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jonreading
02-14-2017, 11:40 AM
As the movement of internal power and aiki continues to grow, I want to express some personal observations of what I have experienced over the past several years and also provide what I perceive to be a confusion around how internal power and aiki factor into our aikido. This is a brief summary of our journey into internal power and aiki. I have broken down my comments into some general groups for ease of conversation.

A History of Things
First and foremost is the abundance of evidence to support the claim that aiki and IP is inconsistent with the modern methodology of aikido training. I am not going to repeat the evidence here; there are better articles and writers who have shared what they know and I believe the exercise of ingesting that research is important to a better understanding of the landscape on which aiki and IP are built. There is a political-historical foundation that is required to understand the larger conversation. I once heard this prerequisite knowledge described as, “How can we talk about calculus when you don’t understand basic math?” Even in the books written on this stuff, the authors spend a significant time laying a history. If history isn’t so important, why is so much time spent on history in these books? Because it is.
When I decided to look into the world of internal power, I did it first by researching the topic. I found out there was a lot of misleading and even contradictory perspectives on the topic. I choose to look a little closer at the sources of the perspectives and started to find inconsistencies. Many of these inconsistencies are related to translation (or transcription) issues. Some of these issues were related to an ideological perspective that framed a narrative. Some of the issues were related to political agenda to obscure or remove elements of history. A critical component in my early investigation was to understand that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I have heard proponents of aiki and internal power try to express this perspective and encourage budo people to look at the history of things. As a criticism, I think whether you agree with an interpretation of acts, it’s a worthwhile pursuit to know the facts. I think many of us don’t know all the facts, and I include myself in this category.
We now know much of what was originally was translated and transcribed by O Sensei, was done without the best interpretations. We also know much of what O Sensei knew has previously existed in other areas, with striking similarity in language, instruction, and application. This presents a strong argument that we also have access to the information of aiki that O Sensei used as his foundation of his aiki training. We have a choice to pursue O Sensei’s aiki, because it is both real and achievable. This is a different aikido than most of what we learn as aikido. There is no comparison in movement and to do so disrespects the aikido that came from Hombu; both movement styles exist, but they should not be compared because they are that dissimilar.

Who Cares? Unless You Do
Second, I think we need to apply pressure to our advocates to support their opinions. If you advocate a position, you should be able to knowingly and competently defend that position. The dojo made a decision to review our approach to the ultimate goal of learning aiki, through the training of aikido. As I started down my exploration of internal power, I talked to people, I met with people, our dojo entertained visiting instructors to talk about internal power. The dojo supported an evidence-based approach to see who could show what he did and explain the methodology behind the training. I think we sometimes deliberately create a conflict in our argument about internal power by crafting two strong possibilities: 1. what we traditionally know about aikido is wrong and we don’t know about internal power, or 2. What we traditionally know about aikido is right and [related to] internal power. Yes, I understand a small segment of the aikido population does not believe internal power is part of aikido. The problem is that we (aikido people) can touch each other and feel a qualitative difference. So we (aikido people) have this tangible feeling that can corroborate what is going on.
What I noticed was a lot of people who felt just like everyone else, even when they said they were using “internal power.” This created a problem for the me; how can someone who trains internal power feel like someone who does not? You can’t. So, excepting the quality of feeling (i.e the amount of training), I noticed a difference between someone who was working on internal power and someone who said she was working on internal power. As a criticism, I think we (aikido people) rely on intellectualism too much with regard to our pursuit of training, and we (aikido people) ignore the practicality to do what we (individuals on the mat) say [we can do]. I felt that ultimately, I am the only one who advocates for my aikido. Sure, my friends and fellow aikido people are there to help me along the way, but if I didn’t care enough to change my training, no one else would do that for me.
We have access to people who work with internal power movement. We have a choice to work with people who can demonstrate the difference. Whole-body movement and aiki has nothing to do with your partner, or connecting centers, or being affected by an opponent. O Sensei is quoted on this claim in paraphrase saying that aikido has no opponent. We have a choice to work on whole body movement self-supported, or work within a system designed with co-dependence on a partner. We have an opportunity to put our bodies in the center of the universe. After all, isn’t that what O Sensei said?

From one technique are born 10,000
Third, I think we should apply functionality to support our training methodology. What we do needs to make sense. If you practice an exercise and you cannot explain it’s function, you cannot defend the merits of the exercise. In aikido, we practice kata because, presumably, the movement has a purpose that refines how we move. For me, fighting movement needs to address several concerns: the production of power and efficiency of movement, the impact and effectiveness of offense, the success and range of defense, and the variety of application. These elements do not address the task of preserving a system. Preserving aikido is not an element of fighting movement. In this regard, internal power movement conflicts only with bad martial movement.
We found that some of our aikido movement did conflict with our whole body movement, consistently indicating that our aikido movement was flawed. We felt this failure was a combination of a flawed method of preservation with regard to our movement and instruction.A criticism that arises here is when we perceive movements to conflict with internal power movements, we tend to believe our movement is “good”, thus creating perception of conflict against the contested movement. We do this because we believe the movement we learned is [correctly] preserved from the system and system supports the movement, rather than our independent working knowledge of body movement.
We felt our training needed to produce aiki movement. Can you use aiki in weapons, empty hand, striking, grappling, or throws? Aiki is a body movement, so the answer should be, “yes.” Again, O Sensei gave us proof of this understanding with a number of references that extrapolate vast ability created from one practice (aiki). More importantly, this should be a unifying connection with sister arts that also allows us to apply the knowledge and information used in other fighting systems. Why can’t aiki work in judo? MMA? Tai chi? In understanding how our bodies work, we can also leverage the information of other systems into our training. Why do you think O Sensei could look at someone and discern from his (or her) movement they moved with aiki? Ultimately, our dojo began working with someone who was able to show and teach how aiki can significantly alter any fighting endeavor. We collaborate with other arts and leverage their knowledge and training. How great is that? A training methodology that is inviting to anyone.

Over the years, I have heard a number of arguments for and against internal power in aikido. The truth is, you are the advocate for your aikido. This is a very scary premise, because it squarely places the responsibility for learning aikido on you. Bad instructors, busy lives, injuries… blah blah blah. When your partner touches you, all is revealed. In a very intimate setting, you and your partner have this micro-experience and she looks at you and and makes a judgment. There’s no blog, no academic theory, no reigi, and no excuses. We felt like our training was not adequate to defend our aikido and so we changed how we learned so that we could feel adequate defending what we do. It’s not right or wrong and I think many arguments within the topic of internal power are framed that way. It’s not comparable - moving with aiki is so dissimilar to modern aikido it is not recognizable to those who practice aiki. O Sensei said as much when visiting Hombu.
I am frustrated by most arguments against internal power. Many are baseless at face value, but often center around an element of confusion, obfuscation, politics, or ideology. Internal power discussions should be instructive - we have an opportunity to better understand why we do what we do. Instead, we belittle points of fact. In part, I believe this is a tactic of argument because the fact path leads to a conclusion that is strongly defensible. Because the conclusion is strongly defensible, the arguments attempt to disrupt the fact pattern prior to the conclusion. Internal power and aiki is real and trainable. It is foreign to me that aikido people spend effort and energy to disprove this idea. While the foundation for this post is based on experiences in our dojo, I imagine there are aikido people and dojos out there who are looking into internal power and being met with opposition, much like what we experienced. In sharing my experience, I wanted to bring up my defense of aiki.

Rupert Atkinson
02-14-2017, 10:21 PM
Aikido is the Way of Aiki. I am not claiming to be an expert, but I do claim to be headed in the right direction. Who would tell me otherwise; should I listen or laugh? Well, I would just leave them be. I am on my own journey. I think people should consider such and make their own choice.

For yourself it can be whatever you make it to be.

RonRagusa
02-14-2017, 10:27 PM
First and foremost is the abundance of evidence to support the claim that aiki and IP is inconsistent with the modern methodology of aikido training.

You're painting with too broad a brush. Modern methodology of Aikido training encompasses a wide spectrum of practices. Perhaps you can be more specific and define just what training model(s) you include in the modern methodology of Aikido training. That will help further the discussion by providing a quantifiable domain over which to apply the evidence.

I am not going to repeat the evidence here; there are better articles and writers who have shared what they know and I believe the exercise of ingesting that research is important to a better understanding of the landscape on which aiki and IP are built.

Fair enough. How about a few references then?

This is a different aikido than most of what we learn as aikido. There is no comparison in movement and to do so disrespects the aikido that came from Hombu; both movement styles exist, but they should not be compared because they are that dissimilar.

Surely though comparisons can be drawn regarding things like: training goals, the underlying assumptions that provide the framework upon which the form of training built, analyses of both types of movement with regard to their respective body mechanics and why one is to be favored over another... Without the ability to compare the results obtained by different training methodologies there really isn't much to discuss; unless, that is, you're just looking for affirmations of your viewpoint (I don't think that's the case, but when you preemptively close the door on areas of discussion it can appear that way).

The dojo made a decision to review our approach to the ultimate goal of learning aiki, through the training of aikido. As I started down my exploration of internal power, I talked to people, I met with people, our dojo entertained visiting instructors to talk about internal power. The dojo supported an evidence-based approach to see who could show what he did and explain the methodology behind the training.

It's admirable that you took the step to break with your traditional training methods and broaden the scope of your training. It's all too easy to stay with just what we've been shown and repeat it over and over. You found something missing in your Aikido and instead of closing your eyes to it you looked elsewhere to find your answers. Kudos.

… I am the only one who advocates for my aikido. Sure, my friends and fellow aikido people are there to help me along the way, but if I didn't care enough to change my training, no one else would do that for me.

Ultimately we are all solely responsible for our own training. Aikido training provides the practitioner many paths to take. In my own 40 years of study I have taken the time to venture down little out of the way places to see what they have to offer. In the end though, I always find my way back to the main line of my training; which itself it defined and redefined by me as I grow and change.

Whole-body movement and aiki has nothing to do with your partner, or connecting centers, or being affected by an opponent. O Sensei is quoted on this claim in paraphrase saying that aikido has no opponent.

Whole body movement with aiki as a discipline is indeed not predicated on anything "to do with your partner, or connecting centers, or being affected by an opponent." However the practice of Aikido is the application of aiki driven whole body movement to situations involving oneself and at least one other person. What you're referring to above relates to the application of Aikido, not the cultivation of aiki.

I agree with O Sensei that Aikido has no opponent, not because the opponent doesn't exist in some metaphorical sense but because the Aikido relationship between me and my opponent is such that our individual identities are merged by our interaction as we turn conflict into resolution. In effect, we become a single entity for the duration of that interaction.

We have a choice to work on whole body movement self-supported, or work within a system designed with co-dependence on a partner.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

The truth is, you are the advocate for your aikido. This is a very scary premise, because it squarely places the responsibility for learning aikido on you. Bad instructors, busy lives, injuries… blah blah blah. When your partner touches you, all is revealed. In a very intimate setting, you and your partner have this micro-experience and she looks at you and and makes a judgment. There's no blog, no academic theory, no reigi, and no excuses.

Too true, proof's in the pudding for sure.

I am frustrated by most arguments against internal power. Many are baseless at face value, but often center around an element of confusion, obfuscation, politics, or ideology. Internal power discussions should be instructive - we have an opportunity to better understand why we do what we do.

I think past discussions on AikiWeb about internal power have revolved around doctrine more than whether or not aiki is or should be a component of Aikido, how to train aiki, what training methodologies within modern Aikido emphasize the development of aiki, etc. Perhaps your current thread will not get bogged down in the defending doctrine quagmire and yield more fruitful results. One can only hope.

Internal power and aiki is real and trainable.

Agreed, it is real and it is trainable. Keep moving forward with your training.

Ron

Demetrio Cereijo
02-15-2017, 06:07 AM
Without the ability to compare the results obtained by different training methodologies there really isn't much to discuss
This.

MrIggy
02-15-2017, 08:38 AM
Aiki vs Aikido?

Demetrio Cereijo
02-15-2017, 08:58 AM
Make Aikido Great Again.

ChrisMoses
02-15-2017, 10:28 AM
Jon that was a great post and resonates with my own experiences and training. Love to compare notes (in person!) sometime.

jonreading
02-15-2017, 11:00 AM
You're painting with too broad a brush. Modern methodology of Aikido training encompasses a wide spectrum of practices. Perhaps you can be more specific and define just what training model(s) you include in the modern methodology of Aikido training. That will help further the discussion by providing a quantifiable domain over which to apply the evidence.

Fair enough. How about a few references then?

Surely though comparisons can be drawn regarding things like: training goals, the underlying assumptions that provide the framework upon which the form of training built, analyses of both types of movement with regard to their respective body mechanics and why one is to be favored over another... Without the ability to compare the results obtained by different training methodologies there really isn't much to discuss; unless, that is, you're just looking for affirmations of your viewpoint (I don't think that's the case, but when you preemptively close the door on areas of discussion it can appear that way).


Ron,

I will break up your comments into a couple of posts so that I can spend some time on them.

First, the evidence side. I am completely going to use you as a representative model and tease you a bit; I don't mean any disrespect, but I think you represent a considerable number of aikido people who have been around a long while... I am going to bring up some hard questions and use you, but I think we can all imagine ourselves in your place.

When asked, "show me proof!" My question [to you] is, "you've been practicing aikido for a crazy long period of time. How is it possible that you have not come across the proof?" By the time I read about the "floating bridge of heaven" for the third time in a different book, I thought to myself, "Huh, I guess the old man thought the floating bridge of heaven is important. Maybe I need to figure that out." Heck, what book about O Sensei doesn't mention the floating bridge of heaven? You have read most of the evidence, the problem is that you don't care to figure it out. Blah blah blah - floating bridge of crazy - this was an O Sensei babble moment. Whatever. There's nothing I can point to, because you won't ingest it. You have access to Aikiweb archives, a great source of information. You don't care to access it. You have access to Chris Li's blog. You don't care to access it. Heck, you can probably PM Ellis Amdur about his books. You don't care to access him. Obviously, you do care to some extent; but, I can't change the priority level you assign to research about internal power or the intensity with which you pursue that research. In my post, I mentioned a conversation about calculus... This is the good example of someone with significant aikido experience who doesn't understand the basic resources O Sensei wrote about. Here are some good starting points we used:
Budo Renshu (1938 version)
Dueling with O Sensei Ellis Amdur
Transparent Power Tatsuo Kimura
Hidden in Plain Sight Ellis Amdur
Chris Li's Sangenkai blog
Allen Beebe's blog

Next, aikido with aiki in it is nothing like empty aikido. Nothing. I was soft on this opinion early on because I thought, "Surely, we're doing something right?" Nope. Honest. In fact, most of our aikido movement is bad enough, IP people can watch a video and say, "Nope." That's how different our movement is. If you do not move with whole body movement then you don't have aiki. If you don't have aiki, you are not doing aikido. It is over-blunt and a little insulting to claim that aikido people aren't doing aikido so we need to be a little sympathetic to the situation... This is a big issue and I appreciate the fuel packed into this explosive comment.

Imagine a scenario where you say, "move from you hips to make ikkyo." I say, "You don't move from your hips." How can we talk about ikkyo? You imply I preemptively closed dialog about technique. I say that if you don't move correctly, how can we have a dialog about technique based on that movement? Isn't the better place to start that dialog, "why would you move your hips?" So, are we really shutting down dialog? No, but we may need to talk about something that is not what we anticipated talking about. Our dojo did this and we realized we didn't know have the stuff we thought we knew. We found that when reviewing much of our kata, there was a significant gap in the teaching methodology to explain how our bodies move within the kata, not to mention gaps in proper movement itself. Moving our hips is one of the more common points of instruction for kata. I don't want to get into right or wrong, but anyone who has trained for a few months has heard the instruction to "move with hips/cut with hips/throw with hips" Yet how many instructors tell us what that actually means? So, for the sake of this response, from whatever instruction (or whoever instructing) you were ever told to use hips, let's start there. Ever try to move from hips in judo? what about when you're pinned on the mat? Did I mention I used to teach "move from hips?" That was a nice shot of bitter... If you have never tried to move from hips while in kesa gatami, try it. It's terrible - but, you see people all the time swing their legs like a pendulum because they are separated at the hips. Why? Because you don't move with hips.

