time for you to step up to the plate and show somebody who can talk the talk and walk the talk, that you can do what you claim that you can do.

What you call arrogance, to me is a degree of respect that people develop with each other based upon the real world, not the world of talk. That is why I have an open-door policy at my dojo, based upon my willingness to always step up to the proverbial plate. That is why I went out of my way to meet and train under him for the first time. That experience let me to invite Dan to teach at my dojo every couple of months. Easy for you since he will be in your town, all you have to do is send him an invite. He's a gentleman so you would not have to worry about him trying to intentionally harm you. He is such a gentleman, if you ask nicely, I'm sure that he'll let you take him out for a spin. I would be fascinated to hear about how you corrected his misunderstandings about you.

Marc Abrams

Marc.
Yes, I talk the talk. This is a forum for doing such.

Did I assign failure to Dan? Saying so is not the mark of a gentleman.

[/QUOTE] " I would be fascinated to hear about how you corrected his misunderstandings about you.[QUOTE] Mmmm. Neither is that.

Talk can be cheap, it can be very valuable. Videos? Now there's a topic, we won't go there.

How do you get from a discussion on centre and views on Toheis Aikido to this?

G.

HL1978
07-21-2011, 01:56 PM
what are the eight directions?

I've heard people talk of 6 directions as 8 directions and vice versa, so it isn't unheard of. There were a number of posts a few years back where people said something like 6/8 directions.

6= X Y Z axis, I believe the other 2 are 45 degree angles though I do not know if there is consistent references as to which axis or multiple axes on which these 45 degree angles are. Granted if you have an XYZ axis as a reference you can have unlimited angles, but 6/8 are essentially the same thing.

I'm not 100% sure if I understand what Graham means by spirals. It would be inaccurate for me to say that I can utilize a spiral and for a long time I thought it simply meant twisting the limbs as a result of locally engaging the muscles of the arms and legs to twist the limbs.

I was actually taught much about the spiral and teach it to this day. All part of applying the principles of Aikido correctly. From the spiral of sankyo to the spiral of tai sabake, to the use to using it as centripetal force to the use of using it with centrifugal force and the ability to change it at will.

Chris Li
07-21-2011, 02:53 PM
Similar things are probably going to happen with the recent IP/aiki training; no doubt that people claiming to know it, are going to muck it up like everything else we do to the martial arts. In the ICMA, I've already met people with decades of training under internal gurus with all sorts of neat information, who for all their effort...suck! They are stiff, shoulder driven, one-legged-army warriors who can't stand any real pressure either.

Well, 98% of anything is going to turn out to be crap - in the long run. Unless you're working with a very tiny number, with any large group it's really pretty hard to beat the curve. The important thing is that the information and training is out there and available to those people who have the will to take advantage of the opportunity to get to the top of the curve.

Best,

Chris

graham christian
07-21-2011, 02:56 PM
what are the eight directions?

Jason.
Firstly if you look up any Aikido terminology starting with the word Happo then you will see.

Doing much Aikitaiso I learned what was called happo undo. Through the bokken happo giri.

One is eight direction ikkyo and one was eight direction cutting.North, south, east, west, north east, south east, south west, north west. ( any eight direction aikitaiso exercise we classed as happo undo for we also did eight direction funakogi undo)

Happo on it's own is to do with attention or ki out in all directions or you may say another way of saying zanshin.

Then a study of the foot and leg (knee) motion in shihonage, along with centre and centre line etc and the utilization of four directions which later you have to do in eight directions. Eight paths of least resistance.

I could go on and take it further but hopefully you get the picture.

Basically it gets the body used to turning or moving comfortably in all directions. Ki wise in that discipline it gets you used to directing in one direction and changing to other directions with ease. Etc.

Now what I don't know but think may be the case is that Tomiki Aikido use these principles in one form or another but I may be wrong there.

Regards.G.

chillzATL
07-21-2011, 03:03 PM
Jason.
Firstly if you look up any Aikido terminology starting with the word Happo then you will see.

Doing much Aikitaiso I learned what was called happo undo. Through the bokken happo giri.

One is eight direction ikkyo and one was eight direction cutting.North, south, east, west, north east, south east, south west, north west. ( any eight direction aikitaiso exercise we classed as happo undo for we also did eight direction funakogi undo)

Happo on it's own is to do with attention or ki out in all directions or you may say another way of saying zanshin.

Then a study of the foot and leg (knee) motion in shihonage, along with centre and centre line etc and the utilization of four directions which later you have to do in eight directions. Eight paths of least resistance.

I could go on and take it further but hopefully you get the picture.

Basically it gets the body used to turning or moving comfortably in all directions. Ki wise in that discipline it gets you used to directing in one direction and changing to other directions with ease. Etc.

Now what I don't know but think may be the case is that Tomiki Aikido use these principles in one form or another but I may be wrong there.

Regards.G.

I'm quite familiar with all the taiso, including happo and shiho undo. Thanks for clearing up what you meant by eight directions.

DH
07-21-2011, 03:14 PM
I've heard people talk of 6 directions as 8 directions and vice versa, so it isn't unheard of. There were a number of posts a few years back where people said something like 6/8 directions.

6= X Y Z axis, I believe the other 2 are 45 degree angles though I do not know if there is consistent references as to which axis or multiple axes on which these 45 degree angles are. Granted if you have an XYZ axis as a reference you can have unlimited angles, but 6/8 are essentially the same thing.

I'm not 100% sure if I understand what Graham means by spirals. It would be inaccurate for me to say that I can utilize a spiral and for a long time I thought it simply meant twisting the limbs as a result of locally engaging the muscles of the arms and legs to twist the limbs.
Quote:
I was actually taught much about the spiral and teach it to this day. All part of applying the principles of Aikido correctly. From the spiral of sankyo to the spiral of tai sabake, to the use to using it as centripetal force to the use of using it with centrifugal force and the ability to change it at will.

There are different terms for essentially the same concepts from the ICMA, CMA, JMA and FMA
Six directions or eight (to include the saggital plane) can include all angles to fill the Aiki ball or taiji sphere. Some guys are trying to convince people there was a common vocabulary for the same things around the world. Pretty presumptuous I'd say. Was there commonality in principle? Yes. Terminology? Not always.

