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GMaroda
07-10-2012, 10:51 PM
So, my wife and I went recreational kayaking on the Allegheny River for the first time. It was part of a beginner paddle lesson with Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh with a nice group of people. We went from their North Shore location under the Roberto Clemente Bridge up to Herr's Island (I don't care if everyone calls it Washington's Landing these days. It might be gentrified but it'll always be the landfill industrial site my dad worked at to me!) And it was nice.

And it was a lot like Aikido. Move from the hips. Don't have a death grip on the paddle. Maintain a good structure. And like aikido, you can't fight your partner. The river will always win. Even a placid partner like the Allegheny.

Sitting near the water. Dealing with the wake of motor craft. The reflection of sunlight on the water. The sound of traffic over the bridges. Left. Right. Left. Right. No, too far to that side. Adjust. Try again. Once in awhile I could even get a nice rhythm going and just zone out. Feel the body move. Feel the river. It's all the same. Connect.

Nobody told me it was Aikido.

gregstec
07-11-2012, 12:35 PM
So, my wife and I went recreational kayaking on the Allegheny River for the first time. It was part of a beginner paddle lesson with Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh with a nice group of people. We went from their North Shore location under the Roberto Clemente Bridge up to Herr's Island (I don't care if everyone calls it Washington's Landing these days. It might be gentrified but it'll always be the landfill industrial site my dad worked at to me!) And it was nice.

And it was a lot like Aikido. Move from the hips. Don't have a death grip on the paddle. Maintain a good structure. And like aikido, you can't fight your partner. The river will always win. Even a placid partner like the Allegheny.

Sitting near the water. Dealing with the wake of motor craft. The reflection of sunlight on the water. The sound of traffic over the bridges. Left. Right. Left. Right. No, too far to that side. Adjust. Try again. Once in awhile I could even get a nice rhythm going and just zone out. Feel the body move. Feel the river. It's all the same. Connect.

Nobody told me it was Aikido.

I bought a "Yak' a few weeks ago to use on my boat down on the Chesapeake bay - it is good for staying centered and keeping your weight down - however, I believe you want to keep your hips straight and move your torso from the waist - also, it is good for getting a spiral going across the body from the feet up to the cross body arm - this is good for aiki as well :)

Greg

lbb
07-11-2012, 12:40 PM
It isn't aikido. It's paddling. People were paddling kayaks long before anything called "aikido" existed, and what the two have in common existed long before either of them.

Paddling can also be a good activity to teach you about realness. As in: you got yourself out here, you are going to have to get yourself back. Or: you need to decide quickly whether your skills are up to this. Or: this is it, no do-over, get it right or die. It depends on how and where you paddle, though.

grondahl
07-11-2012, 12:58 PM
I bought a "Yak' a few weeks ago to use on my boat down on the Chesapeake bay - it is good for staying centered and keeping your weight down - however, I believe you want to keep your hips straight and move your torso from the waist - also, it is good for getting a spiral going across the body from the feet up to the cross body arm - this is good for aiki as well :)

Greg

In a kayak made for flatwater training/racing you use a push/pull motion that originates from the feet (actually this is more or less true for most kayaks but in ex white water kayaks or sea kayaks you cant push as much since your use your knees to brace the kayak so that you can do rolls, tilt the kayak etc) and it creates a rather powerful turning of the hips. Many paddlers actually uses a swivel seat that makes the hip turn more energy effecient.

gregstec
07-11-2012, 01:08 PM
In a kayak made for flatwater training/racing you use a push/pull motion that originates from the feet (actually this is more or less true for most kayaks but in ex white water kayaks or sea kayaks you cant push as much since your use your knees to brace the kayak so that you can do rolls, tilt the kayak etc) and it creates a rather powerful turning of the hips. Many paddlers actually uses a swivel seat that makes the hip turn more energy effecient.

