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Mary Eastland
11-13-2011, 07:23 AM
There seems to be a crisis on some people's path that they they are trying to fix. Its seems like some people having been training for a long time and have not grown strong. That must be disconcerting and discouraging. Maybe it is what causes the level of nastiness that seems to rise up on these threads. Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something? Are you feeling cheated?

When the spiritual part of Aikido is missed, could it be that the internal part is missed also. Maybe there is more connection than you have been led to believe.

Every one of these threads turns into a discussion about Dan (no disrespect intended just an observation). I hear that Dan understands internal strength and can convey it. I am sure he can.

Does that make it okay for you (not you, Dan, others that speak for you) to disparage others' ways? With great strength comes great responsibility. Internal practice could cause internal inspection and responsibility for one's own thoughts and process.

Maybe as individuals you all think that you are expressing yourselves. But to me it comes across on here as lemmings repeating doctrine.

One of the reasons I am not interested in what Dan has to offer is because of how some people that train with him talk to others on here. Why would anyone want that? Real internal strength helps us think for ourselves. It helps us develop compassion and appreciation of diversity.

Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.

Our Path involves Ki development, Aikido waza and internal responsibility. We talk about it all the time on here. Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come. And then on here we are told we don't know what we are talking about. Only Mike and Dan have the "goods". How could anyone possibly know because none has come to our dojo to find out.

I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.

Lee Salzman
11-13-2011, 09:09 AM
Mary, it is absolutely fantastic that you found a clear path towards your ultimate development and have stuck with it! Congratulations!

Now, some of us have not been quite so lucky. I trained in various ASU clubs. By all means, the instructors were generally great people, and some of them were even quite skilled in some inarticulable way. But generally even amongst the ones that impressed me with what they can do, they could not concisely pass on what made them so skilled to others.

So, I went out and explored, in part due to discussions here that happened to resonate with my own personal disillusionment. That exploration happened both within my organization, amongst recommendations here, and other things totally off the map. Lo and behold, I found some amazing things, they widened my conception of what I was trying to achieve in my training beyond what I believed was even possible through training.

And you know what? Those things did not come from inside aikido or the holy trinity of Mike, Akuzawa, or Dan. All the same, both Akuzawa and Dan impressed the hell out of me, and Dan in particular probably remains one of the biggest influences on my current thoughts, despite only a few opportunities to train with him as of yet, because of the clarity and conciseness of his teaching relative to what I had encountered within my aikido career. And you know what else? Dan is not the biggest influence or most impressive teacher I have seen in my perhaps admittedly short decade-long martial career, as I alluded. But had I not trained with Dan, I would not have seen the significance of what I was able to discover elsewhere for what it is.

But there is something really important Dan hammered into me, not through repetition, but through poignancy of the moment in which it was discussed. And this was later tattooed deep in my brain by current teacher, by his example and by the philosophical underpinnings of what he was teaching, and why I try to avoid talking about him. On Dan's part it was, "Don't tell, show." On my teacher's part, it was simply that our abilities stand on their own, and it doesn't really matter who shows us what or where it came from, because we're not in this for lineage or obeisance, we are in this for ability, for performance. Our goal in our training is not blind allegiance to tools because some guy said so, but having the ability to analyze our own performance, diagnose problems, and fix them.

Talking about our teachers, Dan or otherwise, is pointless, and not just pointless, it is dumb, it can achieve nothing. We can either understand it well enough that we can describe our own understanding, or we're not contributing anything to the pool of understanding that wasn't already there from someone else. So when I see all these people talking about what their teacher can or can't do in the third person, I feel an empathic embarrassment, because I think our teachers would much rather be proud of our ability, rather than us proud of theirs. The kool-aid aspect of it disturbs me as much as anyone else.

But on the other hand, another poignant thing my teacher said to me in conversation (yes, I know, the irony is burning me to a crisp right now), was that there is no use in proving ourselves right. We should be doing everything we can to prove ourselves wrong, that's the point of training. Except, in this case, it is not a euphemism, it defined every aspect of my training for top to bottom. Every single tool of the training was defined to make me fail, so that I could figure out how not to fail. And when I have not been failing, I have been utterly stagnating.

To have have my failings pointed out all the time, so definitively, is a wondrous gift, and it just wasn't there in aikido. Had I just stuck to aikido, I would have probably been mildly convinced that I just had to keep trucking along with same old-same old, waiting for some elusive, subconscious spark of transformation to hit. I would have believed that the problem was not the way I was training, that there was just something wrong with me. But I much prefer being shown my failings on a regular basis, so that I can work through the process of transformation gradually and methodically, rather than stagnation.

But hey, if you think you've got everything so figured out that you no longer need to test the boundaries of what you know and explore new possibilities, more power to you! If only we all could live with such certainty.

hughrbeyer
11-13-2011, 09:54 AM
At least in my little part of the world, I don't think anyone thought something was missing from their Aikido. I don't think anyone was looking outside the Aikido world because they were dissatisfied, tho people did train outside of Aikido to broaden their knowledge as martial artists.

Certainly I spent a long time bouncing from dojo to dojo, dissatisfied with what I found. But then I found my current dojo and not only did Sensei knock my socks off, but all his students did too. I settled in there and was happy. Sensei has always been on a search for ways to improve his Aikido and is always mixing it up, but except in that general sense there was no feeling that we were missing something.

Then some guy came to one of my teacher's senior students and said, I met this amazing guy at a Tai Chi seminar, you should come train with him. And that student told my teacher the same thing. And my teacher told the rest of us.

So it was a recognition of something valuable that we wanted once we saw it, rather than a dissatisfaction with our existing practice that motivated pursuing the aiki training.

As for the language people use on the forum--well, this is a discussion forum. People do cross the line, sometimes. But think about it--if someone points out a flaw in your technique, are you insulted, or do you consider whether they're right? Howabout online? Are you going to refuse to listen because you don't like the way it's phrased? Sometimes truth hurts. Sometimes people are just being jerks. Sometimes the jerks are telling truths you need to listen to. What do you care more about, your art or your ego?

You may decide life is too short to deal with jerks, which is fine. But as Jesus said, the jerks will always be with you. Well, maybe not, but I think it was something like that. They're not going away no matter how often their failings are pointed out. So my take is that life is too short to fix the jerks. Take what they have to offer, enjoy their tirades, tolerate their failings. Walk away from the rest.

Janet Rosen
11-13-2011, 10:18 AM
Mary, I don't think searching for excellence is a crisis. There are in aikido as in painting, cooking, all firms of human endeavor, different types of people:
There are people who find a the right teacher for them and never feel an urge to explore outside that home dojo - they love to dig in deeper and deeper within the teaching that nourishes them. There are people who find the right teacher for them, but still have a drive to explore the related tangents that they become aware of, some of which may meaningfully inform what they do at home, some of which may be blind alleys, some may just be pleasant diversions.

I started training in 1996 and as soon as I joined aikido-L the predecessor to Aikiweb I wanted to explore! So many different people doing so many things under the umbrella of aikido! It's like when I first went to studio art school: how could I know I wanted to do printmaking if I didn't also try drawing, painting and sculpture?
What I found is that there are many different definitions of what cobstitutes Good Aikido depending on ones goals, priorities, personality type, etc. I also found that whether one is using Tohei's ki exercises or Yoshinkan's curriculum or whatever other model or "form" there is no guarantee that the individual teacher is able to do it or to transmit it. So when somebody tells me they are using a particular methodology (as in we do Ki exercises) it is helpful insofar as if we meet I know what training paradigm to expect but not insofar as whether we are defining or using terms Jo mean the same somatic experience.
Why don't people visit you? Well, why should we unless we happen to be passing thru? Have you ever come out to public seminars to play with others? That's how people meet and find likeminded friends. So when I travel there are people who I try to visit along the way because we've played together and I know I will learn and have fun if I visit. So if I were ever in your neck of the woods, Mary, I'd be happy to visit just as I've done so many dojos around this country over the years.

there are not that many people Ive met who can actually DO consistently the devastatingly soft but irresistible stuff I consider real aikido. I will continue to happily explore those fields wherever they grow as long as I can just as I continue to explore in art and other areas of my life. It's who and how I am.

gregstec
11-13-2011, 10:56 AM
There seems to be a crisis on some people's path that they they are trying to fix. Its seems like some people having been training for a long time and have not grown strong. That must be disconcerting and discouraging. Maybe it is what causes the level of nastiness that seems to rise up on these threads. Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something? Are you feeling cheated?

When the spiritual part of Aikido is missed, could it be that the internal part is missed also. Maybe there is more connection than you have been led to believe.

Every one of these threads turns into a discussion about Dan (no disrespect intended just an observation). I hear that Dan understands internal strength and can convey it. I am sure he can.

Does that make it okay for you (not you, Dan, others that speak for you) to disparage others' ways? With great strength comes great responsibility. Internal practice could cause internal inspection and responsibility for one's own thoughts and process.

Maybe as individuals you all think that you are expressing yourselves. But to me it comes across on here as lemmings repeating doctrine.

One of the reasons I am not interested in what Dan has to offer is because of how some people that train with him talk to others on here. Why would anyone want that? Real internal strength helps us think for ourselves. It helps us develop compassion and appreciation of diversity.

Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.

Our Path involves Ki development, Aikido waza and internal responsibility. We talk about it all the time on here. Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come. And then on here we are told we don't know what we are talking about. Only Mike and Dan have the "goods". How could anyone possibly know because none has come to our dojo to find out.

I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.

Hello Mary,

Lee brings up some very good and interesting points. First, I would just like to say that even though it may appear some of us are talking for Dan at times, that is really not the case - we are speaking for ourselves, and since we train with Dan, we generally have a like mind on the issues of IS so it appears we are saying the same thing. I also would like to say that for the most part, I do not think we disparage other ways (at least I try not to) but we do try to explain our points of view in a strong way sometimes, and some of us may not be as tactful as we could be at times doing that :) However, we all mean well and try to avoid confrontation when possible - but sometimes when pushed, we will push back - after all, we are martial artist you know, and we will defend when attack :) I know that can get ugly at times, and believe me, I do not like it as much as you and try to avoid it when I can, unfortunately, you can get sucked into it though.

Anyway, with that said, back to your questions. As Lee said, it is great that you have identified your path and are satisfied with the vehicle you have chosen to travel down that path - most people truly envy you because they are not that fortunate and are still looking for that special thing that will do the same for them.

Our backgrounds are very similar (Tohei) and I have had some private PMs with Ron on a couple topics and I am with him on his views and approach to most things. However, the thing that got me still looking was that I kept running across folks that said they had IS but really did not have anything special, so I kept looking. Started Daitoryu with Howard Popkins and some more things started to click with IS than I ever experienced in any Aikido dojo - and then I hooked up with Dan where even more things opened up. Sorry, I don't want this appear as a Dan commercial, but it is hard to talk about IS today and not mentioned him.

Now here is the part that I think will surprise a lot people - Dan's training is NOT all about the hard rock strong physical stuff that it appears to come across as - it is soft and mostly mental. And this is where I think the connection comes in that can relate to your internal training. Most folks think Dan does not believe in ki and does not teach it - WRONG! He just does not talk much about it in open forums because of the obvious potential to get out of hand :)

IMO, this is where his stuff has a true advantage to those that have a strong belief in ki and a coordinated mind and body - it gives you a head start in leaning more about how to use your control of ki to do more with your body, which will facilitate enhancement of any body movement within or outside of martial arts. Tohei's stuff provides a good foundation to build on but there is much more that can be added to that, and that is where Dan and others like him can come in.

As to why folks don't seek out you and Ron for your IS? Well, IMO, most folks look at you as just another Ki Society shop, and unfortunately, the Ki groups have gotten a bad reputation over the years, some deserve it and some don't. FWIW, I always recommend someone going to a Ki Society dojo to get started with mind and body coordination (which is the absolutely first step to IS) if they can not get to a Dan or Howard Popkin seminar - of course I tell them to make sure it is connected with an old well established Ki organization like the NJ Ki group or the VA Ki group - or if they want, they can come see me for a start :) (commercial disclaimer: I do NOT charge for training :) )

Well, I hope I did not insult in any manner and that you may find what I had to say useful. I truly wish both you Ron continued success in your endeavors.

Greg

Nicholas Eschenbruch
11-13-2011, 10:56 AM
Hi Mary,

Just went running in the blackforest hills, blazing yelow giving way to more subtle red and brown, a hint of autumn mist, thinking of your seasonal posts.

I do not mean to be brusque but people look outside because they cannot find everything they are looking for inside - now there are so many different reasons people do aikido that what exactly their reasons are will be very individiual. And aikido being such a varied discipline in the first place, there we go...

I am not angry; I do consider my practice "deficient" in the one sense that I strive for excellence in all ways that are open for me. In another sense, it is not deficient at all, it is just there.

There were some things about soft power that I always believed and was told were part of aikido, but those aspects which my teachers at the time had (and they did have some) they could or would not explain well. Dan and Mike cannot only explain, but also display broader, deeper and more nuanced skills in that area, that's why I find their work fascinating and do it in my own limited way. In a similar vein, I go to meditation retreats, and so on.

People in passionate search processes in their diciplines - as Janet points out - go through "crises" (in the original sense: urgent decisions...) all the time. I do. I consider it part if the creative process. There is not something ideal that needs to be fixed. Of course, I guess there are learning types who go through a lot of drama in their search for exellence, others who develop steadily and quietly, and others again of whom the drama gets the better and the excellence falls by the wayside. I disagree with the missionary streak of some IS posters, but hey, they love what they have found - I wish there was such passion in more aikidoka!

Its wonderful that you have found that you want to do. I believe there are lots of dojos like the one you have, where people are happy with what they do. I regularly train with people who would have a lot to say but think aikiweb is just too negative. I guess that's the internet. Also, disclosure about personal transformation is a very private thing that tends to sound tacky when put in writing, and is not for everybody's eyes anyway, so discussions about techniques and methods are a lot easier.

That you perceive "us" as lemmings I find highly amusing. I have met few networks of people that are as independent minded as people who go to Dan's course, and few teachers who are so open to being challenged in whatever way. I mean, lemmings dont go outside their dojos and organisations, risk the criticism of their teachers and students, and travel large distances to meet challenging teachers without really knowing what they are in for??

Finally, you have actually been on my list of dojos I would like to visit on a yet imaginary "New England Aikio trip" - I hope I will be welcome.

Gary David
11-13-2011, 11:42 AM
There seems to be a crisis on some people's path that they they are trying to fix. Its seems like some people having been training for a long time and have not grown strong. That must be disconcerting and discouraging. Maybe it is what causes the level of nastiness that seems to rise up on these threads. Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something? Are you feeling cheated?

Mary I am not in crisis, not disconcerted or discouraged, nor angry that my Aikido is lacking something, but it does. It lacks development to the highest level that I as an individual can achieve. This is for many reasons, some physical (i.e., my body just can move that way, couldn't when I was 20 either), some perception....limits on what I can understand...the biggest one now being age....and I accept these limits and work within them. These are all limits I control. What gives me pause are the external limits, these being what is actually allowed to be passed on to us and what our teachers actual can display and teach. I have been told by a number of folks that limits exist. We are likely getting Aikido 101A/B and maybe some to Aikido 201A/B....no one is getting Aikido 301A/B or 401A/B and not the graduate work for sure. If you want you have to go find it. I don't feel most of the imported teachers here are much beyond 301. Please don't take this as rap on these individuals as I know many of them, like them with only a few have the kind of personifies that make them hard to like. As I noted on another thread I have be told by some one outside of Aikido that at some point if you continue to seek you will reach the level were your teacher can no longer provide growth and you will need to move on if you want to continue.

When the spiritual part of Aikido is missed, could it be that the internal part is missed also. Maybe there is more connection than you have been led to believe.