We could say that twisting the limbs in a coordinated way with breath training might be useful, but that isn't spiraling. And Sankyo as spiraling? turning around an axis in centripetal force or centrifugal force? Nope.
Graham posted vids and asked for comments. I'd say it's pretty obvious that Graham is not using spiral energy. The entire description of happo undo and what it meant and his own detailed explanation of cutting and turning pretty much nails what quite a few of you already know-that he has zero understanding of what Ueshiba means by maintaining six directions. As a concept his understanding is matched with the body movement he displays; a typical modern/external art person; shifting weight side to side, one side weighted (dead give away) using the hips and shoulders in-line for power and not dantian, and rocking on his feet from load etc. Were you to examine certain older arts (particularly with heavy weapons), you would see straightforward training that helped eliminate much of that yet you will only see sparse references to terminology.
All of this points to common attributes that demonstrate a connected body and they were trained as such. While some shared common references and teachings, others, had the teaching but not the terminology.
Cheers
Dan

graham christian
07-21-2011, 03:46 PM
Mmmm. I'm glad you said that Dan. That tells me all I need to know.

Cheers.

Regards.G.

gregstec
07-21-2011, 03:48 PM
what are the eight directions?

Jason,

Being an old Ki Society guy, I thought that would be obvious to you. In my recollection, there was a happo undo drill in Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. The eight directions are all on the horizontal plane and they rotate around as in a compass 45 degrees apart. The undo can be done with bokken as in happo giri or without weapons as in happo ikkyo.

Greg

gregstec
07-21-2011, 03:54 PM
Jason,

Being an old Ki Society guy, I thought that would be obvious to you. In my recollection, there was a happo undo drill in Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. The eight directions are all on the horizontal plane and they rotate around as in a compass 45 degrees apart. The undo can be done with bokken as in happo giri or without weapons as in happo ikkyo.

Greg

Just saw that Graham answered before me - mental note: read all remaining posts before posting :)

Greg

chillzATL
07-21-2011, 03:59 PM
Jason,

Being an old Ki Society guy, I thought that would be obvious to you. In my recollection, there was a happo undo drill in Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. The eight directions are all on the horizontal plane and they rotate around as in a compass 45 degrees apart. The undo can be done with bokken as in happo giri or without weapons as in happo ikkyo.

Greg

I wasn't even thinking in direction (see what I did there :D )!. I was thinking it some derivation of six directions as was being mentioned and not THAT eight directions. Apart from the undo that we do before every class we most commonly do it as the eight move jo kata.

DH
07-21-2011, 05:07 PM
Mmmm. I'm glad you said that Dan. That tells me all I need to know.

Cheers.

Regards.G.
It's pretty cut and dry, Graham. Neither your "opinion" or mine, matters much. Uesbiba knew what he was talking about and it is matched in the other arts he considered. Happo giri is external and is in koratee as well as a host of arts that have not one thing to do with aiki.
Dan

graham christian
07-21-2011, 05:44 PM
It's pretty cut and dry, Graham. Neither your "opinion" or mine, matters much. Uesbiba knew what he was talking about and it is matched in the other arts he considered. Happo giri is external and is in koratee as well as a host of arts that have not one thing to do with aiki.
Dan

Who's talking Aiki? I'm talking AIKIDO.

I will never use such terminology as internal and external. I find it limited.

You stick to your AIKI and I'll stick to my Aikido.

I watched a short video explaining aiki only yesterday. Never seen that one before. As with many martial arts I find them interesting in their own way. Not my way though. So enjoy and do well in your way. All this significance is boring.

Regards.G.

gregstec
07-21-2011, 06:26 PM
I wasn't even thinking in direction (see what I did there :D )!. I was thinking it some derivation of six directions as was being mentioned and not THAT eight directions. Apart from the undo that we do before every class we most commonly do it as the eight move jo kata.

Yeah, after I posted I kind of figured that was where your head was - I believe Graham was referring to an external movement direction and you were thinking internal energy direction - both being a subject of directions, but totally different things altogether - it is important that all in the conversation have the same point of reference so things do not get out of context :)

However, with all that said, it is possible to have the internal six direction energies with the external happo directions - let's see, that would make it the 24 direction undo :D Actually, and IMO, that should be the proper focus of the happo undo - moving in those eight directions while maintaining the six internal energy extensions.

Greg

gregstec
07-21-2011, 06:30 PM
Who's talking Aiki? I'm talking AIKIDO.

I will never use such terminology as internal and external. I find it limited.

You stick to your AIKI and I'll stick to my Aikido.

I watched a short video explaining aiki only yesterday. Never seen that one before. As with many martial arts I find them interesting in their own way. Not my way though. So enjoy and do well in your way. All this significance is boring.

Regards.G.

Graham, buddy, step back and just look at what you said - you just segregated aiki from Aikido - if there is no aiki in Aikido, there is no Aikido since Aikido is the way of aiki.:eek:

Greg

Gerardo Torres
07-21-2011, 06:32 PM
Thank you Dan and Hunter for the information, I wasn't much aware of the complimentary eight-direction model. So if I understand correctly in addition to the six orthogonal XYZ vectors (six harmonies), this model accounts for eight directions from the origin through the center (e.g. phi 45, theta 45) of each octant of the sphere.

gregstec
07-21-2011, 06:42 PM
Thank you Dan and Hunter for the information, I wasn't much aware of the complimentary eight-direction model. So if I understand correctly in addition to the six orthogonal XYZ vectors (six harmonies), this model accounts for eight directions from the origin through the center (e.g. phi 45, theta 45) of each octant of the sphere.

Hi Gerardo, thanks for presenting more complexity into an already complex point :) IMO, the six directions are simply base points of reference for extension of energy from the center - in reality, there are multiple six directional opposing forces in the X,Y,Z dimensions as we move. Now that should be clear as mud to all :)

Greg

graham christian
07-21-2011, 06:51 PM
Graham, buddy, step back and just look at what you said - you just segregated aiki from Aikido - if there is no aiki in Aikido, there is no Aikido since Aikido is the way of aiki.:eek:

Greg

Hi Greg.
Depends on your definition of Aiki or come to that Aikido. I segregated the Aiki being mentioned from my Aikido yes. For those who want that type of Aiki, good.

If you step back you'll find there's no 'do' in it.ha,ha.

Cordially.G.

gregstec
07-21-2011, 07:06 PM
Hi Greg.
Depends on your definition of Aiki or come to that Aikido. I segregated the Aiki being mentioned from my Aikido yes. For those who want that type of Aiki, good.

If you step back you'll find there's no 'do' in it.ha,ha.

Cordially.G.