Our dojo worked out with a variety of other arts to better understand how we felt in other settings and how our internal power training changed that feeling over time. This was a positive experience and we also gained many friends. I strongly encourage finding outside groups to work with your dojo and test your training methodology in alternate settings. I also think that the burden of this work should lie with [you], not the hearsay of someone else. See for yourself. You need to be sorted to really see where you sit in order - we found that in many respects we were uncomfortable in other arts. Again, I am telling you we performed a comparison and found our aikido lacking elements we wanted to better work with judo, jujutsu, striking, weapons, empty-hand, etc.

I wish I had more comic relief in this post because we need it. But, our dojo made many sacrifices in order to get this far; in sharing our journey I don't want to discredit the good and the bad aspects of what we learned.

jonreading
02-15-2017, 11:23 AM
Aiki vs Aikido?

To quote Archer, the best TV show, ever, "phrasing."
Aiki (or aiki-do) and aikido (or modern aikido, representing post- O Sensei aikido). Yes, there is a difference. Just like the playing football without a helmet is silly and confusing with actual football...

Sorry, couldn't resist...

jonreading
02-15-2017, 11:58 AM
Whole body movement with aiki as a discipline is indeed not predicated on anything "to do with your partner, or connecting centers, or being affected by an opponent." However the practice of Aikido is the application of aiki driven whole body movement to situations involving oneself and at least one other person. What you're referring to above relates to the application of Aikido, not the cultivation of aiki.

I agree with O Sensei that Aikido has no opponent, not because the opponent doesn't exist in some metaphorical sense but because the Aikido relationship between me and my opponent is such that our individual identities are merged by our interaction as we turn conflict into resolution. In effect, we become a single entity for the duration of that interaction.


Here's another rabbit hole...

So whole body movement is absolute to aiki. There is a reason why on multiple occasions O Sensei made distinctions of individual declaration ("I am aiki!") and also indifference to a role of partnership (there is not opponent). So not only did O Sensei tell us that aiki is about [you] he also told you that aiki is not about [your partner]. We got it from both sides one this one. It's also another one of my soft answers turned harder over the years. Heaven, Earth, man. You don't find any references to a semi-compliant partner standing on the floating bridge of heaven (heaven, earth, man+1).

If you are dependent on a partner, you are not practicing aiki. You can practice aiki and a partner can support your practice. The whole idea of partnership in reconciliation is ideological. In fighting, I would never want my partner to have any input in altering what I need to do. Grab someone with stuff and ask them them to join with your center, see how that works. It doesn't. As soon as you join with someone who is bigger/more centered than you, you are foiled.

Also, notice here how you diminished a direct instruction from O Sensei (there is no opponent) by placing that instruction as "metaphorical"? What if the old man is being literal? O Sensei has to be interpreted in metaphor here because otherwise reconciliation ideology in aikido encounters a big problem - the old man didn't teach it.

RonRagusa
02-15-2017, 12:54 PM
When asked, "show me proof!" My question [to you] is, "you've been practicing aikido for a crazy long period of time. How is it possible that you have not come across the proof?" By the time I read about the "floating bridge of heaven" for the third time in a different book, I thought to myself, "Huh, I guess the old man thought the floating bridge of heaven is important. Maybe I need to figure that out." Heck, what book about O Sensei doesn't mention the floating bridge of heaven? You have read most of the evidence, the problem is that you don't care to figure it out. Blah blah blah - floating bridge of crazy - this was an O Sensei babble moment. Whatever. There's nothing I can point to, because you won't ingest it. You have access to Aikiweb archives, a great source of information. You don't care to access it. You have access to Chris Li's blog. You don't care to access it. Heck, you can probably PM Ellis Amdur about his books. You don't care to access him. Obviously, you do care to some extent; but, I can't change the priority level you assign to research about internal power or the intensity with which you pursue that research. In my post, I mentioned a conversation about calculus... This is the good example of someone with significant aikido experience who doesn't understand the basic resources O Sensei wrote about. Here are some good starting points we used:
Budo Renshu (1938 version)
Dueling with O Sensei Ellis Amdur
Transparent Power Tatsuo Kimura
Hidden in Plain Sight Ellis Amdur
Chris Li's Sangenkai blog
Allen Beebe's blog

Yes you can show me oodles of evidence that internal power was a part of O Sensei's Aikido. My question though related to your statement that "aiki and IP is inconsistent with the modern methodology of aikido training." My own experience speaks otherwise. When I watch what Ikeda, Gleason and others are demonstrating today, I'm seeing what Maruyama S. was teaching us 40 years ago. The terminology was different but the gist and results are comparable. You don't have to convince me of the merits of studying aiki as an integral part of my Aikido training. It has been from day one. The fact that the wider Aikido community is finally beginning to come to this realization is heartening.

If you do not move with whole body movement then you don't have aiki. If you don't have aiki, you are not doing aikido. It is over-blunt and a little insulting to claim that aikido people aren't doing aikido so we need to be a little sympathetic to the situation... This is a big issue and I appreciate the fuel packed into this explosive comment.

We called it "No Ki, no Aikido" back in the day. But since "Ki" is such a button pusher of a word, I'll use your terminology, "No aiki, no Aikido".

Imagine a scenario where you say, "move from you hips to make ikkyo." I say, "You don't move from your hips."

Except I don't say "Move from your hips". I'd more likely say something like "Move with mind/body coordinated as an integrated unit." Which would translate to "Use whole body movement with aiki." to use your terminology.

How can we talk about ikkyo? You imply I preemptively closed dialog about technique.

Yeah, but I never mentioned technique. Here's what I actually wrote "Surely though comparisons can be drawn regarding things like: training goals, the underlying assumptions that provide the framework upon which the form of training built, analyses of both types of movement with regard to their respective body mechanics and why one is to be favored over another...". Nothing regarding technique. If you have an open enough mind and are willing to entertain the idea that there's more than one training program that will engender aiki then we have lots to talk about. Otherwise you're just going to bog down in that doctrine based quagmire I talked about in my previous post.

Our dojo worked out with a variety of other arts to better understand how we felt in other settings and how our internal power training changed that feeling over time. This was a positive experience and we also gained many friends. I strongly encourage finding outside groups to work with your dojo and test your training methodology in alternate settings. I also think that the burden of this work should lie with [you], not the hearsay of someone else. See for yourself. You need to be sorted to really see where you sit in order - we found that in many respects we were uncomfortable in other arts. Again, I am telling you we performed a comparison and found our aikido lacking elements we wanted to better work with judo, jujutsu, striking, weapons, empty-hand, etc.

At my age Jon, I'm no longer interested in pursuing that line of training. Over the years I've worked out with a number of folks from different arts and have discovered the value internal based training brings to Aikido. The experiences I've had with others has shown me that aiki isn't art based and that it can be successfully applied to any number of endeavors.

Ron

RonRagusa
02-15-2017, 01:21 PM
So whole body movement is absolute to aiki. There is a reason why on multiple occasions O Sensei made distinctions of individual declaration ("I am aiki!") and also indifference to a role of partnership (there is not opponent). So not only did O Sensei tell us that aiki is about [you] he also told you that aiki is not about [your partner]. We got it from both sides one this one. It's also another one of my soft answers turned harder over the years. Heaven, Earth, man. You don't find any references to a semi-compliant partner standing on the floating bridge of heaven (heaven, earth, man+1).

Well, you kind of recast what I posted with some of O Sensei's cosmological metaphors thrown in. Recall I wrote, "Whole body movement with aiki as a discipline is indeed not predicated on anything 'to do with your partner, or connecting centers, or being affected by an opponent.'"

If you are dependent on a partner, you are not practicing aiki.

Aiki is a result. It's a condition of the mind/body unit that arises when mind and body are integrated via intent. Training aiki strengthens the mind/body unit beyond what might normally be achieved by physical or mental conditioning alone. In my mind, one doesn't do aiki, one is unified with aiki and that unification within oneself is expressed as whole body movement; or as I would say, movement with mind/body coordinated.

Ron

SeiserL
02-16-2017, 08:31 AM
Perhaps the proof is in the end result ...
Having trained in many arts for many years with many people (perhaps too many of all three), I/you can feel the difference between those exploring/training in the internal-arts/discipline and those who choose not to ...
Perhaps we do not have to defend/explain our choices/preferences ...
Enjoyed your thoughts and have always enjoyed our training ... compliments and appreciation.

jonreading
02-16-2017, 08:36 AM
Well, you kind of recast what I posted with some of O Sensei's cosmological metaphors thrown in. Recall I wrote, "Whole body movement with aiki as a discipline is indeed not predicated on anything 'to do with your partner, or connecting centers, or being affected by an opponent.'"

Aiki is a result. It's a condition of the mind/body unit that arises when mind and body are integrated via intent. Training aiki strengthens the mind/body unit beyond what might normally be achieved by physical or mental conditioning alone. In my mind, one doesn't do aiki, one is unified with aiki and that unification within oneself is expressed as whole body movement; or as I would say, movement with mind/body coordinated.

Ron

Kinda. Part of what you said also was that the training of whole body movement was not exclusive of co-dependent movement. While on some small level of commonality, that may be true, I am being a little more firm here by saying that if you are moving with dependence on your partner's interaction, then you are not moving correct. Join center is false.

There is another thread right now musing the "worthiness" of aiki training. I am trying to separate my thoughts to better match the thread to which I post, but it brings up a series of questions that we explored, so I am going to post some comments here, instead:
1. Everyone is not doing "it." I have worked out with a number of people who claimed to have IP or "do that" in their aikido. They don't. Sensei so-and-so said this or that. Great, where has sensei been to teach this stuff? Why can I count on two hands the number of IP heavyweights in aikido? This is was critical issue for us when we looked at who was doing what and we realized that pool is pretty small.
2. There are some digs about aiki people in the other thread that illustrate real points... I can point to a lot more aikido people who will talk their way out of anything, rather than defend what they do. I know a lot of aikido people who purposefully avoid checking their stuff to see how it works. I know a lot of aikido people who use parlor tricks. This points to what we found - you can't hide on the mat. You are either using IP or you are not. And we found you can tell the difference literally just by touching someone.

I got no problem with keeping things light and fun and digging at each other. I got no problem with ribbing our crazy training techniques, from bongo drums to breathing and in between. But the truth of the situation is that aikido has some real problems in the fighting world. Doing better jujutsu is the not answer to the better "street" application. Talking down to MMA is not the answer to dealing with fighters you can eat you alive. Aiki has survived for a long time, while aikido is relatively young on the fighting arts timeline.

It's the internet, so I am not inclined to make statements about who does what because you can't prove anything one way or the other, but your words are immortalized for the world to criticize. I take people at their word when someone says what they can (or can't) do. Internal power is tough training. It's not for everyone. We all want to say we do it because it sounds like Eastern magic and we know that O Sensei did it. Empirically, we just don't train the way you need to train to make aiki movement. This is why the post-war aikido struggled to produce anyone with the look at feel of the earlier students of O Sensei. That's not to say that there are not good teachers out there, or that aikido isn't worth practicing, or that we should start naming names to embarrass people. If your instructor knows and just isn't teaching, why? If you are doing and not teaching, why? Do you feel like everyone else, why? These are tough questions that we need to look at.

By the way, you are being a good sport and I appreciate the dialog.

Mary Eastland
02-16-2017, 09:20 AM
Since Aikido is primarily a system of self defense, training with no regard to the attacker is futile. It makes it another art.

I have correct feeling a lot of the time as a result of my training. When I lose it I get it back as soon as I can.

The self defense situations I have been in required that I have mind body co-ordination and total attention being given to the situation. Being the strongest women in the land would not have helped me.

Our training method works for us. And discussion is important. However, we don't all train for the same reasons.

There are many paths to the top of Monument Mt.

jonreading
02-16-2017, 12:28 PM
This is maybe a good example of unanticipated dialog I spoke about a couple of posts earlier...

For Mary, Aikido is primarily a system of self defense. Why? For me, Aikido is primarily a study of aiki. Why? This is a fundamental difference in the definition of what we think we are doing. If you do not even consider the study of aiki as the reason for the art, where do we go from there? What do you think the odds are Mary is gonna move anything like I am gonna move?

Think of the number of threads and posts on Aikiweb alone that end with "We don't train for the same reasons." Or, "There are different path to the mountaintop." Or, "We do things for different reasons." So here's my challenge, if we are all doing the same thing, why are we always excusing why we're not doing the same thing? Because we're not. I am convinced that, "there are different path to the mountaintop," is the aikido version of our Southern saying, "bless your heart," a back-handed compliment that excuses a difference of opinion.

I think there is a truth to this comment... we are not doing the same art. So now we get into the , "my mom can beat up your mom," stuff, right? Break out the Thunderdome... No. Rupert mentioned this in like the 2nd post - there's no need. Our stuff either works or it don't. We keep our eyes on our own paper and share what we've learned.

Mary Eastland
02-16-2017, 02:11 PM
"I think there is a truth to this comment... we are not doing the same art. So now we get into the , "my mom can beat up your mom," stuff, right? Break out the Thunderdome... No. Rupert mentioned this in like the 2nd post - there's no need. Our stuff either works or it don't. We keep our eyes on our own paper and share what we've learned."

It seems like you are moving the goal posts here, Jon. I have met a couple of the gentleman that you are probably speaking about. I don't find how they felt to more "aiki" feeling than I am.

Our way works for us and our students...it involves development of correct feeling by learning to integrate mind/body in stillness and in movement. It also involves interaction with a partner which to me provides the opportunities to see what works and what doesn't. Does that happen in you aiki training?

I see some factions of aikido are seeking new ways that involve what we have been doing all along. If you or they are interested in aiki being found with Aikido please feel free to visit or dojo or to come to our seminars.

A good discussion involves give and take...an infomercial involves one way being the way.

:)

RonRagusa
02-16-2017, 02:32 PM
Kinda. Part of what you said also was that the training of whole body movement was not exclusive of co-dependent movement. While on some small level of commonality, that may be true, I am being a little more firm here by saying that if you are moving with dependence on your partner's interaction, then you are not moving correct. Join center is false.

Let me grab my whole quote since plainly I'm not communicating my view of the relationship between aiki and aikido very well. I wrote: "Whole body movement with aiki as a discipline is indeed not predicated on anything "to do with your partner, or connecting centers, or being affected by an opponent." However the practice of Aikido is the application of aiki driven whole body movement to situations involving oneself and at least one other person. What you're referring to above relates to the application of Aikido, not the cultivation of aiki."

Let me try to clear up what I mean by drawing on your prior reference to calculus. Calculus may be studied independently of any real world situations to which it may apply, such as finding the area under a curve by solving a definite integral of the curve's function over a given domain.

Likewise aiki may be studied and trained independently of any real world situations to which it may apply such as the execution of aikido technique. Aiki is applicable to just about any physical activity you care to think of. It's not the sole province of martial arts practice.

So the second sentence of my quote refers to the application of aiki in an aikido setting where partnered practice is the norm. I am saying that the training of whole body movement can be exclusive of co-dependent movement.

Sensei so-and-so said this or that. Great, where has sensei been to teach this stuff?