Aikido is not my spiritual path, it is rather another set of tools in my tool kit. As such I want these tools to be effect and available when needed. This does not mean I am not spiritual.

Does that make it okay for you (not you, Dan, others that speak for you) to disparage others' ways? With great strength comes great responsibility. Internal practice could cause internal inspection and responsibility for one's own thoughts and process.

Again not everyone sees Aikido as a spiritual path, have different priorities and approaches. Everyone should have an internal practice for self-inspection and take greater responsibility when dealing with others. It seems to me that you yourself can be quite adamant about your positions at times. I do have some envy of where you live....would love to see the Berkshires.

Maybe as individuals you all think that you are expressing yourselves. But to me it comes across on here as lemmings repeating doctrine.

Actually I am no one's mouth piece though I have been called a useful idiot for speaking up for Dan in the past. I am no one's lap dog to jump down an defend or any of the other things that might imply that one is tied thoughtlessly to someone or some approach. I have been called a "crazy Uncle" the kind everyone likes...and mostly because I do speak up in a local Aikido dojo setting that I have been connected to since the 70's......just not much in this forum.

One of the reasons I am not interested in what Dan has to offer is because of how some people that train with him talk to others on here. Why would anyone want that? Real internal strength helps us think for ourselves. It helps us develop compassion and appreciation of diversity.

All the folks I know that have trained in his workshops are for the most part good folks and are thinking for themselves, they would have to be to go some of the distances they travel to explore what Dan is offering. Some of the discussion here on this forum are shaped to drive people into groups...the for and the against when all most folks want who go to Dan's workshops are insights and skills that are not being offered to them, that can not or will not be offered through their current teachers or organizations. Be really clear that Dan is not offering a new martial art or trying to replace Aikido with what he offers. What Dan does augments the technical skill developed through Aikido waza

Our Path involves Ki development, Aikido waza and internal responsibility. We talk about it all the time on here. Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come. And then on here we are told we don't know what we are talking about. Only Mike and Dan have the "goods". How could anyone possibly know because none has come to our dojo to find out.

Why folks don't come I can't answer, only you can analyze that. Maybe you need to get out more. For me I would drop by just to check you folks out if I didn't live 3,000 miles away.

I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.

Not sure any of what I have said helps.....just saying

Gary

Mary Eastland
11-13-2011, 01:13 PM
Thank you all for you responses. My question was not meant to imply that you should not go outside aikido...it really was to ask why?

And my lemmings comment was really meant as how it seems to me...that doesn't mean that is the way it is. I got a lot our of your posts. Thanks again.

hughrbeyer
11-13-2011, 04:40 PM
If I understand Mary's OP correctly, you're really trying to understand the inner experience that leads someone to look for this kind of training.

Y'know, people say it takes years of all these solo exercises to really develop this stuff and I'm sure that's true. But it doesn't take years to start to see the benefits. Some pictures:

Your teacher says, do this exercise. You do it. Interesting exercise, extending the spine up and down simultaneously, but pretty esoteric. But your teacher says it's important so you practice it every day .

Then a few weeks later, your teacher says, "Remember that exercise? When uke attacks you, do it. Then do the technique."

This is pretty silly. Extending the spine doesn't have anything to do with handling an attack. It doesn't even counter the power uke is putting into the attack. But you do it anyway.

And uke's on the mat.

What? But I didn't do anything!

Or:

Katate dori. You're practicing the IS skills.

"You're pushing," says your teacher.

Damn. Drop tension, drop resistance.

"You're still pushing."

Damn again. Where's the tension? There it is. Drop it, let it go.

"Now you're pushing the other way. Relax."

I am relaxed, already! There, let that piece of tension. Connect this to that. Hey, I'm moving naturally--all that tension I didn't know was there is gone. And my teacher is flying across the room.

Huh? But I didn't do anything!

Eric in Denver
11-13-2011, 05:27 PM
If I understand Mary's OP correctly, you're really trying to understand the inner experience that leads someone to look for this kind of training.

Y'know, people say it takes years of all these solo exercises to really develop this stuff and I'm sure that's true. But it doesn't take years to start to see the benefits. Some pictures:

Your teacher says, do this exercise. You do it. Interesting exercise, extending the spine up and down simultaneously, but pretty esoteric. But your teacher says it's important so you practice it every day .

Then a few weeks later, your teacher says, "Remember that exercise? When uke attacks you, do it. Then do the technique."

This is pretty silly. Extending the spine doesn't have anything to do with handling an attack. It doesn't even counter the power uke is putting into the attack. But you do it anyway.

And uke's on the mat.

What? But I didn't do anything!

Or:

Katate dori. You're practicing the IS skills.

"You're pushing," says your teacher.

Damn. Drop tension, drop resistance.

"You're still pushing."

Damn again. Where's the tension? There it is. Drop it, let it go.

"Now you're pushing the other way. Relax."

I am relaxed, already! There, let that piece of tension. Connect this to that. Hey, I'm moving naturally--all that tension I didn't know was there is gone. And my teacher is flying across the room.

Huh? But I didn't do anything!

I've not practiced with Dan, and don't know if I ever will, but this narrative is exactly why I started aikido, why I have continued with it, and why I have looked outside of the aikido tradition I was "raised" in.

From my first shihonage, the whole thing has felt like one big puzzle. And every time I get an answer, then I find out there are a whole different set of questions, and then when I get a grip on those, another whole set comes to light. . . trying to get a grip on the Internal Stuff has been about the biggest puzzle I have encountered.

I honestly don't understand why someone would want to stay in just one dojo. Why wouldn't you want to practice with someone that might be able to show you something that is completely different?

Peter Goldsbury
11-13-2011, 07:05 PM
Hello,

I have stayed out of the other threads, mainly because I would be repeating what others have already stated. I am responding here because I have a different view of the so-called ‘crisis’ you talk about. If you will bear with me, I have made a few comments, below, marked PAG.

There seems to be a crisis on some people's path that they they are trying to fix. It seems like some people having been training for a long time and have not grown strong. That must be disconcerting and discouraging. Maybe it is what causes the level of nastiness that seems to rise up on these threads. Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something? Are you feeling cheated?
PAG. Like you, I have been a member of AikiWeb for a long time. I have no one on my ignore list. I read everything that is written here. In your post, you go straight from the ‘crisis’ to the ‘nastiness’ on the threads and suggest that one might be causing the other, but I do not think there is such a close connection. I have occasionally been surprised to meet in person people who contribute to AikiWeb and discover that their abrasive writing style is not at all matched by an abrasive personality. As for a ‘crisis’, I think that aikido is much more of a private activity than is conveyed by discussions on forums like AikiWeb. Thus I do not believe that you can talk of a ‘crisis’ purely on the basis of the threads concerning Mr Harden.

When the spiritual part of Aikido is missed, could it be that the internal part is missed also. Maybe there is more connection than you have been led to believe.
PAG. I think there is an ambiguity in your use of the term ‘internal’. It could mean something quite specific and demonstrable; or it could be a much vaguer term—the counterpart of something that is ‘external’, that can be connected with the ‘physical’. I have used quotation marks because I am not sure that I understand what you mean by ‘spiritual’ or ‘internal’. Part of the problem is that both are highly metaphorical, or metonymic, in English and so the meaning can sometimes made clear only with examples.

Every one of these threads turns into a discussion about Dan (no disrespect intended just an observation). I hear that Dan understands internal strength and can convey it. I am sure he can.

Does that make it okay for you (not you, Dan, others that speak for you) to disparage others' ways? With great strength comes great responsibility. Internal practice could cause internal inspection and responsibility for one's own thoughts and process.
PAG. As I see it, there is an unfortunate tendency on AikiWeb to regard all opinions expressed as having the same value in terms of content, simply because they are opinions expressed. To disagree with this tendency can lead to accusations of disparagement of the views expressed, or of the person who holds the views, simply because the views are different. However, in this case, serious and honest criticism of someone’s view becomes very difficult and silence is sometimes the only option.

Maybe as individuals you all think that you are expressing yourselves. But to me it comes across on here as lemmings repeating doctrine.
PAG. I do not see it this way. There are people on these threads, whom I have met and whose views I respect very much, who speak very highly of Mr Harden and how he trains. I have never met Mr Harden, but the argument from induction as I am using it here carries some weight.

One of the reasons I am not interested in what Dan has to offer is because of how some people that train with him talk to others on here. Why would anyone want that? Real internal strength helps us think for ourselves. It helps us develop compassion and appreciation of diversity.
PAG. Here I draw the opposite conclusion. The fact that people talk about Mr Harden so much, not just here, but in other, private conversations, leads me to think that what he does is of major importance. If I may mention just one name, I have never met Mr William Gleason, but the fact that he trained with my own teacher, Seigo Yamaguchi, and also regularly trains with Mr Harden, is very significant for me. As is the fact that, on the basis of what I read here on AikiWeb, he is trying to incorporate what he is learning with Mr Harden into his own aikido training.

Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.
PAG. So did I, and so did they, and so am I. My dojo is formally attached to the Aikikai, but we are well off the beaten track and we can get on with what we want to do.

Our Path involves Ki development, Aikido waza and internal responsibility. We talk about it all the time on here. Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come. And then on here we are told we don't know what we are talking about. Only Mike and Dan have the "goods". How could anyone possibly know because none has come to our dojo to find out.
PAG. Well, I am not really expecting a major rush of AikiWeb members to turn up at my dojo in Hiroshima on the basis of my posts in this forum. Equally, I am not likely to turn up at your dojo or at Mr Harden’s door (in Massachusetts, I believe) any time soon. We are on opposite sides of the world. I state this to emphasize that AikiWeb is run by a Japanese, from Kobe, who is living in the US and is supported by people like myself, a Brit who is living in Japan. The international dimension of AikiWeb tends to be forgotten sometimes.
On the other hand, because I am unable to meet them myself, I will be very much looking forward on my next trip to Europe to see what my aikido friends there have learned at the hands of Mr Harden and Mr Akuzawa and to teach me what they have learned.

I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.
PAG. Well, the way you have put this makes it rather easy for you to accuse me of being nasty or mean if I disagree with you.

Best wishes,

P Goldsbury

Mary Eastland
11-13-2011, 07:59 PM
Hello Peter:
Disagreement is not the same as meanness.
Maybe the true nature of a person shows up behind the keyboard rather than in person. Maybe not.
Thank you for your response.
Mary

Shadowfax
11-13-2011, 08:27 PM
While I have not had the pleasure to attend one of Dan's seminars I have had the pleasure of training with one of his students and have found it beneficial. The IT exercises have helped me find another way to work on certain aspects of my aikido. Largely having to do with posture and being able to remain in balance while in motion.

I was happy to step outside of aikido into a class on basic bellydancing excercises and this helped me to gain a better understanding of muscle isolation. This understanding helped me quite a lot at the past weekends seminar with Heiny sensei in which we worked on things very much related to this. And added to that mix, this weekend, the kotodama and chanting in order to inform our aikido. I have been finding that incredibly useful. It was an amazing seminar.

I step outside of aikido again when I work with my horse and look for ways in which I can use what I know of riding and horsemanship and interaction with large animals to inform my aikido.

And I stepped outside of the horse world into aikido in order to make me a better horsewoman. And it has enhanced that in ways far greater than I had expected.

I really don't understand why it should be seen as wrong or bad to look into other worlds in order to find new ways to inform the one you live the most within. I believe that being open to seeing seemingly unrelated things and finding ways to learn from them is very useful and beneficial in so many ways. To shun and avoid such seems to me a way to limit your own potential.

I don't know anything of a crisis in aikido relating to people looking to other resources in order to deepen their training. But I must say I am very glad I train in a dojo where such experimentation and exploration is not only allowed but encouraged.

If this is not the road someone wishes I don't see why that should be a problem either. But it seems that perhaps if someone protests so very loudly ,that they do not want any part of it, instead of just continuing about their business, that perhaps that person is actually really very interested in learning more but perhaps a little afraid to step out of their comfort zone in order to find out for themselves.

Joe McParland
11-13-2011, 09:09 PM
I love this thread. Maybe they can't be moved by cracking a baseball bat over their heads, but Mary offers her wrist and they throw themselves all over the place... Brilliant! :)

kewms
11-14-2011, 12:14 AM
Thank you all for you responses. My question was not meant to imply that you should not go outside aikido...it really was to ask why?

I didn't. "Outside" came to me, because my teachers invited it in. They have been as public as they are likely to be about their own reasons, so I'm not going to speculate.

Writers are always told to read widely. Read the genres and authors you like, but also the ones you don't, if only enough to understand why you don't like them. Every writer I know has enough books to stock a small library, and a to be read stack that threatens to overwhelm their reading chair.

This is the same idea. Every teacher (and every art) focuses on a different piece of the elephant. There is much value in seeing the other pieces, even if your primary attention remains on a single teacher's approach.

As for lemmings, well... I think there's been plenty of vitriol on both sides, as well as within some of the factions. Certainly the Daito Ryu - Aikido debate is very much like an ongoing family feud, with both sides arguing about who Grandpapa Sokaku (Or Papa Morihei) loved best. In all the sound and fury, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that we really are all branches of the same family, and have a lot to learn from each other.

Katherine

Tim Ruijs
11-14-2011, 02:45 AM
Why would anyone search outside Aikido for anything?

I guess that really depends on what a person is looking for. One might expect something from Aikido that Aikido is not/does not offer. One might 'only' be in the wrong lineage/style. One might have the right teacher, but not (yet) realise it.
There are so many reasons why people will not stick to Aikido in their search.

I think it really all starts by them (those searching outside Aikido, not the IS practisioners!) not really knowing what they are looking for.

In class I too sometimes compare what we do with other styles, but ALWAYS say it is not correct for us to it that way, never that they are doing it wrong only different (immediately followed by: "depends what you are looking for"). Students watch vids on youtube and have questions, rightfully so. I explain, show the differences. As for IS I am not so sure. Some have referred to vids of Ueshiba that show 'his' IS. All I see is good posture, good ma ai, kimusubi, kino nagare, etc. But that is just me, no judgement here (again to each his own).


Writers are always told to read widely. Read the genres and authors you like, but also the ones you don't, if only enough to understand why you don't like them.
very good point...everyone has something useful to tell, even the ones you do not 'like'. Aikido sharpens your judgement.

Lee Salzman
11-14-2011, 03:57 AM
In class I too sometimes compare what we do with other styles, but ALWAYS say it is not correct for us to it that way, never that they are doing it wrong only different (immediately followed by: "depends what you are looking for"). Students watch vids on youtube and have questions, rightfully so. I explain, show the differences. As for IS I am not so sure. Some have referred to vids of Ueshiba that show 'his' IS. All I see is good posture, good ma ai, kimusubi, kino nagare, etc. But that is just me, no judgement here (again to each his own).


Let me dissect a little microcosm you pointed out there, good posture. Let's say that, a couple years ago, I too would have said there is such a thing as good posture. I would look at just about any high level martial artist, notice something about their movement, and call it posture.

But now, after acquiring a certain different perspective, I no longer see posture where I once did, or rather, I see (forgive my embelishment) bad martial artists using posture, and good martial artists completely lacking it. I now see posture representing a fixation that can't adapt or move, it's a mind that is dead and a body that is dead. Before I trained to have a posture, now I train to have none but instead to move, everything, in unity of purpose, at every moment, with that purpose constantly changing, never stuck.

But from an outside perspective, what I used to label my posture now seems to look better to me, if only I take an artificial snapshot of my movement. But even that mental snapshot is an illusion, solely an artifact of the limited view - Shroedinger's posture, maybe there, maybe not, or perhaps Heisenberg's posture, if you know its shape, it is not moving, or if it is moving, you don't know its shape. Viewed across the totality of the movement, there are an infinite number of postures, so no need to pick any one out and give it signifiance, there are plenty more where those came from. But yet it is not something that just happens, it requires deliberate practice to happen.

