View Full Version : direct transmission?

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Paula Lydon
06-22-2002, 10:01 AM
Something I've been puzzling over: A few weeks ago a number of us went out for something to eat after class (and yes, a drink or two). Near the end of the evening one student and Sensei were discussing training; well, the student was voicing her opions loudly concerning her needs. To give her some perspective I said, "I've trained here for over five years and Sensei hasn't worked much with me", which was true, whereas she routinely received personal instruction.
Well, Sensei tapped his forehead and told me I was getting it through direct transmission. Sounds like alien radio waves, or something to do with banking. I'm a westerner and have since tried to read up on this term but without real satisfaction. What is direct transmission? Or what is it hypothetically? Or is it a Sensei way of blowing off students they don't want to spend their time on? Or maybe just a party joke? Yet he seemed sincere...:freaky: Thoughts anyone? Much appriciated :ai: :ki: :D

Ali Afium
06-22-2002, 10:44 AM
Sounds more like Tip-Tronic transmission to me. I should know: I have 12 Porsches with such transmissions.... but I still prefer my MG with its worn out gearbox.

I'd be surprised if anyone from your dojo responds to your post as I assume that you're talking about Ikeda Sensei. During a six month stint at Boulder Aikikai I never saw Ikeda Sensei really teach on an individual basis. He'd demo technique and then practice with whatever uke did the demo. Meanwhile, there was a free for all of dumbass, sophomoric (at best) keiko going on during class.

If you're talking about Hofmeister, well, he's got some big britches to fill as of yet.

You might benefit from reading about mid-control, cults and Shinto.

mike lee
06-22-2002, 10:49 AM
I think you can learn aikido more quickly from "direct transmission," that is, practicing with your teacher one on one. If your teacher is a hands-on type of teacher, then you will be able to get a feel for what aikido really is, provided that your teacher knows what aikido really is.

Older teachers will generally select a few top students to be their uke on a regular basis. They do this for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is to "transmit" the essence of aikido through continuous, long-term contact and practice.

Talking, rationalizing and practicing with those at your own level is the slow way to learn. Finding the highest level teacher you can, and then serving as his uke is the fastest way to learn.

A long time ago, my teacher gave me a valuable piece of advice. He said, "learn to be a good uke, and always volunteer to be the uke for the teacher."

I followed his advice and eventually became the exclusive uke for a shihan in Asia. That experience helped me to progress a great deal in my skill and understanding of aikido, which of course, is a never-ending path. But at least now, since the knowledge has been transmitted to me, I can continue to improve, with or without my teacher's instruction. That, to me, is more valuable than gold.:do:

Ali Afium
06-22-2002, 11:35 AM
I basically agree with Mike. Ukemi is key. (Good for you, Mike, btw, good for you). However, Most people don't have that sort of access to instructors and despite being interested in aikido aren't interested in that kind of access.

Bruce Baker
06-22-2002, 11:49 AM
Well ...

the point was that you are not as thick headed or at stupid as the other student, so accept the compliment that you are training with the mind as well as the body ...

or ...

you see it, and you can do it.

Direct transmission, no slippage.

06-22-2002, 04:30 PM
"Direct transmission" in budo usually means that the student experiences his or her teacher firsthand. In aikido this would mean that the student gets to work with the teacher (ie gets thrown around, usually).

I wasn't there to hear what Paula's teacher had to say about this so it's difficult at best to comment on what her teacher meant. However, maybe he meant that "direct transmission" can also take place by watching? Perhaps you can ask him sometime in the future (and let us know his response)...

My own feeling is that taking ukemi from a teacher is one of the best ways to learn from him or her. I think I've said here before that I believe ukemi to be the most important part of aikido practice; in that, I agree fully with that Mike writes above.

One thing, though, is that most teachers are accessible. If you're not understanding something or want to feel that teacher, try turning to him or her and basically saying, "onegaishimasu." I've seen this done in tons of seminars where a student wanted to "feel" what was going on.

Hope that helps, Paula.