When I wrote that Sensei was showing us this stuff 40 years ago "showing" appears to have been a poor choice of words. He was teaching this stuff to us 40 years ago. Sorry for the confusion.

Why can I count on two hands the number of IP heavyweights in aikido?

Seriously Jon, in your years of training how many of the million or so aikido practitioners have you actually had the opportunity to train with and feel? I'm guessing it's a pretty small, statistically insignificant number. Could be wrong about that though, you never know.

But the truth of the situation is that aikido has some real problems in the fighting world.

And if improving the image of aikido in the fighting world is your thing then go for it. Not my focus though.

By the way, you are being a good sport and I appreciate the dialog.

Yeah, well I don't have any axes to grind or agendas to push. I know full well that my views on aiki aren't well met by the "faithful"; as evidenced by my being pilloried over on the other thread, for agreeing with you no less. :confused:

Appreciate your taking the time to air your views.

Ron

ChrisMoses
02-16-2017, 03:36 PM
Everyone I've had hands on with from the Aikido world in the last couple years has had the same response, "you feel weird." Every one. We have a visiting Aikido (and formerly judo) guy visiting our dojo right now and in class a couple weeks ago he said, "man, this is what real judo ought to be..." At Dan's recent seminar last year in Seattle he had me show the newer folks the boat rowing exercise. Thankfully we'd been working on that one so I didn't look like a total moron! As I went around and let folks feel how I was doing the exercise they all went wide eyed and most insisted that I do it again because they didn't believe it was working on them. And it did. I think it's safe to say from their reactions, that NONE of them had felt that before. I'm not saying this to float my own boat, I would rate my own competency at this stuff as "barely foot in the door." But, when you actually FEEL this stuff, feel even the beginnings of real aiki, it's like finding a new color. Something is possible that wasn't possible a moment before. We also don't refer to our stuff as "aikido" either, so I don't feel the need to convince Aikido folks that there's anything missing in their art. I am convinced however that what we're working on is almost completely missing from Aikido, yet IS the aiki that OSensei was talking about.

Alec Corper
02-17-2017, 03:09 AM
Aiki training does not need a "defense". Aiki does not make people invincible (other silly thread). Aiki is a body quality that acts as a force multiplier or neutralizer. After pursuing it actively over the last ten years with Akuzawa, Dan Harden and Sam Chin, I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that some people have a quality that others do not. When this body quality is married to fighting skills you have something very potent.
However for most people the practice of aiki offers more to their levels of concentration and awareness than to their aikido skill. It is no more a given that skill in aiki equals skill in aikido, than in the opposite ( namely that mechanical skill in executing waza produces aiki).
I have been trying, mostly with only moderate success, to incorporate aiki training within aikido practice. Most of the experts in the field have pretty much equivocally stated that it can't be done that way, that the presence of a partner or the intent to perform technique prevents one from retaining the self awareness necessary for internal work. I tend now to agree even though I continue to use Chen style push hands as a bridge to this point.
6 directional force, opening kua, peng, fascial connection, spiral forces, tendon power, usage of tanden ( and ming men), these are just a few of the terms that only people who are trying to do internal work (or study CIMA) will be familiar with. Being able to explain and demonstrate what the activation of these qualities do is way harder.
However, I don't believe there is any need or reason to remonstrate with those who want to practice differently. Personally I couldn't care less. I don't mean that harshly, simply it does not impinge on my right to do what I choose.
with respect to all who try to do their best

MRoh
02-17-2017, 04:53 AM
I have been trying, mostly with only moderate success, to incorporate aiki training within aikido practice. Most of the experts in the field have pretty much equivocally stated that it can't be done that way, that the presence of a partner or the intent to perform technique prevents one from retaining the self awareness necessary for internal work.

Somehow one has to bring it into the technique, otherwise one will not understand how the mechanic works in conjunction with the technique. How else if not in aikido practice?

Alec Corper
02-17-2017, 07:16 AM
Markus
I obviously was not clear. I was referring to the challenge of developing aiki within standard aikido practice. Since aiki is a body quality it must occur naturally within your movement but that can only happen after conscious "unnatural" effort. Many people imagine their natural movement to be the apotheosis of freedom but aiki has to be mastered before it is your body natural. Most aikido waza contain the potential for aiki development but that will not occur through repetition of mechanical action

MRoh
02-17-2017, 09:16 AM
Many people imagine their natural movement to be the apotheosis of freedom but aiki has to be mastered before it is your body natural. Most aikido waza contain the potential for aiki development but that will not occur through repetition of mechanical action

Yes, I agree.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-17-2017, 10:44 AM
For those who are training in aiki developement: How do you measure your increase in performance?

ChrisMoses
02-17-2017, 12:18 PM
Funny you should ask, here's our first post to our new Facebook group, Budo Tanren:
Budo Tanren on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/BudoTanren/posts/1351297511593025)

/shamelessplug

Alec Corper
02-17-2017, 12:30 PM
Just curious Demetrio, you don't train aikido yet you post often, what's your interest?
No rudeness intended.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-17-2017, 12:50 PM
Just curious Demetrio, you don't train aikido yet you post often, what's your interest?
No rudeness intended.
No problem.

I trained in aikido (Iwama style), stopped training mostly because politics. Still think aikido is (or can be) a great budo and I like to read about the art from some people who posts here.

I currently train in a different art and what I learned in aikido has been very useful to date.

Regarding the aiki stuff, I believe training in it is worthwile however I think lots of people are putting too much faith in its real value or usefulness.

Alec Corper
02-17-2017, 01:06 PM
Thank you Demetrio for a clear and courteous answer. I would refer you to Chris's post and to Dazzler's in the "invincible aiki" thread.
My tcw. Let me qualify this by saying I'm a bit too old (64) and damaged to really go at it in a free sparring session but here are some performance indicators I have seen from this stuff when playing informally with judo and Chinese arts practitioners.
It is harder for people to move or throw me. This is both more solid and more flexible in response to imcoming forces. I can generate more power in locks, strikes and throws with less external movement. I find a greater ease of creating kuzushi on contact with far less reliance on locking up joints in order to disrupt balance. I can sense people's intent when they touch and can often counter faster without being physically faster. Ima m more able to penetrate to their center line without applying much physical force.
Bearing in mind that this is my subjective measurement (and response from others, also subjective) these are some of the outer factors. There are also some inner factors which may or may not be relevant such as the feeling of maintaining a much more neutral state physically and mentally, enhanced awareness of people and surroundings.
I am in Spain often in Gandía, maybe we can meet up and play?
regards
Alec

Alec Corper
02-17-2017, 01:11 PM
A quick PS, I'm still busy with the experiment, using knowledge gained form several sources so I am no ones representative or fan boy, but there are some real experts out there ;-)

Andy Kazama
02-17-2017, 02:30 PM
For those who are training in aiki development: How do you measure your increase in performance?

Haven't really posted in years, but I'm enjoying the thread so I will chime in. I especially love the fact that we are on page two and it hasn't devolved into tantrums! I would like to preface my thoughts by stating that I am still in the kiddy pool (4 yrs of training).
I think both qualitative and quantitative metrics are really what sucked me into this type of training. As a scientist, this is important to me! The solo work causes distinct body changes that several of us have noticed. These include things like: fascial thickening/tightening felt distinctly under the collarbone, stomach, back (upper and lower), & bottoms of the feet. Also perceptual changes like: being able to resist blunt training knives pressed forcefully into pressure points (e.g., floating rib), lower instances of bruising (I'm a klutz), and large increases in stability tested by push-testing and more dynamic situations (e.g., judo, push-hands, grappling). These perceptual changes can be easily demonstrated because one can turn "on" and "off" with little to no external tells -- meaning you and your partner can play with being in various states. Another great way to measure this is during seminars. We have a student who has been training this method for a few years. She returned to her old dojo for a seminar and her previous dojo mates literally asked us what we had done to her. They commented that she felt super solid. In short, she felt DIFFERENT.

It is important to keep in mind that these internal training methods have been around for thousands of years, going back to India. It's stuck around because it produces results, period.

jonreading
02-17-2017, 02:32 PM
"I think there is a truth to this comment... we are not doing the same art. So now we get into the , "my mom can beat up your mom," stuff, right? Break out the Thunderdome... No. Rupert mentioned this in like the 2nd post - there's no need. Our stuff either works or it don't. We keep our eyes on our own paper and share what we've learned."

It seems like you are moving the goal posts here, Jon. I have met a couple of the gentleman that you are probably speaking about. I don't find how they felt to more "aiki" feeling than I am.

Our way works for us and our students...it involves development of correct feeling by learning to integrate mind/body in stillness and in movement. It also involves interaction with a partner which to me provides the opportunities to see what works and what doesn't. Does that happen in you aiki training?

I see some factions of aikido are seeking new ways that involve what we have been doing all along. If you or they are interested in aiki being found with Aikido please feel free to visit or dojo or to come to our seminars.

A good discussion involves give and take...an infomercial involves one way being the way.

:)

There are a couple of posts related, so I'll try to explain...

I used to think, "we do that." Move from center, stillness in motion, etc. Then I actually touched someone working on internal power and realized I didn't do that work. I don't know if comparison here will work, but I would say that unless you move in the same circles I do, you are not training like I train. Most of our work is solo training exercises because I resolve aiki within myself. Most of our training involves high rates of failure and training outside of the dojo. Most of our training involves push tests, small body movements, and body exercises.

I am going to make some inferences, because I think they may represent some elements of circumstantial evidence that I have perceived over the years that influence... That is, things that we say we think we are doing, but maybe not doing and not supported by tangent information.

Ron mentioned that is he is not interested in improving our role in the fighting world. But internal power contributes to fighting. So, something that causes me concern is disconnect that internal power contributes to fighting; when you work in the internal power realm, you can feel a contribution to effectiveness. While maybe harmless in isolation, something that gives me pause tho think... Another example was one our earlier comments to provide proof of our research into internal power. Again, anyone who has been working in internal power has a lexicon of terminology and some familiarity with the research.

None of these things are problems, in and of themselves - we have all misspoke, or forgotten a word, or referred to something in error. But, when you look at things in its entirety... IP has a unique feeling that is absolute and separate from how most people feel. What if I were to describe a scenario where a mechanic told you that your gas-pusher needed to be replaced for $1000. That might give you pause. You'd think, "Wait, 'gas pusher?' I am pretty sure it's called a fuel pump." Does that means the assessment is wrong? Nope. Does it mean the mechanic is wrong? Nope. Does it mean you should look a little closer at things? Probably. If the mechanic said, "no, that's what I meant." Would it solve the problem? Maybe not. And before that spirals into something; no, I am not claiming internal power has a secret language, or decoder rings, or any of that.

Is that to say there is only one IP training? Nope. Is that to say that I am pretty confident we are not doing the same thing? Yup. Some training methodology is better than others and some training methodology is wrong. How else can aiki be studied across different arts, different cultures, and different time periods? But what I have noticed is there is a language and a culture that is pretty consistent across the board. But I think you hear a consistent message from IP people because the feeling is so distinguished that it cannot be mistaken. I agree.

I think Markus and Alec have brought up another smoking gun... internal power, while not complicated in nature, is actually pretty difficult to put into our current aikido training. So when I hear people say, "it's in my aikido." I think, "hmmm." That's not to say it isn't, but I know I am still working on that. Heck, when O Sensei managed to do it, it was so darn impressive the country gave him his own art...

Erick Mead
02-17-2017, 03:59 PM
Make Aikido Great Again.

:D
No. really. I'm talking big-league aiki. So beautiful. Powerful.
You know, people don't respect aiki for how powerful it is.
Really. They don't. It's true.

But we'll make it great again. Aiki's gonna win. So much winning.
You're gonna get tired of how much winning. Really, No, it's true,
:p

Erick Mead
02-17-2017, 05:37 PM
Funny you should ask, here's our first post to our new Facebook group, Budo Tanren:
Budo Tanren on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/BudoTanren/posts/1351297511593025)

On this in that post: "... it IS possible for tori (I prefer tori to nage as the "do-er") to move relatively freely, while in contact with a partner in such a way that there is nearly no change in pressure at the contact points, but that the partner is compelled to move."


The action you describe is, mechanically speaking, a tangent shear applied at right angles to the nominal direction of the contact pressure. Operative juuji (+), in other words.

This creates an unbalanced torsion (combined compression and tension stress in a spiral) in the structure of the opponent. When it grows large enough it exceeds the geometric limits of their stability compensation at the base. But this is not the only or even the most important aspect of the action. And it it has quite a few different modes of action from the same basic principle.

These actions are structural, and apply with changed stress in the body -- of which the movement is the expression, and NOT the cause.

Nidai Dosshu, much misunderstood on this point in his book, referred to this as "spherical rotation." Like rolling a ball with the flat palm of your hand the point of contact can move without altering the pressure. The "ball" of this structure is operating in-yo -- one side must rise and one side must fall. Whatever is stuck to the figurative ball in the yin (downgoing) side gets crushed (aiki-sage); whatever gets stuck to the yang (upcoming) side progressively loses connection the earth (aiki-age).

This spherical aspect is all though the Aunkai tanren -- the postures sketch the tangent surfaces of various conformal spheres: in front, above, below, or to the sides, etc. It is in fact shown in many of our formal aikido waza and aiki taiso as well. Though also equally misunderstood by many, they are without question there.

A related aspect and yet a different manner of this form of action is in Aunkai's six directions exercises. Basically they are working the interior surface of an expanding/contracting spherical surface of action. Anything neutrally in contact with the surface of the sphere (balanced push or pull action) when the sphere contracts finds itself suddenly unbalanced on the upper surface going down and inward and not neutral anymore. Likewise, when the sphere expands from neutral contact, the contact is now unbalanced on the lower surface, going outward and upward.

Another aspect of this structural spherical rotation is in those tanren and our waza, but it is harder to visualize -- the rotation of a spherical inversion. This is where the inside curve becomes the outside curve and vice versa. Surface buckling is the technical term. When I was a kid we had these cracker jack toys (yeah, old) : little flexible dished metal discs about half-dollar size (again, old). You put them on a firm surface and press the little dome flat with your thumb and it would stay briefly flat and then spring back to a reinverted shape and jump well off the surface. That's the structural action we are talking about here. (Kids today -- can't learn THAT on your smart phone games, now can ya !?)

It is seen in the attention to opening and closing of the upper cross, and of the lower spine/hips, and in the asagao form of spiral action from closed to open. This is powerful because it inverts structural stress from positive to negative instantaneously but continuously. That is, without reversal of the overall action, it passes from positive to negative (or reverse) through a peak cusp -- never going through zero.

When these forms of structural action get critical enough (i.e.-- in just the right way) even if not yet dimensionally large enough to take their base geometrically, it can be used to provoke reflexive arcs in the spine mediated by the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs in the limbs and torso. These protect the body structure in advance of voluntary motor action from the brain, and result in either flexor reflex action (aiki-sage) or extensor reflex action (aiki-age), depending on the direction of the resulting torque (e.g. -- nikkyo or kotegaeshi in the first case, and sankyo in the second case -- or -- tenchi in the case of both acting at once).

Another image I often use of this tangent action in more dynamic terms is that of shears (scissors) In action, one side drops the other rises (in-yo) and whatever is between gets sheared. I find this particularly helpful in addressing strikes, in which one never loses contact or varies pressure and never conflicts or impacts the other.

RonRagusa
02-17-2017, 07:14 PM
I don't know if comparison here will work, but I would say that unless you move in the same circles I do, you are not training like I train. Most of our work is solo training exercises because I resolve aiki within myself. Most of our training involves high rates of failure and training outside of the dojo. Most of our training involves push tests, small body movements, and body exercises.

