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Peter Boylan
04-15-2014, 09:50 AM
I had the chance to get together with some friends a couple of weekends ago, all of whom are quite experienced and skilled martial artists. You would think we would play around with really advanced stuff with that sort of crowd. Instead we did the most basic of techniques. The weekend emphasized something I've thought for years, that there is no such thing as an advanced technique. There is only the basics done really, really well. I wrote this blog post about it.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/04/there-are-no-advanced-techniques.html

What do you think? Are there advanced techniques that I'm just completely clueless about?

NagaBaba
04-15-2014, 11:29 AM
I had the chance to get together with some friends a couple of weekends ago, all of whom are quite experienced and skilled martial artists. You would think we would play around with really advanced stuff with that sort of crowd. Instead we did the most basic of techniques. The weekend emphasized something I've thought for years, that there is no such thing as an advanced technique. There is only the basics done really, really well. I wrote this blog post about it.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/04/there-are-no-advanced-techniques.html

What do you think? Are there advanced techniques that I'm just completely clueless about?

Categorization of the techniques (basic vs. advanced) is somehow misleading. As the techniques are simply the tools we use to do conditioning of our body and mind, it is useless to search for some particular technique as a perfect solution in our interaction with environment.

Once body and mind reach certain level of conditioning, the form how we express interaction is mean less. It is particularly important in Budo practice not to be attached to forms, because it limits the freedom of such interaction, and correct action can’t be done. I’m not using expressions like ‘attack/defense’; instead I prefer to use word ‘interaction’, as we don’t really know in what way body/mind will express correct action.

In aikido practice, one thing is sure - once conditioning is done, most actions happens long time before first contact. When contact is made, in the same moment, basically correct action is expressed and interaction ends. Just like cutting a target with a sword.
It is quite opposite what one can see in millions of aikido video where after first contact two people execute some kind of mysterious dancing which is summarized with projection or a pin…this is not an aikido technique, it is a simple body/mind conditioning.

So yes, somehow the ‘advanced’ techniques exist, in the sense, they are not conditioning anymore, they are pure, spontaneous expression of our understanding of the universe.

Janet Rosen
04-15-2014, 12:52 PM
Peter, a couple of comments....
what I've learned is that to work on the stuff you reference in your essay you have to have a dojo culture, or at least one good training partner, willing to stay with you as you both move slowly, neither tanking nor resisting but giving very concise feedback.
It also helps if the instructor gives concise instruction. "Taking balance," as an example of something I've heard a lot over the years, is a very broad concept and therefore difficult to put one's head around learning to feel the moment. If instead, for a given exercise the instruction is to do a slight movement -say, in order to put your partner's weight onto one foot or the other before moving to the next step, this is a specific phenomenon you can learn to look for and feel.

kewms
04-15-2014, 12:54 PM
One of my teachers once said, "Basics are too hard for beginners."

There are advanced applications, certainly.

And there are techniques with more moving parts. But they work (or not) for the same reasons that the "basic" techniques do.

Katherine

Millsy
04-15-2014, 05:17 PM
One of the things I like about aikido is everyone trains the same thing together from the start, no hidden secret techniques for once you are a black belt :)

That not to say there aren't things you don't see often, when was the last time you saw Ganseki Otoshi in a class (I know its been a while for me) For those who call it something different here's Saito doing it :
http://www.saitosensei.com/images/80_gonseki_paulh.jpg

Just you can practice basic, or make a "tricky" entry or heka waza, but its all the same techniques. As you say hopefully you just get better at them.

Walter Martindale
04-15-2014, 09:33 PM
DARN. you figured out the secret. It's all about the basics.

True at all levels of sport and other activity. The "masters" can execute the basics under the most stressful conditions where others might not be capable.

PeterR
04-16-2014, 01:54 AM
Well the dogma statement that I always liked was that there are no secrets in Shodokan Aikido - everything is there from the first day on the mat. Took me awhile to see it all, and appreciate it, but it was true. I suspect that they are not unique in this respect.