-- Jun

06-22-2002, 10:35 PM
Yep, getting the feel of a technique directly from being on the receiving end of Sensei helps a lot.

Direct tranmission often refers to the day the Buddha simply looked at a flower without speaking and someone in the back laughed signifying they had gotten the lesson. The beginning of Zen.

I think you Sensei may have just been paying you a compliment.

Until again,


07-03-2002, 08:41 PM
This tread dissapointed me, even Mr. Lynn and Jun where right. 4/10

mike lee
07-04-2002, 02:32 AM
I'm disappointed too. Let's just complain and contribute nothing of consiquence. We can call it Nullifidian Aikido Forum!:cool:

07-04-2002, 02:55 AM
Direct Transmission really means just that. You are not getting the knowledge through intermediates.

How much hands on contact the teacher has with you whether through holding you by the hand and leading you through the movements or using you for ukemi is besides the point.

Some students get along just fine by watching, some make you feel like you are in a nursery school. Paula wasn't very clear what she meant by personal instruction - is that special classes or the amount of time spent with the student during class - but yes it does sound like a compliment.

07-04-2002, 03:01 AM

Do you actually practice in Bahrain? I travel there 2-3 times a year for business and I could never locate an Aikido dojo.

Can you please give me your dojo details?

Sorry to usurpe the thread for personal purposes :(


mike lee
07-04-2002, 03:47 AM
Although in zen they talk about transmitting The Mind to an individual mind, I don't think that this analogy can be applied to skill -- with the exception of the very rare and occassional prodigy.

For example, does anyone believe that they could learn to play classical music on a piano simply by watching a master play? If that was true, we could all play classical music on a piano. The term "master" would cease to have any meaning.

It's the same with aikido. You can watch a master perform a technique, but then when you try to do it, you find it to be very difficult. The only way, with the piano, aikido, or any other skill is through practice.

Common folks -- let's get real!:freaky:

07-04-2002, 04:08 AM
Originally posted by mike lee
It's the same with aikido. You can watch a master perform a technique, but then when you try to do it, you find it to be very difficult. The only way, with the piano, aikido, or any other skill is through practice.

Common folks -- let's get real!:freaky:
I thought it was a given that the student watching would then attempt to do - if they were that far off they would hopefully get the help they need.

Some students just require more intervention - others watch closely and require less. Both are getting the direct transmission - that at least was my point.

If watching were all that was required then buying a video would be direct transmission - now wouldn't that be something.

07-04-2002, 06:04 AM
our sensei will pick one of us, show a technique several times from several angles and speeds and then will walk around watching and giving guidence to the whole class while we practice this with our partners, he also encourages us to try and make one technique turn into another so an atemi will be blocked and turned into an Ikkyo or Iriminage, or you could strike back or something, he seems to favour the painful pins like Yonkyo etc... which are really good fun espesh if your a bit of a sadist like me ;)

i dont know about this direct transmition but it sounds wierd

L. Camejo
07-04-2002, 08:22 AM
Hi all,

As far as the direct transmission thing goes, I've realised that in some styles of Qigong and Feng Shui, teachers may speak about a principle called Yi, which has to do with oral transmission of certain concepts and secrets that are mainly of a mental/psychological nature that can be applied in a physical form.

As far as they are concerned, videos and books do not contain this "Yi" as strongly as the "breath" or "Qi of the teacher". As such, these concepts are not conveyed except by word of mouth on a personal basis. Books and videos are hardly, if ever done on these concepts, and publications are almost never encouraged by some masters.

I have personally experienced this phenomena while training under two different Qigong teachers. It was really strange to tell you the truth. One was very adamant about not having any kind of published information, for fear of losing the quality and spirit inherent in the training.

The other was a bit more modern in thinking and utilises videos and books, but warns that any practitioner should be trained first by himself personally, or one of a few people he has trained to teach his style of Qigong.

Hope this applies to what we're talking about.
My 2 cents.

07-04-2002, 08:16 PM
I agree with Mr. Larry Camejo, and about selling direct transmision trough videos that's what I call A FAKE.

