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Bill Danosky
10-26-2013, 09:49 AM
I have occasionally advocated the "Bagger Vance" (derived from the Bhagavad Gita) form of development, and noted how Yoshinkan Aikido follows it's path. As I'm being exposed to other points of view, I'm now considering that it makes room for both opinions to be right.

Briefly, for the un-indoctrinated, it's given within a golf simile where players struggling with moving forward are encouraged to break it into stages and not try to skip straight to mastery. In the first, they practice the strokes. The physical part. Then they study the rules of the game and how they affect play. The intellectual aspect. In the third, they study the wisdom- the philosophical how and why. In the 4th stage, you surrender to the love and transcend the game.

In Yoshinkan Aikido, we spend virtually the entire kyu rank development on the physical techniques and drill the kihon until we only function one way- the "correct" way. This would be akin to the driving, putting, chipping, in golf. Then, we get into the application, how those movements fit into jiyu waza, henka waza, etc. as we are interacting with uke at a higher level.

Then, probably somewhere around Ni or San Dan it seems to start looking more like the IP/IT training as you get into the wisdom stage. By the time you become a Shihan, it's pretty easy to see how you become more like O Sensei. Love is easier to find when you know you can hand out death and destruction. Someone was saying one can only truly be a pascifist when they have the ability to destroy their opponent, but can choose not to. O Sensei? Also like when Musashi Miyamoto started using a bokken instead of a katana.

So maybe there's room for Aiki magic later on. The troubling assertion I'm going to make, is that you can't get to step two without really mastering step one. But it wouldn't be a very good thread without something to disagree with. So don't disappoint me...

Cady Goldfield
10-26-2013, 11:04 AM
Bill,
By "physical techniques," do you mean martial techniques and applications? When you reach nidan or sandan, are any new kinds of training introduced to you that are something new -- not variations on those physical techniques?

Mert Gambito
10-26-2013, 12:06 PM
Bill,

If the assumption is that, in general, learning externally driven kata is mandatory for properly preparing a student to be able to undertake internal training, then that's not true. Exhibit 1: there are several proven IT methodologies / martial arts that expressly eschew use of forms and start off with solo training and static paired testing of internal skills.

If you're specifically asking whether external first, internal later is the best way to go for aikido, then I don't know if there's a universal right answer. A handful of aikido dojo have largely or completely switched to an IP-centric training model within the past few years or months, and so time will tell how the students introduced to and coming up in aikido via such models turn out (maybe some others will chime in on that). Something as foundational to aikido as Shomen-uchi Ikkyo/Ikkajo is relatively complex for a beginner from a conventional or IT perspective.

Also, don't Ki Aikido folks start internal training from the get-go?

Bill Danosky
10-26-2013, 01:50 PM
The essence of what I'm saying is that you can't successfully mature if you were never a baby, child, adolescent, etc. I think Aiki- at least as it comes to me in my path- arrives with experience. Let's stick with this golf metaphor because most people are familiar with the factors. (I don't golf, so forgive me the technical errors.)

I'm not going to use IP/IT here because it seems to mean different things to different people. But Ai Ki is probably involved with the intelligence and wisdom of playing the game. How Uke and Shite/Nage inter-relate. What we are studying in Yoshinkan dojos is what golfers would call "mastering the strokes". Head down, arm straight, pause on the backswing types in nuance.

Neither by itself is going to get you on the Pro Tour. You can get pretty far with sloppy technique if you have good tactics. If your waza is precise and powerful you can also do fairly well, but it's still not mastery without proper application.

Bill Danosky
10-26-2013, 02:05 PM
Bill,
By "physical techniques," do you mean martial techniques and applications? When you reach nidan or sandan, are any new kinds of training introduced to you that are something new -- not variations on those physical techniques?

Yes. I mean specific waza, ie: "Shomenuchi Ikka jo Osae Ichi", and the like.

And also yes, in Yoshinkan the saying goes that all your kyu practice is preparation for the real training that starts at Shodan.

there are several proven IT methodologies Proven IT methodologies? Proven how?

Something as foundational to aikido as Shomen-uchi Ikkyo/Ikkajo is relatively complex for a beginner from a conventional or IT perspective.