Still it is very easy to be trite and say its all in the basics. For sure complicated techniques are not necessarily advanced but neither are the majority of basic techniques. Far more interesting is which techniques we consider advanced and why? What do they contain that non-advanced techniques don't.

Keith Larman
04-16-2014, 07:43 AM
A statement used by a number of my sensei is that advanced techniques are simplified basics. Of course I'd nod my head "yes" but deep inside I could hear that little voice in my head saying "what?". However, over the years the little homunculus in my head started to understand and whisper "it is just simplified basics...". The way I try to explain it today is that advanced techniques require a sort of *refinement* to the *application* of basics that comes with good training, understanding and experience. So as you wrote, the ability to do it in subtle, small ways that is virtually impossible to counter. So to me it is like the idea of polishing a sword (surprise, surprise...). The level of refinement as you get better at the task extends through out every step of the polish. It isn't that only the final steps matter, it's that every step from the very beginning ripple throughout each following step. Only if *every* part is done perfectly will the final result itself be the best it can be. Togi.

Peter Boylan
04-16-2014, 08:51 AM
Peter, a couple of comments....
what I've learned is that to work on the stuff you reference in your essay you have to have a dojo culture, or at least one good training partner, willing to stay with you as you both move slowly, neither tanking nor resisting but giving very concise feedback.
It also helps if the instructor gives concise instruction. "Taking balance," as an example of something I've heard a lot over the years, is a very broad concept and therefore difficult to put one's head around learning to feel the moment. If instead, for a given exercise the instruction is to do a slight movement -say, in order to put your partner's weight onto one foot or the other before moving to the next step, this is a specific phenomenon you can learn to look for and feel.

Janet, having a people who are willing to be patient in training with you while you work on these things is critical. Many places don't have an atmosphere that encourages that sort of patience. I'm lucky enough to have reached a stage where people will generally humor me as I work on things that bore them to tears.

I'm afraid I may be guilty of overuse of the term "kuzushi" without sufficient explanation of how to do it in each particular instance. I'm trying to teach myself to say things that are more concrete and descriptive of what that means in each instance. Thanks for the reminder.

crbateman
04-16-2014, 09:32 AM
For me, an advanced technique is any one that I can't do...;)

Hilary
04-16-2014, 10:11 AM
* At first we learn the gross body movements required to do the technique.
* Then we refine location, distance, and attitude (positional)
* Relax - Then we refine attitude (point of view)
* Then we refine small motor details
* Relax - Then we refine attitude (point of view)
* Then we compact technique by merging discrete steps in the technique (shift foot, then shift weight, turn etc.)
* Then we learn/acquire/refine connected body and how it connects to uke
* Relax - Then we refine attitude (point of view)
* Relearn technique from slightly different point of view with a different emphasis.
* Relax - Then we refine attitude (point of view)
Iterate process from step one 10,000 times ‘til yah barf. (Italics must be said in a heavy Boston accent or it has no meaning).

Let’s not get too hung up on the exact order of the list above.

Cycle through this enough times and you build sufficient confidence in your ability so that you don’t worry about doing the technique, you don’t panic if it goes south, you see and instinctively transition to a correct next move by feel. Advanced Aikido is not so much advanced techniques as advanced application, unhurried, flowing, calm, connected body, kazushi on contact, seeing the negative spaces, seeing the whole board, and moving instinctively.

Yes there are drills that people who have not assimilated the basic techniques should not do in order not to confuse them. For example drilling all your throws without using any palm contact can overwhelm someone who is not comfortable with the basic throw. Obviously if one’s ukemi is not well developed that are things they should wait to work on.

jonreading
04-16-2014, 10:33 AM
Enjoyed the read.

I think sometimes we equate "advance" with a level of competency, not complexity. Sometimes this is not the case. For example, a high school English teach may be a better writer than a collegiate 400-level English teacher; the difference is the complexity of educational content taught, not the level of competency possessed by the teacher.

From my perspective, "advanced" technique should be instruction that takes place at a more critical depth of education. If I hear someone talk about "advanced" technique, it better precede a pretty darn good explanation that improves my understanding of the topic.

