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Michael Varin
10-16-2013, 02:55 AM
It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.

In my very limited experience, I would have to say I disagree. In my admittedly short exposure to "IP/IT/IS" I found that everything shown was technique based. It may not be what many would call a formal technique, but technique I believe it is. In my opinion, it really comes down to what distinctions the practitioner is able to make.

Any thoughts?

Mert Gambito
10-16-2013, 04:31 AM
Any thoughts?

Here's a reference that probably better serves the purpose: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=235397&postcount=30.

phitruong
10-16-2013, 07:21 AM
It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.


Michael, context is everything. i don't remember reading and/or hearing that the propronents of IS said techniques aren't important. Also, it depends on the definition of "technique". if standing around in hugging the tree pose is a "technique", then it's an IS technique and it's important. but if "technique" is something like shihonage or iriminage or ikkyo, then no, from IS perspective, not important in IS training. i am going to presume to speak for the IS lots. IS is like water that you put into a container like the shihonage, ikkyo, single whip, knife hand strike, bong sao lap sao, and so on.
without IS, those containers are still containers but without substance. one of my teacher, Ikeda sensei, said that IS is the aikido technique while ikkyo or shihonage or kokyunage and so on are aikido movements. and it's the technique (IS) that makes the aikido movements work. Same goes for karate, kungfu, taiji, and so on. IS stuffs are arts independent. some arts are better suit for IS, some are not so much. from my point of view, aikido is better suit for expressing IS.


In my very limited experience, I would have to say I disagree. In my admittedly short exposure to "IP/IT/IS" I found that everything shown was technique based. It may not be what many would call a formal technique, but technique I believe it is. In my opinion, it really comes down to what distinctions the practitioner is able to make.

Any thoughts?

as i mentioned above. it depends on your definition of "technique".

Cady Goldfield
10-16-2013, 10:03 AM
In addition to the above comments, I'd say that there are two parts to the equation:
1. The source of power (that drives all movement, including technique)
2. The martial application (i.e. martial conditioning)

The former is the engine. In an "external" system and conventional athletics, power is generally derived from a combination of twisting at the hips, upper back and shoulders, forward momentum (stepping), pivoting on the foot (using a jerking twist of the body to propel it), dropping the body (gravity), and using the muscles of the upper back and shoulders to whip or propel the arms. In an "internal" system, power is derived from creating dynamic tension within through opposing forces, expansion and condensation of muscle and connective tissues -- both surface layer and deep -- re-direction of force through aligned joints, and a relaxed structure that permits high levels of potential energy from which to draw.

Martial conditioning for the two approaches does have some overlap, particularly in the most pragmatic factors. For example, there are certain ways to make a fist or hold the hand, foot and other striking surfaces, in a manner that will not result in injury for the user. There are certain ways to strike specific targets, such as using your soft parts to strike a hard target, and hard parts to strike a soft target. Of course there are always nit-picky exceptions, but in general these are universal concepts for martial application.

Those things in themselves are not techniques; they are the martial conditioning. In addition, have a general and working knowledge of basic punches, kicks, joint locks, throws... just basic skills in how to pull off a koshinage, a rear naked choke, etc. Know where the nerve points and joints are and how to attack, control and (for oneself) protect them. You don't need to memorize a vast curriculum of technique combinations, just do the conditioning for those very basic individual applications.

As has already been pointed out, when your body is conditioned for IP/IS and aiki, that conditioning itself will respond to changes in the combat environment (i.e. what your opponent does, what the situation provides) naturally, and whatever martial conditioning you have in your kit will kick in and make for spontaneous creation of "technique."

That's what Ueshiba did. It's what his aiki teacher, Takeda, did. It's why it looked like they never did the same "technique" twice... and why their students frantically tried to write down and record everything the two men did, thinking that they were seeing a vast, memorized encyclopedia of techniques that should be codified into a curriculum for students to painstakingly memorize. If those students could "simply" have learned the body method, they would have understood where those "waza" were really coming from.

A few baseline martial application skills, infinite combinations...all driven by one distinct method. From one thing, ten-thousand things. ;)

Budd
10-16-2013, 11:10 AM
Where the technique discussion is somewhat relevant (not martial arts waza necessarily) in Internal Strength training is to do with how you're tricking the body into starting the rewiring that's necessary move with the correct strength, relaxed but connected body. The visualization tricks can help, as well as some basic postures and structural drills for light pressure testing until someone senior and skilled enough can confirm that you've gotten the basic body vocabulary and articulation necessary for further self study.

But it's a package deal - the "techniques" so to speak, will not grant you internal strength solely through repetition. Manifesting the correct intention into physical action is the "art" you're chasing with regard to ground/gravity strengths and body connectivity and once you start to grokk to it then it's using the techniques at your disposal to condition the hell out of the strengths and build your skill with practice.

jonreading
10-16-2013, 12:24 PM
I think the definition of technique is important here. From my experience so far Aikido kata is not important to internal strength conditioning exercises. But, undo is not kata. Kata is not waza.

Also, I do not think internal strength is aiki... yet. If we want to express aiki, then I think there are some other things that go into that soup, IS being a core component. The result of natural expression of aiki would be waza. The problem is that unless you: A.) possess internal strength and B.) express aiki (in any demonstrable form) you will would not able to express aiki in a particular form. You can also screw up expressing aiki in a particular form. That's a lot of potential to screw up.

Those two things said, it seems logical that during your aikido training someone expressing aiki would express it in aikido waza. This may be different if your exposure was during cross-training, but I think it would make sense to share aiki in a format familiar to those participating.

If it helps any, I am still confused by kata and waza as it relates to aikido and aiki. Kata is prescribed form, waza is natural expression. Most of what we do is kata, not waza. Yet we call it waza. What's more, you can do both kata and waza without internal strength... with some measure of success. You can argue the effectiveness of the movement as a criticism of moving without IS but...

For me, the rub is that modern aikido needs kata. If you want the four-legged animal, you need someone else with whom to connect and a shared form to define the interaction. If you do the kata enough, there is some chance that you will become proficient with the connection to your partner. Your proficiency to naturally connect and control your partner can arguably be called waza. Of course, if you partner is more proficient... she must subordinate her control in order for your control to lead the movement. The internal strength exercises do not seem to require that relationship.

As your observation suggests, I think the proficiency with which the practitioner is able to express aiki in waza is limited by their ability to convert the conditioning into waza.

Cady Goldfield
10-16-2013, 01:46 PM
No, IP (internal power) is not aiki. However, aiki is a product of the manipulation of IP. You can use IP to power strikes and punches, or you can use aiki to control the center and movement of an opponent, neutralize and redirect his force and power. Both IP and aiki can be used spontaneously without predetermined waza.

Budd
10-16-2013, 01:53 PM
So, if we're aligning this notion of thinking to how it should work in aikido - the taiso should be a method of practicing (conditioning and skill building) the correct kind of movement, the kata should give you a framework appropriate to your level to practice this correct movement within a paired exchange of technique within an agreed upon form. While waza, randori, shiai, etc. give you a progressively more freeform environment to try things out - but if internal strength is important than it should still be focused on practicing the CORRECT stuff instead of seeking to win or appear invincible.

Rupert Atkinson
10-16-2013, 02:53 PM
Techniques are mechanical constructs - shapes. If you develop power, either external or internal, you can add it to the techniques. If you develop your coordination, your time, your flow, then you can add it to the techniques. If you develop enough of this stuff - your techniques will dissolve and become unimportant.

Bill Danosky
10-16-2013, 06:36 PM
Oh, I think there's been a mistake made. Performance gains can be made through "interVAL" training, not "interNAL" training. Interval training is when you intersperse high and low intensity activities throughout your training session. For instance, at one station you might jump rope, throw a medicine ball at another, hit a heavy bag at another, and so on.

Budd
10-16-2013, 06:51 PM
Oh, I think there's been a mistake made. Performance gains can be made through "interVAL" training, not "interNAL" training. Interval training is when you intersperse high and low intensity activities throughout your training session. For instance, at one station you might jump rope, throw a medicine ball at another, hit a heavy bag at another, and so on.

You should be doing that regardless of whether you do aikido, martial arts, internal strength, etc. that's just basic fitness.

Dan Richards
10-16-2013, 10:13 PM
It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.
Well, it's often been stated by proponents of aikido, including the founder, that aikido operates outside of technique.

It's no different than music or language. It's the same way we're communicating here. Extemporaneous speaking and writing are no different than Takemusu Aiki, which is beyond technique, and is generated spontaneously.

Learning, initially, to make individual letters, and then short sentences, and then later reading and writing and speaking with a wider vocabulary, are all stepping stones to a wider range of spontaneous expression.

Learning a technique in the dojo is not "doing aikido" any more than learning to properly pronounce a "K" sound is speaking a language. Yes, it's one of the building blocks within the language, but only one of many parts of the kit in the total language.

We all have a signature that we've developed after perhaps 20+ years of education. And, in fact, truly unique signatures appear only after we have laboriously learned to print A, B, C, and then write in cursive, and then later disregarding the "rules" and writing our signature in our own way.

Practicing music is not the same as playing music. Scales and finger exercises, while being building blocks (techniques), are not the same as being able to expertly play musical compositions or being able to fluidly improvise individually or within a group.

This is why trying to "do" a "technique" often doesn't work outside of a practice session with agreed-upon parameters. When we speak and write effectively, we are in a state that is beyond technique. When we play music effectively, we are beyond technique. When we cook effectively, we are beyond technique.

This is because through the techniques - we gain understanding. And it's in this state of understanding that we no longer need or rely on the techniques. And from there we can express ourselves more effectively, openly, and spontaneously.

And that is the difference between the practice of building-block techniques of aikido, and actually being able to spontaneously allow the expression of aikido to effectively manifest itself in whatever situation arises.

Just some spontaneous thoughts.

Ellis Amdur
10-16-2013, 11:25 PM
Too much is made of Ueshiba - or Takeda - being beyond technique. There is rarely a moment in any film of Ueshiba where he is doing anything that is not a technique - ikkyo, iriminage, what-have-you. At no moment does he look like he's doing anything other than aikido. Just like all the "technique-oriented aikidoka" that are so fashionable to deride, Ueshiba trots out the same 12 or so techniques almost every moment he's on the mat. When he wants to show off, he pulls out some other Daito-ryu techniques that he hadn't taught anyone post-war.

Oh, how about Sagawa, the greatest man no one's seen. Actually, Kuroiwa Yoshio observed a class in the mid-1960's (albeit he didn't observe Sagawa himself). What were they doing? "I saw kaiten-nage and nikyo, while I was there. They weren't very good either."

Seriously, when Ueshiba was talking about being beyond technique, every account comes down to him doing something, and a student asking, "how did you do that?" and him making some grandiose statement, and doing it another way Not some chaotic whirlwind - he just did variations.

If Ueshiba really was anti-technique - or Takeda Sokaku - then there wouldn't be this huge legacy of techniques. They would have done something like I-ch'uan. I believe with some confidence that the internal strength conundrum from those in the aiki arts who possessed it, was more like taking an old car and replacing the engine and the gearing (and maybe, to handle the extra power, you'd need some new tires as well). But it was - and it remains - the same 1946 Packard.

Takemusu aiki is really an expression that meant "spontaneous technique," not "no technique." When Ueshiba did Takemusu aiki - it still looked like ikkyo and tenchinage and all the limited rest of the curriculum.

Now - that the techniques could be one ideal methodology to "work" internal strength training - that's an interesting concept. That true aikido - or Daito-ryu - lacks any techniques. I think that's a fantasy. That one could choose to train aiki without using Daito-ryu or aikido techniques? Sure. But I don't think there is any evidence that was what Ueshiba was doing.
Ellis Amdur

Dan Richards
10-17-2013, 12:09 AM
Ellis, you might be making too much out of what "beyond" might mean. And I don't believe anyone is talking "anti-technique."

And obviously anything done by Ueshiba on film is going to be the rudimentary ABC's of his art.

We're all communicating in English here, and most of us are writing and expressing ourselves pretty well. It's all recognizable, using the same 26 letters. No one is suddenly just jbUAS87b eucr9vjcvv2v2ovb2ev fjjf249g - going of crazy apesh*t crazy in some anti-technique language.

There are many techniques in art, language, music, etc.. that once grasped, understood, and internalized, can be discarded like so much unneeded scaffolding.

An excellent demonstration of moving beyond technique can be seen in a video with Chef Ramsey visiting a Malaysian woman in her kitchen. He's constantly asking her for measurements, recipes, techniques, etc., and she just replies with, "agak, agak."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UjzXJcxr8k

Ellis Amdur
10-17-2013, 01:41 AM
An excellent demonstration of moving beyond technique can be seen in a video with Chef Ramsey visiting a Malaysian woman in her kitchen. He's constantly asking her for measurements, recipes, techniques, etc., and she just replies with, "agak, agak."


Proves my point. She's always going to be cooking Malaysian. (Sure, you can quibble, and claim that this particular Malaysian woman studied in Paris). But suddenly, by accident, you will not see Burmese cooking in her kitchen. She follows the form - my point is that agak, agak is no remarkable deal. My wife just did that with dinner tonight. Each time its a little different, but its all variations on a recognizable theme.

Finally, Ueshiba saved his best stuff for off-camera? Seems really out of character for that egotistic old man. He was only filmed when he was putting on a show. Anyway - although there are accounts of him doing remarkable things (I'm still trying to get an IHTBF of Ueshiba from those who actually felt him), they still were in the framework of aikido technique. For example, Terry Dobson told me that once that he would attack him for real and he tried to knock him out with a punch, and suddenly he found himself in outer space, looking down on the earth, exactly like in the first photos of our globe (well before the astronauts when up) and then he was falling and falling and falling and BANG, he hit the mat, and he saw Osensei looking in his eyes, and Terry saw the look and knew that he knew that he knew! (or something like that). Anyway, that's what he told me he experienced. But he also told me that the throw was a kokyunage (the one with the tai-no-henko, and the upcurved arm under the chin).

Dan Richards
10-17-2013, 02:22 AM
Ellis, a "technique" is nothing more than a way to define something within a certain amount of resolution of observation.