This (Ichi/linear version) is the first lesson we teach, because it's important for a prospective student to get a "takeaway" immediately. I often say anybody can learn it the first night and use it if they got mugged on their way to their car. There's enough nuance to polish it for the rest of your life, but it's not hard to "get": Get a good lock; don't slack on it. Cut deep. They can work on the rest for the following 30 years.

jonreading
10-28-2013, 11:05 AM
In general, I believe our early foundation instruction should be simple, clear and generalized to meet the basic functions of training. This curriculum should include body awareness, defense, offense and kata. I think there is some variance in the specific curriculum from dojo to dojo here as the curriculum may be tailored to cover the spectrum of education not present in the dojo. I think once a student shows competence in these basic concepts, you can get fancy.

I have no opinion yet whether internal focus or external focus carries an advantage in training. I think that is largely dependent on the makeup of the dojo members. I know a couple of dojos moving more aiki and less kata. I'll be happy to share anything that I learn from those dojos.

I think a good curriculum should cover a spectrum of topics relevant to overall competency. When I was in college, we called these core curriculum and regardless of your eventual choice of major, you were required to demonstrate competency in a basic core of educational topics. I also definitely believe there is an order of things - that is, a time in our training when we are most receptive to comprehending certain subject material. I think often aikido programs screw this up and put a run before walking aspect to training.

Janet Rosen
10-28-2013, 01:33 PM
If you're specifically asking whether external first, internal later is the best way to go for aikido, then I don't know if there's a universal right answer. A handful of aikido dojo have largely or completely switched to an IP-centric training model within the past few years or months, and so time will tell how the students introduced to and coming up in aikido via such models turn out (maybe some others will chime in on that). Something as foundational to aikido as Shomen-uchi Ikkyo/Ikkajo is relatively complex for a beginner from a conventional or IT perspective.

Also, don't Ki Aikido folks start internal training from the get-go?

Yep and I've long been in favor of an integrated approach. To use pedagogical models from outside martial arts....best foreign language learning I've experienced integrates getting you listening/talking immediately PLUS learning alphabet, sentence structure, etc immediately...when I've taught beginning sewing and beginning painting, I have people immediately work on basic hands-on projects AND do exercises that build on principles, like examining the phenomenon of color in the natural world or experiencing different fiber and fabric types.

Rupert Atkinson
10-28-2013, 01:51 PM
The problem is, there are few theories to unify in Aikido. Generally, people go to the dojo, warm up, do a few waza, then go home. Then repeat for ever, hoping that one day, "It'll just happen." All the while, they have no idea what that 'it' actually is.

Cliff Judge
10-28-2013, 02:07 PM
The problem is, there are few theories to unify in Aikido. Generally, people go to the dojo, warm up, do a few waza, then go home. Then repeat for ever, hoping that one day, "It'll just happen." All the while, they have no idea what that 'it' actually is.

They don't get better at anything each time they practice? The picture you paint sounds like how all the koryu systems work.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-28-2013, 02:13 PM
They don't get better at anything each time they practice? .
Better at what?

Cliff Judge
10-28-2013, 02:33 PM
Better at what?

:confused:

Cady Goldfield
10-28-2013, 04:46 PM
In the "traditional" Daito-ryu approach, students start with jujutsu - just the regular ol' Ikkajo-Nikkajo-Sankajo-etc. curriculum. Next, they learn very specific, narrow aspects of IP and aiki, to apply to those jujutsu waza... Aikijujutsu. The "pure" internal training, Aiki-no-Jutsu is introduced last. The environment where I came up was more of a mixed approach, however, with an informal rotation of jujutsu, aikijujutsu and aiki-no-jutsu practice over the course of a season.

I like I Liq Chuan's approach of focusing on first unifying the mental and the physical (developing awareness, learning how to use intent to operate the body; learning the principles and qualities of movement, and unifying the body through them (aiki within oneself). Next, students learn to "unify" with a partner, through a series of hands-on practices that develop connection, sensitivity toward what the other person's body and intent are doing, and the first stages of martial interaction (application of aiki on another body). The jujutsu (qin-na) and freestyle martial engagement come later.

