View Full Version : How Can Iai (or any budo) Be Interesting?

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Peter Boylan
10-21-2014, 10:45 AM
Last week I wrote about perseverance. This week I was thinking about that and how boring good budo training can look from the outside, in particular iai practice. Really though, any good budo training will be similar. To really improve, we have to limit the amount of time doing the fun stuff and spend most of our time working slowly and repeatedly on basic stuff like how we breath and stand and move. This kind of practice looks boring, but if your really engage your mind, it is the most fascinating kind of practice and the only kind that yields real improvement. The fun stuff is fun, but it's like dessert. Tastes wonderful on occasion, but lousy for you if you have too much of it.

Here's the blog

Cliff Judge
10-21-2014, 12:04 PM
You really need to have faith in what you are doing. Most aikido people have a hard time with that. We're notoriously insecure about what we are doing and the veracity of our method of doing it. You hear Aikido people admonish each other because they "are just doing the same Aikido" or "don't want to change their Aikido" quite often.

Dan Richards
10-21-2014, 03:26 PM
Great article, Peter.

I was training with some Systema people last night. At one point we were just standing there near motionless working with breathing, and purposefully moving tension through different parts of the body, and then releasing. Really geeky internal stuff. I commented on how we should shoot some video for Youtube, because what we were doing looked so exciting and rad, with all our badass moves.

From the inside, as an experiential exercise and exploration, it was fascinating. Further increasing resolution of awareness within the body.

There are entire arts that are based on Zhan Zhuang. Just standing.

Discovery of the macrocosm and microcosm become one and the same.

Robert Cowham
10-21-2014, 04:49 PM
I remember training with Sasada sensei at the Meiji Jingu Shiseikan - all he seemed to do was weird stuff shaking his body in various ways, experimenting with feelings. Nothing flashy at all - didn't really see the physical and martial relevance. After 20 minutes of his class I was mentally bored - it wasn't the physical side, but I couldn't keep the focus. A few weeks in Tokyo and I started to appreciate what was really going on, and the challenges available. A few years and I really started to appreciate the insights and the quality he offered/offers.

It's subtle stuff, and requires awareness and experience to explore. He is pretty experimental, and in some ways a bit eccentric for many Japanese even. I have learned to value his skills and approach more and more. If I am not careful, I can bore the pants off beginners myself these days - need to rein in the enthusiasm and direct it a bit - not overload them with stuff they have no awareness of.

Sasada sensei himself, carries on steadily - more and more refined - paring back to the essence and a continuing inspiration. My job is to hook people in to some extent, and send them on for further inspiration!

10-22-2014, 09:07 AM
There are entire arts that are based on Zhan Zhuang. Just standing.

it's not sexy standing around like that as shown in below conversation.

Wife: what are you doing?
Me: doing martial arts.
Wife: how is that martial arts when you just standing there looking like a dork?
Me: it's a very high level martial arts that i am practicing. it called internal martial art. it will make me more powerful and men will flock to me like fly on shit.
Wife: no wonder men attract to you, since your gut stuck out like that!
Me: it's a developed dantien!
Wife: i wish you would go to the gym and develop a six-pack!
Me: but i got a whole keg! why would you want a six-pack!
Wife: we, women, like men with six-pack. it's sexy. that's why we go the gym in tight leotard to entice men to go to the gym too.
Me: ya, but i don't look good in leotard. it makes me look fat.
Wife: too late for that, with all your internal hanging out! i am going to gym and check out the men,... i meant, working out.
Me: fine! you will find me sexy enough when i become the budo master!
Wife: stop eating those strange mushrooms you picked in the wood!

10-22-2014, 12:07 PM
Leotard makes you look fat? I thought fat makes you look fat? :D

Dan Richards
10-24-2014, 12:07 AM
Wife: stop eating those strange mushrooms you picked in the wood!

Hey, Phi, have you heard that interview with Ahati Kilindi Iyi in that funny topic in Spirituality? Quite an enlightening perspective on the history of martial arts.