You could take a so-called technique such as ikkyo, and if you begin breaking it down into smaller and smaller increments, there are countless "techniques" within ikkyo.

Calling something ikkyo is just a way to frame certain sets of movements. It's like learning to play a major scale in music on an instrument. And within learning that one scale you could focus on countless other "techniques" such as breathing, posture, timing, position of the instrument, listening to the instrument in the room - which will take you into more subsets - you can listen to the reverberation, early reflections, tonal resonance of the instrument and the room. Zoom further in, and listen to the sound of the instrument in your body, the vibrations. And then the vibrations of each note, and how they change.

And even though someone might be able to say that they are doing ikkyo or playing a major scale, I challenge you to actually put your finger on where that actual "technique" resides. It only exists as a reference point of agreement. And where does ikkyo begin and where does it end.

George Ledyard brought up a great point recently about so many people not even being able to do the first step of a "technique" correctly. He could walk right in and bop them on the nose. And his point was that if he can do that, then the nage he's bopping knows 200 techniques that that nage can't even do.

A technique is a reference point. An artificial construct. Nothing more. Techniques in and of themselves do not exist. You can't tell me where ikkyo begins and where it ends any more than you can accurately tell me the length of the coastline of England.

Ellis Amdur
10-17-2013, 02:41 AM
Right - and quantum physics illustrates that there is more empty space within atoms and particles are waves anyway, so nothing is real, so I didn't type this.

Ikkyo - a technique- excuse me - reference point is grasping the wrist and elbow and arcing the arm over in a kind of arm-bar.

Oh - excuse me - I can't quite define it exactly so it doesn't exist. I remember the time Arikawa sensei led the class the illusion he called shomen-uchi ikkyo, and I was doing a reference point some people choose to call kaiten-nage, cause that's what my takemusu told me to do, and he walked over and said to me, "We are doing ikkyo" - and I told him ikkyo couldn't be defined, and demanded he tell me the length of the coastline of Eastern Japan as proof. Arikawa sensei didn't like that.

yes, good aikido is beyond kindergarten, where one waits to be told the technique, makes sure one is grabbed cross-handed, and then does a reference point called sankyo. But sankyo exists - and although the edges may blur, sankyo is not nikyo.

I was practicing gun retention the other day - what to do when the enemy gets his hand on your holstered weapon from behind. The reference point is a very precise blocking of the draw of your weapon with the heel of your hand, a grasping of his index finger, and an exquisitely precise way of twisting/not bending his index finger - into a sankyo, done a very particular way so that his finger will definitely break unless he disengages, enabling you to transfer his arm to the other hand, draw your gun and shoot him - and the shot is a head shot, because too many people survive body shots, disarm the shooter and beat them to death with their own gun before expiring. (And yet, it is not precise in the sense that you have to depend on a certain attack for it to work). But do it wrong - and you are dead. So I'd prefer not to transcend that one.

Ellis Amdur

Dan Richards
10-17-2013, 03:12 AM
Ikkyo - a technique- excuse me - reference point is grasping the wrist and elbow and arcing the arm over in a kind of arm-bar.

That's one reference point, but it's not even a particularly good one. Ikkyo has nothing to do with anyone grabbing anyone's wrist.

yes, good aikido is beyond kindergarten, where one waits to be told the technique, makes sure one is grabbed cross-handed, and then does a reference point called sankyo. But sankyo exists - and although the edges may blur, sankyo is not nikyo.

I agree that sankyo is not nikyo, but not because they are different "techniques," but because they are entirely different forces and directions. Nikyo cuts through the center of the body from top to bottom ala shomenuchi, and sankyo cuts across the body ala yokomenuchi. The point of movement of ikkyo where contact is made, which could also be applied as atemi - the one that takes ukes center - is the same movement as sankyo,

People can demonstrate "techniques" and someone like George can come right in and pop them, because they don't know what they're doing. And the reason so many people don't know what they're doing is because they try and frame things in terms of "techniques" rather than gaining and internalizing an understanding of forces and directions.

PaulF
10-17-2013, 03:43 AM
Yep, I take the point about being "beyond technique" to mean that you no longer have to think "I'm going to do shihonage" or whatever but that you just react to whatever uke is giving you and an appropriate response arises spontaneously.

To take this into the cooking analogy, you can think "I'm going to cook chimichangas and therefore I need the following ingredients..." or you can take a look in the fridge, see what's there and make something really tasty with it, then maybe give it a name that best fits what you've come up with if you want to brag about it at work the next day.

As far as the OP question is concerned I'm not really qualified to comment being neither a proponent nor sceptic at this stage but I'm going to DH's seminar in Bristol next month and am looking forward to comparing what we do there with the qigong and ki development exercises we do elsewhere.

Dan Richards
10-17-2013, 04:12 AM
To take this into the cooking analogy, you can think "I'm going to cook chimichangas and therefore I need the following ingredients..." or you can take a look in the fridge, see what's there and make something really tasty with it, then maybe give it a name that best fits what you've come up with if you want to brag about it at work the next day.

Exactly, Paul. I think that's an excellent analogy. There's a difference between being able to follow a specific recipe, and actually being able to cook on the fly with whatever ingredients are available. Following a recipe is similar to painting by numbers.

It's very different to cook, or paint, or do aikido from a rote technique outer framework, than it is to have an internal understanding of the foods, the flavors, ingredients, the paints, the brushes, the movements, the forces... and have an understanding of how to combine them in a harmonious way.

In the video link I posted with Chef Ramsey, he literally says he wants to "get his hands" on the beef rangoon - as if it's something he can possess in a box. And the Maylasian lady tells him to drop all that, and instead gain an understanding of what she's showing him. Ramsey even says towards the end of the video, "You've really helped open my eyes." And that's exactly what Ueshiba credited Takeda with - opening his eyes to budo.

Even in Japanese cooking you're often not going to get any precise recipes. Instead there might be a general list of the ingredients. Other than that, you're on your own. Agak, agak.

In Takemusu Aiki there is no time for putting together the ideal shopping list. You work with what you've got, and you spontaneously create something tasty and harmonious. "Then maybe give it a name that best fits what you've come up with if you want to brag about it at work the next day."

Rupert Atkinson
10-17-2013, 05:40 AM
Too much is made of Ueshiba - or Takeda - being beyond technique. There is rarely a moment in any film of Ueshiba where he is doing anything that is not a technique - ikkyo, iriminage, what-have-you. At no moment does he look like he's doing anything other than aikido. Just like all the "technique-oriented aikidoka" that are so fashionable to deride, Ueshiba trots out the same 12 or so techniques almost every moment he's on the mat. When he wants to show off, he pulls out some other Daito-ryu techniques that he hadn't taught anyone post-war.

Seriously, when Ueshiba was talking about being beyond technique, every account comes down to him doing something, and a student asking, "how did you do that?" and him making some grandiose statement, and doing it another way Not some chaotic whirlwind - he just did variations.

Takemusu aiki is really an expression that meant "spontaneous technique," not "no technique." When Ueshiba did Takemusu aiki - it still looked like ikkyo and tenchinage and all the limited rest of the curriculum.

Ellis Amdur

I have to agree, though my thought differs slightly. I think that at first we learn the 10 or so basic techniques. Then we practice them ... a lot. Then we have to break free from them and experiment ... a lot, and perhaps throw in a lot of other stuff. And then, we 'find a way' or we 'construe a way' to perform those same 10 or so shapes in a new way such that they are more spontaneous and less technique. Does that even make sense I wonder?

But at the end of the day, the 10 or so shapes Ueshiba left us are pretty broad basic movements that pretty much cover the totality of the way the body twists and bends - especially in terms of the sword (no leg locks for example). Even though I have done Judo, Jujutsu, Wing Chun, wrestling or whatever, those 10 shapes are everywhere. To me, it is as though Ueshiba just started chucking his students around in 1930 and just kept at it, all the time whittling away his waza until left with the elemental few come 1960. And maybe - we need to travel that same journey to figure it all out ourselves. No wonder we are all in different places!

NTT
10-17-2013, 06:29 AM
Is the white horse a horse? That was a strong debate in Chinese philosophy.
Today what we have is: is there internal strength outside technique and is there technique outside internal strength?
I see an explanation of a unity in movement that separates 2 parts which are different categories, different concepts. They can appear only together but are separate, such as the colour of the horse and the form of the horse.
Internal strength vs technique would have the same meaning as colour vs form.
Ikeda sensei explains that internal strength is aikido technique and ikkyo is movement. He is shifting the logical opposition to another conceptual couple.
All this sums up to helping students but in the end students fight over the help.
In the same perspective, wonder techniques done by some senseis are to me help given to students for them to maintain their enthusiasm. It doesn't mean it is fake. It means students get some help. But again, we fight over the help.
I remember Noro sensei who in the end never did those wonder techniques any more. I could see he could still do them but refrained from acting likewise. Some thought he had lost power or internal strength. Some needed that kind of help.

Bernd Lehnen
10-17-2013, 07:11 AM
Too much is made of Ueshiba - or Takeda - being beyond technique. There is rarely a moment in any film of Ueshiba where he is doing anything that is not a technique - ikkyo, iriminage, what-have-you. At no moment does he look like he's doing anything other than aikido. Just like all the "technique-oriented aikidoka" that are so fashionable to deride, Ueshiba trots out the same 12 or so techniques almost every moment he's on the mat. When he wants to show off, he pulls out some other Daito-ryu techniques that he hadn't taught anyone post-war.


Yes, much too much. The discussion shouldn't be so much about the persons but preferably about "the thing".

Oh, how about Sagawa, the greatest man no one's seen. Actually, Kuroiwa Yoshio observed a class in the mid-1960's (albeit he didn't observe Sagawa himself). What were they doing? "I saw kaiten-nage and nikyo, while I was there. They weren't very good either."


Well, to remind us: IHTBF.

I believe with some confidence that the internal strength conundrum from those in the aiki arts who possessed it, was more like taking an old car and replacing the engine and the gearing (and maybe, to handle the extra power, you'd need some new tires as well). But it was - and it remains - the same 1946 Packard.

Yes, and perhaps new brakes and a good knowledge of when and how to slow down and that dynamic friction is lower than static friction:

"That said, it was never the peacnick model of avoiding power and running away from force. His constant admonitions were of possessing power as a killing force and then having to forge ones soul to manage it's use and that practice and hone that control. An old saying goes "If I raise my hand. I withdraw my temper. If i raise my temper, I withdraw my hand."
There is a conundrum to Aikido and really many high level arts, that can feed us for the rest of our lives." ( Dan Harden about Ueshiba's aikido)

My teacher, Asai Katsuaki, always has insisted, that it's not about killing, not about injuring, because killing or injuring would be too easy, that it is rather about "find out" doing aikido the right way and attempting to exercise control over yourself and the situation, whatever the circumstances.

Best,
Bernd

Budd
10-17-2013, 08:30 AM
So the subject of the thread, IP/IT/IS vs technique:

You can have internal strength/power without any aikido technique.

To train internal strength/power, it's very helpful to have specific techniques (not necessarily aikido techniques, mind you) to condition and build skill in the mind/body unification required for internal strength/power.

To APPLY internal strength/power to another person, it's helpful to have a framework to train this. The 12 basic techniques in aikido, in my opinion, provide an excellent framework to train to apply internal strength against another person (presuming you have the baseline skills and can work on them independently - which you'll need to do), especially from the perspective of jin, body connectivity. I'm also highly suspicious that there's a gokui built into the practice (especially due to the anecdotes and commentary from some of the giants about the importance of atemi) where at any point in time you should be able to release a huge power dump into the other person (somewhat equating to the Chinese fajin term) which would give a very nice justification to the reason for the importance of jin/connection and the distancing/body points of contact that the practice seems to place importance on. And interestingly, the formal version of the practice is still an excellent framework to set up the ideal situations for all of those internal strength checkpoints and applications of aiki and fajin.

Still one of the reasons I love still having the framework of aikido as my main expression of internal strength (both philosophically and in physical practice - entering, connecting and controlling the situation to protect yourself and others from harm as much as possible, while having the strength and practical skill to end an encounter as suddenly as needed through the ability to release a shit ton of power :) ). Plus, it's fun.

jonreading
10-17-2013, 08:41 AM
People can demonstrate "techniques" and someone like George can come right in and pop them, because they don't know what they're doing. And the reason so many people don't know what they're doing is because they try and frame things in terms of "techniques" rather than gaining and internalizing an understanding of forces and directions.

For me, technique is a small thing, a building block of interaction. "I see. You are standing with Crane technique. I shall break your crane technique with Tiger technique." WTF? Ikkyo is not technique. It is kata; or if you get into that argument, principle (ikkajo the kata). Whatever. My uke grabbed my wrist and I controlled his arm. Ledyard sensei does this tricks where his exposes our over-committal to kata and lack of attention to the technique (i.e. the why does my partner's arm fall under my control). This usually looks like, "what happens when I don't let you to control my arm?" Then he whacks the top of your head or walks you back. Then, he steps back, puts his hands on his hips, licks his lip and pushes his glasses up and looks down at you. Oh, and you feel dumb. He then breaks up the kata and scrutinizes why it makes sense to construct the kata. Then you feel better cuz its George. Technique is a tactical movement designed to solicit a response. Maybe its twisting a finger, maybe stomping a toe, maybe throwing a punch. The action is designed to cause a [logical] response. You put together an interaction of tactical movements and you get a kata.

Ellis Amdur
10-17-2013, 10:13 AM
Vectors in Aikido (http://www.edgework.info/documents/VectorsinAikidoTaikyokuKuzushi.pdf) A lot of what I would write has been covered by the last few posters. This article is from 2005, and based on work I started in the 1990's. The commentary (on the page it is posted (http://www.edgework.info/articles.html)) reads:
This is a copy of the "Sword and Spirit" Newsletter of November, 2005. Robert Wolfe presents an excellent description of my method of training aikido to lay proper groundwork for the study of striking methodology, free-style practice, counter-techniques and the inclusion of internal training methods. I will note that the physical organization presented in the photographs is not exactly congruent with how I recommend these solo training exercises should be executed, but it still remains an accurate compendium of the basic set of "taikyoku aikido.
Budd Yuhasz and I have immeasurably developed this since. If one defines technique as a "put your left foot 57% angle from . . .", but that's not technique. That's like taking apart a Rolex and walking around with one of the gears. A better word is waza, which is kata, distilled in a single movement. And kata is never one thing. And to his dying day, Ueshiba was doing waza (technique). Takemusu aiki was merely his freedom in applying it.

Cady Goldfield
10-17-2013, 05:53 PM
No one said that Ueshiba and Takeda (or Sagawa, for that matter) were beyond technique, or that they didn't use technique. What was said is that they were able to spontaneously and instantaneously spew out endless martial combinations. I believe that the internal skills allowed them to be much more adaptable to changes in their opponents' movements, hence the applications could be more rapid-fire than they would have been had they relied on "external" power, as the latter would compromise their balance and structural stability and also require chambering and gross physical movement of the body, which slows things down.

They were doing the equivalent of jazz jamming, Takeda's followers seem to have mistaken those spontaneous combinations to be formal etudes to be memorized and written down, because if you look at the Daito-ryu and Aikido curriculums, they're full of combos. And some of the combos are not terribly practical or realistic.

For some years I was exposed to a Daito-ryu curriculum, presumably descended from tablets graven on the Mount, and while there was some very good stuff there, a lot of the stuff was convoluted "kata," overly involved affairs that I just can't imagine were the product of careful research. My guess is that they are more examples of some of the stuff that Sokaku rattled off because.... "Hey, let's see if I can pull this one off... Hey, I can!" and someone scrabbled to write it down.

Memorizing "one-step and three-step" kata ingrains habit. Habit is something you don't want when you're in a real conflict, IMO. What you want, is the ability to act spontaneously and to be able to rapidly change with any changes in the situation.

Martial conditioning is about learning basic strikes, kicks, how to exploit joints and nerve points, basic throws, chokes, etc. They're the building block techniques, an artless art -- pragmatic movement. What you choose to focus on (strikes and kicks? Throws and locks? Newaza?) becomes the artistic expression that represents style -- the "chassis" of vehicle. The engine that drives it is IP and aiki.

When Ueshiba did ikkyo (nee ikkajo) again and again, it wasn't the visual form of ikkyo that was the core of what was going on, it was the internal spirals and aiki-sage that was making that ikkyo happen. The same spirals and application of aiki can express themselves in an entirely different way should the attacker's atemi or angle of attack change to something else, or you decide to make the point of contact something other than the person's attacking arm. "Doing ikkyo" is just what happens when an attacker meets your aiki when he approaches you in a certain way, and you decide to engage him in a certain way.

Another thing to consider, is the "seder" of Daito-ryu. It is Jujutsu first; Aikijujutsu next; Aiki-no-jutsu last. Jujutsu waza give students something they can take to the bank right away; aiki takes longer and it's not clear how to apply it martially until you've had some martial conditioning. Then you can learn some "spot aiki" to apply to that conditioning.

In my own training, many moons ago I learned some basic DR jujutsu waza, including some of that convoluted, complicated stuff. A few koryu jujutsu waza to round it out. We learned specific applications of aiki to power the jujutsu waza, and we worked on aiki-no-jutsu. Occasionally, when one of us would start to whimper that we didn't know if what we had was martially effective, out came the randori. Simple randori, certainly not anything that I'd proudly place on YouTube (there was no YouTube yet). But it was still free-form and we didn't know what to expect. We did not rattle off step-by-step convoluted waza. What came out were the rock-bottom foundation basics -- throws, take-downs, grabs-into-chokes, etc. -- spontaneously generated, and powered by aiki. It didn't feel like techniques being executed, but more like "stuff happening." And this, with students who had not been training long enough to have "transcended technique." It was just the manifestation of an aiki body.

Michael Varin
10-18-2013, 02:33 AM
I appreciate all the contributions to this thread so far. Ellis in particular was on fire and I agree with pretty much everything he said.

However, I believe at least one of my initial thoughts has been validated by the direction this thread took.

It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.

In my very limited experience, I would have to say I disagree. In my admittedly short exposure to "IP/IT/IS" I found that everything shown was technique based. It may not be what many would call a formal technique, but technique I believe it is. In my opinion, it really comes down to what distinctions the practitioner is able to make.

I often like to begin in a very grounded place. . . dictionary definitions.

Technique (noun):

1. the manner and ability with which an artist, writer, dancer, athlete, or the like employs the technical skills of a particular art or field of endeavor.

2. the body of specialized procedures and methods used in any specific field, especially in an area of applied science.

3. method of performance; way of accomplishing.

4. technical skill; ability to apply procedures or methods so as to effect a desired result.

Technical (adjective):

1. belonging or pertaining to an art, science, or the like: technical skill.

2. peculiar to or characteristic of a particular art, science, profession, trade, etc.: technical details.

3. using terminology or treating subject matter in a manner peculiar to a particular field, as a writer or a book: a technical report.

4. skilled in or familiar in a practical way with a particular art, trade, etc., as a person.

5. of, pertaining to, or showing technique.

PaulF
10-18-2013, 06:43 AM
In the video link I posted with Chef Ramsey, he literally says he wants to "get his hands" on the beef rangoon - as if it's something he can possess in a box. And the Maylasian lady tells him to drop all that, and instead gain an understanding of what she's showing him. Ramsey even says towards the end of the video, "You've really helped open my eyes." And that's exactly what Ueshiba credited Takeda with - opening his eyes to budo.


It's a really interesting parallel. Unfortunately the link is blocked by C4 in the UK due to copyrighted content which is a pity as I'd love to see Ramsey getting nonplussed by this approach. :)

So following what others have been saying as well kata is the analogue of the recipe, and if we only know how to cook from recipes we can't cope when there's a change in the available ingredients (inputs) or desired dish (output) just as if we get ingrained by kata we can't spontaneously react to unpredictable attacks.

As per Rupert's last post, I think the many many repetitions of (dynamic) kata give a solid grounding in technique to the extent that it then becomes reflexive so I don't have to think "this punch looks more like a yokomen style haymaker than tsuki jab so I will need to corner-step and blend or get in before it gets going" which I obviously won't have time to think and then do. Watching the way our senior grades run through kata after class, whilst they are doing things in a set sequence to a particular attack there's always a lot of variation in response depending on physiques, maai, attack speed, etc., especially when working in trios, and they're obviously not doing this consciously.

To return to the analogy I guess this is like doing an awful lot of cooking with a wide range of ingredients following many different recipes in different books until the point where you can be presented with any particular range of ingredients and within a few minutes think of several good dishes you could cook without a recipe (the MasterChef creativity test).

The key seems to be coming to an understanding some fundamental principles about cooking/aikido/IPIS without which no amount of ingredients (techniques) or recipes (kata) will be of much use. I know this is a point Rupert makes early on in his book

It is the principles we should be searching for; they are the same in each art. No art has a monopoly on the principles, although certain arts might be said to emphasise certain principles. The principles determine the form, of which there are many variations. It is therefore strange that it is usually the forms that determine the art. This has to be a mistake. If we research the principles, then there can be no determining the forms. If you search for the principles and come to understand them, your forms will be limitless http://discovering-aikido.com/

By way of illustration (I'm sure we've all got examples) I sent this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_bTr-aPnKY) to my wife this morning with the observation that it had some nice practical application stuff of what we do in Taiji as well as things that looked a lot like ikkyo and sumi-otoshi, to which she replied that there was sokumen iriminage and kaitenage in there as well.

By strange coincidence we have been discussing the "cake model" during a workshop on evaluation this morning, following which a colleague sent this email around (while I've been writing this) in response to one of the regular "birthday cakes in kitchen" messages

It's also my birthday today. I attempted to make Jamaican marrow cake last weekend but used an incorrect process (recipe) which impacted negatively on my output (cake). I considered outsourcing to achieve the outcome (buy a cake), but this would have resulted in a negative impact (unhealthy cake for HQ staff and more serious financial implication for me). I therefore decided to revise my process (recipe) which will result in a healthy and delicious outcome that falls within budget (Jamaican marrow cake) and has a healthy impact on everyone. But you will have to wait until Monday.

I'm now hungry and going for lunch :)

Budd
10-18-2013, 09:19 AM
Well and my perspective with aikido is that anything that is a throw or push to gently subdue an attacker is equally a destructive atemi with any part of your body against the other person's (whatever point of contact you get, you should be able to issue incredible force through, if training internal strength is your bag). The taiji techniques in the youtube video linked above are pretty consistent with that as well, any throw or push is masking the strategy of "get close in, unleash overwhelming force hit, then disengage".

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 11:17 AM
No one said that Ueshiba and Takeda (or Sagawa, for that matter) were beyond technique, or that they didn't use technique. What was said is that they were able to spontaneously and instantaneously spew out endless martial combinations. I believe that the internal skills allowed them to be much more adaptable to changes in their opponents' movements, hence the applications could be more rapid-fire than they would have been had they relied on "external" power, as the latter would compromise their balance and structural stability and also require chambering and gross physical movement of the body, which slows things down.

They were doing the equivalent of jazz jamming, Takeda's followers seem to have mistaken those spontaneous combinations to be formal etudes to be memorized and written down, because if you look at the Daito-ryu and Aikido curriculums, they're full of combos. And some of the combos are not terribly practical or realistic.

You don't need internal power for spontaneous technique. There is no "A implies B" relationship there. I don't think the two have anything to do with each other at all, though there is plenty of room to quibble.

I tend to think if you want to develop Takemusu Aiki, the long and arduous quest for internal power will set your timeframe back a lot, particularly the intent-driven way you guys advocate training. After years of being in your heads you are somehow supposed to let it all flow? Good luck.


For some years I was exposed to a Daito-ryu curriculum, presumably descended from tablets graven on the Mount, and while there was some very good stuff there, a lot of the stuff was convoluted "kata," overly involved affairs that I just can't imagine were the product of careful research. My guess is that they are more examples of some of the stuff that Sokaku rattled off because.... "Hey, let's see if I can pull this one off... Hey, I can!" and someone scrabbled to write it down.

Memorizing "one-step and three-step" kata ingrains habit. Habit is something you don't want when you're in a real conflict, IMO. What you want, is the ability to act spontaneously and to be able to rapidly change with any changes in the situation.

You don't seem to have a very good understanding of what kata training is and what it is supposed to give you. It also doesn't sound like you had very good Daito ryu training.

I think Takeda was very much a showman and when he was on the road teaching Daito ryu he was in part, selling amazement, wonder, and mystery to the bulk of his students. So it may well be that the syllabus of Daito ryu is inflated.

But I don't think his career would have lasted long if he was teaching an empty vessel. Regardless of whether there was a simple secret that he taught only his closest students and cautioned them to never show them in public because they were so easy to pick up on (though I think this only comes out of accounts from Sagawa and Horikawa?) if the hundreds of other kata were not useful for getting to these principals, then word would get out and people wouldn't sign up for 10-day seminars with the guy.

A kata, particularly a koryu jujutsu kata, is a training tool. It is designed to instill techniques and principals. I think you could actually term them habits, and they are ABSOLUTELY what you want to have in a combat situation. A kata may or may not be applicable to a common situation, or even a real situation, depends on the system. But it will set up open-ended systems of response in the nervous system and the practitioner will react in a way that is intended by the system's founder and instructors.

A well-designed kata delivers feedback as it is executed - if your posture is incorrect the throw will not work, if you use too much muscle uke will land over there instead of right here - but you cannot begin to know what is going on without an experienced instructor who can correct your form, and/or an experienced sempai who will stand there and not move unless you do the right thing.

I have lately been using the term "external" and "internal" in terms of training methodology - an internal system would be one that uses imaging and a mental process to find the proper form and build skill, whereas an external system relies on the instructor teaching and reinforcing an external form, which the practitioner internalizes and builds skill from there.

Either way, what you DO in a live situation is act spontaneously. Whether you like it or not. No one who has ever written on the subject of combat skills or self defense tactics has ever had much positive to say about how useful the conscious mind is in a life or death situation.


In my own training, many moons ago I learned some basic DR jujutsu waza, including some of that convoluted, complicated stuff. A few koryu jujutsu waza to round it out. We learned specific applications of aiki to power the jujutsu waza, and we worked on aiki-no-jutsu. Occasionally, when one of us would start to whimper that we didn't know if what we had was martially effective, out came the randori. Simple randori, certainly not anything that I'd proudly place on YouTube (there was no YouTube yet). But it was still free-form and we didn't know what to expect. We did not rattle off step-by-step convoluted waza. What came out were the rock-bottom foundation basics -- throws, take-downs, grabs-into-chokes, etc. -- spontaneously generated, and powered by aiki. It didn't feel like techniques being executed, but more like "stuff happening." And this, with students who had not been training long enough to have "transcended technique." It was just the manifestation of an aiki body.

You did some Aiki training (no offense but it sounds like either you weren't into it or it wasn't very good), you did some free training. You were able to react spontaneously in the free training, and you responded with Aiki. I'll take your word for that because I don't think Aiki is something that "powers" anything. Regardless, this is no reason to believe that you were able to respond spontaneously because of your aiki training.

Bill Danosky
10-18-2013, 11:55 AM
...Regardless, this is no reason to believe that you were able to respond spontaneously because of your aiki training.

There's no reason to believe anybody responds spontaneously to anything. It's a contradiction in terms.

By the way, "Technique, IMO." It does someone no good to respond with movements that don't work. If you are ultra quick at doing poor wristlocks, what good is it?

My point here is that these are advanced concepts, and I don't think anybody can put them to much benefit unless they have trained their body to do the techniques right FIRST. You don't get to be O Sensei by just doing what he did last. It took him 75 years to get that good.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 01:00 PM
There's no reason to believe anybody responds spontaneously to anything. It's a contradiction in terms.

How are you defining these terms? I've got response as "a reaction to a stimulus" and spontaneous as "uncontrived and unplanned".


By the way, "Technique, IMO." It does someone no good to respond with movements that don't work. If you are ultra quick at doing poor wristlocks, what good is it?

My point here is that these are advanced concepts, and I don't think anybody can put them to much benefit unless they have trained their body to do the techniques right FIRST. You don't get to be O Sensei by just doing what he did last. It took him 75 years to get that good.

To get you up to speed on the last thirty years of this argument, there are basically a bunch of people who don't believe that Osensei actually spent much time at all making his techniques work. He spent that time training in more esoteric modalities, and these gave him certain skills which allow his techniques to work much better than they could if he had spent time training techniques.

I personally advocate kata training, but I think the point of kata based training in Aiki arts is to give you a vehicle by which you develop the special skills without thinking about it.

Bill Danosky
10-18-2013, 01:16 PM
How are you defining these terms? I've got response as "a reaction to a stimulus" and spontaneous as "uncontrived and unplanned".

To get you up to speed on the last thirty years of this argument, there are basically a bunch of people who don't believe that Osensei actually spent much time at all making his techniques work. He spent that time training in more esoteric modalities, and these gave him certain skills which allow his techniques to work much better than they could if he had spent time training techniques.

I personally advocate kata training, but I think the point of kata based training in Aiki arts is to give you a vehicle by which you develop the special skills without thinking about it.

Spontaneous is defined by Merriam Webster as "performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus." So as it relates to Aikido, what are you harmonizing with, when external stimulus is absent? This is a very esoteric subject and is fraught with misunderstanding.

I'm not a person who's inclined to disbelieve something based on a lack of evidence, when it's obviously inferred. We can't measure the animating spirit of organisms, but we can tell when it's there and when it's not. We can't measure Ki, either. But how can we measure it's effect, so we can know if developing it matters?

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 01:23 PM
Spontaneous is defined by Merriam Webster as "performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus." So as it relates to Aikido, what are you harmonizing with, when external stimulus is absent? This is a very esoteric subject and is fraught with misunderstanding.

I'm not a person who's inclined to disbelieve something based on a lack of evidence, when it's obviously inferred. We can't measure the animating spirit of organisms, but we can tell when it's there and when it's not. We can't measure Ki, either. But how can we measure it's effect, so we can know if developing it matters?

There are plenty of other definitions that make more sense when talking about human actions:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spontaneous


spon·ta·ne·ous adjective \spän-ˈtā-nē-əs\
: done or said in a natural and often sudden way and without a lot of thought or planning

: doing things that have not been planned but that seem enjoyable and worth doing at a particular time

Full Definition of SPONTANEOUS

1: proceeding from natural feeling or native tendency without external constraint
2: arising from a momentary impulse
3: controlled and directed internally : self-acting <spontaneous movement characteristic of living things>
4: produced without being planted or without human labor : indigenous
5: developing or occurring without apparent external influence, force, cause, or treatment
6: not apparently contrived or manipulated : natural


When I use the term I mean "uncontrived and unplanned."

jonreading
10-18-2013, 01:44 PM
You don't need internal power for spontaneous technique. There is no "A implies B" relationship there. I don't think the two have anything to do with each other at all, though there is plenty of room to quibble.

I tend to think if you want to develop Takemusu Aiki, the long and arduous quest for internal power will set your timeframe back a lot, particularly the intent-driven way you guys advocate training. After years of being in your heads you are somehow supposed to let it all flow? Good luck.

You don't seem to have a very good understanding of what kata training is and what it is supposed to give you. It also doesn't sound like you had very good Daito ryu training.

I think Takeda was very much a showman and when he was on the road teaching Daito ryu he was in part, selling amazement, wonder, and mystery to the bulk of his students. So it may well be that the syllabus of Daito ryu is inflated.

But I don't think his career would have lasted long if he was teaching an empty vessel. Regardless of whether there was a simple secret that he taught only his closest students and cautioned them to never show them in public because they were so easy to pick up on (though I think this only comes out of accounts from Sagawa and Horikawa?) if the hundreds of other kata were not useful for getting to these principals, then word would get out and people wouldn't sign up for 10-day seminars with the guy.

A kata, particularly a koryu jujutsu kata, is a training tool. It is designed to instill techniques and principals. I think you could actually term them habits, and they are ABSOLUTELY what you want to have in a combat situation. A kata may or may not be applicable to a common situation, or even a real situation, depends on the system. But it will set up open-ended systems of response in the nervous system and the practitioner will react in a way that is intended by the system's founder and instructors.

A well-designed kata delivers feedback as it is executed - if your posture is incorrect the throw will not work, if you use too much muscle uke will land over there instead of right here - but you cannot begin to know what is going on without an experienced instructor who can correct your form, and/or an experienced sempai who will stand there and not move unless you do the right thing.

I have lately been using the term "external" and "internal" in terms of training methodology - an internal system would be one that uses imaging and a mental process to find the proper form and build skill, whereas an external system relies on the instructor teaching and reinforcing an external form, which the practitioner internalizes and builds skill from there.

Either way, what you DO in a live situation is act spontaneously. Whether you like it or not. No one who has ever written on the subject of combat skills or self defense tactics has ever had much positive to say about how useful the conscious mind is in a life or death situation.

You did some Aiki training (no offense but it sounds like either you weren't into it or it wasn't very good), you did some free training. You were able to react spontaneously in the free training, and you responded with Aiki. I'll take your word for that because I don't think Aiki is something that "powers" anything. Regardless, this is no reason to believe that you were able to respond spontaneously because of your aiki training.

Cliff-

I think there are some interesting comments in here:
1. I think the state of aikido specifically refutes the A then B relationship. There are undoubtedly people practicing aikido with no internal power or even a desire to learn about internal strength. I think the argument is a qualitative assessment of the proficiency expressed by the individual practitioners.

2. I think internal power training inherently applies a greater burden of training. You can see that as either pushing back the timeline of training, or increasing the training regime. I think in either case it is fair to expect the commitment to achieve that level of proficiency is extra-ordinary. Again, not everyone will want to undertake that path. I think the issue is that aiki was not previously thought a tangible achievement; rather, it was considered a intangible expression if you stayed the course long enough.

3. Kata in aikido is damaged. The roles of uke and nage have taken on undesirable properties which [negatively] affect the relationship within kata. I think we need to work on our kata to return to a state of logical and impassioned interaction with clearly communicated feedback for both roles.

I still waffle on the role of habit in stress environments. One of my military friends spoke about an issue in basic training surrounding the trainees habitually removing their headgear following a movement exercise. The issue was that the trainees became used to removing their gear following a long run. For every story I hear like this, I will hear another about the importance of automation.

I think the idea of stability with internal training is designed to create a natural state of being on which you can base your action. When I played athletics, this natural state was coached under the "athletic position" - a state of potential energy to be focused in action.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 01:59 PM
Jon,

My post was mostly on the topic of freeflowing technique. I don't think you got that.

My personal belief is that imagery and intent training works against the goal of developing the ability to react spontaneously and appropriately to the movement of the universe. I have always thought the traditional Japanese training model was designed to take the mind out of the equation and I keep thinking that is a better and better idea the longer i do it.

Budd
10-18-2013, 02:13 PM
The irony (on a number of fronts, especially that the sibling thread currently active in this folder is 6 Directions, which some have mistaken for 6 Harmonies) is that so many martial arts still reference the 6 harmonies (Liu He) in their arts' core tenets (the suspicion is that it's a *wink wink nod nod* to those others in the know that the system is part of the "me too I haz universal strength powers") - namely with aikido talking about man bridging heaven and earth by using the INTENT as the gateway to do so, which pays nice reference to the 6 Harmonies whereby the 3 internal harmonies are using Yi (INTENT) to reflect the power of the earth (and gravity) in the body.

If you look at kata - it's as much about teaching strategy, tactics, etiquette, etc. that are part of a martial art and it's cultural underpinnings as it is how to fight. There's a well known precedent of many of the practitioners learning all of the kata, while only a chosen few were shown the gokui (secret teachings) that meant they had true mastery, were inheritors, or approved to transmit the full body of knowledge.

hughrbeyer
10-18-2013, 02:20 PM
You don't need internal power for spontaneous technique. There is no "A implies B" relationship there. I don't think the two have anything to do with each other at all, though there is plenty of room to quibble.

The difference is that the IS/IP/Aiki work gives you a level of freedom that Aikido without these skills does not have. (Speaking as someone with 20 years in Aikido followed by 4-5 years training IP while continuing my Aikido training.) If I use timing, blending, and flow (in addition to joint locks and similar mechanical techniques) I'm very much constrained by what uke is doing. If uke is unbalanced as soon as he/she touches me, and can't put force into me with a strike or a grab, I can pretty much do what I like. (Within limits, of course. Standing in front of a punch still doesn't work.)

My personal belief is that imagery and intent training works against the goal of developing the ability to react spontaneously and appropriately to the movement of the universe. I have always thought the traditional Japanese training model was designed to take the mind out of the equation and I keep thinking that is a better and better idea the longer i do it.

I think you don't understand how imagery and intent are used. They don't lead to being "in your head" any more than kata training does--much less so, in fact.

patrick de block
10-18-2013, 02:38 PM
The distinction I learned was between waza and kata. Kata is waza +, and by that I mean that waza are what you do and kata are the waza with how to do it. This + can be certain movement principles or they can be IP/IT/IS. Another distinction is omote and ura, where omote is what you see, the surface and ura is what you don't see, the backside.

And I think it is telling that most pre-war students all had solo-exercises and some post-war ones too.(I don't know what every aikido teacher does or did.) Clearly they felt the need to teach that + outside of the waza.

And as an analogy, I learned to play the piano and my teacher insisted that I played music and not just the notes.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 03:17 PM
And I think it is telling that most pre-war students all had solo-exercises and some post-war ones too.(I don't know what every aikido teacher does or did.) Clearly they felt the need to teach that + outside of the waza.

I don't think Takeda taught solo training exercises to any of his students, and I don't believe those who developed their own meant for them to be a method for developing internal power. I mean, Sagawa probably did, but it is pointless to try and chase his material down because he is dead and did not exactly seed the earth with a legion of devotees. Ueshiba left us the good old rowing drill, maybe that's something.

I am really pretty sure the techniques were the training tools for developing the power.

Budd
10-18-2013, 03:28 PM
I am really pretty sure the techniques were the training tools for developing the power.

Interesting that one of the only things that all of the folks that have demonstrated any proficiency with this kind of skill and strength have agreed on is exactly the opposite of this .... :freaky:

Cady Goldfield
10-18-2013, 03:28 PM
Ueshiba left us the good old rowing drill, maybe that's something.

Well, it would be something if people actually understood what Ueshiba's rowing exercise really was, and the actual mechanics of it. Most contemporary aikido would be working in an entirely different way than it currently is.
What most people evidently are practicing these days, is the mimicking of the external appearance of the rowing exercise.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 03:37 PM
Interesting that one of the only things that all of the folks that have demonstrated any proficiency with this kind of skill and strength have agreed on is exactly the opposite of this .... :freaky:

This is interesting only if there is a well-verified link between the strength you are referring to when you say "the folks that have demonstrated any proficiency with this kind of skill and strength" and the power i am referring to when I say "the techniques were the training tools for developing the power."

If you start from the assumption that they are two different things, it is not that big of a deal.

Cady Goldfield
10-18-2013, 03:37 PM
You misinterpreted much of what I wrote, but I chalk it up to the difference in experience and exposure. I know what I know, and that's the way it is. If we were on the mats together, I would demonstrate what I'm describing. As is, you're entitled to your opinion, but you don't really have the complete picture. That's fine, but please don't presume to make a pronouncement on the quality of my past training, without firsthand knowledge.

You don't need internal power for spontaneous technique. There is no "A implies B" relationship there. I don't think the two have anything to do with each other at all, though there is plenty of room to quibble.

I tend to think if you want to develop Takemusu Aiki, the long and arduous quest for internal power will set your timeframe back a lot, particularly the intent-driven way you guys advocate training. After years of being in your heads you are somehow supposed to let it all flow? Good luck.

You don't seem to have a very good understanding of what kata training is and what it is supposed to give you. It also doesn't sound like you had very good Daito ryu training.

I think Takeda was very much a showman and when he was on the road teaching Daito ryu he was in part, selling amazement, wonder, and mystery to the bulk of his students. So it may well be that the syllabus of Daito ryu is inflated.

But I don't think his career would have lasted long if he was teaching an empty vessel. Regardless of whether there was a simple secret that he taught only his closest students and cautioned them to never show them in public because they were so easy to pick up on (though I think this only comes out of accounts from Sagawa and Horikawa?) if the hundreds of other kata were not useful for getting to these principals, then word would get out and people wouldn't sign up for 10-day seminars with the guy.

A kata, particularly a koryu jujutsu kata, is a training tool. It is designed to instill techniques and principals. I think you could actually term them habits, and they are ABSOLUTELY what you want to have in a combat situation. A kata may or may not be applicable to a common situation, or even a real situation, depends on the system. But it will set up open-ended systems of response in the nervous system and the practitioner will react in a way that is intended by the system's founder and instructors.

A well-designed kata delivers feedback as it is executed - if your posture is incorrect the throw will not work, if you use too much muscle uke will land over there instead of right here - but you cannot begin to know what is going on without an experienced instructor who can correct your form, and/or an experienced sempai who will stand there and not move unless you do the right thing.

I have lately been using the term "external" and "internal" in terms of training methodology - an internal system would be one that uses imaging and a mental process to find the proper form and build skill, whereas an external system relies on the instructor teaching and reinforcing an external form, which the practitioner internalizes and builds skill from there.

Either way, what you DO in a live situation is act spontaneously. Whether you like it or not. No one who has ever written on the subject of combat skills or self defense tactics has ever had much positive to say about how useful the conscious mind is in a life or death situation.

You did some Aiki training (no offense but it sounds like either you weren't into it or it wasn't very good), you did some free training. You were able to react spontaneously in the free training, and you responded with Aiki. I'll take your word for that because I don't think Aiki is something that "powers" anything. Regardless, this is no reason to believe that you were able to respond spontaneously because of your aiki training.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 03:47 PM
Ueshiba left us the good old rowing drill, maybe that's something.

Well, it would be something if people actually understood what Ueshiba's rowing exercise really was, and the actual mechanics of it. Most contemporary aikido would be working in an entirely different way than it currently is.
What most people evidently are practicing these days, is the mimicking of the external appearance of the rowing exercise.

See the thing is, he had ample opportunity to explain it. He either didn't teach it properly, and it's gone, forget it, or he explained it plenty properly and people are, by the by, getting out of it exactly what he had hoped they would. I don't know which is true, but unless you trained under him directly I don't think you know either.

patrick de block
10-18-2013, 04:00 PM
I am really pretty sure the techniques were the training tools for developing the power.

Maybe my answer is pointless.

As I said, I don't know what every teacher ever did or does and I've never done the rowing exercise although I think it is one of those +.

Tomiki has a set of solo-exercises and also paired exercises which are done in every bloody lesson. And I can relate every move in his kata to those sets. And that's not because I am such a genius but because I was taught to do that.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 04:01 PM
You misinterpreted much of what I wrote, but I chalk it up to the difference in experience and exposure. I know what I know, and that's the way it is. If we were on the mats together, I would demonstrate what I'm describing. As is, you're entitled to your opinion, but you don't really have the complete picture. That's fine, but please don't presume to make a pronouncement on the quality of my past training, without firsthand knowledge.

Sorry, I did not mean to offend or step outside of the rules of the forum. Your account of your training seemed really unenthusiastic to me and I was reacting to that. I don't know how much of a timeframe you glossed in that paragraph but it seemed like a confusing and compressed process and I honestly don't think that's a good way to learn a kata-based koryu system like Daito ryu.

It is highly possible that I misinterpreted what you said, but I'm really going to stand by my assertion that you don't need to train aiki - given a broad range of definitions of aiki - in order to be able to produce spontaneous technique.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 04:05 PM
Maybe my answer is pointless.

As I said, I don't know what every teacher ever did or does and I've never done the rowing exercise although I think it is one of those +.

Tomiki has a set of solo-exercises and also paired exercises which are done in every bloody lesson. And I can relate every move in his kata to those sets. And that's not because I am such a genius but because I was taught to do that.

Hmmm. Good point. You know, I think Tomiki's exercises are exactly the kind of technique that Michael was talking about when he started the thread.

Bill Danosky
10-18-2013, 04:13 PM
There are plenty of other definitions that make more sense when talking about human actions:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spontaneous

When I use the term I mean "uncontrived and unplanned."

Thank you. I'm not meaning to split hairs over the proper use of vocabulary. I am just trying to sort of evaluate the concept. Somehow, there should be a scientific comparison made between a control study and a test group. It sounds like the world wants to know if a tangible benefit can be proven by some kind of data.

Cliff Judge
10-18-2013, 04:20 PM
Thank you. I'm not meaning to split hairs over the proper use of vocabulary. I am just trying to sort of evaluate the concept. Somehow, there should be a scientific comparison made between a control study and a test group. It sounds like the world wants to know if a tangible benefit can be proven by some kind of data.

You need to split your groups up and have one of them train one way and the other another way....for 30 years. :D And each group needs to be entirely convinced that they are right. Hmmm....maybe we are already performing this study.

Budd
10-18-2013, 05:25 PM
There are some pretty senior people with experience in both methods that if you are genuinely seeking the answer is pretty clear. If you're looking to share observations based on suppositions and conjecture, by all means continue. Credible opinions have already weighed in for years.

Bill Danosky
10-18-2013, 05:49 PM
Where is the data? The scientific method exists for this exact reason. "Credible opinions" conflict on the subject. After all of this, the lack of evidence supporting IP seems to lead the conclusion.

If an advantage can't be clearly demonstrated, I don't see the point of training it. I'd rather be wrong and have the advantage than be right and not have one. So I promise I'm open to the idea if it's merit can be demonstrated.

Budd
10-18-2013, 06:15 PM
As mentioned already, you don't get to dictate the terms under which it will be demonstrated. I included the link to the taiji study. Additional exploration will require some skin in the game.

Janet Rosen
10-18-2013, 11:46 PM
Scientific studies and data? Sheesh. Maybe I don't get out much (ok, I don't get out much) but I can't think of any other martial art in which such a conversation would exist.
Curious about something, go and and find a dojo or seminar or one person who is doing what you are curious about. That's what I've done pretty much since I was a newbie. Some things I found worth pursuing and some not. Some piqued my interest but not enough to keep going with. Not one dojo visit to any style was wasted effort.

Budd
10-19-2013, 08:06 AM
Hi Janet,

I don't begrudge anyone looking for empirical data, but to your point the most reliable method in a martial arts setting would be first-hand experience, presumably supported by positive findings from credible peers or seniors. At this point, I kind of write of anyone that comes across as stubbornly insisting there's nothing there but has yet to actually go find out.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-19-2013, 08:43 AM
Where is the data? The scientific method exists for this exact reason. "Credible opinions" conflict on the subject. After all of this, the lack of evidence supporting IP seems to lead the conclusion.

The scientific approach is used in combat sports, martial arts are usually averse to scientific method. Do you know S. J. Gould's "non overlapping magisteria" position? This is the basically the same thing.

Budd
10-19-2013, 08:58 AM
Demetrio, which scientific approach are you referring to in combat sports, that you see absent in martial arts, specifically?

Demetrio Cereijo
10-19-2013, 10:00 AM
Demetrio, which scientific approach are you referring to in combat sports, that you see absent in martial arts, specifically?

There are lots of studies about what affects performance in sports (food, biomechanics, training methodologies, psychology, metabolism, genetics...) combat sports included. Martial arts studies about performance are few and far between.

Try this for instance:

-Go to google scholar

-Search: judo performance training

-Search: aikido performance training

-Compare results

RonRagusa
10-19-2013, 10:26 AM
The difference is that the IS/IP/Aiki work gives you a level of freedom that Aikido without these skills does not have.

Aikido without Ki. And I agree, Aikido without Ki does restrict my freedom of action when interacting with uke.

If I use timing, blending, and flow (in addition to joint locks and similar mechanical techniques) I'm very much constrained by what uke is doing.

What you see as constraint, I see as opportunity to find creative and effective ways of interacting with uke using the tools at my disposal. Timing, blending and flow are some of the tools that help give Aikido its form. Ki gives Aikido its substance (in a manner of speaking).

If uke is unbalanced as soon as he/she touches me, and can't put force into me with a strike or a grab, I can pretty much do what I like.

That sentence pretty much sums up the purpose of Ki development. When I have mind and body coordinated I'm in my strongest and most dependable state. Why would I want to wait to be grabbed or struck to take uke's balance? Allowing uke to have hands on access to me helps with strengthening mind/body coordination in practice but not terribly practical "in the field". My work in this area continues to center on unbalancing uke before being grabbed or struck. I find timing, blending and flow (among others) to be effective tools, if applied with mind/body coordination, to achieve that end.

Ron

Bill Danosky
10-19-2013, 10:36 AM
I don't have an agenda to disprove IP. I want to live in a universe where it works, but so far it really seems like we don't. I hate to raise the spectre of UFC because I know you guys hate that. But millions of dollars, multiple careers and issues of national pride rest on the outcomes of those matches. And sorry, but they ARE the best comparative test of martial arts we have available. They scrape for every microscopic advantage they can gain. They generally deride IP and that's the most credible opinion I know of.

I trained for about 6 months with someone who's a (possibly self-) titled IP Master and finally concluded it was a crock. I chalked that up to individual experience, not to reflect the issue as a whole. I wondered the same thing about Aikido, started training in it and 9 years later, I'm still enjoying it.

Not everything I learned here "works", frankly, but I know the difference because my 24 year old, 2nd kyu son outweighs me by 30 lbs and cuts me zero slack. If I think something works, he loves to make me prove it.

Chris Li
10-19-2013, 12:08 PM
I don't have an agenda to disprove IP. I want to live in a universe where it works, but so far it really seems like we don't. I hate to raise the spectre of UFC because I know you guys hate that. But millions of dollars, multiple careers and issues of national pride rest on the outcomes of those matches. And sorry, but they ARE the best comparative test of martial arts we have available. They scrape for every microscopic advantage they can gain. They generally deride IP and that's the most credible opinion I know of.

I trained for about 6 months with someone who's a (possibly self-) titled IP Master and finally concluded it was a crock. I chalked that up to individual experience, not to reflect the issue as a whole. I wondered the same thing about Aikido, started training in it and 9 years later, I'm still enjoying it.

Not everything I learned here "works", frankly, but I know the difference because my 24 year old, 2nd kyu son outweighs me by 30 lbs and cuts me zero slack. If I think something works, he loves to make me prove it.

And yet...there are no scientific comparisons, studies or data with a clearly demonstrated advantage for training in Yoshinkan - why doesn't that cause a problem for you?

For that matter, the UFC generally derides most traditional arts, including Aikido (even Yoshinkan Aikido) - so how come you don't follow the "credible opinion" that you yourself are citing?

Best,

Chris

Mert Gambito
10-19-2013, 01:58 PM
I don't have an agenda to disprove IP. I want to live in a universe where it works, but so far it really seems like we don't. I hate to raise the spectre of UFC because I know you guys hate that. But millions of dollars, multiple careers and issues of national pride rest on the outcomes of those matches. And sorry, but they ARE the best comparative test of martial arts we have available. They scrape for every microscopic advantage they can gain. They generally deride IP and that's the most credible opinion I know of.
IP of compelling quality is extremely rare, but it is there. It's just not fair to say "we don't" live in a universe with it based on data points collected by an individual, because there are other data points that indicate it is there.

Dan Harden, for example, typically characterizes himself as an MMAist first and foremost (and reportedly still trains MMAists). I know an MMAist who's been a wrestler since high school and currently trains at BJ Penn's UFC Gym here who put Dan Harden in a mount (there were multiple MMAists at this particular venue, and so katate- and ryote-dori stuff wasn't their bag so much). Dan placed the palm of his hand against this MMAist's flank, and demonstrated issuing spiraling power from flat on his back (basically a no-inch palm-heel strike) that popped this seasoned fighter two feet in the air, horizontally laid out, and cleanly off to the side. The fighter on the receiving end stated, upon gathering himself and taking a quick inventory of his ribs, "this is beyond anything taught in the fight game."

So if IP is that effective in MMA applications, then why isn't it the training protocol of choice among elite fighters in the UFC and elsewhere? Well, why would it be popular in the UFC if its dissemination via methodologies conducive to imparting it to a broad, primarily western audience is still slowly gaining traction within the traditional arts from which the methodologies were derived (UFC 1 occurred well before the interest in what Dan, Mike Sigman, the Aunkai, ILC, etc. are collectively doing began to hit critical mass, so the current IP movement is still quite young)? If traditional martial artists who are looking for aiki and other forms of internal power are slow adopters as a whole, then how much less buy-in can we expect from those who, as you indicate, thumb their noses at it (personally, from those I've spoken to, it's simply not a concept they're aware of)? And, there's always a cost-benefit equilibrium point, especially when cost-benefit is literally about money, for individual fighters and the sanctioning body. Who wants to tune in to The Ultimate Fighter and see a bunch of guys doing standing-stake and torifune for the entire season of episodes?? Dan will be the first to say that developing IP and learning to fight are largely mutually exclusive endeavors. Each individually will take several years, and then there are the years needed to effectively meld those skills. Maybe if someone's rare and preternaturally adept at both and doesn't have to hold down a day job, they get there in a decade. For a young fighter looking for or in need of a payday, or simply seeking to scratch the competitive itch, it makes sense to default to proven external training methodologies that bring him/her up to a competitive level ASAP.

Nonetheless, the data points will come, Bill -- at least in pockets within the traditional arts. There are enough contemporaries who are studious, disciplined and mission-oriented doing the work for that not to be the case during the next few years.

Bill Danosky
10-19-2013, 04:05 PM
And yet...there are no scientific comparisons, studies or data with a clearly demonstrated advantage for training in Yoshinkan - why doesn't that cause a problem for you?

For that matter, the UFC generally derides most traditional arts, including Aikido (even Yoshinkan Aikido) - so how come you don't follow the "credible opinion" that you yourself are citing?


Thanks for asking- it's because I'm old now. When I was young we had to mix our own martial arts, because there was no UFC to point the way back then. So I have belts in Yoshukai Karate, Goju Ryu Karate, Shao Lama Kung Fu and Judo, plus my Aikido rank. In my late 30's, I liked to train at our local MMA gym, the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts, but now that I'm in my 40's I know I don't have another 20 years of that left in me. Honestly, I don't even want to train as hard as the 20-something UFC wannabes, let alone compete with them.

I want advantages now, and I don't want to work as much to get them. Yoshinkan Aikido is gentle enough that I can train hard into my 60's but still adds legitimate skills to my repertoire. And it works. I know that because I took it to the Bullshido Throwdown in Skokie a few years ago and made it to the third round of competition without using anything else. Two submission victories using wristlocks off my back, by the way. That's data, and it was scientific enough for me.

Cliff Judge
10-19-2013, 04:32 PM
Two submission victories using wristlocks off my back, by the way. That's data, and it was scientific enough for me.

That's not scientific at all. But if it is good enough for you, you really ought to go look up one of these IP folks and get them to show you what they are talking about.

Chris Li
10-19-2013, 04:39 PM
Thanks for asking- it's because I'm old now. When I was young we had to mix our own martial arts, because there was no UFC to point the way back then. So I have belts in Yoshukai Karate, Goju Ryu Karate, Shao Lama Kung Fu and Judo, plus my Aikido rank. In my late 30's, I liked to train at our local MMA gym, the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts, but now that I'm in my 40's I know I don't have another 20 years of that left in me. Honestly, I don't even want to train as hard as the 20-something UFC wannabes, let alone compete with them.

I want advantages now, and I don't want to work as much to get them. Yoshinkan Aikido is gentle enough that I can train hard into my 60's but still adds legitimate skills to my repertoire. And it works. I know that because I took it to the Bullshido Throwdown in Skokie a few years ago and made it to the third round of competition without using anything else. Two submission victories using wristlocks off my back, by the way. That's data, and it was scientific enough for me.

Well, you said that you started Yoshinkan nine years ago - and the UFC was around then. You're still left with the same position - how can you demand "scientific studies" when you're coming from something that lacks the same? There are certainly IP folks who have taken it out for a spin - just as you have, you're just assuming that there aren't.

Best,

Chris

Bill Danosky
10-19-2013, 05:00 PM
Well, you said that you started Yoshinkan nine years ago - and the UFC was around then. You're still left with the same position - how can you demand "scientific studies" when you're coming from something that lacks the same? There are certainly IP folks who have taken it out for a spin - just as you have, you're just assuming that there aren't.


I said the UFC wasn't around when I was young. That is true. But I trained that way as long as it was safe and practical for me. I am also not demanding scientific studies- I am saying I'm not going to train IP unless there's more compelling evidence than people saying if you train long enough with somebody who really knows, you may be able to find some subtle benefit that really can't be evidenced.

This is a discussion forum where people offer their opinions and ask questions. Not a forum where everybody is required to agree with each other. If you don't like my version of the truth, you are free to disagree with me, and I don't mind at all. If you have taken IP for a spin and like it, please continue. My statements are not about your personal choices. They are about mine.

Chris Li
10-19-2013, 05:09 PM
I said the UFC wasn't around when I was young. That is true. But I trained that way as long as it was safe and practical for me. I am also not demanding scientific studies- I am saying I'm not going to train IP unless there's more compelling evidence than people saying if you train long enough with somebody who really knows, you may be able to find some subtle benefit that really can't be evidenced.

This is a discussion forum where people offer their opinions and ask questions. Not a forum where everybody is required to agree with each other. If you don't like my version of the truth, you are free to disagree with me, and I don't mind at all. If you have taken IP for a spin and like it, please continue. My statements are not about your personal choices. They are about mine.

And again, there was and is no compelling evidence that training in Yoshinkan would benefit you either, not in the way that you phrased it in regards to IP. I'm asking you why you require a higher bar for IP?

Best,

Chris

Walter Martindale
10-19-2013, 05:39 PM
There are lots of studies about what affects performance in sports (food, biomechanics, training methodologies, psychology, metabolism, genetics...) combat sports included. Martial arts studies about performance are few and far between.

Try this for instance:

-Go to google scholar

-Search: judo performance training

-Search: aikido performance training

-Compare results

I haven't done the searches. I can guess, though, that there's a lot more research done into Judo because there's world and Olympic championships at stake. It matters (at some level) who wins. Think of the money that's sunk into winning in Formula 1 racing. It matters (to those with the deep pockets), so there's a lot of research done. There's quite a bit of physiology, strength, fluid-dynamics, training, sport psychology, nutrition, recovery, materials study that goes into my sport (Rowing) where there's virtually no financial gain available - the money in F-1 must be amazing... Think about it - a steering wheel for those cars costs more than most people's entire car.. Because there's a winner at the end of the day and performance matters.

We don't really measure "performance" in Aikido, so there's not a lot of scientific method in it - no sponsors who need a result, who need to find out the facts - so there's a lot of speculative musing about things like... 'tensegrity' and so on.
Walter

Bill Danosky
10-19-2013, 06:12 PM
And again, there was and is no compelling evidence that training in Yoshinkan would benefit you either, not in the way that you phrased it in regards to IP. I'm asking you why you require a higher bar for IP?


I tried them both. One worked for me; the other didn't, and I don't have unlimited training time left in my life. I really wanted mystical powers to be true, but that was not my experience. I had doubts about Aikido, too. Had I landed in a more esoteric style, I might be telling this story to a different group of people. But I found Yoshinkan Aikido to be practical and sensible. When asked about Ki, Kancho (Shioda Sensei) would often hold up his car or house key. This was our Founder.

I will keep saying that if there is compelling evidence to give IP a second shot, I will risk it. But based on what's available, it's a bad bet, IMO.

Maybe we can agree on this- I have found some mental constructs to be helpful. "Interrupting Uke's intention" for instance. If you want to call that IT, that's okay with me.

Chris Li
10-19-2013, 09:56 PM
I tried them both. One worked for me; the other didn't, and I don't have unlimited training time left in my life. I really wanted mystical powers to be true, but that was not my experience. I had doubts about Aikido, too. Had I landed in a more esoteric style, I might be telling this story to a different group of people. But I found Yoshinkan Aikido to be practical and sensible. When asked about Ki, Kancho (Shioda Sensei) would often hold up his car or house key. This was our Founder.

I will keep saying that if there is compelling evidence to give IP a second shot, I will risk it. But based on what's available, it's a bad bet, IMO.

Maybe we can agree on this- I have found some mental constructs to be helpful. "Interrupting Uke's intention" for instance. If you want to call that IT, that's okay with me.

I was training in Yoshinkan, in Tokyo, when Shioda was alive - although he was quite old and we never had physical contact. Still, I think you might have found some unexpected dimensions to what he was doing - check out his associations with Kodo Horikawa.

In any case - I think that you're still asking for a higher bar for IP than for conventional Aikido. If trying it for yourself was enough for Yoshinkan then shouldn't that be enough for IP?

"Ueshiba sensei always spoke about the gods and the universe, things that nobody could understand, but I was finally able to understand what was behind it"

-Gozo Shioda, in the last years of his life

Best,

Chris

Bill Danosky
10-19-2013, 11:07 PM
I was training in Yoshinkan, in Tokyo, when Shioda was alive -

Chris, if you were training Yoshinkan Aikido in Tokyo when Gozo Shioda was alive, I will take your word over most people's. If there was someone credible in BF Illinois I might give it another shot, based on you and Cliff's say so.

Things might be different now if I'd had access to the kind of instruction you have had. But I am still very grateful for my local teachers, Paul Huber Sensei, and his predecessor Kit Hathaway Sensei, who have hammered us for 9 years with rigorously painstaking kihon. Whatever I do with it from here will be better because of it. So to answer the question of the thread, "Technique, IMO".

Best,

Bill

hughrbeyer
10-19-2013, 11:27 PM
Why are we still entertaining conversations about whether iP "works"? If you think it does, train it. If you think it doesn't, either find someone good to show it to you or go away. No one here is responsible for proving anything to you. If you care about your training, you will seek out the best teachers. If you don't, why are we talking to you, again?

I love traditional Aikido waza. It's seductive as hell. But having been introduced to a way to make it really work, in all situations, am I going to walk away from it? I don't think so, regardless of what UFC is doing. This is about making my own practice the best I can, regardless of what anyone else is doing. (And aikido waza, so far as i can tell, isn't going anywhere--it's just getting revitalized.)

so do what works for you. iP is a lot of work, and you still have to learn aikido on top of it, so it will never be for everyone. But quit with the spitballs, they're boring. Now excuse me, I have to go stand in the corner for a half hour.

---
This post brought to you by Peeper Aie of the Maine Brewing company, on draft at our local watering hole, with Lagavulin chasers. If the tone is more belligerent than usual, blame the scots and the folks Down East.

Aikibu
10-20-2013, 02:08 AM
All I know is after spending most of my life training in the Martial Arts (25 of those years in Aikido) I went out and experienced "Aiki" first hand through both Dan Harden and Akuzawa Minoru of the Aunkai. I am now throwing almost everything I know out the window and focusing almost exclusively on Internal Training.

William Hazen

Rupert Atkinson
10-20-2013, 05:34 AM
All I know is after spending most of my life training in the Martial Arts (25 of those years in Aikido) I went out and experienced "Aiki" first hand through both Dan Harden and Akuzawa Minoru of the Aunkai. I am now throwing almost everything I know out the window and focusing almost exclusively on Internal Training.

William Hazen

That is my view. And then revisit Aikido with new knowledge.

Budd
10-20-2013, 01:10 PM
William, not to pick on you, but would you say that reading your prior posts would be a good example of someone with a lot of credible prior experience in martial arts that was fairly vocal in challenging the "value" of focusing on IP but then had a rather eye-opening experience once you got hands on time with people credibly training it?

Budd
10-20-2013, 01:17 PM
And as a general aside, it's been pretty interesting over the years watching these conversations evolve as various peoples' stances change as they get access to new information and experiences.

Aikibu
10-20-2013, 05:56 PM
William, not to pick on you, but would you say that reading your prior posts would be a good example of someone with a lot of credible prior experience in martial arts that was fairly vocal in challenging the "value" of focusing on IP but then had a rather eye-opening experience once you got hands on time with people credibly training it?

Absolutely correct Budd. I was skeptical at first and it got contentious at times between me and the main promoters of "Aiki" here on Aikiweb. Now, having seen and felt "it", and more importantly, understanding what the heck they're talking about...I straight up apologized to Dan Harden for being so ignorant. I am now humbled and excited for the opportunity to take my practice to another level. :)

William Hazen

phitruong
10-20-2013, 07:42 PM
Absolutely correct Budd. I was skeptical at first and it got contentious at times between me and the main promoters of "Aiki" here on Aikiweb. Now, having seen and felt "it", and more importantly, understanding what the heck they're talking about...I straight up apologized to Dan Harden for being so ignorant. I am now humbled and excited for the opportunity to take my practice to another level. :)

William Hazen

noooooo! say it isn't so! you drank the cool-aid, didn't you?!!! told you to stay out of the water, but noooo did you listen? sheesh! another bites the dust! aikiweb will be boring now.

Michael Varin
10-22-2013, 11:13 PM
noooooo! say it isn't so! you drank the cool-aid, didn't you?!!! told you to stay out of the water, but noooo did you listen? sheesh! another bites the dust! aikiweb will be boring now.

Now?

Mary Eastland
10-23-2013, 08:00 AM
All technique has internal power. How can it be separate?

CorkyQ
10-23-2013, 12:11 PM
It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.

In my very limited experience, I would have to say I disagree. In my admittedly short exposure to "IP/IT/IS" I found that everything shown was technique based. It may not be what many would call a formal technique, but technique I believe it is. In my opinion, it really comes down to what distinctions the practitioner is able to make.

Any thoughts?

About ten years ago, I began developing a non-technique based model for learning and teaching aikido that bypasses technique proficiency as a marker for aikido proficiency. Even though it is an evolving thing, I feel confident now that the pedagogy is defined enough to offer this as a stand-alone method of aikido education from beginner to advanced levels, or as an adjunct to traditional practice.

In devising this teaching/learning model I drew on the teachings of Osensei, Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Tohei Sensei, (Rod) Kobayashi Sensei, and Don O'Bell Sensei. I have experienced most of the principles in my method affirmed in the practice of Ikeda Sensei, Heiny Sensei, Palmer Sensei, Ledyard Sensei and the late Kevin Choate Sensei.

In doing this work, I was able to break down aikido movements as well as the bio-mechanics of attacking humans into elemental parts. Students in my method are never shown techniques to emulate other than some simple combinations that lead to an aiki-resolution (what others might see as a throw), and then only to train the elemental movements. They are taught those elements as interchangeable parts so that the path of the aiki, often regulated through repetitive training to a technique-defined track that Mark Freeman has called "fixed like a fly in amber", is created spontaneously as a harmonious flow of the combined intentions of uke and nage.

They are taught the elemental movements in a structure of "stretches" and "spots" rather than attacks and defenses to offset the automatic defense mechanisms that arise from perceiving the actions of the partner as a threat. Attacks call for defense even from a neurolinguistic trigger, but stretches call for spotting, or taking care of the partner through the stretch - being involved but not interfering. In this way, the highest goals of aikido (from my perspective), the loving protection of all things, is instituted in the training from the get go.

Once the beginners show some proficiency in the movements, we transition them into intermediate practice where they never know how they will be grabbed or struck - with authentic attack energy at reduced intensity, not the kind of collusive ukemi that is required to learn a complex technique. Through this practice they learn that the elemental ( and now trained) movements come out naturally when their ki is extended and connecting in the relevant way. We use holds and strikes that are unconventional in aikido training and try not to do the same attack more than a couple of times before switching to reduce physical patterning that begins to take hold in the aikidoist's neurology immediately. In this kind of practice we see many paths that resemble traditionally demonstrated aikido techniques, but most usually the path to the mat is much simpler and more direct.

As ukes in this method, students learn how to transmit authentic attack energy and how when doing so it is easy to recognize openings where nage is disconnecting, trying to use force to throw or withdrawing ki. In our dojo it is impossible to do a technique that is not in harmony with the attack without an application of force, because we train not to just go along with a throw. Force could always be applied through the leverage that aikido movements can provide, but because of the goals of the dojo no one takes the route of attempting to overpower their partners through leverage or brute strength. The practice becomes one in which the operating principle is masakatsu agatsu because there will be no resolution without a true manifestation of aiki born of transcendence of lower brain (automatic) responses.

I would have to agree with you Michael the way you put it - the physical part of the training of the elements of aikido movement are essential for the spiritual parts (ki no nagare) to produce the aiki-resolution. So for me, there is some aspect of "technique" which is absolutely essential, but this is only to allow the path of least resistance to manifest. Again, this training, which is really only training in where and how to move in order to support one's partner as his attack leads him to the mat, is so that the automatic trained responses only serve to add stability to the living, unfolding path, not to insure this attacker is going to the ground in a pre-determined path which may or may not be harmonious with the attack.

It's interesting to read that some practitioners change their minds about the validity of "IP" principles when they actually feel the principles in action. I have found that the feeling itself is much harder to deny, (even if defying reason in the person feeling it for the first time).

If you're on the fence, or believe in the validity of what Osensei (and Dai Sensei Kanshu Sunadomari) called takemusu aiki, or even if you believe it is hogwash, I can show you what I am talking about if we can get together, and you are serious about the truth and efficacy of not relying on technique. (kool-aid is optional, lol)

I will be in the Washington D.C. area November 17-20, 2013 to speak and demonstrate at George Mason University at a class on the Body and Conflict, and my host is making arrangements for dojo time around that event. Currently it looks like my practice partners and I will be in an aikido dojo most of the time, the location of which we are in the process of locking down. If you contact me I will put you in touch with my host so we can coordinate.

Also planning some time in Western Canada, specifically Vancouver January 2014 and possibly the Edmonton area in the same trip. I'm in the process of making a domestic and international seminar/workshop schedule for 2014, so if anyone is interested in having me visit his or her area with this crazy stuff, please let me know. I hope this sounds less like an ad than an invitation to experience what the application of ki arising from benevolent intention feels like rather than dismissing it without first hand experience.

Respectfully,

Corky

Carsten Möllering
10-24-2013, 01:21 AM
All technique has internal power. How can it be separate?Interesting statement.

During my first years of aikidō all the teaching I experienced was only about technique.
What I understand as "internal power" by now, I experience only in the last years and only with very few teachers.

jamie yugawa
10-24-2013, 02:47 AM
All technique has internal power. How can it be separate?

Some people have internal power and are able to manifest them through waza. A majority honestly well....don't. There maybe aspects of IP that people may have but this is a different level. I albeit I don't have the experience in years as many of the people in the forum but have practiced enough to know and feel the difference.

The internal power manifested by Dan Harden and Sam Chin sifu are quite different from anything I have ever felt. I have been uke for several high ranking Sensei at different times and there is no comparison. There is an instant kuzushi and impenetrability upon first contact. You cannot get "inside" nor feel their center. There is no "Tanking" or "Hypnosis". You move because you have no choice. The is no "leading ki" or cues to fall. There are no tells of physical tension or windup. You are moved and moved hard!

When this caliber of IP is added to waza the results are quite amazing. The other person honestly has no chance.

In researching this IP/IS methodology, I can understand the skepticism and disbelief of the mainstream towards this route. I think Aikido is an amazing martial art and has changed peoples lives around the world. Why change it? Why mess with a martial art that encompasses a high moral foundation and promotes peace and harmony? Why mess the with the "Art of Harmony"? I think the people of the IP movement are honestly not degrading or trying to denigrate Aikido. Through the efforts of people like Chris Li and Dan Harden, the origins and source of O-Sensei's power are coming to light. Instead of the debate and debunk route why not go to the source? If you have an open mind and are willing to find out what the reason why these IP people are so adamant about this "New" trend, you may be surprised at what you find. All of the people involved in the IP movement I have met are all great people and willing to share all of the information they have with others.

On another note, Dan Harden is a really nice guy and a formidable martial artist. I am happy to have met him. My view on the martial arts and the path of budo are diverging due to my exposure to IP/IS.

Carsten Möllering
10-24-2013, 03:42 AM
"Why ...?"

To me it is very important to note that practicing aikidō as an internal art is not only about the bodily and the martial aspects. But that it provides the way to health and longevity and to spiritual growth which internal arts are usually known for.

RonRagusa
10-24-2013, 06:45 AM
During my first years of aikidō all the teaching I experienced was only about technique. What I understand as "internal power" by now, I experience only in the last years and only with very few teachers.

Fortunately for Mary and me, Maruyama sensei spent much of his teaching time with us hammering home the idea that Aikido was first and foremost about developing mind/body coordination to realize correct feeling (what, I suppose, you folks refer to as internal power). He used technique as a vehicle to illustrate his ideas as well as a way to put them into practice.

Ronj

Mary Eastland
10-24-2013, 07:27 AM
Some people have internal power and are able to manifest them through waza. A majority honestly well....don't. There maybe aspects of IP that people may have but this is a different level. I albeit I don't have the experience in years as many of the people in the forum but have practiced enough to know and feel the difference.

The internal power manifested by Dan Harden and Sam Chin sifu are quite different from anything I have ever felt. I have been uke for several high ranking Sensei at different times and there is no comparison. There is an instant kuzushi and impenetrability upon first contact. You cannot get "inside" nor feel their center. There is no "Tanking" or "Hypnosis". You move because you have no choice. The is no "leading ki" or cues to fall. There are no tells of physical tension or windup. You are moved and moved hard!

When this caliber of IP is added to waza the results are quite amazing. The other person honestly has no chance.

In researching this IP/IS methodology, I can understand the skepticism and disbelief of the mainstream towards this route. I think Aikido is an amazing martial art and has changed peoples lives around the world. Why change it? Why mess with a martial art that encompasses a high moral foundation and promotes peace and harmony? Why mess the with the "Art of Harmony"? I think the people of the IP movement are honestly not degrading or trying to denigrate Aikido. Through the efforts of people like Chris Li and Dan Harden, the origins and source of O-Sensei's power are coming to light. Instead of the debate and debunk route why not go to the source? If you have an open mind and are willing to find out what the reason why these IP people are so adamant about this "New" trend, you may be surprised at what you find. All of the people involved in the IP movement I have met are all great people and willing to share all of the information they have with others.

On another note, Dan Harden is a really nice guy and a formidable martial artist. I am happy to have met him. My view on the martial arts and the path of budo are diverging due to my exposure to IP/IS.

I thought we had agreed not to promote like this and to share ideas.

Janet Rosen
10-24-2013, 10:15 AM
I thought we had agreed not to promote like this and to share ideas.

Jeez Louise, the man is posting his experience and opinion, not creating a color poster promoting seminars or trying to sign you up for anything.

Mary Eastland
10-24-2013, 11:49 AM
Hi Janet, Are you quoting Lula or Stephanie?

I disagree with you. He is urging me to meet people that I have expressed no interest in meeting. I train in a way where internals are part of my aikido training. I would like to be able to discuss this without repeatedly being told that I don't really understand what is going on.

I understand where I am heading and how I am training. Your input was not helpful nor does it further the discussion.

Bill Danosky
10-24-2013, 12:48 PM
I disagree with you. He is urging me to meet people that I have expressed no interest in meeting. I train in a way where internals are part of my aikido training. I would like to be able to discuss this without repeatedly being told that I don't really understand what is going on.

I understand where I am heading and how I am training. Your input was not helpful nor does it further the discussion.

I don't see how Jaime telling us to go see Dan Harden is any different than the other 57 people saying it. Personally, I am sick of hearing it, too, since it makes for a very circular conversation. But this is an IP thread, so I expect it.

Have I mentioned the theory that there are legions of people out there just waiting to be offended by something? I can't remember now...

jamie yugawa
10-24-2013, 12:57 PM
Hi Janet, Are you quoting Lula or Stephanie?

I disagree with you. He is urging me to meet people that I have expressed no interest in meeting. I train in a way where internals are part of my aikido training. I would like to be able to discuss this without repeatedly being told that I don't really understand what is going on.

I understand where I am heading and how I am training. Your input was not helpful nor does it further the discussion.

That's great that you know where you want to go and how you want to train. This internal thing is not for everyone. There are many paths up the mountain and many different ways to train. I respect you for sticking to your path. I am not saying you are wrong in your training. I have an open view about life and finding your own way.

From my perspective it seems funny that so many people are debating about this IP/IS thing. "Its not "Aiki"!!!" or "O Sensei didn't teach that!" and on the other side people are saying the opposite. In my case I wanted to find out what the big deal was and met Dan and Sam. It changed the way I want to train and view budo.

(Soft and nice tone) Also how can you and others say that you have internals and understand what the "IP" people are doing if there has been no interaction or training with them? (I apologize if it seems brash but the internet does not allow to show your tone of voice or feelings through writing) IMHO people honestly cannot debate something that is one sided without making themselves look bad in the process. You stated you have no interest in training with the IP groups. That's fine but, how can you say they are wrong and you are right without proof or first hand experience? Just by saying "I have done this for X years and trained with x shihan which mean I have and understand IP" or "I understand IP and have been doing it for years" does not equate proof of IP of the caliber of Dan Harden or Sam Chin. The people in the IP groups are not really insular and are open to training with everybody.

I am sure you are a long practicing Aikidoka with a wealth of experience and been able to work with some high ranking shihan and sensei. You have probably have your own dojo ( I am not sure). So I can understand yours and others frustration when someone comes along and tells you that you are missing aspects of the art. For me it was more curiosity than frustration that made me seek the proponents of this "new" movement. And I am happy I did as this training has changed my view about the potential Aikido has.

I would love to meet you sometime and train with you sometime as well as the others who are vocally opposed to the IP thing. Hawaii is a nice place to train all year long!

Erick Mead
10-24-2013, 03:49 PM
For me, technique is a small thing, a building block of interaction. .... You put together an interaction of tactical movements and you get a kata.

Kata is to the art as snapshots are to a hike in the mountains. They cannot show you the way ... for that you need a guide -- or perhaps a map -- if you can read the map. Maps, of course, require no effort to traverse, and in addition provide a perspective that is unnatural and difficult to interpret from the actual level of practice.

But the snapshots are neverthless valuable references, with or without a map. They help you recognize certain key features of the landscape that help orient you -- and that someone unfamiliar and untrained would almost never just come upon or recognize merely by accidental wandering around the terrain.

In class I sometime analogize waza as (not quite) arbitrary cross-sections of a sausage -- the sausage is pretty much the same throughout its length, and the same type of sausage actually varies a lot between individual examples -- but somehow they are all very similar as well., Understanding its internal structure is hard to do without taking one to bits piece by piece. Then you have to learn make your own sausage -- which of course no one like to watch.... :eek: .

More technically speaking, a sausage slice is a 2D representation along only one plane of the 3d object. If you have ever seen the sketch of a hypercube (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Hypercube.svg) -- you have seen a 2D representation of a 4D object.

Waza are 4D representations of a 7D continuum -- not just the continuum of action (5D) that it immediately represents from but one perspective -- but also of a contingent continuum of action (6D) of which its representation is but one branch or element in the whole.

The real thing lies is in finally grasping, intuitively, physically, and to greater or lesser degree, the underlying patterns -- the 7D stuff that creates the forms, and rhythms and dynamics of the resulting contingent continuum of action -- or in other words, the takemusu aiki.

RonRagusa
10-24-2013, 04:59 PM
I would love to meet you sometime and train with you sometime as well as the others who are vocally opposed to the IP thing. Hawaii is a nice place to train all year long!

Jamie -

You are lumping Mary, and me indirectly, into a group to which we do not belong. Please understand, we are not opposed to "the IP thing". Personally I think it's great that folks are finally beginning to see the value of extending their training beyond the waza only model. We have been exposed to internal training as a regular part of our Aikido practice since we began (over 25 years for Mary, ~40 for me).

Our training paradigm is different from the methods currently being espoused on AikiWeb. Different exercises, different goals, many of the same results.

We aren't fliers, so a trip to lovely Hawaii doesn't loom large in our future. If you're ever on the east coast drop us a line you're welcome to come and train with us.

Ron

jamie yugawa
10-24-2013, 05:14 PM
Jamie -

You are lumping Mary, and me indirectly, into a group to which we do not belong. Please understand, we are not opposed to "the IP thing". Personally I think it's great that folks are finally beginning to see the value of extending their training beyond the waza only model. We have been exposed to internal training as a regular part of our Aikido practice since we began (over 25 years for Mary, ~40 for me).

Our training paradigm is different from the methods currently being espoused on AikiWeb. Different exercises, different goals, many of the same results.

We aren't fliers, so a trip to lovely Hawaii doesn't loom large in our future. If you're ever on the east coast drop us a line you're welcome to come and train with us.

Ron

That would be great! I have never been to the East coast and would like to experience what you are training. I have worked with some of the Ki Society people here and find great value in what they train in. I think being open and meeting people training in different methods and organizations can only lead to growth and friendship. I apologize if I misunderstood your intentions Mary.

Chris Li
10-24-2013, 05:16 PM
You are lumping Mary, and me indirectly, into a group to which we do not belong. Please understand, we are not opposed to "the IP thing". Personally I think it's great that folks are finally beginning to see the value of extending their training beyond the waza only model. We have been exposed to internal training as a regular part of our Aikido practice since we began (over 25 years for Mary, ~40 for me).

Our training paradigm is different from the methods currently being espoused on AikiWeb. Different exercises, different goals, many of the same results.

I haven't seen Maruyama for almost thirty years - but what he was doing back then was really not much like what we're doing except for some very basic crossover.

I have no idea what you folks are doing, we've never met.

On the other hand, if you've never met Dan then you really don't know what he's doing either.

This stuff is different enough that most people who think that they're doing the same thing...aren't.

Best,

Chris

jamie yugawa
10-24-2013, 05:25 PM
I haven't seen Maruyama for almost thirty years - but what he was doing back then was really not much like what we're doing except for some very basic crossover.

I have no idea what you folks are doing, we've never met.

On the other hand, if you've never met Dan then you really don't know what he's doing either.

This stuff is different enough that most people who think that they're doing the same thing...aren't.

Best,

Chris

I saw Maruyama Sensei at Nippon kan in Colorado in 2005. He was impressive a lot of up and down movement with little muscle. He was pounding the same uke for about an hour! I unfortunately never got to experience any hands on stuff with him.

Chris makes a good point having the other point of reference in the two different methods. I will be honest in never feeling anything like Dan or Sam ....ever. I know Chris has about three times more experience than me and living in Japan for an extended period of time. I think he a lot of IHTBF in his memory banks.

RonRagusa
10-24-2013, 06:46 PM
I haven't seen Maruyama for almost thirty years - but what he was doing back then was really not much like what we're doing except for some very basic crossover.

I have no idea what you folks are doing, we've never met.

On the other hand, if you've never met Dan then you really don't know what he's doing either.

This stuff is different enough that most people who think that they're doing the same thing...aren't.

Best,

Chris

As I said, different exercises, different goals, many of the same results (if you're counting Ueshiba's push/pull test demonstrations as part of your result set).

Ron

Chris Li
10-24-2013, 06:55 PM
As I said, different exercises, different goals, many of the same results (if you're counting Ueshiba's push/pull test demonstrations as part of your result set).

Ron

My point was - I'm not commenting on what you do, I cannot comment on what you do, because I have never met you.

In the same vein, you have no basis for making a statement as to similarity or differences because you have never met Dan.

Best,

Chris

CorkyQ
10-24-2013, 07:49 PM
The thing with "IP" training is that the real education is not in theory but in how it feels. If a person hasn't felt the difference between relying on technique proficiency and using ki, that person will have little frame of reference.

I start seminars by attacking everyone present. Even beginners usually can demonstrate a technique with reasonable proficiency. After being thrown a few dozen times I then attack each participant with authentic attack energy at a moderate intensity but full intention, rather than my 20-year trained way of "taking ukemi" and suddenly there is no aikido - and this is from people who have been training for decades.

Bear in mind that the attack I am giving each of my partners is fully "aikido-able" (I am not "defending" against their throw) but what usually happens after the initial panic the moment their systems register that this feels nothing like aikido practice ukemi, they usually either try to force me through their chosen technique or give it up altogether.

What anyone cares to get out of their practice is none of my business, but for me, the essence of aikido was not being learned while my techniques did not result in effortless (harmonious) manifestation of aiki when attacked with authentic intention. Once I began training a different way it changed everything - I learned how much I thought about aikido was actually missing the point, and how much of the beneficial aspect of aikido I was not receiving only training in the traditional way.

The hardest part was starting over after twenty years, unlearning old habits and techniques, and approaching aikido with a whole new set of guidelines. For me that meant breaking away from the traditional ways and my semi-traditional dojo and seeking a different path on my own. Luckily for me I made my way to Sunadomari Sensei who affirmed my path as well as saying this in an interview (translated from Japanese to French to English, but I understand this to be accurate based on what I took away from our meeting): You can create your own techniques. If you understand the basics you can create techniques to infinity, we do not need someone to come teach us. We then see the wonderful beauty of Aikido.
If you do not understand even a single technique of Aikido all variations born spontaneously.

Michael Varin
10-24-2013, 10:58 PM
Hey!

Only like one person understood the point of my original post.

My thread got hijacked.

"IP/IT/IS" people are mean. Non-"IP/IT/IS" people are clueless.

Can't wait 'til the next thread. . .

RonRagusa
10-24-2013, 11:13 PM
My point was - I'm not commenting on what you do, I cannot comment on what you do, because I have never met you.

In the same vein, you have no basis for making a statement as to similarity or differences because you have never met Dan.

Best,

Chris

Considering that Dan has pretty much told me that we're not doing what he is teaching, I feel that I'm on solid ground agreeing with him.

Ron

Chris Li
10-24-2013, 11:38 PM
Considering that Dan has pretty much told me that we're not doing what he is teaching, I feel that I'm on solid ground agreeing with him.

Ron

Sure - and yet you're still speaking as if we're talking about the same thing...

Fortunately for Mary and me, Maruyama sensei spent much of his teaching time with us hammering home the idea that Aikido was first and foremost about developing mind/body coordination to realize correct feeling (what, I suppose, you folks refer to as internal power).

I train in a way where internals are part of my aikido training.

I think that the bulk of the folks on this thread are talking about Dan-type internal training - if you agree that you're doing something else then the statements above are just confusing.

If you're using those terms to mean something else, that's fine, but it would be easier if you didn't bring them into this context without making that clear.

FWIW...

Best,

Chris

Carsten Möllering
10-25-2013, 02:22 AM
... We have been exposed to internal training as a regular part of our Aikido practice since we began ...
This exactly was also my convincement when I first read about internal practice on aikiweb.

Having practiced with Endo Seishiro for a couple of years, having practiced with an active member of the Tempukai from the beginning, having practiced with my teacher who, with time, taught me a little bit of the teachings of the koryū he teaches, having practiced with students of Yamaguchi sensei ... .
Alltogether about 18 years of practice then.
This does not touch your expierence of about 40 years or Marie's of 25 of course. But 18 years, including many years with daily practise, made me think to "understand where I was heading and how I was training", as Mary phrased it.

So more than once I myself wrote in discussions here on aikiweb: "I am doing internal training. It is an integral component of what I was taught from the first day on. I know what you are talking about and I'm doing it also."
I was deeply convinced of that.

After about two minutes of practicing what is called "internal training" by people who belong to the so called "IP fraction" on aikiweb, I was disproved.
To be clear: Noone told me being wrong. Noone tried to convince or persuade me. I just experienced a way of inner movement, internal work (this is how I call it in German: "innere Arbeit") that I had never experienced before. Never. With no teacher from what style of aikidō ever. (And also with no teacher of qi gong.) This was completely different.

And that is true also for the results. I grew up with push tests and what is called ki-tests in Ki Aikido. How it is done and what it does is definetly different from the method and results of internal work.
It only looks alike.

I don't want to start an argument.
And I hope to not be disrespectfull.
This is just some part of my story. Nothing more. Nothing less.

RonRagusa
10-25-2013, 08:13 AM
I don't want to start an argument. And I hope to not be disrespectfull. This is just some part of my story. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Always the gentleman Carsten. And we're all just relating our stories and experiences here.

Ron

Mary Eastland
10-25-2013, 10:40 AM
"I think that the bulk of the folks on this thread are talking about Dan-type internal training - if you agree that you're doing something else then the statements above are just confusing.

If you're using those terms to mean something else, that's fine, but it would be easier if you didn't bring them into this context without making that clear.

FWIW...

Best,

Chris"

With open discussion with anyone that wants to participate; ideas are exchanged. Our understanding of Aikido which incorporates internal strength may appeal to some.

My idea of what Dan and others like him practice is separate from Aikido technique. The way we train incorporates internal development with our understanding of the principles of Aikido. It is very interesting to us and maybe to others.

Chris Li
10-25-2013, 11:11 AM
"I think that the bulk of the folks on this thread are talking about Dan-type internal training - if you agree that you're doing something else then the statements above are just confusing.

If you're using those terms to mean something else, that's fine, but it would be easier if you didn't bring them into this context without making that clear.

FWIW...

Best,

Chris"

With open discussion with anyone that wants to participate; ideas are exchanged. Our understanding of Aikido which incorporates internal strength may appeal to some.

My idea of what Dan and others like him practice is separate from Aikido technique. The way we train incorporates internal development with our understanding of the principles of Aikido. It is very interesting to us and maybe to others.

I'm not saying that anybody shouldn't participate. I never said that.

What I'm saying is that just because we both use the word "internal" or "internal strength" doesn't mean that we're talking about the same thing.

Ron stated above that he agreed that we're not talking about the same thing.

Considering that Dan has pretty much told me that we're not doing what he is teaching, I feel that I'm on solid ground agreeing with him.

Ron

If that's the truth, than talking about one thing in a discussion about another is confusing if everybody is using the same terms for different things. Since most of the people on the thread are talking about a Dan-type definition, it would be helpful if you clarify the differences rather than just saying "we do internals too" even though you mean something other than what other folks are talking about when they say "internals".

Best,

Chris

hughrbeyer
10-25-2013, 11:38 AM
My idea of what Dan and others like him practice is separate from Aikido technique. The way we train incorporates internal development with our understanding of the principles of Aikido. It is very interesting to us and maybe to others.

Dan himself doesn't teach Aikido technique becuase he doesn't have, and doesn't pretend to have, the background--though lots of senior Aikido teachers have found his insights into Aikido waza extremely valuable.

My own teacher is one of several who do train the internal skills Dan promotes as part of their Aikido. The fit is very natural. You might almost think Aikido was invented to exploit these skills. :rolleyes:

HL1978
10-25-2013, 12:02 PM
It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.

In my very limited experience, I would have to say I disagree. In my admittedly short exposure to "IP/IT/IS" I found that everything shown was technique based. It may not be what many would call a formal technique, but technique I believe it is. In my opinion, it really comes down to what distinctions the practitioner is able to make.

Any thoughts?

What do you mean by technique? I think that might help frame the discussion.

RonRagusa
10-25-2013, 01:42 PM
It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.

The non-Dan system of internal training that I practice requires techniques in order to foster and strengthen mind/body coordination. Those techniques can be practiced without regard to the Techniques of Aikido or any other style. Also mind/body coordination skills are applicable to a wide range of activities. The Aikido Techniques I practice may be done with or without mind and body coordinated so in that sense, you could say that the Aikido Techniques are unimportant.

In my very limited experience, I would have to say I disagree. In my admittedly short exposure to "IP/IT/IS" I found that everything shown was technique based. It may not be what many would call a formal technique, but technique I believe it is. In my opinion, it really comes down to what distinctions the practitioner is able to make.

Sounds fair enough as long as you are able to distinguish Technique from technique.

Ron

Mary Eastland
10-25-2013, 04:28 PM
:cool: Dan himself doesn't teach Aikido technique becuase he doesn't have, and doesn't pretend to have, the background--though lots of senior Aikido teachers have found his insights into Aikido waza extremely valuable.

My own teacher is one of several who do train the internal skills Dan promotes as part of their Aikido. The fit is very natural. You might almost think Aikido was invented to exploit these skills. :rolleyes:

I agree...however, so as not to confuse anyone...Ron and I will now refer to them as non-Dan skills.:D

Cady Goldfield
10-25-2013, 05:55 PM
Michael Varin wrote:
It is often stated by proponents of "IP/IT/IS" that the techniques of aikido (and presumably other styles) are unimportant; that "IP/IT/IS" operates outside of technique.

No, that's not quite accurate. What is being said is that the training to develop IP and Aiki is separate from technique training. It is a completely separate methodology and set of training exercises specifically designed to develop the internal skillset... which is then applied to technique to empower it.

This is a crappy metaphor, but the closest thing I can think up on the fly -- It's kind of like building a car. The engine is built in a different part of the factory than the chassis is, using different tools wielded by a different set of technicians. Then, the engine and chassis are brought together, and the engine is installed into the chassis to power the vehicle.

The chassis is technique. The engine is IP and Aiki.

phitruong
10-25-2013, 06:26 PM
:cool:

I agree...however, so as not to confuse anyone...Ron and I will now refer to them as non-Dan skills.:D

just want to advertise my own stuffs so you might also want to refer to them as non-Phi skills as well. because Phi's internal skills involved consume large quantity of kimchi (blame Janet again), beans (so many beans so little time), cabbage, chicken feet (for luck during halloween), thousand year old eggs (999 year old is ok too, but won't be as fresh), and southern BBQ pork with the completion of pecan pie. this system of practice has no nevermind none technique. because it's all about IP about....about.....about
:D

Mert Gambito
10-25-2013, 09:51 PM
just want to advertise my own stuffs so you might also want to refer to them as non-Phi skills as well. because Phi's internal skills involved consume large quantity of kimchi (blame Janet again), beans (so many beans so little time), cabbage, chicken feet (for luck during halloween), thousand year old eggs (999 year old is ok too, but won't be as fresh), and southern BBQ pork with the completion of pecan pie. this system of practice has no nevermind none technique. because it's all about IP about....about.....about
:D
I suppose the current IP/IS movement understandably generates debate, given it's still relatively young in the greater scheme of history. But pecan pie -- there is no debating the goodness of that!

http://thesouthernvegan.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/pecan-pie.jpg

Aikibu
10-26-2013, 02:11 AM
Having experienced "Aiki" all I can say is that I was a fool to think any Aikido Waza I had extensive experience in expressed any kind of internal "power" in the 25+ years I have been around. Thank goodness it's something I can learn, and incorporate into Shoji Nishio's Aikido without continuing to argue over the semantics and philosophy of who is "aiki'er than thou".

WAZA yourselves out brothers and sisters...seriously. I'll just be over on the other side of the mat doing my thing. Hopefully someday I'll know enough to share it with you. :)

William Hazen.

Michael Varin
10-26-2013, 02:51 AM
Having experienced "Aiki" all I can say is that I was a fool to think any Aikido Waza I had extensive experience in expressed any kind of internal "power" in the 25+ years I have been around. Thank goodness it's something I can learn, and incorporate into Shoji Nishio's Aikido without continuing to argue over the semantics and philosophy of who is "aiki'er than thou".

WAZA yourselves out brothers and sisters...seriously. I'll just be over on the other side of the mat doing my thing. Hopefully someday I'll know enough to share it with you. :)

William Hazen.

A lot of wasted years there, my friend.

Hope you find what you're looking for... and have the confidence to stand behind it!

Michael Varin
10-26-2013, 02:58 AM
What do you mean by technique? I think that might help frame the discussion.

Uh... Have you read my posts in the thread? I even gave dictionary definitions.

Let me say this, everything I did in Hawaii was a technique. No question about it. I guess these were the body conditioning methods of "IP/IT/IS". Really, this topic isn't that complicated. If you are not prepared to recognize technique, I don't know what to say.

On a side note, if everyone who posted actually read every word of every thread that they post in (like I have always done), I think we'd be making more progress.

HL1978
10-26-2013, 08:30 AM
Uh... Have you read my posts in the thread? I even gave dictionary definitions.

Let me say this, everything I did in Hawaii was a technique. No question about it. I guess these were the body conditioning methods of "IP/IT/IS". Really, this topic isn't that complicated. If you are not prepared to recognize technique, I don't know what to say.

On a side note, if everyone who posted actually read every word of every thread that they post in (like I have always done), I think we'd be making more progress.

Sure you presented definitions of the word technique, but never quite stated how you saw IS training as a technique nor defined how you see techniques in martial arts training. That leaves it open for the reader to interpret the post with whatever bias they have or infer that you may have.

I think its clear that you were not referring to waza, however the meaning of your first post is not as clear as it could be. Were you considering elements one is trying to condition to be techniques which are later applied? Were you considering conditioning exercises to be techniques? Were you considering the role of intent as a technique?

If you want to take a very broad interpretation, then everything in life may be considered a technique or application of a technique (I don't think many people would disagree with that premise at a very high level). I assume however, that you weren't looking for a semantics discussion.

Aikibu
10-26-2013, 01:16 PM
A lot of wasted years there, my friend.

Hope you find what you're looking for... and have the confidence to stand behind it!

LOL. With all due respect...thats your perspective perhaps, but not my experience. My Aikido journey continues to unfold, and as I always say to those like yourself who are searching...Remember what you're looking for...you're looking with. :)

William Hazen

RonRagusa
10-26-2013, 10:30 PM
[B]What is being said is that the training to develop IP and Aiki is separate from technique training. It is a completely separate methodology and set of training exercises specifically designed to develop the internal skillset... which is then applied to technique to empower it.

As one whose Aikido has involved the study both technique (and by technique I mean technique in the specific sense, in this case Aikido technique that involves throwing and immobilization) and Ki development work as distinct subsets of the overall art, I'd say that the above statement dovetails nicely with my experience; ignoring differences in terminology and training methodology.

Ron

Cady Goldfield
10-26-2013, 11:51 PM
As one whose Aikido has involved the study both technique (and by technique I mean technique in the specific sense, in this case Aikido technique that involves throwing and immobilization) and Ki development work as distinct subsets of the overall art, I'd say that the above statement dovetails nicely with my experience; ignoring differences in terminology and training methodology.

Ron

Ron,
I live on the opposite side of Mass. from you, but if I'm ever in your neck of the woods, I'd love to stop by and compare notes with you and Mary.