It's true, Mary and I do not move in the same circles as you do. But we have been exposed to your some the training methods you employ on a limited scale and have also studied videos featuring Hiroshi Ikeda, Bill Gleason and George Ledyard, to name a few. What we have experienced and seen is in many ways similar to what we have been taught and practiced over the years. Even though there are similarities, I agree that we don't train like you do.

Solo training is also an integral part of our program. The goal is the same, realizing aiki within ourselves first and foremost; we call it coordinating mind and body. We will occasionally go outside the dojo but don't seek out other martial arts on which to test our stuff. Push tests and small body movements with static resisting partners play a large role in our training.

Is that to say there is only one IP training? Nope. Is that to say that I am pretty confident we are not doing the same thing? Yup. Some training methodology is better than others and some training methodology is wrong. How else can aiki be studied across different arts, different cultures, and different time periods?

Yeah. I'll buy that.

I think Markus and Alec have brought up another smoking gun... internal power, while not complicated in nature, is actually pretty difficult to put into our current aikido training.

While internal power training has been an integral part of our curriculum, from Tohei's days of teaching ki development thru S. Maruyama's modifying and exrtending it, linking up mind/body coordination with the execution of technique is something that takes no small amount of time to accomplish on a consistent basis. So I don't see Markus' and Alec's observations as a smoking gun.

Ron

Dazzler
02-18-2017, 04:24 AM
It's true, Mary and I do not move in the same circles as you do. But we have been exposed to your some the training methods you employ on a limited scale and have also studied videos featuring Hiroshi Ikeda, Bill Gleason and George Ledyard, to name a few. What we have experienced and seen is in many ways similar to what we have been taught and practiced over the years. Even though there are similarities, I agree that we don't train like you do.

Solo training is also an integral part of our program. The goal is the same, realizing aiki within ourselves first and foremost; we call it coordinating mind and body. We will occasionally go outside the dojo but don't seek out other martial arts on which to test our stuff. Push tests and small body movements with static resisting partners play a large role in our training.


Hi....as noted by others ....the thread is on page 2 and still nicely civil .....which is a positive change to see after my self enforced break from Aikiweb.

So 2 things here...

On Bill Gleeson, George L & Ikeda...well , these are all Aikido people first and foremost who have embraced Aiki/IP and are retrofitting the work to their Aikido. They are all big names which should speak volumes alone on whether the work has value, but since they are then sharing the work through standard Aikido toolset...then its no wonder really that much of it looks similar to the work of your teachers....who I agree will have been covering much common ground.

2nd thing - re Push tests...again I can see how this side of the Aiki/IP work described here fits very closely to similar work from ki fraternity. What I've not seen or hear of is anyone from ki side working solo exercises in the way I've seen done in Aiki/IP training to rewire the body.

What I have seen though it the way Aikido is split between 2 polar opposites.....on the far right you have the extremists.....The "real Aikido" of mainly eastern europe....using "aikido" in mock fights etc, doing what they perceived to be hardcore Aikido....but really working jujitsu limited by utilising the subset of Aikido techniques we use.

on the other hand we have the ki bunnies.....see the vids of ki masters getting punched in the face by guys with 5 minutes MMA experience.

Between these 2 camps there is a linear deployment of everyone else. We all have a place on the spectrum somewhere.

But now there is something else.....I've not seen it before and wouldn't have heard of it if it were not for Aikiweb.

What I see now is a joining together of the 2 ends of the spectrum.....work that previously looked ineffective, nice to do, parlour tricks etc....now has context and whateveryour personal motivation for training our art has a 360 degree holistic view that I've not seen in last 25 years.

Somewhere we may all have bits that map onto this circular vision....but honestly do we have the whole pie?....So this for me is the true value of this training.

My faith has been restored thanks to exposure to Aiki/IP....so yes - i am one of the faithful....

I hope that the current mood of this thread reflects a reawakened interest in this subject.

Regards

D

Mary Eastland
02-18-2017, 07:36 AM
We don't have to re awaken because we have been doing it along. If you never leave the basics you don't have to come back to them.

ChrisMoses
02-18-2017, 10:33 AM
How do you teach kua rotation in your paradigm?

Dazzler
02-18-2017, 12:33 PM
;-)

Some things never change.

All I say now to anyone who feels there is a little room for improvement in their practice then I still recommend looking further into this subject. Trust your own judgement as many others have before and continue to do.

Maybe one day in the future we can all meet together at the top of Monument Mt. and share a cup of tea....there should be plenty to go round as there are some very full cups about.

Mary Eastland
02-18-2017, 01:04 PM
I will after this, Ron. However, in response to the last reply.

I understand that many have found their aikido to be lacking. I have not and when I say that, I don't mean that my path is better than anyone's or the right path.

My cup is not full. I am looking and learning. I seek where I want to learn from. As so should you.
I will not judge or diminish your journey. I will respect my own.

RonRagusa
02-18-2017, 01:41 PM
How do you teach kua rotation in your paradigm?

A couple of preliminary disclaimers: First, we don't use Chinese terminology, so please, when asking these kinds of technical questions, use English whenever possible. Second, the attainment and development of mind/body coordination relies less on anatomical manipulation than a whole body approach to finding a mind/body state that allows successful performance of specific exercises. Once that "correct feeling" is reached, the student is subjected to increasing levels of force in order to strengthen it. Given the above, a one-to-one correspondence between what you folks do and what we do isn't going to happen.

So I looked up kua and found this definition: "The kua is that ball joint inside, at the top of the thigh bone.", here. (https://internalartsia.wordpress.com/2006/07/20/function-and-usage-of-the-kua/) Assuming you are referring to teaching the student to use the rotation of this joint to generate power and act a a bridge between the upper and lower body (guiding the waist I think it was referred as) then here's a brief description of an exercise we do that might be analogous:

The exercise starts with nage standing in natural stance. Uke will then perform the most basic of push tests in our system, the push at the shoulder, just below the collar bone. Once nage has stabilized the incoming force, she will begin to "give way" to uke's push rotating her hips in a spiraling motion away from the force being applied. It's important to uke to keep applying pressure throughout and that nage keep her feet from moving. In this way, nage controls the movement, that is, she's not forced to move because she's being pushed, she's moving because she wants to.

When nage has reached the limit of her rotation she will then start coming back to her original position. New students will almost always make the mistake of trying to push back at uke from their shoulder and use upper body strength to power thru uke's push. This amounts to nage attempting to move back in direct opposition to uke's line of force and almost never ends well for nage. Experienced students have learned that if they loop back in continuous motion they don't have to retrace the arc and therefore don't have to encounter uke's force directly. The impetus for this comes from nage's center, which has been leading the upper body throughout the exercise.

I'm interested to know how you teach kua rotation in your system.

Ron

Cady Goldfield
02-18-2017, 05:36 PM
Aiki vs Aikido?

No. Ideally, Aiki should be a part of Aikido.

Cady Goldfield
02-18-2017, 05:44 PM
An equivalent Japanese term for "kua" is "sokei orime."

One can use the sokei orimei as one step in an "internal" (as in "aiki") process to neutralize a frontal push, turning to take uke off-line. However, in a traditional aiki/internal approach this would not be done first; rather, force would be taken to the ground first to truly absorb and neutralize the push, then the sokei orime activated instantly after to take uke off-line. This is where a throw or take-down would naturally fit, as the absorb/neutralize and off-lining are an effective set-up for a finishing throw/take-down and pin or lock.

A couple of preliminary disclaimers: First, we don't use Chinese terminology, so please, when asking these kinds of technical questions, use English whenever possible. Second, the attainment and development of mind/body coordination relies less on anatomical manipulation than a whole body approach to finding a mind/body state that allows successful performance of specific exercises. Once that "correct feeling" is reached, the student is subjected to increasing levels of force in order to strengthen it. Given the above, a one-to-one correspondence between what you folks do and what we do isn't going to happen.

So I looked up kua and found this definition: "The kua is that ball joint inside, at the top of the thigh bone.", here. (https://internalartsia.wordpress.com/2006/07/20/function-and-usage-of-the-kua/) Assuming you are referring to teaching the student to use the rotation of this joint to generate power and act a a bridge between the upper and lower body (guiding the waist I think it was referred as) then here's a brief description of an exercise we do that might be analogous:

The exercise starts with nage standing in natural stance. Uke will then perform the most basic of push tests in our system, the push at the shoulder, just below the collar bone. Once nage has stabilized the incoming force, she will begin to "give way" to uke's push rotating her hips in a spiraling motion away from the force being applied. It's important to uke to keep applying pressure throughout and that nage keep her feet from moving. In this way, nage controls the movement, that is, she's not forced to move because she's being pushed, she's moving because she wants to.

When nage has reached the limit of her rotation she will then start coming back to her original position. New students will almost always make the mistake of trying to push back at uke from their shoulder and use upper body strength to power thru uke's push. This amounts to nage attempting to move back in direct opposition to uke's line of force and almost never ends well for nage. Experienced students have learned that if they loop back in continuous motion they don't have to retrace the arc and therefore don't have to encounter uke's force directly. The impetus for this comes from nage's center, which has been leading the upper body throughout the exercise.

I'm interested to know how you teach kua rotation in your system.

Ron

RonRagusa
02-18-2017, 09:35 PM
...force would be taken to the ground first to truly absorb and neutralize the push

We have three methods of force stabilization; grounding, storing in the center for later release and returning immediately. For this exercise first nage would ground until stable then as she spiraled away would store, and release when coming back to the original position.

Ron

Cady Goldfield
02-18-2017, 09:50 PM
There is also the option of propelling/expanding outward so that on impact, the person shoving is bounced away, or upward (depending on how you use your body to direct force), and you can open and close the sokei orime to direct the person offline and then perhaps use a downward compression/aiki-sage to drop them. My point (in the approach I was describing earlier) is that you would either first either absorb force from uke or propel force into uke just before opening/closing of the sokei orime.

The process actually seems simultaneous when done well; i.e., there is no apparent pause between receiving/acting on incoming force and activating the sokei orime. The effect is very shocky and disorienting. :)

RonRagusa
02-18-2017, 11:38 PM
There is also the option of propelling/expanding outward so that on impact, the person shoving is bounced away, or upward (depending on how you use your body to direct force), and you can open and close the sokei orime to direct the person offline and then perhaps use a downward compression/aiki-sage to drop them. My point (in the approach I was describing earlier) is that you would either first either absorb force from uke or propel force into uke just before opening/closing of the sokei orime.

The process actually seems simultaneous when done well; i.e., there is no apparent pause between receiving/acting on incoming force and activating the sokei orime. The effect is very shocky and disorienting. :)

That sounds like what you see Gozo Shioda do in a lot of his randori demonstrations.

Ron

Rupert Atkinson
02-19-2017, 12:19 AM
That sounds like what you see Gozo Shioda do in a lot of his randori demonstrations.

RonOccasionally, in the bustle of the street or work, people rush about and bump into me ... I usually see it coming, I could move; sometimes do, sometimes don't. When I don't, they just bounce off. If I don't see it coming, I get bounced ...

Dazzler
02-19-2017, 07:29 AM
....... the attainment and development of mind/body coordination relies less on anatomical manipulation than a whole body approach to finding a mind/body state that allows successful performance of specific exercises. Once that "correct feeling" is reached, the student is subjected to increasing levels of force in order to strengthen it. Given the above, a one-to-one correspondence between what you folks do and what we do isn't going to happen.
And the lack of dialogue with “Us folks”...is a shame, possibly inhibiting progress of what should be a common albeit diverse art form.......its somewhat surprising given statements from your students that there is more than one way up Monument Mt. But if its never going to happen...so be it. For what its worth I feel that in excluding “anatomical manipulation” you miss much richness that is becoming more accessible as time goes by. This is not a criticism...If you are happy with your current position or skill level and still feel you are progressing then good luck to you.

So I looked up kua and found this definition: "The kua is that ball joint inside, at the top of the thigh bone.", here. (https://internalartsia.wordpress.com/2006/07/20/function-and-usage-of-the-kua/) Assuming you are referring to teaching the student to use the rotation of this joint to generate power and act a a bridge between the upper and lower body (guiding the waist I think it was referred as) then here's a brief description of an exercise we do that might be analogous:
The exercise starts with nage standing in natural stance. Uke will then perform the most basic of push tests in our system, the push at the shoulder, just below the collar bone. Once nage has stabilized the incoming force, she will begin to "give way" to uke's push rotating her hips in a spiraling motion away from the force being applied. It's important to uke to keep applying pressure throughout and that nage keep her feet from moving. In this way, nage controls the movement, that is, she's not forced to move because she's being pushed, she's moving because she wants to.
.....
I'm interested to know how you teach kua rotation in your system.

Given that correspondence isn’t going to happen between us I continue more as a sharing of thoughts than a conversation....but thank you for making the effort to look up the Chinese terminology.
Here the trigger word is hips....rotate hips in a spiralling motion. This is NOT what Aiki/IP folks do. So statements claiming that the Aiki work is what has been done all along are incorrect.
For me to accept this has been a major decision...my background is through Pierre Chassang (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Chassang) who will remain the dominant figure and grandfather of my Aikido always. I can hear his accented encouragement of “Hips Hips” to this day.
But...in the interests of progress and adding a further dimension to my Aikido I’ve moved on. I know he will understand as he never expressed a view that his Aikido was the whole or that we should stop progressing.
So .....Kua rotation in my training has been taught as part of a whole system with steps to connect the body, steps to create a train a dantien or central core and steps to retrain the bodys response system to force. Not moving the bones but using “Intent” to work with internal connective facial tissues and at all times using opposing forces within ourselves to retain stability.
As a whole system we use this “anatomical manipulation” to create this powerful stable connected body....using stillness and push tests as a starter, but moving on to then use the same powerful connected body when in motion – going way beyond
Kua rotation is trained through, opening & closing, spiralling and a host of other “anatomical manipulation” exercises...all of which go way beyond moving the hip in terms of sophistication.
Well...I’m a beginner at this stuff – 5 years into working with internals people, so I’ve much to learn. But in regular Aikido i’ve 25 years experience much of it in a major uk city next to main railway station...which means lots of visitors and exposure to Aikidoka from around the world. I’ve travelled and been an avid course attender.....so while of course I’ve only met a fraction of the worlds Aikido population....I’d say I’d definitely be in top 10% if you looked at interaction with other Aikidoka across the global population.
My view....Aiki/IP training was the bit that was missing....those that think they have it already....maybe they have .....in which case lets just endorse the work regardless of who teaches it.
Infomercial over and out.

Cady Goldfield
02-19-2017, 07:59 AM
That sounds like what you see Gozo Shioda do in a lot of his randori demonstrations.

Ron

Yes, he was using the same basic mechanisms.

RonRagusa
02-19-2017, 09:42 AM
And the lack of dialogue with "Us folks"...is a shame, possibly inhibiting progress of what should be a common albeit diverse art form.......its somewhat surprising given statements from your students that there is more than one way up Monument Mt.

I'm not sure how you reached the lack of dialogue conclusion from what I posted. The lack of a one-to-one correspondence (as in matching elements in set theory) I referred to relates to specific training methodologies, not an ability to exchange ideas. I assume that your quoting of "Us folks..." indicates displeasure. Sorry if that usage offends, it's a common group reference in the States. No offense intended.

For what its worth I feel that in excluding "anatomical manipulation" you miss much richness that is becoming more accessible as time goes by. This is not a criticism...If you are happy with your current position or skill level and still feel you are progressing then good luck to you.

I understand that you have found a particular method that's allowing you to extend the reach of your Aikido and that's great. As for missing "richness that is becoming more accessible as time goes by", I don't feel that's the case since the system I was brought up in and continue to teach isn't static. The system is continually evolving as we practice and discover new depths to plumb. And for the record, I'm never satisfied with my current skill level, there's always more to learn. As long as my current path provides me with new opportunities for growth I'll stay with it.