Maybe you found a more enlightened perspective on posture in aikido than I did, but well, I never found it until I ventured outside, but that is another reason I did venture outside. It was a thing staring me in the face all along, I just did not know how to see it, until I was shown how.

SeiserL
11-14-2011, 06:14 AM
IMHO, its not a crisis only an opportunity.

Its is not what is lacking/missing (implied that it was there or should be there) only that there may be more.

In FMA we often say that the art is complete but not finished.

But, I have been a cross-trainer and perpetual-student my whole life.

Each person gives/shares what they have; some will appreciate it, some will reject it, and most will complete ignore it.

So it goes.

Thoughts?

Tim Ruijs
11-14-2011, 06:27 AM
Posture (shi sei) is good when it is harmony with your every movement. It is not an isolated aspect of Aikido. There moments in some techniques where posture is a more important ingredient than another, but always present. Same for ma ai, kimusubi, kino nagare. It is about finding the right mix for a given situation: harmony.
Like I said: people venture outside Aikido because they might not know what they are looking for. perhaps your technique can be improved by better shi sei, but if you do not know that, if your teacher does not point that out...

Chris Li
11-14-2011, 09:18 AM
Thank you all for you responses. My question was not meant to imply that you should not go outside aikido...it really was to ask why?

Well, before the war Morihei Ueshiba brought instructors from Kashima Shinto Ryu into the Kobukan to teach Kisshomaru and some of the others sword.

Sometime after the war Ueshiba ran into Yoshiyuki Sagawa (the Daito-ryu instructor) and invited him to go up to hombu as an instructor. It fell through before he actually went, but the invitation was made.

Why would you go "outside" for anything? Because that person has something to offer you. Clearly Ueshiba had no problem with it, why would anybody else?

Best,

Chris

lbb
11-14-2011, 09:23 AM
Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something?

Everybody's aikido is lacking something. It's just a question of whether you feel that something is anything you want, need or care about. Whether it's of value is indisputable -- of course it is, because someone values it -- and yet, we continue to dispute that, or profess disingenuous surprise at the fact that other people value it. Oh, other people and their messed-up priorities!

Mark Freeman
11-14-2011, 09:48 AM
Hi Mary,

I come from a similar aikido background to you, with ki development exercises occupying nearly half of all my practice time. I am very happy with this training arrangement, but remember in the early days that although I enjoyed them I was alway keen to get onto the waza and the throwing and being thrown. I thought that that was where the real aikido was. I am older and I think a bit wiser now. I realise that the goods I am searching for are in the principles and in the basics of co-ordination of mind and body.

My nearly 20 years in aikido have been happily spent with an exceptional ki-aikido teacher (Sensei Ken Williams). I certainly don't feel like there is anything lacking or needing fixing in what I have learnt so far.
However, coming to Aikiweb 6 or so years ago, sparked my interest in the wider world of aikido and its variety of strands. Back then, Mike and Dan were making some pretty bold claims and provoking quite a bit of heated debate. I remember being a bit put out by them, in that neither of them was a highly graded aikidoka, but they were both claiming to have what is missing from most modern aikido.

So for me, the only way to really know how to take them was to set out to meet both men. Fortunately for me, they both came over this side of the pond, and I got to spend some time with them. Both are good teachers, both explain things in a very clear understandable way. Which is probably their greatest contribution to this debate/issue. It may not always seem that way in print, but hands on, they make it come down to, what you do, what you think, how you think it and what you feel when you think it. Which I found enormously helpful in translating what I do in my own aikido to my own students.

My meeting with both men has given me a greater appreciation of my own teacher and his mastery of aikido,. It has also given me a more open mind as to where I need to go and what I need to do, from here on in.

I just want to clip a quote from Greg's post to you: Now here is the part that I think will surprise a lot people - Dan's training is NOT all about the hard rock strong physical stuff that it appears to come across as - it is soft and mostly mental. And this is where I think the connection comes in that can relate to your internal training. Most folks think Dan does not believe in ki and does not teach it - WRONG! He just does not talk much about it in open forums because of the obvious potential to get out of hand

IMO, this is where his stuff has a true advantage to those that have a strong belief in ki and a coordinated mind and body - it gives you a head start in leaning more about how to use your control of ki to do more with your body, which will facilitate enhancement of any body movement within or outside of martial arts. Tohei's stuff provides a good foundation to build on but there is much more that can be added to that, and that is where Dan and others like him can come in.


In my experience this is true, the exercises Dan offers are compatible with Tohei's methods, it took me a while to realise this, at first I was mentally kicking against them, as I thought - my way is the right way.

The most valuable thing for me on the seminars that I have attended, is going in with a beginners mind, feeling like a beginner, making mistakes, and being a complete sponge to what is on offer.

It has enhanced my effectiveness as a teacher (my students tell me this), mainly because I now have a greater understanding of where and how the real power in aikido is generated, which is reward enough for me.

Anyway, I look forward to visiting you and Ron in the spring of next year, I know I will enjoy the practice.

regards,

Mark

Mary Eastland
11-14-2011, 10:09 AM
What an interesting thread...thanks everybody..I have been able to see my closemindedness in a new way. I love it when a little light seeps in and I can think differently about something.

Chris Li
11-14-2011, 10:54 AM
Hi Mary,

I come from a similar aikido background to you, with ki development exercises occupying nearly half of all my practice time.

I forgot to note that Tohei went "outside" as well, to Tempu Nakamura. Many other people went "outside" as well, while Ueshiba was alive, and with his knowledge.

Best,

Chris

Keith Larman
11-14-2011, 10:54 AM
There's a line from the old movie "Wargames" where down-to-earth general says "I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it would help." Yup, that's me.

I've taught my daughter aspects of Aiki as I understand it to help her with her club soccer play. She's defense and a bit on the shorter side. But she's incredibly powerful and with the small bit of daily training with daddy ever since she started walking about "internal stuff" she's like running in to a fire hydrant for opposing players. She loves to push on me to try to shift my balance, often when I'm not looking. So we have that game and have been playing it for years. So these bigger, stronger girls are often confounded by this shorter, lean girl who can simply run right through them. Or spiral off when they lean on her leaving them face down in the turf. When she has an over 200 pound daddy pushing her around constantly as a game, those big 80 pound girls don't seem quite so imposing.

In my training in sword polishing I remember being told about how the gripping of the blade in each bare hand with the correct tenouchi allows you to connect through your body in a spiral so each stroke on the stones is precise, perfect, powerful and delivered from your hara. I found tremendous inspiration (and good solo training) there.

Hell, I've learned a lot now from my severe spinal stenosis. I get some good feedback sometimes from that pain about what i'm doing right or wrong.

And don't get me started on inspiration from yoga. Then consider Tohei's expressed debt to yoga.

In other words, I think Aikido can be a complete, comprehensive art is true, but only as a general but abstract proposition. To get complete as an individual practitioner is something else entirely. And I believe one should not hesitate be thankful for inspiration and enlightenment from wherever it comes. I find it interesting that some will say "How can you possibly go outside the dojo?!?!" right after talking about how Aikido should apply to your daily life." That seems to imply this stuff is "out there" and glimmers of it are everywhere. And if our goal is to become "aiki" within ourselves, well, it should manifest everywhere. It *should* change all that we do. And we shouldn't be surprised to find it elsewhere as well. Ueshiba didn't have a monopoly on this stuff.

So we have to realize that there are many different viable pedagogy for transmitting "knowledge" of this type.

We can make the general claim that some are better than others but that no individual pedagogy is best for all. And that to me is "the rub".

Each pedagogy usually has inherent weaknesses that are also sometimes signs of their greater strengths in other aspects. Dan isn't teaching Aikido. He says that explicitly. That's up to us fools who've been learning all those techniques for all these years.

Me, I spent a lot of time getting where I'm at. I suppose I could sit back like so many of my peers and say "Now it's just about refining." Nah, for me I keep thinking about how you have to completely destroy prior progress to solve some puzzles like the Rubic's cube. Solving part of it isn't enough. It is more that you have to learn to solve part of it, then destroy it to move forward again. I don't want to be finished. I don't want to be "content". I want to keep improving. Some of what I've learned from Dan, Toby, Mike, students of Ark, Ushiro, et al have helped me greatly refine and reform many things I do. Making for what I think is better Aikido *in* me.

So I'll piss on a spark plug if I thought it would help... :) And I go to anyone who I think might help me better understand what I'm doing. I don't necessarily suggest it to everyone. But for me it works.

kewms
11-14-2011, 11:00 AM
We all know people who have dabbled in half a dozen different arts and don't actually know much about any of them. Specialization is essential to mastery, I think.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I can think of a single top teacher who began in aikido and trained only in aikido for his entire career. Multiple perspectives are good.

Katherine

vjw
11-14-2011, 01:00 PM
Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.

Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come.



Mary, Do you visit other dojos? How many seminars have you been to in the last two years? Do you think it is possible that there are things on other peoples path that might help you on yours?

BWells
11-14-2011, 01:20 PM
This whole going outside thing confuses me. My own aikido teacher has 50 years in the art and I can feel IS in him. However what he has he learned from years of training but didn't totally have the language to explain. By going outside to arts like Xing Yi and to training in Aiki such as the Aiki Connections Seminar in Seattle in Aug and training with Dan, (both my teacher and I attended the session in Seattle and a seminar with Dan) we are finding a more precise language and exercises to hopefully really expand the IS in our Aikido as we focus on this part. In none of this do I feel like I'm going outside of Aikido, I'm just making more mature parts of my aikido.

thanks
Bruce

Amassus
11-14-2011, 09:34 PM
In none of this do I feel like I'm going outside of Aikido, I'm just making more mature parts of my aikido.


This sums it up for me. I started training in a koryu at the start of this year, IS exercises are part of the training there. My aikido has never been better and I haven't looked back.

Davis
11-14-2011, 11:35 PM
I do not know Dan or the controversy discussed here but I can comment on my own experience trying to teach karate in an aikido dojo. I was asked by my teacher who had been my karate instructor who now is godan in aikido, to offer karate classes to help finance the aiki dojo.

To make a long story short, I quit after a year of butting my head against the wall. I found personally, that aikidoka all seem to feel that they have figured it all out and that there is no other martial art, or spiritual practice they need. Across many dojos over the years I have encountered an attitude of open mindedness, from karate, to BJJ, to Krav Maga, to TKD. Nowhere in my travels as a karate teacher have I encountered such rigidity and opposition to anything outside the parent martial art. Aikodoka, it seems, are a somewhat fixated group, who desire to learn nothing from other arts. Why is this so?

This is to me because Aikido is not a martial art, but a religion. It has a close minded intolerance for almost all other martial arts, and a feeling of superiority. This is because when a practice ceases to be practice and becomes a faith, there is no questioning. There is no room for debate or for revision of beliefs, there are articles of faith, of dogma that prevail.

This is why it is exceedingly rare for aikidoka to seek out other martial arts and to learn from them. For the aikidoka, at least the modern type, they have all the answers and other martial arts are brutish, inconsequential forms of gymnastics. I have never seen a single aikidoka seek out cross training or working alongside other martial artists. This is rare in martial arts, modern thinking is about being open minded and letting go of rigidity in practice.

Had Ueshiba been as rigid and as certain of his way as much of what I have seen, there would be no aikido. Ueshiba dared to step out from the pack to find his own way. He saw the Buddha on the road and killed him. And a great treasure was born. Aiki practice. I have a great love for this art but I know that I cannot associate with aikidoka in the dojo, because they are always correct and not willing to learn from other ways.

I know this is a generalization and that many many aikodoka do strive for learning. But what I experienced was rigidity, dogmatism and one upsmanship, all in the guise of sprituality.

So I would say that when a martial arts practice becomes a religion, that innovation and progress are hampered and I am certain that this is not a way to grow as a martial artist.

That was just my experience and I had to leave the dojo, ultimately losing a 25 year friendship with my former Sensai. Dogmatism hurts and I left the dojo feeling like aikido, in its modern form, is based largely on building a dynasty for each Sensai and ensuring that students never find their own way, but attempt to copy others.

So why am I on here at all? Because I love the message in aikido and embracing of the internal arts. There is much good in aikido, but its very hard to work with aikidoka when you are always one down and in their minds, they are always one up.

I hope this makes sense and doesnt offend. We all suffer from dogmatism and self righteousness, but I have seen its negative effect in the martial arts community and urge folks to get off the high horse and become open, like children to new things. Aikido is only ONE of many internal forms of martial art, it is good to remember that.

Thanks for listening. I was pretty traumatized by this experience and hope to view aikido with a positive light again one day. For the record, my Sensai was very open minded, but even his open-ness could not penetrate the dogmatism of his students.

Janet Rosen
11-14-2011, 11:58 PM
Davis, I accept your generalization based on your experience and want to say that you may take some flak from folks in aikido who, like me, ARE very open about getting out and exploring.
You note your experience happened many yrs ago. The good news is that there have been fresher breezes as it were since then...in the late 90s a bunch of aikido folks from different styles started getting together to train, starting to break down some old barriers. Then there were some big seminars with folks leading workshops from outside of aikido altogether. I know many aikido folks who either crosstrain seriously in a second art or have dabbled a bit for a finite time where they felt a specific skill was lacking or who simply get together with friends in other arts to play informally.
The bad news is that, yeah, there are still a lot of very parochial folks out there. Some are not so much narrow-minded in a bad way but just very contentedly narrow-focus and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
Bottom line, yeah some dojo cultures still fit your description, but IME it's not as pervasive as in the past.

kewms
11-15-2011, 01:10 AM
Davis, you should come to Seattle. At our dojo, I would say the serious students who *don't* have some sort of background in other arts are in the minority, and are trying very hard to remedy that gap in their education.

Katherine

Carsten Möllering
11-15-2011, 04:09 AM
... Tohei went "outside" as well, to Tempu Nakamura. ... ... and didn't he state, that Ueshibas influence on what he teaches was just about 30% ...?

@ Mary,
here in Germany Ki-aikido explicitely distinguishes itself from the aikido that follows Ueshiba Morihei. Yoshigasaki Kenjiro (who is in charge of ki aikido in Europe, South America and Africa as far as I know) holds the titel doshu and there are no connections on a regular base.

Movements, thinking about ki, ethics, reishiki, body structure, thinking about effectivity ... are all very different. I learn a lot about what is shin shin toitsu do. But I do not learn something (or very little) which I could invcorporate into the aikido I myself learn, practice, teach.

So the name "aikido" is the same, but when I privately visit a dojo of Ki-aikido it is kind of going outside.

On the other hand:
I never had to leave the aikido dojo of my "aikido-setting" (Our federation, befriended dojo ...) to learn things which may come near to what Dan and others seem to teach. Or at least to find and work on the same questions he and others ask (and seem to answer in his seminars).
Therefore I would like very much to practice with him or with someone who can pass on what he teaches (or even pieces of that). Because I think what I may learn there would fit in what Iknow as aikido.
So thinking about this was never thinking about "going outside".

And at last:
My aikido teacher works with in and yo. There is influence of the koryu he practices and teaches.
We often cut rigth through the attack, instead of letting it through and merge with it. There is influence of a certain school of kenjutsu. (Which is not the one, my teacher is sturnde of.)
When working on body structure, internal movements, breathing ... friends who do tai chi quite often state that they know this work.
When using the ki-meridians to understand details of waza there is the connection to shiatsu.
...
And so much more.

Allt this was part of my life in aikido from the first moment on. And I never considered it to be "outside".
Like you Mary, I think wouldn't consider the Shin shin toitsu do of Tempu to be "outside"?