Well, buddy, we have been down this difference of perception path before, so, no need to bore the rest of the folks here with our back and forth on the points - so, live and let live - and the best to you :)

Greg

graham christian
07-21-2011, 07:13 PM
Well, buddy, we have been down this difference of perception path before, so, no need to bore the rest of the folks here with our back and forth on the points - so, live and let live - and the best to you :)

Greg

Quite. That's why your comment surprised me. Thought it was deja vu.

Regards.G.

gregstec
07-21-2011, 07:42 PM
Quite. That's why your comment surprised me. Thought it was deja vu.

Regards.G.

Just did not realize our differences were as basic as no aiki in Aikido - that is all :)

Greg

robin_jet_alt
07-21-2011, 07:48 PM
what are the eight directions?

From a linguistic perspective, I think 8 directions has been slightly lost in translation. While the Japanese happo (八方) does technically mean 8 directions, it is usually used to mean 360 degrees, particularly in older language. You see it in terms like happo-bijin (八方美人), which is a person who tries to please everyone, and as such, ends up being unreliable. They do not try to please people in 8 specific directions.

I would also like to make a small comment on this mini-feud between Marc and Dan. I don't know either of you, and I don't know how good you are. Quite frankly I don't care. I'm quite sure that you are both much more skilled than I am at any rate. However, I wouldn't want to train with either of you, if you are going to get into this sort of exchange on the internet.

graham christian
07-21-2011, 07:53 PM
Just did not realize our differences were as basic as no aiki in Aikido - that is all :)

Greg

Oh dear. Plenty of Ai and plenty of Ki. All following a path. Thus plenty of Aiki.

Thought you knew that. Oh well. Back to my writing.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-21-2011, 08:05 PM
From a linguistic perspective, I think 8 directions has been slightly lost in translation. While the Japanese happo (八方) does technically mean 8 directions, it is usually used to mean 360 degrees, particularly in older language. You see it in terms like happo-bijin (八方美人), which is a person who tries to please everyone, and as such, ends up being unreliable. They do not try to please people in 8 specific directions.

I would also like to make a small comment on this mini-feud between Marc and Dan. I don't know either of you, and I don't know how good you are. Quite frankly I don't care. I'm quite sure that you are both much more skilled than I am at any rate. However, I wouldn't want to train with either of you, if you are going to get into this sort of exchange on the internet.

Robin. That's interesting but as I said it leads to all directions, the body getting used to it etc. as in 360degrees. Remember this is the way its used in this particular subject, ie: Aikido and thus comes under it's nomanclature.

I believe there is a term called happo-baraki within Aikido which means to be totally aware of ones surroundings when used in Aikido, hence my reference to zanshin.

One more minor detail, if you don't want to start a little feud of your own I would suggest you remove the name Marc from the above. A genuine mistake.

Regards.G.

robin_jet_alt
07-21-2011, 08:15 PM
oops... it won't let me edit it. Sorry I got confused with the names. I meant you Graham :D although I think Marc has been standing to the side fanning the flames. In any case, it is unbecoming for all three of you.

hughrbeyer
07-21-2011, 10:06 PM
oops... it won't let me edit it. Sorry I got confused with the names. I meant you Graham :D although I think Marc has been standing to the side fanning the flames. In any case, it is unbecoming for all three of you.

I must be weird.

These are the threads I learn something from. There's no shame in disagreeing, and none in disagreeing vehemently. This stuff matters, right? You care about it? So why should disagreements not be vehement?

So we now know that Graham's 8 directions have nothing to do with Dan's 6 directions, yes? Because they don't at a minimum even consider the up/down dimension. Doesn't that seem of some passing interest to you?

And the spirals that Graham talks about, the external spirals visible in sankyo, have nothing to do with the spirals formed through the body that Dan talks about? (Dan will correct me in his usual gentle fashion, if I misrepresent him. :freaky: ) Isn't that an important thing to know?

Dan's discussion of what he sees in Graham's videos? (Sorry, Graham-san, you're being used as data here, nothing to do with you personally.) Pure gold. I quote:


shifting weight side to side, one side weighted
using the hips and shoulders in-line for power and not dantian
rocking on his feet from load


Good, great, let me start looking for that, not least in my own technique.

And this: "Were you to examine certain older arts (particularly with heavy weapons), you would see straightforward training that helped eliminate much of that" -- Which I'm now connecting with my sword training and thinking: hmmm.

Arigato goma-somethingorother to all the participants and please, continue.

chillzATL
07-21-2011, 10:19 PM
Hugh,

You two can't be too far away from each other. If Dan would have you, you should find the time to make it over his way and check it out first hand. Save yourself a lot of wondering and wandering.

hughrbeyer
07-21-2011, 10:28 PM
No wondering, no wandering. I've met Dan and regularly train with people who train with him. I just take every opportunity to squeeze the sponge. :-)

Lee Salzman
07-21-2011, 11:07 PM
So we now know that Graham's 8 directions have nothing to do with Dan's 6 directions, yes? Because they don't at a minimum even consider the up/down dimension. Doesn't that seem of some passing interest to you?


If it were just a matter of adding jumping-jacks to happo-undo, would it be an important point of discussion at all? One is talking about directions of stabilization or force generation that come in pairs - i.e. for some parts to extend up in space, others must extend down against something, or for some parts to sink down with the aid of gravity, other parts must rise up. The other is talking about just a movement exercise. They're just not on the same page, entirely different chapters of the book.

hughrbeyer
07-22-2011, 05:59 AM
If it were just a matter of adding jumping-jacks to happo-undo, would it be an important point of discussion at all?

No, and if it were a matter of adding pink fluffy boas to your Aikido waza, it wouldn't be important either. Since it's not, it is.

They're just not on the same page, entirely different chapters of the book.

Which is what I picked up from the discussion. Maybe obvious in retrospect, but it does mean that if you say, "6 directions, 8 directions, whatever" you really don't know what you're talking about.

Lee Salzman
07-22-2011, 06:20 AM
Which is what I picked up from the discussion. Maybe obvious in retrospect, but it does mean that if you say, "6 directions, 8 directions, whatever" you really don't know what you're talking about.