Personally, I find working on the internal development - awareness, intent, unifying within the body - first, is pragmatic, mainly because I have been exploring martial arts for 40 years now, and already have plenty of martial tools. For someone who is entering martial arts for the first time, if he/she is anxious to acquire fighting skills quickly, an internal art with a "unify your body first" approach will not provide what they want. However, someone who wants to build a really solid foundation and is willing to invest the time -- a couple of years, on average -- to lay the basic bricks and mortar, this approach will pay off greatly down the road, IMO.

Rupert Atkinson
10-28-2013, 05:14 PM
They don't get better at anything each time they practice? The picture you paint sounds like how all the koryu systems work.

Actually, beyond a certain level, you are dead right. They/we just plateau at showing off good kata with mostly compliant ukes.

Rupert Atkinson
10-28-2013, 05:16 PM
Better at what?

Spot on. Better at what!

Bill Danosky
10-28-2013, 05:59 PM
They don't get better at anything each time they practice? The picture you paint sounds like how all the koryu systems work.

We actually get worse at the things we practice the wrong way.

Rupert Atkinson
10-28-2013, 06:39 PM
We actually get worse at the things we practice the wrong way.

That is so true it's scary. I don't pretend to know what is right, but having studied, worked, lived and trained in Asia for 16 years I sometimes cannot believe what I see.

Mario Tobias
10-28-2013, 09:28 PM
In my experience, there are 2 routes to mastery. There is the long way and the short way.

Specific to aikido:

1. Typically we do endless repetitions until we "get it". The human body is an amazing machine. With countless repetitions, mastery of an art/competency is not a steady incline leading to higher competency but a series of steps and bursts similar to stairs where one plateaus a long time and competency suddenly bursts at the end of the plateau. (IMHO this is the reason why you should not quit when you are plateauing, you don't know that you will suddenly have a step up). The amazing thing is that you do not know how you suddenly got more competent, you just know you had a step up but you don't understand how you got there. You then move on to the next plateau and step up until you get it completely. I think 99% of practitioners take this approach (just guessing of course).

2. The intellectual approach. I believe every art (no matter what it is) has it's own unique set of theories and these are seen in what we call principles. In dance for example, you know tango when you see one and you know the difference between ballet and tango. Understand the principles behind the art and it'll be a shorter (but not necessarily easier) path to mastery. For me, I formulate these theories and validate them in practice. I no longer need to do blind repetitions or do lesser of them before I get it since doing repetitions without thinking mean you are hoping that "something" will give you a hint about what you are looking for. It's mostly a hit and miss approach. The perfect example of these are techniques. Techniques are there only to offer the practitioner a glimpse of aikido principles but in itself is not aikido. IMHO 1% go through this path.

Actually there is the 3rd path which is first go through the long route and realize that there is a shorter route.

Cliff Judge
10-28-2013, 10:08 PM
In the "traditional" Daito-ryu approach, students start with jujutsu - just the regular ol' Ikkajo-Nikkajo-Sankajo-etc. curriculum. Next, they learn very specific, narrow aspects of IP and aiki, to apply to those jujutsu waza... Aikijujutsu. The "pure" internal training, Aiki-no-Jutsu is introduced last.

Are you talking about Kodokai, here?

Cliff Judge
10-28-2013, 10:12 PM
Spot on. Better at what!

Anything. They don't get better at anything? I don't understand why this is a confusing question.

RonRagusa
10-28-2013, 10:19 PM
I prefer a holistic approach to learning Aikido. Tie the internal and external together early and often.

We actually get worse at the things we practice the wrong way.

Only if you are incapable of adapting as you gather experience of what works and what doesn't.

I love the game of chess. I have two friends who I've been playing against for decades. We became enamored of Bobby Fischer in the seventies and decided that the Najdorf Sicilian was the be all and end all of chess openings. I so wanted to master its intricacies, but the opening leads to a type of game that I'm just not comfortable with. The result was that I piled up a mountain of losses with both the white and black pieces. I continued to beat my head against the wall for a long time and my game continued to deteriorate.

When I finally had the realization that this particular opening just wasn't for me I adapted. I began playing the Nimzo-Larsen attack with the white pieces and the Caro-Kann defense with the black pieces. Both of these openings lead to games which I am more comfortable with and as a result my play steadily improved.