Given that correspondence isn't going to happen between us I continue more as a sharing of thoughts than a conversation....

I see what happened now. You read "one-to-one correspondence" as in direct exchange between correspondents. Sorry for the mix-up, that's not at all what I meant. I was referring to the direct comparison of training exercises between two disparate systems.

Here the trigger word is hips....rotate hips in a spiralling motion. This is NOT what Aiki/IP folks do.

Within the context of the exercise I was describing for Chris, the hips do move. I get that that's not what Aiki/IP folks do. We are, after all, describing two different systems and trying to see how they might converge on a common goal.

So .....Kua rotation in my training has been taught as part of a whole system with steps to connect the body, steps to create a train a dantien or central core and steps to retrain the bodys response system to force. Not moving the bones but using "Intent" to work with internal connective facial tissues and at all times using opposing forces within ourselves to retain stability.

Analogously, we employ specific exercises, both solo and paired, to strengthen the center, learn to handle loads applied to the body by using intent to unify mind and body in order to attain our strongest most dependable state. This is all accomplished by identifying what we call the correct feeling associated with a coordinated mind/body.

My view....Aiki/IP training was the bit that was missing....those that think they have it already....maybe they have .....in which case lets just endorse the work regardless of who teaches it.

Seconded.

Ron

ChrisMoses
02-19-2017, 11:08 AM
Ron, first thanks for your post, I’m crazy busy this weekend (I filled in for our kids class teacher yesterday so I was at the dojo from 7AM until around 2PM and I’m heading out of town in about 45 minutes). I didn’t want to drop the thread and seem like a jerk before I left.

Daren did a good job describing briefly how the kua is trained, I can’t keep track of who trains with who these days (and I don’t really care other than being careful with how I define my terms), but it sounds really similar to what we’re doing. If you’re talking about what the hips are doing, you’re doing something else. This is REALLY hard for a lot of people to come to terms with because it’s all we’ve heard from our teachers forever. Power comes from the hips! Use the hips! Don’t lock up your hips! Try this exercise, stand in a good solid stance (like you guys would do for your push tests) and touch your hips with your fingertips. Now, honestly answer yourself, are you touching soft tissue or are you mostly touching bone? Go ahead, I’ll wait…

My bet is that you were touching bone, because when most people touch and propriocept their hips, they are actually thinking of their pelvis. So exactly how do we move “from” the hips if they’re a big rigid bowl of bone? That would be some voodoo that I haven’t seen or felt yet. So when I/we talk about the kua (and because of Dan we’ve expanded the concept of the kua to the shoulders as well although I get that the kua is in the hips/legs) it’s REALLY important. It’s basic. Having been a new person at this, and working with new people, it’s REALLY hard and you just can’t do any of the other *basics* without some competency controlling the kua’s rotation. I would say that discussing the kua (and shoulder ‘kua’) is probably 50-75% of what we talk about most classes right now. If you don’t even have a word for it, why does every conversation come back to, “we already do that/ we have always done that.” That’s not meant as a dig at you or your art, I really don’t care at all what you guys do. I’m incredibly self-centered in my training. :D But seriously, every time anyone tries to talk about internal mechanics and training methods, you (and Mary, and Eric, and some others) have to chime in with:
We don't have to re awaken because we have been doing it along. If you never leave the basics you don't have to come back to them.
How does that reconcile with:
Within the context of the exercise I was describing for Chris, the hips do move. I get that that's not what Aiki/IP folks do. We are, after all, describing two different systems and trying to see how they might converge on a common goal.

You can’t already be doing it, and have it be something different.

Again, hopefully this is constructive, and I really appreciated the time you took to write up a response to my question. I promise to write up more details as long as we can get away from the “we already do that!” to “that’s interesting… this is how we think about that idea and how we train it.” That’s an interesting space to be discussing things, but it’s just exhausting to have all the work you’ve done thrown back in your face every single time with “we already do that” when it’s just not the case.

I’m working on blog posts about whole body movement vs. whole body coordination so I’ll link once those go up since they relate to some of this.

OK, really have to go now…

Erick Mead
02-20-2017, 11:40 AM
...we've expanded the concept of the kua to the shoulders as well although I get that the kua is in the hips/legs) it's REALLY important. It's basic. Having been a new person at this, and working with new people, it's REALLY hard and you just can't do any of the other *basics* without some competency controlling the kua's rotation. I would say that discussing the kua (and shoulder ‘kua') is probably 50-75% of what we talk about most classes right now. If you don't even have a word for it, why does every conversation come back to, "we already do that/ we have always done that."
I for one have never been of that opinion. I am of the opinion that much has been transmitted that is of use toward these ends, AND that many if not most were using it poorly or improperly and getting results that you would expect for that reason. The kernel has always been there... the germination, sprouting, flowering and fruit -- not always so much. I also feel that the failure to relate what is going on in western terms was not an idle oversight in producing this lapse of substance. The performance of hollowed forms have merely allowed it to be overlooked.

Taking the aiki taiso: funakogi, tenkan, saya undo, zengo and happo undo, udefuri, shomenuchi undo, -- every one of these -- done properly -- is an exercise in opening and closing the kua and several work the "shoulder" kua as you phrase it , some call it the upper cross particularly when both are opening or closing together.

Tekubi furi is working something else altogether, of equal importance, dealing with reflexive arcs and priming the voluntary motor cortex to better prompt, send and respond to these structural sense organs. I find that this aspect is well preserved in Iwama's solo weapons work, actually. It is very important in sensing through weapons contact. It is integral to aiki-age and aiki-sage. This thing, (sonar proprioception is the most accurate term I have found), also lets one sense where the unbalanced stress (tech.= "moment") in the opponent's structure lies. It's not that your ears sense it, but the physical sense through the structure of the limbs is more like hearing the size of a dark room that than ordinary touch or pressure sense. Don't laugh. Hearing is done, literally, with jiggling bones. Kokyu tanden ho exercises train this, and one can know that the unbalanced point has moved from wrist to elbow to shoulder to the upper spine and then down to the tandem. Uke can validate this incrementally if you ask him.

You can't already be doing it, and have it be something different.

What may be different are the systems of understanding attacking the same set of problems. This is a feature, not a bug, especially in areas that are complex and difficult to capture in quantified terms. Variety of perspectives is added value even when you come to conclusion that one perspective is more productive on your aspect of the problem set; it may not be the only useful aspect of the problems. Let me introduce you to Chamberlin's method of multiple working hypotheses (http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/railsback_chamberlin.html):
The method of multiple working hypotheses involves the development, prior to our research, of several hypotheses that might explain the phenomenon we want to study. Many of these hypotheses will be contradictory, so that some, if not all, will prove to be false. However, the development of multiple hypotheses prior to the research lets us avoid the trap of the ruling hypothesis and thus makes it more likely that our research will lead to meaningful results. We open-mindedly envision all the possible explanations of the phenomenon to be studied, including the possibility that none of explanations are correct ("none of the above") and the possibility that some new explanation may emerge.

The method of multiple working hypotheses has several other beneficial effects on one's research. Careful study often shows that a phenomenon is the result of several causes, not just one, and the method of multiple working hypotheses obviously makes it more likely that we will see the interaction of the several causes. The method also promotes much greater thoroughness than research directed toward one hypothesis, leading to lines of inquiry that we might otherwise overlook, and thus to evidence and insights that single-minded research might never have encountered. Thirdly, the method makes us much more likely to see the imperfections in our knowledge and thus to avoid the pitfall of accepting weak or flawed evidence for one hypothesis when another provides a more elegant solution.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-20-2017, 03:27 PM
I am in Spain often in Gandía, maybe we can meet up and play?
regards
Alec
I live in a town 1000 km far away from Gandia.

Thanks for your anwsers regarding how do you evaluate how aiki training benefits your aikido,

jonreading
02-21-2017, 08:05 AM
Several items have come up in conversation...

Not all training is equal. I am aware that y'all have worked out with George Sensei, and Ikeda sensei and some other instructors who are starting to work with IP. They are all looking more closely at how they teach and how they can do a better job of teaching. And I am supportive of that. There are better an worse training methods. Think golf training is the same for all players on the tour? How about football? How about the other football? Why is education at Harvard better than education at Georgia Perimeter College? Math is just math, right? Of course it's not.

We have some critical questions in front of us:
1. What is internal power and how does it relate to aikido?
2. How are we incorporating internal power training in our aikido training?
3. How can we critically evaluate if the training is successful?
4. How can we create a feedback system for altering training methodology?

We first look critically at what is internal power. Part of what we are trying to say is that I think we don't know as much as we think we know about internal power or it's impact in our training. Sure, we've maybe heard words or concepts or been told to do something that is promised to be internal power (or aiki), but ultimately we are searching to understand the thing itself, not just be told what it is. This was the reasoning why I choose to point to a research project as my first topic in my post.

Second, we look at models of movement that contain internal power and how we implement them into our aikido. Chris talked a bit about kua rotation. Chinese terminology aside, this is pretty important in the IP world and indicative of a general lack of knowledge about how the pelvic ring, hips, and "rotation" are badly related in our aikido training. I spoke about Heaven-Earth-Man earlier and that is similarly both integral to internal power movement and also very badly miscommunicated in aikido instruction (that is, if it is even communicated beyond the concept of a metaphor). How do you move with Heaven-Earth-Man in your aikido? If a partner is required to experience your movement, then you can't because the model is not Heaven-Earth-Man-Man. In this sense, I am not trying to point a finger, or blame, or shame anyone about not possessing working knowledge about our aikido training and the flaws in it that do not transmit IP. More, it's about moving progressively towards the understanding that many people claim to know what's going on, right up until you touch them. Following that encounter, it's about the personal decision whether what you touched is worth pursuing.

Andy talked a little bit about some of the metrics we use to see if we are progressing. IP training has measurable results across several areas. I am glad to hear about exercises in training. I hope that each exercise has a clear purpose and that purpose s evaluated beyond the idea that, "that's a warm-up." One of the first things we learned was the genius beyond many of O Sensei's "warm-ups" that became "warm-ups" because the young students were bored and didn't appreciate the value of what O Sensei (or some of the early deshi) was showing. Why do we still call them warms ups? Why does someone pay money to use time in class to "warm-up"? Because O Sensei was not warming up - he was teaching aiki. How many instructors are critical of "warming up"? How many instructors let junior people lead class in "warm up"? We do not warm up. Solo exercises are the foundation of our training. What you call "warm-ups" are what we do for 70+% of our training time. Body-changing work that leads to better body movement that can be critically observed and measured.

Lastly, I think that we are all touching the budo elephant. The poor thing has been touched by so many of us... systems are hard to change. Cultural learning is hard to understand for non-native practitioners. Aikido is a giant telephone game spanning many years and largely based upon the preserving of what someone remembered. Internal power training is old - it is about bypassing a single point of documented performance (O Sensei) and looking at the material that O Sensei used to understand aiki in order to become the documented performance. How much learning starts with "my sensei said that his sensei felt O Sensei..." Why not just look at the texts, and materials O Sensei read and wrote and said? It sounds like a rant, but a sticking point in aikido is a strong reliance on what someone said and the system we have now. I understand that we all have some loyalty to aikido, our instructors, and our instructor's instructors. But, I think we need to also understand that most of us are not getting what we need from our instructors - they are on the same journey we are, just a little farther along. This is not to knock our instructors, to admit that they are frauds, or cast stones in any way. Rather, its maybe a chastising for us to remember that sensei is human, and not perfect, and doing the best she can.

Mark Raugas
02-21-2017, 12:13 PM
The first question is an important one and full of its own complexity:

Is there only one kind of internal power? What types of internal power can be cultivated?
Are they all equally relevant to what Ellis calls arms length grappling?
If you find internal power and integrate it with your practice, are you doing it in an optimal manner?
If you power your taijutsu with internal power from another source, is it still Aikido?

I used to practice a form of modern jujutsu that was a combination of Karate, Judo, and Aikido reworked with content from Kodokai seminars Yonezawa held in the 1970s. Unfortunately, my teacher in his naivite focused on hard bone crunching locks and not anything more subtle until much later in his career when he invited a qigong teacher to or dojo. I remember the qigong person, who had tremendous stability, say if we could learn to work with qi we would vastly improve. He was fine with the external nature of our locking and throwing, it was a bit beneath him but would be improved if we practiced neigong. It would have been a good thing if he had kept his class going there. I think we would all have benefited.

I wound up leaving that group later on and focused my time on Bagua, Xingyi, and Taiji. I now focus on them as separate arts taught in the same school, taught in a way that is compatible.

When I hit someone, is it Xingyi or Bagua?
When I throw someone, is it Xingyi or Bagua or Taiji?

Sometimes it is clear, sometimes it is less so.

I remember an admonition about how once you get kuzushi and hit someone, the result will depend on your body development. That development can happen in a variety of ways. It is your body.

The broader community is very lucky there are people willing to share their body methods (shen fa) with others, outside of a closed group (particular Aikido organization or ryu).

I wince a bit when I hear Daito ryu traditionalists talk about the propriety of Aiki, when Ueshiba and Takeda taught so many many people. Even though I am friends with one or two of them and think some of them are good martial artists, there are others, however, who put the name of their art and lineage as something to distract from their own level of skill.

I think all of this falls back on what each individual can actually do. This is why inter group sparring and pushing can be very useful. Is that Aikido?

For me, when I do something that looks like ikkyo, is it Aikido, Xingyi, or kodachi from Jikishinkage ryu performed without a weapon in my hand? If Takeda studied Jikishinkage ryu for a while, is that closer than Bagua, which he likely never encountered?

Does it matter, if someone cannot stop me?

I guess a question to add to your list is whether given the benefits of internal power and stability to taijutsu, is important to seek Ueshiba's specific methodologies or alternatives?

Is it important to be able to do what he did how he did it or just be able to do what he did?

Can this be done by most people in the context of Aikido or is understanding Daito-ryu necessary?

If you practice other approaches and they influence your Aikido, is that acceptable?

At what point are you no longer doing Aikido?

I am writing this as someone who did what is probably fairly low-level Aikido for a time and then did internal martial arts for some time. I don't think I do Aikido any longer. If I do something that looks like irimi nage, is it just Bagua or is it good Aikido now that I know internal ideas, or is it bad Aikido because the form doesn't look quite right?

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts and though I would contribute some random thoughts.

Mark Raugas
innerdharma.org

Alec Corper
02-21-2017, 12:42 PM
::)
For me, when I do something that looks like ikkyo, is it Aikido, Xingyi, or kodachi from Jikishinkage ryu performed without a weapon in my hand? If Takeda studied Jikishinkage ryu for a while, is that closer than Bagua, which he likely never encountered?

Does it matter, if someone cannot stop me? To me not at all

I guess a question to add to your list is whether given the benefits of internal power and stability to taijutsu, is important to seek Ueshiba's specific methodologies or alternatives?

Is it important to be able to do what he did how he did it or just be able to do what he did? Do what he did

Can this be done by most people in the context of Aikido or is understanding Daito-ryu necessary? No and no

If you practice other approaches and they influence your Aikido, is that acceptable? Why not, that's what Ueshiba did.

At what point are you no longer doing Aikido? What is Aikido?

I am writing this as someone who did what is probably fairly low-level Aikido for a time and then did internal martial arts for some time. I don't think I do Aikido any longer. If I do something that looks like irimi nage, is it just Bagua or is it good Aikido now that I know internal ideas, or is it bad Aikido because the form doesn't look quite right? Depends on above

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts and though I would contribute some random thoughts.

