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Jeremy Hulley
08-26-2014, 11:28 AM
Aiki has to begin in me..

jonreading
08-26-2014, 12:10 PM
First, I would argue that we are, in fact, largely a collection of non-Japanese culture individuals training in a Japanese art that uses Japanese culture and language in it transmission. So, in this sense, we are OK receiving information from a foreign culture.

Second, I would argue that our training methodology is dependent, somewhat, on direct transmission from individuals that represent that skill that we want to inherit. We attend seminars all the time where the material requires translation.

Third, Erick is an engineer. He went to school for so long to be an engineer it made his brain work wrong. You tell me scanning Wikipedia for some engineering things puts you on par with an engineer in understanding what Erick says? Sounds like someone stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. That's not the attraction to Erick's model. It's public consumption without responsibility or accountability. It's not competing with what you think. Are you going to fly to Pensacola and talk with Erick to make sure you understand his model? Are you going to redefine your aikido based on Erick's model? Why not?

At some point, we show our wu shu. We have this opportunity to show what we know about aiki. There is no internet forum that provides that opportunity. You grab each other, work out, get a beer. Sometimes you grab a lion, sometimes you grab a lamb, most of the time you get someone in the middle. If your training is not about grabbing lions and learning what they have to offer, fine.

If the "internal power" thing is not your thing, fine. Why spend time and effort to contrive incorrect comparative components or build prejudicial arguments. Declare with resounding confidence that IP is BS and what it is that you do is what you believe to be correct. If you come across an IP person, bar her path and challenge her. You may be surprised.

dps
08-26-2014, 01:04 PM
So, in this sense, we are OK receiving information from a foreign culture.

Third, Erick is an engineer. He went to school for so long to be an engineer it made his brain work wrong.

.....bar her path and challenge her.

I am not OK trying to understand information presented in a culture or language I don't understand.

Eric is an attorney and formal Naval Aviator.

The IP community is being challenged to present their ideas in a more comprehendible way.

dps

Chris Li
08-26-2014, 01:25 PM
I am not OK trying to understand information presented in a culture or language I don't understand.

Eric is an attorney and formal Naval Aviator.

The IP community is being challenged to present their ideas in a more comprehendible way.

dps

I'm not sure what being either an attorney or a Naval Aviator has to do with with Aikido or internal power. In any case, from my count on the thread more people are saying that the conventional Dan/ICMA explanations are comprehensible than not.

More to the point, those explanations are being presented by folks who can actually demonstrate these principles.

Best,

Chris

dps
08-26-2014, 01:47 PM
More to the point, those explanations are being presented by folks who can actually demonstrate these principles.

Best,

Chris

But can't explain what is happening in a comprehendible way to a wider audience than this thread.

dps

Chris Li
08-26-2014, 01:55 PM
But can't explain what is happening in a comprehendible way to a wider audience than this thread.

dps

You keep insisting on that, but the reality is that it's just that they're not comprehensible to you. As I said, I've spoken to many people outside of the thread who have no problem comprehending what he's talking about.

Are Erick's explanations really more useful? You might be able to look up the terms on Wikipedia (something you could do with Dan's terms also, by the way), but what will that get you where you want to go? If not, then the explanationa are worse than incomprehensible - they're useless.

Best,

Chris

allowedcloud
08-26-2014, 01:59 PM
Because neither ancient terminology that has worked for countless men across the ages - or the Star Trek-like technobabble that Erick presents, has been able to teach anyone Internal Power over the internet, I am working on presenting my own model of terminology based on natural principals that will enable anyone to learn Aiki and Internal Power...at home! No longer will you have to know the principals of heaven earth man or torsional sheer stress! And it can all be yours, for 5 easy payments of $49.99!

http://www.timecube.com/TheWisestHuman_newimg_GeneRayCube.jpg

Keith Larman
08-26-2014, 02:27 PM
i thought i posted Mike Sigman blog awhile back, http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21855. the information is on the internet. he got crayon pictures and video and so on and so forth. quite a bit of details on the how and why and what and so on. how much more do you want? anymore than that would be spoon feeding.

as far as time, money and obligation go, many of us do have them, in spade. *playing the violin softly in the background*

most of aikido seminars, some by very high rank aikido folks, had been a waste of my time and money. so far, none of the ip/is seminars that i went to was a waste.

Ya, what Phi said. Seriously.

I've been around a bit. I took some convincing to come around to what was being proposed by the IP camps was *that* different. But I did come around after many times hands on. And oddly enough I'm still not sure it's *that* different from what others were trying to do, it's more a question of degree. It's just sometimes a small degree of difference can result in a profound difference when instantiated. But I promised to quit arguing this point with folk, especially those who appear resistant. It's not my job to convince anyone else. And I think that like with most things worthwhile, the work needs to speak for itself.

And I have no problem with those who are defining things differently and who believe what's "important" or what's "really going on" is something else entirely. I've also got no problem with climate science deniers and those who think new earth creationism is somehow scientifically valid. Nope. But I ain't arguing the point. How's the expression go -- you can lead a horse to water but if the only way to make him drink is to suck it in through his hind end, maybe, just maybe it's not worth even trying... Or something like that.

And yes, I've been to a whole lot of seminars by a whole lot of people. Mainstream down to those crazy yokels doing funny stuff with their bellies while they're shaking really long pieces of PVC for no apparent reason. Oddly enough I find I've improved my understanding of my "mainstream" aspect of my art by playing with those folk doing goofy stuff who are outside it. But everyone has their own way of improving. Or guarding their cherished beliefs. We all do it.

Carry on...

Keith Larman
08-26-2014, 02:29 PM
Aiki has to begin in me..

And yeah, that one too. Funny how so many similar things appear in so many disparate arts doing really cool stuff that looks so much like really good aikido. You'd think that maybe aikido doesn't and never had a monopoly on it. And maybe, just maybe many have taken it in new and different directions. No judgement is being made on that type of evolution, but it does tend to suggest that having a more nuanced, context specific and flexible understanding of what aiki "is" is probably in order.

Gotta go shake a stick...

mathewjgano
08-26-2014, 03:51 PM
...if they require a little work on the part of the reader, well, that's inherent in the difficulty of the material.


Yes and no. There are some excellent discussions and expositions on this topic here (standard disclaimer: not suggesting that I am in a position to know one way or the other), but where there is difficulty in tracking the pertinent points, to me it generally seems to have less to do with the nature of the material and more to do with the nature of the discussions themselves (for example, differing individual conventions of language being mistaken as insulting). I also think the call for testimonies and proofs of efficacy to defend ones position tends to be one of those things which generates too much of the noise that tends to often drown out the signal.
My wooden nickel.

Erick Mead
08-26-2014, 10:53 PM
I'm not sure what being either an attorney or a Naval Aviator has to do with with Aikido or internal power. Well, I'll tell you, since you wonder.

Being a naval aviator -- and even more specifically flying helicopters -- schooled me in careful observation and development of complex, dynamic, multi-sensory spatial and kinesthetic tasks that are at the fringes of conscious perception. It taught me to be decently in awe of any potentially dangerous whole-body physical control task -- while breaking it down into its pieces and parts to learn it much better. It especially taught me ways of parsing the mechanics of a recalcitrant dynamic structure with counter-intuitive mechanics that will gladly kill you -- if you just blithely applied what you think you know. Methodologically this is little different. Just less well-defined to begin with, which is exactly the lack that I mean to better supply.

Being an attorney I have learned that good forensics requires openness to any admissible evidence, and that only patient peeling away of all the irrelevancies and impossible arguments will get to something like the truth.

In any case, from my count on the thread more people are saying that the conventional Dan/ICMA explanations are comprehensible than not. And I am one of them. He's not wrong and his choice of terminology and ideas trying to explain what he is doing does track major elements, in the main. The problem is that it is simply ad hoc -- and drawing out the concepts and connections to other objective sources of knowledge. His practice may be rigorous -- his conceptual frame work to relate it objectively isn't. Neither was Ueshiba's mode of explanation -- he is good company surely. No one can be everything to everyone. -Nor has anyone else in this art, so far, really formed kind of deeper connection to modern sources of objective knowledge in any consistent for that matter, really. It really is about time we fixed that.

More to the point, those explanations are being presented by folks who can actually demonstrate these principles. I am paid quite well for my time -- and I don't find what I am working on to be any waste of it -- because it provably -- and demonstrably -- is leading to places that are better known by doing it, and helping improve our training. Our little crowd gets better better with what I can explain and show them. I go with what I experience -- same as you, I expect.
Is it a horse race ? Is the ghost of General Forrest going to give the golden ticket to the "Fust with the most" ? If we wanted trophies, we sure picked the wrong art. Saotome is fond of saying your head is the trophy -- if you get to keep it.

Erick Mead
08-26-2014, 11:13 PM
Third, Erick is an engineer. Jack-leg engineer, but thanks all the same. I teared up reading it, ... really... ;)

Are you going to fly to Pensacola and talk with Erick to make sure you understand his model?The point of the model is to make that unnecessary. Hands on training (IHTBF) is NOT unnecessary -- and I'll be the first to say that. Nobody ever learned to fly a plane while reading the control manual and the aerodynamics textbook. You have to sit in the seat and swipe out the cockpit with the stick a few times and scare yourself silly.

On the other hand, if you have tools to analyze -- for yourself -- why you fail when you DO FAIL -- and you MUST FAIL to learn ANYTHING -- you gain two things -- 1. a better margin to afford to fail safely, and so avoid the worst kinds of failure, and 2. An ability to self-correct -- once you grasp the goal and the tools to reach it. That way the path can be pursued more independently, and either more quickly or more thoroughly. Some are just trying to get to the top of the mountain -- some are trying to map the whole darn thing, and others are just looking for a good view for the picnic.

Are you going to redefine your aikido based on Erick's model? Why not? I certainly haven't gotten to that yet. Definition and description is necessarily BEFORE any prescription of anything as a remedy for specific improvements, much less systematic ideas about optimizing practice -- which is WAY down the road. What I am able to do now is give objective, physiologically and mechanically based observations that my students can then observe themselves doing or failing to and correct themselves. Not for everything by any means -- but there are some key themes that are more or less universally applicable.

Chris Li
08-26-2014, 11:17 PM
Erick - everybody's got a resume, it doesn't mean anything as to whether the model being presented is valid or not, that was my point.

People challanged Dan, Mike, Ark, Sam, whoever to show that they know what they're talking about. They showed it and people have testified to it and they've also all shown that they can pass it on to some degree. You've done none of that. If you have the science background that you purport to use then you know that theories are good - but nobody really accepts it until the key suppositions can be shown experimentally. Show that you can do what those folks can do and/or that you can get other people to do it with your framework, that will show the value of it (or not). If your conceptual framework is actually superior you should be able to do that - or else it isn't surperior and then it's just internet chatter.

Best,

Chris

phitruong
08-27-2014, 07:15 AM
The point of the model is to make that unnecessary. Hands on training (IHTBF) is NOT unnecessary -- and I'll be the first to say that. Nobody ever learned to fly a plane while reading the control manual and the aerodynamics textbook. You have to sit in the seat and swipe out the cockpit with the stick a few times and scare yourself silly.

On the other hand, if you have tools to analyze -- for yourself -- why you fail when you DO FAIL -- and you MUST FAIL to learn ANYTHING -- you gain two things -- 1. a better margin to afford to fail safely, and so avoid the worst kinds of failure, and 2. An ability to self-correct -- once you grasp the goal and the tools to reach it. That way the path can be pursued more independently, and either more quickly or more thoroughly. Some are just trying to get to the top of the mountain -- some are trying to map the whole darn thing, and others are just looking for a good view for the picnic.


Erick, most of the stuffs you said went right over my head, but this i can wrap my brain around. i remembered reading about the early fighter plane pilots. until they came up with the flight simulator, those pilots paid with their lives learning how to fly. you need some sort of model first or you crash and burn.

just want to mention that i do appreciate the technical stuffs that you put up, even though most of that required me to think to greater degree than i wanted to. since i am a barbarian of sort, thinking isn't my strong suit. i prefer to hit folks in the head to stop the thinking all together. :)

phitruong
08-27-2014, 07:24 AM
Erick - everybody's got a resume, it doesn't mean anything as to whether the model being presented is valid or not, that was my point.

People challanged Dan, Mike, Ark, Sam, whoever to show that they know what they're talking about. They showed it and people have testified to it and they've also all shown that they can pass it on to some degree. You've done none of that. If you have the science background that you purport to use then you know that theories are good - but nobody really accepts it until the key suppositions can be shown experimentally. Show that you can do what those folks can do and/or that you can get other people to do it with your framework, that will show the value of it (or not). If your conceptual framework is actually superior you should be able to do that - or else it isn't surperior and then it's just internet chatter.


perhaps he can. perhaps he can't. doesn't mean the model isn't worthwhile of consideration. many of Einstein's theories couldn't be proven until much later. no Erick, i don't consider you in the same league as Einstein. so sorry. good sport player doesn't necessary make good coach and vice versa.

Mary Eastland
08-27-2014, 07:37 AM
Back to the topic...Demonstrating aiki, demonstrating aikido.Same thing ?

Some random thoughts on my 57th birthday after 27 years of training in first at Kokikai aikido and then Berkshire Hills aikido where we teach Ki development and technique and believe that aiki is part of Aikido training....

It depends on who is talking.

It depends on how one describes Aiki and how one describes Aikido.

As we can see on this one thread of a never ending list of threads..there is no answer.
My question is... who really cares?

I don't see any separation of the two...others do. It is never going to be resolved because no one listens. It is just repetition of the same things over and over...check out the other threads on the subject. I guess at least now nobody gets kicked off for being mean.

I define aiki as the quality of Aikido that makes it different from other martial arts. It is the part that allows for connection and development of power to defend oneself. I hear on here how many people think that their Aikido is devoid of that and that they are looking for it in another place. Good for you.

I hear other people say that they understand what it is and are working on ways to develop it more and then share it with others. Good for you.

Then we hear the folks who say that there is only one way and that there is a new messiah. That is hard to hear all the time because it sounds like the people who say it have drunk the kool aid. It reminds me of a religion that says the only way to get to heaven is to do it the way that their leader say to.

Finding a path that works and sticking to that path is also a way.

For me aikido is different that other arts because there is no contest. It is all about conquering the self though training.
If we could let go of the idea that one way is the way...there could be interesting discussions that don't devolve into commercials.

There are so many people that don't post on Aikiweb any more. I wish they would. Part of training is being able to talk about the art with a variety of people. Shutting down and not discussing it because of how a few on here post deprives the rest of us from your point of view.

I know it is not easy because of how rude some folks can be. I find it interesting to watch my feelings about what is said and then to choose my responses. It is another way to practice aiki.

PeterR
08-27-2014, 07:50 AM
I was hoping that this would be dragged back to the original question. Might even repost my answer.

MRoh
08-27-2014, 09:52 AM
Happy birthday!

jonreading
08-27-2014, 11:46 AM
Jack-leg engineer, but thanks all the same. I teared up reading it, ... really... ;)

The point of the model is to make that unnecessary. Hands on training (IHTBF) is NOT unnecessary -- and I'll be the first to say that. Nobody ever learned to fly a plane while reading the control manual and the aerodynamics textbook. You have to sit in the seat and swipe out the cockpit with the stick a few times and scare yourself silly.

On the other hand, if you have tools to analyze -- for yourself -- why you fail when you DO FAIL -- and you MUST FAIL to learn ANYTHING -- you gain two things -- 1. a better margin to afford to fail safely, and so avoid the worst kinds of failure, and 2. An ability to self-correct -- once you grasp the goal and the tools to reach it. That way the path can be pursued more independently, and either more quickly or more thoroughly. Some are just trying to get to the top of the mountain -- some are trying to map the whole darn thing, and others are just looking for a good view for the picnic.

I certainly haven't gotten to that yet. Definition and description is necessarily BEFORE any prescription of anything as a remedy for specific improvements, much less systematic ideas about optimizing practice -- which is WAY down the road. What I am able to do now is give objective, physiologically and mechanically based observations that my students can then observe themselves doing or failing to and correct themselves. Not for everything by any means -- but there are some key themes that are more or less universally applicable.

Seriously, I almost inserted a "here's where Erick chuckles" when I wrote that. I figured you get a kick out of things and I am not sure people realize the extent of your education. It reminds me of a famous scene in My Cousin Vinny, when Joe Pesci qualifies Marissa Tome as an expert in automotive mechanics even though she is his legal assistant.

I'm a Southern ASU boy and there are people with whom I train that have something to share.
When I go to a seminar, I head straight over to grab. I respect what they are doing, I respect where they are at and I am try my hardest to pick up what they put down. There are also friends that do not have what I am looking for in aikido. That doesn't mean I won't be friends with them, only that they are not doing what I want to do. I am working to clarify what I look for, why and who has it.

First, I contend that there is a right answer. Or, at least a most right answer. Most people who train believe this and demonstrate it every day by choosing an organization, a dojo, an instructor and so on. If it really didn't matter we would not make these choices. But we do. I train in ASU because I feel Saotome Sensei and Ikeda sensei and a number of others in the organization are more right in what they do. Do I still train with other groups? Yep. Other arts, too.

I think some of this is soul-searching. We have ideologies and philosophies tying up what we think is aiki. We keep things loose so we are never confronted with a challenge to our ideology or philosophy. The old phrase about discussing religion and politics is almost too true in aikido - we are often discussing both when we talk about aiki. That makes us defensive of what we value, and tentative to speak what we feel.

Erick Mead
08-27-2014, 12:53 PM
Seriously, I almost inserted a "here's where Erick chuckles" ... reminds me of a famous scene in My Cousin Vinny, when Joe Pesci qualifies Marissa Tome as an expert in automotive mechanics even though she is his legal assistant. NO, no, no.... THIS ... this is where Erick chuckles....

I'm a Southern ASU boy and there are people with whom I train that have something to share.
When I go to a seminar, I head straight over to grab. I respect what they are doing, I respect where they are at and I am try my hardest to pick up what they put down. There are also friends that do not have what I am looking for in aikido. That doesn't mean I won't be friends with them, only that they are not doing what I want to do. I am working to clarify what I look for, why and who has it. One of the reasons I stopped going to many seminars -- (apart from work, work, family, life, and more work) -- is that without regard to particular persons -- they could very often SHOW me things -- but they couldn't seem TEACH them to me. Part of that is in me -- I need a model in my head to work through to any goal. None of them had any to offer.

Our dear departed Hooker Sensei -- who put my foot on the aikido path -- taught me not to care what anybody thinks if I know something to be true. Ikeda Shihan showed me what started me down the present leg of my journey. His subtle yet catasrophic collapse of me and others in that class were striking and -- in combination with that physical impression which I still recall -- Ikeda made three conceptual points: Rotation and oscillation are the same principle. Timing and spacing are the same things. And apparent scale of action and resulting power are inversely proportional. (He did not say it that way at all -- but these points were clear nonetheless). The light snapped on for a brief instance -- and I have been popping the flashbulbs to map the cave ever since.

These observations were profoundly suggestive of a whole body of related knowledge that I had learned -- and applied -- as a helicopter pilot. So far, Ikeda's guidance on these points has not proved wrong and has blossomed further and further into the areas first suggested -- both in concept and in application on the mat.

Chris Li
08-27-2014, 01:31 PM
perhaps he can. perhaps he can't. doesn't mean the model isn't worthwhile of consideration. many of Einstein's theories couldn't be proven until much later. no Erick, i don't consider you in the same league as Einstein. so sorry. good sport player doesn't necessary make good coach and vice versa.

I agree, but he's been touting this theories for a good many years - in all of those years we haven't heard of a result, not once. Further, he's not proposing this as a hypothesis, he states flatly that his model is a superior conceptual framework. That means that it must be (a) correct (and I can already see places in his Japanese where he is mistaken) and (b) capable of producing superior results. All I'm saying is, where are the results?

Best,

Chris

dps
08-27-2014, 02:43 PM
I agree, but he's been touting this theories for a good many years - in all of those years we haven't heard of a result, not once. Further, he's not proposing this as a hypothesis, he states flatly that his model is a superior conceptual framework. That means that it must be (a) correct (and I can already see places in his Japanese where he is mistaken) and (b) capable of producing superior results. All I'm saying is, where are the results?

Best,

Chris

IHTBF. Take a trip to Florida and visit the Big Green Drum dojo an feel what Eric is talking about.

dps

dps
08-27-2014, 03:02 PM
In a another thread somebody talked about demonstrating aiki on a uke. Is it the same thing than demonstrating aikido on a uke ?
And if it is not the same, can somebody explain the difference to me ?

Yes it is the same thing.

You learn aiki by the preliminary or warm up exercises and demonstrate the aiki you have learned with the techniques. This also applies to uke.

dps

akiy
08-27-2014, 03:15 PM
Hi folks,

I just wanted to remind people about the "AikiWeb Rules of Conduct":

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22168

Thank you,

-- Jun

Chris Li
08-27-2014, 03:24 PM
IHTBF. Take a trip to Florida and visit the Big Green Drum dojo an feel what Eric is talking about.

dps

I've spoken to several folks who have - hence the question.

Best,

Chris

dps
08-27-2014, 03:26 PM
I've spoken to several folks who have - hence the question.

Best,

Chris

But you have not, nothing like first hand experience.

dps

Erick Mead
08-27-2014, 03:49 PM
Erick - everybody's got a resume, it doesn't mean anything as to whether the model being presented is valid or not, that was my point. Quite right.


Further, he's not proposing this as a hypothesis, he states flatly that his model is a superior conceptual framework. That means that it must be (a) correct (and I can already see places in his Japanese where he is mistaken) and (b) capable of producing superior results. All I'm saying is, where are the results?Superior depends on your purpose and your need. I don't mean to supplant anything that is working for anybody -- I just look at things and can easily say what's been done conceptually hasn't proved to work consistently very well in passing the essential nature of the art along. Not for the Founder, nor for any of his students. Dan says he is bringing it back from some other lineage or source (I am unclear what, but that hardly matters either -- it seems to work. Huzzah!) The reason for conceptual failure seems (to me) to be that nobody ever bothered to SERIOUSLY ask the question: "What is the essential nature of this art ?"

If there's one thing we lawyers are good at, it is asking careful questions. :eek:

And the question of the "essential nature" of something is a question in what used to be called "natural philosophy." Now we call it science. The sciences of human physiology and theoretical AND practical mechanics got us into space, and to the moon -- a few times. It got the Russians and the Chinese into space, too. So, no real cultural transmission problems there.

Gee, Wally, why not try THAT thing ? :D
http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/44/24/f4/4424f4243eb792efb0e4b410bd3f2879.jpg

Chris Li
08-27-2014, 03:57 PM
But you have not, nothing like first hand experience.

dps

I don't disagree with that. In any case, I'll simply state that in my opinion Erick is way off track - and that model just won't (in my experience) take you where you want to go if you're interested in the kind of things that model is supposed to be explaining.

With that, I'll step out.

Best,

Chris

Erick Mead
08-27-2014, 06:32 PM
I don't disagree with that. In any case, I'll simply state that in my opinion Erick is way off track - and that model just won't (in my experience) take you where you want to go if you're interested in the kind of things that model is supposed to be explaining.
With that, I'll step out.
You can if you like. I am more interested in "what experience" you have had in "that model" to show that it won't take you where you want to go ___________ (where, exactly? what "kinds of things"?).

This is of a piece with your earlier post -- where you keep using indicative language (verbal pointing) rather than demonstrative language explaining it or describing.

... to show that they know what they're talking about. They showed it and people have testified to it and they've also all shown that they can pass it on to some degree. You've done none of that.

Three "its, " one "that," and a "what" ...

Pronouns are indicative, like pointing -- not demonstrative or descriptive -- they are "pro" nouns, used "for" the thing they refer to -- in other words they assume you already know what they refer to.
Point at the night sky and say "Look at THAT!" Is "that" the Moon? Or the Dogstar ? Or Orion's Belt? A bird, a plane or Superman ?

- The thread topic is about demonstrating aiki and demonstrating aikido. We seem to be at loggerheads not just about what it means to demonstrate but what we mean to demonstrate. And this condition has been going on now for - well, over 8 years now since I started looking and discussing structure and dynamics seriously on this forum. Your response was the same response given then.

Theory is absolutely essential to discriminate what we mean to examine and attempt to repeat or improve -- from what we do not. There is too much else going on, internally, externally, subjectively and objectively that must be discriminated from what is critical.

The world unmediated by word and concept is a formless, cacophonous blur. The chain of transmission cannot rely on wordless, non-conceptual demonstration without conceptual knowledge and description. It hasn't done too well on the various traditional, ad hoc or idiosyncratic attempts at such description and concept either, and after almost 80 years and numerous efforts.

Pointing or showing is not demonstrating anything -- because there is far too much background needing to be ignored to pick out the thing meant to be pointed out. Without out guidance on what is important and what is not, even an actual physical encounter demonstrating the thing you mean to communicate -- does not do that unless you already have some idea what to pay attention to. Chicken, meet egg.

Ueshiba famously was asked by a photographer who liked the look of a move -- to do "that thing" again. He obliged several more times and after repeated requests -- never appeared (to the photographer) to do the same thing twice -- and yet he was. The photographer neither knew what he was asking for, nor what he was being shown when he saw it. He mistake was in seeing the merely the incidental as being the essential -- and this is a powerful and seductive kind of error in understanding.

If I say to my students "do this," and show them something, some regularly seem to do everything BUT "that." If I take and freeze them mid-engagement -- pose them like department store dummies and, say "Hold yourself this way. Now shift your support on this tangent, stretch here, settle there, turning to face this way." And they are surprised at what happens. Then I explain why what they were doing wasn't what I was doing.

I have come to a point that I can explain and improve what I and my students do -- and in these very terms. Ordinary mechanical principles they used to teach in high schools. Some straightforward physiology, and their interactions that simply have unexpected applications. No PhD or doctorate required.

(Not even a masters degree -- in engineering...)

http://www.quickmeme.com/img/8f/8f8a1c66c5accc68625d8967e0b5e78b899cb7c57ee171174ed891de52284411.jpg

Anjisan
08-27-2014, 09:16 PM
As an issue of ordering... I think we are starting to get into some transmission comments and away from the demonstration comments...

As a broad brush answer... Obviously, we are all still trying to figure out what's going on. For the most part, the current aikido people have trained within a tradition and curriculum for some number of years. Arguably, the system has not produced another O Sensei. Arguably, the system has not produced another Tohei, Shioda, etc. This may not be bad, but it is different. I find it interesting that some of our heavy weights are migrating away from "traditional" instruction and demonstration in an effort to illustrate and communicate what they are doing.

Is it really fair to commit to 30 years of instruction in order to practice aikido to a level of competence? We have some small number of individuals who understand and do aikido to an advanced level; do we want to constrain their instruction? Do you think they have 30 years to invest in your training to make sure you pick up what they are putting down? There's learning and there's training. I'm not sure if we aren't confusing "learning" aikido for "training" aikido. When I played baseball I learned how to throw, and run and field and hit. I then practiced those core skills for some number of years. Sure, I picked up tricks over the years, but guess what I always did?

At some point, we evaluate our training. Am I better than I was last year? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Comparatively, we can evaluate our progress against our sister dojos? Why did friend A progress faster than I did - we've been training just as long? Why can Karate friend B eat my lunch? She's been training for less time than I have? In the beginning, we'll find excuses - better instruction, more time, easier drive, more money, different values. Eventually, you either see beyond that or you don't.

So is your reference to Tohei and Shioda intended to imply a prewar/ post-war distinction? If so, are there any Shihan commonly referred as post-war that would qualify as meeting this threshold? Saotome sensei? Also, we have someone in our dojo who had regularly trained with the JKD crew (those who trained directly with Bruce and a few of their of their students) and I have never ever heard that just because it has not produced another Bruce Lee that they are somehow on the wrong path or at least that the path must be lacking something. I am sure there many other examples in other martial arts as well. Perhaps your experience is different?

Train Hard,
Jason

RonRagusa
08-27-2014, 09:47 PM
...we have someone in our dojo who had regularly trained with the JKD crew (those who trained directly with Bruce and a few of their of their students) and I have never ever heard that just because it has not produced another Bruce Lee that they are somehow on the wrong path or at least that the path must be lacking something. I am sure there many other examples in other martial arts as well. Perhaps your experience is different?

Well, Rocky Marciano comes to mind. 49 fights, 49 wins, 43 KOs, 0 losses, draws. I'm pretty sure boxing has never produced another heavyweight of Marciano's caliber. Does that imply all other heavyweights since have somehow taken the wrong path or that the path is lacking?

IMO the whole "Aikido hasn't produced another..." argument is a red herring employed in order to popularize whatever the agenda DuJour happens to be. Enough already, Aikido doesn't produce anyone; it's people that produce Aikido.

Ron

Anjisan
08-27-2014, 10:02 PM
Well, Rocky Marciano comes to mind. 49 fights, 49 wins, 43 KOs, 0 losses, draws. I'm pretty sure boxing has never produced another heavyweight of Marciano's caliber. Does that imply all other heavyweights since have somehow taken the wrong path or that the path is lacking?

IMO the whole "Aikido hasn't produced another..." argument is a red herring employed in order to popularize whatever the agenda DuJour happens to be. Enough already, Aikido doesn't produce anyone; it's people that produce Aikido.

Ron

Ron,

Exactly my point!:)

Train Hard,
Jason

Chris Li
08-27-2014, 10:47 PM
Well, Rocky Marciano comes to mind. 49 fights, 49 wins, 43 KOs, 0 losses, draws. I'm pretty sure boxing has never produced another heavyweight of Marciano's caliber. Does that imply all other heavyweights since have somehow taken the wrong path or that the path is lacking?

IMO the whole "Aikido hasn't produced another..." argument is a red herring employed in order to popularize whatever the agenda DuJour happens to be. Enough already, Aikido doesn't produce anyone; it's people that produce Aikido.

Ron

I was going to step out, but this is a slightly different topic so I'll step back in for just a bit.

This is a false argument becuse it's an unreliable metric.

Boxers are fighting against each other - records reflect not only one's own skill, but also the skills of one's opponents. Training has become more uniform and it should be expected that there will be a smaller disparity between competitors - this is the overall pattern in other sports as well.

On the other hand, if you look at athletic performance in things like track and field you will see steady improvements over the last hundred years as training methods and sports science has progressed (as one would expect - at the very least, one would expect that performance would not show an average decline). Here's a study that reflects that:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18723588

Overall, the relative improvement of athletic performance was higher in women than in men, being nearly doubled across the different specialities. The biggest increases were observed for javelin throw and shot put, in both men and women, respectively. Conversely, the improvement in race time was directly related to the race distance. We also observed a consistent significant linear model of WRs progression in time, although the improvement has substantially stopped or reached a plateau in several specialities.

Performance has nearly doubled on average, and hasn't declined anywhere (on average, of course). Can you say the same in Aikido, for which there is a similar timeline?

In any case, my personal observation, from training with many first generation students of Morihei Ueshiba down to the fourth or fifth generation today (sometimes more) supports the case for a general decline in skills. Not a few of the first and second generation folks have expressed the same sentiments to me - Mitsugi Saotome recently expressed a similar sentiment in an open room, FWIW.

Of course, my personal obeservations are not scientific, so folks will have to decide for themselves. If you think that things are great the way they are then that's great and you should enjoy it.

"Or perhaps, even if they hit that wall they are unaware of it and just continue on doing the same thing. (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kanshu-sunadomari-part-2/)"
-Kanshu Sunadomari

And with that....I'll step out again.

Best,

Chris

MRoh
08-28-2014, 05:17 AM
Performance has nearly doubled on average, and hasn't declined anywhere (on average, of course). Can you say the same in Aikido, for which there is a similar timeline?


How can you measure performance in Aikido and compare it among different groups of aikidoists?
Let alone that people have their own view what it means to increase in Aikido.

For example in modern Karate, kata are performed more athletic and powerful than in the past, and from a physical point of view you could say that performance has improved. But when you consider it more closely, it is only at first glance, the real skills have worsened.
In Aikido there are things you could compare, for example how far you can throw your uke, ore you could compare the beauty and precision of the action, but I can't imagine that you want to go into this direction.

Not a few of the first and second generation folks have expressed the same sentiments to me - Mitsugi Saotome recently expressed a similar sentiment in an open room, FWIW.

But they are the ones who have, to a certain extend, the responsibility for this development.

jonreading
08-28-2014, 08:36 AM
So is your reference to Tohei and Shioda intended to imply a prewar/ post-war distinction? If so, are there any Shihan commonly referred as post-war that would qualify as meeting this threshold? Saotome sensei? Also, we have someone in our dojo who had regularly trained with the JKD crew (those who trained directly with Bruce and a few of their of their students) and I have never ever heard that just because it has not produced another Bruce Lee that they are somehow on the wrong path or at least that the path must be lacking something. I am sure there many other examples in other martial arts as well. Perhaps your experience is different?

Train Hard,
Jason

Mostly, I was illustrating a period of time where it seems the conditions were met where several people were successful in elevating their skill to an exceptional level. Most likely, this was a combination of commitment, instruction, training, and personal ability. Many aikido people have declared that the conditions to produce such persons is not re-create-able (not a word, but you get my meaning). I think there is merit in the argument that surrounds the time table of O Sensei leaving regular teaching to his son (and others), but that is another discussion. Personally, I think Saotome Sensei represents proof that we can learn exceptional aiki skills if we know where and how to look. This still does not address the larger issue of diminishing exception coming out of aikido.

I think we have an obligation to provide the best environment we can to maximize the potential for excellence. To Ron's point, when the first response I hear is "well, we don't train that way anymore," that makes me dubious. Boxing is different now than when Rocky boxed. We need to understand all the conditions that contributed to excellence. If you are arguing the process (for example), to continue the analogy of Rocky Marciano you would need to declare that those who boxed in the gym with Rocky under the same coaches and conditions are also great, as an extension of Rocky's skill that was crafted by his training process.