Due to the nature of the game, feedback from chess takes a long while to make a sufficient enough imprint for me to realize that some serious adaptation is required if my game is to improve. With Aikido, OTOH, feedback regarding what works and what doesn't comes often, with jarring clarity. I'm is able to gather lots of experience in a relatively short time and use that experience to alter my interaction with uke in ways that will improve my Aikido. Practiced with lots of self awareness, Aikido is marvelously self correcting.

Ron

Rupert Atkinson
10-29-2013, 02:05 AM
Anything. They don't get better at anything? I don't understand why this is a confusing question.

From what I have seen over 30 years of training, many people reach a certain level - doing the techniques pretty well - and then they just stay there. And many slowly get worse over time due to not training hard or often enough. They teach but rarely train. It is very common. If they do well, they maintain what they have, though they may improve in other directions - like being a good teacher, or stretching, or whatever. If they didn't have high dan grade status (being in with the in crowd) to keep them up there they would have likely been ignored long ago. Students often can't spot this until they have been around awhile.

It is very hard to spot or admit in the self. Heck, might even be me!

Cady Goldfield
10-29-2013, 06:10 AM
There are those who think that there's only a finite and concrete curriculum to be learned, and once done, you can only "coast" and teach that curriculum. There are others who are students their entire lives, always trying to learn more, discover the nuances of their art, and refine and increase their skills.

When one is a perpetual questing student, the day may arrive when others call that person a master, though the individual thinks him/herself a student.

Walter Martindale
10-29-2013, 06:37 AM
We actually get worse at the things we practice the wrong way.

Another way of expressing that would be that we get better at doing what we practice. If our practice is of "wrong" things, we get really good at doing the "wrong" things, and it is very difficult to unlearn these.
Walter

Bill Danosky
10-29-2013, 08:45 AM
From what I have seen over 30 years of training, many people reach a certain level - doing the techniques pretty well - and then they just stay there. And many slowly get worse over time due to not training hard or often enough..

Yes, that is the issue behind The Legend of Bagger Vance. Ranulph Junuh is a great golfer who has lost his swing and Bagger Vance is a mysterious caddy, who appears and helps him find it. What you're describing is really the fate of many Aikidoka, who master aspects of the game (particularly the later aspects), but never reach a level of complete mastery.

That is probably also why teaching offers a burst of growth in the beginning, because you have gone back and worked on your basics, which you missed as you rushed impatiently toward Black Belt. So all that kata training is like spending time on the driving range, putting, chipping, etc. There is not a second way to drive a ball off the tee. And you can't be a truly great golfer unless you have perfected your swing, your putt, your chip, etc. no matter how good your grasp of the game is.

Wringing out that golf simile, if you first "master the strokes", then the knowledge of the rules and tactics, then the wisdom of play, THEN you will avoid the inevitable plateau and staleness, because you can proceed to the 4th level of true mastery (transcendent love) instead of going back to correct the elements you missed on the way up.

I'm not sure if it was by design or accident, but this seems to be the path O Sensei took. Banging out Daito Ryu and all those other martial arts for the first 40 years, then spending the next 20 years working out the intelligence and wisdom of it's application, he did finally transcend it and arrived at a place of peace and love. But you can't just pick up where he left off. You have to get there first.

Rupert Atkinson
10-29-2013, 12:04 PM
There are those who think that there's only a finite and concrete curriculum to be learned, and once done, you can only "coast" and teach that curriculum. There are others who are students their entire lives, always trying to learn more, discover the nuances of their art, and refine and increase their skills.

When one is a perpetual questing student, the day may arrive when others call that person a master, though the individual thinks him/herself a student.

Spot on.

Erick Mead
01-15-2014, 12:20 PM
Better at what? That's the rub, isn't it. Outside of "do this-feel that" school of training (which I do not in any way criticize) there is almost no objective set of criteria to tell students what they are training for in their Aiki-taiso (they work to train this --done right); aikido waza (they work to train this- done right); weapons work ( they work to train this -- done right). To a practitioner who has "gotten it" in any degree at all, the "right" and "wrong" ways become progressively clearer to judge. But with little in the way of coherent objective explanation to aid the student in self-recognition of right or wrong manners of action, they are at sea, with no chart.

I do not think we are doomed to this though. My efforts at understanding aiki from a bio-mechanical perspective, have been fruitful, for me at least and for many of my students. I have made reference here to key aspects of angular momentum and the behaviors of chains (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/whips-and-chains-2960/)-- particularly the bones considered as a chain of linked rods:

In a serendipitous discovery I recently saw a popular physics trick made the subject of a recent viral video, and which in the terms I now grasp -- seems to illustrate how this principle is directly shown in the behavior of a beaded chain falling out of an elevated bucket (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dQJBBklpQQ).

While a popular and instructive video, the author's conservation of momentum theory proposed as an explanation is wrong. The correct explanation (http://www.nature.com/news/physicists-explain-gravity-defying-chain-trick-1.14523) is an understanding of the effect of DYNAMIC rigidity that occurs when a chain of rods is lifted by a continuous rotation:

[T]he chain is more like a series of short, rigid 'rods', say the authors, who publish their results today in Proceedings of the Royal Society A1. In their model, each rod is made up of three beads and two connectors. The size of a rod corresponds to the number of beads it takes to turn a section of chain back on itself by 180 degrees (it takes six).

Picking up a portion of rod from the pot with an upward force on one of its ends causes two things to happen, says Biggins. It makes the rod lift, but it also causes it to rotate. The end that is not picked up pushes downwards, and the pot provides a reaction force, he says. "The far end of the rod under those two motions actually goes down, and therefore pushes down. And that gives rise to this extra kick from the pot which drives the fountain.

In other words, once one end of a chain of rods begins a cascade dynamically, the chain of rods as a whole begins to lift and rotate at the other end in a complementary manner. Under gravity, the induced drop over the lip of the cup on one end, is compensated by the lift on the other end, and because the chain under tension is dynamically rigid, a rotation is caused by the immediately lifting segment PUSHING down on the vessel -- which reacts with an equal push UPWARD -- not only adding momentum but because of the rotation of the lifting portion of the segment -- the reaction is a counter-rotation on the resting end of the segment up and outward.

This is a coincidence of contradictory forces in a spiral dynamic (aiki) - the pull on the chain coming out of the bucket (tension), resulting rigidity and reaction forces giving added push (compression) on the chain out of the bucket, and giving it rotation in addition to the added momentum.

In the chain shown in the video demonstration we see the operations of aiki age in the chain rising from the cup, and the action of aiki sage in the descending elements of the chain. In free action these same principles may be deployed laterally and spirally using one's center of mass (dantien/hara ) to the same effect as the more simplistic up-down dynamic of the chain trick under gravity. These dynamics are, by turn, the stiffer, whole body dynamics dominated by torsional stresses, or respectively by the looser, pendulum action (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/aiki-physical-model-structure-dynamic-3259/) as with free chains -- and freely shifting between the two modes -- which are, mathematically speaking, directly related (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/aiki-physical-model-structure-dynamic-3259/).

Speaking from personal experience I find the the former is favored at early stages of introduction by Yoskinkan, for example, later moving to combination with looser action. Iwama follows a similar way of progression, though in Saito's more programmatic and methodologically different way. ASU is a more eclectic bag with a eye for the expression of "principles" expressed in Saotome's views, in both tighter and more loose configuration of actions, in Aiki taiso, tai-jutsu and weapons work; Tohei's approach was fundamentally focused on the Aiki taiso, sometimes (it seems to me at least) to the near exclusion of studying application (at least in some quarters).

Aiki is the development of the body's ability to naturally -- and ultimately reflexively -- modulate its own rigidities and flexibilities of structure under dynamic conditions to form -- or to defeat the formation of -- these kinds of dynamics in connected structures (another person's body/weapon).

What was near to being lost was the "feel" of the Aiki in the body communicated in the inimitably intuitive Japanese mode of transmission. Some are finding western ways to emulate that -- and to good effect it seems. What we stand to gain in addition is a more Western and better developed objective understanding of the art, to make its transmission less dependent on correct enabling of physical intuitions across culturally-bound modes of transmission which tend -- at least IMO -- to work less well in our culture.

Rupert Atkinson
01-15-2014, 09:33 PM
In my experience, ....

Actually there is the 3rd path which is first go through the long route and realize that there is a shorter route.

Yes, true, but if that was your experience, you are probably not qualified to teach the shorter route - and therein lies the problem as it is what we may prefer to teach. Bruce Lee tried to teach the essence of Wing Chun, but, my criticism is, Bruce Lee learned more than just the essence.