What is funny is despite both terms referencing different things entirely, they both represent a bias towards the artificial delineation of the body. It's more important how they are being utilized than which ones you choose and eventually you have to graduate to all the spaces between. You need to start somewhere but can't rely on beginner crutches forever. So, 6 directions, 8 directions, whatever, eh?

phitruong
07-22-2011, 07:36 AM
thought i throw in my experience with the so-called "moving with your center". it was not at an aikido dojo. it was a place dear and near to my heart, the all-you-can-eat buffet for $10.99. they have various lines for different type of folks. as usual, i made a bee line toward the vegetarian lover looking for a good juicy piece of blood dripping steak (methink i have some Genghis Khan blood in my vein somewhere). a lady, with a plate of mash potato and other stuffs on it, stood in my way and glared at me.

she: "what do you think you doing?"
me: "getting some steak!!??"
she (eyes burn into my skull): "the LINE IS BACK THERE!!!"
me (now i know i am in trouble but still hang in there): "i thought the line is here!"
she (extended her plate and started to push toward me): "it's not! get back there! i have been waiting here for 10 minutes now and you can't just walk up and cut in line! what do you think you are!"

at this point in time, other ladies of the vegetarian lovers glared at me and started to push their plates out in front of them and pushed me back. it started to get ugly. the kind of ugly that the good and the bad want to get the heck out of victoria's secret and don't even care if there is secret or not. so as a martial arts student/journeyman, and someone who is versed in the art of war, i used the last and greatest strategy: run away!.... run away! so i shuffled a retreat and head toward the salad bar line. lucky for me, those green lovers were a bunch of push over, who preferred to get out of the way and only grimaced indignant which didn't bother me none.

so anyone who wanted to see moving with your center in action, try to cut into the vegetarian lover line at the local buffet. :D

Marc Abrams
07-22-2011, 07:54 AM
oops... it won't let me edit it. Sorry I got confused with the names. I meant you Graham :D although I think Marc has been standing to the side fanning the flames. In any case, it is unbecoming for all three of you.

Robin:

The wonderful thing about the internet is that people can say anything. The awful thing about the internet is that people can say anything.

I always recommend that people try a class at what ever dojo they are considering training at. Preformed opinions regarding styles and teachers are simply that, much like the good and bad about the internet. Being up close and personal about one's own experiences provides a truth beyond words.

About myself, I was raised in an environment in which the most important aspect of a person's character was to be able to stand up for what you say and NEVER hide behind your words. I have no problem acknowledging when I am right or wrong. I have no problem calling people to task when what they say or do does not hold up to the stink test. I guess that makes me quite politically incorrect and I enjoy being in that space. As to people training in my school, I am sure some of them might even be reading this, I will let them chime in if they want. I think that most people would describe my dojo as being a very friendly, honest, irreverent place, where a true sense of a caring community is obvious and evident.

Heck, I am even in Japan a couple of times a year. If you want to meet me in person (first round is always on me), knock yourself out. You would then have an opportunity to post about a real-life encounter, rather than from the comfort of the internet zone.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Lee Salzman
07-22-2011, 08:58 AM
as usual, i made a bee line toward the vegetarian lover looking for a good juicy piece of blood dripping steak

.. Whoosh (the sound of that punchline going way over my head until the end).


she (eyes burn into my skull): "the LINE IS BACK THERE!!!"
me (now i know i am in trouble but still hang in there): "i thought the line is here!"
she (extended her plate and started to push toward me): "it's not! get back there!"


That... sounds too eerily like some training sessions I have undergone. Just sayin. :D

graham christian
07-22-2011, 09:41 AM
I must be weird.

These are the threads I learn something from. There's no shame in disagreeing, and none in disagreeing vehemently. This stuff matters, right? You care about it? So why should disagreements not be vehement?

So we now know that Graham's 8 directions have nothing to do with Dan's 6 directions, yes? Because they don't at a minimum even consider the up/down dimension. Doesn't that seem of some passing interest to you?

And the spirals that Graham talks about, the external spirals visible in sankyo, have nothing to do with the spirals formed through the body that Dan talks about? (Dan will correct me in his usual gentle fashion, if I misrepresent him. :freaky: ) Isn't that an important thing to know?

Dan's discussion of what he sees in Graham's videos? (Sorry, Graham-san, you're being used as data here, nothing to do with you personally.) Pure gold. I quote:


shifting weight side to side, one side weighted
using the hips and shoulders in-line for power and not dantian
rocking on his feet from load


Good, great, let me start looking for that, not least in my own technique.

And this: "Were you to examine certain older arts (particularly with heavy weapons), you would see straightforward training that helped eliminate much of that" -- Which I'm now connecting with my sword training and thinking: hmmm.

Arigato goma-somethingorother to all the participants and please, continue.

Hi Hugh.
No offence taken. I'm glad people have a chance to see differences, even if there are some false representations in there.

A little bit of banter don't hurt, especially between those of different views.

Take that view of my explanation as external and rocking, hips and shoulder blah, shifting weight side to side. Ha, ha, what a joke.

This is meant to be an expert view? It shows me only where the observer is.

As I've said before, if you are limited by this internal/external view you will not be able to see for you're looking from the wrong viewpoint.

I am generally opposite in personality to those who contest what I say. I don't generally boast about things, boast how great this is and how wrong that is. In fact when it comes to promotion of what I do I'm at the other end of the scale.

This is all experimental to me, seeing what the Aikido scene is out there and the various views and scenes. I find it fascinating.

Each week my friends ask me what's been happening on happening on the Aikiweb. I give them an update and we have a laugh. Some tune in to have a look, only one has joined, but generally they too find it fascinating. Not in a bad way or a good way but more in an interesting way.

It's all good.

Regards.G.

jonreading
07-22-2011, 10:01 AM
The more I train in some of the softer stuff, the more I appreciate the vertical axis of movement. Specifically, the use of the vertical axis in uprooting my partner's balance.

Some of the center building exercises we have do not build our centers, I think. Hasso undo, happo giri, tori fune, zeppo undo, etc. We've seen 'em, but are they building our center? I remember one of Saotome Sensei's invite seminars for new black belts. He walks out onto to mat and asks, "Everyone know hasso undo?" he then proceeds to crank through the stance changes at great speed. Very few people on the mat could replicate the exercise at the pace Sensei established. Why? They had terrible balance, rocking, poor weight distribution, you name it. After watching a few minutes he simply said, "you do not know hasso undo." It stuck with me.

Moving from our center is critical to aikido. Creating a unified body structure that is is critical to aikido. My instructor taught us building exercises; he called them kiai exercises. They were not soft, they were not delicate. We did atemi. These exercises were mechanically precise kata that taught us to focus our energy as we moved. We used precise atemi to help understand and remember where we should focus our energy. We postured our bodies to receive weight loads as we shifted our partner's weight onto ours. It was his opinion that before we could worry about joining our energy with something, we needed to learn how to control it.