Mark Raugas
innerdharma.org

Thanks Mark, I share your feelings and the longer I practice aikido the more it embraces everything on the martial arts continuum, the more shared principles of body training and application, the less differences I see. This is not to say that all arts are equal but that they share deep common roots, however lost or occluded by poor transmission or simply time. Since I am only a hobbyist, and not a zealot, neither saint nor soldier, one step at a time is all I hope for.

GovernorSilver
02-21-2017, 01:12 PM
Several items have come up in conversation...

Not all training is equal. I am aware that y'all have worked out with George Sensei, and Ikeda sensei and some other instructors who are starting to work with IP. They are all looking more closely at how they teach and how they can do a better job of teaching.

I just attended a seminar with those two specific gentlemen. I hope they will indeed continue refining the teaching approach.

Ikeda-sensei by the last day of the 3-day seminar was frustrated that attendees who had trained with him in past years were still not able to replicate his skills, or at least come closer. He started to rant "This is not the circus! I am not an entertainer to show magic tricks! This is martial arts!".

It's easy to blame the students but I think everyone could have benefited from, at the very least, a quick review of whatever solo exercises he taught to develop this stuff, instead of just assuming that everyone had been practicing the solo exercises for 1 or 2 years continuously already.

To be fair, as a first time attendee of an Ikeda-sensei seminar, I thought it was worth every minute and every penny I spent. I learned a lot more than I expected as a lowly white belt. Ikeda-sensei was really focused on getting people to use intent-driven force vectors ("lines") to subtly unbalance a moderately resisting (fully resisting would be sparring) uke. Ledyard-sensei did a great job of teaching along the theme set by Ikeda-sensei for the day. Some people didn't quite get it, wanting me to do a full waza or whatever, when the real focus was on the kuzushi but that's normal for a packed seminar.

In short, I learned a lot. Hopefully the sensei took this as a learning experience as well.

Erick Mead
02-21-2017, 05:17 PM
Aikido is a giant telephone game spanning many years and largely based upon the preserving of what someone remembered.
Telephone game. heh. :p This will date me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOg7IiUnZ5Q):
Lastly, I think that we are all touching the budo elephant. The poor thing has been touched by so many of us... . The budo elephant must be among the most egregiously molested beasts in the history of metaphor .... :D

http://i65.tinypic.com/30arzb8.jpg

Jeremy Hulley
02-21-2017, 08:45 PM
To my knowledge Ikeda Sensei has never taught any solo training.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-22-2017, 06:31 AM
and large increases in stability tested by push-testing and more dynamic situations (e.g., judo, push-hands, grappling).
I see your club shares space with a Judo club. Do you play full randori with them?

jonreading
02-22-2017, 12:05 PM
It's interesting how much larger the conversation can grow when you start to see how aiki interacts with the other internal arts. There is a feeling of freedom when you don't have to defend a system, but can simply look at the movement and the training. It also allows you to step away from a system and look at things from a high-level viewpoint.

For me, I think we are pursuing the roots of what influenced O Sensei. If we can build an aiki body, then we can next look at how that aiki body influences movement. Once we get there, we can critically evaluate our aikido movement and address inconsistencies in movement with my IP training. I enjoy the similarities in movement with the other arts because that allows me to leverage what they are doing in my own training - and there are different ways of training.

Non-sequitur - I am not aware of Ikeda sensei teaching solo exercises, but I agree that he has identified a gap in what he is trying to show and the ability of his students to understand what he is doing. There are several of his guys on Aikiweb and they may better know what sensei is doing in CO.

GovernorSilver
02-22-2017, 01:33 PM
I heard that Ikeda-sensei taught solo training in the past.

One exercise that was described to me sounded like a sitting version of the popular standing pole exercise.

This looks like another - unfortunately, in this clip he does not mention that he is actually reverse-breathing on the inhale - hopefully it was mentioned at some point in time before or after this clip. When you hold out your arms like that and pull in your tummy on the inhale, you can feel the pull on your arms, through the muscle-tendon channels that run through your shoulders:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hB-knlRDZ8

I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).

That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.

Jeremy Hulley
02-22-2017, 02:58 PM
I heard that Ikeda-sensei taught solo training in the past.

One exercise that was described to me sounded like a sitting version of the popular standing pole exercise.

This looks like another - unfortunately, in this clip he does not mention that he is actually reverse-breathing on the inhale - hopefully it was mentioned at some point in time before or after this clip. When you hold out your arms like that and pull in your tummy on the inhale, you can feel the pull on your arms, through the muscle-tendon channels that run through your shoulders:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hB-knlRDZ8

I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).

That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.

That's great to hear, thanks, I have not seen him much in the past decade or so. I'm glad to hear that he may be incorporating some solo training.
I do remember him talking about "rotating insides" but no real instruction or training on how to even being trying to do it.

I really like Ikeda and what he's tried and trying to do.

Carsten Möllering
02-23-2017, 06:54 AM
To my knowledge Ikeda Sensei has never taught any solo training.I only practiced with Ikeda sensei one time. That was was about six years ago.
When I told him that it would take some time untill I would be able to attend one of his seminars again and asked him how I could learn and practice the stuff he covered during the Seminar inbetween, he gave me three solo exercises that would start this development. It was about moving and rotating dantian.

I hadn't met Dan Harden then, so these exercises of Ikeda sensei where the first solo exercises I ever practiced to develop IS.

Erick Mead
02-23-2017, 08:43 AM
Mark Raugas
innerdharma.org
Apropos of nothing in particular to your questions, but your website...

"In Nerd Harm A" .org
Is this the first in series of seminars ?
Is it advancing ideas of harm toward nerds, or perhaps promoting nerdish responses to threats of harm?

Thanks

:D ;)

Erick Mead
02-23-2017, 10:49 AM
I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).

That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body. There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.

The problem comes, in my opinion, in the absorption and use of loose concepts in our vocabulary. This leads to slightly misdirected ideas about the necessities of training, but these slight errors in the beginning become larger as we try to extend them in principle. This criticism is not merely the native Asian terms and concepts as adapted into Western use. It is a problem even in western technical terms when they are "popularized".

There is this study recently (http://bio.biologists.org/content/biolopen/6/2/269.full.pdf?with-ds=yes) that I recommend as a jumping off point in looking at the roots (quite literally) of our structural uses of bodily force against others. However, the reporting on it has some key lapses in what they report -- which illustrates this point.

This article (http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/02/15/Humans-heel-down-posture-provides-fighting-advantage/1211487180676/), reports the findings, generally. But it critically simplifies a point about connection to the earth allowing greater expression of "force." This simplification is a key point for misunderstanding the nature of connection we are interested in: This article (https://phys.org/news/2017-02-heel-down-posture-great-apes-humans.html) and the study more specifically shows that it is the torque against the ground that allows the application of greater force against the target.

Why does this oversight matter ? Force dissipates with distance, but applied torque, for the same input force INCREASES as the length of the moment arm lengthens (lever principle). Aiki does not, however, use the lever principle, though jujutsu certainly does. The reason the lever works is because torque is a field, a stress existing throughout any structure to which is its applied. If you lay out a sheet on the floor, stand in the middle and twist your weighted foot, the spiral field of stress manifests in the pattern by which it is structurally relieved-- ridges of the sheet rise to relieve the resulting hoop stress (circular compression) at right angles to the radial tension that makes the whole sheet contract toward the center. These both happen everywhere throughout the extent of its whole structure.

Leverage is a simplified form of torque. Leverage is applied in only one plane of action. But any discontinuity (such as a loaded fulcrum) concentrates the internal torque stress field. It concentrates at that discontinuity, or cusp. In other words, on one side the lever falls under load and on the other side the lever rises bearing load. Equal and opposite, positive and negative on either side of the cusp of the fulcrum. At the cusp, though, the internal stress is not "zero," but in fact at its maximum.

In bodily torsion, however, the torque field extends in 3 dimensions. As with the sheet, there are two different simultaneous stress fields present -- one in tension and one in compression at every part of the structure being torqued, and at right angles to each other. But in 3 dimensions they are spirals at right angles to one another. Neither can directly cancel the stress/action of the other -- but --- action on one spiral creates action on the other, and each can be used to compensate or dissipate the other.

When you speak of kua, you are speaking of an applied torsion, torquing one way to "close" (crease the groin) and the other way to "open" (uncrease the groin). The shoulders "creasing" or "uncreasing" similarly propagate the same torsional power though the arms. Of course, when a torque is applied internally to my body, and I connect to another body, the other body also participates in my torsional stress field (and I in his, if he has one, unless I am careful).

If I engage him initially "opening," and then "close," his body is initially "set" in the mode for bearing the load of my "opening" torsion. As my now "closing" torsion propagates into his inverse-primed structure, it undergoes a "cusp" reversal of his internal stress. In other words, internally speaking, his stresses do not go from positive though zero to negative -- but convert from positive to negative at the same absolute magnitude.

His body "set" is now not only doing MORE of what my stress reversal has begun, but the "cusp" transition is a rising barrier to any simplistic reversal of this situation. If my action is progressively entering, the cusp for him to get over gets higher and higher as the radius of my applied stress action decreases. Resistance becomes progressively impossible. To get back to any posture useful for resistance he has to basically collapse his structure first, which simply gives my action free rein in kuzushi.

If his action is crushing me down (compression -- as in most striking), it is nonetheless involved in a torque against the ground as the study indicates. I can relieve that stress by stretching my own coordinate tension spiral at right angles (vice resisting by pushing back more from the ground which merely increases my compressive stress). This is displayed in the asagao dissipation of pushing/striking -- which is the reverse action of the above: instead of going from "opening" to "closing" it goes from "closing" to "opening." Aiki-otoshi also uses the latter mode.

Tenchi uses BOTH simultaneously -- one side opening, the other side closing. These two spiral modes, extension/contraction, are shown in the A-Un statuary postures (ten-chi), and which are notable symbols of these principles in the history of these methods.

In both of these modes one can engage strikes in a "scissoring" or "shearing blades" connection to an oncoming strike. The action of the strike creates its own inverting stress disruption when my mirror connection joins in a progressive shear with the partner's limb, and shortly his body.

jonreading
02-23-2017, 11:57 AM
There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.

The problem comes, in my opinion, in the absorption and use of loose concepts in our vocabulary. This leads to slightly misdirected ideas about the necessities of training, but these slight errors in the beginning become larger as we try to extend them in principle. This criticism is not merely the native Asian terms and concepts as adapted into Western use. It is a problem even in western technical terms when they are "popularized".

There is this study recently (http://bio.biologists.org/content/biolopen/6/2/269.full.pdf?with-ds=yes) that I recommend as a jumping off point in looking at the roots (quite literally) of our structural uses of bodily force against others. However, the reporting on it has some key lapses in what they report -- which illustrates this point.

This article (http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/02/15/Humans-heel-down-posture-provides-fighting-advantage/1211487180676/), reports the findings, generally. But it critically simplifies a point about connection to the earth allowing greater expression of "force." This simplification is a key point for misunderstanding the nature of connection we are interested in: This article (https://phys.org/news/2017-02-heel-down-posture-great-apes-humans.html) and the study more specifically shows that it is the torque against the ground that allows the application of greater force against the target.

Why does this oversight matter ? Force dissipates with distance, but applied torque, for the same input force INCREASES as the length of the moment arm lengthens (lever principle). Aiki does not, however, use the lever principle, though jujutsu certainly does. The reason the lever works is because torque is a field, a stress existing throughout any structure to which is its applied. If you lay out a sheet on the floor, stand in the middle and twist your weighted foot, the spiral field of stress manifests in the pattern by which it is structurally relieved-- ridges of the sheet rise to relieve the resulting hoop stress (circular compression) at right angles to the radial tension that makes the whole sheet contract toward the center. These both happen everywhere throughout the extent of its whole structure.

Leverage is a simplified form of torque. Leverage is applied in only one plane of action. But any discontinuity (such as a loaded fulcrum) concentrates the internal torque stress field. It concentrates at that discontinuity, or cusp. In other words, on one side the lever falls under load and on the other side the lever rises bearing load. Equal and opposite, positive and negative on either side of the cusp of the fulcrum. At the cusp, though, the internal stress is not "zero," but in fact at its maximum.

In bodily torsion, however, the torque field extends in 3 dimensions. As with the sheet, there are two different simultaneous stress fields present -- one in tension and one in compression at every part of the structure being torqued, and at right angles to each other. But in 3 dimensions they are spirals at right angles to one another. Neither can directly cancel the stress/action of the other -- but --- action on one spiral creates action on the other, and each can be used to compensate or dissipate the other.

When you speak of kua, you are speaking of an applied torsion, torquing one way to "close" (crease the groin) and the other way to "open" (uncrease the groin). The shoulders "creasing" or "uncreasing" similarly propagate the same torsional power though the arms. Of course, when a torque is applied internally to my body, and I connect to another body, the other body also participates in my torsional stress field (and I in his, if he has one, unless I am careful).

If I engage him initially "opening," and then "close," his body is initially "set" in the mode for bearing the load of my "opening" torsion. As my now "closing" torsion propagates into his inverse-primed structure, it undergoes a "cusp" reversal of his internal stress. In other words, internally speaking, his stresses do not go from positive though zero to negative -- but convert from positive to negative at the same absolute magnitude.

His body "set" is now not only doing MORE of what my stress reversal has begun, but the "cusp" transition is a rising barrier to any simplistic reversal of this situation. If my action is progressively entering, the cusp for him to get over gets higher and higher as the radius of my applied stress action decreases. Resistance becomes progressively impossible. To get back to any posture useful for resistance he has to basically collapse his structure first, which simply gives my action free rein in kuzushi.

If his action is crushing me down (compression -- as in most striking), it is nonetheless involved in a torque against the ground as the study indicates. I can relieve that stress by stretching my own coordinate tension spiral at right angles (vice resisting by pushing back more from the ground which merely increases my compressive stress). This is displayed in the asagao dissipation of pushing/striking -- which is the reverse action of the above: instead of going from "opening" to "closing" it goes from "closing" to "opening." Aiki-otoshi also uses the latter mode.

Tenchi uses BOTH simultaneously -- one side opening, the other side closing. These two spiral modes, extension/contraction, are shown in the A-Un statuary postures (ten-chi), and which are notable symbols of these principles in the history of these methods.

In both of these modes one can engage strikes in a "scissoring" or "shearing blades" connection to an oncoming strike. The action of the strike creates its own inverting stress disruption when my mirror connection joins in a progressive shear with the partner's limb, and shortly his body.

Them's a lot of fancy words.

First, we don't worry about "grounding" - our orientation is more "movement in space." Heaven and Earth are more about opposing forces than the physical Earth; while we maybe can push on the Earth, it's pretty hard to push on Heaven. From my experience, grounding is used to describe a variety of actions, ranging from physically bracing against the ground to a metaphor describing a pelvic orientation to channel force. That's not to say the word has no value, but I think it's important to who's using it and wht she means when she uses it. The sensation I have when I push against someone with internal power is better described as immovable - trying to push a pyramid across a sticky floor, all the while never being able to settle into the push. I know a lot of people who talk about grounding and they are actually describing a structural orientation that depends on the ground. This causes problems once you don't have the ground (like groundwork) or need to move (because you have to disassemble the structure, then rebuild it). If I were to place a 160-pound stone pyramid on a yoga mat and ask you to push it, you could at least imagine part of the situation...

Second, we have several solo exercises that apply force into an object, usually a wall or a partner. It does recall pictures of Aiki people hitting trees, though... Using a force path to create the connections in the body - feeling the chains of interaction as the force goes through the body - is one way of learning the body connection pathways and training them. The exercises is not necessarily to "push" anything, but rather to feel the force.

jonreading
02-23-2017, 12:03 PM
There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.