The lemming thing is simple I think:
I experience it as a common question of a certain part of students of aikido to understand aikido not in terms of the outward movements but as a matter of one's own body. (Sorry: Can't explain this better in english.)
This can mean not to rely on the movements of uke, but to be able to create a contact as tori without ukes "help". Not to throw uke by leading his movement on untill he falls but to affect the organisation of his body in a way that he collapses where he is and down.
And so on ...

When I met Endo sensei for the first time it was like an "awakening": There it is! It is all there! He does it, he teaches it! The things I was dreaming of actually exist! And I can learn them!
When I came home, I told everybody. All the time. And there where other "bellievers". We also might have looked like (or better sounded) lemmings. Because we where exited, enthusiastic. And I am sure we often said - or at least thought - things like: Only he got it. That's the one and only way ...

... this was some years ago ...
(But he really has a lot to give ... ;) )

Demetrio Cereijo
11-15-2011, 06:49 AM
Hi Davis,

I was pretty traumatized by this experience and hope to view aikido with a positive light again one day

I understand your feelings about the cultish attitude you found in Aikido (and yes, there are exceptions), but belonging to a cult is what a lot of people wants and needs.

Aikido gives these people what they're looking for, and that's good.

chillzATL
11-15-2011, 07:17 AM
I'm one of those that doesn't feel there's anything wrong with our aikido or how we practice it. Our instructor was a student of Ueshiba, Tohei and host of martial arts greats from that era and someone who fought with what he knew many times. He would learn from anyone who could prove they had something to teach. Considering that, I'd be a fool if I did not do the same when the opportunity is there. For me, "going outside" has been internal training. The funny thing is that after doing it for a while now, it doesn't feel "outside" at all. It's been like shining a light on everything I've heard, read and done for years now. I find that refreshing and fun. Especially when after putting in enough time with it, the difference is obvious.

vjw
11-15-2011, 03:14 PM
Mary, Do you visit other dojos? How many seminars have you been to in the last two years? Do you think it is possible that there are things on other peoples path that might help you on yours?

The reason I ask Mary, is that I get the impression you never leave your house to experience aspects of aikido that you may not ever have experienced before. You say you are puzzled why nobody comes to your seminars yet you seem not to see the need to go to seminars held by anyone else. How do you explain this?

Mary Eastland
11-15-2011, 05:06 PM
IMHO, its not a crisis only an opportunity.

Its is not what is lacking/missing (implied that it was there or should be there) only that there may be more.

In FMA we often say that the art is complete but not finished.

But, I have been a cross-trainer and perpetual-student my whole life.

Each person gives/shares what they have; some will appreciate it, some will reject it, and most will complete ignore it.

So it goes.

Thoughts?
:)
Yes...to practice Aikido on the mat is much easier than to practice it on here. I will keep at it.
Mary

jonreading
11-15-2011, 07:39 PM
There seems to be a crisis on some people's path that they they are trying to fix. Its seems like some people having been training for a long time and have not grown strong. That must be disconcerting and discouraging. Maybe it is what causes the level of nastiness that seems to rise up on these threads. Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something? Are you feeling cheated?

When the spiritual part of Aikido is missed, could it be that the internal part is missed also. Maybe there is more connection than you have been led to believe.

Every one of these threads turns into a discussion about Dan (no disrespect intended just an observation). I hear that Dan understands internal strength and can convey it. I am sure he can.

Does that make it okay for you (not you, Dan, others that speak for you) to disparage others' ways? With great strength comes great responsibility. Internal practice could cause internal inspection and responsibility for one's own thoughts and process.

Maybe as individuals you all think that you are expressing yourselves. But to me it comes across on here as lemmings repeating doctrine.

One of the reasons I am not interested in what Dan has to offer is because of how some people that train with him talk to others on here. Why would anyone want that? Real internal strength helps us think for ourselves. It helps us develop compassion and appreciation of diversity.

Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.

Our Path involves Ki development, Aikido waza and internal responsibility. We talk about it all the time on here. Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come. And then on here we are told we don't know what we are talking about. Only Mike and Dan have the "goods". How could anyone possibly know because none has come to our dojo to find out.

I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.

Aiki is not exclusive to aikido. In many respects, other Japanese arts do a better job of defining, identifying and implementing aiki that aikido does. Aikido is not the authority on aiki. I do not consider this to be going outside aikido because I am not studying another martial art, just how another martial art defines aiki. I once heard a aikido person I respect say that learning aikido is kinda like assembling something from China - The instructions are in another language, you usually skip a few steps and you always end up with extra parts. I still chuckle when I think about this saying.

Several years ago I began to realize that aikido did not possess the lexicon to fully transmit the curriculum from one generation to the next. Dr. Goldsbury and others like Stan Pranin and Chris Li have spent so much time and effort on this point and we really can not thank them enough. Why the lexicon is incomplete is probably a myriad of answers. The catalyst for me was that I was reading a judo book Donn Draeger helped write and I thought "geez, these guys know their s*$t - the points were well-written and organized and they did an admirable job of keeping the points straight-forward. So I got another book, on karate, then Daito Ryu, then the koryu systems, etc. These books all presented well-written thoughts and straight-forward concepts. Compared to aikido, where everyone is right and nobody can capture the definition of aiki in less that 100 words, these other sources of information helped me to better understand my aikido.

I think many aikido people who want to elevate their training extend their experience into collaborative efforts with sister arts. I do not believe I would call the vocalization of this activity a "crisis"; although I believe (from my experience) the correlation between aikido people with competent skills and a knowledge of sister arts is pretty high. Many of the aikido people I know who are making this educational journey say "man, if I had started this x years earlier, my aikido would be through the roof." It is possible the exasperation you witness is the frustration many experience when they are exposed to something that revolutionizes their training (and they could have been doing it sooner). I do not believe this frustration is anger.

I cannot speak to some of the venom spat in threads, only to say that let he who has no sin... I have read as many (or more) negative comments against IS guys as they have made. I need only point to the current Ueshiba aiki thread. I won't speak for the internal guys. There's an old saying about doing something to messengers that bring bad news and I think some of the IS folks get that treatment. Internal strength training is contesting some serious concepts in aikido, some of which have become strong beliefs... and we all know how well people take to challenging their belief system. I think aikido needs to wrestle with why some spiritual and philosophical concepts have transformed into such entrenched beliefs that we can not tolerate attacks upon them.

The best way to resolve some of these discussions is simple to get on the mat with each other. You will either do or do not.

Keith Larman
11-15-2011, 08:01 PM
Jon, nice post.

Beware: Long Joycian stream of consciousness post to follow... And no, I"m not going to edit it. I'll just let it fly...

I've long argued that the problem wasn't that aiki wasn't there, but that the transmission of the knowledge and skill was difficult and sporadic at best due to a lack of a proper framework within which to understand how it worked. There was a great quote by Wittgenstein that "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." ("Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" I believe). You have Ueshiba M speaking in highly poetic terms and if Dan and Chris Li are correct in the interpretation of his original words then it seems that even Ueshiba M. had relied on less than precise vocabulary while he was actually actively trying to communicate what he was experiencing. Then you have the deshi who picked up at least some of it, maybe even most of it, but did so through their own formulations. Tohei developing his principles and teaching method but with great inspiration from Nakamura Tempū. And the list goes on.

Then you need to consider the idea that developing these skills isn't just about choreography assuming this "revisionist" (or maybe "originalist?") view is correct. You need to develop the body in a specific way through a certain type of training. Tanren. So when the sensei who has spent 30 years developing these skills feels his "ki flowing" in a certain way he cannot understand why the new student doesn't feel the same. So students relax more, they emulate the "outer" appearances, and gain none of the inner. And lacking the hard, long practice to develop the foundational body they are never able to demonstrate the skills at the higher level of the sensei. "Just relax" but it doesn't help...

So I see some of the work of guys like Dan, Mike, Ark, Ushiro, et al as helping us better focus on how it is the old guy did some of the stuff he did. Sure, Aikido evolved considerably after his passing. And maybe the aikido of the second doshu is what attracts many to aikido today. In which case *that* aikido may be the one some want to practice instead of the aikido some of us are trying to "rediscover". And I see no problem with both coexisting.

And heck, maybe a lot of us are wrong, but I must say as people develop skills faster and with vastly more power it is harder and harder to deny that this is what was driving the founders of these things. That does not diminish the subsequent evolution, however. It just becomes a question of what it is you want to practice.

Yeah, I"m rambling, but I got a high powered vicoden in me at the moment due to a pinched nerve and I'm chatty. And I wanted to get this off my chest.

I truly wish people would quit arguing about this stuff and just freaking train. I think there is a huge amount of value in the Aikido people are doing today. It gives so many a happy place to go, all sorts of good things about harmony and cooperation. However, it might be the case that this wasn't exactly what O-Sensei had in mind. That does not mean it isn't perfectly valid since it obviously speaks to a lot of people!

But with new research and also with the benefit of the passing of time, things can be reassessed and reconsidered. We all owe people like Professor Goldsbury a case of cold, frosty beverages because it allows us to look back and see things more clearly.

And there is no reason why those practicing what I would probably call "modern" aikido can't be perfectly happy and content in their practice. I certainly have no problem with it. It is a valid practice, worthy, and wonderful. Just because the focus has changed doesn't invalidate anything on either side.

The biggest problem, as I see it, is that each side looks at the other and says "why don't you see the value of what we're doing compared to what you're doing?" I'd really like to change that vibe to "Hey, enjoy your practice and I'll enjoy mine. Isn't this a remarkably flexible art?"

gregstec
11-15-2011, 09:37 PM
Jon, nice post.

Beware: Long Joycian stream of consciousness post to follow... And no, I"m not going to edit it. I'll just let it fly...

I've long argued that the problem wasn't that aiki wasn't there, but that the transmission of the knowledge and skill was difficult and sporadic at best due to a lack of a proper framework within which to understand how it worked. There was a great quote by Wittgenstein that "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." ("Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" I believe). You have Ueshiba M speaking in highly poetic terms and if Dan and Chris Li are correct in the interpretation of his original words then it seems that even Ueshiba M. had relied on less than precise vocabulary while he was actually actively trying to communicate what he was experiencing. Then you have the deshi who picked up at least some of it, maybe even most of it, but did so through their own formulations. Tohei developing his principles and teaching method but with great inspiration from Nakamura Tempū. And the list goes on.

Then you need to consider the idea that developing these skills isn't just about choreography assuming this "revisionist" (or maybe "originalist?") view is correct. You need to develop the body in a specific way through a certain type of training. Tanren. So when the sensei who has spent 30 years developing these skills feels his "ki flowing" in a certain way he cannot understand why the new student doesn't feel the same. So students relax more, they emulate the "outer" appearances, and gain none of the inner. And lacking the hard, long practice to develop the foundational body they are never able to demonstrate the skills at the higher level of the sensei. "Just relax" but it doesn't help...

So I see some of the work of guys like Dan, Mike, Ark, Ushiro, et al as helping us better focus on how it is the old guy did some of the stuff he did. Sure, Aikido evolved considerably after his passing. And maybe the aikido of the second doshu is what attracts many to aikido today. In which case *that* aikido may be the one some want to practice instead of the aikido some of us are trying to "rediscover". And I see no problem with both coexisting.

And heck, maybe a lot of us are wrong, but I must say as people develop skills faster and with vastly more power it is harder and harder to deny that this is what was driving the founders of these things. That does not diminish the subsequent evolution, however. It just becomes a question of what it is you want to practice.

Yeah, I"m rambling, but I got a high powered vicoden in me at the moment due to a pinched nerve and I'm chatty. And I wanted to get this off my chest.

I truly wish people would quit arguing about this stuff and just freaking train. I think there is a huge amount of value in the Aikido people are doing today. It gives so many a happy place to go, all sorts of good things about harmony and cooperation. However, it might be the case that this wasn't exactly what O-Sensei had in mind. That does not mean it isn't perfectly valid since it obviously speaks to a lot of people!

But with new research and also with the benefit of the passing of time, things can be reassessed and reconsidered. We all owe people like Professor Goldsbury a case of cold, frosty beverages because it allows us to look back and see things more clearly.

And there is no reason why those practicing what I would probably call "modern" aikido can't be perfectly happy and content in their practice. I certainly have no problem with it. It is a valid practice, worthy, and wonderful. Just because the focus has changed doesn't invalidate anything on either side.

The biggest problem, as I see it, is that each side looks at the other and says "why don't you see the value of what we're doing compared to what you're doing?" I'd really like to change that vibe to "Hey, enjoy your practice and I'll enjoy mine. Isn't this a remarkably flexible art?"

ditto :)

Greg

MM
11-16-2011, 10:12 AM
I've long argued that the problem wasn't that aiki wasn't there, but that the transmission of the knowledge and skill was difficult and sporadic at best due to a lack of a proper framework within which to understand how it worked. There was a great quote by Wittgenstein that "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." ("Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" I believe). You have Ueshiba M speaking in highly poetic terms and if Dan and Chris Li are correct in the interpretation of his original words then it seems that even Ueshiba M. had relied on less than precise vocabulary while he was actually actively trying to communicate what he was experiencing.


Hi Keith,
Yes, reading his words *after* training aiki for a little while, Ueshiba starts to make sense. However, we (aikido world) have to realize that Ueshiba was rambling spiritual while the pre-war students were training. Both pre-war and post-war students stated that they didn't understand what he was saying. When we compare pre-war students with post-war students, there is a remarkable difference in skill and abilities. I think it is fairly safe to say that:

1. The training environment was vastly different.
2. Ueshiba's spiritual speeches/talks really didn't matter for training aiki.

Ueshiba's speeches/lectures/whatever are only a validation of the concepts behind the martial skill of aiki. So, again, Morihei Ueshiba, was telling us all the truth ... you didn't have to follow his spiritual path to do aikido. While he had found a spiritual vehicle to house the core principles of aiki, he only had to look at his peers to see that it wasn't a requirement. But, aiki made it all work better.


So I see some of the work of guys like Dan, Mike, Ark, Ushiro, et al as helping us better focus on how it is the old guy did some of the stuff he did. Sure, Aikido evolved considerably after his passing. And maybe the aikido of the second doshu is what attracts many to aikido today. In which case *that* aikido may be the one some want to practice instead of the aikido some of us are trying to "rediscover". And I see no problem with both coexisting.

And heck, maybe a lot of us are wrong, but I must say as people develop skills faster and with vastly more power it is harder and harder to deny that this is what was driving the founders of these things. That does not diminish the subsequent evolution, however. It just becomes a question of what it is you want to practice.

Yeah, I"m rambling, but I got a high powered vicoden in me at the moment due to a pinched nerve and I'm chatty. And I wanted to get this off my chest.

I truly wish people would quit arguing about this stuff and just freaking train. I think there is a huge amount of value in the Aikido people are doing today. It gives so many a happy place to go, all sorts of good things about harmony and cooperation. However, it might be the case that this wasn't exactly what O-Sensei had in mind. That does not mean it isn't perfectly valid since it obviously speaks to a lot of people!


It's kind of funny, in a non-funny way. You see, off the top of my head I remember that I've said it. Dan has said it. Ellis has said it. What is "it"? "It" is that Modern Aikido is valid, worth studying, we have no problem if people want to study it, etc.

The point where the arguments start is when we say that Modern Aikido isn't doing Morihei Ueshiba's aikido because it lacks his aiki. Yes, it's a hard pill to swallow. A rough truth to digest. And it will be contested at every turn until we reach a turning point.


The biggest problem, as I see it, is that each side looks at the other and says "why don't you see the value of what we're doing compared to what you're doing?" I'd really like to change that vibe to "Hey, enjoy your practice and I'll enjoy mine. Isn't this a remarkably flexible art?"

Not sure about the others, but I don't see it like that. I'm fairly sure by Ellis and Dan's post that they don't see it like that. The three of us have posted here on Aikiweb, the value of Modern Aikido. The sticking point is the truth that they are not doing what Morihei Ueshiba did but rather what Kisshomaru Ueshiba wanted done. And, yes, in that, "aikido" is a remarkably flexible art.