As for the original post, our bodies need a structure. "Relax" is a poor term to describe our posture. It is used in the spirit of not using muscle, but most of us picture a La z Boy chair and remote. I like "natural" because it implies enough structure to comfortably stand. Structure is the term I use to describe mechanics of the posture (hanmi) we assume. My instructor would say, stand like you could hold the weight of a heavy beach ball in your hands. Back straight, shoulders down, the natural curve of the arm directed toward the spine, arms extended to support top weight. Your posture should be vibrant.
The structure needs to create a space and maintain that space from intrusion. Limp structure will always yield to kiai; martially, if you yield your space your opponent moves inside embusen and know you have to contend with the fact they can affect your body. Just because we do not practice beating the c$%p out of each other does not mean we can ignore when the situation allows.

I liked my training of kiai before aiki. I think while a slower road it both gave me a solid foundation and the education to realize how and why things can get smaller and softer. It is also why I like to explore some of the other arts and the exercises they offer. I am impressed when I grab someone who is solid. I can feel they control their balance and my balance. And when I can trust those people to take my balance and respect my body I enjoy the ukemi all the more.

And for the record. The BS of ignoring martial tradition because we cannot make it work is ridiculous.There are right and wrong ways to do exercises, techniques, etc. There is aiki; it is not different colors or interpretations or whatever. Takahashi Sensei's post on aikido prompted me to think more about this. I cannot validate "aiki" that does not work on anyone, all of the time. I cannot validate one's aikido that only works in their dojo, on their students. Something is wrong when our technique does not work on anyone. Something is wrong when we cannot blend with anyone. Something is wrong when our exercises are not teaching us something. Occluding our failings as something other than what they are directly goes against the academic pursuit of studying aiki. Somewhere I can faintly hear Pee Wee Herman saying, "I meant to do that..."

graham christian
07-22-2011, 10:13 AM
If it were just a matter of adding jumping-jacks to happo-undo, would it be an important point of discussion at all? One is talking about directions of stabilization or force generation that come in pairs - i.e. for some parts to extend up in space, others must extend down against something, or for some parts to sink down with the aid of gravity, other parts must rise up. The other is talking about just a movement exercise. They're just not on the same page, entirely different chapters of the book.

Lee.
Obviously you think that for you are used to that particular view.
When you then assume what I say equals x then you are way off the mark.

Yes, the eight direction exercises are linear directions, from centre may I add, and are done for the reasons given. How does that equal no up or down dynamic?

To me for beginners and maybe others further along the line that may be true but obvious because they are learning. But the key is in the word centre.

If you are truly aware of centre then you will truly aware of a whole sphere, space, three dimentional. When this is normal to you then such comments wouldn't be made would they?

Centre, the reality of which leads to many understandings. I could write a whole chapter on that one thing.

Take the eight direction sword cut exercise. What happens when you cut in a straight line? The sword is cutting down in a straight line you may say. Well now look at the tip of the sword. It is cutting in a circle. It's almost 'drawing' a circle. Space.

Now do that exercise thousands of times and learn many things. Eventually you will understand what centre feels like for you will feel like you are just a centre having fun cutting through the universe. All else disappears. Thoughts of heavyness of sword or body mechanics or shoulders or feet or correct posture by that time have all been overcome and now it's just what it is, eight direction sword cut. Now just sit back and watch others debate it and say this and that about it and smile.

Regards.G.

robin_jet_alt
07-22-2011, 10:32 AM
Robin:

Heck, I am even in Japan a couple of times a year. If you want to meet me in person (first round is always on me), knock yourself out. You would then have an opportunity to post about a real-life encounter, rather than from the comfort of the internet zone.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Hi Marc. Let me know when you are here. Lets get some ramen or something.

DH
07-22-2011, 10:44 AM
All I see you doing Graham is beng contrary about anything that is curiously a known deeper understanding. I haven't seen it go to any useful purpose. or you offering anything of value in return.
An example is your obvious lack of retaining center in movement and then defending it by saying we, as experienced observers, don't see the benefit of your falling apart, or denying that you do.

As Jon pointed out in Saotome's example, no one could replicate Saotome's moving at speed while retaining central balance. This is done (in part) by maintaining contradictory forces in a way you have not expressed an understanding of, nor display in your movement Six directions as expressed by your founder, has nothing to do with what you are talking about. We have watched you fall apart in slow movement. It is what it is. Just say you're happy with what you. Trying to state there is a good reason for it, or it didn't happen is a bit ridiculous.

You, can fantasize, assume, guess, try to re create or whatever you want to try to do to that age old model. A model that is already within what Tohei was teaching, it just isn't about cutting in different directions! I would suggest you embrace it as it will aid you in fixing your aikido.

I've seen it before, It's not knew to me. I've talked with Shihan who missed what their Japanese teacher had to say and were quite livid with me for pointing it out...furious even. Then we met and touched hands. Now they understand and are quite delighted to be keying in and understanding where and how the terminology meets the movement. All of this is bigger, grander, than a few people playing around experimenting, Graham.
Saotome, Ikeda, and others under them and some under, Chiba, Yamada, Imaizumi, and Suwata, realize this. I don't see them adopting the lessor path but are instead trying to get people to join the world of deeper martial understanding.

In the real world everyone doesn't get an "A" and people are better at things than others. It's how we grow, there's no shame in it. being too timid to compete or to be exposed leads to the lowest common denominator not the best we can be. This idea you have of all views being equal didn't work out for those trying to copy Saotome did it? Nor will it work for you when you meet someone who trains like many of us are training. You will fail to be able to do anything to them and they will have you on contact. All your theories and ideas will go out the window on that day.
Why? For retaining central equilibrium and absorbing energy and casting it aside or cutting through, for blending with an opponent....this way is superior. That's why your founder, as did his teacher before him as did Asians for many generations before them, all choose to train this way too.

Dan

Lee Salzman
07-22-2011, 11:00 AM
Lee.
Obviously you think that for you are used to that particular view.
When you then assume what I say equals x then you are way off the mark.

Yes, the eight direction exercises are linear directions, from centre may I add, and are done for the reasons given. How does that equal no up or down dynamic?

To me for beginners and maybe others further along the line that may be true but obvious because they are learning. But the key is in the word centre.

If you are truly aware of centre then you will truly aware of a whole sphere, space, three dimentional. When this is normal to you then such comments wouldn't be made would they?

Centre, the reality of which leads to many understandings. I could write a whole chapter on that one thing.

Take the eight direction sword cut exercise. What happens when you cut in a straight line? The sword is cutting down in a straight line you may say. Well now look at the tip of the sword. It is cutting in a circle. It's almost 'drawing' a circle. Space.