Rupert Atkinson
01-15-2014, 09:47 PM
Better at what indeed. I have been developing things in several directions for awhile now: Developing power, maintaining power through movement, matching it with speed, developing/maintaining a strong base (structure) while standing or moving, developing sensitivity and softness, and developing the ability to mess with uke's energy. Sometimes I wonder if it is even Aikido but I think it is because I can make it work to effect techniques. To do this you have to completely abandon the notion of kata, of course (but you first have to know the waza before you start to ignore them). Most of what I am trying is written somewhere or other on my website anyway, but few seem interested. I have determined my own circle - Aiki-no-Kenkyuukai - and I have just one member = Me. Ha ha.

Cliff Judge
01-16-2014, 10:18 AM
That's the rub, isn't it. Outside of "do this-feel that" school of training (which I do not in any way criticize) there is almost no objective set of criteria to tell students what they are training for in their Aiki-taiso (they work to train this --done right); aikido waza (they work to train this- done right); weapons work ( they work to train this -- done right). To a practitioner who has "gotten it" in any degree at all, the "right" and "wrong" ways become progressively clearer to judge. But with little in the way of coherent objective explanation to aid the student in self-recognition of right or wrong manners of action, they are at sea, with no chart.

I do not think we are doomed to this though. My efforts at understanding aiki from a bio-mechanical perspective, have been fruitful, for me at least and for many of my students.

Erick, fruitful in what way? Do you mean you have been able to understand aiki from a biomechanics perspective?

What does that get you?


Speaking from personal experience I find the the former is favored at early stages of introduction by Yoskinkan, for example, later moving to combination with looser action. Iwama follows a similar way of progression, though in Saito's more programmatic and methodologically different way. ASU is a more eclectic bag with a eye for the expression of "principles" expressed in Saotome's views, in both tighter and more loose configuration of actions, in Aiki taiso, tai-jutsu and weapons work; Tohei's approach was fundamentally focused on the Aiki taiso, sometimes (it seems to me at least) to the near exclusion of studying application (at least in some quarters).

Aiki is the development of the body's ability to naturally -- and ultimately reflexively -- modulate its own rigidities and flexibilities of structure under dynamic conditions to form -- or to defeat the formation of -- these kinds of dynamics in connected structures (another person's body/weapon).

What was near to being lost was the "feel" of the Aiki in the body communicated in the inimitably intuitive Japanese mode of transmission. Some are finding western ways to emulate that -- and to good effect it seems. What we stand to gain in addition is a more Western and better developed objective understanding of the art, to make its transmission less dependent on correct enabling of physical intuitions across culturally-bound modes of transmission which tend -- at least IMO -- to work less well in our culture.

Personally, I cannot comprehend how anything like skill in martial arts, or even simply skill in movement or use of the body, can be attained without physical intuition. How does objective understanding help? It sounds as though you are suggesting that a student may be better able to manifest aiki if he watches some physics experiments on youtube.

To some extent, I think an objective understanding of a martial skill could aid in contriving a training regimen which is more effective, of fixes problems with, the attaining of skill by the practitioner. I think modern combatives research does this. Although modern combatives people certainly do not throw away traditional methods if they believe they work.

And at the end of the day, it never seems to matter if the student "understands" what they are doing. In fact, since it was a standard mode for koryu to absolutely WITHHOLD from a student knowledge that would lead to understanding of what they are doing until they achieved a certain level of physical intuition, I think you need to directly address that. How is it better for a student on the mat to have to mentally process everything before they do it? What happens when they think they understand something but are incorrect?

Erick Mead
01-16-2014, 03:40 PM
Erick, fruitful in what way? Do you mean you have been able to understand aiki from a biomechanics perspective?

What does that get you? A pretty good amount...

A nonsubjective, nonculture-bound set of terminology and concepts of universal application.

That's something .... For instance, the weapons interactions known as suri-age, suri-otoshi, kiri-age and kiri-otoshi -- which describe a fundamental aspect of interacting in aiki dynamically -- are simply different orientations in applying one singular thing -- a dynamic shear. Kokyu tanden ho is the application of applying stresses within the body to create static stress shears -- contradictory forces (tension/compression) with a juji/right-angle orientation -- and shifting their orientation and location in connected structures. It is somewhat more complesx than that -- because the paths of correct action for me, dynamic or more static are me following the zero shear lines -- and placing his action on maximal shear lines -- In-Yo, in other words.