Well, I am flatwater, so that is cool - as far as the hips, I understand what you are saying for that type of 'yaking', but for the typo of aiki development we train in, hips are not a source of power, but legs, kua, and torso are :)

Greg

grondahl
07-11-2012, 01:18 PM
Well, I am flatwater, so that is cool - as far as the hips, I understand what you are saying for that type of 'yaking', but for the typo of aiki development we train in, hips are not a source of power, but legs, kua, and torso are :)

Greg

Since kayaking != aikido itīs understandable that there is differences.

Garth
07-11-2012, 01:22 PM
It isn't aikido. It's paddling. People were paddling kayaks long before anything called "aikido" existed, and what the two have in common existed long before either of them.

Paddling can also be a good activity to teach you about realness. As in: you got yourself out here, you are going to have to get yourself back. Or: you need to decide quickly whether your skills are up to this. Or: this is it, no do-over, get it right or die. It depends on how and where you paddle, though.

Mary you said a mouth full, first time he took in the ocean
:crazy:

GMaroda
07-11-2012, 10:20 PM
I bought a "Yak' a few weeks ago to use on my boat down on the Chesapeake bay - it is good for staying centered and keeping your weight down - however, I believe you want to keep your hips straight and move your torso from the waist - also, it is good for getting a spiral going across the body from the feet up to the cross body arm - this is good for aiki as well :)

Greg

Well, the hips aren't literally going to shoot out while sitting there, but that's how it was described to me. I did find that having the intent of putting the "moving" from the "forward" hip gave me the proper rotation. The seat didn't move (hey, it was a cheap flatwater recreational rental!) but having the same idea kept me focusing on rotating properly and not working from the arms alone.

And to Mary, I can't possibley disagree with your first statement more. It is paddling. It is aikido. If you want it to be. I don't think of aikido as a set of motions but a way of looking at things (including sets of motions.)

I do agree with your statement about "realness" though.

lbb
07-12-2012, 07:01 AM
And to Mary, I can't possibley disagree with your first statement more. It is paddling. It is aikido. If you want it to be. I don't think of aikido as a set of motions but a way of looking at things (including sets of motions.)

I understand. Aikido is giving you a language to describe phenomena that existed before and independent of aikido, or a framework or set of metaphors for understanding them. The lens through which you view the thing isn't the thing itself, though. The lens is not aikido, and it isn't paddling either. It's just that through practicing aikido, it seems many people discover the lens -- a way of looking at things or experiencing the world that they hadn't previously. Then, when they start to have similar experiences in other activities, many of these people conclude that these other activities must also be "aikido", because that's where they discovered the lens. I think that's flawed reasoning -- demonstrably, because people learn this way of seeing without ever having contact with aikido.

I'm not trying to put down your experience. I'm just reacting to the way that some enthusiastic aikidoka seem to want to co-opt everything that is good and useful in the world and re-label it as "aikido". Isn't that disrespectful of all these other things? I live in a whitewater town; I've known many dedicated paddlers with international reputations, and almost none of them have ever been near a dojo. Instead, they've been on the river, in all seasons and stages, learning a thing that can also be found in a dojo -- but that did not come from a dojo. That's the important distinction IMO.

Fred Little
07-12-2012, 07:16 AM
I'm not trying to put down your experience. I'm just reacting to the way that some enthusiastic aikidoka seem to want to co-opt everything that is good and useful in the world and re-label it as "aikido". Isn't that disrespectful of all these other things?.

Yes, it is profoundly disrespectful of all these other things.

And I would hasten to add that privileging the internal norms and doctrines of the art/group/teacher over external reality and systematically constructing and defining external reality in terms of those internal norms is a common pattern in Japanese culture that those engaging in Japanese cultural practices would do well to examine critically. (Which is not to say that the pattern isn't found in other cultures, east and west, simply that it isn't so clearly present or normative as in Japanese culture.)

FL

dps
07-12-2012, 08:07 AM
Yes, it is profoundly disrespectful of all these other things.