The problem comes, in my opinion, in the absorption and use of loose concepts in our vocabulary. This leads to slightly misdirected ideas about the necessities of training, but these slight errors in the beginning become larger as we try to extend them in principle. This criticism is not merely the native Asian terms and concepts as adapted into Western use. It is a problem even in western technical terms when they are "popularized".

There is this study recently (http://bio.biologists.org/content/biolopen/6/2/269.full.pdf?with-ds=yes) that I recommend as a jumping off point in looking at the roots (quite literally) of our structural uses of bodily force against others. However, the reporting on it has some key lapses in what they report -- which illustrates this point.

This article (http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/02/15/Humans-heel-down-posture-provides-fighting-advantage/1211487180676/), reports the findings, generally. But it critically simplifies a point about connection to the earth allowing greater expression of "force." This simplification is a key point for misunderstanding the nature of connection we are interested in: This article (https://phys.org/news/2017-02-heel-down-posture-great-apes-humans.html) and the study more specifically shows that it is the torque against the ground that allows the application of greater force against the target.

Why does this oversight matter ? Force dissipates with distance, but applied torque, for the same input force INCREASES as the length of the moment arm lengthens (lever principle). Aiki does not, however, use the lever principle, though jujutsu certainly does. The reason the lever works is because torque is a field, a stress existing throughout any structure to which is its applied. If you lay out a sheet on the floor, stand in the middle and twist your weighted foot, the spiral field of stress manifests in the pattern by which it is structurally relieved-- ridges of the sheet rise to relieve the resulting hoop stress (circular compression) at right angles to the radial tension that makes the whole sheet contract toward the center. These both happen everywhere throughout the extent of its whole structure.

Leverage is a simplified form of torque. Leverage is applied in only one plane of action. But any discontinuity (such as a loaded fulcrum) concentrates the internal torque stress field. It concentrates at that discontinuity, or cusp. In other words, on one side the lever falls under load and on the other side the lever rises bearing load. Equal and opposite, positive and negative on either side of the cusp of the fulcrum. At the cusp, though, the internal stress is not "zero," but in fact at its maximum.

In bodily torsion, however, the torque field extends in 3 dimensions. As with the sheet, there are two different simultaneous stress fields present -- one in tension and one in compression at every part of the structure being torqued, and at right angles to each other. But in 3 dimensions they are spirals at right angles to one another. Neither can directly cancel the stress/action of the other -- but --- action on one spiral creates action on the other, and each can be used to compensate or dissipate the other.

When you speak of kua, you are speaking of an applied torsion, torquing one way to "close" (crease the groin) and the other way to "open" (uncrease the groin). The shoulders "creasing" or "uncreasing" similarly propagate the same torsional power though the arms. Of course, when a torque is applied internally to my body, and I connect to another body, the other body also participates in my torsional stress field (and I in his, if he has one, unless I am careful).

If I engage him initially "opening," and then "close," his body is initially "set" in the mode for bearing the load of my "opening" torsion. As my now "closing" torsion propagates into his inverse-primed structure, it undergoes a "cusp" reversal of his internal stress. In other words, internally speaking, his stresses do not go from positive though zero to negative -- but convert from positive to negative at the same absolute magnitude.

His body "set" is now not only doing MORE of what my stress reversal has begun, but the "cusp" transition is a rising barrier to any simplistic reversal of this situation. If my action is progressively entering, the cusp for him to get over gets higher and higher as the radius of my applied stress action decreases. Resistance becomes progressively impossible. To get back to any posture useful for resistance he has to basically collapse his structure first, which simply gives my action free rein in kuzushi.

If his action is crushing me down (compression -- as in most striking), it is nonetheless involved in a torque against the ground as the study indicates. I can relieve that stress by stretching my own coordinate tension spiral at right angles (vice resisting by pushing back more from the ground which merely increases my compressive stress). This is displayed in the asagao dissipation of pushing/striking -- which is the reverse action of the above: instead of going from "opening" to "closing" it goes from "closing" to "opening." Aiki-otoshi also uses the latter mode.

Tenchi uses BOTH simultaneously -- one side opening, the other side closing. These two spiral modes, extension/contraction, are shown in the A-Un statuary postures (ten-chi), and which are notable symbols of these principles in the history of these methods.

In both of these modes one can engage strikes in a "scissoring" or "shearing blades" connection to an oncoming strike. The action of the strike creates its own inverting stress disruption when my mirror connection joins in a progressive shear with the partner's limb, and shortly his body.

Them's a lot of fancy words.

First, we don't worry about "grounding" - our orientation is more "movement in space." Heaven and Earth are more about opposing forces than the physical Earth; while we maybe can push on the Earth, it's pretty hard to push on Heaven. From my experience, grounding is used to describe a variety of actions, ranging from physically bracing against the ground to a metaphor describing a pelvic orientation to channel force. That's not to say the word has no value, but I think it's important to who's using it and what she means when she uses it. The sensation I have when I push against someone with internal power is better described as immovable - trying to push a pyramid across a sticky floor, all the while never being able to settle into the push. I know a lot of people who talk about grounding and they are actually describing a structural orientation that depends on the ground. This causes problems once you don't have the ground (like groundwork) or need to move (because you have to disassemble the structure, then rebuild it). If I were to place a 160-pound stone pyramid on a yoga mat and ask you to push it, you could at least imagine part of the situation...

Second, we have several solo exercises that apply force into an object, usually a wall or a partner. It does recall pictures of Aiki people hitting trees, though... Using a force path to create the connections in the body - feeling the chains of interaction as the force goes through the body - is one way of learning the body connection pathways and training them. The exercises is not necessarily to "push" anything, but rather to feel the force.

GovernorSilver
02-23-2017, 12:38 PM
There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.


I don't really see a debate, but discussions about this type of stuff does tend to be most productive when all involved are using an agreed-upon terminology, and have already worked with each other in person; or have worked with at least one person in common. My introduction to, uh, "internal whatever" was at a Mike Sigman workshop. Years later, I got a nice refresher from Budd Yuhasz. They use enough terminology in common that I can ask them stuff over email/social media and they're likely to understand what I'm talking about. I have not received any instruction from Dan Harden and so am less familiar with his terminology. Ledyard-sensei is the only person I met who is familiar with how Dan does things.

Can you help me out and state to which paragraph your response was directed?
This one?


I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).


Or this one?


That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.


I don't want to write a long post, only to be informed later I was addressing the wrong issue(s).

GovernorSilver
02-23-2017, 01:47 PM
Since I mentioned Ledyard-sensei, well, he was pretty cool about being addressed as "George" too; I might as well describe the little lunchtime show-and-tell he gave me.

We were chatting about various things related to the seminar weekend, then at some point the conversation turned to the uke-nage connection when uke takes hold of nage's wrist. So he offered to show me what he thought should be a good uke-connection. He took hold of my wrist and said "Feel that coming up your arm?" I said "Holy shit!" Whatever he sent up my arm did not feel like electricity or heat. Then George would periodically ask "Ok, where am I now?", and I would tell him wherever I felt he was - the near shoulder, the far shoulder, the near hip, etc. Basically, George's idea of a good uke connection on a wrist grab is a clean path to the nage's center via the point of contact.

Next, George invited me to do the same to him. Well, first he had to fix my grip on his wrist. The palm heel needs to be in solid contact with his arm. Then he stated the usual admonition to relax the arm and the shoulder. Then he said, "Ok, go for my center". So I set up the Ground/Up force from my back foot to the hand holding his wrist, then imagined it continuing towards his center. He said "You're stuck at my shoulder." Apparently without realizing it I lost a "connection" within my own body - I let my shoulder - or was it my elbow? - whatever, something slip out of alignment. He helped me fix it, then I got a little closer but stuck in his chest or whatever - again, more coaching/fixing... finally he said "Good! You've reached my center! Now try my far shoulder..."

So the rest of the show-and-tell went like that, with George encouraging me to connect to various places and coaching me along. I've since tried to connect like that in regular Aikido class, but as Ikeda-sensei says "Connect yourself, partner goes!" - before I can to fun stuff to a partner like that, I need more work to connect myself. Then after that I probably need George again, or another comparatively skilled individual, for another literal hand-holding session. :p

Erick Mead
02-23-2017, 01:53 PM
I don't really see a debate, but discussions about this type of stuff does tend to be most productive when all involved are using an agreed-upon terminology, and have already worked with each other in person; or have worked with at least one person in common. My introduction to, uh, "internal whatever" was at a Mike Sigman workshop. Years later, I got a nice refresher from Budd Yuhasz. They use enough terminology in common that I can ask them stuff over email/social media and they're likely to understand what I'm talking about.

Can you help me out and state to which paragraph your response was directed?
This one?

I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).

Or this one?
That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.

Both, actually. And FWIW, it was Ikeda's approach and observing his personal performance that sarted me down this road to deconstruct what that entailed ... lo, these many years ago.

On the first point, the type of isometrics he is talking about "sending" into the wall, is using that applied torque against the ground, (as the study describes) just as one would in a strike. But in this mode he is setting up the integrated structure of internal torque to deliver the atemi, but without the dynamic components. If done to a person, and then released dynamically, this results in the proverbial 'no-inch' punch.

IMO,there are reflexive elements involved in that particular demonstration that can frustrate efforts to do it with fully voluntary motor action. More, one enhances the body's reflexive arcs with this whole- body structural integration (see this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jendrassik_maneuver), a common medical use of this principle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-dD0N53QRg) ), When you find the way to trigger it (which IME is found in furitama and tekubi furi, FWIW) you can "surf" the dynamic result with voluntary motor action that keys to its critical "shape," as the breaking of a wave has a critical shape. The scare quotes signal my idiosyncratic descriptions.
Waza are properly sketches of the resulting dynamic "shapes" in question.

On the second point, the channels I take no issue with, and what is described in terms of force vectors I see in terms of stress fields from the ground-sourced torques one learns to hold in the integrated body. BUT their naturally conservative form is in almost continual oscillation as in the in-yo nature of walking (bagua), and static balance sway (zhan zhuang), alternately weighted and unweighted, torquing and untorquing at the same time. Training methods for this lie in existing aiki taiso: funetori, udefuri, saya undo, zengo undo, etc. As noted regarding cusp transitions in the previous post - if find how to tap into this oscillating body-integrating torque stress field, it does not go to zero, and if it does, the whole-body cohesion is lost.

Apart from my figurative "surfing" metaphors as to the relevance of waza when the critical things have already happened, I strive to keep terminology to neutral and valid anatomy and mechanics, as this vocabulary is available to and verifiable by anyone.

As to training methodologies, the traditional aiki taiso are demonstrably valid for working on these mechanisms -- again, IF, and ONLY IF done right.

Not done right, they are basically a cargo cult in terms of achieving their desired result -- hence IMO, the very understandable though I think fundamentally misplaced antipathy to some of the traditional training. There is a baby in that there bathwater.

Erick Mead
02-23-2017, 02:15 PM
We were chatting about various things related to the seminar weekend, then at some point the conversation turned to the uke-nage connection when uke takes hold of nage's wrist. So he offered to show me what he thought should be a good uke-connection. He took hold of my wrist and said "Feel that coming up your arm?" I said "Holy shit!" Whatever he sent up my arm did not feel like electricity or heat. Then George would periodically ask "Ok, where am I now?", and I would tell him wherever I felt he was - the near shoulder, the far shoulder, the near hip, etc. Basically, George's idea of a good uke connection on a wrist grab is a clean path to the nage's center via the point of contact. This has been the basic thrust of our kokyu tanden ho exercises for many years, drawn from Hooker Sensei. Once you get it -- YOU can feel how far you are in, and tell your partner as you do it... Furitama (and tekubi furi) has a part to play in the "that" coming up your arm, though more subtle. Hooker was emphatic on furitama, at least with us, but leaving any explanations as an exercise for the class. Laying hands on him was like trying to move a human-sized medicine ball -- soft and pliable and yet unyielding to the core -- all at the same time. :hypno:

As to variant training methods -- I will point out that Hooker was personally devoted to sanchin no kata training. Very much of what I observe above is present in sanchin and highly applicable to aiki, so I would not hesitate to recommend it, though he did not teach it, as such.

Jeremy Hulley
02-23-2017, 02:18 PM
Taking the aiki taiso: funakogi, tenkan, saya undo, zengo and happo undo, udefuri, shomenuchi undo, -- every one of these -- done properly -- is an exercise in opening and closing the kua and several work the "shoulder" kua as you phrase it , some call it the upper cross particularly when both are opening or closing together.[/URL]:

In ten years of aikido training I was never told once explicitly about opening kua, how to lift the arms, or explicit direction on use of intent. I.m willing to admit I might have missed it but I'm pretty sure it was not there.

GovernorSilver
02-23-2017, 03:23 PM
Both, actually. And FWIW, it was Ikeda's approach and observing his personal performance that sarted me down this road to deconstruct what that entailed ... lo, these many years ago.

On the first point, the type of isometrics he is talking about "sending" into the wall, is using that applied torque against the ground, (as the study describes) just as one would in a strike. But in this mode he is setting up the integrated structure of internal torque to deliver the atemi, but without the dynamic components. If done to a person, and then released dynamically, this results in the proverbial 'no-inch' punch.


"Sending" was the term used by the ASU aikidoka I talked to after the seminar. They of course were also in attendance.

Oh they did mention a partner exercise that was taught by Ikeda years ago - both partners hold a jo and, um, "send" to each other.

Mike and Budd use 6H terminology to describe stuff. 6H theory would say Ikeda created Up/Ground Jin to the object and practiced sending intent beyond the point of contact. I refrained from using that because I am not that familiar with the language of the Internal Power/Harden community, other than "aiki". I guess "torque" is used by IP folks?

I learned to make Up jin by basic pushing - partner pushing on me. I then pushed on partner so he could also learn how to do it. All under the supervision of Mike/Budd. I have noticed a good number of aikidoka can do Up jin as well, especially those in a lineage that can be traced to Tohei-sensei - either via Ki Society or via Aikikai when he was the chief instructor.

Down jin is less intuitive. I believe Harden calls this Earth. Took me a while to get how to use it, even in one of the most obvious possible scenarios: the single-leg takedown. The partner is in takedown position, attempting to lift my leg. All I have to do is put Down jin on him and he can't lift the leg. Part of the problem was I was overthinking it, expecting some kind of physical action to happen inside my body. Nope - it's intent-driven.

Thanks for the links you posted. I'll check them out. I don't think the info would have helped the poor souls who were unable to process Ikeda's stuff in 3 days but I'm not an experienced teacher.


As to training methodologies, the traditional aiki taiso are demonstrably valid for working on these mechanisms -- again, IF, and ONLY IF done right.

Yes, this has been explained to me by Budd and Mike. It's hard to do them right on my own, so I rely on other training methods (zhan zhuang, reverse breathing, reverse breathing w/ dantian and muscle tendon connections, silk reeling, etc.) at home - well, to train 6H skills, which may or may not be related to IP, other than the common reference to Up and Down. So far I have found zhan zhuang is more productive when practiced with focus on Up and Down.

GovernorSilver
02-23-2017, 03:27 PM
This has been the basic thrust of our kokyu tanden ho exercises for many years, drawn from Hooker Sensei. Once you get it -- YOU can feel how far you are in, and tell your partner as you do it... Furitama (and tekubi furi) has a part to play in the "that" coming up your arm, though more subtle. Hooker was emphatic on furitama, at least with us, but leaving any explanations as an exercise for the class. Laying hands on him was like trying to move a human-sized medicine ball -- soft and pliable and yet unyielding to the core -- all at the same time. :hypno:

As to variant training methods -- I will point out that Hooker was personally devoted to sanchin no kata training. Very much of what I observe above is present in sanchin and highly applicable to aiki, so I would not hesitate to recommend it, though he did not teach it, as such.