So, back to Mary Eastland's original post ... Personally, I don't have any issues with her aikido. From her posts, I think she's found a great place to be for training with some wonderful people around her. I don't think it isn't valid. Where we would disagree is that, in my opinion, her aikido is not Morhei Ueshiba's aikido but rather Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido. In the context of the difference between Morihei Ueshiba's aiki and Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido, how could we not disagree?

And in that disagreement, lies the root of the problem. For in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido, there is no need to go outside for "internal strength" or "ai(love)ki". It is inherently attributed to the practice and training of the spiritual side of Modern Aikido. It can be a bit hard to understand why people would go "outside" to get that. And in Modern Aikido, they shouldn't need to. However, for Morihei Ueshiba's aikido, they must. There are fundamental and foundational differences between the two. It is there in those differences where the conflict begins. However, I don't think I've ever said that Modern Aikido is invalid, not worth training, etc. Different, yes. In a martial sense, Ueshiba's aiki is better overall. Doesn't mean it's the best for everyone. In a spiritual sense ... ugh, I tend to stay away from all the spiritual conversations. If I actually had to make a determination, I'd have to say Modern Aikido has a better spiritual sense/overview/outlook/whatever than Morihei Ueshiba's. (Which, if you think about that, Kisshomaru Ueshiba gave the world something very profound. How can you then say the changes he made were bad?)

Hopefully, in the end, Mary Eastland, Ron Ragusa, etc and I can laugh about it over good food and drink.

Keith Larman
11-16-2011, 10:35 AM
Mark, I'm not saying that any of the folk out in front are criticizing where aikido went. I'm simply saying it is taken that way and often the way of talking about it leaves that impression.

I was going to follow up on my post now that I'm feeling a bit better and less hazy but you posted first.

Really I think that a greater understanding of things always makes a difference when you go back and reread classic material. I have a habit of rereading Wittgenstein every few years and I must say each time I get new insights and understanding of what is a really rather difficult philosopher. What I see is that he is actually quite clear in many ways, it just requires the reader to have a deeper understanding to allow them to understand. The same is true of my Aikido training. I still have moments where something said to me 15 years ago flashes back in my brain and I say "Ohhhhhhhh." Geez, missed that completely.

Anyway, I think my point is that if someone says "you're not doing Ueshiba M's aiki!" they take it as an insult. And you guys *do* say that rather often, you said it up above. I understand completely what you're saying (and I agree with what *you mean by it* FWIW). But we could have a long and lovely philosophical discussion about what that *really* means since the reality is that Ueshiba M's Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions. They're all Ueshiba M's aikido. The exact nature of the aiki aspect is one part of it (and you and I may think it is the absolutely most important part, but others who went a different direction may disagree). So depending on how the statement is read it could be taken innocently or with a great deal of insult. In that *other* thread going on right now you can see a great example of someone arguing about what they *think* people are saying rather than what people mean. It ain't always easy to make that clear. And it does require a receptive listener as well.

Take a comparison to dogs. My wife and I raise and train Australian Shepherds. Lots of experience in that world and my wife makes extra cash on the side as a person who trains other people how to train their own dogs. Personally I don't care for extreme breeds. But I still know that a pug is a dog. So is a Chinese Crested (blech!). But they're still dogs but since I come from the world of "they should be useful, they should have instincts, they should be this or that, etc." they just don't seem like "real" dogs to me. But... as much as I don't care for them they are still dogs. And people love their own breeds for their own reasons and idiosyncrasies. So as much as I don't care for toy and "vanity" breeds, well, they're still dogs. But put a Chinese Crested next to an Australian Shepherd and you'll wonder how on earth they could possibly be the same species...

So I try to avoid saying "that's not Ueshiba M's aiki". Yes and no. It depends, and I don't think it's worth the angst of arguing over. Let the work and abilities speak for themselves. And let those who want to pursue the version as presented by his son's understanding (which is the version that "took hold" and became incredibly popular) continue in its own path. I know you don't disagree with this, but they all have their own value to those who find value in them. And it *is* Ueshiba M's "Aikido" in many ways. Just like nobody really can do *his* exactly.

No, I don't disagree that the understanding of "aiki" vs. "ai" and "ki" is important to understanding Ueshiba M's teachings. But I also understand that his art also became something else, something more for many people. And I leave it at that. It ain't for me, but there's a lot of stuff that ain't for me. Like pugs... :)

Demetrio Cereijo
11-16-2011, 11:44 AM
For in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido, there is no need to go outside for "internal strength" or "ai(love)ki". It is inherently attributed to the practice and training of the spiritual side of Modern Aikido.

Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.

Keith Larman
11-16-2011, 12:00 PM
Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.

The inheritor of an art in an iemoto based system obviously starts with what they inherit. They can then take it where ever they wish. Whether that is practically possible in an organization as large and diverse as Aikikai is another issue entirely. I'd say the Aikikai's biggest strength is its size and diversity. It is also its greatest weakness. Shrug. I'm not sure what your point is here.

Some define aiki a bit differently than the current standard pedagogy seems to suggest. Many of those people believe there were some subtle and not so subtle changes made over the years for any number of reasons. For those who are comfortable and happy with the way things are I suppose they have little reason to look outside for anything else. Great, they're in the right place. For others who have played with some folk outside of Aikido and found things they felt were valuable to *their* training, well, how is that bad?

I'm just going to quit posting on these issues. In another thread I get told that I'm tossing poo around simply because I disagree about some things. Others seem to want to stir up things just to stir them up. Me, I've got a permanently damaged spine and my time on the mat has an expiration date. And I guess it is time for me to realize that sitting behind a computer debating these things is just time away from the little time I have left to train.

Answer the questions for yourself. That's all we can all hope for. Shrug.

MM
11-16-2011, 12:04 PM
Mark, I'm not saying that any of the folk out in front are criticizing where aikido went. I'm simply saying it is taken that way and often the way of talking about it leaves that impression.

I was going to follow up on my post now that I'm feeling a bit better and less hazy but you posted first.

Really I think that a greater understanding of things always makes a difference when you go back and reread classic material. I have a habit of rereading Wittgenstein every few years and I must say each time I get new insights and understanding of what is a really rather difficult philosopher. What I see is that he is actually quite clear in many ways, it just requires the reader to have a deeper understanding to allow them to understand. The same is true of my Aikido training. I still have moments where something said to me 15 years ago flashes back in my brain and I say "Ohhhhhhhh." Geez, missed that completely.

Anyway, I think my point is that if someone says "you're not doing Ueshiba M's aiki!" they take it as an insult. And you guys *do* say that rather often, you said it up above. I understand completely what you're saying (and I agree with what *you mean by it* FWIW). But we could have a long and lovely philosophical discussion about what that *really* means since the reality is that Ueshiba M's Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions. They're all Ueshiba M's aikido. The exact nature of the aiki aspect is one part of it (and you and I may think it is the absolutely most important part, but others who went a different direction may disagree). So depending on how the statement is read it could be taken innocently or with a great deal of insult. In that *other* thread going on right now you can see a great example of someone arguing about what they *think* people are saying rather than what people mean. It ain't always easy to make that clear. And it does require a receptive listener as well.

Take a comparison to dogs. My wife and I raise and train Australian Shepherds. Lots of experience in that world and my wife makes extra cash on the side as a person who trains other people how to train their own dogs. Personally I don't care for extreme breeds. But I still know that a pug is a dog. So is a Chinese Crested (blech!). But they're still dogs but since I come from the world of "they should be useful, they should have instincts, they should be this or that, etc." they just don't seem like "real" dogs to me. But... as much as I don't care for them they are still dogs. And people love their own breeds for their own reasons and idiosyncrasies. So as much as I don't care for toy and "vanity" breeds, well, they're still dogs. But put a Chinese Crested next to an Australian Shepherd and you'll wonder how on earth they could possibly be the same species...

So I try to avoid saying "that's not Ueshiba M's aiki". Yes and no. It depends, and I don't think it's worth the angst of arguing over. Let the work and abilities speak for themselves. And let those who want to pursue the version as presented by his son's understanding (which is the version that "took hold" and became incredibly popular) continue in its own path. I know you don't disagree with this, but they all have their own value to those who find value in them. And it *is* Ueshiba M's "Aikido" in many ways. Just like nobody really can do *his* exactly.

No, I don't disagree that the understanding of "aiki" vs. "ai" and "ki" is important to understanding Ueshiba M's teachings. But I also understand that his art also became something else, something more for many people. And I leave it at that. It ain't for me, but there's a lot of stuff that ain't for me. Like pugs... :)

I agree with most of what you're saying. But, look at it from my view. I'm not the one taking things as an insult where none was intended. I'm not the one saying Modern Aikido is invalid. So when there are arguments over supposed insults, isn't it kind of wrong to say that one side isn't viewing the other correctly? I mean, c'mon, we've had 10-40 years of training in Modern Aikido. We know the value. If anything, one could say that the level of description and word choice could be better on one side, but it isn't looking at the other side as invalid or valueless.

As to Morihei Ueshiba's "Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions" ... another can of worms. I don't think it did evolve in a variety of directions. I think his vision of aikido when he had pre-war students and his vision of aikido after the war were fairly close. But, that's a different topic and thread... instead (back to the subject at hand), when aikido became something else, something more for many people, all that can be attributed back to Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Diverging paths from father to son.

Chris Li
11-16-2011, 12:06 PM
Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.

Fortunately, Doshu doesn't mandate or dictate any specific system or curriculum except in the most general sense. If it's allowed then it's not going astray.

Best,

Chris

kewms
11-16-2011, 12:12 PM
Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.

*shrug* How many Western students have ever even met Doshu? How many of those would he recognize if he saw them again?

These discussions can be interesting, but fundamentally, aikido is what my teacher says it is.

Katherine

Demetrio Cereijo
11-16-2011, 12:22 PM
Fortunately, Doshu doesn't mandate or dictate any specific system or curriculum except in the most general sense. If it's allowed then it's not going astray.

Best,

Chris

Ok. Understood.

These discussions can be interesting, but fundamentally, aikido is what my teacher says it is.
But he (yes, I know who he is) could be wrong, unintentionally of course.

kewms
11-16-2011, 12:25 PM
But he (yes, I know who he is) could be wrong, unintentionally of course.

But my point was that I don't feel any particular obligation to accept Doshu's definition, especially if it conflicts with my teacher's.

Katherine

Lee Salzman
11-16-2011, 12:35 PM
Anyway, I think my point is that if someone says "you're not doing Ueshiba M's aiki!" they take it as an insult. And you guys *do* say that rather often, you said it up above. I understand completely what you're saying (and I agree with what *you mean by it* FWIW). But we could have a long and lovely philosophical discussion about what that *really* means since the reality is that Ueshiba M's Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions. They're all Ueshiba M's aikido. The exact nature of the aiki aspect is one part of it (and you and I may think it is the absolutely most important part, but others who went a different direction may disagree). So depending on how the statement is read it could be taken innocently or with a great deal of insult. In that *other* thread going on right now you can see a great example of someone arguing about what they *think* people are saying rather than what people mean. It ain't always easy to make that clear. And it does require a receptive listener as well.

Take a comparison to dogs. My wife and I raise and train Australian Shepherds. Lots of experience in that world and my wife makes extra cash on the side as a person who trains other people how to train their own dogs. Personally I don't care for extreme breeds. But I still know that a pug is a dog. So is a Chinese Crested (blech!). But they're still dogs but since I come from the world of "they should be useful, they should have instincts, they should be this or that, etc." they just don't seem like "real" dogs to me. But... as much as I don't care for them they are still dogs. And people love their own breeds for their own reasons and idiosyncrasies. So as much as I don't care for toy and "vanity" breeds, well, they're still dogs. But put a Chinese Crested next to an Australian Shepherd and you'll wonder how on earth they could possibly be the same species...

So I try to avoid saying "that's not Ueshiba M's aiki". Yes and no. It depends, and I don't think it's worth the angst of arguing over. Let the work and abilities speak for themselves. And let those who want to pursue the version as presented by his son's understanding (which is the version that "took hold" and became incredibly popular) continue in its own path. I know you don't disagree with this, but they all have their own value to those who find value in them. And it *is* Ueshiba M's "Aikido" in many ways. Just like nobody really can do *his* exactly.

No, I don't disagree that the understanding of "aiki" vs. "ai" and "ki" is important to understanding Ueshiba M's teachings. But I also understand that his art also became something else, something more for many people. And I leave it at that. It ain't for me, but there's a lot of stuff that ain't for me. Like pugs... :)

I emphatically agree with this point, no wait, let's add some bold, itallics, underline, and caps, EMPHATICALLY AGREE. :D I can't read the statements of "Ueshiba's aikido" without getting a little queasy. The message needs to be more: we think this was an integral part of Ueshiba's aikido, and that without it modern aikido can never be complete. It should not detract from what is already understood, it should rather fill in the blanks we never realized were there. So instead of, "ur 100% rong n i m 100% rite", we need to be more "there are grievous gaps in our understanding that threaten everything aikido stands for". No throwing the baby out with the bathwater, just rather realizing there was only ever a baby there, and neither bath nor water, and here we've got some handy new methods for giving a proper bath to show you...

kewms
11-16-2011, 12:41 PM
The message needs to be more: we think this was an integral part of Ueshiba's aikido, and that without it modern aikido can never be complete. It should not detract from what is already understood, it should rather fill in the blanks we never realized were there.

Which in my experience is very much the way people approach the question in practice. Unfortunately, it is the nature of online fora that people (on both sides) can be pushed into taking extreme positions, or can be held responsible for those positions whether they actually hold them or not.

(Examples abound in the Ueshiba's Aiki thread.)

Katherine

jonreading
11-16-2011, 12:58 PM
Before we even get to definitions and such, I think you need to walk through the arguments and figure out where you stand. I think you need to start with figuring out why people are looking for information elsewhere...

We have had many years since the founder's passing in which to produce a competent aikidoka, theoretically one at least as competent as the founder, if not possibly excelled. While we have had many competent aikidoka, I believe that we have yet to see anyone who received 100% of O Sensei's teachings. We have another generation of deshi passing on, most of whom did not pass on 100% of their teachings. Something about the definition of idiocy...

This is what did it for me. The promise that in no way I would excel beyond my instructor and that I would receive only a portion of the teaching available to me unless I figured out how to change that equation myself.

Roll the dice. Either keep training the way previous generations of aikido people trained, or figure out what's busted and start reclaiming lost information. I think before arguing about who's right and wrong we need to get some colors to band around and figure out what it is we are arguing.

Lee Salzman
11-16-2011, 01:07 PM
Before we even get to definitions and such, I think you need to walk through the arguments and figure out where you stand. I think you need to start with figuring out why people are looking for information elsewhere...

We have had many years since the founder's passing in which to produce a competent aikidoka, theoretically one at least as competent as the founder, if not possibly excelled. While we have had many competent aikidoka, I believe that we have yet to see anyone who received 100% of O Sensei's teachings. We have another generation of deshi passing on, most of whom did not pass on 100% of their teachings. Something about the definition of idiocy...

This is what did it for me. The promise that in no way I would excel beyond my instructor and that I would receive only a portion of the teaching available to me unless I figured out how to change that equation myself.

Roll the dice. Either keep training the way previous generations of aikido people trained, or figure out what's busted and start reclaiming lost information. I think before arguing about who's right and wrong we need to get some colors to band around and figure out what it is we are arguing.

Well, the argument for the IS side is actually pretty clear. We are bickering over how to present our viewpoint, but in the end, over the years, every person I've read on here who was a detractor and then met up with some high-level IS practitioner became an overnight convert after the meeting and initiation process. Now, either this initiation process involves some really strong powers of hypnosis, or there is something of profound significance here. That much we on the IS side are all on the same page about.