Yeap, the seed

07-09-2002, 11:36 PM
I've been reading Karl Friday's "Legacies of the Sword" and found this following passage which he attributes to Issai Chozan's "Neko no Myojutsu":
The teacher only transmits the technique and illuminates its principle. To acquire its truth is within oneself. [In Zen Buddhism] this is called self-attainment; or it may also be called mind-to-mind transmission or special transmission outside the texts. Learning in this fashion does not subvert the doctrines [of the texts], for even a teacher could not transmit [in that way]. Nor is such learning found only in the study of Zen, for in the meditations of the Confucian sages and in all of the arts, mastery lies in mind-to-mind transmission, special transmission outside the texts. Texts and doctrine merely point to what one already has within oneself but cannot see on one's own. Understanding is not bestowed by the teacher. Teaching is easy; listening to doctrines is also easy; but to find with certainty what is within oneself, to make this one's own, is difficult. [In Zen] this is called seeing one's nature. Enlightenment is an awakening from the dream of delusion; it is the same as understanding. This does not change.
Just thought the above was interesting and resonated, perhaps, with this thread...

-- Jun

Paula Lydon
07-11-2002, 06:16 PM
Jun, thank's for the adjunct. Every insight or info adds a facet. Could be why he tapped his forehead...although I sure don't feel that quick or clever. Then again, maybe I don't have to be. :)

Robert Cowham
07-13-2002, 03:01 PM
I experienced direct transmission of a sort in a couple of ways. I have been to the Shiseikan in Tokyo a couple of times and studied Kashima Shinryu kenjutsu with Inaba sensei (link to Karl Friday's book - although Inaba sensei studied with previous head of KSR and is independent of current head - another story).

Anyway, when Inaba sensei takes ukemi for you in kumitachi he is able to bring things out of people (myself and others) that they can't produce in other situations. It is a combination of pressure and intensity that achieves a higher level of performance - but also leaves behind a feeling or experience that is beneficial.

In another situation I have had him work on me while I was sitting seiza. He basically prodded me, manipulated me, stretched me and "put ki" into me for 5 minutes or so. This left me with a very powerful feeling and shortly thereafter while practicing for a demonstration the next day (one on one randori), I was much more effective than I had been - noticed by myself and uke. The feeling lasted a while (but unfortunately had gone by the demo the next day!).

I have heard others talk about him being able to give people feelings which in a way are a challenge that they then need to learn how to generate themselves (which takes years).

So, I believe it exists. I also believe as others above, that being around good teachers as uke or whatever brings good results.


mike lee
07-14-2002, 02:58 AM
If you focus on the "feelings" you get from certain teachers, and then try to repeat those "feelings," you will not be able to progress very much. This is because every moment is different.

A true understanding of your art must be developed in order for the knowledge to "stick."

People make the same mistake when learning meditation. They try to repeat certain "feelings" that they had during a particular training session. But feelings are like snowflakes; each is different. Some are dramatically different and some are just slightly different -- but they're all different. Trying to make an exact replica is unnatural!

So, the most important thing we can learn when training in the arts is to learn the training method, stick with it, and expand on it. Of course, high-level teachers can show us high level-training methods. The "feelings" that we get from training are secondary. If you focus on them you will miss the point.

To a mystic, his methods are purely practical. He knows that life is short, and he has no time for nonsense.

Robert Cowham
07-15-2002, 07:15 PM
Mike, I agree with some of what you are saying but not all.

For me, I have been encouraged by the feelings "given" to me in situations above to follow the practice method which (in this case by Inaba sensei) is also given.

So the feelings have value. However, I am totally in agreement with you that we must develop our own understanding for any lasting value.

In this respect, one of the most important yardsticks by which I measure a dojo/teacher is by how good the senior students are - this shows whether the teacher has a good method and has been able to impart it (and thus there is a chance for me too to learn).

I particularly like it if the senior students are not just carbon copies of the teacher! (Underlying principle is the same but they express the principles in their own manner consistent with body type/interest etc).