Now do that exercise thousands of times and learn many things. Eventually you will understand what centre feels like for you will feel like you are just a centre having fun cutting through the universe. All else disappears. Thoughts of heavyness of sword or body mechanics or shoulders or feet or correct posture by that time have all been overcome and now it's just what it is, eight direction sword cut. Now just sit back and watch others debate it and say this and that about it and smile.

Regards.G.

In a way, I'm on your side in the regards of "six" vs. "eight" more than you know, man. I was just trying to spell out clearly what was not being said, what was different about what you guys were talking about, since no one seemed to be saying it. Didn't mean that there is no up-down element to movement exercises, just that the "six" are specifically laying out that that is present and how to bring about its presence, whereas the "eight" are an application or playground in which to test them. In that play you can better understand the nature of the "six", but the wider the play the wider the understanding because you look at the same problem through more and more lenses until one day hopefully you can approach universal understanding of the problem, rather than just being the proverbial blind man feeling up only the elephant's trunk. That is why "eight" feels limiting to me. That is why "six" feels limiting to me. They are mental ruts. I can do one thing a thousand times, but my understanding will be very specialized to that one thing, or I can do that thing a thousand different ways one time to arrive at an understanding that unifies them all.

But kinda riffing on what you are pointing out about the sword, the shapes our bodies are describing in space does not really articulate where we are sending our power at any given time. So just because all your body is not moving up (or postured up) does not mean power can't be going up, and just because your body is moving up (or postured up) that doesn't mean your power is necessarily going up. Your body may describe an arc, but the power may be straight. Your body may describe a straight line, but your power may be going in an arc. So what if the sword is a flexible spear, and you are it - one unified thing? How do you wield yourself?

Gerardo Torres
07-22-2011, 11:34 AM
Hi Gerardo, thanks for presenting more complexity into an already complex point :) IMO, the six directions are simply base points of reference for extension of energy from the center - in reality, there are multiple six directional opposing forces in the X,Y,Z dimensions as we move. Now that should be clear as mud to all :)

Greg
Hi Greg,

Us nerds can't help throwing some spherical coordinates whenever we can :D. I agree, these are just reference models. I just wanted to understand the basic models - the technical language - so I know what's being discussed next time I see them mentioned (6-directions, 8-directions, etc.). As far as moving while keeping harmonies... for me it's hard enough to keep them while static! :o

Mike Sigman
07-22-2011, 12:11 PM
As Jon pointed out in Saotome's example, no one could replicate Saotome's moving at speed while retaining central balance. This is done (in part) by maintaining contradictory forces in a way you have not expressed an understanding of, nor display in your movement Is this what Saotome himself says he is doing? If not, are you *sure* this is what Saotome is doing?

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-22-2011, 12:28 PM
All I see you doing Graham is beng contrary about anything that is curiously a known deeper understanding. I haven't seen it go to any useful purpose. or you offering anything of value in return.
An example is your obvious lack of retaining center in movement and then defending it by saying we, as experienced observers, don't see the benefit of your falling apart, or denying that you do.

As Jon pointed out in Saotome's example, no one could replicate Saotome's moving at speed while retaining central balance. This is done (in part) by maintaining contradictory forces in a way you have not expressed an understanding of, nor display in your movement Six directions as expressed by your founder, has nothing to do with what you are talking about. We have watched you fall apart in slow movement. It is what it is. Just say you're happy with what you. Trying to state there is a good reason for it, or it didn't happen is a bit ridiculous.

You, can fantasize, assume, guess, try to re create or whatever you want to try to do to that age old model. A model that is already within what Tohei was teaching, it just isn't about cutting in different directions! I would suggest you embrace it as it will aid you in fixing your aikido.

I've seen it before, It's not knew to me. I've talked with Shihan who missed what their Japanese teacher had to say and were quite livid with me for pointing it out...furious even. Then we met and touched hands. Now they understand and are quite delighted to be keying in and understanding where and how the terminology meets the movement. All of this is bigger, grander, than a few people playing around experimenting, Graham.
Saotome, Ikeda, and others under them and some under, Chiba, Yamada, Imaizumi, and Suwata, realize this. I don't see them adopting the lessor path but are instead trying to get people to join the world of deeper martial understanding.

In the real world everyone doesn't get an "A" and people are better at things than others. It's how we grow, there's no shame in it. being too timid to compete or to be exposed leads to the lowest common denominator not the best we can be. This idea you have of all views being equal didn't work out for those trying to copy Saotome did it? Nor will it work for you when you meet someone who trains like many of us are training. You will fail to be able to do anything to them and they will have you on contact. All your theories and ideas will go out the window on that day.
Why? For retaining central equilibrium and absorbing energy and casting it aside or cutting through, for blending with an opponent....this way is superior. That's why your founder, as did his teacher before him as did Asians for many generations before them, all choose to train this way too.

Dan

Dan. That's your 'expert' opinion? On me?

You're welcome to it.

I do contribute on many issues thank you.

You've seen many things before.

I've seen many things before. So what?

I don't name drop, I don't need to. Every person who I helped improve their Aikido or indeed other martial art had a teacher. Every teacher had a teacher. So what. It means nothing to me.

I'm not into this is better than that Dan.

I'm not into proving superiority either.

No doubt you see that as a failing. I see it as a way.

Maybe you feel you have something to offer me from which I would benefit. Good for you. You must think I'm dumb if you feel you have to insist all the time. Good for you.

You forget one thing. I choose as and when I need something.

All this everyone gets an A business? I don't have a clue what you're on about, maybe I missed that discussion.

Your obviously certain about your way. Good for you.

For me I know my path. I'm good at it too. I've never failed to improve someone no matter how many gold stars they have. So what? Does that make me superior or right or holder of the secrets? No. It means nothing to me. It's just my path and that's all.

As I said, you enjoy your world and have fun.