The problem is rather to figure out what is the argument for those who resist IS that results in the phenomenon you speak, that we have all failed to live up to Morihei Ueshiba in our own right? The answers for that are all over the map, but yet, the idea that he is a singular genius that can never be replicated, in a world full of now 7 billion people, several generations on, that always never sat well with me. 7 billion monkeys, laboring at the dojo, will never produce the combined works of Morihei Ueshiba, hmm. ;)

kewms
11-16-2011, 01:25 PM
The problem is rather to figure out what is the argument for those who resist IS that results in the phenomenon you speak, that we have all failed to live up to Morihei Ueshiba in our own right?

The argument appears to be that the IS proponents are chasing the wrong goal: that IS may be a valid study in its own right but is either (a) not essential to Ueshiba Sensei's aikido or (b) already taught in the aikido context. The lack of Ueshiba-like abilities is attributed to some combination of (a) Ueshiba's status as a unique genius, (b) insufficiently diligent students, or (c) failure to properly appreciate some other aspect of Ueshiba's teaching.

(Note: I have attempted to present this position as fairly as I can. However, there is always a risk of inaccuracy when stating a position that one does not personally hold. Please accept my apologies if I have made such an error.)

An interesting thought experiment might be to look at the debate from the point of view of one of Ueshiba's deshi. But that's not an exercise that I'm going to walk through in a public forum...

Katherine

chillzATL
11-16-2011, 01:45 PM
Well, the argument for the IS side is actually pretty clear. We are bickering over how to present our viewpoint, but in the end, over the years, every person I've read on here who was a detractor and then met up with some high-level IS practitioner became an overnight convert after the meeting and initiation process. Now, either this initiation process involves some really strong powers of hypnosis, or there is something of profound significance here. That much we on the IS side are all on the same page about.

The problem is rather to figure out what is the argument for those who resist IS that results in the phenomenon you speak, that we have all failed to live up to Morihei Ueshiba in our own right? The answers for that are all over the map, but yet, the idea that he is a singular genius that can never be replicated, in a world full of now 7 billion people, several generations on, that always never sat well with me. 7 billion monkeys, laboring at the dojo, will never produce the combined works of Morihei Ueshiba, hmm. ;)

In my case it wasn't even meeting up with someone most would consider "high level". It was enough for me to find people who weren't aikidoka who could do things that, in our style are considered basic exercises, far better than I could. Heck, far better than I had experienced from anyone. That was more than enough to open my eyes. Then having Toby Threadgill do another of those basic exercises (kokyudosa, aiki-age,etc) and literally launch me 3ft backwards, from seiza, with all of my weight on him, smiling at me the entire time...

I don't see how anyone who is honest with themselves and considers themselves to be a serious student of the art can have that kind of experience and just go back to doing what they had been doing. Then again, I'm one that doesn't care to convince anyone. If they want to avoid having that type of experience, that's on them, not me. I have my doubts about the viability of this stuff for those that don't feel it and then get a hunger for it anyway, so why waste the time convincing people who don't want to be convinced?

Demetrio Cereijo
11-16-2011, 01:46 PM
If you don't mind...

The argument appears to be that the IS proponents are chasing the wrong goal: that IS may be a valid study in its own right but is either (a) not essential to Ueshiba Sensei's aikido or (b) already taught in the aikido context.
or (c) overrated.

The lack of Ueshiba-like abilities is attributed to some combination of (a) Ueshiba's status as a unique genius, (b) insufficiently diligent students, or (c) failure to properly appreciate some other aspect of Ueshiba's teaching.
I'm going with (c).

Keith Larman
11-16-2011, 02:33 PM
Actually I was going to post exactly what Demetrio has posted as another option. And I think it is a sincere position. Now I am firmly in the IS camp, but I see his point of view as perfectly reasonable. And I think it is silly to argue about it because Aikido has evolved in a variety of ways and each person approaches it from their own perspective, needs, etc. What kills conversations is the almost religious zeal with which some approach things. And the incredible sensitivity some have about anyone else daring to question the absolute beauty and complete perfection of whatever it is they do themselves. And it goes both ways.

I'll also say that I find some approaches to the IS stuff to be overrated as well. I see finding ways of properly integrating it back in to my training in my conception of Aikido as a valid way to go. I even see the very real possibility for myself of abandoning Aikido completely to go elsewhere (if Toby or the Yoshida Boys (tm pending) would have me) to train in arts that have a comprehensive approach to this stuff.

So anyway, no easy answers from me. I think long term things will work out. And I think over enough time there won't be nearly as much questions about this stuff. And at that point there will *still* be people doing their own thing the way they want to. And Aikido will be just as fragmented and poorly defined as it is today. :)

Mary Eastland
11-16-2011, 02:39 PM
*shrug* How many Western students have ever even met Doshu? How many of those would he recognize if he saw them again?

These discussions can be interesting, but fundamentally, aikido is what my teacher says it is.

Katherine

At least until you decide for yourself what Aikdio is.

ChrisMoses
11-16-2011, 02:48 PM
Simple answer to the OP: Because that's where I found it. ;)

Demetrio Cereijo
11-16-2011, 02:49 PM
At least until you decide for yourself what Aikdio is.
And be wrong too.

Mark Freeman
11-16-2011, 02:49 PM
At least until you decide for yourself what Aikdio is.

I love the possibilities that your typo throws up Mary, people will be arguing for ages over whether it is really aikd-io or ai-kd-io:D

personally I question the existance of kd, but I respect the rights and opinions of those who believed it is real. Get ready for the KD wars!;)

kewms
11-16-2011, 02:53 PM
personally I question the existance of kd, but I respect the rights and opinions of those who believed it is real. Get ready for the KD wars!;)

Hey! I exist! People who post here have even trained with me! -- Katherine (D.)

Nicholas Eschenbruch
11-16-2011, 03:16 PM
I emphatically agree with this point, no wait, let's add some bold, itallics, underline, and caps, EMPHATICALLY AGREE. :D I can't read the statements of "Ueshiba's aikido" without getting a little queasy. The message needs to be more: we think this was an integral part of Ueshiba's aikido, and that without it modern aikido can never be complete. It should not detract from what is already understood, it should rather fill in the blanks we never realized were there. So instead of, "ur 100% rong n i m 100% rite", we need to be more "there are grievous gaps in our understanding that threaten everything aikido stands for". No throwing the baby out with the bathwater, just rather realizing there was only ever a baby there, and neither bath nor water, and here we've got some handy new methods for giving a proper bath to show you...

Agree emphatically, too. Some excellent posts here, I am enjoing this thread (thanks Mary!). Lee, hope you are well wherever you are, liked your recent post on posture a lot, too.

Mary Eastland
11-16-2011, 03:35 PM
I love the possibilities that your typo throws up Mary, people will be arguing for ages over whether it is really aikd-io or ai-kd-io:D

personally I question the existance of kd, but I respect the rights and opinions of those who believed it is real. Get ready for the KD wars!;)

lol :)

mathewjgano
11-16-2011, 03:42 PM
Mark, I'm not saying that any of the folk out in front are criticizing where aikido went. I'm simply saying it is taken that way and often the way of talking about it leaves that impression.

I was going to follow up on my post now that I'm feeling a bit better and less hazy but you posted first.

Really I think that a greater understanding of things always makes a difference when you go back and reread classic material. I have a habit of rereading Wittgenstein every few years and I must say each time I get new insights and understanding of what is a really rather difficult philosopher. What I see is that he is actually quite clear in many ways, it just requires the reader to have a deeper understanding to allow them to understand. The same is true of my Aikido training. I still have moments where something said to me 15 years ago flashes back in my brain and I say "Ohhhhhhhh." Geez, missed that completely.

Anyway, I think my point is that if someone says "you're not doing Ueshiba M's aiki!" they take it as an insult. And you guys *do* say that rather often, you said it up above. I understand completely what you're saying (and I agree with what *you mean by it* FWIW). But we could have a long and lovely philosophical discussion about what that *really* means since the reality is that Ueshiba M's Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions. They're all Ueshiba M's aikido. The exact nature of the aiki aspect is one part of it (and you and I may think it is the absolutely most important part, but others who went a different direction may disagree). So depending on how the statement is read it could be taken innocently or with a great deal of insult. In that *other* thread going on right now you can see a great example of someone arguing about what they *think* people are saying rather than what people mean. It ain't always easy to make that clear. And it does require a receptive listener as well.

Take a comparison to dogs. My wife and I raise and train Australian Shepherds. Lots of experience in that world and my wife makes extra cash on the side as a person who trains other people how to train their own dogs. Personally I don't care for extreme breeds. But I still know that a pug is a dog. So is a Chinese Crested (blech!). But they're still dogs but since I come from the world of "they should be useful, they should have instincts, they should be this or that, etc." they just don't seem like "real" dogs to me. But... as much as I don't care for them they are still dogs. And people love their own breeds for their own reasons and idiosyncrasies. So as much as I don't care for toy and "vanity" breeds, well, they're still dogs. But put a Chinese Crested next to an Australian Shepherd and you'll wonder how on earth they could possibly be the same species...

So I try to avoid saying "that's not Ueshiba M's aiki". Yes and no. It depends, and I don't think it's worth the angst of arguing over. Let the work and abilities speak for themselves. And let those who want to pursue the version as presented by his son's understanding (which is the version that "took hold" and became incredibly popular) continue in its own path. I know you don't disagree with this, but they all have their own value to those who find value in them. And it *is* Ueshiba M's "Aikido" in many ways. Just like nobody really can do *his* exactly.

No, I don't disagree that the understanding of "aiki" vs. "ai" and "ki" is important to understanding Ueshiba M's teachings. But I also understand that his art also became something else, something more for many people. And I leave it at that. It ain't for me, but there's a lot of stuff that ain't for me. Like pugs... :)

I really like this and think it bears repeating. I think it addresses the general nature of "these conversations" really well and that these topics would be better received if some of the language was adjusted. Considering the horse-to-water concept, it doesn't do much good for a public discussion to use language that can seem forceful...which usually seems to invite resistance...in my opinion, at any rate. The "trick" as I see it is putting forward a position which has as few pointy corners (real or perceived) as possible since people often like to push up against them.
evileyes :D And for the record, it's not a dog if my 20lbs. cat, Gus, could eat it in one sitting...he was a kind of domesticated small gray panther who I once saw chase off an English Mastiff. The Mastiff thought he'd just give him a wide berth, but Gus moved over and squared up to him again as if to say, "Nuh uh! I said get the @#$% out!" I miss that cat.

p.s. I mean, I EMPHATICALLY AGREE! :D

Byron Foster
11-17-2011, 09:42 PM
Why train outside of Aikido?

Why look outside the box? What could be out there?

There seems to be an implicit premise in that question that Aikido is a complete martial art system, that contains within it all the physical movements, techniques, theoretical framework and beginners-to-advanced teaching syllabus required to reach master level.

When I was younger I thought that this was the case quite passionately, but now I am not so sure.

Outside the box of Aikido? Some people do Mediation to supplement their Aikido and swear by it. Others do Iaido and testify how much it has made their aikido better. Others (this is scandalous!) even go to seminars to see other instructors. As if their own instructor was not good enough to teach them everything there is.

Dogma can only get someone so far.

I love doing Aikido and I am willing to try just about anything to improve understanding and skills. Then I read about an I.S. workshop that was going to happen in California last Spring.

My experiences at the workshop Dan taught were probably very similar to that of other Aikidoka. He asked me to push him over, nothing happened. He asked to push and pull his arms. Nothing happened. Then he put is hand on my chest, and my ribs popped out of my sternum. He was able to completely neutralize all of my techniques and power, and when he turned in on me, I had absolutely no defenses for it. As a martial artist, that was fantastic. Here was someone who could do great stuff and explain what he was doing and how to do it. When I first read some of his online articles, I was not sure, as the old saying goes, whether he was crazy or a genius. Well, he is not crazy.

I then went a little crazy. I started to research everything I could online regarding I.S., core conditioning, other martial arts. A two day seminar was just not enough. I bought Ark's three DVD set of the basic Aunkai exercises (quick review - well worth the money), I bought Systema DVDs, bought a Swiss Ball, I ordered every yoga, tai chi and Qi Gong DVD on the Netflix list. I bought and read and re-read "Transparent Power" (What were those exercises Sagawa?), "Hidden in Plain Sight" (Excellent), "Ki and Karate (????) and others. I even wrote a blog on aikiweb on some side research involving fascia and anatomy trains that was justifiably completely ignored. I even started an I.S. group meeting one a month with a friend so we could practice the exercises with others.

My passion for training and Aikido went way up.

I still have the same deep respect for myAikido teachers and still have a lot to learn regarding Aikido from them, but I think I am approaching how to do techniques differently. On the outside it looks the same, but my intent on the inside is way different than it was before. There is no way I would have figured any of that out on my own.

My box became bigger after being exposed to the internal strength concepts.

I have to thank Dan Harden for that. And then later on Toby Threadgill.

Why train outside Aikido? Because Aikido is bigger than just what we learn in Aikido Dojos.

Did that make sense?
:straightf

Keith Larman
11-17-2011, 10:57 PM
Did that make sense?
:straightf

Yes. :)

BTW and FWIW, I liked your writeup on fascia...

Janet Rosen
11-17-2011, 11:36 PM
Yes. :)

BTW and FWIW, I liked your writeup on fascia...

which is http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20239
:)

SeiserL
11-18-2011, 05:59 AM
Why train outside of Aikido? Why look outside the box? What could be out there?
There's a box?

Man, no one tells me nuthin'!

lbb
11-18-2011, 08:44 AM
Why train outside of Aikido?

Why look outside the box? What could be out there?

There seems to be an implicit premise in that question that Aikido is a complete martial art system, that contains within it all the physical movements, techniques, theoretical framework and beginners-to-advanced teaching syllabus required to reach master level.

...and there's an implicit premise in your post that a "complete martial arts system", whatever that is, is what we all want and need.

This is something I really don't get. When you buy a car, do you expect it to be the be-all and end-all car, the car that can do everything? Well, no doubt some people do. We call those people "crazy". Normal people just look for a car that's right for their purpose, whether that is transporting four kids to soccer practice or hauling blocks of cement to a building site or going as fast as you possibly can around a track.

Or, if you want to put it in a martial context, what's the "best" fighter? Gee, I don't know. Put me in one situation and I'll take Mongol light cavalry, put me in another situation and I'll take a seasoned bouncer, and in another I'm definitely going to want a Marine platoon sergeant.

Given that, for the large majority of us, our fighting really is purely theoretical, and any fighting we might possibly encounter is within a specific context, I don't get the endless froth and fury about a "complete martial arts system". Even if such a thing existed, which it doesn't, it's not what any of us needs. If someone finds something sufficient to their needs, why would they look elsewhere?

phitruong
11-18-2011, 09:07 AM
I then went a little crazy. I started to research everything I could online regarding I.S.,


so doing IS makes you crazy. jot down one more reason to not do IS, because that would be against spirituality stuffs. on second thought, my spirituality based on insanity, so this might work. :)

Keith Larman
11-18-2011, 10:22 AM
...and there's an implicit premise in your post that a "complete martial arts system", whatever that is, is what we all want and need.

... If someone finds something sufficient to their needs, why would they look elsewhere?

Yeah, I agree with you and really can't argue the point.

But that leaves us with two propositions (actually a lot more, but hey, I'm all for simplifying).

So Define...

Group I: "Aikido has everything I need."

Group 2: "Aikido is missing something fundamental so I must go outside to find it."

A. It is nearly incomprehensible to Group 1 why Group 2 will look outside Aikido for something fundamental Group 2 believes is missing.