Aikido people draw ethos from their lineage all the time. So-and-so sensei carried bags for O Sensei, he must be great. So-and-so sensei saw O Sensei one time, he must be great. Don't contradict so-and-so sensei, he trained for a long weekend in Japan one time when O Sensei visited the dojo. Excellence by proximity.

You can carry the analogy better if you look at MMA, where successful fighters who are now retired are coaching fighters. Someone who fights out of BJ Penn's gym has some expectation of success because BJ was a good fighter. Or the Gracies. Leave room for personal excellence, but understand the process is important. At some point, we need to regularly tune-up the process. Maybe things got sloppy. Maybe we forgot a kata or two. Maybe what we thought was it is not it. I don't think its unhealthy to be critical during these periods of evaluation. You don't test for a black belt and perform kata like a 6th kyu. There was some expectation of critical evaluation and refinement. Just cuz I survived to my yondan and don't have to test doesn't mean I get to stop refining my aikido.

Ikeda Sensei does what he calls internal power. Saotome sensei, too. They both feel it is in aikido and have both put attention to being more diligent in showing it. Saotome Sensei was in Florida a few weeks ago and taught a class - no technigue, just aiki. In this regards, you see an exceptional individual who has seen that 30 years of waza did not teach aiki and he is now paying more attention to what will teach aiki. Sensei has every right to say, "this is my aikido, figure it out." But he doesn't. He is still looking for how he can get this stuff into our heads before he is gone, and I love him for it. He is brave enough to change the process so I can figure things out. He has a bunch of students who like the process and got their rank from the process and have no interest in changing the process. Sensei knows it. Ask George sensei how many times his does a Looney Tunes face-slap and say, "Sensei, why didn't you show this 20 years ago?"**Shameless plug - come see George Ledyard in Atlanta December 5-7!!**

Demonstrating aiki should be something all of us can do. We should all be able to grab a good martial artist, drag them onto the mat and say, "don't kick the $hi! out of me, but feel this..." and it should work. Demonstrating aikido is more difficult. We should be able to then say, "okay, now try to kick the $hi! out of me and feel what our waza feels like..." Neither dialog should contain things like, "like most people who don't train aikido, you're attacking wrong," or "here is where you fall down." or "I can hit you, but you can't hit back," or "well, I'd kill you if I was really doing this."

jonreading
08-28-2014, 09:00 AM
IHTBF. Take a trip to Florida and visit the Big Green Drum dojo an feel what Eric is talking about.

dps

I have. The Pensacola people are good friends and this is running dangerously close to requiring people to address things better left private. BGD has its own version of aikido. Erick is working on his own version of aikido. I cannot say whether his methodology will ever cross into what I call aiki training, but I respect that he is looking and I respect the people he is working with. It is not what Dan does and if he arrives to that place it will be via a path that is not Dan's design. I say God-speed and over the next 20 years I plan to tease Erick about taking the hard way up the mountain.

Second, I would argue that aiki training is not relegated to the "warm up exercises." In fact, I would advocate that aiki training is the entirety of our training, broken up by paired training to validate our movement. FWIW.

Erick Mead
08-28-2014, 10:04 PM
... I plan to tease Erick about taking the hard way up the mountain. So you say ;) I been up lots of them hills, and folks get lost REAL easy in them hollers ...

And as I lplay the fool twiddling my wrenches on my outlandish contraption back at the base of the foothills, and you call down to tell me to hurry up and follow the trail --- remember this -- I am a helicopter pilot, man -- and I ain't taking them damn mosquito-laden trails again unless I know for a fact that I can't ever get this thing into full flight and get up there the way God meant unfallen humanity to travel .... :D

And for what it's worth -- it hovers now. So, see you up there.

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
― Benjamin Franklin,

transit
08-28-2014, 11:37 PM
Erick,
I have to say you have a great attitude. Best of luck to you on your journey!
Sincerely,
Tristan

dps
08-29-2014, 01:22 AM
And good luck to those who are trying to ascend in hot air balloons.

dps

Carsten Möllering
08-29-2014, 11:14 AM
It depends on how one describes Aiki and how one describes Aikido.
...
I define aiki as the quality of Aikido that makes it different from other martial arts.What about other budō then which also have aiki? Or arts like nō, e.g.? Some of them not only have it, but even call it "aiki", like in Daitō ryū or Kashima shin ryū. Are you aware, that Ueshiba taught female dancers aiki?
In which way do you distinguish between the aiki that makes aikidō different from other martial arts and the aiki that is explicetly contained other (martial) arts?

---

I practice with people of Daitō ryū Roppokai and with students of Inaba Minoru sensei. They have something they call "aiki" in their teaching and practice.
I practice with people who practcie Tenshin shōden katori shintō ryū. Sugino Yoshio sensei was one of the first students of Ueshiba Morihei who was allowed to open an official shibu dōjō. There is a strong connection between the aiki of Ueshiba and the in-yo-ho of katori. Although nobody says so openly, I think it to be the same.

I don't see any separation of the two...I think, nobody does. Isn't it natural that when you practice aikidō you are of the opinion that there is aiki contained in your practice?

It is only when you develop, grow, when you meet other, new teachers, practice with other, new partners, see videos on the internet or read books or forum-posts, things like that. It is only then, that you may come to realize that they have something, that there is something you have not. Or at at least you become curious, what they are talking about. And maybe (!) you change your direction, maybe (!) you move on into new territory you didn't kow before. And only then you may (!) say, that what you did before, lacked aiki.
Only because you know better now.

---

When I met Endō Seishiro sensei I simply had no idea, what he was doing. After 13 jears of intense practice with - I still think - very good teachers - I did not understand, what it was that was moving me, throwing me. But it felt great: Very soft, no pain, very, very strong. I had found aiki. And I wanted to have that. - So changed my course and began to leran aikidō "again". There where other teachers then who widened my horizon further. Ariga Kaname sensei, Jorma Lyly sensei, Dan Harden, who opened my eyes for the underlying structure. And there is my direct teacher who carefully guides me through this process. I still move on.
On everyday over the last twenty years I was deeply convinced that aiki would be part of my aikidō.
At the same time, my understanding of what aiki is and my ability to do what I understood aiki at a time, changed. Mostly gradually, little steps. But after 13 years the change was fundamentally deep.
So in retrospect I say: There was no aiki in my aikidō for the first 13 years. It was only form, outward movement. Would you have asked me back then I would have been sure to have and do aiki.

... looking for it in another place. This is similar: I think most aikidōka are very loyal to their art. I think it to be typical for us, that we mostly understand "looking ... in another place" as something "not good". We are committed to our teacher, our line of tradition, our budō. At least this is my experience. In aikidō there is no keppan needed. ;)

It is only when you come to realize that the basis of aikidō is much more broad, then you where aware of. When you read the texts of Ueshiba Morihei, when you listen to student of him, when you learn more about his research and about his learning, then maybe the horizon widens and certain limitations open up. And maybe you are able - or you even have to - change the viewing direction. And you may see, that what you thought to be "outside" or "another place" belongs to your own ground. A place you didn't know until then, but now you realize, that Ueshiba reclaimed that land, that "othter place" for his budō. And that what you harvest today, still has it's root in that land, that is not another place, but your own land.

---

When I listened to Endō sensei it struck me, that he used Daoist terms and thoughts to teach. Although he himself is practicing zen buddhism. Anyway,while trying to understand his teachings I got more an more involved into a new research about Daoism. (I had worked on Daoism for years then but from my perspective as christian theologist, not as aikidōka.) There where also other hints pointing to China. HIPS of Ellis was one of them. The Daoist roots of Ōmotokyō was one of them. So I began to dig deeper. Until finally - the direction reversed: Digging deeper and deeper into Daoism, I realized that I began to "understand" the texts of Ueshiba. Chris' translations helped a lot! Because thay make this connection much more clear, then former translations. And something really strange happened: Researching into the connection between Ueshiba and Daoist internal alchemy I found a book about nei gong, that hat exactly those exercises I knew from my first day of aikidō. Also these exercises connecte to the teaching of Endō sensei. And after I met Dan, I realized that what he showed us was also "the same".
Great! I went to my teacher, feeling like Columbus, having discovered not only a but the new world. He grinned, said something like: "fine" and something like "finally". ... And began to give me some small maps of this "new" world, which he had gotten from Sugino sensei, Yamaguchi sensei, Endo sensei, ... .
Our place is much bigger, than most of us realize.
When I later asked Endō sensei very carefully wether there might be some relations to Chinese stuff in his aikidō, he looked at me as if I was stupid: "Sure! - That was it what you wanted to ask???" And then he added: "And the same is true for o sensei. He was very clear about that!"

For me aikido is different that other arts because there is no contest. It is all about conquering the self though training.What about other budō that also do not have contests? Your statement is true for a whole lot of Japanese budō. And conquering the self even seems an underlying aspect of nearly every Japanese art.

If we could let go of the idea that one way is the way ...How can there be different ways? In other budō, especially in koryū - and other traditional arts - there is only one way. In kata-based learning it downright the essential characteristic, that there is only one way. And only one way to go this one way correct.
In which way is aikidō different? Why is it different? And since when?

If there are different ways, what is the meaning of "kihon" then? In our practice it is even called "kihon no kata".

And about "wich aikidō" do we talk? That of Hirai o sensei? That oft Yoshigasaki dōshu? That of Shioda kanchō? Tohei sensei promised in his famous letter not to use the name aikidō for his art. Tomiki sensei was asked not to use the name for his. ...

Do we talk about different ways to climb the same Mountain? Or are we simply climbing different mountains? In Germany we have two big "Feldberg". They are often mixed up ...

There are so many people that don't post on Aikiweb any more. ... Yes. Really sad. Aikiweb had a really great time, being a platform for the training of aiki. And it is thanks to aikiweb, that people literally from all over the world, could connect, could find together in real life and practice. And it was a treasure chest for people searching for aiki, investigating, searching. Like me. It has been very, very interesting to read the uncounted posts and absorb all those informations. Aikiweb has changed a lot of lifes by enabling access to this way of practice.
For me it was a very sad moment, when this was ended.
I myself have been lucky enough to be able to connect to this stream early enough. But I regret that Aikiweb has lost it's status as a meeting point of those who are interested in aiki. I know of so many people who never registered, but read, read, read ...

I am fully aware, that your statement was meant the other way round. You talking about a "messiah", "religion", "being rude" and things like that show how deeply affected you are. Which is obvious not only since this last post. And I am really sorry for that!
On the other side: I also often felt hurt. And I had to accept, that Aikiweb didn't want to stay this wonderful place where I could learn, meet people exchange experiences and ideas of aiki - the way I understand it.
So, I think all this is not that simple black and white ...

... who really cares?Everyone of us, I think. We have to, I think. Aren't we all working on aiki, our way of aiki? Isn't that essential for our lifes? Isn't this where we all agree: That aiki / aikidō is important to us, crucial?
That doesn't mean that it is good to fight or that we have to fight. It's no excuse. Just an explanation, I think.

Rupert Atkinson
08-31-2014, 12:31 AM
What about other budō then which also have aiki? Or arts like nō, e.g.? Some of them not only have it, but even call it "aiki", like in Daitō ryū or Kashima shin ryū.
In which way do you distinguish between the aiki that makes aikidō different from other martial arts and the aiki that is explicitly contained other (martial) arts?
Sorry - cut most off - too long to repost ...
---------------------

I came across the following many years ago and, working as a language teacher, or when rebuilding engines, or playing guitar, or in fact - doing almost anything that requires thinking, the essence of it rebounds back on me almost daily. It really is true.

He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a fool; shun him.
He who knows not yet knows he knows not, he is simple; teach him.
He who knows yet knows not that he knows, he is asleep; awaken him.
He who knows and knows that he knows, he is wise; follow him.

However, the first problem with this - in martial arts - is that many of those that think they are #4 (wise) are in fact #1 (the fool). And this, despite multiple years of training. Training time is most certainly not the solution we seek (yet look at the grading syllabus vis a vis time). The second problem with this is that many of the students of these pseudo#4s really believe them. And if you think about it, this is why aiki and even some of the more basic skills remains so elusive. There really are a lot of blind people in martial arts. But it does no good to point fingers - just look at yourself.

Carsten Möllering
08-31-2014, 04:59 AM
Not sure in which category I fall ...

... but I know that I didn't mean to point fingers: Every question in my text was meant honest. None of them was meant just rhetorical.

Really: I didn't mean to point or be agressive or whatever. I hoped to get some answers, making me learn something. And even if I don't share her view, I might better understand her perspective.

PeterR
08-31-2014, 05:34 AM
I don't think he was pointing at any one person.

I always liked the old adage.

90% of all men think they are above average drivers (also not pointing any fingers).

One thing I have noticed is that if you shout loud enough someone will follow and just as certainly you will get some negative reaction. Neither of which is necessarily informed - goes with the territory.

Mary Eastland
08-31-2014, 07:39 AM
Putting on my black shoes I have my center,
Washing the dishes...oh, there is my center,
Hearing I may meet my son who I have not seen for 35 years... my center flees....
Ah, now my center is back, wavering slightly now and then....

This training gives me a reference for the rest of my life...after receiving this news I prayed and wrote and called a friend. Then Ron and I went down to the dojo to practice a little to get back in our bodies. Demonstrating aiki, demonstrating akido...like I said I don't care. I am just grateful it works for me.

RonRagusa
08-31-2014, 09:37 AM
Hey Mir... remember... all those years ago...? It's only noise. ;)

R.

Lee Salzman
08-31-2014, 08:01 PM
Putting on my black shoes I have my center,
Washing the dishes...oh, there is my center,
Hearing I may meet my son who I have not seen for 35 years... my center flees....
Ah, now my center is back, wavering slightly now and then....

This training gives me a reference for the rest of my life...after receiving this news I prayed and wrote and called a friend. Then Ron and I went down to the dojo to practice a little to get back in our bodies. Demonstrating aiki, demonstrating akido...like I said I don't care. I am just grateful it works for me.

If we permit that aiki can be anything anyone wants, then of course it works, as there is no criteria for failure. So do we open the door for aiki to be the act of putting on your shoes or washing the dishes? Why then is aikido an art that is firmly attached to wrist locks, elbow pins, and koshi throws? If you abandon those things, then what is left as a defining unique martial characteristic? Tying my shoelaces? So if I do standard jujitsu but tie my shoes with the correct philosophy, I am suddenly doing aikido, or aiki?

I think a minimum standard of rigor is required, that whatever you hold aiki is, it must be explicable and defensible, if not in writing, then at least in person. Otherwise, then yep, as noted, it all becomes fruitless noise. It doesn't have to be scientific rigor, but still, at least relatable so someone can even understand what you're getting at. That still allows for different hypotheses to the nature of aiki, but if you can't explain, then you're just a speedbump in a dialogue. So I will apply your criteria you yourself posed: 1) I define aiki as the quality of Aikido that makes it different from other martial arts. It is the part that allows for connection and development of power to defend oneself. 2) For me aikido is different that other arts because there is no contest. It is all about conquering the self though training.

Now just as an example, I disagree that finding your center or connecting centers makes that aiki, as many martial arts (and many non-martial ones), really just about anything where part of the goal is to not fall over, have the notion of a body center and keeping it. Even ki and qi as part of expressing a center are so pervasive in just about all asian arts they don't even really merit interest in picking one art or another. It doesn't even fit your own criteria earlier of what makes aikido special.

In fact, having a center by itself creates conflict, because then suddenly you open the possibility of the power of your center being directed into the other center. At best this is a collision, where the stronger center wins, or at worst it is opening you up to being exploited by someone who can react quicker or anticipate you. Push when pulled, pull when pushed - basic judo, so not unique or special to aikido, eh?

So then you can have all sorts of strategies of moving your center off the line of attack, not being where their power is, basic evasion that is in pretty much any art where part of the goal is to not get hit or thrown, up to and including gradeschool dodgeball. And at the philosophical level, the whole "the best way to win a fight is not to get in one" idea is in just about every mode of self-defense in existence. So, these too, can't be what makes aikido unique or special.

Would I even cross the street to learn what aiki is if I was already doing another martial art, if it was just those, and I'd have already been doing just under other names and without the overlying philosophy? Probably not.

I would contend that aiki is a technology, a learned skill, that is not about building a center, but is about hiding it in plain sight, such that the center can be cutting right through someone, straight on, and it can't be found because it is... hidden. Incoming power can likewise seek out that center, and the center need not move out of the way, intercept, or blend with that power to avoid it because that center is, again... hidden. Completely invisible, transparent power. There is no contest, no collision, no fighting, because one center never encounters the other. You never show it, not even as your power rocketing through someone. That is profound. I would and have crossed the street to learn that.

This power can be used to dominate people, to hurt them, and generally do very nasty things, and this actually creates a philosophical dilemma that gives aikido, for me, as an expression of aiki, a reason to exist. You have a choice to use that power in a responsible way that does not cut people down or break them apart. But using power responsibility and having/building good character is also a theme in just about every martial art in existence, so that doesn't really make aikido special either.

Hence my 2c: aiki is a technology for hiding the center in the application of power, is separate from aikido, and without it you can't make the choice that leads to aikido's peculiar utilization of it.

Cliff Judge
08-31-2014, 09:19 PM
This power can be used to dominate people, to hurt them, and generally do very nasty things,

This power? This....Aiki power?

Lee Salzman
09-01-2014, 06:07 AM
This power? This....Aiki power?

Power that can't be easily felt, can't be easily resisted. So for the same amount of measurable force output, you get a lot more noticeable results. The source of the power and where it is going into you are not straightforward to someone who is not trained to utilize it themselves. No conflict from them with your own expression of force. This acts as a force multiplier. So as far as giving one the ability to control someone or hurt them, that is power as far as martial arts are concerned.

If you don't want to call that aiki, I guess not everyone will be convinced on terminology grounds. The hands-on phenomenon is not very arguable, though, once felt, whatever you might wish to refer to it as. As far as I've been able to discern, it plugs in well as an engine for aikido movement because it takes the resolution of conflict as the basic goal and programs the body to move without causing conflicts as it moves through another person.

Erick Mead
09-01-2014, 10:33 AM
Power that can't be easily felt, can't be easily resisted. So for the same amount of measurable force output, you get a lot more noticeable results. The source of the power and where it is going into you are not straightforward to someone who is not trained to utilize it themselves. No conflict from them with your own expression of force. This acts as a force multiplier. So as far as giving one the ability to control someone or hurt them, that is power as far as martial arts are concerned.

If you don't want to call that aiki, I guess not everyone will be convinced on terminology grounds. The hands-on phenomenon is not very arguable, though, once felt, whatever you might wish to refer to it as. As far as I've been able to discern, it plugs in well as an engine for aikido movement because it takes the resolution of conflict as the basic goal and programs the body to move without causing conflicts as it moves through another person.I call it that -- so did Ueshiba. Juuji -- he called the art that at one point : "Juujido" -- the application of 90 degree interaction -- the line where the incoming force has zero magnitude -- and so no resistance whatsoever.

The intersection of a linear force and 90 degree component results in a rotation, and in an object not free to rotate -- a moment (rotational potential), which is stored in bending or torsional stress.

In rotational ( i.e. cyclical) action or potential, it becomes both physical and temporal in application -- when 90 degrees out of phase, the maxima of the 90 degree phase acts at the zero point of the originating phase (http://sub.allaboutcircuits.com/images/02021.png), where there is literally no energy available to counter the alteration of the resultign peak action. When this occurs, the system displays harmonic resonance, and the peak of cyclic action shifts from that anticipated by the originating phase. This is true of actual rotations -- or oscillations. The body also has a natural resonance at ~5 Hz (e.g. --furitama) and a first harmonic at ~10 Hz (e.g. -- tekubifuri), which can blow self-protective reflex circuits (muscle spindles, and golgi tendon organs) in the body.) Ark's shuddering collapses of people are obvious examples of this -- and it has active application (though more subtle) in a various kokyu nage --which we use,

In stress mechanics, the torsional shear has a spiral line of simultaneous tension and of compression at right angles to one another. Compression -- a push -- may be resisted,not by pushing back (this merely increases the compressive stress and adds to rotational potential (and can be used in its own way for catastrophic buckling). The "push" can be relieved and dissipated by creating an extension in the right angle (tension) spiral line, which both orients the push onto the corresponding normal (perpendicular line)-- the compressional spiral --and balances and neutralizes the push with a stored torque in the frame of the body. If you inhale while receiving the stored torque, you also diminish the felt torque, by stiffening the structure, but its absolute value remains the same.

Many seem to disagree with this set of principles derived from my observations and training, and the attribution of the concrete images of these principles related by the Founder. But - all of these things are true. All of them I find application for training.

They allow me to make objectively articulated observations, to demonstrate appropriate corrections, and to make immediate and lasting improvements to a student's persistent errors, and allow self-correcting observational knowledge. They frame an ideal of action and interaction that while objective and technical in origins is also intuitively comprehensible -- and applicable -- once the rudiments of the image of the concrete action concept and the practical action are seen together and understood together.

Carsten Möllering
09-01-2014, 02:03 PM
juji does not refer to physical axes but to the cross formed of heaven - earth and kan - li.
It has got nothing to with 90degree angles.

RonRagusa
09-01-2014, 06:39 PM
juji does not refer to physical axes but to the cross formed of heaven - earth and kan - li.
It has got nothing to with 90degree angles.

So Carsten, from what you have been posting lately it seems that are you saying that there are no analogs that one can map between the eastern classics that you study on the one hand and the physical sciences on the other. Am I correct or am I missing something here? I don't have an opinion one way or the other since my own study is involves looking in rather than out, but I'm interested in how you come to your conclusion.

Ron

kewms
09-01-2014, 11:29 PM
The various phenomenon described as "aiki" derive from the movement of physical structures and create movement in other physical structures. As such, they are at least theoretically measurable.

In practice, doing so would require that both uke and nage be wearing a wide array of sensors. It would be helpful to track brain waves, the movement of electrical signals through the nervous system, the tension/relaxation and acceleration of the musculature and fascia, and so forth. To the best of my knowledge, no such studies have actually been done. (Although links to any that exist would of course be welcome.)

But even if we did have such a concrete set of explanations, some would find traditional teaching metaphors more helpful, some would prefer Erick's approach, and some would fall somewhere in between.

And, ultimately, what matters is developing the ability to physically create these phenomena, not to write technical papers about them.

Katherine

MRoh
09-02-2014, 07:01 AM
The cross that is formed by heaven-earth / kan-li exists only in the "early heaven" arrangement of the bagua, in the "late heaven" arrangement there is no such cross.

Here is another one:

http://www.taichi-chuan-luebeck.de/images/ueshiba_nocquet.gif

Lee Salzman
09-02-2014, 07:23 AM
So Carsten, from what you have been posting lately it seems that are you saying that there are no analogs that one can map between the eastern classics that you study on the one hand and the physical sciences on the other. Am I correct or am I missing something here? I don't have an opinion one way or the other since my own study is involves looking in rather than out, but I'm interested in how you come to your conclusion.

Ron

For consideration:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=448&d=1201930190
(source: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=198450&postcount=142)

See also:
http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-floating-bridge-heaven/
http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aiki-iki-kokyu-heng-ha-aun-part-1/

jonreading
09-02-2014, 11:57 AM
I think I have compared aikido words with Smurfinology before. If we take a word, aiki, and refuse to define it we are left with a word that has no meaning. Aiki has to stand for something, as Lee points out. Even if I am wrong in my definition it is a toehold for conversation, an opportunity to create a dialog about why I am wrong.

Sometimes we use aikido to deal with heavy things. We twist our training into something meaningful to us without regard for its actual meaning. That leaves use in a state of constant translation with minimal transmission opportunity. By transforming aikido into a pseudo-philosophical foundation, or a pseudo-religion, we imbue the art with traits that are hardened by personal confirmation and belief.

I think we all have some investment in clearly defining what we call aiki and relating our definition to others. To Lee's point, and central to my distinction, if you can show aiki in a variety of illustrations, why do we limit it to jujutsu?

Erick Mead
09-02-2014, 12:19 PM
juji does not refer to physical axes but to the cross formed of heaven - earth and kan - li.
It has got nothing to with 90degree angles. Sorry, but it sure does-- and quite concretely, too.
Kan- Li 火 水 -- fire & water (Ka & Mi in Nihongo).

Fire, flows up -- Water flows down.

Fire 火 rises forming a line of tension/extension potential/action
Water 水 descends forming a line of compression/contraction potential/action

The cross of heaven (vertical axis) and earth (horizontal axis) forms the transverse plane (vertical, left-right). MAN (仁) forms the third axis, projecting from the center (toward and away from the viewer -- making the six directions, FWIW).

Man as (the kanji intimates: 仁) has two differently oriented relationships, one above and one below -- the relation of man with earth (forming the horizontal plane), and the relation of man with heaven forming the sagital plane (front-back (omote/ura)).

Water is the relation of man from heaven to earth, and fire the relation of man from earth to heaven.

These relations/forces of all three elements must traverse all three planes of their relationships equally. Right-angle action creates rotation or oscillation in all three axes -- which defines a spiral.

Water is the spiral line falling/contracting, in compression. Fire is the spiral line rising/extending, in tension.

On the horizontal plane they are seen as rotations in opposite directions (tenkan is the basic horizontal plane taiso). On the transverse and sagital planes they are seen as out-of-phase oscillations (sine curves or waves). Funetori is the basic sagital oscillation taiso. Tekubifuri and furitama are the basic transverse plane oscillation taiso.

Torsion on a body enables or exploits these opposite components (in-yo) of stress/force in spiral lines of stress at right angles to one another in a shear (https://www.dropbox.com/s/t51rtn9gfqgjdma/Vert%20shear%20stress%20shaft.JPG?dl=0)

Erick Mead
09-02-2014, 03:04 PM
The various phenomenon described as "aiki" derive from the movement of physical structures and create movement in other physical structures. As such, they are at least theoretically measurable.

In practice, doing so would require that both uke and nage be wearing a wide array of sensors. It would be helpful to track brain waves, the movement of electrical signals through the nervous system, the tension/relaxation and acceleration of the musculature and fascia, and so forth. To the best of my knowledge, no such studies have actually been done. (Although links to any that exist would of course be welcome.) Taiji has received some of this precise treatment -- to interesting result in this study (http://www.qigonginstitute.org/html/Qi_Press/TaiChi%20Stanford.pdf). There was an accompanying video, I found again here here (http://move.stanford.edu/09/videos.html), and the accompanying Stanford news article on the study (http://news.stanford.edu/news/2008/may7/med-taichi-050708.html)

There was some discussion on it in this thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14345):

Lee Salzman
09-02-2014, 05:02 PM
Sorry, but it sure does-- and quite concretely, too.
Kan- Li 火 水 -- fire & water (Ka & Mi in Nihongo).

Fire, flows up -- Water flows down.

Fire 火 rises forming a line of tension/extension potential/action
Water 水 descends forming a line of compression/contraction potential/action

The cross of heaven (vertical axis) and earth (horizontal axis) forms the transverse plane (vertical, left-right). MAN (仁) forms the third axis, projecting from the center (toward and away from the viewer -- making the six directions, FWIW).

Man as (the kanji intimates: 仁) has two differently oriented relationships, one above and one below -- the relation of man with earth (forming the horizontal plane), and the relation of man with heaven forming the sagital plane (front-back (omote/ura)).

Water is the relation of man from heaven to earth, and fire the relation of man from earth to heaven.

These relations/forces of all three elements must traverse all three planes of their relationships equally. Right-angle action creates rotation or oscillation in all three axes -- which defines a spiral.

Water is the spiral line falling/contracting, in compression. Fire is the spiral line rising/extending, in tension.

On the horizontal plane they are seen as rotations in opposite directions (tenkan is the basic horizontal plane taiso). On the transverse and sagital planes they are seen as out-of-phase oscillations (sine curves or waves). Funetori is the basic sagital oscillation taiso. Tekubifuri and furitama are the basic transverse plane oscillation taiso.

Torsion on a body enables or exploits these opposite components (in-yo) of stress/force in spiral lines of stress at right angles to one another in a shear (https://www.dropbox.com/s/t51rtn9gfqgjdma/Vert%20shear%20stress%20shaft.JPG?dl=0)

To be clear, this is wonkery of a level that exceeds the mission of this thread, which I was under the impression was to just ascertain if aiki is a separate thing from aikido, that can be demonstrated without needing to use aikido to do that.

But there are things at the level of talking shop laid out here I would like to address, because they are put forth as absolutes that some might take issue with. Bluntly, I think you're overshooting the mark, and you'll get less out of your model in application because of it. Take it down a notch, as in make it stupid simpler, and the model becomes more profound in how you can apply it.

If we refer back to this diagram (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=448&d=1201930190) and Chris Li's article on the Floating Bridge of Heaven (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-floating-bridge-heaven/), heaven and earth need not be thought of as axes, and are best thought of as polarity, just like fire and water, and man is what joins them, the center, void, attraction. In the diagram, the two X cross-lines in the diagram, if you want to assign fixed relationships, become fire and water respectively, and heaven and earth more profoundly operate on the central axis running there. And well, the power of heaven and power of earth can also be simultaneously interpreted as just that if it floats your boat, gravity and reaction force. But it is somewhat self-limiting in my view to tie yourself down to that. Your interpretations of fire and water, though, and their application to a spiral I don't find grievous fault with.

But locking yourself in to thinking of them as planes and axes? Locking yourself into specific numbers of degrees and angles? I just don't see the utility in practice.

Oh, and man? Thinking of man as just one more geometric concept is just... wow. Man is so much more. Man is the thing that joins it all together, encompassing both mind and body. Where is the mind, thinking of it giving rise to ki or other phenomenon if you wish, even mentioned in passing in this account, without which none of these forces can be manifested at your disposal at all?

Heaven and earth can be thought of as operating anywhere, any time, even at a single point. Hence all the talk of yin and yang. You emphatically do not need a spiral or a cross to utilize this model for martial effect. You do not even need to be moving. All you need is a single point, making a simple rotation balanced by the two opposing forces acting on it. And even before rotation, just having opposing forces at all acting at any point already forms the floating bridge of heaven much talked about, which could also be called center or "one point" and leading to the immovable body.

In the limit, it can become spirals, but some of the most profound uses in application are far simpler and far harder to train into the body. For example, the immovable arm demonstration can either be just nothing more than a simple parlor trick or it can be a weapon, as an expression of whole body immovability everywhere in all movements, depending on how you build it into your training. And just the simple expression of rotation, upon a trained immovable body can floor people or cast them out. No PhD in MechE required, just a willingness to stubbornly practice and not overthink it.

Really, use can be as simple as: see diagram here (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/wp-content/media/aiki-nage-figure-5.jpg). You might be formalizing yourself into a self-limiting box.

kewms
09-02-2014, 07:01 PM
Taiji has received some of this precise treatment -- to interesting result in this study (http://www.qigonginstitute.org/html/Qi_Press/TaiChi%20Stanford.pdf). There was an accompanying video, I found again here here (http://move.stanford.edu/09/videos.html), and the accompanying Stanford news article on the study (http://news.stanford.edu/news/2008/may7/med-taichi-050708.html)

There was some discussion on it in this thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14345):

Very interesting. Thanks for the links. -- Katherine

Erick Mead
09-02-2014, 09:41 PM
Bluntly, I think you're overshooting the mark, and you'll get less out of your model in application because of it. ...
...heaven and earth need not be thought of as axes, and are best thought of as polarity...

Polarity is less concretely applicable, much more abstract to relate to actual practice.

Your interpretations of fire and water, though, and their application to a spiral I don't find grievous fault with. ... But locking yourself in to thinking of them as planes and axes? Locking yourself into specific numbers of degrees and angles? I just don't see the utility in practice. I am not locking anything in ... A strict rule in the dojo -- no protractors on the mat... weapons practice is segregated ... :eek: Besides you know when you have the juuji line -- you can feel it instantly.

The forms of action/potential can be on any given axis -- and the spirals a have physical reality -- they relate tension and compression at right angles in a torsional shear.

The point of relating all that was simply to show that the old man Ueshiba -- whose scheme of reference was not Western or mechanical -- nevertheless mapped his imagery onto the same concrete relationships and the same forms of dynamics and statics .

I, for one, could care less whether we call it the intersection of fire and water -- or torsional shear -- or bloody quaternions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternions_and_spatial_rotation)for all I care --as long as we have something that is objectively clear we are talking about and can demonstrate its use for ourselves and to improve the use of others. History shows almost no other mode of physical description has this consistent virtue.

We did this tonight in class, for FWIW, so I'll kindly refrain from doubting its utility since it is actually useful -- I used it. Specifically, we went over the uses of each plane of action/potential, the relevant taiso and typical waza that train them in interactive forms.

No one needed a protractor -- I swear... :p

And as to the thread topic we did all this in basically standing kokyu tanden ho without a single waza. But clearly relating the action to the taiso and numerous waza that have related forms of action/potential in that plane or planes of action. Was that demonstrating aiki or aikido ? -- -- Mostly that question that seems semantic to me .

RonRagusa
09-02-2014, 10:20 PM
Aiki is a state of being. It is a state I can achieve via training. Anything I do in that state is a demonstration of Aiki. The outer form is irrelevant. To call the thing being done Aiki is to confuse the state with the medium employed to express it (the state).

Ron

Lee Salzman
09-03-2014, 06:25 AM
Polarity is less concretely applicable, much more abstract to relate to actual practice.

There are so many basic applications of the principle of opposing forces at the point of contact that it is mind-boggling you can get so much from conceptually so little.