Regards.G.

gregstec
07-22-2011, 12:30 PM
Hi Greg,

Us nerds can't help throwing some spherical coordinates whenever we can :D. I agree, these are just reference models. I just wanted to understand the basic models - the technical language - so I know what's being discussed next time I see them mentioned (6-directions, 8-directions, etc.). As far as moving while keeping harmonies... for me it's hard enough to keep them while static! :o

Hi Gerardo,

I had an idea where you were coming from, just wanted to sling some stuff out there for the fun of it :D

I know what you mean about keeping the harmonies, but that is why we train :)

Greg

graham christian
07-22-2011, 01:26 PM
In a way, I'm on your side in the regards of "six" vs. "eight" more than you know, man. I was just trying to spell out clearly what was not being said, what was different about what you guys were talking about, since no one seemed to be saying it. Didn't mean that there is no up-down element to movement exercises, just that the "six" are specifically laying out that that is present and how to bring about its presence, whereas the "eight" are an application or playground in which to test them. In that play you can better understand the nature of the "six", but the wider the play the wider the understanding because you look at the same problem through more and more lenses until one day hopefully you can approach universal understanding of the problem, rather than just being the proverbial blind man feeling up only the elephant's trunk. That is why "eight" feels limiting to me. That is why "six" feels limiting to me. They are mental ruts. I can do one thing a thousand times, but my understanding will be very specialized to that one thing, or I can do that thing a thousand different ways one time to arrive at an understanding that unifies them all.

But kinda riffing on what you are pointing out about the sword, the shapes our bodies are describing in space does not really articulate where we are sending our power at any given time. So just because all your body is not moving up (or postured up) does not mean power can't be going up, and just because your body is moving up (or postured up) that doesn't mean your power is necessarily going up. Your body may describe an arc, but the power may be straight. Your body may describe a straight line, but your power may be going in an arc. So what if the sword is a flexible spear, and you are it - one unified thing? How do you wield yourself?

Wow Lee. I like the post. Even when I came to this forum I found it strange that so many 'experts' attacked and told me what I need etc. yet no one actually asked much at all.

To do with the cutting and understanding from a universal point of view. When I or some of my compatriots see explanations all related to body, including pathways in the body, we smile and recognise the view as being very 'physical'

When I give instruction I know what I say will be translated very 'physically' for that is the frame of reference people have. Therein lies the challenge of transmitting certain principles of Aikido.

As you say the motions of the 'body' going up and down. I'm not actually talking about the body only. When I mention space I'm not only talking about physical space. I'm talking physical space, spiritual space and universal space, awareness of in the present moment.

So when you say the shapes our bodies are describing in space does not show where we are sending our power I wouldn't agree.

From how I view it's almost opposiite to what your saying there. Why? Because the shapes of the body are the result of what you are doing space and energy wise and thus knowing the ways of space and energy you can see what's happening even by just looking at the body movement or shape.

Add to this you can feel way before any touching happens.

Too much attention only on the body shape equalling where the power is going will eventually lead to confusion for you will find the body shape seemed to be saying one thing yet the power was going a different way. Hence the need to understand the principles rather than the physical only.

Bringing a flexible spear into the equasion is interesting too.

Flexible. Now we enter into an area I call 'tricks' as far as my Aikido goes. We enter into the field of energy waves. You could develop a whole way of the spear or jo based on this. Thus you would have wavelengths and vibrations etc. No doubt you would even have to develop a flexible frame to suit.

By tricks I don't mean something that isn't effective or even useful but it's too limited for me.

To go all shaolin on you I would say a snake uses this as it's one major weapon.

Regards.G.

Brad Gould
07-22-2011, 02:43 PM
However, I wouldn't want to train with either of you, if you are going to get into this sort of exchange on the internet.

While we've certainly drifted off topic, I saw this and felt that I should comment.

I am one of Marc Abrams Sensei's students, and I feel very fortunate to train with him. Not only is Marc Sensei both a caring teacher and individual, he can be counted on by his students in or out of the dojo. He strives to improve himself and his students, and has brought very tallented martial artists and teachers to the dojo. Also, he has no problem talking about his own areas for improvement. Thanks to Marc, this dojo is a place where ideas of aiki, teaching, or other concepts can be challenged and evaluated honestly with an open mind, and learned.

I'm glad to see you may be enjoying some ramen together.

Lee Salzman
07-23-2011, 07:31 AM
Wow Lee. I like the post. Even when I came to this forum I found it strange that so many 'experts' attacked and told me what I need etc. yet no one actually asked much at all.

To do with the cutting and understanding from a universal point of view. When I or some of my compatriots see explanations all related to body, including pathways in the body, we smile and recognise the view as being very 'physical'

When I give instruction I know what I say will be translated very 'physically' for that is the frame of reference people have. Therein lies the challenge of transmitting certain principles of Aikido.

As you say the motions of the 'body' going up and down. I'm not actually talking about the body only. When I mention space I'm not only talking about physical space. I'm talking physical space, spiritual space and universal space, awareness of in the present moment.

So when you say the shapes our bodies are describing in space does not show where we are sending our power I wouldn't agree.

From how I view it's almost opposiite to what your saying there. Why? Because the shapes of the body are the result of what you are doing space and energy wise and thus knowing the ways of space and energy you can see what's happening even by just looking at the body movement or shape.

Add to this you can feel way before any touching happens.

Too much attention only on the body shape equalling where the power is going will eventually lead to confusion for you will find the body shape seemed to be saying one thing yet the power was going a different way. Hence the need to understand the principles rather than the physical only.

Bringing a flexible spear into the equasion is interesting too.

Flexible. Now we enter into an area I call 'tricks' as far as my Aikido goes. We enter into the field of energy waves. You could develop a whole way of the spear or jo based on this. Thus you would have wavelengths and vibrations etc. No doubt you would even have to develop a flexible frame to suit.

By tricks I don't mean something that isn't effective or even useful but it's too limited for me.

To go all shaolin on you I would say a snake uses this as it's one major weapon.

Regards.G.

Snakes? You want snakes? I got your snakes here. :D

Perhaps not for the easily startled...
Snake 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrOv3Trsig0)
Snake 2 (http://vimeo.com/3504592)
Snake 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FPgrJ8111Y)
Snake 4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1M0Kk3zB-0)

The snake doesn't seem to need to worry about things like energy waves or vibrations but gets along just fine. But when you go back and watch these things in the view of quaint-sounding aphorisms like "when one part moves, all parts move", "form round, force straight", etc., the snake seems to get it without really having to waste any mental effort expounding on any of these things. The snake is not using its body like a whip or a bludgeon, not just on the way back out, but also on the way back in. This is probably closer to the reality of what our spines are, but at least throughout my aikido career, I was never shown to regard my spine and how it connects into the limbs as anything other than, well, a big giant stick.

graham christian
07-23-2011, 08:02 AM
Snakes? You want snakes? I got your snakes here. :D

Perhaps not for the easily startled...
Snake 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrOv3Trsig0)
Snake 2 (http://vimeo.com/3504592)
Snake 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FPgrJ8111Y)
Snake 4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1M0Kk3zB-0)

The snake doesn't seem to need to worry about things like energy waves or vibrations but gets along just fine. But when you go back and watch these things in the view of quaint-sounding aphorisms like "when one part moves, all parts move", "form round, force straight", etc., the snake seems to get it without really having to waste any mental effort expounding on any of these things. The snake is not using its body like a whip or a bludgeon, not just on the way back out, but also on the way back in. This is probably closer to the reality of what our spines are, but at least throughout my aikido career, I was never shown to regard my spine and how it connects into the limbs as anything other than, well, a big giant stick.