B. It is nearly incomprehensible to Group 2 why Group 1 won't look outside Aikido for something fundamental Group 2 believes is missing.

And since the whole concept of "is it missing?" depends on a whole lot of factors including personal expectation, definition of what *it* is, style, etc., I don't see anything necessarily contradictory about the two statements.

"To-ma-to, Toh-mah-toh, let's call the whole thing off..." :)

And then there's those of us who can't for the life of us figure out which group we're in... Is it there? Was it there? Do I exist? No, wait, I'm having this inner dialog so I must exist... Hmmm. I like turtles!"

Keith Larman
11-18-2011, 10:26 AM
which is http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20239
:)

Thanks Janet! While I think there is a *ton* of speculation there, I do think it is an interesting mental exercise to consider these different possibilities. And that's a good deal better than saying "Collect their ki, ball it up, then send their ki back past them..." At least from a perspective of trying to better understand what's really go on "under the covers".

Keith Larman
11-18-2011, 10:27 AM
There's a box?

Man, no one tells me nuthin'!

Well at least you're not telling me I'm not supposed to draw outside the lines! That's just crazy talk!

M. McPherson
11-18-2011, 10:48 AM
No, wait, I'm having this inner dialog so I must exist... Hmmm. I like turtles!"

Mr. Larman,

I wanted to thank you for (appropriately) referencing Wittgenstein the other day, but this one deserves especially strong kudos. So mad props to you, sir. I'm just not sure if you're channeling Douglas Adams or the regressive epistemology of the Münchhausen Trilemma. Either way, the resistance on both sides of this issue does make me wonder if folks sincerely believe it to be turtles all the way down...

Best,
Murray McPherson

Keith Larman
11-18-2011, 12:42 PM
Mr. Larman,

I wanted to thank you for (appropriately) referencing Wittgenstein the other day, but this one deserves especially strong kudos. So mad props to you, sir. I'm just not sure if you're channeling Douglas Adams or the regressive epistemology of the Münchhausen Trilemma. Either way, the resistance on both sides of this issue does make me wonder if folks sincerely believe it to be turtles all the way down...

Best,
Murray McPherson

Hey, at least someone gets some of my obscure references and influences. I'll point out this thread to my mom -- she still hasn't forgiven me for going to a very expensive liberal arts college for degrees in philosophy and religious studies. With a minor in political science (and even there I screwed up -- much of my emphasis was on the Soviet Political system -- Who, you say? Yup. Oops).

On a serious note it does go back to a that point often made by Wittgenstein as well as the rather extreme position taken if you're a fan of the Münchhausen Trilemma and the impossibility of any knowledge. Well, maybe better certain, non-trivial knowledge. Until we have a better physical understanding of what's going on it is bloody near impossible to have a reasoned discussion on a forum when the participants have very different models of what each word being used means.

Eventually it ends up sounding like this great kid -- one of my favorite 17 seconds of video *EVER*.

http://youtu.be/CMNry4PE93Y

Most of the time when discussions get to this point that's exactly what I find my mind doing... The little homunculus in my head starts wandering about verdant imagined fields, enjoying the breeze then suddenly he is hit with an insight! I like turtles!

And if I was going to have a God, I'd choose Thor. He had a cool hammer.

Yup, that's my brain in action at its best...

Sorry, back to the serious discussion at hand of why all those idiots out there don't realize how absolutely wonderful each of our own constructed little worlds are for us.

Seriously there are lots of very sincere folk on all sides. I just make the same recommendation. Get out and try different things.

Or don't.

And don't forget your towel.

And remember -- we'll all be dead 100 years from now so kiss your kids, hug your friends, and get on with life.

Lee Salzman
11-18-2011, 01:01 PM
...and there's an implicit premise in your post that a "complete martial arts system", whatever that is, is what we all want and need.

This is something I really don't get. When you buy a car, do you expect it to be the be-all and end-all car, the car that can do everything? Well, no doubt some people do. We call those people "crazy". Normal people just look for a car that's right for their purpose, whether that is transporting four kids to soccer practice or hauling blocks of cement to a building site or going as fast as you possibly can around a track.

Or, if you want to put it in a martial context, what's the "best" fighter? Gee, I don't know. Put me in one situation and I'll take Mongol light cavalry, put me in another situation and I'll take a seasoned bouncer, and in another I'm definitely going to want a Marine platoon sergeant.

Given that, for the large majority of us, our fighting really is purely theoretical, and any fighting we might possibly encounter is within a specific context, I don't get the endless froth and fury about a "complete martial arts system". Even if such a thing existed, which it doesn't, it's not what any of us needs. If someone finds something sufficient to their needs, why would they look elsewhere?

Best fighter... hmm. I'm going to have to go with the zerglings. Never liked having to strategize too much, just go all ZERG RUSH. So, okay, maybe playing Starcraft is about the closest many of us will come to an actual fight, or one where martial training is really necessary or expedient.

On the other hand, that means the practice of martial arts should at least be helping us out with everything else in life that we do actually do. So is aikido, which for most is a combined study of techniques of twisting people in funny ways without stopping their momentum with a cool peace and love philosophy to back it up, really offering the most it can, or could it offer more? I very much think it can offer more, and that's because in aikido we spend an awful lot of time worrying too much about we're doing to other people, rather than spending a lot of time on ourselves in isolation. It is not uncommon that I spend several hours a night just working in my own body, whereas I would not have thought to do that before or understood how IS could help me. I just could not really conceive how there were some issues of vital importance that could only really be trained outside the dojo, not in it. That alone is a huge beneficial change it has made to my practice.

From an efficiency stand-point, if you just want the benefits like moving better, exercise, better fitness, etc. just IS training by itself can give you that, in more concentrated form in a much shorter time, than the practice of techniques on other people, but without learning how to fight at all, hell, it'll probably make you a worse fighter by itself just because it'd make you too cocky about your non-existent ability to handle yourself. But without a real world benchmark to test your solely IS growth against, your IS growth will be stunted as well, a glass ceiling set because you never really have a surefire way of realizing just how incompetent you really are. So fighting complements IS exceedingly nicely, they feed eachother.

lbb
11-18-2011, 03:00 PM
Group I: "Aikido has everything I need."

Group 2: "Aikido is missing something fundamental so I must go outside to find it."

A. It is nearly incomprehensible to Group 1 why Group 2 will look outside Aikido for something fundamental Group 2 believes is missing.

Insofar as this is true, this is a case of people in Group 1 being dumb, people in Group 2 being dumb, or both. Note the difference between "everything I need" and "everything everyone in the world needs".

B. It is nearly incomprehensible to Group 2 why Group 1 won't look outside Aikido for something fundamental Group 2 believes is missing.

Insofar as this is true, this is a case of people in Group 2 being dumb. It's like not being able to understand why everyone doesn't buy a Ford Windstar.

And since the whole concept of "is it missing?" depends on a whole lot of factors including personal expectation, definition of what *it* is, style, etc., I don't see anything necessarily contradictory about the two statements.

It depends first and foremost on the definition of "missing". Do you think that the Mona Lisa is "missing" a grass skirt and a coconut bra?

lbb
11-18-2011, 03:05 PM
Best fighter... hmm. I'm going to have to go with the zerglings.

You're so very wrong. CIRCUS PONIES. Duh.

On the other hand, that means the practice of martial arts should at least be helping us out with everything else in life that we do actually do.

Why? Why would anyone have this expectation? I mean, if it helps you with other things in life, then great...but that's gravy. Why do you think that's what it must do "at least"? Do you expect your car to help you wash the dishes?

Dave de Vos
11-18-2011, 03:13 PM
Best fighter... hmm. I'm going to have to go with the zerglings. Never liked having to strategize too much, just go all ZERG RUSH.

Way off topic, but I like a squadron of protoss carriers. Takes forever to build it, but then.. ;)

Lee Salzman
11-18-2011, 03:15 PM
You're so very wrong. CIRCUS PONIES. Duh.

Why? Why would anyone have this expectation? I mean, if it helps you with other things in life, then great...but that's gravy. Why do you think that's what it must do "at least"? Do you expect your car to help you wash the dishes?

I don't expect my car to help me wash dishes. But at the same time a car has a function that is vastly more than looking pretty, at least for us common folk. It does many functional things that are of value to most people, like carry them and other people and even things that are not people, to other places, and prevents them from the unspeakable horrors of having to walk or run or bicycle anywhere. That and my car also needs to be affordable to maintain and fuel; it must pull its weight. So I would just hope we could ascribe a function to aikido that is more than just artistic endeavor or a self-contained time sink, especially when I, and I would think many others, actually do want more functional benefits from it, in addition to, not necessarily as a replacement for, artistic concerns.

Keith Larman
11-18-2011, 03:20 PM
Insofar as this is true, this is a case of people in Group 1 being dumb, people in Group 2 being dumb, or both. Note the difference between "everything I need" and "everything everyone in the world needs".

Insofar as this is true, this is a case of people in Group 2 being dumb. It's like not being able to understand why everyone doesn't buy a Ford Windstar.

It depends first and foremost on the definition of "missing". Do you think that the Mona Lisa is "missing" a grass skirt and a coconut bra?

Mary... I don't disagree with you.

TimB99
11-18-2011, 04:42 PM
Way off topic, but I like a squadron of protoss carriers. Takes forever to build it, but then.. ;)

Then you gonna love this..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12lc7jVpfUc

And yes.. Way off topic.. Still, way more fun than the endless, eeeendless, eeeeeeeennndddlessss IP debates :yuck: ..

phitruong
11-18-2011, 10:06 PM
It depends first and foremost on the definition of "missing". Do you think that the Mona Lisa is "missing" a grass skirt and a coconut bra?

now that you mentioned it, i have always been wondering why the Mona Lisa doesn't look quite right. the grass skirt should be ok, but wouldn't coconut bra be uncomfortable and scratchy? is that with or without under-wire support? :D

i was wondering if a person can be in the two groups at the same time, as in, Group 3: all of the above. as in, i go outside of aikido for stuffs in order to have everything i need inside aikido? :)

i was outside of aikido, then i found aikido and went inside, then i stepped outside, and tunnel back inside, then went out the back door, and climbed back in through the windows. sometimes i don't know whether i am in or out. some told me that i am outside the house, but i said i am inside my yard and i said you are trespassing. and i also said do you not see the sign that said "trespasser will be shot. survivor will be shot again."

SteveTrinkle
11-19-2011, 06:57 AM
now that you mentioned it, i have always been wondering why the Mona Lisa doesn't look quite right. the grass skirt should be ok, but wouldn't coconut bra be uncomfortable and scratchy? is that with or without under-wire support? :D

i was wondering if a person can be in the two groups at the same time, as in, Group 3: all of the above. as in, i go outside of aikido for stuffs in order to have everything i need inside aikido? :)

i was outside of aikido, then i found aikido and went inside, then i stepped outside, and tunnel back inside, then went out the back door, and climbed back in through the windows. sometimes i don't know whether i am in or out. some told me that i am outside the house, but i said i am inside my yard and i said you are trespassing. and i also said do you not see the sign that said "trespasser will be shot. survivor will be shot again."

Walking along an empty road one day, the Sufi wise man Mulla Nasruddin noticed a troop of horsemen riding toward him. His imagination started to work; he saw himself captured or robbed or killed and frightened by this thought he bolted, climbed a wall into a graveyard, and lay down in an open grave to hide. Puzzled at his bizzare behaviour, the horsemen - honest travellers - followed him. They found him stretched out, tense, and shaking. "What are you doing in that grave? We saw you run away. Can we help you? Why are you here in this place?" "Just because you can ask a question does not mean that there is a straightforward answer to it," said Nasruddin, who now realized what had happened. "It all depends upon your viewpoint. If you must know, however, I am here because of you - and you are here because of me!"

lbb
11-19-2011, 02:40 PM
now that you mentioned it, i have always been wondering why the Mona Lisa doesn't look quite right. the grass skirt should be ok, but wouldn't coconut bra be uncomfortable and scratchy? is that with or without under-wire support? :D

The scratchy part is on the outside. No underwires needed, that's the beauty of the coconut bra.

i was wondering if a person can be in the two groups at the same time, as in, Group 3: all of the above. as in, i go outside of aikido for stuffs in order to have everything i need inside aikido? :)

Oh sure, but I think the reference was to the two groups who participate most enthusiastically in this debate, and who seem to have this mutual incomprehension block.

I guess you could say that my perspective is of someone who understands that there are only 24 hours in a day, and who doesn't put any of the goals articulated in this or other threads at the top of my list. There's nothing wrong with them, but I've got wood to stack and a garden to put to bed for the winter. I've got a job that I want to keep, and in order to do that, I have to make sure my company does well, and in order to do THAT, I've got to put in more than just a token appearance at work. IMO, it's part of being a grownup. No, you don't get to have everything you could possibly want. No matter how much money or talent or resources you have, you still only have 24 hours in the day. You can go inside or outside and chase all the rabbits you want...but when you get to a certain point in life, you look at the perfectly good rabbit in your hand, and decline to go off chasing after the rabbit in that field over there on the vague suspicion (or even the enthusiastic endorsement of others) that it might be better.

Lee Salzman
11-19-2011, 02:59 PM
Oh sure, but I think the reference was to the two groups who participate most enthusiastically in this debate, and who seem to have this mutual incomprehension block.

I guess you could say that my perspective is of someone who understands that there are only 24 hours in a day, and who doesn't put any of the goals articulated in this or other threads at the top of my list. There's nothing wrong with them, but I've got wood to stack and a garden to put to bed for the winter. I've got a job that I want to keep, and in order to do that, I have to make sure my company does well, and in order to do THAT, I've got to put in more than just a token appearance at work. IMO, it's part of being a grownup. No, you don't get to have everything you could possibly want. No matter how much money or talent or resources you have, you still only have 24 hours in the day. You can go inside or outside and chase all the rabbits you want...but when you get to a certain point in life, you look at the perfectly good rabbit in your hand, and decline to go off chasing after the rabbit in that field over there on the vague suspicion (or even the enthusiastic endorsement of others) that it might be better.

So excelling inside nor searching outside are not priorities for you, because you're busy with other aspects of your life, but you still have time to put up with us rabble? We're really that important you? That's rather sweet of you! :p

If you've got finite time, is running in the same circles (kinda literally) really a fulfilling way to spend it? Is it really that impossible to budget just a little time to explore something new on occasion? I think there is a positive selection bias at work for AikiWeb: we wouldn't be here discussing this if we didn't strongly care enough about it to be challenged by or challenge others' opinions about it. And, well, you're here, so I dunno what to make of it that you care enough to debate the matter, but not enough to explore it in the flesh.

Ecosamurai
11-22-2011, 06:06 AM
I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.

I rarely bother with aikiweb anymore since Mike and Dan appeared but this post caught my eye.

If you look back to when they were first around you'll prob see me involved in a bunch of disagreements with them. Their position was always 'aikido has lost aiki/IS' my position was 'this is simply not true, rare it may be but it is still there'. Their rebuttal was 'well you clearly don't know what aiki/IS is', mine was 'actually I do but apparently only people who have been to your seminars are allowed to say they understand it'. Hence we face ever decreasing circles of idiocy from all parties, and in particular I received a bunch of abusive PMs from people for daring to question Dan's skills and abilities (I did not question them btw). Made my responses rather more trollish than I'd have liked so I left aikiweb pretty much. Not intending to critisize anyone here, rather the whole situation was something I just couldn't be bothered with anymore.

Dan and Mike certainly seem to have things to offer that a lot of people find very interesting and worthwhile, and I certainly have no problem with going outside of aikido to bring things back in, many (most?) of the great aikido teachers I can think of have done some of this, from my lineage, Koichi Tohei for one, plus my own teacher Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei has spent some time with aspects of Shinkage Ryu and Daito Ryu when he teaches. I've also spent time in various CMA type places whenever I can and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and Kendo too.

Basically I feel like O Sensei left us with a big box of presents in the shape of the aikido techniques he'd adapted from Daito Ryu and elsewhere and it may take us several generations of students to unwrap them all and fully understand them. Often going outside of aikido to someone else who has been playing with a particular toy for several years before you started unwrapping it can save you having to read the manual. That person can (ideally I suppose) be your aikido instructor, but I see no reason why it can't be someone like Dan or Mike either.

Cheers

Mike

john.burn
11-22-2011, 07:28 AM
Hi Mary,

Do you really feel you can do everything that your teacher can do? Or at least will be able to do everything?

With my first teacher then I'm pretty sure that at some stage I would have been able to do everything he could given enough time but then he died and everything went slightly pear-shaped... Thankfully I'd already met someone who melted my brain, another teacher, and the only one in Aikido terms to have ever done this... I spent about 10 years or so training with him usually once a year and was never ever convinced I'd be able to do what he could. I would listen, ask and try to do what he was saying but I didn't have the basics explained to me in a way to allow me to listen to what he was saying to me. I asked him who I should go to... He mentioned Mike Sigman would be good for my Aikido and so I met up with Mike. Since meeting Mike my understanding of what Ikeda sensei is doing makes complete sense, he taught me how to do my abc's (still working on them) but because I am starting to understand the letters behind the words I'm beginning to understand the bigger picture and how to interpret the sentences. Without Mike, I really don't think I'd be any closer to figuring any of this out. So my recommendation came from a Shihan to go outside his art to get this stuff.

I have met Dan too by the way. But, Mike's stuff made perfect sense to me, Dan's I struggled with - I was trying to not incorporate anything I'd been told my Mike when learning from Dan and I really struggled. I felt like he wasn't taking things down to an absolute basic mechanical level like Mike does, YMMV. Mike has unlocked a number of things I'd been struggling with for over 10 years in one weekend. All my students are crazy about learning this stuff too and we can't get enough of it. I tried to work on Dan's things a number of times and I liked some of his phrases but I soon found myself falling back to Mike's methods, they just made more sense to me and show very real progress.

I can't believe you can't consider stepping outside to see what's there. Your choice obviously. I don't mean anything negative about your teacher but I can only assume you've never gotten hold of someone that has 'the goods' because when you do, it changes your perspective. My first teacher was and always will be very special to me, he was like a father to me, but, he did not have internal strength. I think he'd have liked Mike though.

lbb
11-22-2011, 08:15 AM
So excelling inside nor searching outside are not priorities for you, because you're busy with other aspects of your life, but you still have time to put up with us rabble? We're really that important you? That's rather sweet of you! :p

Wow. I just don't know where to begin with everything that is so desperately wrong with this paragraph.

If you've got finite time, is running in the same circles (kinda literally) really a fulfilling way to spend it?

How do you know I'm "running in the same circles"? Perhaps the same authority that has apparently gifted you with the power to define what "excelling" is, and to judge whether or not it is a "priority" for someone else, also gave you the authority to define whether or not someone is "running in the same circles"?

Is it really that impossible to budget just a little time to explore something new on occasion?

I explained this once already, Lee; did you really not get it? It's really not that hard, and the difference between "impossible" and "taking resources that I choose to spend elsewhere" is really not that subtle.

I really think you need to work on your diction.

I think there is a positive selection bias at work for AikiWeb: we wouldn't be here discussing this if we didn't strongly care enough about it to be challenged by or challenge others' opinions about it.

You're wrong.

And, well, you're here, so I dunno what to make of it that you care enough to debate the matter, but not enough to explore it in the flesh.

I'm not debating anything. I'm saying how it is. You can take it or leave it, but I'm not in the business of making sense to you. I'm not interested in jumping on the IS bandwagon; life's too short for me to do everything I might be somewhat interested in, I have to pick and choose, and frankly, there are some toxic personalities waving that banner that I don't want to have anything to do with. That's all the reason I need not to go there.

Lee Salzman
11-22-2011, 08:27 AM
Mary, you know what, re-reading my statements. I sincerely apologize. I was categorically a dickhead and had no right to say what I said. I should have considered what I said more thoroughly, but I will avoid pursuing the matter because I don't want to dig my hole any further. Okay?

Wow. I just don't know where to begin with everything that is so desperately wrong with this paragraph.

How do you know I'm "running in the same circles"? Perhaps the same authority that has apparently gifted you with the power to define what "excelling" is, and to judge whether or not it is a "priority" for someone else, also gave you the authority to define whether or not someone is "running in the same circles"?

I explained this once already, Lee; did you really not get it? It's really not that hard, and the difference between "impossible" and "taking resources that I choose to spend elsewhere" is really not that subtle.

I really think you need to work on your diction.

You're wrong.

I'm not debating anything. I'm saying how it is. You can take it or leave it, but I'm not in the business of making sense to you. I'm not interested in jumping on the IS bandwagon; life's too short for me to do everything I might be somewhat interested in, I have to pick and choose, and frankly, there are some toxic personalities waving that banner that I don't want to have anything to do with. That's all the reason I need not to go there.

Tim Ruijs
11-22-2011, 08:50 AM
It has been said: practise and practise hard, do not judge others or speak bad of other teachers.

Everybody is on their own path to find their Way. It is a valid question to ask why someone would search outside Aikido for IS. One might expect a true/sincere answer without judgement. There is nothing to gain only to loose here...

Earlier I have said that people do not know what they are looking for...nobody really responded to that.

When people start to look (read/think/feel) around because of these discussions that is just great. They might learn what they are really looking for, or find that they have already found it.

DH
11-22-2011, 09:31 AM
I rarely bother with aikiweb anymore since Mike and Dan appeared but this post caught my eye.
If you look back to when they were first around you'll prob see me involved in a bunch of disagreements with them. Their position was always 'aikido has lost aiki/IS' my position was 'this is simply not true, rare it may be but it is still there'. Their rebuttal was 'well you clearly don't know what aiki/IS is', mine was 'actually I do but apparently only people who have been to your seminars are allowed to say they understand it'. Hence we face ever decreasing circles of idiocy from all parties, and in particular I received a bunch of abusive PMs from people for daring to question Dan's skills and abilities (I did not question them btw). Made my responses rather more trollish than I'd have liked so I left aikiweb pretty much. Not intending to critisize anyone here, rather the whole situation was something I just couldn't be bothered with anymore.

Dan and Mike certainly seem to have things to offer that a lot of people find very interesting and worthwhile, and I certainly have no problem with going outside of aikido to bring things back in, many (most?) of the great aikido teachers I can think of have done some of this, from my lineage, Koichi Tohei for one, plus my own teacher Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei has spent some time with aspects of Shinkage Ryu and Daito Ryu when he teaches. I've also spent time in various CMA type places whenever I can and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and Kendo too.

Basically I feel like O Sensei left us with a big box of presents in the shape of the aikido techniques he'd adapted from Daito Ryu and elsewhere and it may take us several generations of students to unwrap them all and fully understand them. Often going outside of aikido to someone else who has been playing with a particular toy for several years before you started unwrapping it can save you having to read the manual. That person can (ideally I suppose) be your aikido instructor, but I see no reason why it can't be someone like Dan or Mike either.

Cheers
Mike
Mike
I think you misscharacterized both of our comments. Mike, in particular has argued that there is IS in Ki aikido to one degree or another and spoke favorably of the efforts of a teacher he met.
For my part I have spoken favorably of Shirata, Mochizuki, Saotome and Ikeda. My feelings on Shirata and Mochizuki going back to the aikido list days. So I think you let other issues cloud your judgement there.
To be clear, I think IP/aiki is rare as well, and I also do not think it is fully developed in aikido. I haven't seen anyone in the art that I think displayed what I consider a fully developed skill set in IP/aiki.

I think the enthusiasm some feel at discovering this work and being able to do certain things has gotten the better of them. Enthusiasm is great, but there is no need to be rude to each other. Everyone who is out meeting is having a great time, laughing, sharing and learning. We need to do a better job here. I have seen some outrageous things being said and done (some of the recent threads and comments aimed at me are unprecedented) and brings out the worst in all of us. I keep hoping everyone can dial it down.

Mary's question:
Why do people search outside Aikido for IS?
Has a simple answer.
They haven't found what they are looking for in Aikido.

Beyond that the only debate is whether all that is available is even in Aikido. Some say it is, others that it isn't. Most are not qualified to offer an opinion, since they have never ventured outside the box to form a credible opinion worth listening to. It is a bit much to see people argue that Aikido is complete, having never been anywhere else. It becomes even more difficult when those claiming all you need is in the art...continue to be completely undone by those stating there is more to be had than is taught in the art.
Since so many Shihan have gone outside the art -specifically to learn IP/aiki-it is a losing bet to argue that it is not needed. Since aiki..do is based on aiki, an ages old concept, it stands to reason that people would look to the worlds arts for comparisons. With teachers going out and meeting people like; Sam Chin, Mike, Ark, Me, and others, the flat truth is that the face to face meetings are supporting the arguments that there are at least other...if not better...methods for training IS and aiki outside the art. Goodness gracious there is an eighty year history of teachers going outside of aikido to learn, including the founder. They all discussed it. What's the big deal?

Dan

SeiserL
11-22-2011, 02:18 PM
Mary's question:
Why do people search outside Aikido for IS?
Has a simple answer.
They haven't found what they are looking for in Aikido.

IMHO, the more I play with this stuff (IS), the more I see that its implied or indirectly taught in Aikido and that most of us (okay, I) missed it (often even the ones thinking they are teaching it). I like the direct teaching and coming back and attempting to apply it.

TOMAC
11-22-2011, 02:46 PM
I think that nobody really knows Aikido but me. I don't think that anybody's opinion is valid except mine. This is what I hear in these posts. Internal Strength is very important. It is not the only thing in Aikido that is important. There are a myriad of principles that make up the art of Aikido. What O Sensei was doing was, and continues to be, a mystery to those who trained with him and to those who train in the art today. Anyone who thinks they have it figured out is kidding themselves. Further, Aikido is individualistic and each person must develop it in his/her own fashion for his/her own purposes. No one will ever be like O Sensei. He was O Sensei. No one will ever be like anyone else.

I like to play trumpet. I used to make a living doing so. But the gossip, backbiting, bickering and judgmental attitudes finally got to be too much. Now I teach kids trumpet. I like it and so do they. Aikido should be this way. We need to avoid pronouncing ourselves and our opinions regarding any aspect of the art to be superior to those of others. We need to train more and argue less.

Is Dan Harden an Aikidoka? I don't know. Does he have knowledge and teaching skills that help others? From what I understand he does. Shouldn't that be the end of it? Dan's teaching and skills are his and those who benefit from them are fortunate. What is the need for he said/she said arguments.

I think that most of this has been said before but I just couldn't help myself.

Peace through Ai Ki
Tom

SteveTrinkle
11-22-2011, 04:32 PM
I've only been working on this IP/Aiki stuff for a year, and I speak only for myself (and I'm pretty sure I know nothing of which I speak anyway) But, since around 2007, after about 13 years of aikido training, I found myself with this hunch, or just an odd sense that I was missing something important. For example, I just kept thinking that funakogi undo must hold some important clue to something that I was missing. I had nothing really on which to base this hunch, but it was there, always in the back of my mind - that there was something more and I wasn't getting it. I was in a slump aikido-wise and felt I was not growing. I must also admit that I was not getting to train with my teachers and senpai often enough, and that was no good. Then one day, after our group had held a seminar with my teacher, I was getting changed in the locker room (we train in a local tennis club) and an elderly Chinese gentleman, noticing my keikogi asked what I was doing. Aikido, I said and he asked me to show him a bit. For some reason, the first thing I showed him was funakogi undo. "Oh!" says he, "Tai chi! I taught tai chi for 30 years!" Stuff happened then and I never got the man's number and I haven't seen him since, but something crystalized for me in that moment. I wanted to know more and I began searching "outside" aikido. I'm still engaged in that search, and I'm enjoying it immensely. I don't see it as "outside" at all. The kakejiku that hangs in the dojos of our group is just the kanji AI and KI. A Zen monk made the original for the head of our organization. He asked the monk, "Why didn't you add the 'DO' at the end?" The monk told him, "Well, everyone has to find their own DO." True story and I always liked it and I'm trying, with greater or lesser success to do just that. The IS/Aiki guys that I've met seem an enthusiastic, dedicated and gracious bunch and they seem to be searchers too - really looking to find their "DO." I'm not trying to sell anybody anything; just having fun.

lbb
11-22-2011, 05:59 PM
Mary, you know what, re-reading my statements. I sincerely apologize. I was categorically a dickhead and had no right to say what I said. I should have considered what I said more thoroughly, but I will avoid pursuing the matter because I don't want to dig my hole any further. Okay?

Hey, not to worry. It's like most things re: the internet: if we met in person, a whole lot would be clearer and more understandable. Maybe we'll be able to do that some day; in the meantime, of course all is forgiven.

Ecosamurai
11-23-2011, 08:01 AM
Mike
I think you misscharacterized both of our comments. Mike, in particular has argued that there is IS in Ki aikido to one degree or another and spoke favorably of the efforts of a teacher he met.
For my part I have spoken favorably of Shirata, Mochizuki, Saotome and Ikeda. My feelings on Shirata and Mochizuki going back to the aikido list days. So I think you let other issues cloud your judgement there.
To be clear, I think IP/aiki is rare as well, and I also do not think it is fully developed in aikido. I haven't seen anyone in the art that I think displayed what I consider a fully developed skill set in IP/aiki.

Not quite how I remember it, this post for example Mike calls Tohei's methods "pretty vague" amongst other things http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=101657&postcount=65. From memory of the discussions he was implying here and elsewhere that Tohei Sensei's methods were not what he was referring to as IP/aiki. For the record I'd agree that they are "pretty vague", but only if your only real understanding of them has come from a small number of seminars. The post I've dug out is not a particularly great example of the sort of stuff I'm talking about but the best I can find in 2 minutes. I'm going mostly from my recollection here. Maybe Mike changed his mind at some point after I gave up on aikiweb.

To be totally fair, it could be my recollection failing me (wouldn't be the first time). Plus I'm in danger here of going off topic and have no interest in arguing on the internet about stuff posted 6 years ago. Next time you're in the UK maybe I'll see if I can make it along, it'd be nice to talk about it rather than type about it :)

Mike

Gary David
11-23-2011, 10:53 AM
From memory of the discussions he was implying here and elsewhere that Tohei Sensei's methods were not what he was referring to as IP/aiki. For the record I'd agree that they are "pretty vague", but only if your only real understanding of them has come from a small number of seminars.
Mike

Mike
I agree there was a level of IS/IP/Aiki in Tohei Sensei methods, looking back I can see some of that. The problem lies in what was passed on and in the abilities of Tohei Sensei to effectively transmit his understanding. I talked with an old friend in Hawaii (Roy) last night about this and ask the question about his memories of Tohei Sensei and of our first instructor's abilities in these areas. We both agreed that Tohei Sensei was like pushing on a wall. I can't seem to remember if there was any give at all. We both agreed that he had wrists like 4" steel pipes and a presence about him that you could feel. I didn't get this from the folks he brought with him and I didn't get this from the senior instructors that I came in contact with back then. To me this is a transmission issue on his part. As very few could speak Japanese in those days listening to talks was 5 minutes of Tohei Sensei explaining and a five word translation from the translator. As for us then it was understanding...I really don't know what Tohei Sensei said,,,,just the "Tohei Sensei said relax completely" from the translator and for the most part we then got 20 word explanations from our instructors later. If this is not enough for a person and you can't self-develop to some level that is satisfying, then you need to go outside to find your answers.
Gary