Again, see this diagram of basic application of rotation (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/wp-content/media/aiki-nage-figure-5.jpg), which shows one way of accomplishing aiki-age. At a minimum, what is labeled the "support point" there is the immovable body, the center, created by expressing your intent as opposing forces, the joining of the two kis, heaven and earth, fire and water.

In practice that is being resilient to locks and throws and being able to strike with various parts of the body as if they were the entire body, you become one giant center. Ridiculously applicable.

Put that in rotation, like shown there, and suddenly the center is harder to access, but the power of that center still finds its way into things at tangents to where the incoming forces are acting. Application of that are seemingly limitless, from basic pinning and uprooting all the way up to spirals with torsional shear. But at bottom, this comes from the simple practice of being grabbed and not disturbing the point of contact, which also has a high degree of utility just by itself. All that from thinking in two places instead of one.

How do you not disturb the point of contact? By balancing forces at the point of contact, by application of opposing forces. So train the body to do that everywhere all the time, and what happens in situations with unpredictable forces on the body? Spiral movement falls out of this, but yet you don't have a definitive shape or pattern of moving. Yet you no longer conflict with someone in your movements, whether they are defensive or offensive in nature.

But a person can't walk into the dojo on day 1 with a body ready to do this. Before the body can employ opposing forces in movement it has to be able to do opposing forces just standing still. Most people don't even try to even train for that, so doing the manipulations above it, especially waza, is a pipe dream. This is why I said I think you're overshooting the mark, because the importance of "man" seems not accounted for. It is where the hard work of anything to happen at all is.


I am not locking anything in ... A strict rule in the dojo -- no protractors on the mat... weapons practice is segregated ... :eek: Besides you know when you have the juuji line -- you can feel it instantly.

The forms of action/potential can be on any given axis -- and the spirals a have physical reality -- they relate tension and compression at right angles in a torsional shear.

The point of relating all that was simply to show that the old man Ueshiba -- whose scheme of reference was not Western or mechanical -- nevertheless mapped his imagery onto the same concrete relationships and the same forms of dynamics and statics .

I, for one, could care less whether we call it the intersection of fire and water -- or torsional shear -- or bloody quaternions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternions_and_spatial_rotation)for all I care --as long as we have something that is objectively clear we are talking about and can demonstrate its use for ourselves and to improve the use of others. History shows almost no other mode of physical description has this consistent virtue.

We did this tonight in class, for FWIW, so I'll kindly refrain from doubting its utility since it is actually useful -- I used it. Specifically, we went over the uses of each plane of action/potential, the relevant taiso and typical waza that train them in interactive forms.

No one needed a protractor -- I swear... :p

And as to the thread topic we did all this in basically standing kokyu tanden ho without a single waza. But clearly relating the action to the taiso and numerous waza that have related forms of action/potential in that plane or planes of action. Was that demonstrating aiki or aikido ? -- -- Mostly that question that seems semantic to me .

It's not just semantics. We have precursor arts such as Daito-ryu claiming usage of aiki, while not subscribing to the particular Aikido "budo is love" interpretation or Morihei Ueshiba's background in Omoto-kyo. Their waza have specific differences in how they cut people down and break them apart versus Aikido's cast them out. It would hint that the application of aiki is different from the basic phenomenon. That just by the practice of Aikido techniques, you are not necessarily practicing aiki, but that Aikido techniques can serve as a particular application of aiki within the limits of Aikido's guiding philosophy.

But let me be clear, regardless of whether or not I agree/disagree with you on specifics, I respect the amount of thought you put in to what you do and the effort you apply to explaining it. Beyond that, I think we'd have to meet before I can get a greater lock on what you are doing for comparison. Maybe one day.

Aiki is a state of being. It is a state I can achieve via training. Anything I do in that state is a demonstration of Aiki. The outer form is irrelevant. To call the thing being done Aiki is to confuse the state with the medium employed to express it (the state).

Ron

As a contrast, we could suppose: Tennis is a state of being. It is a state that can be achieved through training. Anything one does in that state is a demonstration of Tennis. The outer form is irrelevant. To call the thing being done Tennis is to confuse the state with the medium employed to express it (the state).

Tennis has rules and training methods to internalize those rules. At some level expert players might internalize the rules so well that if we're trying to point out examples of what tennis is, we point at them. But they're still examples of what started as a rule set. Yeah, yeah, "finger pointing at the moon" and all that, but you may as well expect a building to come into existence without scaffolding. You have to get there via a process, and the process matters.

If we just point at the player and say, "steal his tennis", expecting all learning to happen via osmosis... How's that working out? It turns tennis into a semi-religious faith where ability has become voodoo, worshiped but how exactly it is gained is not understood and can't be reliably worked at by anyone. There's no exact accounting for talent, but talent without development is still worth about nothing.

You might object to the metaphor, that tennis is not like Aikido, but then why does Aikido have a specific appearance defined by its waza, and why are people wont to make the determination of whether something is Aikido based on that waza? Aikido would appear to have a form and that form is significant to the determination of what is or is not Aikido. If you don't like competitive sports, then replace tennis with running or sky-diving.

We can't divorce aiki from the models we use to understand it or the means by which we train it. Well, we can, but I don't so much like the result of doing that, which is faith-based martial arts.

As this relates back to aiki vs. Aikido, depending on how you define aiki, there can be processes for developing aiki as separate from its expression in Aikido, which can be applied back to Aikido. Or you could just as well say that Aikido is the only process for producing the phenomenon of aiki and aiki is the result of that process, but then that leaves you in a conundrum with other martial arts that claim to utilize aiki, or ones that don't claim to but can be seen to do so, and are not Aikido.

phitruong
09-03-2014, 09:56 AM
No one needed a protractor -- I swear... :p


protractor is useless. same goes for slide rule. compass on the other hand is quite usefull especially the pointy end which you can use to poke the other person. :)

phitruong
09-03-2014, 10:12 AM
not tennis. it's golf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnDiy8I_rPo
now that's aiki! or maybe the quantum entanglement affect. :)

Erick Mead
09-03-2014, 11:24 AM
There are so many basic applications of the principle of opposing forces at the point of contact that it is mind-boggling you can get so much from conceptually so little. I'll quibble here... because the forces in the sense of aiki are opposite --- but not opposed. That is to say they do not counteract one another even though opposite in sign -- because they are offset 90 degrees from one another. They powerfully interact -- but not in force vs. force sense. It is a stress field that permeates the whole structure when applied in ways that bending stress applied in leverage does not and cannot exhibit.

The simplest illustration is a bed sheet -- bend it and the action is wholly confined to the point of bending. It's too loose and dangly. You can't compress it usefully. Tension, I'll deal with below.

Ah, but twist it and interesting things happen. Lay it out on flat on the floor. If you try to just lift it a bit from the center the lifting is mostly local -- and only a little displacement is seen at the edges. Now stand in the center and turn a quarter turn with your feet flat. The whole sheet is torqued from center to edge in characteristic spiral forms -- and ridges of spontaneous action appear where the sheet simply folds and lifts itself off the floor -- along those lines of spiral action. That is aiki.

Similarly, with a partner, gather the sheet into one long bundle and begin to twist it from both ends. It will become shorter and tighter and stiffer and stiffer, and soon will actually bear some compression between you. Torsion altered the apparent linear mechanical behavior of the material.

If you go beyond a critical amount of twist, it will begin spontaneously folding upon itself in the middle, and begin forming a second level of twist of the whole thing around itself. This is also aiki-- seen in sankyo and shihonage, most particularly.

The difference from the bedsheet is that the human body is not nearly as free to twist, and so has a much lower threshold of critical twist where it spontaneously folds and twists upon itself. These are but some rudimentary, commonplace and illustrative guides to the torsion field action principle in play, in and out of aikido proper.

You can tension the bed sheet, also. But to use it dynamically in tension -- you have to follow certain specific spiral paths (like a bullfighter's cape). (I used to do this with beach towels as a kid -- helped if they were damp.) It will hold itsefl in smooth plane curve -- IF, and only if -- you are following the correct lines. Those curves are extensions outside the body of the same spirals in the body in the torsional stress field. This is the change from potential energy in the structure to actual kinetic action of the structure -- but the same mathematical and geometric forms.

When deployed in that spiral, pendular form of movement these forms have a name - Lissajous curves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lissajous_curve). If you cannot see the dynamic paths of aikido waza in those curves you aren't looking at them. They are -- and mathematically speaking, in a very rigorous sense -- one and the same principles as for the internal torsional stress statics manipulations (which is what I see as the mechanical principles of IP/IS, and thus of aiki). One system -- static and dynamic --that reaches, forms and alters the response of all parts of any structure in connection with it.

Again, see this diagram of basic application of rotation (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/wp-content/media/aiki-nage-figure-5.jpg), which shows one way of accomplishing aiki-age. At a minimum, what is labeled the "support point" there is the immovable body, the center, created by expressing your intent as opposing forces, the joining of the two kis, heaven and earth, fire and water. That diagram is not physically correct, though I see your point drawn from it. the point of connection it depicts as a fulcrum, suggesting that aiki is a leverage -- and nothing could be farther from the truth. A lever is the application of opposed forces removed at a distance creating a moment arm as mechanical advantage. The reason why that diagram is incorrect is that past the point of the fulcrum there is no direct engagement with the opponent's structure to allow the actual levered lift. It is the loosest of physical analogies.

There something that provides that engagement into the opponents structure -- but it is not direct in the sense of a lever arm at the point of connection, as in your diagram. It is not and cannot operate as leverage operates. I can't draw it out here -- but suffice to say that in the sagital (fore-aft) plane the spirals appear in profile as differing phase sine curves. Isolated to that one plane of action they also act as sine curves and the stress form becomes the action. If the up-phase is used -- aiki-age results. If the down- phase is used -- this is aiki-sage. Funetori trains this, specifically, FWIW.

In practice that is being resilient to locks and throws and being able to strike with various parts of the body as if they were the entire body, you become one giant center. Ridiculously applicable. I quite agree. The "why" of it, though, -- that is the thing that broadens the imagination to see other possibilities of application you have never been shown, that simply appear and you go "Oh!. Look at that!". Ueshiba's Takemusu Aiki -- with techniques appearing as though from divine sources. In reality, schooling your physical intuition into indirect or stress field action allows you to steadily expand your understanding to the more and more remote structural connections to that manner of action.

Put that in rotation, like shown there, and suddenly the center is harder to access, but the power of that center still finds its way into things at tangents to where the incoming forces are acting. Tangents are very important. above, I see the progression from big movement tangential force management down to small and then internal tangential stress management (i.e. -- surface torsional shear). Do I criticize the revers progression ? -- Not at all. They are either end of a spectrum. Both modes have application in any fully realized art.

[DTR] waza have specific differences in how they cut people down and break them apart versus Aikido's cast them out.
It would hint that the application of aiki is different from the basic phenomenon. That just by the practice of Aikido techniques, you are not necessarily practicing aiki, but that Aikido techniques can serve as a particular application of aiki within the limits of Aikido's guiding philosophy. I think aikido is not merely "cast them out." I think it begins this way -- allowing practice to be BIG ( and slower)-- so that the forms can be seen. Paraphrasing Ikeda -- then big becomes small -- and power becomes great, then small vanishes, and power becomes infinite (practically speaking, merely VERY large). As with a spinning skater, angular velocity is inversely proportional to radius of spin. A similar relationship holds statically for torque and the radius in which you reduce the torsional stress field (like twisting tightens and reduces the radius of the bedsheet) -- which is actually precisely the reverse of the power principle of leverage -- where more power requires a longer radius lever arm to apply.

Erick Mead
09-03-2014, 11:32 AM
protractor is useless. same goes for slide rule. compass on the other hand is quite usefull especially the pointy end which you can use to poke the other person. :)

"Poke 'em with the pointy end ."

I've read this somewhere. I am sure of it ...

Erick Mead
09-03-2014, 11:33 AM
not tennis. it's golf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnDiy8I_rPo
now that's aiki! or maybe the quantum entanglement affect. :)Not golf. That's the Black Arts, that is...

mathewjgano
09-03-2014, 11:58 AM
Can aiki be defined simply as the balancing of opposing forces/qualities in and around the self?
What did Mochizuki Sensei mean by suggesting aiki can be applied to the use of things like artillery insofar as "... through it we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately"? http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=369

If through aiki we can sense the mind of our attacker while operating artillery, something I assume happens over a fairly great distance, then why not apply it in the tracking of other complex things with a similar goal of affecting a definite and positive change (i.e. through the dynamic balancing of otherwise apparently opposing aspects)?

jonreading
09-03-2014, 12:04 PM
First, I swear there's aiki in golf.

Second, if we concede aiki is a state of being (not a manifest action), I have the following questions:
1. If aiki is a state of being, then what energies unite to give meaning to the definition? If I am scrambling eggs in a state of aiki, am I unifying with the energy of the eggs? Is it the unification of energy within me? Why do we need partners to train, if aiki is about my state of being?
2. If one can perform any action while in the state of being (aiki), why do we not demonstrate aiki in everything we do? In other words, what's the difference between a giver and a cheerful giver, if the action does not describe the act? What about tying a shoe? What about pushing on some one? What about being pushed?
3. What are demonstrative illustrations of when we are in the state of aiki? If aiki is a state of being, is it possible to perform kata while not in the state of aiki? Is that technique still called "aikido". What do you call some one would is constantly in the state of being, even if he does not practice aikido?

I am pretty sure Lee covered this, but in conceding aiki is a state, we also differentiate aiki as separate from aikido (an expression of aiki via action). The giver versus the happy giver, the differentiation being the state in which the act was committed. Back to separating aiki from aikido...

RonRagusa
09-03-2014, 12:58 PM
When I write of Aiki as a state of being I mean:

"Aiki, in me, before Aiki between thee and me." - Dan Harden

Aiki in me is a state of being.

Ron

Keith Larman
09-03-2014, 01:09 PM
Steps for proper discussion of topic.

Step 1: Define your terms using precise and clear language everyone can agree upon.

Step 2: Huh? What? We can't move on yet?

Oh... Can't just skip that step 1.

Darn.

So what do you do if most folk in a discussion cannot define their terms in any sort of coherent fashion for themselves? Let alone come up with a mutually acceptable definition.

To me, in modern time, the word "Aiki" as used in the martial arts has become what I think it was Wittgenstein terms "nonsense". Not nonsense in the sense of "absurdity of behavior" but nonsense in the strictest of meanings. Lacking sense. Lacking meaning. Empty. Devoid of content.

As I've said before, this "nonsense" of meaning for aiki (and aikido for that matter) is both Aikido's greatest weakness as well as its greatest strength today. As is apparent in this thread it can mean most anything to some people as long as it does what the person speaking wants it to do for them (as vague as that sounds, that appears to be about right). It can be made a spiritual quest, a meditative exercise, a philosophical ideal, and an ethical mandate. One size fits all. Great for love, peace and understanding. It's no wonder it took off in Hawaii and the California Coast back in the late 50's through the 60's and 70's.

It seems to me Kisshomaru emphasized these things in an attempt to help Aikido spread in popularity. It seems to me Tohei also allowed some of that loose, fluffy, woo-woo stuff permeate what he was doing all while still knocking folk around pretty darned good. And those I know who trained with Tohei in his prime all told me the same thing -- a powerful, short man, who could be soft and yet you felt like someone just set a pallet of bricks on you. And it could be done gently. Or not.

But I digress. Aiki is like the Rohrschach of the martial arts. "What do you see in this image? Tell me more about your mother...."

All that said, there are those looking for particular instantiations of what they thought was powering the arts of Ueshiba (and Takeda (and lest we forget many others!) before him). And you see examples here in this thread. All looking through their rose-tinted lenses of what time period/aspect/theory they choose to believe.

And yet... When I go to seminars there are only a few folk on the mat. Some I see over and over and some of those don't seem to be changing. Some do, some progress quickly. Many of the loudest on-line are never to be seen elsewhere. Some are obviously too busy with their own gigs, teaching their stuff, and lord knows I understand that.

Me, I think I've read way too much philosophy and science to feel comfortable just chatting. And it seems that those rose tinted glasses are becoming increasingly opaque for many, and I wonder if that means mine are becoming the same.

So, to the original question, I think aiki *starts* as a coordination of mind and body at a very deep level (sound familiar?). But it is a specific coordination that is active, engaged and directed. And easily screwed up. And requires practice and training to learn to do consistently and under pressure. I think many of the "branches" of Aikido formed due to their head Sufi story teller touching their own specific spot on the elephant. Hence the all have a perspective on the bigger picture. And all over time develop some of it. But maybe seeing it through the touch of the other blind guys touching elephant is a good idea, at least for me.

And talking about it on-line when people can't even remotely get past Step 1 above... Not so helpful.

"Demonstrating" aiki, at least IMHO, does not require Aikido to occur. Nor does it make the demonstration "aikido". I think it is a necessary body/mental skill that must be developed. And that when it is integrated in to waza with a specific intention, purpose and attitude, it becomes Aikido, at least loosely defined.

So making tea mindfully is not aikido to me. It might be "aiki" depending on how you do it, but it seems almost a trivial example. And frankly all the meditative things people like to explain strike me as the least "truly" aiki things when you drill down in to it in this way. The "avoiding traffic and confrontation" examples strike me as side-effects of the aiki used well, and not the aiki itself. Which means aiki to me is very different from and has a distinctly different ontological status from the sort of "blendy, love" definition. That, imho, is confusing the effect with the underlying causes. You can approximate the effects without the underlying causes. And let us not forget how many have warned us to never confuse the omote with the ura.

That's enough stream of consciousness from me. I've added as much as I can. I have no more for here, only what I try to instantiate in person.

That will have to do.

Erick Mead
09-03-2014, 01:28 PM
When I write of Aiki as a state of being I mean:

"Aiki, in me, before Aiki between thee and me." This resolves to a circular definition: Aiki(being) = Aiki(me) > Aiki(thee-me).

Definition of a term in terms of itself, and similar figures of argument are recurring problems in these discussions.

Aiki is a state of being. It is a state I can achieve via training. Anything I do in that state is a demonstration of Aiki. The outer form is irrelevant. To call the thing being done Aiki is to confuse the state with the medium employed to express it (the state). A state of being is something that simply is unless you alter or destroy it.

I may loosely say that "I am airborne." But flying is not a state of my being -- it is a state of my doing. To give credit to the present criticisms of aikido -- there is much in the practice of the art that analogously assumes a temporarily ballistic path is the same as flying. That is an assumption with a sudden and violent rebuttal in its not-too-distant future. :uch:

Aiki is not "being." It is doing. That it must be done in oneself is not disputed. The me > thee+me is a proposition about the best order of learning what it is that must be done. That is certainly a debatable point -- though based on collective experience, I would certainly agree that it is an emphasis that needs to have greater prominence for mere re-balancing if nothing else. I would not agree that it is exclusively so, though -- and probably as variable in effectiveness as the variability of learning styles.

kewms
09-03-2014, 01:46 PM
2. If one can perform any action while in the state of being (aiki), why do we not demonstrate aiki in everything we do?

I believe Saotome Sensei, for example, would say that he *does* demonstrate aiki in everything he does.

Similarly, one proposed technical basis for achieving kuzushi on contact is that uke is making contact with a pre-existing "aiki" state, and is swept along by it.

Katherine

kewms
09-03-2014, 01:51 PM
Aiki is not "being." It is doing. That it must be done in oneself is not disputed.

Well, my heart is actively "doing" every moment that I am alive. But "alive" is a state of being.

Similarly, for a sufficiently advanced practitioner, the actions needed to create "aikiness" take place continually and below the level of conscious thought.

Katherine

Gerardo Torres
09-03-2014, 02:18 PM
Those who bow to pictures of Takeda or Ueshiba in class might not want to lose track of the fact that the "aiki" that these two men propounded made them stand out in a martial context: they felt different, and were more powerful and eerily effective than any other guy in the room. Furthermore whatever "aiki" model they followed allowed them to create students of similar skills (i.e. transmission). They didn't exactly become famous for their ability to merely philosophize and theorize about "aiki" at random.

kewms
09-03-2014, 02:28 PM
Those who bow to pictures of Takeda or Ueshiba in class might not want to lose track of the fact that the "aiki" that these two men propounded made them stand out in a martial context: they felt different, and were more powerful and eerily effective than any other guy in the room. Furthermore whatever "aiki" model they followed allowed them to create students of similar skills (i.e. transmission). They didn't exactly become famous for their ability to merely philosophize and theorize about "aiki" at random.

Um, actually the whole reason for this extended discussion of pedagogy is that it's *not* clear that the skills Takeda and Ueshiba had were transmitted to their students. Certainly the list of people who even arguably have those skills is very short compared to the number of people studying aikido.

Katherine

HL1978
09-03-2014, 02:58 PM
Might not be a bad idea to start a thread to explicitly hash out various terms.

I probably would not start with the word aiki.

Bernd Lehnen
09-03-2014, 03:11 PM
...Power from hara/dantian is used to create stability as mentioned here (http://www.bodyworkseminars.org/). It is what Dan calls dynamic stability that has such a profound effect on someone trying to push or pull you and they end up off balanced or having to adjust to retain balance. Since any point of contact has this soft power behind it and requires what feel like- as no effort at all- it tends to neutralize their force it then becomes easy to use aiki (In yo ho) to control in whatever way one wants. Throwing away or throwing down is not aiki, it is what happens after aiki, and is merely a choice that defines various arts approaches.
Zoe

Based on this paradigm, Aiki (in yo ho) is nothing else but a practicable skill.

Best
Bernd

phitruong
09-03-2014, 03:26 PM
Might not be a bad idea to start a thread to explicitly hash out various terms.

I probably would not start with the word aiki.

start with do then work to re and mi?

Erick Mead
09-03-2014, 03:29 PM
Well, my heart is actively "doing" every moment that I am alive. But "alive" is a state of being.

Similarly, for a sufficiently advanced practitioner, the actions needed to create "aikiness" take place continually and below the level of conscious thought. The former is not true of Aiki, unless Aiki has an independent and autonomic neuromuscular system that acts to effect it .... and as it happens, I actually agree with that statement -- to a point, Lord Copper, to a point. I have a concrete understanding as to the independent and autonomic aspects of such a system, physiologically. But every one born alive has a beating heart without training and which responds to changing levels of exertion and physiological stress without training. Aiki requires a training component to making it more generally useful.

So what are we training? I agree that it occurs below the level of consciousness. That is problematic for if-then modes of voluntary action or decision respsones. Our training is necessary for us to understand and form ourselves to the patterns of these automatic systems -- so that we can essentially surf them and ride them as we please when they arise and break into action -- using feed-forward controls (the much overlooked "implicit control" side loop of Col. Boyd's OODA loop, FWIW).

Feed forward control only works if you have a knowledge of the pattern of the action or system you are feeding forward controls into . The IP/IS crowd have that very real point going for their mode of training, and which is undeniable. But that's a pedagogical dispute-- not a dispute about what is needed, but how to reach it. But looking at Ikeda and Saotome -- I'd say they have a point as well, Saito too, and Yoshinkan as well -- all of which I have had direct experience in.

The failures of the latter in the transmission as it is more widely perceived has been a loss of the knowledge and sight of the goal, not a methodological problem as such. The forms are really there -- but the content of the systems to which they related was increasingly obscured -- if not lost -- like trying to fly the plane by jumping up and down on the ailerons and elevators -- the mistake is not entirely wrong -- but deeply confused, and missing something critical about the system.

Such feed-forward controls in this context serve to modify your structure in ways that shape the oncoming response patterns that are independently acting on a tempo faster than voluntary control -- which this is.

Erick Mead
09-03-2014, 03:31 PM
start with do then work to re and mi? We start with tea, a drink with jam and bread.

Who couldn't go for spot of tea and a nice jammy biscuit ? ;)

Gerardo Torres
09-03-2014, 03:53 PM
Um, actually the whole reason for this extended discussion of pedagogy is that it's *not* clear that the skills Takeda and Ueshiba had were transmitted to their students. Certainly the list of people who even arguably have those skills is very short compared to the number of people studying aikido.

Katherine
I certainly agree with you that pedagogy is worth discussing and improving upon, especially given the small percentage of those who successfully were transmitted "the goods". But seeing the ways these discussions stray I wanted to point out the obvious: that any "aiki" model/language/philosophy/description is of little to no martial use if at the end of the day the originator and followers end up with unremarkable skills feeling like everybody else. So basically, talk aside, "can you do it and can you teach it"?

Mary Eastland
09-03-2014, 07:01 PM
Um, actually the whole reason for this extended discussion of pedagogy is that it's *not* clear that the skills Takeda and Ueshiba had were transmitted to their students. Certainly the list of people who even arguably have those skills is very short compared to the number of people studying aikido.

Katherine

How can you know that?

jonreading
09-03-2014, 07:06 PM
I believe in aiki in me, before aiki between thee and me. Mostly, I think this is a ordered list of training that emphasizes the individual training necessary to get one's own body under control before endeavoring to bring another body into one's control. I am not sure I would call it a "state" of being, but probably more closely a task list of things to do to prepare the body. Over time, that task list becomes a routine to the point that it appears to be a state of being. Breathing is also a series of things to do, but at some point it is just something your body does (rather than something you think to do). A key note here is that aiki is a perishable skill.

Part of why I like "demonstration" is because it has a tangible inference. At very high levels, our aiki greats are constantly looping through the things that sustain their aiki body and arguably, yes, their action is representative of aiki. It also transcends boundaries. Anyone who has been on the mat with Sensei long enough knows that the party afterwards is still an opportunity to see aiki, even though it is not aikido. Which leads me back to why I think it is important to distinguish someone who uses aiki from someone who choreographs movement.

Cliff Judge
09-03-2014, 07:43 PM
I am not buying this navel-out approach you guys are advocating.

Timothy WK
09-03-2014, 08:24 PM
... it's *not* clear that the skills Takeda and Ueshiba had were transmitted to their students.
Takeda did better than Ueshiba, he had at least three students that displayed a similar level of skill (Ueshiba, Sagawa, Kodo).

kewms
09-04-2014, 01:53 AM
How can you know that?

There more than a million aikido students worldwide. How many of those have Ueshiba-class skills? Ten? A hundred? Even a thousand would be a tiny fraction of the total aikido population.

Katherine

Carsten Möllering
09-04-2014, 03:42 AM
@ Ron:
You are right. I think that a lot, maybe most of Daoist knowledge of body work can not be correctly translatet into the language of western science by now.
Anatomy Trains of Myers seems to be a step into the right direction. But still a small one ...

@Erick:
From which sources did you get your understanding of kan/li?

@ all:
Don't you think it is helpfull to look at Ueshibas texts. To relate them to his sourroundings and to look for his roots to try to get an image of his understanding of aiki?
How can we expect to get a clear vision of aiki and related terms, if we refuse to investigate into a foreign culture, into the history, into the context of those terms.

@ Markus:
Yes, aiki relates to earlier heaven. This is consistent with the teachings of Oomoto kyo. They/he tried to build that on earth. The body work of aikido, bis spirituality and bis political work are expression of that.
... at least I think so ...

@ Mary:
Thank you for openess and honesty. I think I might understand you a little better now.

Rupert Atkinson
09-04-2014, 05:54 AM
I believe in aiki in me, before aiki between thee and me.

I disagree 100%
Aiki is meeting and utilising some of your opponent's energy to destabilise and knock him down. It is just a concept that becomes reality at the moment of contact - if you can do it. Before contact - it is in the mind.

Only once you can do this, can you have the remotest idea of how to generate the 'idea' of aiki in yourself. And even then - all it is - is good posture and fine movement, with a little 'mind' - that might be evidenced as you train by yourself in a Taichi kind of way. As an aside, I have met more than a few Taichi guys that look great, and I am sure they feel great to themselves, but most just can't do anything to me in reality - unless I allow them - being the proverbial good uke that we learn to be in Aikido. Why can't they do it - probably for the same reasons most Aikidoka can't do it. We train too much with others, Taichi people spend too much time by themselves (not everyone of course). I suggest a better mix.

I can understand the 'aiki in me first' idea. To me - the teacher knows what he is doing but perhaps has forgotten or did not realise in which order he came to his understanding. If he tries to teach 'aiki in me' first, the students will have no chance of learning it, in my opinion. I think that after you 'get it' - then, you can actually develop and perfect it training by yourself. But not before.

phitruong
09-04-2014, 07:00 AM
I can understand the 'aiki in me first' idea. To me - the teacher knows what he is doing but perhaps has forgotten or did not realise in which order he came to his understanding. If he tries to teach 'aiki in me' first, the students will have no chance of learning it, in my opinion. I think that after you 'get it' - then, you can actually develop and perfect it training by yourself. But not before.

question, how do you "get it" in the first place so that you can train "it"? kill the chicken and scramble the eggs?

jonreading
09-04-2014, 08:21 AM
I disagree 100%
Aiki is meeting and utilising some of your opponent's energy to destabilise and knock him down. It is just a concept that becomes reality at the moment of contact - if you can do it. Before contact - it is in the mind.

Only once you can do this, can you have the remotest idea of how to generate the 'idea' of aiki in yourself. And even then - all it is - is good posture and fine movement, with a little 'mind' - that might be evidenced as you train by yourself in a Taichi kind of way. As an aside, I have met more than a few Taichi guys that look great, and I am sure they feel great to themselves, but most just can't do anything to me in reality - unless I allow them - being the proverbial good uke that we learn to be in Aikido. Why can't they do it - probably for the same reasons most Aikidoka can't do it. We train too much with others, Taichi people spend too much time by themselves (not everyone of course). I suggest a better mix.

I can understand the 'aiki in me first' idea. To me - the teacher knows what he is doing but perhaps has forgotten or did not realise in which order he came to his understanding. If he tries to teach 'aiki in me' first, the students will have no chance of learning it, in my opinion. I think that after you 'get it' - then, you can actually develop and perfect it training by yourself. But not before.

For me, I think the phrase "aiki in me" is a directive to first develop unified energy within oneself. I'll let others who have a better understanding speak on that topic. In other words, I need to work on creating opposing energy balanced in neutrality within me - intent manifest through yin and yang as dueling opposing spirals. Is this a unification of energy? I think so. It's a little muddy for me where the transition is between the aiki body (unified body consisting of intent, stability and power) and "aiki" as we express it through our partner at a point of contact. I am not sure I have ever seen anything that requires aiki to be a connection to another person. In fact, most of the stuff seems to imply that the last thing we want to do is "connect" to someone with better aiki.

The "aiki in me" model requires a working knowledge (pre-requisite) of internal power. To Phi's point, I think the pressure is to get the students to feel opposing tension, demonstrate the positive results on stability and commit to the exercises to create 6 directions of energy. Then develop intent. Once a student gets the "feeling" of stability and intent, she then can build on strengthening the feeling and looking to the bigger concepts.

I know Dan is no longer on the forum but he has several posts that talk in his words more about "aiki in me" and his teaching model. It definitely aligns with my distinctions and also gives me clear goals and objectives in training, which is often absent from the less-than-firm philoso-do that many teach.

RonRagusa
09-04-2014, 08:58 AM
Until the mind and body can be organized so as to work in concert, one will always perform at less than one's maximum potential. How one achieves that state of mind/body coordination is a matter of training methodology, of which there are many.

Ron

Rupert Atkinson
09-04-2014, 09:06 AM
For me, ... I need to work on creating opposing energy balanced in neutrality within me - intent manifest through yin and yang as dueling opposing spirals. Is this a unification of energy? I think so. It's a little muddy for me ....

I am not sure I have ever seen anything that requires aiki to be a connection to another person.



If the above is what you think, there is nothing I can say. I wish you a happy journey.

allowedcloud
09-04-2014, 10:17 AM
I don't want to put gaz on the fire but according to the "IP guys" the aikido that I do for a long time now is not really aikido because I don't have the aikibody, the body that O'Sensei had when he was doing his thing.Is respecting the basics principles enough that I can call what I do aikido ?Is it just jujutsu with love ?
I will probably never put my hands on a person who is using or teaching the famous body, so there is my questioning about demonstrating aiki or aikido on a uke.

The unfortunate truth is that there is no Aiki in mainstream, post-war modern Aikido. As Stan Pranin explains very well here (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=34), the Aikido that O-sensei practiced and the Aikido that has been passed down to us are not the same thing.

Why has this happened? Because those who inherited the Hombu dojo after O-sensei, could not (with few exceptions) grasp what O-sensei was trying to teach them, nor could they duplicate his skills. So they changed the art, watered it down to suit them and their own limitations.

Thus real "Aiki" in aikido is very rare today, there are very few dojo that will teach you how to develop an Aiki body. Unless you happen to live in one of a handful of areas these teachings will not come to you. If you are really interested in Aiki you will probably have to move to an area with a dojo working on these skills.

Cliff Judge
09-04-2014, 10:33 AM
The unfortunate truth is that there is no Aiki in mainstream, post-war modern Aikido. As Stan Pranin explains very well here (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=34), the Aikido that O-sensei practiced and the Aikido that has been passed down to us are not the same thing.

Why has this happened? Because those who inherited the Hombu dojo after O-sensei, could not (with few exceptions) grasp what O-sensei was trying to teach them, nor could they duplicate his skills. So they changed the art, watered it down to suit them and their own limitations.


I've got issues with this line of thought.

What is it that you think Ueshiba was doing before his son and senior students decided to throw it all out the window and create Aikido?

You think he was a brilliant teacher with a well-articulated system he was trying to pass on, but his son and senior students ignored him, or did not do things he asked of them, and instead slapped together a useless dancey art form with no special powers and passed that off as something it wasn't?

If Ueshiba had a thing he wanted to teach, he would have taught it. And he would have made sure it was learned. Either he had no idea how to teach, or he didn't really have anything coherent to teach.

Or - maybe - Aikido is actually the art he meant to transmit.

allowedcloud
09-04-2014, 11:09 AM
I've got issues with this line of thought.

What is it that you think Ueshiba was doing before his son and senior students decided to throw it all out the window and create Aikido?

You think he was a brilliant teacher with a well-articulated system he was trying to pass on, but his son and senior students ignored him, or did not do things he asked of them, and instead slapped together a useless dancey art form with no special powers and passed that off as something it wasn't?

If Ueshiba had a thing he wanted to teach, he would have taught it. And he would have made sure it was learned. Either he had no idea how to teach, or he didn't really have anything coherent to teach.

Or - maybe - Aikido is actually the art he meant to transmit.

Well, there are plenty of accounts of him coming back to Hombu dojo after the war, seeing the practice there, and getting pissed off. And then he would stop the class and a long lecture would ensue. That certainly sounds like someone who wanted to teach.

Cliff Judge
09-04-2014, 11:53 AM
Well, there are plenty of accounts of him coming back to Hombu dojo after the war, seeing the practice there, and getting pissed off. And then he would stop the class and a long lecture would ensue. That certainly sounds like someone who wanted to teach.

Right. If I may respectfully submit, the tactic of scolding your students, especially telling them they are not actually doing the martial art they are on the mat to study, is a fairly common tool - not sure if it counts as pedagogical - used by budo instructors. All of my teachers but Ikeda Sensei do it.

So he wanted to teach - the next question is, why do we assume Ueshiba did not want Aikido to be just as it is, at, say, Hombu?

And furthermore, what is the basis for believing Aikido is a different art than what Ueshiba was doing and/or trying to teach?

kewms
09-04-2014, 12:18 PM
I disagree 100%
Aiki is meeting and utilising some of your opponent's energy to destabilise and knock him down. It is just a concept that becomes reality at the moment of contact - if you can do it. Before contact - it is in the mind.

Only once you can do this, can you have the remotest idea of how to generate the 'idea' of aiki in yourself. And even then - all it is - is good posture and fine movement, with a little 'mind' - that might be evidenced as you train by yourself in a Taichi kind of way.

I think you're hitting a straw man, here. All of the "aiki in me" teaching methods that I have seen absolutely include partner feedback. They attempt to isolate "aiki" effects from aikido waza -- the idea being to limit the number of variables that the student has to deal with -- and solo exercises are certainly important, but partner practice is seen as a critical part of the process.

Katherine

Chris Li
09-04-2014, 12:21 PM
So he wanted to teach - the next question is, why do we assume Ueshiba did not want Aikido to be just as it is, at, say, Hombu?

And furthermore, what is the basis for believing Aikido is a different art than what Ueshiba was doing and/or trying to teach?

Asked and answered. Josh provided a link to a very detailed presentation of his argument to which you have not replied. Refuting Stan Pranin's conclusions would be a better start to your argument.

Best,

Chris

Demetrio Cereijo
09-04-2014, 12:30 PM
I think the conversation between Mochizuki Sensei and Ueshiba is worth remembering

To tell the truth, I got into trouble with Ueshiba Sensei after my trip to Europe thirty years ago. When I got back I told him:

I went overseas to spread Aikido and had shiai matches with many different people while there. From that experience I realized that with only the techniques of Aikido it was very difficult to win. In those cases I instinctively switched to judo or kendo techniques and was able to come out on top of the situation. No matter how I thought about it I couldn't avoid the conclusion that the techniques of Daito Ryu Jujutsu were not enough to decide the issue. Wrestlers and others with that sort of experience are not put off by being thrown down and rolling away. They get right back up and close for some grappling and the French style of boxing is far above the hand and foot techniques of karate. I'm sure that Aikido will become more and more international and worldwide in the future, but if it does, it's technical range will have to expand to be able to respond to any sort of enemy successfully.

Having said all this, Sensei said to me, "All you ever talk about is winning and losing." "But one must be strong and win. And now that Aikido is being spread throughout the whole world I think that it is necessary for it to be both theoretically and technically able to defeat any challenge," I said to Sensei. "Your whole thinking is mistaken. Of course, it is wrong to be weak but that is not the whole story. Don't you realize that it is no longer the age where we can even talk about whether we are winning or losing? It is the age of "Love" now, are you unable to see that?" This he told me and with those eyes of his!
https://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=584

(bold mine)

oisin bourke
09-04-2014, 01:08 PM
Have you *read* any of the interviews on Aikido Journal with the people who actually trained with O-sensei? If you did, you would know that they openly admitted he was doing stuff to them that they didn't understand. That he had *unusual power*.

Why don't you get a subscription to Aikido Journal and do your own fucking research for a change, instead of relying on cheap lawyer debate-club tactics on an Internet forum.

Yet another reason why I no longer partcipate in this forum. Any arguments against the prevailing propaganda promoting IP and "aiki" as being the same thing, just gets bogged down in abuse and personal attacks.

Jeremy Hulley
09-04-2014, 01:52 PM
Who says that aiki and IP are the same? IP supports and aiki but is not the same..

Mary Eastland
09-04-2014, 01:53 PM
Yet another reason why I no longer partcipate in this forum. Any arguments against the prevailing propaganda promoting IP and "aiki" as being the same thing, just gets bogged down in abuse and personal attacks.

Yet this thread has some very interesting stuff in it. Much less personal stuff than before. :cool:

oisin bourke
09-04-2014, 02:05 PM
Who says that aiki and IP are the same? IP supports and aiki but is not the same..
In your opinion.
You know what I mean: The ongoing assumption that if one is not au fait wth "IP" then one can't understand "aiki". For the intents and purposes of these discussions, one is indispensable to the other, according to IP proponents.

chillzATL
09-04-2014, 04:33 PM
wow, it's like going back in tiiiiiiime! :)

Dazaifoo
09-04-2014, 05:07 PM
Something about this thread that seems familiar. (http://youtu.be/0RE2QdY89AY?t=6s)

Rupert Atkinson
09-04-2014, 05:15 PM
I think you're hitting a straw man, here. All of the "aiki in me" teaching methods that I have seen absolutely include partner feedback. They attempt to isolate "aiki" effects from aikido waza -- the idea being to limit the number of variables that the student has to deal with -- and solo exercises are certainly important, but partner practice is seen as a critical part of the process.

Katherine

I have no idea what you have done but what you say sounds good to me. My point was that anything we learn about aiki comes from what you can pick up training with a partner. Only then can we start to figure it out training by ourselves, which one absolutely must do. I was critiquing the notion of 'aiki in me' - being first. I had never heard of 'aiki in me' before, by the way. I just say - search for a principle, it will appear at random unless directly taught, and then remember and train it. There are many little 'ideas' we can call principles. Collect them and train them. Because of the amount of partner practice already done in Aikido, I place more emphasis on the solo aspect - in myself. I find it almost impossible to convince others though - they just want to practice with a partner. It is their learning paradigm.

Chris Li
09-04-2014, 05:23 PM
I have no idea what you have done but what you say sounds good to me. My point was that anything we learn about aiki comes from what you can pick up training with a partner. Only then can we start to figure it out training by ourselves, which one absolutely must do. I was critiquing the notion of 'aiki in me' - being first. I had never heard of 'aiki in me' before, by the way. I just say - search for a principle, it will appear at random unless directly taught, and then remember and train it. There are many little 'ideas' we can call principles. Collect them and train them. Because of the amount of partner practice already done in Aikido, I place more emphasis on the solo aspect - in myself. I find it almost impossible to convince others though - they just want to practice with a partner. It is their learning paradigm.

Morihei Ueshiba spoke about "Aiki in me" quite a bit, but nobody reads that stuff... :) Tohei's model seems to have agreed with that BTW, and it was a point of disagreement between him and Kisshomaru, as I mentioned here (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-structure-universe/).

Also, it's been talked about right here on Aikiweb (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=319572&postcount=93) for a number of years. :)

Best,

Chris

Mary Eastland
09-04-2014, 07:25 PM
Referring back to the topic... we worked on developing mind, body co-ordination tonight all class as usual.

For one exercise,one person walked forward with 2 people holding them back by the shoulders. The first person walked looking up, not down and extending forward. All levels practiced this with the resistance being appropriate for the amount of training each person had. It was a great opportunity to practice positive mind when you become frustrated and then remember that you can if you think you can.

Erick Mead
09-04-2014, 11:22 PM
@Erick:
From which sources did you get your understanding of kan/li? I don't have sources for kan 水and li 火 -- other than relating them to water and fire in Ueshiba's text. I have no background in Bagua or even the Iching conceptions of these old ideas. They may be helpful from Chinese sources, but the simpler way is to look at what he himself said (http://members.aikidojournal.com/private/takemusu-aiki-lectures-of-morihei-ueshiba-founder-of-aikido-2/):

Aikido is the Way of the principle of the eternal, unchanging system of the Universe. The Great Emptiness was created before the birth of the Universal "SU" voice, the One Original Source (Ichigen), our parent God. Life is the history of the acts of God since then, since the ancient age of deities of our country, and the practices of aikido originate in this history. My aikido is a Way to perform ascetic practices guided by Divine Providence, while expressing the significance of the Divine Sword (matsurugi) and being a manifestation of the sword itself. I regard it as the true martial art (bujutsu). The workings of the Universe are called "takemusu aiki," and are born from the One Original Source, and unify water and fire, that is, the Breath of Heaven and the Breath of Earth, in order to produce one unified breath.
I would like to explain what this means. When the soul and body bestowed upon me interact with each other as an inseparable union through the workings of "SU" and "U", I produce the voices "A, O, U, E, I" from the bottom of my abdomen letting them emanate from my physical mouth. This form is exactly the same as the manifestation of the frictional actions produced by the movements of water and fire, that is, the interactions of the two dieties, Takami Musubi and Kami Musubi (see Takemusu Aiki in AJ116), when they dance while ascending spirally to the right and descending spirally to the left.

And then he relates the water and fire to the Kojiki -- and tacks the interwined spirals to the image of the floating bridge and 'jeweled' ('tama-form' -- spiral):

Aikido is a true martial art and is manifested in all martial arts that have thus far come into the world, and in the workings of the Universe, that is, the core of the Original Source of aikido. It is firmly rooted and especially expressed in the actions of the two deities, Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto (see AJ116), when they gave birth to islands and deities, that is, the conspicuous workings of the interaction between fire and water. In other words, the interaction between fire and water are the workings of Ame no Minaka Nushi (see AJ116), The modern Japanese have their bodily hangups but their ancestors were notably more earthy in their imagery: "Male who invites" is a concrete image -- of the male -- rising, extension, expansion; "female who invites" is the counterpart -- receiving, compressing, enfolding. These are tied to the interacting fire and water ascending and descending spirals of tensile and compressive stress and the "frictional actions produced by their movements." This is a correct physical description of torsional shear action -- just using different words to describe it.

I may not be entirely right in my exposition of those physical principles of this manner of action into full blown mechanical terms but I am damned close to the sense the man intended -- and more right than not. I think taking his concerter imagery and mapping it like this onto concrete and well-understood principles is a good way of trying to break thought the seeming esoteric usage-- It isn't esoteric -- it is just imagery-- and actually useful and descriptively concrete imagery. Same in the Doka and similar expressions regarding water and fire even in Budo Renshu.

Erick Mead
09-04-2014, 11:36 PM
Morihei Ueshiba spoke about "Aiki in me" quite a bit, but nobody reads that stuff... :) Tohei's model seems to have agreed with that BTW, and it was a point of disagreement between him and Kisshomaru, as I mentioned here (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-structure-universe/).

Also, it's been talked about right here on Aikiweb (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=319572&postcount=93) for a number of years. :)
If you just lay out your own exposition of it as you yourself have written (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-floating-bridge-heaven/) and put it into the matching mechanical and physiological terms -- it really is nearly all right there.

David Orange
09-05-2014, 06:11 AM
If you just lay out your own exposition of it as you yourself have written (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-floating-bridge-heaven/) and put it into the matching mechanical and physiological terms -- it really is nearly all right there.

Chris has laid it out very well.
As far as "matching" mechanical and physiological terms, I think you're missing the boat.

How do you know they "match"?

And "nearly all there" can be quite far off base.

I was involved in a "discussion" on a LinkedIn group where, apparently, no one had any real training in any kind of actual martial art. They liked to discuss some kind of "bitch slap" as the ultimate martial arts technique and they all demanded "scientific proof" of anything, though none of them could even define the basic ideas they wanted "proven." Also, when I tried to bring them into some kind of scientific rigor, none of them knew what that was about, either. Things like "get all the people that does this and study them for sixty years." I said, "No, find people that have been doing it for 40-60 years and compare them to a control group..."

It was like trying to wade through monkeys.

The point here is that your ideas explain some mechanical things, but it's not IP/IS or aiki.

From what you say, it's clear you've never experienced what people are referring to.

You can spend another several years pushing your "explanations" that are about as useful as Jenny McCarthy's views on vaccines. You need experience much more than anyone here needs your "explanations."

jonreading
09-05-2014, 08:23 AM
If the above is what you think, there is nothing I can say. I wish you a happy journey.

I'm not sure where this comment is supposed to lead. Specifically, I was talking about the point at which the exercise of defining the aiki body becomes a regular part of your body movements. And if I am wrong, it will be neither the first time nor last time. In addition to my comment about aiki being a perishable skill, I would also add that it is a quantitative skill (i.e., you can have more than me). There is a photo of O Sensei standing with a gentleman (Kuki Takaharu). In the photo, O Sensei has clearly been pulled off balance; notable because it is one of the few photos or videos that show O Sensei being compromised by his partner. I think a solid piece of evidence that even O Sensei had peers in aiki. Amusing because you can tell by his face the opportunity was not planned. A great demonstration of aiki with no tatami in sight.

As for the later comments, I would argue that the Aikiweb community seems to have difficulty with defining "aiki", regardless of those IP jerks who happen to point out that issue. They are just pointing out that issue, which is sensitive since the observation is directed to an art with aiki, or not. Yes, internal power is necessary for aiki. Although, if we understand aiki, then we understand internal power, right? I think the rub is that we maybe don't understand aiki (as well as we think), as evidenced by our mis-understanding of internal power. Not to mention the number of direct students who confess they did not understand O Sensei's aiki. I am not sure this is a bad thing, unless we are unwilling to concede we don't know as much as we think we know. This thread contains some level of internal power knowledge because it is necessary to understand aiki (and argue the point if differentiating aiki from aikido). 300+ posts in and I agree with Mary, things are not as bad as previous threads have been.

If you want to buck the system and claim that aikido does not have internal power, fine. I am still looking for examples of aiki, not expressed using jujutsu (aikido kata). If we are using aiki, we should be able to express it is in a variety of demonstrations, although I am not sure I buy tying one's shoes.

http://www.heiho.su/assets/images/Kukami/Kuki_Takaharu_Ueshiba_Morihei.jpg

Cliff Judge
09-05-2014, 09:01 AM
I'm not sure where this comment is supposed to lead. Specifically, I was talking about the point at which the exercise of defining the aiki body becomes a regular part of your body movements. And if I am wrong, it will be neither the first time nor last time. In addition to my comment about aiki being a perishable skill, I would also add that it is a quantitative skill (i.e., you can have more than me). There is a photo of O Sensei standing with a gentleman (Kuki Takaharu). In the photo, O Sensei has clearly been pulled off balance; notable because it is one of the few photos or videos that show O Sensei being compromised by his partner. I think a solid piece of evidence that even O Sensei had peers in aiki. Amusing because you can tell by his face the opportunity was not planned. A great demonstration of aiki with no tatami in sight.

http://www.heiho.su/assets/images/Kukami/Kuki_Takaharu_Ueshiba_Morihei.jpg

Why do you look at this picture and think Osensei has been off balanced? It looks to me more like he is leaning on his friend. They are both probably drunk. That's probably the only Aiki on display here - too old men, drunk together. :)

I think a lot of the IP/Aiki mythology that has developed on the internet is the result of reading too much and too selectively into anecdotes, folklore, and translations that may be biased.

phitruong
09-05-2014, 10:23 AM
They are both probably drunk. That's probably the only Aiki on display here - too old men, drunk together. :)


i like the idea of drunken aikido. the question is how does one differentiate between drunken aikido versus regular aikido, other than the usage of a breathalyzer? and would aiki even needed for drunken aikido?

talking about picture, are there pictures of him wearing yoga pants so we can promote aikido with yoga pants? and what would we call that, yaikido? :D

Anjisan
09-05-2014, 10:41 AM
Um, actually the whole reason for this extended discussion of pedagogy is that it's *not* clear that the skills Takeda and Ueshiba had were transmitted to their students. Certainly the list of people who even arguably have those skills is very short compared to the number of people studying aikido.

Katherine

So then are you saying that as a student in ASU under Saotome Shihan that he did not learn the true aikido from O'sensei? Consequently, when you see him teach are you saying that you are not being shown the "true aikido" of Osensei or if he one of the few postwar Shihan who learned it (in your opinion), that he is for some reason holding back? I don't believe that a reasonable person can imagine him (and others of his generation who have been here for decades) concluding that it would simply be a cultural and/or language barrier?

Train Hard,
Jason

Dan Richards
09-05-2014, 10:45 AM
If we are using aiki, we should be able to express it is in a variety of demonstrations...

John, I think where the quagmire is in that equation – and in the title of this topic – is in the word "demonstration." I'm sure you're familiar with Ueshiba and his reluctance to give a demonstration of Aikido to the public. And this is the founder we're talking about. Not his students, or their students, or their student's students, ad infinitum.

First of all, how do you take something that's esoteric and "demonstrate" it for an exoteric - or even mesoteric - public audience, and have them "get it?" Answer is, you don't. And you certainly don't do it by visually demonstrating – whether with a live audience or on video.

All that anyone in those cases can do is wiggle a worm in the waters, and then see what kind of fish are going to come and take a bite. Most, by design, will have no interest. Some may even take a sniff or a small taste, and simply not like it. A few will taste, and recognize something deeper, and will want more.

That's true with anything. There are small microbreweries that have popped up that have really gotten back to the time-honored, esoteric traditions of making beer. By design, they're always going to be small in scale. Now, how are they supposed to "demonstrate" that the quality of what they are doing and making is worth someone's time and dime? In most cases it's simply word of mouth, from those who've tasted and liked it, and some guerilla marketing.

You can't give someone a real "taste" of anything unless they actually taste it and get a feel for it. Sure, you can write about it a bit, to get some interest. But that's about it. You can't really "demonstrate" the beer anymore than you can demonstrate aiki.

Youtube is full of poorly-shot videos of old Chinese people, usually outside, showing amazing Aiki skills. Sometimes they're just damned near standing there and hardly moving. Who's supposed to "get that?" Certainly not an exoteric general public. Someone who's never tasted it and gotten a feel for it will not only not see it, they'll write it off – even laugh at it.

I don't think aiki arts can be "demonstrated" publicly. But like wine, beer, cheeses, they can be tasted and experienced. And from there, people who are interested can decide what feels right, and then, later on, decide how far down the rabbit hole they want to go.

I also don't think anyone in the IS/IP/Aiki communities has a right to declare that what they do is "right" or even necessarily "better." But certainly like many in the artisan beer and wine communities, can say that they've gone back to the classic roots of the craft, and have arrived at a level of skills and artistic interpretations that they feel is worthwhile. And that kind of movement is growing in popularity at a rapid rate.

There are people who are absolutely wanting a deeper and more authentic experience. And those are the very people who are not expecting to "get it" from a video demonstration or online flamewars.

I'll be going out to a brewery tonight to drink some local, handcrafted beer straight out of the tap. And there is no way I could "demonstrate" the taste and feel of the absolute heavenly – and yes, I'll say "esoteric" – experience.

You've got to feel it. You have to actively participate. It - like Aiki - is not a spectator sport.

phitruong
09-05-2014, 11:06 AM
So then are you saying that as a student in ASU under Saotome Shihan that he did not learn the true aikido from O'sensei?

correct. that's not the true aikido from O Sensei. it's an interpret aikido which the interpreter, in this case, is Saotome sensei. the true aikido had long since dead.

Chris Li
09-05-2014, 11:15 AM
So then are you saying that as a student in ASU under Saotome Shihan that he did not learn the true aikido from O'sensei? Consequently, when you see him teach are you saying that you are not being shown the "true aikido" of Osensei or if he one of the few postwar Shihan who learned it (in your opinion), that he is for some reason holding back? I don't believe that a reasonable person can imagine him (and others of his generation who have been here for decades) concluding that it would simply be a cultural and/or language barrier?

Train Hard,
Jason

I'm not in ASU, but I was, and I got my ni-dan directly from Saotome back in the 1980's.

It's not an either or.

First, to qualify, Saotome spent some nine years at hombu with O-Sensei - Morihei Ueshiba was there perhaps a third of the time and when was there he sometimes taught and sometimes didn't, he wasn't directly involved in day to day teaching and development of students. He was extremely difficult to understand and really never explained himself - except in terms that were (perhaps) even more confusing, especially to a group of people who didn't have the right background to know what he was talking about. IMO, Saotome was probably more influenced by Seigo Yamaguchi than Morihei Ueshiba.

It's also interesting to look at his story from the other side - I've spoken to one of his instructors in Japan who characterized Saotome as young and impulsive in rushing off to the states, and claimed that he had told him that he should stay in Japan to study a little more.

There's a definite language and cultural barrier - even if he spoke perfect English (which he doesn't, far from it) the things that he's explaining often require a specific background of culture and language that most people (even in Japan) don't have.

As for the "stuff" - Saotome has a lot of "stuff", IMO, even certain people who have been cast from Aikiweb into the outer darkness acknowledge this frequently.

Now the problem - when I trained with him he had a very difficult time transmitting what stuff he had. I think that he still does, several of his long time students still training with him have stated flatly that this is the case. He says himself that he doesn't really know how he does what he does, or how he learned it. One of his primary teachers, Seigo Yamaguchi, said something quite similar.

So we have a version of the telephone game. Student 1 gets some stuff from the source, but doesn't really understand what he's getting or how he got it, and without that level of comprehension they don't really get everything that's going on. When the time comes for Student 2 to teach they have they same problems, in great part because Student 1 doesn't understand what he does or how to teach it. Student 2 gets some stuff, but probably less than Student 1, who had access to the clearer transmission, and what he gets is more likely to be a little garbled. Student 3...and so on.

Everybody in the telephone game is convinced that they understand the message that they heard, and is convinced that they transmitted it faithfully and clearly - but by the end of the chain the message is almost always quite different from what it was when they started.

Best,

Chris

dps
09-05-2014, 11:21 AM
Talking about aiki on this site is a lot like this:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X8GYjpJapwk

dps

jonreading
09-05-2014, 12:22 PM
John, I think where the quagmire is in that equation – and in the title of this topic – is in the word "demonstration." I'm sure you're familiar with Ueshiba and his reluctance to give a demonstration of Aikido to the public. And this is the founder we're talking about. Not his students, or their students, or their student's students, ad infinitum.

First of all, how do you take something that's esoteric and "demonstrate" it for an exoteric - or even mesoteric - public audience, and have them "get it?" Answer is, you don't. And you certainly don't do it by visually demonstrating – whether with a live audience or on video.

All that anyone in those cases can do is wiggle a worm in the waters, and then see what kind of fish are going to come and take a bite. Most, by design, will have no interest. Some may even take a sniff or a small taste, and simply not like it. A few will taste, and recognize something deeper, and will want more.

That's true with anything. There are small microbreweries that have popped up that have really gotten back to the time-honored, esoteric traditions of making beer. By design, they're always going to be small in scale. Now, how are they supposed to "demonstrate" that the quality of what they are doing and making is worth someone's time and dime? In most cases it's simply word of mouth, from those who've tasted and liked it, and some guerilla marketing.

You can't give someone a real "taste" of anything unless they actually taste it and get a feel for it. Sure, you can write about it a bit, to get some interest. But that's about it. You can't really "demonstrate" the beer anymore than you can demonstrate aiki.

Youtube is full of poorly-shot videos of old Chinese people, usually outside, showing amazing Aiki skills. Sometimes they're just damned near standing there and hardly moving. Who's supposed to "get that?" Certainly not an exoteric general public. Someone who's never tasted it and gotten a feel for it will not only not see it, they'll write it off – even laugh at it.

I don't think aiki arts can be "demonstrated" publicly. But like wine, beer, cheeses, they can be tasted and experienced. And from there, people who are interested can decide what feels right, and then, later on, decide how far down the rabbit hole they want to go.

I also don't think anyone in the IS/IP/Aiki communities has a right to declare that what they do is "right" or even necessarily "better." But certainly like many in the artisan beer and wine communities, can say that they've gone back to the classic roots of the craft, and have arrived at a level of skills and artistic interpretations that they feel is worthwhile. And that kind of movement is growing in popularity at a rapid rate.

There are people who are absolutely wanting a deeper and more authentic experience. And those are the very people who are not expecting to "get it" from a video demonstration or online flamewars.

I'll be going out to a brewery tonight to drink some local, handcrafted beer straight out of the tap. And there is no way I could "demonstrate" the taste and feel of the absolute heavenly – and yes, I'll say "esoteric" – experience.

You've got to feel it. You have to actively participate. It - like Aiki - is not a spectator sport.

I don't necessarily disagree.

Why is an aikido demonstration a choreographed presentation on a floor that is not open to public participation? Is it that we are not using the right terminology? Or, is it that we are not demonstrating aiki?

If demonstrating aiki is as simple as creating a hands-on experience, why are there not more of them? Why not visit a jujujtsu dojo, let the students touch you and parade off with new students who have felt something they want to train?

I can talk about beer all night long at a brewery while I sample the flavors. We can argue about IPAs and why anyone would want to drink them. But there is one requirement... I have to know about beers. Imagine a conversation about beers if your partner didn't know what was a lager, or a pilsner, or a stout. How would that stifle your conversation? How awkward would it be to be in a brewery drinking beer with some one who clearly does not have working knowledge about beers, but is energetic and confident in her opinions?

Anjisan
09-05-2014, 12:58 PM
I'm not in ASU, but I was, and I got my ni-dan directly from Saotome back in the 1980's.

It's not an either or.

First, to qualify, Saotome spent some nine years at hombu with O-Sensei - Morihei Ueshiba was there perhaps a third of the time and when was there he sometimes taught and sometimes didn't, he wasn't directly involved in day to day teaching and development of students. He was extremely difficult to understand and really never explained himself - except in terms that were (perhaps) even more confusing, especially to a group of people who didn't have the right background to know what he was talking about. IMO, Saotome was probably more influenced by Seigo Yamaguchi than Morihei Ueshiba.

It's also interesting to look at his story from the other side - I've spoken to one of his instructors in Japan who characterized Saotome as young and impulsive in rushing off to the states, and claimed that he had told him that he should stay in Japan to study a little more.

There's a definite language and cultural barrier - even if he spoke perfect English (which he doesn't, far from it) the things that he's explaining often require a specific background of culture and language that most people (even in Japan) don't have.

As for the "stuff" - Saotome has a lot of "stuff", IMO, even certain people who have been cast from Aikiweb into the outer darkness acknowledge this frequently.

Now the problem - when I trained with him he had a very difficult time transmitting what stuff he had. I think that he still does, several of his long time students still training with him have stated flatly that this is the case. He says himself that he doesn't really know how he does what he does, or how he learned it. One of his primary teachers, Seigo Yamaguchi, said something quite similar.

So we have a version of the telephone game. Student 1 gets some stuff from the source, but doesn't really understand what he's getting or how he got it, and without that level of comprehension they don't really get everything that's going on. When the time comes for Student 2 to teach they have they same problems, in great part because Student 1 doesn't understand what he does or how to teach it. Student 2 gets some stuff, but probably less than Student 1, who had access to the clearer transmission, and what he gets is more likely to be a little garbled. Student 3...and so on.

Everybody in the telephone game is convinced that they understand the message that they heard, and is convinced that they transmitted it faithfully and clearly - but by the end of the chain the message is almost always quite different from what it was when they started.

Best,

Chris

Chris,

I don't want to get into the argument of how much and with who anyone studied. Distill it down to the "product" being presented. This is probably more appropriately directed to those such as Katherine and Phil who are in ASU under Saotome Shihan. However, it could be easily applied to anyone in any Shihan's organization in any martial art. Specifically, if there are serious doubts as to whether or not a teacher (in this case Saotome Shihan) actually learned something (in this case "aiki" as she is defining it but regardless, it is deemed important going on whomever's definition) that a select group of students (Katherine and others) allege was either not learned by the teacher or if learned, not being transmitted, then why stay in his organization? Why continue to take and hold rank from that individual? Its not as if he is the only game in town on the American aikido landscape. There of lots of other choices out there. Wouldn't it make more sense to find a Shihan who one feels does transmit "aiki" as they are defining it?

Train hard,
Jason

Chris Li
09-05-2014, 01:16 PM
Chris,

I don't want to get into the argument of how much and with who anyone studied. Distill it down to the "product" being presented. This is probably more appropriately directed to those such as Katherine and Phil who are in ASU under Saotome Shihan. However, it could be easily applied to anyone in any Shihan's organization in any martial art. Specifically, if there are serious doubts as to whether or not a teacher (in this case Saotome Shihan) actually learned something (in this case "aiki" as she is defining it but regardless, it is deemed important going on whomever's definition) that a select group of students (Katherine and others) allege was either not learned by the teacher or if learned, not being transmitted, then why stay in his organization? Why continue to take and hold rank from that individual? Its not as if he is the only game in town on the American aikido landscape. There of lots of other choices out there. Wouldn't it make more sense to find a Shihan who one feels does transmit "aiki" as they are defining it?

Train hard,
Jason

Sure, and some people do that. But as I said, it's not a yes/no answer as to whether somebody has it or can transmit it. And then you have to consider what the other available choices are.

Also, being in an organization often has little to do with who the head of the organization is. Moriteru and Mitsuteru Ueshiba are fine people - there are people who are certainly more skilled, but I'm still in the Aikikai.

My comments on his training history was to put things in a little context, so it might be clearer why a "student of the Founder" might not have actually gotten everything that Morihei Ueshiba had. That doesn't mean that Saotome or anybody else has nothing, or doesn't have a lot - just that there's a lot more out there to be found.

Best,

Chris

kewms
09-05-2014, 01:24 PM
So then are you saying that as a student in ASU under Saotome Shihan that he did not learn the true aikido from O'sensei? Consequently, when you see him teach are you saying that you are not being shown the "true aikido" of Osensei or if he one of the few postwar Shihan who learned it (in your opinion), that he is for some reason holding back? I don't believe that a reasonable person can imagine him (and others of his generation who have been here for decades) concluding that it would simply be a cultural and/or language barrier?

Please read what I wrote. I said that the number of people with Ueshiba-class skills is small relative to the number of people studying aikido. I did not mention names and am not commenting on the skills of any particular individual.

My point was that the small number of individuals with Ueshiba-class skills suggests that perhaps further research into effective teaching methods might be helpful. I am somewhat astounded that this statement appears to be controversial.

Katherine

kewms
09-05-2014, 01:28 PM
Specifically, if there are serious doubts as to whether or not a teacher (in this case Saotome Shihan) actually learned something (in this case "aiki" as she is defining it but regardless, it is deemed important going on whomever's definition) that a select group of students (Katherine and others) allege was either not learned by the teacher or if learned, not being transmitted, then why stay in his organization?

Again, I did not say that. Please do not attribute opinions to me based on your misinterpretation of the plain language of my post.

Katherine

Dan Richards
09-05-2014, 01:59 PM
Why is an aikido demonstration a choreographed presentation on a floor that is not open to public participation? Is it that we are not using the right terminology? Or, is it that we are not demonstrating aiki?

Good point. Maybe we should call them "tastings," I dunno. There are "seminars" which by the very word, people are going to expect to actively participate and learn, not just watch a "demo."

If demonstrating aiki is as simple as creating a hands-on experience, why are there not more of them? Why not visit a jujujtsu dojo, let the students touch you and parade off with new students who have felt something they want to train?

I think there are more of them, but you've got to go back to that great mom n' pop pizza shop, or the microbrewery, or small farm. The quality is going to be inherent at that scale, but once you start trying to franchise and increase the production of scale, the quality goes down.

And as far as visiting other schools to get students; we could liken that to walking in with your own brand of microbrew to a loud sports bar. 1. You're getting into someone else's business. 2. Most of the people there just want a good buzz, want to watch the game, want a cheap and near-frozen tasteless beer, and don't give a crap about your Belgian Saison you've been perfecting for five years.

And in my case, and I think for many other Aiki people, I'm not looking to take away students from other arts and have them join "my school." I don't have "a school." In fact, I like that these people train where they train, and come to me for tools and skills that they can insert into their own training. I have students who are actively training in Wing Chun, Aikido, JKD, etc. - some of them are seriously into it – training hard for 6+ hours every week. They come to me once a week and we work together for a couple of hours. And often they bring other people from their schools to train with me. I'm not only not a threat to their school or their teachers, I'm giving them skills they can use within their own training classes at their schools. I even get indirect comments from their teachers, through the students, that the students are showing a lot of improvement, are more solid and sensitive, and that their techniques are a lot more effective. I don't even call what I do "Aiki," I just call it eclectic martial arts or just training. So, when the Wing Chun guy trains with me, he's training Wing Chun, the JKD guy is training JKD, the Aikido girl is training Aikido, etc.

I can talk about beer all night long at a brewery while I sample the flavors. We can argue about IPAs and why anyone would want to drink them. But there is one requirement... I have to know about beers. Imagine a conversation about beers if your partner didn't know what was a lager, or a pilsner, or a stout. How would that stifle your conversation? How awkward would it be to be in a brewery drinking beer with some one who clearly does not have working knowledge about beers, but is energetic and confident in her opinions?

Yes, well, you have to be interested in beers. Something to get your foot in the door. And have some experience. And that's why I'm usually only interested in training people who already have a reasonable background in, and who are actively training, martial arts.

But many people, like your girl who doesn't have a working knowledge – and probably doesn't even want one – is more than happy to enjoy her mass-produced beer that's served colder than 40 degrees. And she could be energetic and confident in her opinions, and she has a right to be. "Well," she says, "I don't really like beer all that much, and I like it really it cold, and I don't want too many calories, and I like something dependable I can find at most places. And I like Bud Light Lime 'cause it's just fun and makes me feel good and it reminds me of my trip to Mexico. Trying other beers just gives me a headache." And her opinion is 100% legit. And screw your IP lager and Aiki ale.

The point is, in most cases, people who are seeking something of a more esoteric quality are going to seek it out. And they know that. Some of the best teachers don't advertise, don't have websites, are hard to find, are hard to contact. don't post on forums, don't make elaborate videos. don't have a dojo in a strip mall, don't try to revolve what they do around a commercial school, don't try to make a living as a martial artist...

But I think there's a good groundswell, and it's catching on. And there is information out there, and there are people out there, and resources, and conversations, and hands to touch, and body skills to learn. And in that way there's never been a better time to be into this stuff. It's just that it's never really going to be "out there" on a large scale. Just like heirloom tomatoes are hard to find, but worth the effort for a small portion of the market who appreciates the quality of experience.

Martial arts is already a subculture in our society. And IS/IP/AIki is an even smaller subculture within that. It's always been like that, and it will always be like that. But just the fact that there's more information and communication is a pretty amazing thing, I'd say.

So, again, we should ask: What's more important? Quanity or quality? Because we reach a point where the returns are diminishing, and the more you get of one, the less you get of the other.

phitruong
09-05-2014, 02:47 PM
But many people, like your girl who doesn't have a working knowledge – and probably doesn't even want one – is more than happy to enjoy her mass-produced beer that's served colder than 40 degrees. And she could be energetic and confident in her opinions, and she has a right to be. "Well," she says, "I don't really like beer all that much, and I like it really it cold, and I don't want too many calories, and I like something dependable I can find at most places. And I like Bud Light Lime 'cause it's just fun and makes me feel good and it reminds me of my trip to Mexico. Trying other beers just gives me a headache." And her opinion is 100% legit. And screw your IP lager and Aiki ale.


so are we talking about how women and beers help with aiki here? or using women and beers to demonstrating aiki? i am a bit confused once you guys started talking about beers and women. :)

Janet Rosen
09-05-2014, 05:50 PM
so are we talking about how women and beers help with aiki here? or using women and beers to demonstrating aiki? i am a bit confused once you guys started talking about beers and women. :)

As so often happens, this thread is at lagerheads. :)

Erick Mead
09-05-2014, 05:52 PM
As for the "stuff" - Saotome has a lot of "stuff", IMO, even certain people who have been cast from Aikiweb into the outer darkness acknowledge this frequently.

Now the problem - when I trained with him he had a very difficult time transmitting what stuff he had. I think that he still does, several of his long time students still training with him have stated flatly that this is the case. He says himself that he doesn't really know how he does what he does, or how he learned it. One of his primary teachers, Seigo Yamaguchi, said something quite similar.

So we have a version of the telephone game. Student 1 gets some stuff from the source, but doesn't really understand what he's getting or how he got it, and without that level of comprehension they don't really get everything that's going on. When the time comes for Student 2 to teach they have they same problems, in great part because Student 1 doesn't understand what he does or how to teach it. Student 2 gets some stuff, but probably less than Student 1, who had access to the clearer transmission, and what he gets is more likely to be a little garbled. Student 3...and so on.

Everybody in the telephone game is convinced that they understand the message that they heard, and is convinced that they transmitted it faithfully and clearly - but by the end of the chain the message is almost always quite different from what it was when they started. That is precisely the problem.. . and brings us to the crux of my point on the issue of "demonstration."

How can anybody be said to have demonstrated anything to someone who, when they have been given the demonstration -- still does not know what has been demonstrated to him ?

Or, at best perceived but a small slice of what was intended to be seen in the demonstration ?

Isn't that like the telephone game now crossed with the six blind men trying to describe the only parts of the elephant each of them can reach ?

And what if (as seems admitted above) the demonstrator cannot even put a name to what he is trying to demonstrate, so a sighted person cannot even go look up "elephant" and find out how to reconcile all the partial concrete descriptions with the actual thing ?

Your approach in the floating bridge blog article is just exactly that catalog of the six blind men giving their reports on as the yet unperceived and unnamed "elephant."

The chief experience you need to know what an elephant is, is to see it and have it named. However, to match the blind men's partial descriptions into the form of the whole beastie -- this is a riddle. And --in our case -- a form of non-verbal riddle.

Chris -- you have the riddle solved, too -- and all the descriptions and relationships laid out consistently and coherently -- you just don't name it.

I name it: "This is an elephant -- and what is more -- you men are NOT blind -- just open your eyes and look!"

But the only way we don't do another round of telephone -- with hardly anyone ever managing to do what everyone plainly says Dan does-- no matter how much they approve and marvel and and applaud his revival of the RealStuffs(tm) etc. etc. is to put this on a sounder footing -- and in objective terms that ties the demonstration down its to concrete, reliable, physical and physiological descriptions and repeatable sensations and actions -- and at each generation of transmission.

Failing that, we are all just starting the second stanza of the same sad hymn -- and the anguished refrain in twenty years time will be just the same.

Erick Mead
09-05-2014, 06:37 PM
From what you say, it's clear you've never experienced what people are referring to. Ah. NOW, I see. "The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao...."??

You may note that when Laotzu got fed up with idiot warlords telling him they know exactly how to govern the country -- just about five minutes before each of them got overthrown by the next rival upstart -- where did HE go? -- He went to the WEST... Hey! There's an idea! Who bested who in the really important martial contests of the last two centuries or so ?
East or West ?

"Maybe there's something to this magister's "physicks," after all, O Sublime One...."

Chris has laid it out very well.
As far as "matching" mechanical and physiological terms, I think you're missing the boat.

How do you know they "match"? A mystic AND a skeptic? Wonders never cease.

How do you know where your hand is without looking? ... I know. That's how I know. Both literally -- and figuratively.

Consider it a Western koan -- my gift to you. Mind you, I borrowed it from Kant, so could you give it back to him in not too battered condition, if you don't mind, you know, whenever your done with it ?

The point here is that your ideas explain some mechanical things, but it's not IP/IS or aiki. ... and to which I rejoin the same question "How do you know?"

Koan. A marvelous thing, that ...

You need experience much more than anyone here needs your "explanations." It is fascinating to witness a mind that places a science-denying conspiracy-theorist, ideologue, nude model and unfunny comedienne --- in the same category as someone trying to put a poorly described but effective eastern physical practice into valid western mechanical and physiological terms, using, like, you know big scary science words 'n stuff.

Funny is in the eye of the beholder -- but really, I'm not as pretty as she is. Ask Jon, he'll vouch for me ... ;)

Flying airplanes is equal parts intellectual grasp of often counter-intuitive physical principles as it is intuitive physical performance according to those principles -- and nobody with any sense of self-preservation denies the importance of BOTH of them -- and most of those that ever did, ended up in a scorched crater somewhere.

Tell you what -- I'll strike my balance, and you strike yours? Deal?

Chris Li
09-05-2014, 06:45 PM
Chris -- you have the riddle solved, too -- and all the descriptions and relationships laid out consistently and coherently -- you just don't name it.

I name it: "This is an elephant -- and what is more -- you men are NOT blind -- just open your eyes and look!"

But the only way we don't do another round of telephone -- with hardly anyone ever managing to do what everyone plainly says Dan does-- no matter how much they approve and marvel and and applaud his revival of the RealStuffs(tm) etc. etc. is to put this on a sounder footing -- and in objective terms that ties the demonstration down its to concrete, reliable, physical and physiological descriptions and repeatable sensations and actions -- and at each generation of transmission.

Failing that, we are all just starting the second stanza of the same sad hymn -- and the anguished refrain in twenty years time will be just the same.

I have no objection to putting things on a more objective footing, none at all. We do it all the time in training - but that doesn't go in the blog, you have to come here for that. In any case, I think that you really don't know what we're talking about here, and without that experience you have no basis to put anything on any kind of footing. As a couple of folks have pointed out, you're already making crucial misinterpretations of the original Japanese.

And with that, I'll step out of this conversation, it's kind of pointless, don't you think?

Best,

Chris

PeterR
09-06-2014, 02:33 AM
As so often happens, this thread is at lagerheads. :)

Snort - there is real beer up my nose.

Carsten Möllering
09-06-2014, 03:46 AM
@ Erick:

Ueshibas images are not of his own origin, but are taken from much older texts and teachings. So nearly every word of the quotes you gave can be traced back to those traditions. This is true even for the cites from the kojiki.
Also there exists lots of literature about kan/li. Commentaries, instructions and the more.
We don't have to refer to our own speculation and phantasy. We can look it up. And study it. Doing that things open up suddenly. And the connections between certain Japanese ans Chinese arts become obvious. And so do certain training methods ...

Erick Mead
09-06-2014, 10:46 AM
@ Erick:

Ueshibas images are not of his own origin, but are taken from much older texts and teachings. So nearly every word of the quotes you gave can be traced back to those traditions. This is true even for the cites from the kojiki.
Also there exists lots of literature about kan/li. Commentaries, instructions and the more.
We don't have to refer to our own speculation and phantasy. We can look it up. And study it. Doing that things open up suddenly. And the connections between certain Japanese ans Chinese arts become obvious. And so do certain training methods ...I'm not disputing that. In fact I am well aware of it. I also don't think his meaning differed greatly, though differently expressed from what I understand of the more remote sources (and which have suffered equally from periodic bouts of telephone game disease). My undergraduate degree was in Asian Studies and Chinese language and philosophy, and I studied under and prepared my major thesis under the daughter of Gen. Chennault (Madame Chang Kai Shek was her godmother), a professor of medieval Chinese literature. I am not without some well-grounded perspective on these points -- but I also do not pretend to plumb the depths of root texts or practices of wushu.

However, Ueshiba happens to be our proximate source, and the source most familiar or accessible to our aikido audience. He is the one who related it most closely to the form of training he put forth and that we aim to follow and pass on. More to the point those more remote and Chinese sources introduce a whole new level and layers of differing idiomatic concepts, and yet further from the canon of terms in which Ueshiba did communicate, and underlaid with their own schemes of understanding the world.

As for me, I am not wrestling with those concepts in their own idiom -- I am taking in their concrete expressions of application and operation and relating those in our terms of physical application and operation -- for the same actions and relationships. In truth I don't propose anything really novel --which I think Chris's work really demonstrates fairly well-- am just translating what he has said, basically. I started my effort on the project off and on ten years ago, and so I have made more than fair number of good connections between these things. I find it not at all surprising that Chris's more orthodox recitation echoes what I see in my Western interpretation of the same ideas.

It is true that the terms used by Ueshiba, CMA and Western mechanics often differ in the reach of their relative semantic fields, but bodies are still bodies. With the body as a reference "text" to mediate those different ranges of meaning -- we can't go far wrong. I am not speculating, much less fantasizing. I am observing, describing and applying this in Western terms -- not meaning to be divorced from or to supplant any source ideas -- be they Ueshiba's, DTR or CMA -- but to harmonize them and relate them in our -- rather successful, I might add -- Western technical idiom.

I am more than happy to chat about the more remote sources you value -- and see how they are properly interpreted in these terms, if they may be.

Erick Mead
09-06-2014, 01:10 PM
As a couple of folks have pointed out, you're already making crucial misinterpretations of the original Japanese....
And with that, I'll step out of this conversation, it's kind of pointless, don't you think?
It is pointless unless you make your critiques clear. You've made vague allusion to such -- but hardly "pointed it out." I prefer direct points.

Are we speaking of the "jeweled" part of the "jeweled spear" you vaguely criticized earlier? It is variously rendered as 天沼矛 or 天瓊戈 both rendered as "Ame nu hoko." The first is generally considered to be a phonetic use of the Chinese character for the Japanese "nu" since it refers otherwise to a swamp, 沼 "numa". This usage now predominates in modern Japanese whereas 沼 read merely as "nu" is very archaic when referring to jewel or gem. In the case of 瓊, "nu" more specifically refers to a fine jade . This is the connection to tama 玉 which means "jade" and as appears in 勾玉 magatama= "bent jade (gem)" which is one of the regalia of the Emperor, and a common symbol of political authority in villages and territories way back before Heian times.

According to Nihon Shoki, Susanoo presented these gems to Amaterasu in a 500 gem necklace-- who bit them (suggesting the magatama comma shape is but part of a whole with its missing complementary shape -- suggesting the full Taijitu). Alternatively, another version says it was her necklace originally, and Susanno bit the gems apart in a fit of pique. Either way, one of them then spit them out down to earth to create many derivative deities -- thus justifying their divine significance as a heaven-sent symbol of human authority derived from the gods of both sun and storm.

Izanagi was the primordial sky god as Izanami was the primordial earth goddess. Susanoo was his descendant god of sea, sky and storms -- and hence tying back to the association of the floating bridge (and the jade-gem (or spiral image) spear --as a waterspout or tornado image) --

Susanoo is important as the progenitor of what Ueshiba came to call aiki -- in the image of the Kusanagi "grass-cutter" sword --another of the regalia of Imperial authority. Kusanagi was taken from the tail of the Oroshi -- the long, coiled ,"eight-branched" firespitting demon snake. (Tornado -- plus lightning). His most violent episode in Kojiki comes when he flays a horse and drops it on the roof of the palace where Amaterasu is doing her weaving. Now, tell me THAT's not a tornado -- tatsumaki 竜巻 = "long, coiled ". "Grass-cutter" wold be an apt description of scour patches that
a whirlwind leaves when touching down in grain fields. (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/Image/fsd/events/tor2010jun25/Damage5.jpg)

The term "numa" -- may hearken to a mangled reference or parallel association from the mainland -- and may tie the Kojiki-Nihon Shoki creation sequences to those of China. Specifically, they may refer to the creation story of the Jade Emperor Yu Huang 玉皇 and the Post-Deluge progenitor heroes/deities -- NuWa and FuXi. Nuwa 女媧 and FuXi are the children of the Jade Emperor -- and like Izanagi and Izanami -- are both siblings and spouses. NuWa supposedly created men of mud -- giving some interesting further phonetic connection to numa meaning swamp -- and a similar image of the solidifying drops from the spear of Izanagi -- compared to the dripping muddy scarf of NuWa .

NuWa and FuXi are also typically depicted as having snakelike bodies interwined in the dual-opposed spirals (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4a/Anonymous-Fuxi_and_N%C3%BCwa.jpg/220px-Anonymous-Fuxi_and_N%C3%BCwa.jpg) we have been discussing. FuXi is also the fabled inventor of the eight trigrams -- and so also tie into Carsten's concerns about K'an and Li, and the water and fire imagery -- as do the Susanoo (storm)/Amaterasu(sun) roles in combination in the descent of the magatama to earth. Jade in Chinese lore is the 'stone of heaven" a link between the heavenly and earthly worlds -- which is the image of the character for jade: 玉 yu or maga-. of magatama.

What does all this mean ? We can ring the changes on comparative mythology all day long, and for a very important reason: The ancients were just as pointedly and carefully observant about phenomena as as we are-- and got the concrete images generally quite correct. They also saw the patterns of relationships -- and in complex depths of associations too. What they lacked was a sense of impersonal and general physical laws by which they might with greater facility organize functional principles lying behind these observed phenomena -- as we do. They ascribed such patterns and the often fickle manner in which they seemingly appeared to personalities and characters of personified gods.

Casting no aspersions on the richness and layered subtlety of their observed association -- and indeed the accuracy of their imagery -- the plain fact now is that we don't need more divination into our art -- we need more physics.

Carsten Möllering
09-06-2014, 01:27 PM
Problem actually is: "Bodies are still bodies" doesn't really apply.
First and basic thing of internal practice is to renew your body. And to change it. The quality of your movement changes. And not only that.
I'm aware that this sounds strange but the body of someone who practices an internal art is clearly different from someone who does not. So "body" is not the reference text. Although it seems so "body" is not reliable in that sense.
I only understood and experienced that, when I started to practice internals myself.

RonRagusa
09-06-2014, 08:38 PM
First and basic thing of internal practice is to renew your body. And to change it.

Change it how Carsten? You can change how the body does things but you cannot change the stuff from which it is made. Perhaps you are referring to changing how the body behaves in different situations?

The quality of your movement changes.

Quality is a subjective term unless you are referring to measurable effects. So when you use the word quality, how are you using it?

I'm aware that this sounds strange but the body of someone who practices an internal art is clearly different from someone who does not.

Different in what ways? For instance, I know that when I am moving in a high state of mind/body coordination my perception of my movement, my partner's movement and our combined movement is vastly different from my perception of everyday walking around town movement. But my body is still my body: flesh, blood, bone, muscle, sinew, tendon and so on. What's different about yours?

Ron

Dazaifoo
09-07-2014, 01:06 AM
MANY WORDS- we need more physics.

And what better authorities do we have on such matters than say, oh, a University Mathematics Professor? Someone like renowned Aiki master and direct pupil of Daito Ryu Master Sagawa Yukioshi, (and retired Professor of Mathematics at Tsukuba University), Tatsuo Kimura! What luck! Someone who no doubt gets the physics side of the Aiki equation inside and out and who had the chance to train for over two decades with, perhaps, the greatest of Takeda Sokaku's pupils.

Fortunately for us Kimura Sensei has written about his discoveries in the world of Aiki. Let's take a look at some select quotes of his from his book Discovering Aiki My 20 years with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei. Maybe he'll talk about torsional shear, let's see!

It is not a physical matter of this or that angle...

It is not muscular power or Ki. However, since the conscious world is non-material, it usually has no influence over the material wold.. Aiki is like a key to combine them...

You move just by thinking...

If something appears as a form, it can be imitated, but Aiki is not a form. The essential aspects of Aiki don't appear as a form...

It did not come from within me, but completely from the outside...

Sensei often strongly criticized me saying things like. "You really are not at all perceptive!" or "Kimura, you can't grasp Aiki unless you become reborn."

I felt Sensei had advanced to a higher dimension. His techniques were so wonderful that I shouted out mentally, "These techniques cannot be done by human beings. These are divine techniques!"

As long as Aiki is a technique done by human beings, it is impossible to think that you can do anything even if you understand it. However, once you begin to understand Aiki, you move into a freer world beyond the restrictions of physical bodies. You can progress at an unbelievably rapid pace beyond what would normally be possible....

It would have been impossible to understand Aiki even by great efforts if I hadn't met Sagawa Sensei. The reason is that the way of thinking when using Aiki is basically different from doing normal techniques...

Sometimes there are teachers who say that they will kindly teach you anything. However, if they don't have some ability, it won't be of any use even if they teach you kindly...

Thus, to actually be able to do something is very important. In particular, martial arts have no meaning unless you can actually do things...

For me now, at least, Aiki is not only one martial art technique, but rather it is something unknown which suggests that the ability of human beings is actually far beyond that which it is normally considered to be.

Quotes about Kimura from Stan Pranin

"When I tested the small, stubborn 50 year old Kimura Sensei, I was completely controlled by him... My power of resistance was neutralized by the use of Sensei's stance and internal energy...Kimura Sensei clearly demonstrated to us the world of energy that exceeds the physical dimension."

And now some final words from the fully-versed in physics and mathematics Professor Kimura.

I think it is important that you do not just believe what others say, but rather check for yourself, rely on your intuition, and listen to your heart.

However, people who do not discover new things and who believe they understand things have a tendency to think that only they are correct and that others are wrong. This way of thinking will not lead to further development.

So what professor Kimura seems to be saying is it's a software issue, not a hardware issue. Be the ball, and don't sweat the physics, or you'll never get it. I'm not going to argue with an Aiki master/mathematics professor.

oisin bourke
09-07-2014, 05:35 AM
And what better authorities do we have on such matters than say, oh, a University Mathematics Professor? Someone like renowned Aiki master and direct pupil of Daito Ryu Master Sagawa Yukioshi, (and retired Professor of Mathematics at Tsukuba University), Tatsuo Kimura! What luck! Someone who no doubt gets the physics side of the Aiki equation inside and out and who had the chance to train for over two decades with, perhaps, the greatest of Takeda Sokaku's pupils.

Fortunately for us Kimura Sensei has written about his discoveries in the world of Aiki. Let's take a look at some select quotes of his from his book Discovering Aiki My 20 years with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei. Maybe he'll talk about torsional shear, let's see!

It is not a physical matter of this or that angle...

It is not muscular power or Ki. However, since the conscious world is non-material, it usually has no influence over the material wold.. Aiki is like a key to combine them...

You move just by thinking...

If something appears as a form, it can be imitated, but Aiki is not a form. The essential aspects of Aiki don't appear as a form...

It did not come from within me, but completely from the outside...

Sensei often strongly criticized me saying things like. "You really are not at all perceptive!" or "Kimura, you can't grasp Aiki unless you become reborn."

I felt Sensei had advanced to a higher dimension. His techniques were so wonderful that I shouted out mentally, "These techniques cannot be done by human beings. These are divine techniques!"

As long as Aiki is a technique done by human beings, it is impossible to think that you can do anything even if you understand it. However, once you begin to understand Aiki, you move into a freer world beyond the restrictions of physical bodies. You can progress at an unbelievably rapid pace beyond what would normally be possible....

It would have been impossible to understand Aiki even by great efforts if I hadn't met Sagawa Sensei. The reason is that the way of thinking when using Aiki is basically different from doing normal techniques...

Sometimes there are teachers who say that they will kindly teach you anything. However, if they don't have some ability, it won't be of any use even if they teach you kindly...

Thus, to actually be able to do something is very important. In particular, martial arts have no meaning unless you can actually do things...

For me now, at least, Aiki is not only one martial art technique, but rather it is something unknown which suggests that the ability of human beings is actually far beyond that which it is normally considered to be.

Quotes about Kimura from Stan Pranin

"When I tested the small, stubborn 50 year old Kimura Sensei, I was completely controlled by him... My power of resistance was neutralized by the use of Sensei's stance and internal energy...Kimura Sensei clearly demonstrated to us the world of energy that exceeds the physical dimension."

And now some final words from the fully-versed in physics and mathematics Professor Kimura.

I think it is important that you do not just believe what others say, but rather check for yourself, rely on your intuition, and listen to your heart.

However, people who do not discover new things and who believe they understand things have a tendency to think that only they are correct and that others are wrong. This way of thinking will not lead to further development.

So what professor Kimura seems to be saying is it's a software issue, not a hardware issue. Be the ball, and don't sweat the physics, or you'll never get it. I'm not going to argue with an Aiki master/mathematics professor.

"It did not come from within me, but completely from the outside..." Undermines the assertion that "Internal power" is needed for aiki, no? Kimura also stated that aikido people, including his own aikido teacher, Yamaguchi, had no idea about aiki (as it relates to Daito Ryu), so people saying that Yamaguchi's students have "the stuff" may be talking about different "stuff" than "aiki" as defined in DR. Something to keep in mind during these discussions.

Dazaifoo
09-07-2014, 06:37 AM
"It did not come from within me, but completely from the outside..." Undermines the assertion that "Internal power" is needed for aiki, no?

No, it doesn't. Heaven and earth come completely from the outside, and with training man learns to control those forces internally. Not that hard to grasp.

Cliff Judge
09-07-2014, 07:00 AM
"It did not come from within me, but completely from the outside..." Undermines the assertion that "Internal power" is needed for aiki, no? Kimura also stated that aikido people, including his own aikido teacher, Yamaguchi, had no idea about aiki (as it relates to Daito Ryu), so people saying that Yamaguchi's students have "the stuff" may be talking about different "stuff" than "aiki" as defined in DR. Something to keep in mind during these discussions.

Heck, Sagawa said Ueshiba had no idea about Aiki.

oisin bourke
09-07-2014, 08:05 AM
No, it doesn't. Heaven and earth come completely from the outside, and with training man learns to control those forces internally. Not that hard to grasp.

So "internal power" is not actually Internally driven except for the bit that is? And you ignored his statements about aikidoka not understanding aiki as expressed in DR.

.

Dazaifoo
09-07-2014, 09:00 AM
So "internal power" is not actually Internally driven except for the bit that is? And you ignored his statements about aikidoka not understanding aiki as expressed in DR.

.

You could always write to professor Kimura to clarify, after all, I'm just a neophyte and he is a Daito Ryu Aiki master.

And as for ignoring "his statements about aikidoka not understanding aiki as expressed in DR", yeah I did ignore them. So what? They weren't pertinent to the points I was addressing. I'm not a damned stenographer, copy those quotes yourself if you're so inclined. Sheesh. :crazy:

Zoe
09-07-2014, 09:09 AM
From another site:
Tokimune Takeda stated that DR doesn't own "aiki." That aiki has existed in Japanese martial arts for centuries.

Another current kodokia 7th Dan stated the same thing: "Daito ryu doesn't own the term, aiki."
And Sagawa essentialy stated no one really "got" aiki BUT him!

Call it what you will but Kimura and other Sagawa students, as well as any number of Aikido Shihan have been stopped dead in their tracks and easily handled by the internal power / aiki proponents.
Dan
Something else to think about during these conversations ;)

MRoh
09-07-2014, 09:26 AM
Fortunately for us Kimura Sensei has written about his discoveries in the world of Aiki. Let's take a look at some select quotes of his from his book Discovering Aiki My 20 years with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei. Maybe he'll talk about torsional shear, let's see!


Mostly he writes about what Aiki NOT is, and I suspect that he is not really interested in explaining a training method ore clear up about what he learned form his teacher.
He carefully arranged his statements in a way that nobody who is looking for "secrets" will grasp anything concrete ore usefull.

Keith Larman
09-07-2014, 10:54 AM
Mostly he writes about what Aiki NOT is, and I suspect that he is not really interested in explaining a training method ore clear up about what he learned form his teacher.
He carefully arranged his statements in a way that nobody who is looking for "secrets" will grasp anything concrete ore usefull.

The funny thing for me was that I had recently reread his book. Well, his glowing homage is probably a better description. Anyway, as I finished the book again this thread started up in earnest. It made me laugh out loud because I was wondering why he didn't get in to more specifics or details. Then it occurred to me that he's probably had the same conversation that's going on in this thread himself. I'd have probably done the same...

oisin bourke
09-07-2014, 11:27 AM
From another site:

Something else to think about during these conversations ;)

Well, sure, anyone can use the term "aiki". What's important is how they interpret the term. IMO, if you are going to get to grips with the term as used in Daito Ryu, you need to practice the art under an appropriately licensed instructor to an appropriate level.Otherwise, you are just relying on hearsay and guesswork and could well be imparting erroneous information As for using it in other arts including aikido, that's up to the practicioners of those arts. As for the Kodokai seventh dan and the people stopping Kimura et al, would you care to give names?

Cliff Judge
09-07-2014, 11:29 AM
I don't get why we throw around English translations of interviews and writings and hang off them like they are factual evidence taken at face value.

I mean I get why we throw them around - they are all we have. But they rarely come with contextual information as to the level of candor and possible motivations of the interviewee or writer. I always assume these things are an omote, tatamae type statements. I especially think that when I read what Tokimune Takeda had to say

Regarding anything at all about Sagawa, I assume there was an atmosphere of credulousness in his dojo; at the very least, the culture of the dojo was such that if you talked about anything that went on in there, you made it sound like the most amazing crap ever.

Even Ueshiba. In the films, his ukes are tanking. Even in the Asahi dojo one, because that wasn't the same material he was teaching for defense of the presses. So we want to take everything these guys say - who all had some investment in maintaining the image of Osensei as the world's most advanced martial artist - at face value when they describe Ueshiba's skills. Sure, okay!

Cliff Judge
09-07-2014, 11:31 AM
The funny thing for me was that I had recently reread his book. Well, his glowing homage is probably a better description. Anyway, as I finished the book again this thread started up in earnest. It made me laugh out loud because I was wondering why he didn't get in to more specifics or details. Then it occurred to me that he's probably had the same conversation that's going on in this thread himself. I'd have probably done the same...

Sure seems to me like the Aiki he is describing is an effect, and not a skill.

kewms
09-07-2014, 01:34 PM
Sure seems to me like the Aiki he is describing is an effect, and not a skill.

How is the difference meaningful? I think there's pretty universal agreement that training is necessary if one is to achieve "aiki" effects. So does it really matter whether the thing being trained is control of one's own body or alignment with external forces? Or, as I see it, both? How does the "effect" vs. "skill" question change the teaching methodology?

Katherine

Erick Mead
09-07-2014, 02:52 PM
And what better authorities do we have on such matters than say, oh, a University Mathematics Professor? Someone like renowned Aiki master and direct pupil of Daito Ryu Master Sagawa Yukioshi, (and retired Professor of Mathematics at Tsukuba University), Tatsuo Kimura! What luck! Someone who no doubt gets the physics side of the Aiki equation inside and out and who had the chance to train for over two decades with, perhaps, the greatest of Takeda Sokaku's pupils. Heh. Mathematics and Physics departments hardly speak -- Physics uses certain subsets of math-- to the extent that they are physically applicable and result in useful or testable concepts. Mathematics is a airy beastie that travels realms of pure reasoned imagination grounded only in the formality of its own assumptions and operations. I learned more useful math -- including Diffy-Q --from my physics professor than I ever hoped to learn from anybody that taught out of the math department.

That doesn't mean mathematics is a lesser or not worthwhile discipline -- it's just that they don't really CARE about applications. In fact -- some of the most useful math concepts adapted by physicists -- in field dynamics -- are widely acknowledged as mathematically kludgy hodge-podges of debatable internal consistency and often involving artificially zeroing out infinities with virtual negative infinities to get testable finite quantities -- when the operation (∞ - ∞) is as undefined as dividing by zero. Yet it is remarkable useful, and actually and empirically successful. So, no -- I don't defer to Professor Kimura merely because he teaches maths.

More particularly I don't defer because Sagawa's own statements from that book don't support your reading of what Kimura has to say on the topic. In fairness to you, I'll quote it at some length to make my point -- so apologies in advance for the length ...

Fortunately for us Kimura Sensei has written about his discoveries in the world of Aiki. Let's take a look at some select quotes of his from his book Discovering Aiki My 20 years with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei. Maybe he'll talk about torsional shear, let's see!
I have read a translation of Transparent Power, so color me unimpressed with its transmission of much useful about HOW to train or WHAT to train -- beyond intense tanren (here for those interested (http://benotdefeatedbytherain.blogspot.com/2010/07/sagawa-sensei-tanren.html)) and the daily use of furibo -- the latter actually makes A LOT of sense, FWIW, as I see things.

Mostly, Sagawa is recounted as repeated chiding Kimura for NOT getting it -- so it appears that conceptually, at least, there is mostly a very frank acknowledgement about how little he can teach unless the student is just ready to "get" it. Sagawa acknowledges as much:
You can't get good at something simply by repetition….Many people would say back in the day that all you had to do is practice, and more practice! But after I became able to think for myself I found that this wasn't so. The reason practitioners from some styles are weak and no good is because they do not train (Tanren) their bodies. The true execution of Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training to condition the body (Tanren). Only amateurs think that techniques are enough and that training the body is unnecessary. They understand nothing…
It is not easy to attain. I didn't teach this myself until a little while ago. I waited for my students to discover this for themselves
That quote was from an unofficial translation of "Clear Power" I had access to referencing here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=209720&postcount=160) in 2008 before an official English translation as "Transparent Power" was finally published in 2009.

Apparently, Kimura was eventually one of those who got it, to some significant degree. But what about any others successfully achieving what he did from him ? I see not much better success in transmission there than with Ueshiba -- even Takeda apparently managed only the two of them to that degree, as far as I have heard.
Even if you train everyday all the while innovating yourself, it will take at least 20 years. Ten years or so isn't nearly enough time.

Sagawa has no secret, instant-aiki sauce to offer -- his only prescription is "decades" of tanren -- until you see it for yourself.

I wrestled with the notion of how to make a technique work even if someone resisted me using all their strength since my Teens. The difference between noticing these things for yourself and having someone tell you is enormous.
...
- If you swing a bokuto a lot you will realize many things. That is the important part <of swinging the bokuto.> You will become able to do many other things in your training. However that is only building of the body and no matter how much you do this, it will not allow you to be able to do Aiki by simply pursuing these kinds of exercises. <Aiki> is separate. You must FEEL as much as you can when you take my hand. I learned much by being thrown by Takeda Soukaku and gained understanding about many different things through this process. You must be this sharp! Spirit is extremely important when fighting. And to never tense up.

- I once thought that being able to render < an opponent helpless,( implying draining them of their power)> no matter where I was touched or held on my body was everything. One day after many years of building my body through solo training, I was suddenly able to do Aiki with my body. I remember thinking at the time that always training and forging the body was extremely important. But this kind of realization is not something that can be taught. All you can do is to watch me <carefully> and absorb what you can.
...

So why can't it be taught, from Sagawa's perspective ? More on that shortly. On the one hand, you have to be after the right thing -- physically and conceptually -- on the other hand and as noted below -- no one can really give it to you.

- Aiki is extremely difficult. Not everyone can do it. However if you <wish to achieve it> you have to train bit by bit in a manner that will allow you to achieve it. If you give up and simply go do your own thing, you will <never achieve aiki> and will cause you to stray even further <from the path>

But it isn't really esoteric either:
... - Aiki is not mysterious. There is a logic to it. I immediately apply Aiki when executing my techniques and Kuzushi <my opponent.> I am allowed to do as I please because I have applied Kuzushi. I studied long and hard on what to do if I was held down strongly and unable to move. It was because of this that I was finally able to do Aiki with my Body (Tai Aiki.) You must research and study this.

I'll respond to the points you bring up, with some further counter-quotes of Sagawa:

(Kimura speaking] I felt Sensei [Sagawa] had advanced to a higher dimension. His techniques were so wonderful that I shouted out mentally, "These techniques cannot be done by human beings. These are divine techniques!"

As long as Aiki is a technique done by human beings, it is impossible to think that you can do anything even if you understand it. However, once you begin to understand Aiki, you move into a freer world beyond the restrictions of physical bodies. You can progress at an unbelievably rapid pace beyond what would normally be possible....
...
For me now, at least, Aiki is not only one martial art technique, but rather it is something unknown which suggests that the ability of human beings is actually far beyond that which it is normally considered to be.

... Stan Pranin:

"When I tested the small, stubborn 50 year old Kimura Sensei, I was completely controlled by him... My power of resistance was neutralized by the use of Sensei's stance and internal energy...Kimura Sensei clearly demonstrated to us the world of energy that exceeds the physical dimension."

From across the Pacific and an intervening continent, I swear I can hear the corpse of Sagawa going to high rev. I think such a pragmatic and tough-minded virtuoso would be aghast at such muddy-headed divinizing hero-worship. The "world of energy that exceeds the physical dimension?" Clarke's law is applicable here:

Any sufficiently advance technology is indistinguishable from magic. --Arthur C. Clarke

What is more, Sagawa himself seems to agree with me on taking an independent and critical line founded in your own training and knowledge of the body -- and other concepts also:
... You must take what you learn, and then innovate it based on your own ideas. ... No matter how much you learn something, if it is simply taught to you, you will forget it. However you will never forget something you acquire for yourself. It becomes you. In other words, teaching is simply a matter of giving the right hints. You must acquire that thing for yourself. Especially in the case of Aiki, it is an internal feeling which must be grasped.
It's not simply a matter of questioning everything either. You mustn't simply think that it's enough to be taught. Everyone's body type is different, so there is no guarantee that things will work out exactly the same way.
... I don't teach everything, and I can't teach everything. What I can teach is the foundation of how the skeletal system works. How your muscles and organs work upon that frame is for you to ponder and discover on your own. You can't simply fight using your bones alone.
This is why you can't simply do things as you are told. You must add the "meat" to this frame and widen your view. It's a funny thing, you can learn all there is to learn, but unless you grasp it for yourself you will never be able to actually "do" it.

He is by no means suggesting that thinking is a substitute for training -- but in Sagawa's view training is not any kind of a substitute for the necessary, constant and critical thinking either:

You become stronger through your own training and innovation. If you lose and die in a fight, then it can't be helped. You must take responsibility for your own actions. Do not rely on others. ... Indeed, most important is that you keep on thinking. If you don't you cease to have any <good> thoughts. If you continue to think, then a new thought will pop into your head! And then you must write this thought down immediately so that you may try it out, otherwise you will forget it later. Writing this down is key.

You [speaking to Kimura] are always thinking about math, so you should be able to do even better work <as you go on>. The secret is in always thinking about it. The reason no one progresses or gets any better, stronger is because no one thinks. They forget about what they do in between practices. It has to become a part of your life.
(Kimura: "Even Gauss, and other mathematicians said the same thing.")
See! This is why you are no good. You don't do something simply because so and so said so. If you simply go through life by simply thinking you can copy people you'll never get anywhere. The only person that can do this is you. You must create your own understanding for yourself.
Take Aiki for example. There is no way to really teach this. Even if I could point at something that is Aiki I can't put it into words. You simply think you can learn everything from me, so you don't develop the habit to think for yourself. That is what divides people that are smart from whose who are not. Even with mathematics, its not as if you suddenly wake up one day able to do these things, am I right? This is the same with Bujutsu. It is about long periods of work, innovation, that you slowly over time become able to do these things.
... In the end its about accumulating your thoughts and having them act as the foundation for other thoughts. ...<If you decide because> others tell you so, or influence you, then it's no good. You must hold your own counsel. Decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. ...

This is the crux of why Sagawa straightforwardly confessed he was unable to teach Aiki until the student had already grasped the rudiments: "Even if I could point at something that is Aiki I can't put it into words. " He had kinesthetic grasp -- but no articulable concepts to describe his feeling and action. Credit to him for his honesty -- but this inability to articulate it is hardly surprising, given the partly reflexive pre-conscious nature of what I name as the thing in question. Without an objective grasp of the mechanics and physiology -- it will seem always just at the edge of perception -- even for the virtuoso performer like Sagawa.

THIS is the EXACT deficit I been working to remedy. And I believe I have -- to be able to point at it and say WHAT this thing is. And I don't much care what anyone else has to say about it -- because I can SEE it. All my experience has prepared me to see it. All credentials of objectors to the contrary notwithstanding, I will not refuse to name the evidence of my "lying" eyes as to plain operations can I see.

A few other choices quotes of Sagawa about the primacy of seeing the principle over blindly following some training regimen handed to you that you really don't understand-- (from that earlier translation):

However, if you train too much before you grasp the concept of Aiki, then this is no good.

This sounds like a conceptual guide or recognition-- even if completely kinesthetic and nonverbal -- is necessary to train effectively. IOW, you must know what you are training for -- if you are ever to develop it -- which is quite the paradox: to learn you must know, and you cannot know without learning .

No matter how accomplished a person is, he is never perfect. Never hold what he says to be gospel. If you do, then it will obstruct your own determination to innovate and find things out for yourself. You must take what you learn, and then innovate it based on your own ideas.
...
No matter how much you learn something, if it is simply taught to you, you will forget it. However you will never forget something you acquire for yourself. It becomes you.

There are many things in this world that people still do not understand, so you must not have any pre-conceptions about things. This applies to Aiki as well. This is why I can continue to innovate and change my Aiki.
...
You can't get good at something simply by repetition….Many people would say back in the day that all you had to do is practice, and more practice! But after I became able to think for myself I found that this wasn't so.

I think you need to read Professor Kimura more closely and reflectively than you are doing:

I'm not going to argue with an Aiki master/mathematics professor. I don't know that I am arguing with him -- but I am not at all above doing so. As a genuine scholar, he would welcome me doing so-- and Sagawa himself, as seen above, would not value meek acceptance of whatever you are told...

You must possess instant intuition. Do not become obsessed with frames or shapes. ... You must always be ready to defeat any opponent in front of you. You build upon this spirit. In the end it is about spirit clashing against spirit. This applies to everything. A person with weak will could never move hand nor foot against his opponent. A real match is about who will be cut down. If you are weak willed, you will be cut down instantly.SAGAWA demands that you think and arrive at valid concepts yourself. Iron sharpens iron as much in the contest of mind on mind as body on body. So why object to constructive dispute about concepts and making us have to THINK about what we are doing -- what it REALLY is, objectively -- and WHY it differs from things that aren't that? Is that not what ALL training is about?

jonreading
09-08-2014, 07:50 AM
Good point. Maybe we should call them "tastings," I dunno. There are "seminars" which by the very word, people are going to expect to actively participate and learn, not just watch a "demo."

I think there are more of them, but you've got to go back to that great mom n' pop pizza shop, or the microbrewery, or small farm. The quality is going to be inherent at that scale, but once you start trying to franchise and increase the production of scale, the quality goes down.

And as far as visiting other schools to get students; we could liken that to walking in with your own brand of microbrew to a loud sports bar. 1. You're getting into someone else's business. 2. Most of the people there just want a good buzz, want to watch the game, want a cheap and near-frozen tasteless beer, and don't give a crap about your Belgian Saison you've been perfecting for five years.

And in my case, and I think for many other Aiki people, I'm not looking to take away students from other arts and have them join "my school." I don't have "a school." In fact, I like that these people train where they train, and come to me for tools and skills that they can insert into their own training. I have students who are actively training in Wing Chun, Aikido, JKD, etc. - some of them are seriously into it – training hard for 6+ hours every week. They come to me once a week and we work together for a couple of hours. And often they bring other people from their schools to train with me. I'm not only not a threat to their school or their teachers, I'm giving them skills they can use within their own training classes at their schools. I even get indirect comments from their teachers, through the students, that the students are showing a lot of improvement, are more solid and sensitive, and that their techniques are a lot more effective. I don't even call what I do "Aiki," I just call it eclectic martial arts or just training. So, when the Wing Chun guy trains with me, he's training Wing Chun, the JKD guy is training JKD, the Aikido girl is training Aikido, etc.

Yes, well, you have to be interested in beers. Something to get your foot in the door. And have some experience. And that's why I'm usually only interested in training people who already have a reasonable background in, and who are actively training, martial arts.

But many people, like your girl who doesn't have a working knowledge – and probably doesn't even want one – is more than happy to enjoy her mass-produced beer that's served colder than 40 degrees. And she could be energetic and confident in her opinions, and she has a right to be. "Well," she says, "I don't really like beer all that much, and I like it really it cold, and I don't want too many calories, and I like something dependable I can find at most places. And I like Bud Light Lime 'cause it's just fun and makes me feel good and it reminds me of my trip to Mexico. Trying other beers just gives me a headache." And her opinion is 100% legit. And screw your IP lager and Aiki ale.

The point is, in most cases, people who are seeking something of a more esoteric quality are going to seek it out. And they know that. Some of the best teachers don't advertise, don't have websites, are hard to find, are hard to contact. don't post on forums, don't make elaborate videos. don't have a dojo in a strip mall, don't try to revolve what they do around a commercial school, don't try to make a living as a martial artist...

But I think there's a good groundswell, and it's catching on. And there is information out there, and there are people out there, and resources, and conversations, and hands to touch, and body skills to learn. And in that way there's never been a better time to be into this stuff. It's just that it's never really going to be "out there" on a large scale. Just like heirloom tomatoes are hard to find, but worth the effort for a small portion of the market who appreciates the quality of experience.

Martial arts is already a subculture in our society. And IS/IP/AIki is an even smaller subculture within that. It's always been like that, and it will always be like that. But just the fact that there's more information and communication is a pretty amazing thing, I'd say.

So, again, we should ask: What's more important? Quanity or quality? Because we reach a point where the returns are diminishing, and the more you get of one, the less you get of the other.

Yes, you have to go back to the individuals who are personally working (with success) on aiki. This is not an organizational issue, I think, beyond those organizations that allow this experimental study. I think a poster asked some personal questions about Saotome sensei and ASU. Yes, I think Saotome sensei does aiki. I think he had difficulty transmitting it and I think he is trying to transmit it. That is why I am ASU - I have seen no other organization support the individuals who are taking on aiki in the US like ASU. I think most of the people who trained extensively with O Sensei admit they never understood 100% of what was going on. In this sense, yes, our transmission line was damaged. There are people who have personally taken on a revival challenge to find those aspects that were not transmitted.

Second, I think a big issue is that, yes, you are challenging people beyond their comfort zone and working ability. This is not necessarily negative, but I previously posted about challenging psuedo-religious and philosophical oriented perceptions in aikido. Not everyone is going to welcome that challenge, whether they accept it or not.

It is not unreasonable to speculate that transmitting aiki is like throwing spaghetti at a wall - some of it will stick and some will not. For me, arguing about who stuck and if their students stuck is somewhat just an exercise, unless it is to disclose where one can find aiki first-hand. The argument for me, is that there are others who learned aiki, outside of aikido. There are others who were able to transmit aiki. The pressure still falls on [us] to find aiki and say, "this is where I found aiki and I think y'all should give her a try."

I think if [we] are infirm about what we even want to call aiki, it is tough to argue who has it. Further, to argue about people who had it, in a lineage that we do not train... There is a living aiki out there on which aikido people, and friends of aikido people, are working.

To this I would also say that everyone's opinion is not valid as a methodology of definition, nor a form of absolution. Drinking Bud Light does not proves Bud Light is a good beer, only that you have chosen to drink Bud Light, for whatever reason. Doing aikido does not prove that you are doing aiki, only that you are doing something that you want to do (presumably). Nor does it prove that what you want to do is what we call aikido. "Do it if it feels good," is not proof positive we are making good decisions... The 70's should tell us that :).

Dan Richards
09-08-2014, 07:52 AM
Erick, I think your post #401 [above] is one the most enlightening writing examples on Aiki I've ever seen.

Chris McKinley's posts on Myelination (http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16513) at RSF mirror what Sagawa was addressing, in that. 1. It's not practice, practice, practice that's important, but the right kind of practice. 2. That thinking/contemplation of the process is actually a large portion of building the Aiki body. Thinking is part of the practice.

Cliff Judge
09-08-2014, 08:53 AM
How is the difference meaningful? I think there's pretty universal agreement that training is necessary if one is to achieve "aiki" effects. So does it really matter whether the thing being trained is control of one's own body or alignment with external forces? Or, as I see it, both? How does the "effect" vs. "skill" question change the teaching methodology?

Katherine

Because there are multiple ways to cause Aiki. Internal power - which is a different thing entirely than Aiki - is perhaps one way to cause Aiki, but it is not the only way.

Carsten Möllering
09-09-2014, 01:36 PM
Change it how Carsten? You can change how the body does things but you cannot change the stuff from which it is made.I think the most important aspect in this regard is that you can change the condition/quality structure of your fasciae and you can build them up. You can "train" the fascia, so to speak.

Perhaps you are referring to changing how the body behaves in different situations?Quality is a subjective term unless you are referring to measurable effects. So when you use the word quality, how are you using it?I meant "quality" in the sense of "the way how you are moving". So changing the conditions of the body (Recruiting fascial tissue; Reducing the muscle tone at rest - which is different from just relaxing; Opening the joints; and some other things ...) leads to a change of how the body behaves.

In concrete - and over-simplified - terms:
Moving by using the fascia and opening the joints i.a. is fundamentally different (= a different quality) from moving using the muscles in the first place.

Different in what ways? ...Well, in ways I hinted at above.

Mert Gambito
09-10-2014, 02:22 PM
Internal power has survived and been successfully transmitted through the ages via the metaphor-based tanren model, which has only been taught to a few hand-selected folks per generation in certain ryu/ryuha (perhaps Sagawa, despite teaching his tanren, remained selective in terms of who got the most transparent vs. obfuscated instruction), and must be sought outside of the formal curriculum in others (e.g. mainline aikido) by the few that perceive its presence and value. (On a personal note, after years of suspecting it existed, I was pleased to learn that Hakkoryu has a formal solo training regimen codified by the shodai soke.)

The point being, given that say, on average less than 1 out of every 100 folks in a given ryu/ryuha per generation (far less in aikido, i.e. much, much, much < ~12,000:~"1.2 million" [as cited by the Aikikai]) being provided or getting a hold of and training to proficiency in a metaphor-based tanren model, when it is in play in the hands of the dedicated, intuitive and talented -- since that's who's picked for transmission after many years of amassing gold stars with the current knowledge-holder or has the chutzpah to go find then grab the brass ring for him/herself -- it has proven to be quite a successful way to transfer very complex knowledge and body skills.

Now, such models are publicly available. The dedicated, intuitive and talented will still rise to the top over time, but I'm all for seeing where a greater sample size takes us.

Can more of a literal approach do better than an Escher-like approach in terms of how we wire our minds to transform ourselves? Again, time will tell if something more new fangled can replicate or surpass what's proven to work. (At least IT has survived to the present day in various codified forms, vs. something else very sublime and old fangled like how the pyramids were built.)

http://www.eyecarefun.com/images/illusions/escher_drawing_hands_lg.jpg

dps
09-11-2014, 09:57 AM
)The point being, given that say, on average less than 1 out of every 100 folks in a given ryu/ryuha per generation (far less in aikido, i.e. much, much, much < ~12,000:~"1.2 million" [as cited by the Aikikai]) being provided or getting a hold of and training to proficiency in a metaphor-based tanren model, when it is in play in the hands of the dedicated, intuitive and talented -- since that's who's picked for transmission after many years of amassing gold stars with the current knowledge-holder or has the chutzpah to go find then grab the brass ring for him/herself -- it has proven to be quite a successful way to transfer very complex knowledge and body skills.

Are these actually statistics or your guesses?

dps

Cliff Judge
09-11-2014, 10:42 AM
Internal power has survived and been successfully transmitted through the ages via the metaphor-based tanren model, which has only been taught to a few hand-selected folks per generation in certain ryu/ryuha (perhaps Sagawa, despite teaching his tanren, remained selective in terms of who got the most transparent vs. obfuscated instruction), and must be sought outside of the formal curriculum in others (e.g. mainline aikido) by the few that perceive its presence and value. (On a personal note, after years of suspecting it existed, I was pleased to learn that Hakkoryu has a formal solo training regimen codified by the shodai soke.)

The point being, given that say, on average less than 1 out of every 100 folks in a given ryu/ryuha per generation (far less in aikido, i.e. much, much, much < ~12,000:~"1.2 million" [as cited by the Aikikai]) being provided or getting a hold of and training to proficiency in a metaphor-based tanren model, when it is in play in the hands of the dedicated, intuitive and talented -- since that's who's picked for transmission after many years of amassing gold stars with the current knowledge-holder or has the chutzpah to go find then grab the brass ring for him/herself -- it has proven to be quite a successful way to transfer very complex knowledge and body skills.


I am not so sure about "through the ages." You make it sound like "metaphor-based tanren models" for developing internal power existed outside of Daito ryu. There is scant evidence for that, and multitudes of commonsense reasons why it is unlikely. Not the least of which is your assertion that it is "quite a successful way to transfer very complex knowledge and body skills."

"Oh yes, here I have hit upon this method of teaching these incredibly useful skills which seems to work all the time as long as I can get my lazy, uninterested students to practice. I must make sure nobody ever learns this." :)

Mert Gambito
09-11-2014, 05:44 PM
I am not so sure about "through the ages." You make it sound like "metaphor-based tanren models" for developing internal power existed outside of Daito ryu. There is scant evidence for that, and multitudes of commonsense reasons why it is unlikely. Not the least of which is your assertion that it is "quite a successful way to transfer very complex knowledge and body skills."

"Oh yes, here I have hit upon this method of teaching these incredibly useful skills which seems to work all the time as long as I can get my lazy, uninterested students to practice. I must make sure nobody ever learns this." :)
These models and their metaphors are typically largely Taoist or have a strong root in Taoism. That stuff's pretty old, and accordingly certainly not limited to Daito-ryu.

Happy to restate my key point. If so few people historically have been taught how to effectively utilize the metaphors, the work is difficult and requires a lot of effort and dedication over the course of years (how many people wash out before 3 months is up trying P90X, let alone while undertaking a type of training that measures ability to reach baseline competency in portions of or whole decades?) and yet the models survive and people with demonstrable internal power and skills continue to be produced via those models, it's logical to conclude that they are quite successful.

Erick Mead
09-11-2014, 09:17 PM
...yet the models survive and people with demonstrable internal power and skills continue to be produced via those models, it's logical to conclude that they are quite successful. Lessee -- if 1 out of a 100 get it using those methods-- that's less than 1% successful (i.e. -- not "quite").

I'd say that's a margin crying out to be beaten.:D

Carsten Möllering
09-12-2014, 03:58 AM
I am not so sure about "through the ages."What makes you doubt?
As Mert said "these models and their metaphors are typically largely Taoist or have a strong root in Taoism. That stuff's pretty old, and accordingly certainly not limited to Daito-ryu."
You can find it in certain koryū.
You can find it in Chinese arts.
The daoist texts that talk about it, are pretty old.
...

jonreading
09-12-2014, 07:51 AM
Lessee -- if 1 out of a 100 get it using those methods-- that's less than 1% successful (i.e. -- not "quite").

I'd say that's a margin crying out to be beaten.:D

In the other aiki post, I talked about our attitudes towards excusing performance proficiency. The same comments apply here. We sit back and train within a model that gives us an excuse not to pay attention, an excuse not to be critical of progression, an excuse not to transcend the education and an excuse not to excel. Why are we surprised when you can count the number of world-reknown proficient aikido people on 2 hands (maybe three) .... out of a million+ people training? The numbers out there are pretty bad. That's Mert's point. Why are we sticking with a teaching model that has given us very low success rates?

Backing up, my intention in my differentiation is to start to whittle down those numbers. I want to identify the people that accelerate training and comprehension. And not because they have a black belt, or do aikido or whatever, but because they do aiki. Should there be a high correlation of aiki and aikido people? Absolutely. Is there? That's an argument.

phitruong
09-12-2014, 09:32 AM
Why are we sticking with a teaching model that has given us very low success rates?


you know that folks are going to challenge your idea of "success", right? i meant if they are training for some sort of peace and harmony stuffs, aren't they "success" in their own right? you see where i am going with this, right?

RonRagusa
09-12-2014, 10:06 AM
Why are we sticking with a teaching model that has given us very low success rates?...That's an argument.

Until you are able to derive a metric by which Aikido success can be measured it's not really much of an argument. And even if you manage to come up with said metric, it's really only going to measure success that's applicable to your particular training paradigm.

And Phi, how would you measure success?

Ron

PeterR
09-12-2014, 10:35 AM
My thoughts exactly.

We have a number of reasons/goals for doing aikido - not one of them easily measured.

phitruong
09-12-2014, 11:04 AM
And Phi, how would you measure success?

Ron

to convince you all that i am the greatest aikidork since slice bread. :)

Erick Mead
09-12-2014, 11:16 AM
In the other aiki post, I talked about our attitudes towards excusing performance proficiency. The same comments apply here. We sit back and train within a model that gives us an excuse not to pay attention, an excuse not to be critical of progression, an excuse not to transcend the education and an excuse not to excel. ... I want to identify the people that accelerate training and comprehension. And not because they have a black belt, or do aikido or whatever, but because they do aiki. Should there be a high correlation of aiki and aikido people? Absolutely. Is there? That's an argument. This post there (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=339691&postcount=93)was interesting, and -- just 'cuz -- last night we trained what Gleason showed. I used his examples -- but my explanations. I was pleased that my three relative noobs (well, one is bar bouncer -- and one has a CMA background -- but neither have anything that adds to this) were doing single point contact kuzushi by the end of class - and with minimal movement. We did that first one and the second one and then combined them into a one-handed ikkyo, no grabbing allowed. We didn't get to the third -- but I'll have some thoughts on that below.

So, my critique of the explanations:

First -- six directions -- it's not wrong-- and I know this has lineage and backup -- and I don't care -- it is confusingly counter-intuitive, not in the good way, and unnecessarily so.

"Six directions" is more simply just the three axes of space -- three is simpler than six and three axes puts it into sixth-grade coordinate graphing imagery - and a more immediate grasp of the significance of juji -- right angle orientations. People play lots of video games now -- lets' give them the benefit of the doubt on actual spatial geometry comprehension and imagination.

Second -- "expanding in all directions at once " -- also again not wrong -- and again, confusingly conflated.

Three axes means three - simultaneous -- axial expansions. Spherical expansion/contraction is accurate geometrically -- but also confusing -- because -- we aikidoka are not spherical -- (though some may tend that way :eek:). Strictly and topologically we are "spherical," but that beyond one particular usage can be confusing (even stricter, topologically speaking -- we are toroidal, with a tube running through the middle --- but that just get's icky :freaky: )

Torsion or expanding/contracting vortices, though, displays the same simultaneous 3-axis dynamic geometry as the expanding/contracting sphere -- think, water going down a drain. And for the geometry sticklers -- a drain-water cyclone or whirlpool funnel approximates half of what's known as a pseudosphere (look it up). OK fine, here (http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Pseudosphere.html). ;)

And what we did in class: I taught two basic images -- the sphere and the drainwater funnel -- and two basic body actions, one expanding, one contracting.

The expanding/contracting sphere (dare I say, the dynamic sphere :p ) is the pneumatic jack of the lungs and diaphragm writ large. The sphere orients the needed double curvature of the stress applied in the body -- one curve horizontal to the floor and one curve vertical.

The expanding or contracting spiral funnel gives a correct and intuitive image of the linear orientation of applied stress of your own body (intent, if you prefer, again a needlessly confusing image) that creates three axis expansive or contractive effect. I pointed out the the streamlines in the drainwater funnel -- or the vine winding itself around the intersecting limb.

I explained the concept of field action -- like the whirlpool draws those streamlines across the whole surface of the water, or a hurricane 300 miles away can be seen to make clouds right over you circulate the wrong way. The point was to create that intensity of oriented stress dynamic in their body and let its field expand to occupy -- and affect everything connected in the whole interaction.

And like I said -- they got it -- and in one class went from correct body structure, stress orientation (intent), principle of dynamic action, and into a basic applied waza initiated on a point of contact only. They quickly saw for themselves the radical difference between one or two axis stress or rotation and the three axis variety, and toward the end began correcting themselves, when they got it wrong. They could distinguish "an effect" from "the effect," and the conditions necessary to do the one and not the other,

The transverse axis component of expansion (opening the chest) they get easily (once they distinguished this from rotating the waist -- but they tended to confuse the fore-and-aft extension component from the the vertical expansion component when the arm is engaged. To cure this -- I had them practice the vertical expansion compoent in isolation -- holding a jo vertically at full arm extension with one end resting on the floor and lift the end just off the floor using their breath alone. That worked, and then things went swimmingly.

We then practiced the inverse contracting phase also shown by Gleason to kuzushi.

We also played with the second example -- which is a more forthright cutting shear (te giri), exploiting the rotational stress implied in the coupled engagement of the arms -- if you don't try to stop it.

After practicing this to effect kuzushi to the engaged push, we then used the expanding phase we had practiced for the contact kuzushi of ikkyo and the contracting phase as foundation of the cutting mechanism of ikkyo -- and initially without the off-arm engaging uke's shoulder at all, to be sure that the action was correct and not dependent on forcible displacement.

On the last example from Gleason Sensei's video clip, this was IMO an example of the same stress field principle in action. In other words, applying the stress (intent, as you prefer) applicable in a movement elsewhere, the arm engages the uke into the same stress field though the point of contact where it is being restrained. Then the restraint is led where the stress field is directed. We'll play with that one another day, but it is just a different orientation of kokyu tanden ho with a more diffuse contact.

A word on intent. Is this really a useful training tool or image? What does the work is the stress field that enables a movement -- and thus again-- it's not wrong to say "intent" because the body disposes its stress to accommodate an intended action or load bearing activity. Zhan Zhuang sensitizes you to how much of this is going on and constantly. Intent implies that you already know how you are going to have to deal with the load -- and that is just not the case, and unnecessary since the body's mechanisms are more nimble and effective than your voluntary compensations ever could hope to be.

But people can be shown where and how they should be feeling and deploying stress, and people who have not developed good proprioception to begin with may have no idea what kind of felt stress the correct "intent" should exhibit. I think it adds nothing -- and distracts from what proximately causes the effect sought. The point is to introduce this manner of structural effect to the body's own mechanisms and let them eventually take over -- which requires training to build up.

But I do not think they are going to do that without being introduced to it -- and intent implies that they ought to know it before being introduced. Stress in the body can be shown and manipulated to illustrate both error and correction, and so allow the individual to get a correct interpretation of the stress and how to train the body in dealing with it.

Erick Mead
09-12-2014, 11:21 AM
FWIW -- The pseudosphere is this:

http://www.mathcurve.com/surfaces/pseudosphere/pseudosphere%202.jpg

Tenchi accurately disposes the expanding/contracting spiral geometry to form a full pseudosphere --

(Can it be? :D ) --- the Fire Spiral -- "draining" up.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zAz5ESzDXIo/T7lLj8Un_GI/AAAAAAAAEPg/U9nXEBt2p64/s400/fire_tornado.jpg

And the Water Spiral draining down:

http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/tornado-2.jpg

Avatar Korra could not be reached for comment whether there are Air and Earth spirals to complete the set.

Oh wait:

http://www.hamdendailynews.com/images/hurricane1.jpg

Anjisan
09-12-2014, 11:30 AM
In the other aiki post, I talked about our attitudes towards excusing performance proficiency. The same comments apply here. We sit back and train within a model that gives us an excuse not to pay attention, an excuse not to be critical of progression, an excuse not to transcend the education and an excuse not to excel. Why are we surprised when you can count the number of world-reknown proficient aikido people on 2 hands (maybe three) .... out of a million+ people training? The numbers out there are pretty bad. That's Mert's point. Why are we sticking with a teaching model that has given us very low success rates?

Backing up, my intention in my differentiation is to start to whittle down those numbers. I want to identify the people that accelerate training and comprehension. And not because they have a black belt, or do aikido or whatever, but because they do aiki. Should there be a high correlation of aiki and aikido people? Absolutely. Is there? That's an argument.

So Jon, whom would you say are the 10-15 "world-renown proficient aikido people"?

Train Hard,
Jason

RonRagusa
09-12-2014, 11:35 AM
This post there (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=339691&postcount=93)was interesting, and -- just 'cuz -- last night we trained what Gleason showed. I used his examples -- but my explanations. I was pleased that my three relative noobs (well, one is bar bouncer -- and one has a CMA background -- but neither have anything that adds to this) were doing single point contact kuzushi by the end of class - and with minimal movement. We did that first one and the second one and then combined them into a one-handed ikkyo, no grabbing allowed. We didn't get to the third -- but I'll have some thoughts on that below.

So, my critique of the explanations:

First -- six directions -- it's not wrong-- and I know this has lineage and backup -- and I don't care -- it is confusingly counter-intuitive, not in the good way, and unnecessarily so.

"Six directions" is more simply just the three axes of space -- three is simpler than six and three axes puts it into sixth-grade coordinate graphing imagery - and a more immediate grasp of the significance of juji -- right angle orientations. People play lots of video games now -- lets' give them the benefit of the doubt on actual spatial geometry comprehension and imagination.

Second -- "expanding in all directions at once " -- also again not wrong -- and again, confusingly conflated.

Three axes means three - simultaneous -- axial expansions. Spherical expansion/contraction is accurate geometrically -- but also confusing -- because -- we aikidoka are not spherical -- (though some may tend that way :eek:). Strictly and topologically we are "spherical," but that beyond one particular usage can be confusing (even stricter, topologically speaking -- we are toroidal, with a tube running through the middle --- but that just get's icky :freaky: )

Torsion or expanding/contracting vortices, though, displays the same simultaneous 3-axis dynamic geometry as the expanding/contracting sphere -- think, water going down a drain. And for the geometry sticklers -- a drain-water cyclone or whirlpool funnel approximates half of what's known as a pseudosphere (look it up). OK fine, here (http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Pseudosphere.html). ;)

And what we did in class: I taught two basic images -- the sphere and the drainwater funnel -- and two basic body actions, one expanding, one contracting.

The expanding/contracting sphere (dare I say, the dynamic sphere :p ) is the pneumatic jack of the lungs and diaphragm writ large. The sphere orients the needed double curvature of the stress applied in the body -- one curve horizontal to the floor and one curve vertical.

The expanding or contracting spiral funnel gives a correct and intuitive image of the linear orientation of applied stress of your own body (intent, if you prefer, again a needlessly confusing image) that creates three axis expansive or contractive effect. I pointed out the the streamlines in the drainwater funnel -- or the vine winding itself around the intersecting limb.

I explained the concept of field action -- like the whirlpool draws those streamlines across the whole surface of the water, or a hurricane 300 miles away can be seen to make clouds right over you circulate the wrong way. The point was to create that intensity of oriented stress dynamic in their body and let its field expand to occupy -- and affect everything connected in the whole interaction.

And like I said -- they got it -- and in one class went from correct body structure, stress orientation (intent), principle of dynamic action, and into a basic applied waza initiated on a point of contact only. They quickly saw for themselves the radical difference between one or two axis stress or rotation and the three axis variety, and toward the end began correcting themselves, when they got it wrong. They could distinguish "an effect" from "the effect," and the conditions necessary to do the one and not the other,

The transverse axis component of expansion (opening the chest) they get easily (once they distinguished this from rotating the waist -- but they tended to confuse the fore-and-aft extension component from the the vertical expansion component when the arm is engaged. To cure this -- I had them practice the vertical expansion compoent in isolation -- holding a jo vertically at full arm extension with one end resting on the floor and lift the end just off the floor using their breath alone. That worked, and then things went swimmingly.

We then practiced the inverse contracting phase also shown by Gleason to kuzushi.

We also played with the second example -- which is a more forthright cutting shear (te giri), exploiting the rotational stress implied in the coupled engagement of the arms -- if you don't try to stop it.

After practicing this to effect kuzushi to the engaged push, we then used the expanding phase we had practiced for the contact kuzushi of ikkyo and the contracting phase as foundation of the cutting mechanism of ikkyo -- and initially without the off-arm engaging uke's shoulder at all, to be sure that the action was correct and not dependent on forcible displacement.

On the last example from Gleason Sensei's video clip, this was IMO an example of the same stress field principle in action. In other words, applying the stress (intent, as you prefer) applicable in a movement elsewhere, the arm engages the uke into the same stress field though the point of contact where it is being restrained. Then the restraint is led where the stress field is directed. We'll play with that one another day, but it is just a different orientation of kokyu tanden ho with a more diffuse contact.

A word on intent. Is this really a useful training tool or image? What does the work is the stress field that enables a movement -- and thus again-- it's not wrong to say "intent" because the body disposes its stress to accommodate an intended action or load bearing activity. Zhan Zhuang sensitizes you to how much of this is going on and constantly. Intent implies that you already know how you are going to have to deal with the load -- and that is just not the case, and unnecessary since the body's mechanisms are more nimble and effective than your voluntary compensations ever could hope to be.

But people can be shown where and how they should be feeling and deploying stress, and people who have not developed good proprioception to begin with may have no idea what kind of felt stress the correct "intent" should exhibit. I think it adds nothing -- and distracts from what proximately causes the effect sought. The point is to introduce this manner of structural effect to the body's own mechanisms and let them eventually take over -- which requires training to build up.

But I do not think they are going to do that without being introduced to it -- and intent implies that they ought to know it before being introduced. Stress in the body can be shown and manipulated to illustrate both error and correction, and so allow the individual to get a correct interpretation of the stress and how to train the body in dealing with it.

Whew! Erick, if it took you as long to explain it as it did for me to read it, it's a wonder that you guys had any time to practice it! :D

Seriously, I think your point is well made, namely that there are numerous ways of looking a what's actually going on. And I don't think that's a bad thing. People learn stuff in all sorts of ways and if someone can demonstrate a certain thing then who cares what imagery was used in the teaching?

Ron

Chris Li
09-12-2014, 11:51 AM
http://youtu.be/mmzL2ygYrxk

jonreading
09-12-2014, 11:53 AM
One post! That was quick.

Honestly, the metric won't matter. You should still be motivated to find a teaching model that maximizes your potential to succeed.

Once we identify the metric, it will set the expectation. If you want to claim, "I measure my aikido by showing up, and I show up every night." fine. I will know what you value about your training when I make my personal assessments about your skill. For example, if I am in it for the peace, I have to think, "Am I more at peace? What are metrics for this? Lower blood pressure? Less anxiety? Better sleep? Yep. This is real for many people, possibly even for health concerns. But, it's not aiki. And there's nothing wrong with that as long as everyone knows it. Its like black mail - it doesn't work unless you participate in the continued deception.

The rub is that we don't want a metric because it damages the fantasy and challenges our opinions. Worse, it can set measurable goals. For some people, aikido is like duct tape. We wrap up whatever ails us in aikido and the problem is fixed. PTSD? Train Aikido? Obesity? Train Aikido. Bipolar? Train Aikido. Domestic violence? Train aikido. Is aikido really the best solution to treat these ailments? Probably not. But its what we want to do and so we'll do it to the discredit of any reasonable evidence to seek a better solution.

Ultimately, if you don't know what you want, why would you expect me to listen to you tell me what I should want? It is foreign to me that we would spend time, money and effort to train so diligently in something and yet be so unclear as to what we want to get our of our training that we can neither express it in writing nor evaluate our progress in achieving that goal.

We are so afraid of the wrong answer that we refuse to give an answer.

jonreading
09-12-2014, 12:14 PM
So Jon, whom would you say are the 10-15 "world-renown proficient aikido people"?

Train Hard,
Jason

Why is this important to you? Why is my list important to your training? Other that to start a tangent? Or, maybe solicit me to make an awkward list that could possibly cause some people to bristle at the notion of being excluded? Saotome Sensei, Ikeda Sensei and Endo Sensei are my list; I would throw in Tissier sensei since he often represents aikido in international events. There are other great people out there, but do not meet either the world platform recognition or do aikido.

PeterR
09-12-2014, 12:19 PM
http://youtu.be/mmzL2ygYrxk

and your point is.

Anjisan
09-12-2014, 12:51 PM
Why is this important to you? Why is my list important to your training? Other that to start a tangent? Or, maybe solicit me to make an awkward list that could possibly cause some people to bristle at the notion of being excluded? Saotome Sensei, Ikeda Sensei and Endo Sensei are my list; I would throw in Tissier sensei since he often represents aikido in international events. There are other great people out there, but do not meet either the world platform recognition or do aikido.

Jon,

You made the statement. I was merely asking you to state (back up) whom you believe meet that criteria. You mentioned three aikido practitioners only 7-12 more to go......If not, then why make such a broad based comment? I realize that this does not affect my training after all this is a discussion board and we are discussing things.

Train Hard,
Jason

Chris Li
09-12-2014, 01:04 PM
and your point is.

No comments at all, it's exactly what it is.

Best,

Chris

Mert Gambito
09-12-2014, 01:06 PM
Lessee -- if 1 out of a 100 get it using those methods-- that's less than 1% successful (i.e. -- not "quite").

I'd say that's a margin crying out to be beaten.:D
Happy to restate/re-phrase again: only, say, 1 out of every 100 people studying an art are expressly imparted or pursue the adoption of an IT methodology. And it's that ~1/100 of a given population of martial artists that has successfully transmitted IT throughout the ages.

But today with proven IT methodologies available to the public, and far less filtering by the knowledge holders, will the success rates of the modern metaphor-based IT models, or Erick's model once it's similarly in play, be any better than the poor results historically attributed to P90X, becoming a multi-millionaire (let alone just starting and maintaining a business for multiple years), becoming a professional athlete vs. a weekend warrior, or any other human achievement that requires a relatively high degree of time investment, effort, talent and discipline? It doesn't mean the models and precedents are lacking: it's just that people are people, and not everyone has what it takes.

I don't think it'll take another few hundred years to vet your model. As has been previously suggested, let's check back in a few, say 5 - 10.

phitruong
09-12-2014, 01:28 PM
Second -- "expanding in all directions at once " -- also again not wrong -- and again, confusingly conflated.


if you have brought in your inflatable doll, then the explanation would be quite simple and apparent. Mike Sigman did and we all got it. we also went out and bought our. there was a shortage of inflatable doll in the south for awhile. and it affected the training of a few IP brethrens and set them back for a few years. :D

kewms
09-12-2014, 01:39 PM
But today with proven IT methodologies available to the public, and far less filtering by the knowledge holders, will the success rates of the modern metaphor-based IT models, or Erick's model once it's similarly in play, be any better than the poor results historically attributed to P90X, becoming a multi-millionaire (let alone just starting and maintaining a business for multiple years), becoming a professional athlete vs. a weekend warrior, or any other human achievement that requires a relatively high degree of time investment, effort, talent and discipline? It doesn't mean the models and precedents are lacking: it's just that people are people, and not everyone has what it takes.

One can resort to the 10,000 hour rule in such situations: it supposedly takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything.

Five hours of training / week = 250 hours /year = 40 years. (50 week years because the math is easier and everyone takes *some* time off.) Or 20 years at 10 hours/week. Or 10 years at 20 hours/week. Which starts to show the difference between the people universally acknowledged as "good" and everyone else: ridiculously huge numbers of training hours.

How many of the million plus aikidoka out there have actually put in 10,000 hours of training? And how many of *those* have achieved some level of mastery of these skills? I don't know, but that's the kind of information you would need to start seriously evaluating the teaching methodology.

Katherine

Erick Mead
09-12-2014, 03:14 PM
Whew! Erick, if it took you as long to explain it as it did for me to read it, it's a wonder that you guys had any time to practice it! :D

Seriously, I think your point is well made, namely that there are numerous ways of looking a what's actually going on. And I don't think that's a bad thing. People learn stuff in all sorts of ways and if someone can demonstrate a certain thing then who cares what imagery was used in the teaching?
Really, all I wanted to do was have a excuse for the pretty pictures .... :D

Erick Mead
09-12-2014, 03:27 PM
No comments at all, it's exactly what it is.

It is, isn't it ? :)

Mert Gambito
09-12-2014, 10:37 PM
One can resort to the 10,000 hour rule in such situations: it supposedly takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything.

Five hours of training / week = 250 hours /year = 40 years. (50 week years because the math is easier and everyone takes *some* time off.) Or 20 years at 10 hours/week. Or 10 years at 20 hours/week. Which starts to show the difference between the people universally acknowledged as "good" and everyone else: ridiculously huge numbers of training hours.

How many of the million plus aikidoka out there have actually put in 10,000 hours of training? And how many of *those* have achieved some level of mastery of these skills? I don't know, but that's the kind of information you would need to start seriously evaluating the teaching methodology.
Granted. That said, the assumption is that today there are modern flavors of the metaphor-based models, and also Erick's model, that are designed to get us there faster. So, let's hope that these models can take that other rule of thumb, the 30-year-plan to attain demonstrable IP/IS, and shave the window down to, say, 10 years. A lot of folks are devoting at least 6 - 7 hours/week to metaphor-based IT (I suspect Erick is pursuing his training with at least that amount of time commitment as well), so let's keep the outer check-back date at 10 years.

Rupert Atkinson
09-15-2014, 06:59 AM
Training hours: I recently spoke to a Japanese guy I was training with in Japan. He said he trained 15 times or so a week. Five times on Saturdays etc. etc. And classes range from 1 to 1.5 hours. He is certainly not the norm, but there are people out there doing that. In my prime I had one training session per day, sometimes two. But many people continue their training while 'washing the dishes', 'walking up the stairs', and so on. I personally think such to be very important. You have to take it beyond the dojo and stick it into more of what you normally do. 'Normal' people think you are mad. Maybe you/we are. But if you are truly keen, you just cannot help yourself :-)

Today, for example, I walked up a steep hill and placed every step carefully and concentrated on this and that. I have, I think, become able to make it 'un-noticeable'. Is it useful? I think so - otherwise I wouldn't do it. Am I mad. Absolutely. But it all counts. Indeed, such is as important, if not more so, than rolling around in the dojo.

jonreading
09-15-2014, 09:08 AM
Jon,

You made the statement. I was merely asking you to state (back up) whom you believe meet that criteria. You mentioned three aikido practitioners only 7-12 more to go......If not, then why make such a broad based comment? I realize that this does not affect my training after all this is a discussion board and we are discussing things.

Train Hard,
Jason

Nope, that's my three that meet the criteria. I am trying to be polite to give everyone the opportunity to introspectively compile there own list and realize, no matter how extensive they make it, it is a very small number compared to the 1-1.5 million people estimated to train aikido. Hell, make a top 100 list, the transmission rate is still gonna be dismal. Aikido is not koryu - there is not supposed to be some double-secret scroll that controls the transmission rate.

And it does affect your training because you can improve faster if you know where to go, with whom to train and how to train outside of the dojo. And it affects my training because if I can put hands on you, and you feel good, you can elevate my training experience and we both improve. And it affects Erick's training, because I train with Erick and he can put hands on me and I can say, "man, you gotta grab Jason because he is great and he has some tips that will elevate your training."

My point was to illustrate that aikido, as an art, struggles under its current teaching model to produce aikido people of exceptional quality who transcend the art into the larger (world-wide) community of martial artists. In the post in which I made my comment, I was using it as an example of an external observation of where the art is. I know there are some aikido people who could care less what is the larger perception of aikido. And I know there are some aikido people who could care less whether their practice can transcend the art.

Why is it OK to have such low transmission rates in aikido? Aikido is a gendai art, open to the public with transparency in teaching, right? Every test is open book, right? Our leaders want us to see everything they do and inherit the education, right? 30 years to become an expert, right? At some point, when we critically evaluate these numbers how can you not possibly say, "Really, 30 years? Isn't that a bit long?" Talk about drinking kool aid...

Most of us train what we want. We will pay top-dollar to see sensei fancy pants and then proceed to spend the entire seminar doing the exact techniques we do in the dojo. Often in front of sensei. But, we'll get a stamp and the opportunity to claim that we trained with sensei. In fact, we were on the mat when sensei was on the mat and that was the extent of our training. Our idea was broke when we stepped on the mat, we did not learn anything from sensei while we were on the mat and we leave with a sense of validation because sensei did not explicitly say, "you are doing this wrong." There are some instructors who will kindly say, "that is not what I showed. Why don't you try doing what I showed, just for kicks? After all, you are paying me."

Yes, I am criticizing aikido. With these kinds of numbers, it baffles me that we are not open to any new type of teaching model that would improve the transmission rates while preserving the core of what we do (aiki). If you can make a solid claim that learning aikido wearing fake mustaches improves the transmission rates of learning the stuff, I am going look seriously at handing out mustaches in class. I think, we, as students should constantly look to improve our competency while shortening the learning curve. I want more time to be excellent at the end of my life and I want to find those people who will help me accomplish that.

Cliff Judge
09-15-2014, 11:05 AM
Aikido is not koryu - there is not supposed to be some double-secret scroll that controls the transmission rate.

It isn't that there is a "double-secret scroll that controls the transmission rate" ... though the general thought among the IP community seems to believe that this is actually how Daito ryu worked ... it is that the method of transmission is part of what is transmitted, and this is almost always a hands-on teaching method that precludes the performance-artsy seminar which is a hallmark of Aikido and derives from Takeda's teaching method.

Why should we expect or want anything else? You are searching outside of Aikido for something it never really had. We never had a better method of transmission. Have you ever thought Aikido is not at all about transmission? Ueshiba could certainly have come up with something if that was what he wanted. He apparently spent most of his time waving a stick around with a crazy look in his eyes, and the most rigorous method of transmission comes from Saito, the man who hung around watching him, making sure he didn't hurt himself.

If anybody invents anything better it will be their own innovation.

jonreading
09-15-2014, 11:38 AM
It isn't that there is a "double-secret scroll that controls the transmission rate" ... though the general thought among the IP community seems to believe that this is actually how Daito ryu worked ... it is that the method of transmission is part of what is transmitted, and this is almost always a hands-on teaching method that precludes the performance-artsy seminar which is a hallmark of Aikido and derives from Takeda's teaching method.

Why should we expect or want anything else? You are searching outside of Aikido for something it never really had. We never had a better method of transmission. Have you ever thought Aikido is not at all about transmission? Ueshiba could certainly have come up with something if that was what he wanted. He apparently spent most of his time waving a stick around with a crazy look in his eyes, and the most rigorous method of transmission comes from Saito, the man who hung around watching him, making sure he didn't hurt himself.

If anybody invents anything better it will be their own innovation.

Personal responsibility and innovation should be important aspects of our training.

My point was that aikido is not supposed to have secrets, as opposed to the many militarized combat arts that have some control on the transmission of the skill set. Let's keep the focus there. In fact, John Stevens wrote a book dispelling them all, even if there were any. So, if we have a straight-forward teaching methodology with no hidden training, why should it take three decades to learn what is aiki? You're right, aikido's mainstream teaching methodology that came from the Aikikai does not appear to prioritize transmission. Sure, we shared aikido with more people and we hit some dynamite with some great individuals. Based upon those numbers, I would agree with you - aikido is not about transmission, its about propagation. And aikido has successfully propagated itself.

So if the popular aikido curriculum is not about transmission, it is possible that it did not have aiki in it. If some aikido people did not actually learn aiki, then they would not be able to transmit it... Which is why I am differentiating those who have aiki from those who do aikido. Is it outside of aikido? Maybe, but only if you limit aikido to our small technical curriculum. That's not my aikido.

Cliff Judge
09-15-2014, 12:12 PM
Personal responsibility and innovation should be important aspects of our training.

My point was that aikido is not supposed to have secrets, as opposed to the many militarized combat arts that have some control on the transmission of the skill set. Let's keep the focus there. In fact, John Stevens wrote a book dispelling them all, even if there were any. So, if we have a straight-forward teaching methodology with no hidden training, why should it take three decades to learn what is aiki? You're right, aikido's mainstream teaching methodology that came from the Aikikai does not appear to prioritize transmission. Sure, we shared aikido with more people and we hit some dynamite with some great individuals. Based upon those numbers, I would agree with you - aikido is not about transmission, its about propagation. And aikido has successfully propagated itself.

So if the popular aikido curriculum is not about transmission, it is possible that it did not have aiki in it. If some aikido people did not actually learn aiki, then they would not be able to transmit it... Which is why I am differentiating those who have aiki from those who do aikido. Is it outside of aikido? Maybe, but only if you limit aikido to our small technical curriculum. That's not my aikido.

You can hardly blame the Aikikai for not transmitting "Aiki" when this is a term you have appropriated and applied to a body skill that was never transmitted in the art, ever, in the first place.

But maybe you are supposed to do that - come up with your own ideas, figure out your own stuff? Maybe we only come up with a small number of folks with flashy seminar skills each generation, who knows what everybody else is coming up with?

allowedcloud
09-15-2014, 01:09 PM
You can hardly blame the Aikikai for not transmitting "Aiki" when this is a term you have appropriated and applied to a body skill that was never transmitted in the art, ever, in the first place.

This is simply not true. There are Aikido lineages where these body skills were transmitted explicitly (which they refer to as Aiki btw), and continue to be taught to this day.

sakumeikan
09-15-2014, 02:08 PM
Why is this important to you? Why is my list important to your training? Other that to start a tangent? Or, maybe solicit me to make an awkward list that could possibly cause some people to bristle at the notion of being excluded? Saotome Sensei, Ikeda Sensei and Endo Sensei are my list; I would throw in Tissier sensei since he often represents aikido in international events. There are other great people out there, but do not meet either the world platform recognition or do aikido.

Dear Jon,
Run out of names , have we Jon?May I point out that you made the statement about nos of people you think are class.Others seemingly do not meet the World? platform recognition.Who are these people?Apart from me.Cheers, Joe.

RonRagusa
09-15-2014, 02:49 PM
Who are these people?Apart from me.Cheers, Joe.

You're in a class by yourself Joe. :)

Ron

Cliff Judge
09-15-2014, 03:07 PM
This is simply not true. There are Aikido lineages where these body skills were transmitted explicitly (which they refer to as Aiki btw), and continue to be taught to this day.

Let's hear some specifics.

allowedcloud
09-15-2014, 04:16 PM
Let's hear some specifics.

Shortly before he passed away the late Rinjiro Shirata did in fact teach a few students several exercises meant to train internal power and aiki. I imagine these are similar to the exercises that the Aikikai had banned from being taught at Hombu dojo. Some of these students are Westerners and are on this board, so they could offer more details here if they wish. However I would actually advise them not to do so.

Cliff Judge
09-15-2014, 04:30 PM
Shortly before he passed away the late Rinjiro Shirata did in fact teach a few students several exercises meant to train internal power and aiki. I imagine these are similar to the exercises that the Aikikai had banned from being taught at Hombu dojo. Some of these students are Westerners and are on this board, so they could offer more details here if they wish. However I would actually advise them not to do so.

Thanks. Yes, of course, we'll take their silence on the matter to be their complete and utter agreement with you. ;)

allowedcloud
09-15-2014, 04:58 PM
Thanks. Yes, of course, we'll take their silence on the matter to be their complete and utter agreement with you. ;)

You're welcome.

RonRagusa
09-15-2014, 04:58 PM
Some of these students are Westerners and are on this board, so they could offer more details here if they wish. However I would actually advise them not to do so.

My point was that aikido is not supposed to have secrets... Let's keep the focus there.

Hmmm...

Erick Mead
09-15-2014, 08:46 PM
You can hardly blame the Aikikai for not transmitting "Aiki" when this is a term you have appropriated and applied to a body skill that was never transmitted in the art, ever, in the first place.

I can't agree here. The thing I am describing I have felt in Ikeda, and in Hooker in ASU lineage, Ledyard also, I've also felt it in Parker Sensei in Yokosuka in the mid-90's. I've also seen it in performances by Shioda, Saotome, Sagawa, and others. The differences among them -- by far-- outweigh the similarities of impression, manner, accomplishment and preferences for application. But the reality and identity of the thing is evident behind appearances.

I do not believe it is actually "missing" in the transmission. I believe many have missed it. It has been overlooked or orphaned in emphasis of instruction and recognized and addressed on a totally implicit and ad hoc basis. This seems to be the case in the three lineages I have any extensive experience of and the one other (Yoshinkan) I have some passing familiarity with. Given Sagawa's strong and unvarnished caution about being unable to teach it before anyone was ready to perceive it themselves -- it may be understandable. I do not believe it to be inherent or inevitable.

But by putting the more loose-limbed, flowing arcs of movement into icky-ewwww-other-than-'internal'-and-to-be-avoided-at-all-costs categories -- something is lost. Yes, I get that the internal aiki "in-me" "intent"(stress) management part is really more of a pedagogical emphasis and not a unitary goal -- but the more prejudicial stance above seems to take the fore.

I am more interested in the transitions -- between standing and being pushed,attacked or hit, and between the regimes of internal stress management and external action. Things happen there we have little conscious control over. Whether immediately loosening or stiffening in response -- both of which are naturally instinctive variations -- we must learn manage what we happen to do -- far more than what we choose to do.

If I were to sum up the relationship, I would say that the internal aspect of the art is the spiral flows of stress (intent, if you prefer) within the body(ies) that become the spiral flows of movement when the lines of stress fall outside the "extreme fiber" (in materials terminology) of structure and begin moving the body(ies) and limbs around from unbalanced stress or moments. Ikeda certainly speaks of and arrived at it by making external movement infinitesimal -- which seems just back-to-front of the IP/IS training paradigm.

Erick Mead
09-15-2014, 08:49 PM
... the exercises that the Aikikai had banned from being taught at Hombu dojo....This has been alluded to before -- but no one has ever noted what they were. Do you know?

Cliff Judge
09-15-2014, 10:09 PM
I can't agree here. The thing I am describing I have felt in Ikeda, and in Hooker in ASU lineage, Ledyard also, I've also felt it in Parker Sensei in Yokosuka in the mid-90's. I've also seen it in performances by Shioda, Saotome, Sagawa, and others. The differences among them -- by far-- outweigh the similarities of impression, manner, accomplishment and preferences for application. But the reality and identity of the thing is evident behind appearances.

I am being specific about what transmission entails, and I believe Jon, Joshua and I are on the same page: something that was actually formally taught by Ueshiba to his students, with the intention on Ueshiba's part that it be integral to the rest of his art. For me, this doesn't add up. Either the methods never really existed, or Ueshiba himself didn't think they should be a part of Aikido.

I think the practitioners today who are highly skilled all discovered their skills on their own.

RonRagusa
09-15-2014, 11:10 PM
I do not believe it is actually "missing" in the transmission. I believe many have missed it.

I agree with this assessment.

I do not believe it to be inherent or inevitable.

I do believe it is inherent to varying degrees in everyone. That said, I do not believe that it is inevitable that everyone will recognize it for what it is. At some point, or perhaps many points, along a student's path a leap of faith is required to get over the hump of self doubt in order to see it and be able to use it. Unless that leap is taken the student will stay shackled to reliance on learning from without and turn aside from the internal "teacher" we all possess. In that light,

Sagawa's strong and unvarnished caution about being unable to teach it before anyone was ready to perceive it themselves...

is readily understandable.

-- we must learn manage what we happen to do -- far more than what we choose to do.

Yeah, coordinate mind and body.

Ron

kewms
09-16-2014, 12:21 AM
I am being specific about what transmission entails, and I believe Jon, Joshua and I are on the same page: something that was actually formally taught by Ueshiba to his students, with the intention on Ueshiba's part that it be integral to the rest of his art. For me, this doesn't add up. Either the methods never really existed, or Ueshiba himself didn't think they should be a part of Aikido.

I think the practitioners today who are highly skilled all discovered their skills on their own.

On what basis do you conclude this?

The uchi deshi got a lot of one-on-one time with Ueshiba. Heck, that's what being an uchi deshi meant. So I'm not sure anyone who wasn't there is in a position to say what was or was not taught to his closest students.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
09-16-2014, 08:01 AM
On what basis do you conclude this?

The uchi deshi got a lot of one-on-one time with Ueshiba. Heck, that's what being an uchi deshi meant. So I'm not sure anyone who wasn't there is in a position to say what was or was not taught to his closest students.

Katherine

So are you saying that Ueshiba transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his uchi deshi, was clear with them that this was to be an integral part of Aikido, and then they refused to teach it to their own students?

I am saying that he never transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his students, because if he had, they'd have all transmitted it to us.

And since no formal method was transmitted - either he didn't care or he never figured anything out that was an effective way to teach, or he thought that normal paired training of waza would be sufficient - then it isn't really part of Aikido. Certainly if you like IP training it can be a wonderful thing to cross train in, and a great part of your own practice.

jonreading
09-16-2014, 08:42 AM
You can hardly blame the Aikikai for not transmitting "Aiki" when this is a term you have appropriated and applied to a body skill that was never transmitted in the art, ever, in the first place.

But maybe you are supposed to do that - come up with your own ideas, figure out your own stuff? Maybe we only come up with a small number of folks with flashy seminar skills each generation, who knows what everybody else is coming up with?

"Aiki" predates aikido. I would take issue with a claim that the current definition circulating from me is either original or new. Probably, it is more universal than the "aikido-centric" view of aiki, with cannot transcend the art. Not for this thread, but an interesting discussion if you are trying to invalidate any definition of aiki, as opposed to a single definition with which you take exception.

Second, I think there is some demand for personal accountability for our training. Very likely, there is some glass ceiling that requires an additional effort to break in order to elevate your abilities. Certainly, O Sensei has a number of stories surrounding his ability to conceptualize fighting arts and us those conceptualizations to improve his skills. Conversely, he often expanded his "aikido" to include those arts he found contained aiki.

To speak personally, I am not convinced O Sensei was actually that great of a teacher. I think we look at that aspect of O Sensei with rose-colored glasses. Largely, most of what we know as "aikido" was not developed or taught by O Sensei. Aikikai aikido was a product of his students. I don't think you can project a claim about O Sensei's teaching onto the Aikikai because he did not do Aikikai aikido. I think O Sensei was focused on learning aiki, I think several of his earlier students caught his coat tails and followed his path with some success. I think the number of students catching his coat tails diminished as he grew older and less involved in teaching directly. It may be that many of his students transcended that glass ceiling simply because they were behind O Sensei when he broke through and inspired by how he broke through.

I think O Sensei transcended the ability to teach aiki. I call the phenomenon "Shihan syndrome". At an elevated level of training, individuals lose the ability to understand what teaching best communicates what they do on a basic level. You can use any body skill as an analogy: breathing, walking, swimming, riding a bike, walking on stilts. Learning the skill is difficult. Once mastered, relating how to learn the skill is difficult. The other night we were working out with Dan Messisco and he was talking about "just being you". Unfortunately, "just being me" isn't a 6th dan who's been training for 50 years. But for him, he is really "just being him" so the instruction makes sense [to him].

I think it is likely an Ueshiba felt some exercises did not belong in aikido. But probably Kisshomaru Ueshiba was the individual who altered the training since he was the head of the dojo. As a point of wild speculation there was a period of tension between Morihei Ueshiba and Takeda during which Morihei may have been chastised for openly sharing aiki. If this did happen and O Sensei did acquiesce to Takeda's request to constrict his instruction it is possible that O Sensei altered his instruction. I think the idea that aikido did not contain aiki, or was somehow not part of the art is probably inaccurate at best. Hidden in Plain Sight is a good read that looks at the idea of aiki and its relationship between Daito Ryu and Aikido. Of course, if you don't believe in the universal concept of aiki (i.e. that it exists in not only the named Japanese arts, but also the Chinese and Indian arts), then aiki is unique to aikido and inherently not the same aiki as found in the other arts.

I think you need to separate O Sensei from aikido. O Sensei did not teach what we do in aikido. I think you need to separate O Sensei's aiki from aikido aiki. O Sensei's aiki is not what we do today. But, then we're back to separating aiki from aikido. Read one of many articles from the various Aikido Journal permutations and you'll read most of O Sensei's students fessing up to only getting a portion of what O Sensei was trying to teach. I think this is a strong argument for laying down some of the transmission issues at the feet of those students who later lead aikido instruction. Many of O Sensei's earlier students received instruction in what should be considered a hybridized Daito Ryu instruction that was flavored by Ueshiba (not "aikido"). I think this is integral for understanding that O Sensei's teaching methodology varied and could explain several success/failure stories that emerged from Hombu.

Cady Goldfield
09-16-2014, 08:45 AM
So are you saying that Ueshiba transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his uchi deshi, was clear with them that this was to be an integral part of Aikido, and then they refused to teach it to their own students?

I am saying that he never transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his students, because if he had, they'd have all transmitted it to us.

And since no formal method was transmitted - either he didn't care or he never figured anything out that was an effective way to teach, or he thought that normal paired training of waza would be sufficient - then it isn't really part of Aikido. Certainly if you like IP training it can be a wonderful thing to cross train in, and a great part of your own practice.

There would be no argument that his later uchi-deshi were taught a modified aikido without the internal principles and method -- particularly the coterie of young deshi who would be sent out into the world as missionaries of Aikikai. But, it appears that many of M. Ueshiba's earlier students received at least some internal transmission, albeit in varying degrees. That is consistent with the way in which that body of training has traditionally been transmitted, though,

Cliff Judge
09-16-2014, 09:54 AM
What a crazy place we have gotten to.

kewms
09-16-2014, 11:55 AM
So are you saying that Ueshiba transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his uchi deshi, was clear with them that this was to be an integral part of Aikido, and then they refused to teach it to their own students?

I am saying that he never transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his students, because if he had, they'd have all transmitted it to us.

I am specifically questioning your claim that "the practitioners today who are highly skilled all discovered their skills on their own."

I am also pushing back against the claim that either Ueshiba or his students had knowledge which they "refused" to teach.

Certainly there are issues in the transmission from Ueshiba down to us. And of course Ueshiba has been dead for 45 years; I would be shocked if his direct students hadn't refined their understanding since then.

But I don't think we have enough information to say whether there was a deliberate decision not to teach certain topics, or whether those topics are simply hard to teach or learn and therefore not always transmitted successfully.

Katherine

jonreading
09-16-2014, 12:18 PM
So are you saying that Ueshiba transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his uchi deshi, was clear with them that this was to be an integral part of Aikido, and then they refused to teach it to their own students?

I am saying that he never transmitted a formal method of training internal power to his students, because if he had, they'd have all transmitted it to us.

And since no formal method was transmitted - either he didn't care or he never figured anything out that was an effective way to teach, or he thought that normal paired training of waza would be sufficient - then it isn't really part of Aikido. Certainly if you like IP training it can be a wonderful thing to cross train in, and a great part of your own practice.

"Sensei, what can we do to train internal power?" "Stand in hanmi, open yourself in 6 directions and enter into a tree. Practice this 2 hours each day.""Umm... What? Sensei, is there another way that we can train the power you have?" "Yes. Stand under a waterfall and purify yourself. Open yourself to the gods and maintain motion in your stillness. You must do this ever morning before your chores." "Umm...What?"

First, I think you need to look at the strong probability that Ueshiba taught internal power indirectly at least. With that indirect education, it is also probable that his students experienced his training. Did those students later think, "I think I am going to cut out the 'stand under the waterfall' exercise. That seems a little crazy..."?

Second, I think you need to look at the strong probability that Ueshiba taught internal power explicitly for a least a period of time (closer to his DRA instruction). Many of our exercises like tori fune, sayo undo, hasso undo and the like all have connections to other internal power exercises. Just because we don't do the exercises the way O Sensei intended does not mean he did not want us to train.

I think, in all liklihood, many of Ueshiba's students culled out those exercises they perceived not to be effective learning tools (whether they were exposed by indirect or direct means). It is certainly as plausible of reasoning as "he didn't care," which I do not believe is either true or even an accurate guess. I would also argue that the liklihood the existence of aiki in aikido can be presented as a binocular (i.e. he either didn't care or didn't intend) argument is inaccurate.

Third, I think the claim one of his students who possessed aiki would have passed down the instruction is also flawed because possession of knowledge is not synonymous with transmission of knowledge. It is possible that one or more students could do aiki but did not transmit it to others.

Some time back Aikikai removed weapons from aikido. O Sensei used weapons. Many of O Sensei's senior people used weapons. Can we assume those seniors transmitted weapons training to us? Are we to assume because it is not part of the Aikikai curriculum that Aikido never used weapons? Did O Sensei not care if we used weapons, or did he not intend for us to use weapons?

There is a forensic process for looking why something left our curriculum. I think the argument you hear from IP folk is that IP training is not cross-training - it is aiki training. Rather, aikido that does not have IP is excluding a piece of curriculum. I think those same folks are looking at the why and coming up with some interesting reasons as to why that curriculum component left aikido.

kewms
09-16-2014, 12:32 PM
"Sensei, what can we do to train internal power?" "Stand in hanmi, open yourself in 6 directions and enter into a tree. Practice this 2 hours each day.""Umm... What? Sensei, is there another way that we can train the power you have?" "Yes. Stand under a waterfall and purify yourself. Open yourself to the gods and maintain motion in your stillness. You must do this ever morning before your chores." "Umm...What?"

This brings up an important point, namely that it's pretty clear that Ueshiba saw his aikido as inseparable from his spiritual practice. This would have created yet more obstacles for students who did not share his beliefs. If a particular practice was seen as a "spiritual" rather than a "martial" exercise, its significance could easily have been lost.

Katherine

Mert Gambito
09-16-2014, 01:03 PM
FWIW:
So I believe that Kisshomaru Ueshiba also taught and demonstrated 'kihon waza', but he was well aware, and the present Doshu is also well aware, that such waza constitute only a small part of the total art. It seems to me that there is a broad division between what is 'officially' taught at the Hombu and what is taught elsewhere, including Iwama and local dojos like the one here in Hiroshima. When I came here, I was surprised to encounter very interesting waza that I had not seen before and sometimes discussed this with the senior yudansha here: at some point the discussion usually mentioned Daito-ryu, the Takumakai, and what Morihei Ueshiba taught in Osaka.

I have asked Doshu and other Hombu teachers whether Morihei Ueshiba did IP training and the answer was yes, but with the rider that he never taught it: he left this type of training to students who perceived it and wanted to do it. The corollary was (is) that this type of training should be a complement to one's 'kihon' training, but not a substitute for it.

[. . . T]he Hombu instructor with whom I have discussed these issues the most is Hiroshi Tada. Like Tohei, H Tada was a student of Tempu Nakamura, but he seems to have been very careful as to what he taught in the Hombu and what he taught in his own dojo and in Italy. In other words, he seems to have accepted the idea that only certain things were to be taught or practiced in the Hombu, but also that the other things were to be practiced elsewhere. He teaches weapons in Italy, but never in the Hombu, and when I mentioned some details of a certain jo kata that I practiced in Italy to another Hombu instructor, he was very curious and wondered where Tada had learned it. Like other older Hombu instructors, Tada sets great store by solo training exercises and these seem to consist mainly of kokyu exercises of increasing sophistication and complexity. But he has never taught anything like pushing hands etc and I suspect that the occasion for seeing the results of all this kokyu training would be in basic aikido waza, like shoumen-uchi 1-kyou. This issue for me is which bit of Tada's training comes from Nakamura and which bit from Ueshiba -- and whether he could make such a distinction. Add to this Ellis Amdur's theory of Ueshiba's use of his students as ‘crash-test dummies' and you also have to entertain the possibility that he showed different things to different students -- and he showed this by having them take ukemi. You also have to entertain the possibility that the skills that Ueshiba possessed which could be interpreted as IP skills could be acquired by Ueshiba's students in various ways, but not necessarily from Ueshiba himself by a direct transmission. [. . .]

One of the yudansha who trains with the group I look after in the Netherlands attends the workshops of Dan Harden and Minoru Akuzawa when they come to Europe. His aikido comes from another source, of course, but on one occasion a senior Hombu instructor stopped and asked him, "Why are you so strong?" The question was not meant in a negative sense at all and he was not talking about physical strength. The instructor knew exactly what he was seeing and I believe the older generation of instructors in Japan also know this. But [. . .] this knowledge is clandestine and limited to individuals. These individuals are in the Aikikai, but are dwindling in number. [. . .]

I think Doshu is an active exponent of a certain interpretation of iemoto, but the great danger here is that aikido is not a koryu and does not have kata in the sense understood in a koryu. There is a sense that the waza can be seen as vehicles for the expression of creativity and this, to my mind, is what Morihei Ueshiba meant by Takemusu Aiki. He always showed waza, as did Takeda Sokaku, but seems to have presented them slightly differently to different deshi. So creativity can be understood in many ways. Unlike the present generation of Japanese martial arts exponents, Morihei Ueshiba also read the Chinese classics and was familiar with all the texts that are the foundation of Chinese internal arts. Recently I came across a scholarly work on yin-yang and its place in Chinese thought and culture. Even a quick read was enough to show that this is a complex and multi-faceted concept. We all know the question that a student asked Morihei Ueshiba and his answer, citing the knowledge of yin and yang. Ueshiba did not give any further explanation and left it to the students to grasp what he meant. The point is that he was probably familiar with the whole breadth and depth of the concept, but his students did not share this familiarity.

Mary Eastland
09-16-2014, 02:53 PM
I am specifically questioning your claim that "the practitioners today who are highly skilled all discovered their skills on their own."

I am also pushing back against the claim that either Ueshiba or his students had knowledge which they "refused" to teach.

Certainly there are issues in the transmission from Ueshiba down to us. And of course Ueshiba has been dead for 45 years; I would be shocked if his direct students hadn't refined their understanding since then.

But I don't think we have enough information to say whether there was a deliberate decision not to teach certain topics, or whether those topics are simply hard to teach or learn and therefore not always transmitted successfully.

Katherine

I think the elephant in the living room is the split that happened when Tohei left. I don't know for sure but it seems like that Ki development stopped being taught at a lot of dojos and it was thought that it would come just by training.

It does not seem to be true. It seems like many aikido students are seeking a different way.

kewms
09-16-2014, 04:37 PM
I think the elephant in the living room is the split that happened when Tohei left. I don't know for sure but it seems like that Ki development stopped being taught at a lot of dojos and it was thought that it would come just by training.

I don't know if I'd call it an elephant. My understanding is that disagreements about ki instruction were one of the stated reasons for the split, and I'm not privy to any particularly closely held information.

However, it's too simplistic to claim, as some have, that the Tohei branch preserved ki development while the Ueshiba branch did not. Individual teachers had far more complex reasons for landing on whichever side of the split they did. Nor is it clear whether the teachers on either side of the split were any more capable of transmitting this information. (With the possible exception of Tohei himself.)

Katherine

Mary Eastland
09-16-2014, 04:43 PM
Our teacher was perfectly capable of transmitting the information as are we.

The reason why i called it the elephant was pretty much explained by your response. Nobody wants to say it out loud. It is okay

People wouldn't be seeking it outside of aikido if it was taught in mainstream Aikido.

kewms
09-16-2014, 07:53 PM
Our teacher was perfectly capable of transmitting the information as are we.

The reason why i called it the elephant was pretty much explained by your response. Nobody wants to say it out loud. It is okay

People wouldn't be seeking it outside of aikido if it was taught in mainstream Aikido.

With a million plus aikido practitioners, I think it's safe to say that there is an enormous variation in "mainstream" aikido.

My experience with Tohei-style aikido is extremely limited, but did not lead me to believe that the Tohei branch is a repository of knowledge not found in the Ueshiba branch.

Katherine

Carsten Möllering
09-17-2014, 03:42 AM
IMy understanding is that disagreements about ki instruction were one of the stated reasons for the split, ...Other students of Ueshiba were also members of the Tempukai. Tada sensei - 9th dan today and I think one of the best known teachers of the aikikai - being one of them.
Endō sensei sometimes states, that the teachings of Tempu Nakamura were present and were transmitted by many of his sempai, when he entered hombu. (Btw. his first teacher at all was Tada sensei. And Tohei sensei was one of his favorite teachers at hombu.)

Teachers like Tada sensei taught Shin shin toitsu do in their own dōjō. But they did not try to replace the teachings of Ueshiba with the teachings of Tempu in the official curriculum of hombu. The ki no renma of Tada sensei is directly taken from Tempukai and Ichikukai, as is the teaching of Tohei sensei. But Tada sensei just taught it privately and did not try to establish it as official teachning of the aikikai hombu.

So I think, it was all not about a disagreement of ki, but about a disagreemaent of instruction.
To me the conflict allways seemed to be more about loyalty and family affairs - think of the familiary relation of Tohei and Ueshiba Kisshomaru - than about substantial aspects of teaching.

My experience with Tohei-style aikido is extremely limited, but did not lead me to believe that the Tohei branch is a repository of knowledge not found in the Ueshiba branch. Surely not!
Your assumption is true for the same reason: It was not only Tohei sensei who practiced the Shin shin toitsu dō of Tempu and connected that to the aikidō of Ueshiba. There were a lot of students and teachers at the aikikai who did exactly the same.
It was only that Tohei sensei more and more left some aspects behind, that could be found in Ueshibas budō and created Shin shin toitsu aikidō, until he would say: "Now my aikido consists of about thirty percent Ueshiba Sensei’s techniques and seventy percent my own."

Carsten Möllering
09-17-2014, 04:45 AM
People wouldn't be seeking it outside of aikido if it was taught in mainstream Aikido.When it was Ueshiba Morihei who was the mainstream, there was - among others - one of his students went to seek outside of what Ueshiba taught. He found the Tempukai and a method called "Shin shin toitsu dō" which he practiced with great emphasis. He said: "While I was with Ueshiba Sensei I was also studying under Tempu Nakamura. It was he who first taught me that 'the mind moves the body.' " ;)

On the other hand, those of who you think they would "seek outside" often claim to do exactly the opposite, i.e. to try to get nearer to the original core of the teachings of Uehsiba. Realizing by that, that aiki is part of other arts aswell. Which Ueshiba obviously knew and stated in his texts.
So it is him who leads those who want to get nearer to him, to daoist teachings, traditions of koryū and even Chinese arts.

phitruong
09-17-2014, 09:04 AM
was going to stay out of this, but i got suck in and couldn't help meself. i know, i need serious professional help.

since we are sort of discussing the teaching/learning model, i thought i would throw in my thoughts. in asia, in the old day, most teacher and student relationships were very personal. most martial arts schools tend to be small, a handful of students practicing in the backyard of the said teacher's home. my experiences that the teacher decided what to teach to which student. all of the student were taught the same basic stuffs. however, the teacher decided which portition of his curriculum to emphasis depend heavily on the student attitude and inclination. depend on the student, the teacher might not even teach certain things. sometimes it was because the particular student isn't ready. can't teach calculus if the student can't do basic algebra or multiplication. so the teaching curriculum was very customized per student. you can do this when you only have a handful of students; can't do it with larger group.

picture this if you would. Ueshiba Sr. had a few students to start out with and the above customized teaching/learning model worked great. then the thing took off and got popular where now he had a lot more students. customization teaching/learning approach wouldn't work. so, if you were in his place, what would you do? you started with the common denominator, i.e. the lowest level of common and teached everyone the same thing (sounded like the US education isn't it?). no more customization, no more personal attention, because you don't have all the time in the world. however, maybe you might put in a hybrid approach. you still allowed a few dedicated students for personalization and the rest, just open to the public and got the common stuffs. and those few students you called uchi-deshi. the customization was still there, because these specific students could only learn a certain things from you, but not all the same.

so then those few students, that got personal attention and teaching, went out on their own. they carried the teaching that they got, again with a very personal type of curriculum. then a few generations down the road, you got a mass of students that learned from various uchi-deshi and theirs. those original customization carried through the generations. so here we are, students of various original Ueshiba Sr. students with various levels of customization arguing which are the best/better approaches to Ueshiba Sr.'s aikido. blind mices and elephant? sum and parts? chicken and eggs? steak and salad? beer and wine?

here is another thought. thinking about what i said above about the common denominator and apply that same logic to aikikai. for parallel reference, use the current U.S. education as reference. :)

kewms
09-17-2014, 11:04 AM
So I think, it was all not about a disagreement of ki, but about a disagreemaent of instruction.
To me the conflict allways seemed to be more about loyalty and family affairs - think of the familiary relation of Tohei and Ueshiba Kisshomaru - than about substantial aspects of teaching.

Oh, I agree. I just didn't think opening that particular can of worms was relevant to the thread.

Katherine

HL1978
09-17-2014, 03:30 PM
I am not so sure about "through the ages." You make it sound like "metaphor-based tanren models" for developing internal power existed outside of Daito ryu. There is scant evidence for that, and multitudes of commonsense reasons why it is unlikely. Not the least of which is your assertion that it is "quite a successful way to transfer very complex knowledge and body skills."



Would you care to explain this further in light of people like Tetsuzan Kuroda and the whole body of chinese martial arts or japanese martial arts influenced by chinese martial arts?

Cliff Judge
09-17-2014, 04:30 PM
Would you care to explain this further in light of people like Tetsuzan Kuroda and the whole body of chinese martial arts or japanese martial arts influenced by chinese martial arts?

Sure if I can remember wtf i was talking about in that conversation. First of all, I should have specified Japanese martial arts because tanren based metaphor models is probably an apt description of tai chi, bagua, and all of the Taoist civilian systems that focus on solo forms. But I don't practice any Chinese arts and don't know for sure.

Secondly, I could have been making assumptions about what Mert was referring to that were wrong - you could be doing the same thing now. Pretty sure I inferred that he was saying that aiki is a body skill that is trained by solo methods and has been transmitted in secrecy for thousands of years from the Indian subcontinent.

One of the riffs in my personal broken record is that "Aiki" is a term that doesn't have much history before Takeda came along. Another one is that solo training for "internal power" is not a notable feature of classical Japanese martial arts, nor was it an integral part of Daito ryu or Aikido.

Kuroda is an interesting guy, from what I have seen his movement is incredible, and from what I have heard he has reconstructed most of what he teaches. I don't think there is any reason to believe that his skills are the product of an unbroken, hidden legacy that has spanned the ages, and I couldn't tell you whether they use a tanden metaphor model.

From here (http://www.dojoofthefourwinds.com/tetsuzan.html) it seems that perhaps "Kuroda sensei does not use the word aiki. When this word was becoming popular his grandfather Yasuji felt that all jujitsu should be that subtle and there was no need for a word to describe it."

And from here (http://www.shinbukantexas.org/biography.html) it may be that Shishin Takuma-ryu Jujutsu "is a classically-based system of jujutsu taught through many 2-man katas."

So maybe there's some support for my viewpoint there? I dunno.

I may have been introduced to the idea that his systems have mostly been reconstructed by him from one of his students, and I apologize for hearsay evidence if that matters.

(Not that it should have any bearing on this discussion, because I can't verify it myself, but i swear to god I read a thread on this board, at some point, where somebody said that Kuroda had actually done some of his reconstruction research with an Aikidoka of noteable skill.)

Mert Gambito
09-17-2014, 05:30 PM
To Cliff's points, I can't speak for any koryu regarding the presence of solo training (though at one time I recall on some online board Toby Threadgill mentioning that there are a specific set of waza/exercises in his branch of Shindo Yoshin-ryu that would qualify as IP-tanren, though I don't recall him stating what the underlying operating system is for those).

Most folks are aikido practitioners here, and I'm a Hakkoryu guy: both arts come from Daito-ryu, within which certain lineages have a Taoist foundation for tanren (various "in-yo-ho": e.g. Sagawa-den (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/sagawa-yukiyoshi-masaru-takahashi-breath-training-daito-ryu/), mainline (http://www.daito-ryu.com/tokimune01.html)). Both arts are very Japanese, heavily steeped for example in Shinto; yet, the founders of both arts paid homage to Chinese philosophy as essential to their respective "ways".

Walker
09-17-2014, 05:39 PM
Thanks. Yes, of course, we'll take their silence on the matter to be their complete and utter agreement with you. ;)

Yup. He in fact did. Even gave a talk concerning aiki and aikido (稽古産新), that was recorded and transcribed and I have translated sitting in the can, so to speak. As I described it to Stan Pranin when we spoke about it at one time, "Apparently someone was listening when Ueshiba was talking and seems to have understood what was being said."

I might even put it out there some day when the time is right and if people aren't behaving like complete assholes. Unfortunately, with the state of discourse as it is these days it would fare about as well as Ueshiba's recorded teaching in my opinion. So not now and don't ask.

Inushishi
09-17-2014, 06:36 PM
To Cliff's points, I can't speak for any koryu regarding the presence of solo training
Iaijutsu. ;)

Erick Mead
09-17-2014, 09:13 PM
Yup. He in fact did. Even gave a talk concerning aiki and aikido (稽古産新), that was recorded and transcribed and I have translated sitting in the can, so to speak. As I described it to Stan Pranin when we spoke about it at one time, "Apparently someone was listening when Ueshiba was talking and seems to have understood what was being said."

I might even put it out there some day when the time is right and if people aren't behaving like complete assholes. Unfortunately, with the state of discourse as it is these days it would fare about as well as Ueshiba's recorded teaching in my opinion. So not now and don't ask.

Ahem:
"The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete."

Cliff Judge
09-17-2014, 10:28 PM
Iaijutsu. ;)

Esoteric Buddhism, actually, over time simply becoming a combative training that addressed the needs of peacetime bushi to learn how to handle their sidearms.

Cliff Judge
09-17-2014, 10:36 PM
Yup. He in fact did. Even gave a talk concerning aiki and aikido (稽古産新), that was recorded and transcribed and I have translated sitting in the can, so to speak. As I described it to Stan Pranin when we spoke about it at one time, "Apparently someone was listening when Ueshiba was talking and seems to have understood what was being said."

I might even put it out there some day when the time is right and if people aren't behaving like complete assholes. Unfortunately, with the state of discourse as it is these days it would fare about as well as Ueshiba's recorded teaching in my opinion. So not now and don't ask.

Do I count as more than one asshole? :eek:

I am only on here and e-budo BTW. There is probably a better venue for you if you want an audience that thinks homogenously.

Cliff Judge
09-17-2014, 10:56 PM
To Cliff's points, I can't speak for any koryu regarding the presence of solo training (though at one time I recall on some online board Toby Threadgill mentioning that there are a specific set of waza/exercises in his branch of Shindo Yoshin-ryu that would qualify as IP-tanren, though I don't recall him stating what the underlying operating system is for those).

Most folks are aikido practitioners here, and I'm a Hakkoryu guy: both arts come from Daito-ryu, within which certain lineages have a Taoist foundation for tanren (various "in-yo-ho": e.g. Sagawa-den (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/sagawa-yukiyoshi-masaru-takahashi-breath-training-daito-ryu/), mainline (http://www.daito-ryu.com/tokimune01.html)). Both arts are very Japanese, heavily steeped for example in Shinto; yet, the founders of both arts paid homage to Chinese philosophy as essential to their respective "ways".

Mert, I can't find anything to disagree with here, but I think the claims you are making in this post are very general. Japanese culture in general is very steeped in Shinto and pays homage to Chinese philosophy etc.

I have this feeling that Sagawa is the one responsible for the entire solo training in DR concept, as well as any heavily Taoist technology. I do believe these were his innovations and the result of his research.

Gavin Slater
09-18-2014, 12:31 AM
I asked Amatsu Sensei regarding solo training in Daito Ryu and he said samurai did not do solo training, they always trained with their teacher. Solo training is a more modern approach developed so that women and children can train.

For example in the Sagawa Dojo (from Merts link) it read 'Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development', the 'do' makes an important distinction.

In the Tokimune link (from Merts link) it read the following;

- Practice of Daito-ryu Aikibudo : Those who practice the Daito-ryu 'Aikibudo' must learn the 'Aikijujutsu' which is its base.
- Aiki-tanren-ho : It is practiced in couples and when the partner grabs our wrists...

Mert Gambito
09-18-2014, 03:00 AM
Mert, I can't find anything to disagree with here, but I think the claims you are making in this post are very general. Japanese culture in general is very steeped in Shinto and pays homage to Chinese philosophy etc.

I have this feeling that Sagawa is the one responsible for the entire solo training in DR concept, as well as any heavily Taoist technology. I do believe these were his innovations and the result of his research.
Cliff,

Specifically, Ueshiba heavily cited the Chinese Classics, as has been documented, and Okuyama's emphasis on traditional medicine as a balance to and component of the martial aspects of Hakkoryu is evident in the use of the traditional Chinese five elements (vs. the Japanese godai). Even then, all these noted students of Takeda grew up at a time when studying the Chinese texts, philosophies and operating systems based on them (using metaphors to draw ki through the body for health and power) was de rigueur. Hakkoryu expressly states on its website that one undertakes the "study of "Inyodo" (the way of yin and yang)" (see paragraph 5 (http://hakkoryu.com/hakkoryu-jujutsu/techniques/)), echoing Ueshiba's advice to Henry Kono about what's missing in the study of aikido. Taoism was woven into the fabric of life and how those in East Asian culture in general understood themselves and the world they lived in. But even today, I have conversations with Asian co-workers virtually every day about things that are Taoist in nature but are not martial arts related: it's that ingrained in who we are as representatives of our respective related cultures.

So, you're right: the homage paid to the Chinese roots is inherent. But for that exact reason, I think Sagawa, Ueshiba, Okuyama, Matsuda, Horikawa, Hisa, et al were all out to improve on the centuries-old in-yo-do IP mouse trap, each in their own right. Anyone who's read Transparent Power should have no doubt that Sagawa would've bragged about these other men's successes as extensions of his own, had he disseminated to them his aiki-tanren.

Mert Gambito
09-18-2014, 03:34 AM
I asked Amatsu Sensei regarding solo training in Daito Ryu and he said samurai did not do solo training, they always trained with their teacher. Solo training is a more modern approach developed so that women and children can train.

For example in the Sagawa Dojo (from Merts link) it read 'Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development', the 'do' makes an important distinction.

In the Tokimune link (from Merts link) it read the following;

- Practice of Daito-ryu Aikibudo : Those who practice the Daito-ryu 'Aikibudo' must learn the 'Aikijujutsu' which is its base.
- Aiki-tanren-ho : It is practiced in couples and when the partner grabs our wrists...
Gavin,

Aiki-in-yo-ho, as described on daitoryu.com infers solo work, and is not expressly done only in paired training (though as the article regarding breath training in the Sagawa dojo states and illustrates, it can be tested with a training partner).

Also, I submit this (https://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=702) (finally found what I didn't have time to punch up earlier) from Toby Threadgill, Menkyo Kaiden, Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu:
Concerning "internal power," this concept is likewise difficult to strictly define. There are as many definitions of this concept as there are schools claiming to teach it. In TSYR we have a series of kata called "Nairiki no Gyo." These kata seek to cultivate specific body skills associated with developing internal energy. But what exactly are these skills and how are these kata employed to develop internal strength? As part of our gokui, I am not permitted to discuss them in detail outside the kai membership but I can give you a general idea of what they constitute. They are solo exercises that inculcate the proper balance, movement and muscular application utilized in our greater curriculum. These types of exercises are actually quite ubiquitous in Japanese jujutsu schools of the Edo Period, although they are rather unfamiliar to those outside the membership of specific Nihon koryu. According to Yoshin ryu lore, this form of body training was introduced to Japan from China in the mid-Edo Period. In the case of Yoshin ryu, the Nairiki no Gyo were specifically created adaptations of Chinese practices intended to augment the study and application of specific body skills required in Yoshin ryu's greater curriculum.

dps
09-18-2014, 08:14 AM
Also, I submit this (https://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=702) (finally found what I didn't have time to punch up earlier) from Toby Threadgill, Menkyo Kaiden, Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu:

In the same article in response to a question:

"That sounds a lot like aikido’s or Daito ryu’s definition of “aiki!”

(Laughing) I’m not going to step into the quagmire of what is or is not “aiki.” Let me just say that numerous principles of strategy and tactics exist under various names. To conclude that the name or strategy you employ in your particular martial art is unique or unknown by others is rather delusional and demonstrates a weakness that can be exploited. If you always assume that your adversary is as smart as you are, you have a much better chance of survival or victory."

dos

thisisnotreal
09-18-2014, 08:33 AM
This thread is full of ignorant rubbish. ;)

Cliff Judge
09-18-2014, 10:07 AM
Cliff,

Specifically, Ueshiba heavily cited the Chinese Classics, as has been documented, and Okuyama's emphasis on traditional medicine as a balance to and component of the martial aspects of Hakkoryu is evident in the use of the traditional Chinese five elements (vs. the Japanese godai). Even then, all these noted students of Takeda grew up at a time when studying the Chinese texts, philosophies and operating systems based on them (using metaphors to draw ki through the body for health and power) was de rigueur. Hakkoryu expressly states on its website that one undertakes the "study of "Inyodo" (the way of yin and yang)" (see paragraph 5 (http://hakkoryu.com/hakkoryu-jujutsu/techniques/)), echoing Ueshiba's advice to Henry Kono about what's missing in the study of aikido. Taoism was woven into the fabric of life and how those in East Asian culture in general understood themselves and the world they lived in. But even today, I have conversations with Asian co-workers virtually every day about things that are Taoist in nature but are not martial arts related: it's that ingrained in who we are as representatives of our respective related cultures.

So, you're right: the homage paid to the Chinese roots is inherent. But for that exact reason, I think Sagawa, Ueshiba, Okuyama, Matsuda, Horikawa, Hisa, et al were all out to improve on the centuries-old in-yo-do IP mouse trap, each in their own right. Anyone who's read Transparent Power should have no doubt that Sagawa would've bragged about these other men's successes as extensions of his own, had he disseminated to them his aiki-tanren.

I think I originally thought you meant that the very secret of aiki was itself transmitted through the ages. Now it simply seems like you are saying, Aiki comes from Asia. :D

I'm not going to deny that.

With regard to the quote from Mr. Threadgill, first of all, thanks for digging that up, and I apologize for making you do that legwork. TSYR is one of the koryu schools to have been confirmed as having some solo work as part of the curriculum. Though you would have to be admitted into that system to really know how central it is to the training.

Yagyu Shingan ryu has some as well, I believe it is taught in both the main lines to beginners, and I hope to have the opportunity to look into it further at some point in the future, will let you know.

Toby Threadgill holds a bunch of different densho in trust of the TSYR and should be taken as a reliable source of information on the history of classical Japanese arts even outside of his own. But to put it simpy, I keep looking around for these crucial solo training systems and I keep coming up with nothing. I've spoken to people who practice all manner of different koryu and scant few of them have been taught solo training.

Most of the koryu schools that exist today were once comprehensive systems, with a grappling component. So you would expect that just about any existing koryu would have some traces of solo training in their curriculum if it was so important to developing martial skill. Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage ryu (really important to the development and dissemination of Daito ryu IMO) has a suburi practice, as well as breathing and walking practice that are distinctly internal, that's about it. And that's the school with the crystal-clear link to China, as the key soke (fourth lineal headmaster?) spent several years in China after Tokugawa took power.

(FWIW Here, on Chris Li's blog, (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aiki-rentai-conditioned-body-yukiyoshi-sagawa-part-1/) is a diagram that depicts the Jikishinkage ryu suburi, practiced in the Sagawa dojo.)

Well, another thing to look into would be Judo. How prevalent was solo training at the Kodokan while Kano was around? There were dozens of koryu systems known for their strong jujutsu that were absorbed by the Kodokan. Kano was very interested in preserving them. I think if solo training methods were important to these schools, that would have translated into Judo, at least during the early days. I will look into it and let you know.

So how about it guys? Can we start talking about "aiki" as being essentially a "brand" of subtle jujutsu, that has loose cognates in many different systems? And note that in these other systems, paired kata are considered sufficient for developing these skills? Such that, if you choose to purse a solo training regimen, that may be a tremendous benefit to your own practice, but it is clearly not neccessary or integral to development of skill at creating aiki?

Mert Gambito
09-18-2014, 12:57 PM
In the same article in response to a question:

"That sounds a lot like aikido's or Daito ryu's definition of "aiki!"

(Laughing) I'm not going to step into the quagmire of what is or is not "aiki." Let me just say that numerous principles of strategy and tactics exist under various names. To conclude that the name or strategy you employ in your particular martial art is unique or unknown by others is rather delusional and demonstrates a weakness that can be exploited. If you always assume that your adversary is as smart as you are, you have a much better chance of survival or victory."
Yes, that makes total sense. Everyone just trying to build a better mousetrap -- e.g. in China (the various neijia) and in Japan as inherited from China (various ryu/ryuha with IP including aiki).

Mert Gambito
09-18-2014, 01:23 PM
I think I originally thought you meant that the very secret of aiki was itself transmitted through the ages. Now it simply seems like you are saying, Aiki comes from Asia. :D

I'm not going to deny that.

With regard to the quote from Mr. Threadgill, first of all, thanks for digging that up, and I apologize for making you do that legwork. TSYR is one of the koryu schools to have been confirmed as having some solo work as part of the curriculum. Though you would have to be admitted into that system to really know how central it is to the training.

Yagyu Shingan ryu has some as well, I believe it is taught in both the main lines to beginners, and I hope to have the opportunity to look into it further at some point in the future, will let you know.

Toby Threadgill holds a bunch of different densho in trust of the TSYR and should be taken as a reliable source of information on the history of classical Japanese arts even outside of his own. But to put it simpy, I keep looking around for these crucial solo training systems and I keep coming up with nothing. I've spoken to people who practice all manner of different koryu and scant few of them have been taught solo training.

Most of the koryu schools that exist today were once comprehensive systems, with a grappling component. So you would expect that just about any existing koryu would have some traces of solo training in their curriculum if it was so important to developing martial skill. Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage ryu (really important to the development and dissemination of Daito ryu IMO) has a suburi practice, as well as breathing and walking practice that are distinctly internal, that's about it. And that's the school with the crystal-clear link to China, as the key soke (fourth lineal headmaster?) spent several years in China after Tokugawa took power.

(FWIW Here, on Chris Li's blog, (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aiki-rentai-conditioned-body-yukiyoshi-sagawa-part-1/) is a diagram that depicts the Jikishinkage ryu suburi, practiced in the Sagawa dojo.)

Well, another thing to look into would be Judo. How prevalent was solo training at the Kodokan while Kano was around? There were dozens of koryu systems known for their strong jujutsu that were absorbed by the Kodokan. Kano was very interested in preserving them. I think if solo training methods were important to these schools, that would have translated into Judo, at least during the early days. I will look into it and let you know.

So how about it guys? Can we start talking about "aiki" as being essentially a "brand" of subtle jujutsu, that has loose cognates in many different systems? And note that in these other systems, paired kata are considered sufficient for developing these skills? Such that, if you choose to purse a solo training regimen, that may be a tremendous benefit to your own practice, but it is clearly not neccessary or integral to development of skill at creating aiki?
Personally, I think we have to accept that "aiki" as used in the general sense, and even within the Daito-ryu-sphere, is not strictly wedded to IP (e.g. as defined by Katsuyuki Kondo, e.g. in the DVD What is Aiki, in which it is described in a tactical vs. body skill sense). In addition, Sagawa went on at length about the inferiority of certain "aiki", relative to other "aiki" (namely Sokaku Takeda's and his own mousetraps).

That said, for the purposes of addressing the theme of this thread, Ueshiba's aiki (like Sagawa's, Tohei's, Tada's and others' known to have uncommonly powerful aiki) was IP based and developed via solo training, per the Aikikai Hombu as cited by Peter Goldsbury. Most aikido doesn't have such aiki today -- ergo, they can be and typically are today, demonstrated as mutually exclusive things.

Cliff, the judo thing is interesting. I'd be very interested to hear about what you find out. Over here, I'm introducing this discussion to senior members of the judo club where my family trains. This dojo, the Shobukan, was visited and named by Jigoro Kano, and is reportedly the oldest extant judo dojo in the west (by virtue of having been a U.S. territory, and now state, if not by geography). So, people at this particular school have an appreciation for the historical aspects of judo, in addition to a mission to take as much hardware as possible at the next state tournament on the schedule. One sempai stated to me that he believes at least one of the judo kata inherited from koryu is designed as paired IP testing, in its ura interpretation. If there's anything more salient that comes out of these discussions, I'll report back as well.

Gavin Slater
09-19-2014, 12:19 AM
The 'aiki-in-yo-ho' is not something that is expressly taught. Its not like hey guys come over here and we will do some aiki-in-yo-ho. It is something you live and you have to work out yourself.

If you look at what Amatsu Sensei said 'Samurai did not do solo training, they always trained with their teacher. Solo training is a more modern approach created for women and children'. That is something you have to work out.

Judo had solo training, If you look at basic things like shizentai, that is the foundation of everything in judo.

sakumeikan
09-19-2014, 02:41 AM
The 'aiki-in-yo-ho' is not something that is expressly taught. Its not like hey guys come over here and we will do some aiki-in-yo-ho. It is something you live and you have to work out yourself.

If you look at what Amatsu Sensei said 'Samurai did not do solo training, they always trained with their teacher. Solo training is a more modern approach created for women and children'. That is something you have to work out.

Judo had solo training, If you look at basic things like shizentai, that is the foundation of everything in judo.

Dear Gavin,
As an ex judoka I was fortunate to meet some great in the Judo world, eg Anton Geesink , Kenshiro Abbe , Saburo Matsushita, Kisaburo Watanabe and my own teacher Tam [Thomas ] Mc Dermott.Mr Mcdermott despite being 90 % disabled was a great judoka.In the 13 years I trained with him I never saw anyone ever throwing him.Now while I accept that shizentai is a very important aspect, imo the key to success in judo/ aikido is where/when /how.By that I mean where - correct positioning of yourself in relation to your partner,When , the correct timing executing the waza again in relation to Uke/How -choosing the appropriate waza suitable for the situation.
I also feel that the unbalancing /destabilising uke is also of major importance.A combination of good posture, a flexible mind and body coupled with a strong spirit gets results.All the best , Joe

Chris Li
09-19-2014, 02:42 AM
The 'aiki-in-yo-ho' is not something that is expressly taught. Its not like hey guys come over here and we will do some aiki-in-yo-ho. It is something you live and you have to work out yourself.

If you look at what Amatsu Sensei said 'Samurai did not do solo training, they always trained with their teacher. Solo training is a more modern approach created for women and children'. That is something you have to work out.

Judo had solo training, If you look at basic things like shizentai, that is the foundation of everything in judo.

I've certainly seen Aiki-in-yo-ho taught expressly in at least two lines of Daito-ryu, that may not be true for your line of Daito-ryu.

I think that any argument that starts with "the Samurai did XXX" is going to be problematic - the samurai arts are hardly monolithic, and vary greatly from ryu-ha to ryu-ha.

If you look at what Toby Threadgill said:

Toby Threadgill wrote:
Concerning "internal power," this concept is likewise difficult to strictly define. There are as many definitions of this concept as there are schools claiming to teach it. In TSYR we have a series of kata called "Nairiki no Gyo." These kata seek to cultivate specific body skills associated with developing internal energy. But what exactly are these skills and how are these kata employed to develop internal strength? As part of our gokui, I am not permitted to discuss them in detail outside the kai membership but I can give you a general idea of what they constitute. They are solo exercises that inculcate the proper balance, movement and muscular application utilized in our greater curriculum. These types of exercises are actually quite ubiquitous in Japanese jujutsu schools of the Edo Period, although they are rather unfamiliar to those outside the membership of specific Nihon koryu. According to Yoshin ryu lore, this form of body training was introduced to Japan from China in the mid-Edo Period. In the case of Yoshin ryu, the Nairiki no Gyo were specifically created adaptations of Chinese practices intended to augment the study and application of specific body skills required in Yoshin ryu's greater curriculum.

Then it's clear that Amatsu's argument fails, since at least one samurai art did indeed contain solo training. If you believe Toby's statement that such training was "actually quite ubiquitous in Japanese jujutsu schools of the Edo Period", then it was present in much more than one samurai art. Even if it's not "ubiquitous", its documented existence in even one art proves the case that such training was not unknown.

It's really a tossup whether or not one considers Daito-ryu to be a samurai art at all, a very good argument can be made that it is the modern creation of Sokaku Takeda (based on older sources, of course), who was nine years old when the samurai era ended.

I'm not sure what the excitement is about here. We solo train, we also do pair training (quite a lot). Everybody that I am aware of in the IP "crowd" does both. If you don't like solo training and don't think it's necessary - then don't do it, and good luck with that. What's the problem?

Best,

Chris

Gavin Slater
09-19-2014, 03:35 AM
Hi Chris,

Im not sure what the issue is either. I am just presenting a particular view point, one that maybe people could consider? You dont have to, just relaying my experience in training at the Asahi Dojo with Amatsu Sensei, I tried to present an example of 'aiki-in-yo-ho', where you are required to put some thought into, and to develop your own conclusion, which IMO is the whole point of aiki.

Hi Joe,

I agree with what you said. I was just passing on some tips from my teacher in regards to Judo and natural posture which were the foundation of everything from Nage Waza, Kappo and Sappo etc.

Gav