Personally, I cannot comprehend how anything like skill in martial arts, or even simply skill in movement or use of the body, can be attained without physical intuition.

How does objective understanding help? It sounds as though you are suggesting that a student may be better able to manifest aiki if he watches some physics experiments on youtube.
I think you can learn more from the video of the inanimate chain than from most videos of real people. :hypno:

I completely agree, though -- physical intuition must be developed -- but with an objectively consistent conceptual language -- one can give correct -- and REPEATABLY consistent -- PHYSICAL imagery to assist the development of that physical intuition.

Physical intuition learning alone WILL suffice in a direct relationship of training -- I wholeheartedly agree, also. But experience proves beyond doubt that three generations on, the details of that kind of pure experiential intuition get obscured -- like the game of Telephone -- the message becomes muddy, indistinct and verges away from what was originally meant. The present movements on IP/IS are profound testament to that fact.

Rooted in a set of concepts with the conceptual rigor always gives an objective reference that is not dependent on consistency of message and transmission. Saito, Shioda, and Tohei for example and to their respective credit, each tried in their own ways to impose that that rigor in training methods for an intuitionally based transmission system -- but the diversity of even their respective first generation efforts at describing the concepts to frame their methods, easily illustrates the nature of the problem. Objective description framing physical intuition development is indisputable to consistent transmission.

And at the end of the day, it never seems to matter if the student "understands" what they are doing. In fact, since it was a standard mode for koryu to absolutely WITHHOLD from a student knowledge that would lead to understanding of what they are doing until they achieved a certain level of physical intuition, I think you need to directly address that. They are not and should not be separate but complementary. And we are not koryu. We are Westerners -- we share basic and even intricate knowledge widely -- more widely than most people have any practical use for . AND YET, as I recall we showed the rather superior martial character of our processes of democratizing knowledge to the Home Islands, quite some time ago. Judging by the Bullet train, Akashi Kaikyo bridge and the Osaka airport -- they certainly adopted those lessons in almost every other sphere of endeavor.

I -- literally -- keep a chain handy to show some of these concepts -- and did so long before I saw the levitating chain video. I illustrate aiki sage on the chain -- lifting the other end off the floor with proper action, and then I demonstrate the same thing on the student. I've seen lights snap on. On the other end of the spectrum, kokyu tanden ho is correctly described and illustrated as the same process as picking a chain up off the ground. In my partner, I am incrementally picking up each successive link of his body, until most of him is being supported by me and not by his own base, and what is left in contact with the ground is not sufficient to control what happens next.

What happens when they think they understand something but are incorrect? Usually, I try to correct it. You ?
:D

Cliff Judge
01-17-2014, 09:37 AM
Ah. So you are essentially trying to develop some imagery you can verbally communicate to students that might help them figure out their own ways to internalize the concepts as you understand them. Mainstream Aikido training involves sessions that are essentially seminars, with an instructor demonstrating to a large class and everybody working on things with each other. This would fit that better than a model that was developed for smaller groups and more intensive hands-on instruction from senior to junion.

danj
01-19-2014, 04:24 PM
The kinetic (sometimes also kinematic chain) is such a valuable tool in many areas of human movement for power development ...why not aikido too?

Love the chain video!

danj
01-19-2014, 04:34 PM
From what I have seen over 30 years of training, many people reach a certain level - doing the techniques pretty well - and then they just stay there. And many slowly get worse over time due to not training hard or often enough. They teach but rarely train. It is very common. If they do well, they maintain what they have, though they may improve in other directions - like being a good teacher, or stretching, or whatever. If they didn't have high dan grade status (being in with the in crowd) to keep them up there they would have likely been ignored long ago. Students often can't spot this until they have been around awhile.

It is very hard to spot or admit in the self. Heck, might even be me!

There is a thing in sports science/ motor learning called blocked learning , that is doing things by repetition to get better. Others thing are random learning, stress training etc.... Different methods of learning have advantages and disadvantageous. Blocked learning develops skills to a point and quite rapidly too, continued blocked practice builds confidence however after a point the skills can actually go backward. Aikido training has many learning elements in its practice - which is great, but its easy to imagine that after 30 years it could all be just 'blocked learning' and so there little learning and even some decline.

fatebass21
12-29-2014, 06:22 PM
There is a thing in sports science/ motor learning called blocked learning , that is doing things by repetition to get better. Others thing are random learning, stress training etc.... Different methods of learning have advantages and disadvantageous. Blocked learning develops skills to a point and quite rapidly too, continued blocked practice builds confidence however after a point the skills can actually go backward. Aikido training has many learning elements in its practice - which is great, but its easy to imagine that after 30 years it could all be just 'blocked learning' and so there little learning and even some decline.

Very interesting perspective on blocked learning. We are only able to grow and learn as much as we allow ourselves the opportunity.

Erick Mead
12-30-2014, 08:24 AM
There is a thing in sports science/ motor learning called blocked learning , that is doing things by repetition to get better. .... but its easy to imagine that after 30 years it could all be just 'blocked learning' and so there little learning and even some decline.Very interesting perspective on blocked learning. I think the approach to ever-deepening reach into the principles of aikido helps guide both teaching and learning -- which at this point are for me basically synonymous.

If I have nothing new to teach, I have nothing new to learn. Working through a consistent set of principles to find applications and corrections within, around, and beyond the corpus of waza and aiki-taiso are the challenge and the adventure.

Worked so far. :D

As far as "blocked" or random learning is concerned... I had not considered it as such, but I suppose I use a mixed aspect of these. Typically, I start with a taiso exercise. Then we start with a particular engagement -- grab, punch etc. and that taiso -- underlying one or several waza that may proceed from that point, and which I have in mind to reach during the class.

First, we work solely on the taiso in engagement to effect immediate kuzushi, unconcerned with any eventual waza that may result. Next, we build on that taiso to carry kuzushi with it into a particular direction of movement. Then we work into progressive elements of an eventual waza that arises from the engagement and the taiso. The we apply the same taiso to a different form of engagement (i.e. --a punch vs. grab, or unarmed vs. weapon, or vice versa) to show the applicability of the taiso in various settings.

The point of this sort of "fugue and variations approach" is to reinforce that the canonical waza are all connected by the taiso in which the aiki lives, and while waza are very important as guidepoints to the student -- they are really simply splices out of a spectrum of continuous action, that has no real categorical boundaries within it. The onlty categorical boundary is between what is aiki and what is not. The reality of contact proceeds without plan or direction -- but nevertheless according to forms strictly defined (and enforced) by the nature of the body itself in an engaged setting. These can be felt, recognized and followed and initiated intuitively, once you can break it down and build it up again.

Dan Richards
12-31-2014, 12:42 PM
First, we work solely on the taiso in engagement to effect immediate kuzushi, unconcerned with any eventual waza that may result. Next, we build on that taiso to carry kuzushi with it into a particular direction of movement. Then we work into progressive elements of an eventual waza that arises from the engagement and the taiso. The we apply the same taiso to a different form of engagement (i.e. --a punch vs. grab, or unarmed vs. weapon, or vice versa) to show the applicability of the taiso in various settings.

The point of this sort of "fugue and variations approach" is to reinforce that the canonical waza are all connected by the taiso in which the aiki lives, and while waza are very important as guidepoints to the student -- they are really simply splices out of a spectrum of continuous action, that has no real categorical boundaries within it. The onlty categorical boundary is between what is aiki and what is not. The reality of contact proceeds without plan or direction -- but nevertheless according to forms strictly defined (and enforced) by the nature of the body itself in an engaged setting. These can be felt, recognized and followed and initiated intuitively, once you can break it down and build it up again.

This essentially is how I've been training with people for the last few years. We're not training an outer form through the emulation model. We begin at the initial connection, and work our way out a step at a time, checking that connection is still there, and then explore the broader applications and possibilities.

We have a form, but it's internal. Working from the inside out. Most of our moving training is Jiyu Waza.

But, I guess, too, I've been so influenced by Nishio's idea of getting the initial irimi right from the beginning, and then watch how everything unfolds after that.

I've seen too much training of people just going through movements, and compensating more and more as the technique progresses. When if they'd connect initially, and understand what that means and that you absolutely can't lose that and do it effectively applying aiki resulting in kuzushi, everything just moves along so effortlessly.