And I would hasten to add that privileging the internal norms and doctrines of the art/group/teacher over external reality and systematically constructing and defining external reality in terms of those internal norms is a common pattern in Japanese culture that those engaging in Japanese cultural practices would do well to examine critically. (Which is not to say that the pattern isn't found in other cultures, east and west, simply that it isn't so clearly present or normative as in Japanese culture.)

FL

I understand. Aikido is giving you a language to describe phenomena that existed before and independent of aikido, or a framework or set of metaphors for understanding them. The lens through which you view the thing isn't the thing itself, though. The lens is not aikido, and it isn't paddling either. It's just that through practicing aikido, it seems many people discover the lens -- a way of looking at things or experiencing the world that they hadn't previously. Then, when they start to have similar experiences in other activities, many of these people conclude that these other activities must also be "aikido", because that's where they discovered the lens. I think that's flawed reasoning -- demonstrably, because people learn this way of seeing without ever having contact with aikido.

I'm not trying to put down your experience. I'm just reacting to the way that some enthusiastic aikidoka seem to want to co-opt everything that is good and useful in the world and re-label it as "aikido". Isn't that disrespectful of all these other things? I live in a whitewater town; I've known many dedicated paddlers with international reputations, and almost none of them have ever been near a dojo. Instead, they've been on the river, in all seasons and stages, learning a thing that can also be found in a dojo -- but that did not come from a dojo. That's the important distinction IMO.

Do you mean there are people who have found peace and harmony in their lives and think ki is something you use to open a lock and 'IS" means a "3rd person singular present indicative of be" (with the exception of Bill Clinton). And these same people have learned to use their body's mechanical and organic structures in efficient ways without having been to an Aikido dojo or to a Mike Sigman or Dan Harden Seminar!!!

OMG what is matter with these people

dps

Walter Martindale
07-12-2012, 11:27 AM
Do you mean there are people who have found peace and harmony in their lives and think ki is something you use to open a lock and 'IS" means a "3rd person singular present indicative of be" (with the exception of Bill Clinton). And these same people have learned to use their body's mechanical and organic structures in efficient ways without having been to an Aikido dojo or to a Mike Sigman or Dan Harden Seminar!!!

OMG what is matter with these people

dps

Yeah. I cite a lot of rowing examples and aiki folks poo-poo it because it ain't aiki. But.. when I was still in Judo and hadn't done any rowing, I got owned by a rower who knew NOTHING about judo (we were practicing judo). When I went back to judo after a season in the varsity 8+, I OWNED the guy who'd been my sempai. He'd fly in for an attack and bounce off. It was 1981 and I don't know if "IS" had been coined yet.... Sitting in a racing shell, flowing and working with others moving at full pace while balancing a round-bottomed boat through the environment... Getting into a single and making it "set up" - getting "into" the movement and flowing so well that you forget yourself until.. oops - rowed right off the end of the course and stuck in the reeds...
Start Aikido and have the shihan immediately paying extra attention and having you demonstrate skills while still a gokyu. No "IS" mentioned, but people bounce off... I'd like to see a lot of Aiki people try to balance a K1 or a "single" - and get a workout...

GMaroda
07-12-2012, 10:09 PM
There exists in language the concept of metaphor. It is a figure of speech in which one thing is refered to as another dissimilar thing in order to make a suggestion of similarty of some aspect/s of said things.

Figures of speech can be difficult for some people to grasp, but they are fundamental to how humans experience the world. This can cause some issues when someone confuses metaphor for reality. Such as when someone explains to another their metaphor is invalid because it is not literal. This is a silly thing to do since metaphors are never one for one comparisons. At some point every metaphor breaks down.

However, within their bounds metaphors and other figures of speech provide a very useful way of making sense of the world.

People who belittle others and then deny doing so have no place in mine.

Fred Little
07-13-2012, 07:15 AM
Enjoy the kayaking for what it is; if describing it in metaphor, please choose one as lively as the Chatahoochee in spring.

All the best,

FL

MM
07-13-2012, 07:26 AM
My personal thoughts ...