Ha, ha. Nicessssssssss.

When you see them move along the ground you'll see a wave going through the body.The snake is all rhythm and mesmerism. Anyway, looks like you like snakes so you probably like this one.

http://youtu.be/vdg9gkmWsEA

You ever watched lions and tigers? Lions go straight in, tigers especially against lions) tend to atemi and irimi.

Dogs, especially those little bullit headed ones tend to grab and shake but use their koshi (back of hips) with gravity to pull with power.

Then the eagles claw, mmm, like taking the wrist from a strike whilst doing tai-sabaki.

Ha, ha, we can call this the secrets of shaolin Aikido.

Regards.G.

DH
07-23-2011, 08:23 AM
Hmmm...you will notice how balanced they are in motion as well. What kind of animal moves like this? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRfJppQJcQ)
Just say'n
Dan

graham christian
07-23-2011, 08:37 AM
Hmmm...you will notice how balanced they are in motion as well. What kind of animal moves like this? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRfJppQJcQ)
Just say'n
Dan

Strange view on balance.

gregstec
07-23-2011, 09:28 AM
Strange view on balance.

So, Graham, buddy, what is your view on balance?

Thanks

Greg

ewolput
07-23-2011, 09:44 AM
hi all,
is this a joke or serious talking?
Anyway find here my definition of "moving with the centre"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxR-0DDhzik
It is the art of Gigolo Kano
I hope you enjoy it and I hope also you will practise this in your place.

Eddy

graham christian
07-23-2011, 10:11 AM
So, Graham, buddy, what is your view on balance?

Thanks

Greg

Hi Greg.
Basically the state of equilibrium my man. I think you'll find most definitions have something to do with 'equal' in them. In fact the root of the word is to do with 'two' (in fact two plates as in a set of scales)

So enough of that.

Being at one with Aikido wise is balance. Harmonizing with is also balance. Keeping centre whilst doing a breakfall is also balance. A flowing movement is also balance.

Thus it also relates to stability. A stable centre. A still mind. Naturally flowing Ki. Relaxed body. Loving space. Neutral centre line. Etc.

Or you could just concentrate on the physical and miss the multidimentional beauty of Aikido.

Need I say more?

Regards.G.

Lee Salzman
07-23-2011, 12:03 PM
hi all,
is this a joke or serious talking?
Anyway find here my definition of "moving with the centre"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxR-0DDhzik
It is the art of Gigolo Kano
I hope you enjoy it and I hope also you will practise this in your place.

Eddy

I can't tell if this is quite meant to be serious either. :)

Can anyone spot the difference between what the brave "Gigolo" is doing here and the snake, where his power is actually going, and how it is going differently, in these select moments?

Gigolo @ 55s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxR-0DDhzik&t=55)
Gigolo @ 105s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxR-0DDhzik&t=105)

Carsten Möllering
07-25-2011, 08:06 AM
When I was at a seminar w/ Ikeda Sensei a few months ago, for the first time, and after doing some solo IS exercises for a while, I found that it is explicitly what he is teaching, ...

I would second what Janet said. He is basically doing the same things, though IMO you'd have some difficulty figuring out what he's asking you to do without some previous IS/IP experience.
Thank you both! I actually have been at Ikeda senseis seminar and it was great!

He chose me several times as his uke in front of the class. So I could exactly feel what he was talking about and what he wanted to demonstrate.

Most things he wanted us to do, I could do, because what he teaches is very near to our practice!!! It was familiar to what I learned from Endo sensei. Even if he uses different words and sometimes different "images".
But you can "translate" those languages quite easy. (At least I think so.)

During the break I asked sensei for some basic exercises which can help to better understand what he teaches and learn his way, his "construction" of what he wanted us to do.
Regarding my practice with Endo sensei and also my own teaching I think such basic exercises, solo or with partner (not waza but just learning to organize ones body / and mind) are the key to a better understanding of what a certain teacher does and how he understands things like aiki, connection, doing kuzushi ...
So Ikeda sensei showed me some things I can practice for myself.

Thank you again for your advice!

JW
07-25-2011, 12:11 PM
Hi Carsten, it is really cool to hear how similar your experience with the teachings of Endo and Ikeda Senseis is a match. From videos, always thought this should be true, with additional matches with Tamura and Sunadomari senseis' teachings.

TheAikidoka
08-02-2011, 04:30 AM
I know I am not going to get this overnight and might take 4 years or so to figure this out... but I am not even making a tiny bit of progress with my hands. ( I know i shouldn't be moving with my hands and thus that is where moving from center comes into play. ) I am trying to do a slight amount of shikko stuff and also trying to do things that require me to lower my hamni stance. I am by no means discouraged or heartbroken that I haven't figured this out yet. I am a very determined person and that is why I am asking others for what they think. .

Dear mary, I can hear your determination & frustration :-)
It sound`s like your problem is two fold.

1
Do not do aikido with emphasis on hands, or feet, or shoulder`s or strength. Harmony and the eventual realization of moving from your centre is the most efficient way to create harmony, in an Aikido sense is to use complete body movements.
Put another way, using your example of tai no henko, Your hands must be on the centre line to deflect the in-coming enrgy downwards. You must enter with your foot, slightly lower the knees, and pivot and the front foot whilst turning you palms upwards. this is basically it. when done as a whole and not really thinking about it too much you will feel it with clarity, which leads me nicely on to my next point.

2
Conceptualization, everytime you practice you make progresss even if you dont see it or feel it, but I bet your instructors do. Dont be too hard on yourself, let progress come naturally through dilligent persistent training and it will come. I like the NIKE slogan, Just do it! my teacher repeated this phrase to me over and over and over again for about two years then one day whilst holding a sword practicing the first bokken suburi, and happo giri(eight directional cutting), bang it just hit me, its much easier to move using whole body movements. Its also easier to move another person too!
Too much thought on hands, too much thought on feet, too much thought on breathing, to much thought on blending, too much thought on enemy. Where is your Aikido? No mind

Andy B