Also, I believe that "advanced" education should lead to excelled performance. In other words, at some point in time, the education should correlate with competency, especially in the field of the advanced knowledge. But the relationship is not necessarily bi-directional. I think there are very competent aikido people who simply cannot explain what they are doing. I think there are aikido people capable of explaining what they do, but not performing (because of injury, illness, etc.). I also think their are aikido who are full of... what may or may not be fertilizer.

jcf
04-16-2014, 03:05 PM
For several semesters, I taught art history. At the first class meeting, I handed out the questions for the final exam and had the students create the 25 study cards that we were going to use for the semester. After many years of teaching, I found this methodology to work best.

From teaching and from my own classwork, I noticed that about six weeks after a course students could not remember most of the material that they had crammed for in preparing for tests. Thus, another method of teaching that I found useful was to reinforce the core principles over and over. For example, first you learn the names of the parts of speech. Then you learn to define them. Then, you learn to identify the part of speech of each word in a sentence. Then, you do exercises that combine each of the previous exercises.

In Tomiki Aikido, the first technique that you learn--shomen-ate--is the most advanced technique that you will ever learn. The first step is to learn where the most effective position is. The strongest attack against a two-legged human is a line of force perpendicular to a line drawn across the the toes (or heels, etc.) of a person. You learn to get there, which is not actually easy. Then you go there about 10,000 times. Basically, this is how aikido is learned, in my opinion.

RHKarst
04-16-2014, 04:01 PM
IMHO there are some advanced techniques. You will learn them as you progress MUCH higher in rank. But before you ever get there . . .look at almost any other sport! Baseball players whether in little league or the majors line up and play catch! They practice batting! They practice running the bases! They practice THE BASICS!

As for Aikido advanced techniques, I have see a few. There is a hold or a lock that involves the mouth! I would not want to try or teach until I knew the student was advanced enough not to get his finger bit off! There are techniques that use the neck to subdue, but again, I would not want to practice or teach until I knew the student would not injure his partner by being to rough or by missing the spot and causing serious damage to his partner! These are for very advanced training and although they are Aikido, they may never be needed.

After all, back to the Baseball comparison, You catch the ball you throw the ball and you hit the ball . . . it's not that hard! Same is with Aikido. The advanced techniques may give you something else you can do, but for the most part, move, take their balance and throw or pin, is all it ever seems to take!

Enjoy!

Adam Huss
04-16-2014, 05:55 PM
I had the chance to get together with some friends a couple of weekends ago, all of whom are quite experienced and skilled martial artists. You would think we would play around with really advanced stuff with that sort of crowd. Instead we did the most basic of techniques. The weekend emphasized something I've thought for years, that there is no such thing as an advanced technique. There is only the basics done really, really well. I wrote this blog post about it.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/04/there-are-no-advanced-techniques.html

What do you think? Are there advanced techniques that I'm just completely clueless about?

We would call any technique not in a documented curriculum of kihon waza as "advanced." Not necessarily indicating difficult or flashy, just not kihon.

dps
04-16-2014, 09:20 PM
Basic techniques are like a dull car.
Advanced techniques are like a polished car.

Wax on, wax off. :-)
dps

Budd
04-17-2014, 07:44 AM
Two ways I think about advanced techniques:

1) Aspects of multiple basic techniques strung together in a way that requires attainment in those multiple basics to achieve the desired result and/or may also break some of the rules of the basics in a way that's still consistent with the overall practice

2) A basic technique performed with such ease and precision that it requires an "advanced" level of attainment

lbb
04-17-2014, 10:55 AM
Sumiotoshi is one of the first techniques we teach to the kids. Last night we did a couple of really fun variations on sumiotoshi, one ending in kategatami. It was awesome.

PeterR
04-17-2014, 01:03 PM
In Tomiki Aikido, the first technique that you learn--shomen-ate--is the most advanced technique that you will ever learn. The first step is to learn where the most effective position is. The strongest attack against a two-legged human is a line of force perpendicular to a line drawn across the the toes (or heels, etc.) of a person.
I would not call Shomen-ate the most advanced technique - probably just the most sensible :D

The floating waza at the end of the 17 - those would be my choice for advanced techniques.

Adam Huss
04-17-2014, 04:16 PM
Sumiotoshi is one of the first techniques we teach to the kids. Last night we did a couple of really fun variations on sumiotoshi, one ending in kategatami. It was awesome.

Katagatame as in the choke?

Out of curiosity, can you provide a Youtube link to your version of sumiotoshi?

Thanks!

Not sure how relevant, but how many people do a 'rokukyo' as a basic technique in their curriculum. I don't know that I've ever been to a dojo that does that, or at least they never did or talked about it while I was there. I believe the Birinkai might have that as a technique and it might be a lot like, what I'll generically call wakigatame.

Mario Tobias
04-17-2014, 04:26 PM
Advanced techniques, simply put, are techniques where you have mastered and understood the basics and principles, regardless of technique.

You understand the difference between basic ikkyo and advanced ikkyo. Even with a single sword cut, the master knows this is broken down into its basic, elementary steps for it to become effective and efficient. Being immovable in suwariwaza kokyu-ho as I experienced first hand with Masuda sensei (8th dan a short but solid man and in his ninieties) is an advanced technique.

imho. There is no such thing as advanced tecniques but only advanced understanding.

advanced level of techniques have complexity in them but how you make the complex simple based on your understanding, interpretation and proof through experimentation is what is important I think rather than categorize techniques as basic or advanced.

I think it's summed up nicely in one of O'sensei's quotes:

"I move and techniques are born". Sometimes you surprise yourself doing techniques that came out of nowhere. Probably hinting that you are in the beginning of that advanced phase.

kewms
04-17-2014, 04:34 PM
Another way to look at it is that advanced techniques are born from advanced ukemi. If uke attacks, then simply follows the technique to its anticipated conclusion, there aren't many opportunities for henka waza, or for reversals and counter-reversals, or for variations to kihon waza. The more integrated and intelligent the attack, the more integrated and intelligent the defense needs to be.

Katherine

lbb
04-18-2014, 07:07 AM
Katagatame as in the choke?

Nope. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpq42dxj1po. Although, I dunno, I guess you could turn it into a choke? But I think there's a judo technique of the same name that's a choke with the gi?

Out of curiosity, can you provide a Youtube link to your version of sumiotoshi?

I might be able to find one, if I had the time to scour through Youtube, but there's a good chance I could look all day and not find it. It was ryotetori sumiotoshi, but not on the side that you'd probably expect, and ended in katagatame. Hard to describe, fun to do.


Not sure how relevant, but how many people do a 'rokukyo' as a basic technique in their curriculum. I don't know that I've ever been to a dojo that does that, or at least they never did or talked about it while I was there. I believe the Birinkai might have that as a technique and it might be a lot like, what I'll generically call wakigatame.

I don't know "rokukyo". We have rokyo, but I don't know anything called "rokukyo". Got a vid?

Adam Huss
04-18-2014, 08:45 AM
Nope. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpq42dxj1po. Although, I dunno, I guess you could turn it into a choke? But I think there's a judo technique of the same name that's a choke with the gi?

I might be able to find one, if I had the time to scour through Youtube, but there's a good chance I could look all day and not find it. It was ryotetori sumiotoshi, but not on the side that you'd probably expect, and ended in katagatame. Hard to describe, fun to do.

I don't know "rokukyo". We have rokyo, but I don't know anything called "rokukyo". Got a vid?

Katagatame, the way I know it, is one of the major osaekomi, or hold downs, in judo. It can turn into a choke, most people do it that way, but technically its a shoulder/arm hold down like a sankakujime almost. From the video you posted of Mr. Chiba - is katagatame the pin at the end or the whole movement?

Our kihon sumiotoshi is actually on the outside of uke's elbow...though the inside, or kiriude, is acceptable as well, for us. So long as our direction of movement is to a corner on an oblique angle away from uke's base of support, its all good for us.

Been doing some research into rokyo. From what I gather on Youtube it just looks like we lump both movements together as gokyo. Our kihon version of gokyo is like a variation of wakigatame, which uses nage's armpit as a leverage point. But if we keep uke's arm out away from us, we still call it gokyo, so long as its a 'mixed grip' where nage's grabbing uke's wrist with a palm up grip, and creating the opposing vertical pressure differentiating it from, say, ikkyo.

lbb
04-18-2014, 09:22 AM
Katagatame, the way I know it, is one of the major osaekomi, or hold downs, in judo. It can turn into a choke, most people do it that way, but technically its a shoulder/arm hold down like a sankakujime almost. From the video you posted of Mr. Chiba - is katagatame the pin at the end or the whole movement?

Wow, you're really asking the wrong person. I guess I would say that "katagatame" is the process of capturing the arm and then pinning? Maybe?

Our kihon sumiotoshi is actually on the outside of uke's elbow...though the inside, or kiriude, is acceptable as well, for us. So long as our direction of movement is to a corner on an oblique angle away from uke's base of support, its all good for us.

Yeah, in my limited experience I have seen it only done on the inside, but that may be an artifact of the attacks and openings that I've seen.

Been doing some research into rokyo. From what I gather on Youtube it just looks like we lump both movements together as gokyo. Our kihon version of gokyo is like a variation of wakigatame, which uses nage's armpit as a leverage point. But if we keep uke's arm out away from us, we still call it gokyo, so long as its a 'mixed grip' where nage's grabbing uke's wrist with a palm up grip, and creating the opposing vertical pressure differentiating it from, say, ikkyo.

Yeah, what I've seen, rokyo is in close, nage's arms are similar to katagatame, but you turn away -- and where I train, it ends with a pin and with nage basically doing a bridge on uke. Gokyo looks a lot like ikkyo, but as you say, the palm up grip on wrist. We do gokyo a lot with tanto.

Adam Huss
04-18-2014, 09:45 AM
Mary,

I don't speak Japanese at all. But my understanding of what kata gatame actually means basically would be accurate for the judo or aikido version of the technique.

I can't think of the terminology right now, but there's at least two techniques that I've encountered in different styles (of martial arts, not just aikido), that are completely different, have the same name, and whose translation makes sense for both. I like to train with all sorts wen I travel and I am just trying to get a grasp on how people do things differently so I can 'fit in' better at dojo I visit, do things their way (very difficult and rewarding to un-program from what you are used to), and understand what the heck they are talking about!

phitruong
04-18-2014, 10:24 AM
i thought advanced technique is when you throw ki balls at folks which make them wearing funny clothes and speaking bad Japanese.

an even more advanced technique would be getting folks to do the hokey-pokey while wearing funny clothes and saying "osu". :D

JP3
04-20-2014, 05:31 PM
I almost totally agree with the original blog's premise and conclusion, nothing magical, i.e. "advanced" is going on, it's just the basic simple thing done at such a high level that it seems like magic -- and thus, as magic, either unattainable or something "special" that must be taught "special."

My only caveat, or difference of opinion, is that I would say that there is a difference between simple and complex techniques, just like there are simple and complex machines. A complex machine can be viewed as a series, or probably more appropriately a 3-dimensional pattern of simple machines, if you follow me.

The same can be said for techniques used in martial arts (our own aikido by brand, or judo, jujitsu, whatever), there are very straightforward techniques, which may be simple, but not easy. And there are complex ones.

But... advanced? Well, in the sense that it might take a long time to learn how do do them "right," so because of that long time, the person has advanced through the ranks (thus, advanced rank people - just nomenclature), then, in that light, maybe their techniques are "advanced."

I'm sure folks are more confused now than when I started, so I'll stop.

Amir Krause
04-23-2014, 09:47 AM
I slightly disagree, I do know of "advanced techniques", though a more accurate naming would be "techniques for advanced practitioners": techniques which are actually simpler in nature yet require more accurate timing, better sense of harmony, better control over self, smoother movement etc. in order to succeed with slightly less cooperating partner.

Also know of variants of techniques which are being taught to beginners despite having "inherent weakness"/"holes", but are more safe for practice than the slightly modified "advanced form".

No great secrets here, very simple stuff.

Own experience has shown beginners often find the more complex / multi-stages techniques easier to implemnet, while single touch techniques are more difficult for them.