Morihei Ueshiba described Daito ryu aiki in terms of, well, some pretty convoluted spiritual ideological concepts. He also used misogi. He used kami, both in regards to entities and fire/water. He used farming.

The underlying principle, though, was that aiki changed his body and everything he did, he did with aiki.

Now, if someone is training Ueshiba's aiki, aka Takeda's aiki, then, whatever they are doing "can" be applied to everyday living. I say "can" because there is a major difference between Ueshiba's farming and everyone else's farming. That difference is aiki. Just because you're a farmer and you've figured out a way to farm that uses little energy and you can toss bales of hay all day long does not equate to having aiki.

Does kayaking? I have no idea. Never been kayaking. Could it? I suppose so. Depends on the person and if they're training aiki. :D

Switching subjects to Modern Aikido ... it's pretty much been defined as everything to everyone. If we entertain notions that what Graham is doing is aikido, then we *must* accept that kayaking can be aikido. After all, we hear constantly how we must find ways to make aikido in everyday living. How we must find ways to train to relax shoulders, move with hips, don't fight energy coming in, etc. As a metaphor, I would guess kayaking serves that purpose very well.

IMO,
Mark

chillzATL
07-13-2012, 08:54 AM
My personal thoughts ...

Morihei Ueshiba described Daito ryu aiki in terms of, well, some pretty convoluted spiritual ideological concepts. He also used misogi. He used kami, both in regards to entities and fire/water. He used farming.

The underlying principle, though, was that aiki changed his body and everything he did, he did with aiki.

Now, if someone is training Ueshiba's aiki, aka Takeda's aiki, then, whatever they are doing "can" be applied to everyday living. I say "can" because there is a major difference between Ueshiba's farming and everyone else's farming. That difference is aiki. Just because you're a farmer and you've figured out a way to farm that uses little energy and you can toss bales of hay all day long does not equate to having aiki.

Does kayaking? I have no idea. Never been kayaking. Could it? I suppose so. Depends on the person and if they're training aiki. :D

Switching subjects to Modern Aikido ... it's pretty much been defined as everything to everyone. If we entertain notions that what Graham is doing is aikido, then we *must* accept that kayaking can be aikido. After all, we hear constantly how we must find ways to make aikido in everyday living. How we must find ways to train to relax shoulders, move with hips, don't fight energy coming in, etc. As a metaphor, I would guess kayaking serves that purpose very well.

IMO,
Mark

and at the same time, it seems that Ueshiba was comfortable recognizing pieces and parts of the conditioning and movement that made up his aiki as such even when it may not have been as complete as what he was doing. See Tohei, Shioda, other students, Noh dancers and various other accounts of him calling things aikido that weren't aikido as we know it.

Hanna B
07-22-2012, 01:40 AM
So, my wife and I went recreational kayaking on the Allegheny River for the first time. It was part of a beginner paddle lesson with Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh with a nice group of people. We went from their North Shore location under the Roberto Clemente Bridge up to Herr's Island (I don't care if everyone calls it Washington's Landing these days. It might be gentrified but it'll always be the landfill industrial site my dad worked at to me!) And it was nice.

And it was a lot like Aikido. Move from the hips. Don't have a death grip on the paddle. Maintain a good structure. And like aikido, you can't fight your partner. The river will always win. Even a placid partner like the Allegheny.

Sitting near the water. Dealing with the wake of motor craft. The reflection of sunlight on the water. The sound of traffic over the bridges. Left. Right. Left. Right. No, too far to that side. Adjust. Try again. Once in awhile I could even get a nice rhythm going and just zone out. Feel the body move. Feel the river. It's all the same. Connect.

Nobody told me it was Aikido.

I think I understand what you are saying. When I learned a little kayaking I had so much use of what I had learned in aikido - it was amazing.

Of course, if I had continued with kayaking I had sooner or later found areas where my aikido-derived body habits were detrimental for efficient paddling. :blush: