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jonreading
10-23-2013, 09:42 AM
So we have an emerging concept of aiki, derived from strong internal power. There are a several major models out there and gaining some exposure. There are some differences of opinion about the details, even among the major proponents of the internal power models.

Clearly the aiki models contain elements that create a strong response, such a strong response as to craft perceptions within people who have yet to experience one or more training models. So what are the specific elements that you feel affect the validity of the model(s)? What would change your opinion? Are these measures of validity consistent with your exposure to other training models within Aikido?

For example, a previous comment made about all of the aiki models was, "how does it help me fight bad guys?" You could elaborate on this statement by identifying the specific model of aiki with which your exposure does not satisfactorily give you confidence to apply the model in applied waza.

Or, maybe the Chinese influence in some models is not consistent with your Japanese martial art. What model was too culturally difficult to translate into your training? Or, maybe there is no translation yet and you are not comfortable leaving aikido to get the information.

Or, maybe you believe its BS. What model were you exposed to that felt fake or contrived? Were you constantly being told how to attack or move in a manner not consistent with your fighting experience or training?

Or, maybe you don't yet have exposure to the various aiki models. What is your perception of the training? Why does it interest you enough to participate in discussion about it?

What's your story? I am really looking at discussing the bolded questions, but it is possible your own story is similar to one of the examples.

PaulF
10-23-2013, 01:33 PM
Oh go on then Jon I'll chip in...

Or, maybe you don't yet have exposure to the various aiki models. What is your perception of the training? Why does it interest you enough to participate in discussion about it?

I think I have some exposure to some, but I'm not sure yet. I guess I'm interested in it for the same reasons I'm interested in the other MA I practice, something interesting me and the wife can do together when the kids have left home. ;)

What are the specific elements that you feel affect the validity of the model(s)?

efficacy, what I can see, what I can feel, whether it can be articulated by its chief practitioners in terms that make sense to me (without lots of metaphysical hyperbole) but that aren't exclusive (my way is the only way that works) or proprietorial (my way requires at least minimum attendance at x seminars at y cost)

What would change your opinion?

I don't have strongly formed opinions yet, just a set of criteria by which to form them, keen interest and a sense that there's probably something going on based on what I've seen and read and experienced in my own practice.

Are these measures of validity consistent with your exposure to other training models within Aikido?

Not just consistent with, they are strongly informed by it, our society practices a hybrid Aikido from a diverse lineage (Tohei, Chiba, Tamura), and borrows from others such as Nishio, is interested in what works and is practical, and consistently challenges assumptions then changes things when needed. It is also distinctly not about making money, marketing itself, establishing a brand, etc. I've encountered that approach in CMA and voted with my feet pretty quickly.

We started taiji and qikung practice shortly before starting Aikido, We find points of comparison and relevance to our Aikido every time we practice tj/qk and especially when we come across a new posture or exercise, to me the connections seem abundant and obvious. We practice with a 5th dan who has more than 20 years in both arts and is a great source of insight. We also practice with senior dan grades who as far as I know have never practiced any CMA or anything that would be understood as part of the IP/IS movement who nevertheless display shed loads of something pretty profound. The extent to which these guys manifest aiki or IS/IP would have to be judged by those who have a clearer definition of those concepts than I do at present getting on the mat with them.

CorkyQ
10-24-2013, 10:40 AM
So we have an emerging concept of aiki, derived from strong internal power. There are a several major models out there and gaining some exposure. There are some differences of opinion about the details, even among the major proponents of the internal power models.

Clearly the aiki models contain elements that create a strong response, such a strong response as to craft perceptions within people who have yet to experience one or more training models. So what are the specific elements that you feel affect the validity of the model(s)? What would change your opinion? Are these measures of validity consistent with your exposure to other training models within Aikido?

For example, a previous comment made about all of the aiki models was, "how does it help me fight bad guys?" You could elaborate on this statement by identifying the specific model of aiki with which your exposure does not satisfactorily give you confidence to apply the model in applied waza.

Or, maybe the Chinese influence in some models is not consistent with your Japanese martial art. What model was too culturally difficult to translate into your training? Or, maybe there is no translation yet and you are not comfortable leaving aikido to get the information.

Or, maybe you believe its BS. What model were you exposed to that felt fake or contrived? Were you constantly being told how to attack or move in a manner not consistent with your fighting experience or training?

Or, maybe you don't yet have exposure to the various aiki models. What is your perception of the training? Why does it interest you enough to participate in discussion about it?

What's your story? I am really looking at discussing the bolded questions, but it is possible your own story is similar to one of the examples.

Hello, Mr. Reading

I'd like to take a stab at your question:

The things I look for in the model is whether there is an understanding conveyed of the nature of attack and the center-to-center ki connection transmitted from uke. Also key for me is whether the model takes into consideration the responses uke may have if his defense reflexes are stimulated. With my spin on things, I consider it to be an optimum expression of a feasible model if the intention is that the attacker obtains healing in the process of his attack being fully realized.

One doesn't have to look to Chinese arts as the exclusive arts that call on ki - Aikido has included ki as its central element since its inception. Once Morihei Ueshiba was seen to uproot a tree that numerous farmers working together couldn't pull up. When his then uchideshi, Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei asked Osensei how he was able to single-handedly pull up a rooted pine tree, Osensei demonstrated by picking up a toothpick and said. "Like this."

It's interesting to me because it is the prime ingredient of the system of art I practice. This energetic manifestation that has been noticed since the earliest records of history has always been mystified even though it is fundamental. Because it is not yet objectively measurable, it is often considered imaginary, but then so is love. Is love imaginary or is it a real phenomenon to yet unsatisfactorily defined?

There are many people charting their own courses when it comes to understanding ki and aiki, particularly in the context of martial arts. Kisshomaru Ueshiba described ki no nagare, or stream of spirit, in the book Aikido as one of the fundamental elements of aikido along with spirit power as opposed to "force power." How can a student of ai-KI-do not be interested in ki? It is a constant source of wonder for me that some would practice an art they believe is based on a misconception. When I hear about people dismissing the founder as quaint or uninformed or primitive because spirituality informed his creation, I am incredulous. It's hard for me to imagine thinking I will be successful following the notions of a fool. Go figure

In the navigation of largely uncharted waters, there are many now investigating and examining how ki functions in conflict situation. It is an emerging consciousness. That is one way to explain how two systems, or technologies, of effective non-violent responses were both during the first third of the 20th Century, Gandhi's methods on a massive scale and Ueshiba's on an individual scale. My prediction is that in the near future it will be hard to remember a time when ki was dismissed as a fantasy.

jonreading
10-24-2013, 01:48 PM
Part of my goal is to draw out the why an aiki model is somehow different than a ki model or a kata model, or any number of designed education methodologies. I assume that as practitioners of aikido, we would, on some level, concede aikido has ki. Yet... I guess the devil is in the details.

10 years ago, I would have told you aiki comes from years of training. Then I met aikido people with years of training and many of them were nice, good martial artists, but they did not have aiki. But, 10 years ago kata was what I needed in my training.

I think a real problem for people working in aiki models is developing the right balance of training. Modern aikido has had 40 years to refine the educational curriculum to find that balance, the most recent example of a major shift being the expulsion of weapons from the curriculum. Before then, many people began their aikido training with another art under their belt. This has been one of my more vocal criticisms of aiki training - the curriculum is almost a moving target because the instructors leading the way are in this flurry of renovation to make material palatable.

I think as the aiki pioneers improve their ability to communicate and share what they are doing, the world will get smaller.

Janet Rosen
10-24-2013, 03:02 PM
Part of my goal is to draw out the why an aiki model is somehow different than a ki model or a kata model, or any number of designed education methodologies..

I like that you are saying "different" rather than positing one method as better than another - I am playing with internal stuff myself, but also appreciate that aikido is a "big tent" with room for many forms of pedagogy and see no reason for disrespect of differing goals.

I have been thinking about this a lot based on my relatively limited exposure to what you are calling the "aiki model" (or internal training), working on integrating it into my aikido practice, and also as an instructor for beginners in my Low Impact class.

Personally, I find that "keep one point" (or "mind at one point"), "extend ki" etc are helpful metaphors or reminders, but in and of themselves do not explicitly teach what the body should DO in order to be able to do those things.

What I like with what you call the "aiki model" is that regardless of which particular person I have learned from (and there have been several) I'm given clear, specific instructions on how to organize my body structure and use it, in terms I can understand, based on finding pathways of intent and connection within my body and actually activating specific body parts (this is not a phenomenon specific to martial arts; my former myofascial trigger point therapist, before disappearing into the Yucatan, had me lean into my arms on a wall and touched the lowest point of my scapulae to get me to learn to be aware of and then to activate a specific muscle I'd never had any awareness of; I can now activate it with ease from any posture if I find my posture has gone "off").

I have changed my vocabulary a little to make it easier for newbies to understand - so "intent" or "energy" instead of or alongside "ki." I still make ample use of metaphors or visualizations (like fingers floating up, embracing the large beach ball behind your partner, looking at the four upper corners of the dojo, etc) because for many folks they are a quick way to get at least a temporarily improved structure, connection and movement. I'm finding that beginners who may look baffled to being told to organize their bodies around "principles" respond very well to specific directions about what to do with knees, hips, head, elbows, etc.

In terms of my own training, well, like I first said back in around 1998 or so...."my aikido sucks at a higher level" :)

Bill Danosky
10-24-2013, 04:16 PM
For example, a previous comment made about all of the aiki models was, "how does it help me fight bad guys?" You could elaborate on this statement by identifying the specific model of aiki with which your exposure does not satisfactorily give you confidence to apply the model in applied waza.


Well, I know what I was asking, but let's make sure I know what you're asking. Are you meaning "Aiki model" as it differs from an "IP model"? I have not personally experienced any "alternate" model that I felt impacted the practical application, so my answer to that is "It's all just really good technique."

My belief is that the mental constructs merely inform our physical training. Take Tai Chi as an example, when they envision smoke or fog moving through their body and into the ground. We all know there's really no smoke going from you into the ground, but maybe it makes you harder to move from a spot.

My concern is that one there- Does being rooted into the ground have martial value? It certainly assumes you can take a punch! People have said moving in six directions has to precede some physical movement. That would just have to slow down reaction time.

Or maybe it's like board breaking. Great demo, busting 12 bricks with your bare knuckles. But nobody is going to let you take seven practice swings and focus your Chi before you hit them, right?

When I am executing waza, I know where uke's center is. I can feel it. Ukes don't outrun my ikka jo. They float in Shiho Nage. I'm not bragging- I'm just saying those effects are available through other training methods.

So let's introduce a "Technique model". I am starting with just as much evidence as anybody else, and I can say, "It really works! Go train with Demetrio Cereijo, then get back with me if you still want to argue about it."

Budd
10-24-2013, 04:22 PM
I tend to be a "look to the source" type of person, so when I first started getting exposed to "internal strength", I started looking at it from an aikido perspective, which led to me looking at who was doing it from a Daito ryu perspective, which led to me looking at where those skills may have made their way over from China, which led me to looking at Southern vs. Northern models which ultimately had me land at the six harmonies definition via the neijia as the source of what I was starting to understand as "internal strength".

"Aiki" as it seems to be used here, is more an application of what I would consider "internal strength" principles, so I seem to stand with the folks that say without "internal strength" there isn't really "aikido" as the founder was describing it. I also think the founder was a bit of a nut with a god complex that allowed for a pseudo cult to spring up which his son then marketed the heck out of into a worldwide movement which has since been branded and re-branded to be whatever the heck people wanted it to be. So from the source of "aiki" comes many later versions and interpretations of "Aiki-do".

I don't really think "internal strength" or "aiki" is all that and a bag of chips for most people simply because the law of percentages dictates that the majority of the folks doing it will not 1) Work hard enough to get anywhere (it takes a TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF WORK) 2) Will not think through the logic and ramifications to the degree it takes to train the body to skillfully manifest the core tenets of 6h and then go back to 1 which is more physical training and conditioning.

I think what a lot of people are considering to be "internal strength" begins and ends with what would be normally classified as "stupid jin tricks" that can be applied with an understanding of ground/gravity power, plus cheated or amplified by bracing and solid physical structure (which is somewhat ironic because to really do "stupid jin tricks" well, you shouldn't need much bracing and structure, but that's a different convo). To Demetrio's point, if the extent of your martial arts practice is practicing ritualistic role-playing via dress-up and Asian cultural dancing, then this level of "internal strength" I describe is going to be pretty awesome.

If you look at the 6h definitions, then you'll see there are a bunch of deeper areas of study within the model of "internal strength" beyond ground/gravity (and there's some very specific implications regarding correct application of ground/gravity powers) and where they're bridged by types of long muscle and body connectivity exercises. The latter can be done with varying degrees of complexity and cohesiveness - which then gets into which parts of the body act as the control centers for these unified conditioning and skill building activities - THEN there's how they get applied in the physical sense which is why it's still kinda sorta handy to have a martial arts container that allows you to express them.

I think where it gets more interesting from an "internal strength" perspective is with regard to the type of body connectivity that results from the training, some pretty staggering implications regarding the amount of power you can generate when all the conditioned and connected gears work together and the notion of this type of study being part of what's referenced in the ancient texts regarding "the superior man". Especially as the body ages and certain types of musculature fade, there's some interesting evidence that suggests this type of cohesiveness retains greater potency into a more advanced age than the normal localized muscle development.

Do I think there's advantages to this type of training from a fighting/martial arts application standpoint - absolutely! But for folks in the sport fight game, I think there's better ways to train with faster time-to-market based on what's been developed already within the sporting sphere. Do I think there's opportunities for overlap, yes!! (been playing with that and I do think there are some acceleration potentials, but they hardly replace competency in standup, clinch and ground) Do I think "THIS STUFF" (internal strength and aiki) should belong in any and every martial art?? YES! BUT . . . they DO NOT REPLACE A MARTIAL ART . . . plus for those of you that don't want to work hard, this is definitely not the place for you to latch onto as a silver bullet magic power. It adds a ton more work and if you're stuck at only training it 3 nights a week, then this will at best be another kind of parlor trick.

Budd
10-24-2013, 04:35 PM
Well, I know what I was asking, but let's make sure I know what you're asking. Are you meaning "Aiki model" as it differs from an "IP model"? I have not personally experienced any "alternate" model that I felt impacted the practical application, so my answer to that is "It's all just really good technique."

My belief is that the mental constructs merely inform our physical training. Take Tai Chi as an example, when they envision smoke or fog moving through their body and into the ground. We all know there's really no smoke going from you into the ground, but maybe it makes you harder to move from a spot.

My concern is that one there- Does being rooted into the ground have martial value? It certainly assumes you can take a punch! People have said moving in six directions has to precede some physical movement. That would just have to slow down reaction time.

Or maybe it's like board breaking. Great demo, busting 12 bricks with your bare knuckles. But nobody is going to let you take seven practice swings and focus your Chi before you hit them, right?

When I am executing waza, I know where uke's center is. I can feel it. Ukes don't outrun my ikka jo. They float in Shiho Nage. I'm not bragging- I'm just saying those effects are available through other training methods.

So let's introduce a "Technique model". I am starting with just as much evidence as anybody else, and I can say, "It really works! Go train with Demetrio Cereijo, then get back with me if you still want to argue about it."

Bill, where are you located? I think getting you to have some hands on time with people actually training this stuff would help illuminate the difference between what they are talking about and what you think they are talking about. Coincidentally, Shioda was considered by some of his broader budo peers to be among the closest to attaining the old man's level of skill in internal power (I know I know some say he got it via DR study with Horikawa, yeah yeah, prove it), but his expression of is was much more martial OR WAS IT . . my contention is that he was representative of Ueshiba before he softened a bit and was pursuing aikido as his religious expression.

Anyways, the following video clip is of interest to me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXoMyD50MG0

Aside from some showmanship where Shioda's demo partner is throwing himself around, there's some really good entries by Shioda where he displaces and bounces the other guy's power back into himself to drop him - as well as some of the joint lock extensions where you can see that Shioda isn't applying the lock to the joint necessarily, but has the guy's balance and keeping the guy floated via his connection. Those would be two examples of "aiki" as it's being described here - which unless you have the body skill and conditioning, attempts to replicate will look much more external and Jujutsuey (technical term).

Anyways, my $0.02.

Cady Goldfield
10-24-2013, 04:41 PM
Coincidentally, Shioda was considered by some of his broader budo peers to be among the closest to attaining the old man's level of skill in internal power (I know I know some say he got it via DR study with Horikawa, yeah yeah, prove it),

Well, back long before the Interwebz and YouTube, and even DVDs, I was sent a VHS cassette of Shioda doing an aiki demo that featured Daito-ryu Kodokai techniques. Dunno where else he would have gotten 'em other than from Kodo Horikawa, or maybe one of Horikawa's senior students. More likely the honcho, I'd think.

Rupert Atkinson
10-24-2013, 04:58 PM
Quick thought: My aim is to make aiki work in an Aikido context. For that to happen, I find myself looking at other ideas (Chinese, other, whatever I have found in my search) because Aikido has few ideas that are effective. I aim to find what has been lost - I want my Aikido to work better. I think that is what we all want. I should also say, this is also, slowly, becoming what they want in Japan too. Aikido is not self-defence, it is The Way of Aiki - as I tried to clarify in that other thread - for me, I got all the self defence I need in Judo and Jujutsu etc. If you train for self-defence in your Aikido, you will never get even the slightest inkling of aiki.

Janet Rosen
10-24-2013, 05:35 PM
My belief is that the mental constructs merely inform our physical training. Take Tai Chi as an example, when they envision smoke or fog moving through their body and into the ground.

No different from visualization in aikido and equally useful and yes it DOES "merely" inform our physical training. It also, in any art, has its limits as I've noted in that it is still up to the individual to figure out how to translate the construct into a physical action.


People have said moving in six directions has to precede some physical movement. That would just have to slow down reaction time.

Difference between learning and having it integrated. If I am learning Spanish I have a slowed reaction time when formulating a reply to my patient's question. Once I'm more fluent, my answer just pops out, no delay. Same in martial arts or anything.


When I am executing waza, I know where uke's center is. I can feel it. Ukes don't outrun my ikka jo. They float in Shiho Nage. I'm not bragging- I'm just saying those effects are available through other training methods.

Bill, I wouldn't disbelieve you. I agree there are many paths to the same set of abilities. I have felt what I consider to be my own goal, "devastating softness", from a few different people, in and out of aikido, and within aikido, from different backgrounds/styles.

My own personal take on it is that for some people in aikido, myself included, it seems developing the skill set they/we want, which is not explicitly technique-based, is not being taught consistently in many mainstream dojos and we have found a variety of alternate models that for us work well alongside our aikido. In addition to the folks mentioned in various threads here, I've picked up morsels of specific tips or exercises from brief encounters with folks in koryu arts, Systema and yes some mainstream aikido dojo too :) then again I'm pretty much an aiki-mutt.

Cady Goldfield
10-24-2013, 05:43 PM
Bill Danosky wrote:
People have said moving in six directions has to precede some physical movement. That would just have to slow down reaction time.

Bill,
It's not physically external movement in six directions; it's working and arranging the structure from within so that there are dynamic tensions both pulling and pushing from all directions to create a constant state of stability and potential energy -- via the relaxation of muscles needed to create power. If those muscles were tense, their potential energy would already be used up and the person would be unable to move freely. But relaxed and supported by the skeleton, via aligned joints, they are free to be used and to permit rapid response and movement.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-24-2013, 05:50 PM
So let's introduce a "Technique model". I am starting with just as much evidence as anybody else, and I can say, "It really works! Go train with Demetrio Cereijo, then get back with me if you still want to argue about it."
You'll be sending people to the wrong guy if they are looking for a "technique model".

Gary David
10-24-2013, 05:54 PM
I have changed my vocabulary a little to make it easier for newbies to understand - so "intent" or "energy" instead of or alongside "ki." I still make ample use of metaphors or visualizations (like fingers floating up, embracing the large beach ball behind your partner, looking at the four upper corners of the dojo, etc) because for many folks they are a quick way to get at least a temporarily improved structure, connection and movement. I'm finding that beginners who may look baffled to being told to organize their bodies around "principles" respond very well to specific directions about what to do with knees, hips, head, elbows, etc.



Janet
You get it..........
Gary

Bill Danosky
10-24-2013, 05:58 PM
"devastating softness"

My Grinchy heart just grew three times.

Bill Danosky
10-24-2013, 06:00 PM
You'll be sending people to the wrong guy if they are looking for a "technique model".

Don't sell yourself short, DC- O soto gari is a technique. So is Kimura...

Demetrio Cereijo
10-24-2013, 06:05 PM
Don't sell yourself short, DC- O soto gari is a technique. So is Kimura...
Sure, but they wil be spending lots of time doing this kind of silly thing : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDG8HacqGx4

Janet Rosen
10-24-2013, 06:23 PM
My Grinchy heart just grew three times.

Not sure how to take that :) but to clarify what I mean by devastating softness is the folks who, instead of getting off a throw that makes me say "wow that was powerful", do a throw that makes me say "wow, how did I get on the floor?" because I never felt anything to resist.

Budd
10-24-2013, 07:28 PM
Well, back long before the Interwebz and YouTube, and even DVDs, I was sent a VHS cassette of Shioda doing an aiki demo that featured Daito-ryu Kodokai techniques. Dunno where else he would have gotten 'em other than from Kodo Horikawa, or maybe one of Horikawa's senior students. More likely the honcho, I'd think.

That's a little thin, Cady, if he'd been dropping occasionally by the Kodokan and demo'd some judo throws would you extrapolate then that his power came from Mifune?

Cady Goldfield
10-24-2013, 08:13 PM
That's a little thin, Cady, if he'd been dropping occasionally by the Kodokan and demo'd some judo throws would you extrapolate then that his power came from Mifune?

Well, yeah, that's not much to go on. But then, he was applying those techniques with "textbook" aiki-sage, aiki-age and age-aiki-sage delivered in a manner consistent with that line of Daito-ryu. For someone who stated that he didn't understand what Ueshiba was talking about until late in life, it seems evident to me that Shioda did not get his meat-and-potatoes aiki from Ueshiba, but elsewhere... and then he understood what Ueshiba was talking about.

Budd
10-24-2013, 10:03 PM
Well, yeah, that's not much to go on. But then, he was applying those techniques with "textbook" aiki-sage, aiki-age and age-aiki-sage delivered in a manner consistent with that line of Daito-ryu. For someone who stated that he didn't understand what Ueshiba was talking about until late in life, it seems evident to me that Shioda did not get his meat-and-potatoes aiki from Ueshiba, but elsewhere... and then he understood what Ueshiba was talking about.

Hah, I think some cherry picking may be happening. I suspect more facts may revealed about this in due course :)

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2013, 05:52 AM
That's a little thin, Cady, if he'd been dropping occasionally by the Kodokan and demo'd some judo throws would you extrapolate then that his power came from Mifune?

IIRC, Aiki athorities have stated clearly Mifune had not the goods.

OTOH, around that time there was an old Navy guy at the Kodokan... but that could take us to the fascist bunch of guys doing "psychical research" in pre-war Japan.

Budd
10-25-2013, 06:37 AM
IIRC, Aiki athorities have stated clearly Mifune had not the goods.

OTOH, around that time there was an old Navy guy at the Kodokan... but that could take us to the fascist bunch of guys doing "psychical research" in pre-war Japan.

Links, please - I recall no such authorization under my watch (though, to be fair, I'm fickle about how much I care from day to day)

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2013, 07:03 AM
Of those I have seen and also were shown by old Kodokan guys, they were more indicative of six-direction training, postural alignment, weight transfer, and also of more technical oriented movement, which Mifune shows and not much else. These are very, very basic things (which Keith and Toby allude to).While I am a fan, I think the internal connection is overplayed. There is no indication of deeper or higher level internal work that I have seen, just excellent...oh hell...superior- technical skill.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=292382&postcount=70

Bold mine.

jonreading
10-25-2013, 10:10 AM
Well, I know what I was asking, but let's make sure I know what you're asking. Are you meaning "Aiki model" as it differs from an "IP model"? I have not personally experienced any "alternate" model that I felt impacted the practical application, so my answer to that is "It's all just really good technique."

My belief is that the mental constructs merely inform our physical training. Take Tai Chi as an example, when they envision smoke or fog moving through their body and into the ground. We all know there's really no smoke going from you into the ground, but maybe it makes you harder to move from a spot.

My concern is that one there- Does being rooted into the ground have martial value? It certainly assumes you can take a punch! People have said moving in six directions has to precede some physical movement. That would just have to slow down reaction time.

Or maybe it's like board breaking. Great demo, busting 12 bricks with your bare knuckles. But nobody is going to let you take seven practice swings and focus your Chi before you hit them, right?

When I am executing waza, I know where uke's center is. I can feel it. Ukes don't outrun my ikka jo. They float in Shiho Nage. I'm not bragging- I'm just saying those effects are available through other training methods.

So let's introduce a "Technique model". I am starting with just as much evidence as anybody else, and I can say, "It really works! Go train with Demetrio Cereijo, then get back with me if you still want to argue about it."

I think we have a kata model. I would advocate that, in fact, a kata-based teaching model is the main teaching model in aikido, as evidenced by the testing process. And the conventional argument to kata is exactly your point, if you do it well enough, long enough, you will be good.

I am trying to stay away from getting into internal power. From my experience thus far, there are a number of different methods to develop internal power - even the people teaching internal power are still discussing which ways are better or worse. I am trying to pick up at a point of "aiki is driven by internal power," not taking issue with necessarily how you develop internal power (only that you encompass these exercises).

Specifically addressing your comment about grounding... First, I think "grounding" is great example of an exercise about which internal power proponents debate. Regardless of the debate, I think the idea is not really to be affixed to the ground. Rather, the idea is more similar to the concept of creating a store of potential energy by compressing the lower body. Think karate punch, where you screw your feet into the ground to create a compressed energy that goes into your punch. Messisco sensei uses the imagery of floating in space to create this potential store; in space, you cannot "push" the ground.

I think there is some value in claiming the tangible benefits of a physical kata and clear objective criteria for "correct" movement. Kata is a great map of what to do. But, its a contrived shape upon which we agree to practice. Kata is not randori. In judo, for example, even for many excellent practitioners competitive judo is not kodokan judo. O soto gari as kata rarely looks like O soto in competition. So, is your opinion about brick breaking extended to the role of kata in randori? Is our randori partner going to give us 4 opportunities to throw them? Or, are we taking about an exercise that is intended to produce a result with enough practice. For example, is practicing board breaking in karate really about breaking boards? Or, is it really about focusing your efforts on correctly punching, the feedback of doing so resulting in your bare fist breaking a board. For someone who can do this exercise with regularity and needs no practice swings, what effect would that have in kumite?

Great comments.

Budd
10-25-2013, 04:43 PM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=292382&postcount=70

Bold mine.

Pfft, Mifune is clearly using Jin, whether it's full banana 6h prolly not, but who cares?

Cady Goldfield
10-25-2013, 05:47 PM
Hah, I think some cherry picking may be happening. I suspect more facts may revealed about this in due course :)

Not so much cherry picking, as a hunch, based on wild conjecture, drawn from the precious little publicly available historic info, coupled with firsthand exposure to aiki of that same provenance. :D

Shioda's work looks, to my eyes, like a hybrid of Kodokai aiki and technique and Ueshiba's interpretive ballet. With a healthy injection of Gozo quirkiness and cock-of-the-walk showmanship. ;)

Budd
10-25-2013, 06:46 PM
Not so much cherry picking, as a hunch, based on wild conjecture, drawn from the precious little publicly available historic info, coupled with firsthand exposure to aiki of that same provenance. :D

Shioda's work looks, to my eyes, like a hybrid of Kodokai aiki and technique and Ueshiba's interpretive ballet. With a healthy injection of Gozo quirkiness and cock-of-the-walk showmanship. ;)

*snort* I could just as easily say that Shioda looks like a pre-war mostly Daito-ryu Ueshiba with his own sense of gamesmanship that might have thrown a nod here and there to the style "ancestor/cousins" he let use his dojo :P

Cady Goldfield
10-25-2013, 07:42 PM
*snort* I could just as easily say that Shioda looks like a pre-war mostly Daito-ryu Ueshiba with his own sense of gamesmanship that might have thrown a nod here and there to the style "ancestor/cousins" he let use his dojo :P

I see your *snort* and raise you one *hmph*. Yeah, sure that's possible too. But also conjecture. I could retort that the pre-war guys who left Ueshiba to found their own schools, of whom Shioda was one, reputedly did so because they weren't "getting the goods" to the degree they knew Ueshiba had. I doubt very much that Shioda had the "peng" with which to drive aiki-sage (which he really seemed to like. A lot.) and aiki-age. If he'd had it, so would Tohei and the rest, and it would have informed their styles of aikido when they founded their schools.

Without the aiki, Shioda would not have had the knowledge nor the body wisdom to manipulate his scapulas with his famous "Attack my chest" aiki-sage move. Nor would he have had the sophistication of movement in his meimon and tandan in aiki-age. Those actions are parts of a very specific Daito-ryu-with-aiki training and would not have been gained casually through occasional "exchange" with those "ancestor/cousins" visiting his dojo. He had to have been trained by someone. I doubt very seriously that it was Ueshiba. The circumstantial evidence of Kodokai "trademark" techniques points the finger naturally toward Horikawa or one of his senior students, over a period of time and not casually.

Budd
10-25-2013, 08:00 PM
I see your *snort* and raise you one *hmph*. Yeah, sure that's possible too. But also conjecture. I could retort that the pre-war guys who left Ueshiba to found their own schools, of whom Shioda was one, reputedly did so because they weren't "getting the goods" to the degree they knew Ueshiba had. I doubt very much that Shioda had the "peng" with which to drive aiki-sage (which he really seemed to like. A lot.) and aiki-age. If he'd had it, so would Tohei and the rest, and it would have informed their styles of aikido when they founded their schools.

Without the aiki, Shioda would not have had the knowledge nor the body wisdom to manipulate his scapulas with his famous "Attack my chest" aiki-sage move. Nor would he have had the sophistication of movement in his meimon and tandan in aiki-age. Those actions are parts of a very specific Daito-ryu-with-aiki training and would not have been gained casually through occasional "exchange" with those "ancestor/cousins" visiting his dojo. He had to have been trained by someone. I doubt very seriously that it was Ueshiba. The circumstantial evidence of Kodokai "trademark" techniques points the finger naturally toward Horikawa or one of his senior students, over a period of time and not casually.

Cady, I call your *hmph* with a *bah* - you can't dismiss my counter-conjecture to your conjecture by calling it . .. conjecture. You'd then have to support your statement that pre-war students left Ueshiba to found their own school cuz they weren't getting the goods from Ueshiba . . with more than conjecture. :)

The fact is there are at least three discrete examples of pre-war students that left Ueshiba to found their own schools who were each able to manifest peng jin (and apply it as aiki) within their respective offshoots (Inoue, Tomiki and Shioda). Which sort of runs counter to your doubt that Ueshiba didn't pass along some very specific Daito aiki training. And if your biggest argument was that Shioda had to have the body technology to make the Kodokai "techniques" work, I could see as likely an instance where he watched, thought they moved a bit stiffly and thought "Hey, I know the body secrets here, I can do this better than THOSE guys!". :)

Ain't this speculative stuff fun?!

Cady Goldfield
10-25-2013, 08:25 PM
Cady, I call your *hmph* with a *bah* - you can't dismiss my counter-conjecture to your conjecture by calling it . .. conjecture. You'd then have to support your statement that pre-war students left Ueshiba to found their own school cuz they weren't getting the goods from Ueshiba . . with more than conjecture. :)

The fact is there are at least three discrete examples of pre-war students that left Ueshiba to found their own schools who were each able to manifest peng jin (and apply it as aiki) within their respective offshoots (Inoue, Tomiki and Shioda). Which sort of runs counter to your doubt that Ueshiba didn't pass along some very specific Daito aiki training. And if your biggest argument was that Shioda had to have the body technology to make the Kodokai "techniques" work, I could see as likely an instance where he watched, thought they moved a bit stiffly and thought "Hey, I know the body secrets here, I can do this better than THOSE guys!". :)

Ain't this speculative stuff fun?!

I was going to call your *bah* with a *pfffft,* but you raised an excellent point about Inouye and Tomiki. They did have some stuff. Albeit Inouye, being a nephew, may have gotten more hands-on time with the Old Man and "stolen" a bit more. Shioda's aiki was not top-drawer, but it was a decent workman's aiki. He may have taken it along a bit further with outside tutoring. But your conjecture about him watching Kodokai guys and thinking he could do it better... well, he was pretty stiff himself. The Kodokai guys in Japan are stiff-looking in their highly ritualized approach to DR... so we could just as easily conjecture that (wait for it...) Shioda was imitating their movements because that's how they taught him.

Yeah, conjecture is fun, though ultimately unsatisfying. I'd really love to see the release of some genuine, bona fide historic data that would solidify some of the backgrounds of these disciples of Ueshiba.

Michael Varin
10-26-2013, 01:45 AM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=292382&postcount=70.

Oh, puke :yuck: I forgot how disgusting his posts were. Please, no more.

Michael Varin
10-26-2013, 01:49 AM
The fact is there are at least three discrete examples of pre-war students that left Ueshiba to found their own schools who were each able to manifest peng jin (and apply it as aiki) within their respective offshoots (Inoue, Tomiki and Shioda).

So peng jin is not aiki, but can be applied as aiki? Please explain in detail. And if you can use Japanese terms, because I don't practice taiji.

Cady Goldfield
10-26-2013, 08:37 AM
So peng jin is not aiki, but can be applied as aiki? Please explain in detail. And if you can use Japanese terms, because I don't practice taiji.

Short answer: "Peng jin" or peng energy is the core manifestation of internal power (IP). Aiki is manipulation of peng within the body to produce any number of interesting outward results.

I have never heard the Japanese term for "peng jin" although it is inherent in Daito-ryu aiki. IME, this may be due to the lack of a teaching vocabulary in the internal Japanese martial arts. True to old Asian tradition, aiki has been taught through hands-on transmission with very little verbal description.

Go back to the "6 Directions" thread and read the descriptions of what is being done to the body in that process: the use of intent to work the body in 6 (actual 360-degree) directions by simultaneously pushing and pulling the body outward and inward in all those directions. You are pulling your frame and body tissues upward and downward, forward and backward, left and right, diagonally from right shoulder to left foot, left shoulder to right foot, etc. At the same time, you are drawing in your tandan and the soft areas of your chest, and stretching up-and-down your meimon.

This establishes a powerful structure and creates a "feeling" of being spherical, of being at the center of a sphere of force. That "spherical feel" of force is a manifestation of what the Chinese internal martial arts call "peng."

You can use peng jin to repulse an incoming attack back outward. If you make small adjustments in the amount of drawing in the tandan and stretching of meimon, you can direct that force upward or downward, and to some degree in other directions, as though rolling that sphere. That part is the aiki -- the manipulation within yourself... the harmonizing of In and Yo (opposing/complementary forces) that allows you to play with peng (IP). In Japanese internal martial arts, aiki-age and aiki-sage represent aspects of aiki that utilize, respectively, the upward and downward direction of "peng."

This probably should be in the "6 Directions" thread or elsewhere, so I apologize for the thread hijack.

Budd
10-26-2013, 09:19 AM
Well, I agree with Cady in that jin does not appear to be as universally nor as explicitly labeled in Japanese arts in the same manner. Where I would perhaps quibble with Cady would be in the details in which jin is being expressed (in this sense) as aiki as I think is steps too far into the application, cause and effect without perhaps enough consideration of all the pieces working together to allow for said cause and effect.

I won't speak to Daito-ryu as I agree there's assumptions of jin expression in the techniques (ie that's why they would "work"). In aikido, the same rule applies, but as has been written before, it is somewhat bundled with a number of other expressions of ki into the umbrella of kokyu rokyu - which again presumes jin as the baseline component to make the other things "work". But because it's even less explicitly called out and taught - unless you steal the transmission from someone that has it via feeling, it's a very perishable skill.

An aside as well - though peng jin is the baseline jin that enables the other jins, there is only one jin. In aiki speak, however you classify expressions of ki (in Chinese terms jin is the expression of qi), you can't have aiki, kokyu, etc, without some degree of jin as the base.

Chris Li
10-26-2013, 11:27 AM
I have never heard the Japanese term for "peng jin" although it is inherent in Daito-ryu aiki.

"Houkei" 掤勁

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield
10-26-2013, 11:34 AM
Well, I agree with Cady in that jin does not appear to be as universally nor as explicitly labeled in Japanese arts in the same manner. Where I would perhaps quibble with Cady would be in the details in which jin is being expressed (in this sense) as aiki as I think is steps too far into the application, cause and effect without perhaps enough consideration of all the pieces working together to allow for said cause and effect.


Budd, I see jin more as the raw material to be exploited by aiki. "Peng" is the core, "main" jin. In "making aiki," there are things that you are doing which are separate, or an addition, to the processes being done to make houkei/peng (thanks Chris! :) ). There are myriad variations and manipulations to keep shifting the balance of In and Yo. For example, different degrees of engagement in the meimon and tandan, and the use of the kwas (gotta find the Japanese term for these) to create the power of opposing forces via the ground, for winding force. Aiki itself includes sensitivity toward what your own body is doing, and the ability to feel the opponent's center to control his body in any chosen direction and a variety of chosen effects. It is the exploitation and manipulation of the power you generate.

But starting at Square One, I believe that describing houkei (peng) and aiki-age are the simplest way to define IP and Aiki to someone with no prior physical exposure.

P.S. How about the term for "kwa," Chris...? :)

Chris Li
10-26-2013, 11:41 AM
Oh, puke :yuck: I forgot how disgusting his posts were. Please, no more.

Hmm...I'm pretty sure that this kind of statement is not the best way to go about meeting someone that you've expressed an interest in meeting.

Just sayin...

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
10-26-2013, 11:59 AM
P.S. How about the term for "kwa," Chris...? :)

"Mata" or "Ko" 胯

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield
10-26-2013, 12:11 PM
"Mata" or "Ko" 胯

Best,

Chris

Thank you! I'm assembling a terminology file, so no more fumbling for the right Japanese word. :)

Budd
10-26-2013, 12:40 PM
Budd, I see jin more as the raw material to be exploited by aiki. "Peng" is the core, "main" jin. In "making aiki," there are things that you are doing which are separate, or an addition, to the processes being done to make houkei/peng (thanks Chris! :) ). There are myriad variations and manipulations to keep shifting the balance of In and Yo. For example, different degrees of engagement in the meimon and tandan, and the use of the kwas (gotta find the Japanese term for these) to create the power of opposing forces via the ground, for winding force. Aiki itself includes sensitivity toward what your own body is doing, and the ability to feel the opponent's center to control his body in any chosen direction and a variety of chosen effects. It is the exploitation and manipulation of the power you generate.

But starting at Square One, I believe that describing houkei (peng) and aiki-age are the simplest way to define IP and Aiki to someone with no prior physical exposure.

P.S. How about the term for "kwa," Chris...? :)

Well, Cady, I'd say that what you're again describing are the application and skill methods in how to apply jin to as you say, "make aiki". The skill and conditioning is the work you do to train it and then depending on the types of pressure testing you do will somewhat define what's considered the "correct" method for applying jin as "aiki". The latter part is especially where I think many "takes" on internal strength will diverge.

To take your example of sensitivity or listening, the Chinese term "ting jin" equates to listening to your opponent's energy/power. It's an application of jin and somewhat reinforces that there are many jins but one jin. Without the table stakes of solid peng, I typically rule out anyone's credibility to speak or demonstrate much else.

Cady Goldfield
10-26-2013, 01:47 PM
Budd sez: Without the table stakes of solid peng, I typically rule out anyone's credibility to speak or demonstrate much else.

Cutting through all the descriptive verbiage in our posts above, I think we agree that "Houkei/Peng" is the principle and core power from which other manifestations of force and of aiki are generated.

Budd
10-26-2013, 02:56 PM
I just stick with Jin for the most part, as by itself it implies Peng with the others usually denoting an application or attribute. Chris, since you're being so helpful - is Jin used in Japanese at all to indicate "correct strength" or anything similar?

Chris Li
10-26-2013, 03:36 PM
I just stick with Jin for the most part, as by itself it implies Peng with the others usually denoting an application or attribute. Chris, since you're being so helpful - is Jin used in Japanese at all to indicate "correct strength" or anything similar?

I never really heard it used in Japanese arts (although I know that it is at times) - the most common usage is for Japanese people practicing Chinese arts.

Best,

Chris

Budd
10-26-2013, 03:50 PM
I never really heard it used in Japanese arts (although I know that it is at times) - the most common usage is for Japanese people practicing Chinese arts.

Best,

Chris

Gotcha (and thanks!), I think Ueshiba was probably closest when talking about kokyu rokkyo, but even that has a connotation of "breath" that a I think is a degree or two more advanced than the baseline strength of what Jin is supposed to represent.

Alfonso
10-26-2013, 05:13 PM
not sure which of the six directions will this thread go to but FWIW

I think the Iwama / Saito group should not be ignored if you want to speculate on what Ueshiba was doing with this technology.

I believe Kokyu Rokyu is clearly Ueshibas appropriation of the material, Kokyu Ho being the vehicle to transmit one aspect of the skill ( he could have stuck with aiki age or derivative). If O Sensei was trying to build something different from Daito Ryu, it looks like it was not in the realm of technique; maybe it was in the methods he was adding in.

If you accept that Shioda showed applications based on internal strength, Saito was too, as was Shirata, and now we know there's second generation teachers who are also demonstrating internal strength based I think its pretty clear that O Sensei was developing his ideas and training regime and he was using everything he could learn about, and that his students were for the most left to puzzle it out.

"Go find out yourself" - there. It is very difficult to have a conversation about internal training. Skepticism is warranted. Success is improbable. Beware the rabbit hole.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-27-2013, 07:33 AM
The fact is there are at least three discrete examples of pre-war students that left Ueshiba to found their own schools who were each able to manifest peng jin (and apply it as aiki) within their respective offshoots (Inoue, Tomiki and Shioda).

Wait, what? Tomiki too?

Budd
10-27-2013, 02:28 PM
Demetrio, yep

Demetrio Cereijo
10-27-2013, 03:49 PM
Budd, maybe you'll find this thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22164) interesting.

Budd
10-27-2013, 04:57 PM
Budd, maybe you'll find this thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22164) interesting.

I remember the thread and tend to side with the view that Tomoki understood it was a different kind of body technology and was trying to explain it according to western educational methods. I also think the people trying to denounce IP as a realm of study need to get hands on people with noted skill. The people trying to proclaim IP as the end-all to martial arts need to go to a sports combatives class and try out their stuff.

jonreading
10-28-2013, 09:10 AM
I remember the thread and tend to side with the view that Tomoki understood it was a different kind of body technology and was trying to explain it according to western educational methods. I also think the people trying to denounce IP as a realm of study need to get hands on people with noted skill. The people trying to proclaim IP as the end-all to martial arts need to go to a sports combatives class and try out their stuff.

+1

mathewjgano
10-28-2013, 12:58 PM
...I also think the people trying to denounce IP as a realm of study need to get hands on people with noted skill. The people trying to proclaim IP as the end-all to martial arts need to go to a sports combatives class and try out their stuff.

Exactly my (albeit low educated) thinking, too. If I remember correctly, I was told by someone that there are people who are quite good at internal integration (my words), but cannot apply it well in a combative setting; for them it's a healthful practice...but they can do "it." How can we balance ourselves, our many aspects, to suit the situations that arise, to address the "middle of now?" Application practices.

Budd
10-28-2013, 04:32 PM
Exactly my (albeit low educated) thinking, too. If I remember correctly, I was told by someone that there are people who are quite good at internal integration (my words), but cannot apply it well in a combative setting; for them it's a healthful practice...but they can do "it." How can we balance ourselves, our many aspects, to suit the situations that arise, to address the "middle of now?" Application practices.

Hi Matthew,

At the end of the day, internal strength is an unusual kind of strength that confers certain advantages on the practitioner. Depending on the skill of the practitioner and the specific application (lifting, fighting, gymnastics, calligraphy) - there may be other attributes that more than offset any advantage that internal strength can confer. One reason it's not given as much press in the Japanese arts, I'd wager, is two-fold: 1) It's assumed to be one of the skills already embedded into the practice of a particular system 2) It's not understood well enough on it's own merits to be recognized as to the value it brings when trained appropriately and partnered with other attributes in the context of a martial art.

One reason I'm challenged by (1) is that in an art like aikido - it basically assumes that you have some degree of internal strength at work in order to appropriately train the techniques (classic examples being extending your ki/jin past a person's balance point while controlling the connection points between you and another person as if you were one unit). You don't need such a thing to practice the technique, especially in non-competitive "jujutsu" type circumstances and there's enough other things going on (ukemi, ma-ai, tai sabaki) to coordinate all at once that I'm not surprised that "internal strength" principles don't get much more than lip service, especially in larger groups.

I'm pretty convinced that the "shape" of aikido (and arms-length jujutsu) techniques are a pretty ideal construct in which to practice internal strength from a body-to-body limited connection perspective (focus extending ki/jin through specific points) via your connected body into the other person's body by joining your bodies together with connection and intent-based work. As you get better at manipulating the connection in you and another, then the additional aspects of ukemi, ma-i, tai sabaki, etc. can be welcome enrichments to the container that is your martial art. I do think some degree of sparring (body/body grappling, push-hands based on jin/connection rather than awkward wrestling) would be useful as well as some practice in power releases (can be trained well in suburi if you know what you're training) would be excellent secret sauce to one's atemi in a gokui sense.

In more sports-oriented combatives, it's seemingly less important to have internal strength be a part of the equation to have functional skills because you are already adding pressure and testing them earlier on. If you look at the functional end products of internal strength - increased sensitivity and the ability to be stable and release a lot of power in seemingly unusual ways - it might not be as useful in some sports combatives where there are ways that are 1) much faster time to market in terms of usable skill 2) even mid-level internal strength skills may be worked around by someone more adept within the application rule-set at winning their game (e.g. Shaolin monk gets knocked out by trying to absorb too many punches to the head).

So to my first paragraph, regarding partnering internal strength with other attributes (point 2) into the container of a martial art requires some additional challenges and considerations beyond your internal strength skill and conditioning. What's your delivery system (e.g. aikido wrist grabs and overhead strikes) to apply your abilities? How are you measuring your internal strength and ability to apply it? (resisting a push is useful to measure some baseline accomplishment but not very practical in a fight)

My personal suspicion is that aikido as a delivery system was intended to be one of intercepting an oncoming attack through an internal strength powered entry (which in some cases would end an encounter in the sense of an unskilled attack), then if met by a skilled opponent, yielding appropriately only to re-enter again from an advantage (balance control, optimal targeting, power release opportunity), the "aiki" portion assumes your connected body is also in an advantageous position such that any effort they make to apply power to you is joined to your connected power and reapplied back against them.

So the three component pieces in an aikido sense all need to be trained. Internal strength conditioning (body rewires to move in a different way, more sensitive, more cohesive with unusual power), internal strength skill (ability to leverage internal strength advantages "on demand") and the ability to express internal strength principles via the "shape" of something recognizable as aikido. In my world, you can train all three concurrently (they won't actually come together until some discrete time has been focused on internal strength conditioning and skill) but you have to somewhat realize where one begins and the other ends (I think that's why Tohei had rankings explicitly in "ki" versus "aikido").

Anyways, as always, ymmv.

CorkyQ
10-29-2013, 02:49 PM
Part of my goal is to draw out the why an aiki model is somehow different than a ki model or a kata model, or any number of designed education methodologies. I assume that as practitioners of aikido, we would, on some level, concede aikido has ki. Yet... I guess the devil is in the details.

10 years ago, I would have told you aiki comes from years of training. Then I met aikido people with years of training and many of them were nice, good martial artists, but they did not have aiki. But, 10 years ago kata was what I needed in my training.

I think a real problem for people working in aiki models is developing the right balance of training. Modern aikido has had 40 years to refine the educational curriculum to find that balance, the most recent example of a major shift being the expulsion of weapons from the curriculum. Before then, many people began their aikido training with another art under their belt. This has been one of my more vocal criticisms of aiki training - the curriculum is almost a moving target because the instructors leading the way are in this flurry of renovation to make material palatable.

I think as the aiki pioneers improve their ability to communicate and share what they are doing, the world will get smaller.

I just attended the Aiki Extensions Conference in Palo Alto (and if you have any interest in exploring applications of aikido off the mat as well as how aiki informs our practices I couldn't recommend this organization more highly). There were many long time practitioners of aikido who come from what might be called an "aiki" background who use aiki principles in many ways including martially in aikido.

The host of the event was Sofia University which was founded by Osensei's student, Robert Frager, PhD., Shihan, who I understand holds the highest rank given by Osensei to a non-Japanese student. I can't adequately convey the depth of the inquiry into aiki on every level this weekend offered to attendees. There were presentations on somatics, aikido outreach, aikido in law enforcement, and how weapons can inform aiki practice from aikidoka from around the world. Many lineages were represented, and many participants had upwards of thirty or forty years or more in aikido. I came away with many insights into my own practice and study of aiki.

Coincidentally there was some discussion along the lines of your closing notion in your entry about communication and sharing our work along these lines.

Here's a link to the organization's webpage: http://www.aiki-extensions.org/

jonreading
10-29-2013, 03:48 PM
I just attended the Aiki Extensions Conference in Palo Alto (and if you have any interest in exploring applications of aikido off the mat as well as how aiki informs our practices I couldn't recommend this organization more highly). There were many long time practitioners of aikido who come from what might be called an "aiki" background who use aiki principles in many ways including martially in aikido.

The host of the event was Sofia University which was founded by Osensei's student, Robert Frager, PhD., Shihan, who I understand holds the highest rank given by Osensei to a non-Japanese student. I can't adequately convey the depth of the inquiry into aiki on every level this weekend offered to attendees. There were presentations on somatics, aikido outreach, aikido in law enforcement, and how weapons can inform aiki practice from aikidoka from around the world. Many lineages were represented, and many participants had upwards of thirty or forty years or more in aikido. I came away with many insights into my own practice and study of aiki.

Coincidentally there was some discussion along the lines of your closing notion in your entry about communication and sharing our work along these lines.

Here's a link to the organization's webpage: http://www.aiki-extensions.org/

That's great to hear. I think if we actually sit down in a room and hash this stuff out, we are talking details, not concepts. Part of my frustration here on Aikiweb is the gossip that confuses fact with fiction. I think many of our aiki pioneers know this and are looking to better communicate what is going on and start to separate the BS from the IS. The problem will be whether we make fools of ourselves in the meantime.

The reason I chose to title the thread was in fact to draw attention to the issue of perspective. Eventually, I think we will reach a point where we stop arguing about potato or potatoe and we realize we are talking about the same thing. Or not.

hughrbeyer
10-29-2013, 10:42 PM
... in an art like aikido - it basically assumes that you have some degree of internal strength at work in order to appropriately train the techniques (classic examples being extending your ki/jin past a person's balance point while controlling the connection points between you and another person as if you were one unit). You don't need such a thing to practice the technique, especially in non-competitive "jujutsu" type circumstances and there's enough other things going on (ukemi, ma-ai, tai sabaki) to coordinate all at once that I'm not surprised that "internal strength" principles don't get much more than lip service, especially in larger groups.

Yes. Also, there are multiple levels of internal skill. Extend ki/fire hose is working something real and worthwhile--but it's only a first step. Moving the other person through a connection "as if you were one unit", similarly, is worthwhile--but at best, it's a second step. The challenge for us is to move beyond these lower level concepts--when O-Sensei talked about Izanagi and Izanami, or the Floating Bridge of Heaven, he was pointing to skills far in advance of these. Aikido techniques work best as the manifestation of those skills. It's seductive to reduce them to matters of timing and "getting out of the way"--but that's the challenge.

Cady Goldfield
10-29-2013, 11:05 PM
Yes. Also, there are multiple levels of internal skill. Extend ki/fire hose is working something real and worthwhile--but it's only a first step. Moving the other person through a connection "as if you were one unit", similarly, is worthwhile--but at best, it's a second step. The challenge for us is to move beyond these lower level concepts--when O-Sensei talked about Izanagi and Izanami, or the Floating Bridge of Heaven, he was pointing to skills far in advance of these. Aikido techniques work best as the manifestation of those skills. It's seductive to reduce them to matters of timing and "getting out of the way"--but that's the challenge.

I wouldn't call them lower-level concepts. Rather, I'd say that the "extend ki/fire hose" is a discrete tidbit that is disconnected from the greater and more sophisticated set of body wisdom that produces it. The person who is told how to imagine the fire hose, or picking up the tea tray and setting it down, etc., is only being given a small piece of a larger process, so while they may be able to do something unusual, they don't really understand what they have done. They don't understand what the underlying mechanism is.

It's not so much a first step, as a severed dead-end effect. Same with the "as if you were one unit" concept: it's also just the dog's tail, without the full process laid out. These things can be taught ad nauseum without ever showing the cohesive thread of body training that ties it all together as a method. The deeper explanatory philosophy is, of course, a whole 'nother level of understanding, but really at the outset, what the student really needs is as pragmatic, step-by-step course of training that builds a structured, connected/unified body along with the understanding of what that body is doing and how force and connection are managed.'

Mary Eastland
10-30-2013, 07:44 AM
It really depends what a person is looking for. Just on Aikiweb we see that there are many paths. Some people are happy with their paths and others hop from path to path.

The deeper meaning for some might be connection and and for others being able to defeat everyone. And all shades of tan in-between. I think the quest starts with inner questioning about what you, the individual, is looking to develop.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-30-2013, 08:20 AM
It really depends what a person is looking for. Just on Aikiweb we see that there are many paths. .

Yes but... which one is "The Path"?

RonRagusa
10-30-2013, 08:41 AM
Yes but... which one is "The Path"?

There is no "The Path".

Ron

Demetrio Cereijo
10-30-2013, 09:37 AM
There is no "The Path".

Ron

You sure?

RonRagusa
10-30-2013, 10:27 AM
You sure?

Quite.

Ron

Cady Goldfield
10-30-2013, 10:33 AM
This thread is turning into a Zen koan. ;)

phitruong
10-30-2013, 10:36 AM
This thread is turning into a Zen koan. ;)

wouldn't that involve somebody doing one-hand slapping somebody else and see if that someone else makes sound?

Budd
10-30-2013, 10:38 AM
Where the conceptual discussion tends to go astray is with regard to outcome, rather than topic. Some people talk about topics like internal strength skills as if they were a discrete set of physical skills that are meant to enable the physical manifestation of a martial art like aikido. Others talk about the philosophy of aikido and assume the physical practice already includes everything needed to get discrete body skills.

Even within the topic of internal strength, I'd agree a lot of the discussion is around the very baseline table stakes required to have a credible conversation around how internal strength works in aikido. I've yet to see any advanced level topics - partially because no one wants to tip their hand regarding all they know and partially because there's folks out there still furiously trying to gather information regarding the "how's it work".

I still stand by my thought that the aikido techniques, for the most part, are meant to work ki/jin extensions. The spirals and windings that are mentioned tend to run along the inside paths of how the body's knit together and leveraging the strength of the legs, hips and spine moving together to transmit power out the frame via the connective tissues and muscles being conditioned to work together appropriately. There's probably already some divergence in approaches being discussed here regarding how people train to do even that much.

When you look at internal strength in martial arts contexts, it's ultimately about how much power you can generate and release (in a particular kind of way). Not to be too much of a proclaimer (well I would walk 500 miles, and IIII . . no? Fine) but I tend to view these things pretty narrowly through how they're defined well outside of aikido. Since aikido is a fairly modern creation, it's still bound by the well established "rules" of internal strength as it's already understood in the bigger, wider world.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-30-2013, 10:42 AM
wouldn't that involve somebody doing one-hand slapping somebody else and see if that someone else makes sound?

Palm or backhand?

phitruong
10-30-2013, 10:48 AM
Palm or backhand?

i believed there is a forest involved, so i would say palm.

jonreading
10-30-2013, 12:38 PM
Even within the topic of internal strength, I'd agree a lot of the discussion is around the very baseline table stakes required to have a credible conversation around how internal strength works in aikido. I've yet to see any advanced level topics - partially because no one wants to tip their hand regarding all they know and partially because there's folks out there still furiously trying to gather information regarding the "how's it work".

Homerun. I think forums such as this are some percent WhatIf. This gives us some fantasy to conduct dialogue outside of our normal realm of knowledge. I think some fair push back is to call out when that fantasy bends the dialogue too much.

Starting from a "path" dialogue, I think it is fair to declare the destination before critiquing the path. I think it is fair to criticize the practitioner traveling a path with no destination. I think it is fair to criticize the path if it will not lead to the declared destination.

I think internal strength dialogue cause some issues because:
1. The stated destination for aiki is not the same destination as modern aikido. I think there is a contention from modern aikido that it contains aiki and therefore the path to modern aikido is inclusive of the path to aiki.
2. The path to the destination is not yet fully determined. The path for modern aikido has been around for many years with a clear record of success (or failure) for that model. The path for aiki development is not yet concrete.
3. The path for aiki training is currently using a non-standard lexicon and exercises not well understood by many practitioners. We are pontificating upon a subject about which we know little, taking offense to the observation that we know little about which we are talking... In a forum in which are granted some level of fantastical discussion.

From my perspective, modern aikido is not inclusive of aiki. I think there are individuals within organizations who may express, for better or worse, their personal aiki. I do not think an organization exists for which one may convincingly argue the majority of practitioners are expressing aiki to a level of proficiency. Even under the tutelage of an individual who expresses aiki to a level of proficiency, it is difficult to argue the majority of practitioners express aiki to a level of proficiency. For me, it is difficult to concede these two observations while continuing to argue the presence of aiki in modern aikido. So, I began looking first for individuals who could do the stuff. Then they recommended things that helped their learning process and now I am pursuing that path.

Aikido has many peaks to which we can set our gaze and strive to reach. They are not necessarily better or worse. Some require more proficiency, some less. Some are more difficult to reach, some less. But we need to set our gaze somewhere. Otherwise, we just end of squinting into the sun while one of the foursome points vaguely to a collection of trees and says, "See that tree? Your ball is just under the 2nd large branch on the right." Sure it is.