Interesting. Ledyard-sensei credits Harden, Howard Popkin, and his own sempai/sensei (Ikeda and Saotome) for what he can do.

Have you trained with him? I see you are both based in the Pacific NW.

Mark Raugas
02-23-2017, 04:35 PM
Apropos of nothing in particular to your questions, but your website...

"In Nerd Harm A" .org
Is this the first in series of seminars ?
Is it advancing ideas of harm toward nerds, or perhaps promoting nerdish responses to threats of harm?

Thanks

:D ;)

Inner Dharma. LOL.
The domain name aikiinyoho.org should resolve the same site.
Happy for substantive responses to my post as well as puns.

jonreading
02-24-2017, 09:43 AM
In ten years of aikido training I was never told once explicitly about opening kua, how to lift the arms, or explicit direction on use of intent. I.m willing to admit I might have missed it but I'm pretty sure it was not there.

I agree. The thought of raising a sword in front of people who really focus on shoulder work is rather daunting. That said, I can't count the number of times I was told I wasn't correctly raising the sword... without really any clarification on how to correctly raise the sword. I think the idea of proper shoulder movement is not explicitly taught in aikido, and if you are lucky enough to think you got what you needed, then good on you. I didn't and many people who I have worked with didn't.

I'd also venture a couple of comments... none of this stuff belongs to anyone. Aiki is old and no one has invented anything that hasn't already been done. While there may be contemporary individuals who express opinions, don't confuse that with your own education or the material itself. Some ideas have better supporting documentation and research.

We'll talk about torsion in the long bones like a spool winding muscle chains around the bone. Chain the body together and rotation can be affected by a long chain of tissue. Up and down are critical components to creating rotation for us. Dueling opposing spirals, technically. As a painful analogy, ever go water skiing? Remember that feeling you get as the boat accelerates away from you and there is slack in the ski rope? Remember that feeling as all of that acceleration pulls the rope taught and you with it? Remember what it's like to get dragged through the water without skis or swim trunks? Length+acceleration= bad news. This is something like the feeling you get when you can feel someone connect a long tissue chain and use that chain to pull on her body to create rotation.

Andy Kazama
02-24-2017, 01:39 PM
I see your club shares space with a Judo club. Do you play full randori with them?

Yes, I absolutely love playing judo. I gave up randori for an entire year in order to "burn in" the internal mindset, but the difference it made was substantial! The funny thing is that in my time off, I lost some muscle mass (I also stopped weight lifting), but somehow turned into a "strong" guy. I'm not invincible of course, but compared to my pre-internals self, I am much more stable standing. The newaza has improved even more than the tachiwaza.

Whole body power vs isolated muscles will take you a LONG way (and I am just touching the surface of the aiki body). I'm still fighting old habits, but aiki is slowly but surely becoming my "default state".

GovernorSilver
02-24-2017, 02:12 PM
In ten years of aikido training I was never told once explicitly about opening kua, how to lift the arms, or explicit direction on use of intent. I.m willing to admit I might have missed it but I'm pretty sure it was not there.

The guy who teaches Mon. nights at the dojo has a habit of saying "kua" - to try to help us understand the open/close of those particular creases in whatever movement he's teaching that night - because well with his hakama on we can't really see his kua. :p I asked him later on and he said he'd taken the qigong class offered at the dojo.

Hakama does hide a lot of movement, which makes learning the subtle usages of the hips, kua, weight shifts, etc. more challenging to a noob like me.

Cady Goldfield
02-24-2017, 03:55 PM
Paolo,
You will learn more by being able to feel the instructor's hip movements, etc., than by trying to watch them. If what he is doing is internal, any overt movement will not be instructive. See if he'll let you put your hands on his hip joints, lower back, and hara. :)

GovernorSilver
02-24-2017, 04:06 PM
Paolo,
You will learn more by being able to feel the instructor's hip movements, etc., than by trying to watch them. If what he is doing is internal, any overt movement will not be instructive. See if he'll let you put your hands on his hip joints, lower back, and hara. :)

Just to avoid confusion, the dojo I train at is a "regular" Aikido dojo. It's not Sangenkai or anything - no promises of internal power or whatever.

The "kua sensei" is not the type to leave us hanging by teaching only visually. Very much hands-on, on multiple levels. When I'm really struggling, he'll cut in and replace my partner and play both uke/nage roles if needed. I also try to partner up with him at least once on other nights/days when somebody else is taking a turn at playing "sensei".

Cady Goldfield
02-24-2017, 05:25 PM
Just to avoid confusion, the dojo I train at is a "regular" Aikido dojo. It's not Sangenkai or anything - no promises of internal power or whatever.

The "kua sensei" is not the type to leave us hanging by teaching only visually. Very much hands-on, on multiple levels. When I'm really struggling, he'll cut in and replace my partner and play both uke/nage roles if needed. I also try to partner up with him at least once on other nights/days when somebody else is taking a turn at playing "sensei".

Ah. Got it!

Peter Goldsbury
02-24-2017, 07:26 PM
The broader community is very lucky there are people willing to share their body methods (shen fa) with others, outside of a closed group (particular Aikido organization or ryu).

I wince a bit when I hear Daito ryu traditionalists talk about the propriety of Aiki, when Ueshiba and Takeda taught so many many people. Even though I am friends with one or two of them and think some of them are good martial artists, there are others, however, who put the name of their art and lineage as something to distract from their own level of skill.

I think all of this falls back on what each individual can actually do. This is why inter group sparring and pushing can be very useful. Is that Aikido?

For me, when I do something that looks like ikkyo, is it Aikido, Xingyi, or kodachi from Jikishinkage ryu performed without a weapon in my hand? If Takeda studied Jikishinkage ryu for a while, is that closer than Bagua, which he likely never encountered?

Does it matter, if someone cannot stop me?

I guess a question to add to your list is whether given the benefits of internal power and stability to taijutsu, is important to seek Ueshiba's specific methodologies or alternatives?

Is it important to be able to do what he did how he did it or just be able to do what he did?

Can this be done by most people in the context of Aikido or is understanding Daito-ryu necessary?

If you practice other approaches and they influence your Aikido, is that acceptable?

At what point are you no longer doing Aikido?

I am writing this as someone who did what is probably fairly low-level Aikido for a time and then did internal martial arts for some time. I don't think I do Aikido any longer. If I do something that looks like irimi nage, is it just Bagua or is it good Aikido now that I know internal ideas, or is it bad Aikido because the form doesn't look quite right?

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts and though I would contribute some random thoughts.

Mark Raugas
innerdharma.org

Hello Mark,

The questions you ask make a lot of sense, as do the comments of Jon Reading and Alec Corper.

I write, not as anyone who claims any knowledge of internal power—though I have a pretty good idea of what it is, but as someone who has studied the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba in his own language and cultural context.

I think this is important, for much of what has been stated about Ueshiba lacks any knowledge or even awareness of this cultural context. His language presents its own difficulties, but I have come to recognize the importance of this cultural context the hard way: not from books, but from years of living here and working in a large government institution, where, to adapt the title Ellis chose for his book, the sight of the hidden cultural context is plainer in some respects than it would be to those who have not done this.

However, the problem here is that what we actually know of Ueshiba and the life he led has come to us through several filters. In this respect—though I would not want to push the similarities any further, Ueshiba is like Christ and what we know of him comes through the lenses of two large organizations: the Omoto religion and the Aikikai: the Japanese foundation that his son and business disciples created immediately after the war.

I have emphasized this point before and I emphasize it again. Namely, that the fact of World War II and the interference of the Japanese authorities in the development of the art had – for good or ill – a profound effect on aikido and its development. It also had a profound effect on what we actually know about Morihei Ueshiba, who, basically, was a ‘prewar’ figure and lived out his later years as a recognized sage, but one who was not meant to have any real input on how his art developed after World War.

Nor did Ueshiba help himself. I have one of his visiting cards. He is the President of the Tokyo branch of the Jinrui Aizenkai, which was one of the postwar incarnations of the Omoto religion. Omoto, in the person of Onisaburo Deguchi, took it upon itself to reinterpret Japan’s ancient myths in such a way that (a) it incurred the severe displeasure of government authorities, such that it resulted in two suppressions, but (b) it attracted the attention of several political figures and military factions who wanted a ‘restoration:’ a return to Japanese greatness, as they understood it. A comparison with Aum Shinrikyo, the group that was responsible for the gassing incident on the Tokyo subway a few years ago, would be instructive, but probably not the most politically correct thing for me to undertake. Anyway, Ueshiba chose Omoto as the vehicle for articulating his message, but the fact of the war made it impossible for most of his disciples to understand it.

Since Japan was involved in a major war with China, it would not have done Ueshiba much good to emphasize the links with Chinese martial culture, even the ‘internal’ aspects of it. So he did not write anything, but gave lectures and discourses, using the Deguchi’s highly partisan interpretation of Japan’s ancient myths. If you read Deguchi’s vast literary output—including his still untranslated Reikai Monogatari, still in print in 81 volumes, and then look at Ueshiba’s discourses, you will see some very striking similarities: in some places the language is identical.

If you imagine Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s position around 1955, you can appreciate the dilemma he faced. On the one hand, there was his father, a ‘loner’ with a striking, but ambivalent, reputation, who had disappeared ‘underground’ since 1942 to a remote Omoto stronghold in rural Japan, but having left him severe instructions to keep the Tokyo dojo alive at all costs. On the other hand, there was the pressing need to maintain the family and also preserve the art he himself had learned. The name had been given by government authorities during World War II and Kisshomaru grew up at a time when he could see both sides: the prewar nationalism—also fully embraced by his father; and the need to do some postwar reconstruction, in order to preserve what he thought was worth preserving.

So, you have Kisshomaru’s literary output, of technical manuals, an ‘authorized’ biography, and his very careful development of an art that he had decided had to be for general public consumption. There could be no going back to the old prewar days.

What did Kisshomaru do about ‘aiki’? Well, when the discourses of his father were published they were edited by persons who have remained anonymous and ‘do’ was sometimes added to some of the ‘aiki’ references. I think this changes things quite a bit, for it claims ownership of a very general concept and applies it to an art, which may or may not, embody that general concept, either fully or partially.

So, you really have to go outside the two organizations if you want to escape the filters and this is quite difficult.

Finally, (1) Kisshomaru left untouched the archive of material still in Iwama. Thanks to a Danish friend I was able to visit Morihei Ueshiba’s library and see the books he read etc., when he lived there. They are still kept in his living quarters. A future project is to go through this material.

(2) Kisshomaru wrote his own autobiography, which in my opinion, gives him a major place in aikido outside the shadow of his father. It is unfortunate that this has not been translated, but I plan to give a detailed summary of contents in future TIE columns, assuming that I am still fit enough to continue writing them.

Best wishes,

Erick Mead
02-24-2017, 08:57 PM
In ten years of aikido training I was never told once explicitly about opening kua, how to lift the arms, or explicit direction on use of intent. I.m willing to admit I might have missed it but I'm pretty sure it was not there.Too right, unfortunately. It has required far too much unpacking. The explanation has not been there. But the exercises unquestionably do train these things. Each opens and closes kua continually, torquing and untorquing each in succession. Tying the exercise to the application and understanding what is being done -- that has been missing.

Erick Mead
02-24-2017, 09:17 PM
Interesting. Ledyard-sensei credits Harden, Howard Popkin, and his own sempai/sensei (Ikeda and Saotome) for what he can do.

Have you trained with him? I see you are both based in the Pacific NW. Not exactly. NW Florida,. Or Lower Alabama. We answer to anything. Just don't call us late to dinner.

And I have trained with him, but that was before he was doing anything like what Ikeda has been doing for many many years. Ledyard had much of value even so. Hooker, in my experience was hands on, practical, and invested in delving into traditions to find the riches in them, but he did not express a need, at least in my periodic exposure to him, in relating a more western understanding of the art.

Erick Mead
02-24-2017, 09:59 PM
" I guess "torque" is used by IP folks?. In my experience little of profit happens in trying to get "inside" any insular system of terminology with other terms when practitioners value its benefits to what they do. Investment is defended and especially when it has value to the practitioner, and needless debates happen. Better is to try to relate systems practically speaking rather than in absolutist terms. I have no brief against those systems. My task is tying the mechanics and physiology to my training and to broadly grasped neutral concepts stated in those terms, because I believe it will ultimately be more accessible, despite a slight threshold in introducing oneself to those bodies of knowledge. Every system has a threshold barrier of some kind.

Yes, this has been explained to me by Budd and Mike. It's hard to do them right on my own, so I rely on other training methods (zhan zhuang, reverse breathing, reverse breathing w/ dantian and muscle tendon connections, silk reeling, etc.) at home - well, to train 6H skills, which may or may not be related to IP, other than the common reference to Up and Down. So far I have found zhan zhuang is more productive when practiced with focus on Up and Down.In the aiki taiso, IMO, focus should be on the in-yo core driven change of weight and torsional compression and extension particularly of the legs, allowing the conserved stress in the body reach the natural limit and rebound to the opposite action within the body. Then one begin s letting the core action drive the upper body action also. Ude furi driving the arms is a baseline on that. Funetori is particularly good for this. Saya undo is a close second.

In the upper body, attention to tegatana assures that the arms are conduits of correct power and not sources of it. Attention to the waki serves as a more obvious proxy of the open/closed action of the shoulder-girdle hinge (shoulder "kua" as some have referred to it). That is, as space in the waki increases as tegatana rotates to raise the elbow, the shoulder "closes". And as the waki space diminishes and the elbow comes closer to the ribs in tegatana, the shoulder is "opening."

GovernorSilver
02-24-2017, 10:46 PM
I'll have to ask Budd for help again with the aiki taiso stuff next time I see him. I'm not smart enough to get it right without hands-on help. He tried to teach me 6H-correct funagoki undo and I just didn't get it at the time - my fault, not his.

He also taught the five themes of Taikyoku Budo (originally Ellis Amdur's Taikyoku Aikido). Those are much easier to remember and practice as they are on Youtube and I can watch them over and over again. One of the themes is Ikkyo and it externally looks identical to "normal" Aikido ikkyo, so I can practice it the 6H way in class while following the sensei without anybody noticing or caring.

Erick Mead
02-24-2017, 10:51 PM
You asked for responses to your questions, rather than puns. I'd like to answer them all in puns, but really, I'm not that clever... :p

The first question is an important one and full of its own complexity:

Is there only one kind of internal power? Everyone knows this.
There can be only one. :D

What types of internal power can be cultivated? That I can't say. Seems a question of application, and just intuitively I don't think there are meaningful limits on varieties of application.

Are they all equally relevant to what Ellis calls arms length grappling? Without question

If you power your taijutsu with internal power from another source, is it still Aikido?Yes. The jury seems unanimous on this.

I wound up leaving that group later on and focused my time on Bagua, Xingyi, and Taiji. I now focus on them as separate arts taught in the same school, taught in a way that is compatible.

When I hit someone, is it Xingyi or Bagua? The pointing finger is not the moon. There. That is my one an only obligatory mystical eastern training crypticism. But really, the body only works in certain ways. Training takes all paths back into the body trying to optimize things the body CAN do. Not all are optimizing the same things or to the same ends.

When I throw someone, is it Xingyi or Bagua or Taiji?
I remember an admonition about how once you get kuzushi and hit someone, the result will depend on your body development. That development can happen in a variety of ways. It is your body. Can't speak to Xingyi, but circle walking is alternately opening and closing the kua, as is most of the aiki taiso, as are many of the taiji training forms. Each is optimizing that aspect of what the body does , which is similar, to their approach to engaging an opponent, which, while not so alien as to be unrelatable, are by and large different from one another.

At what point are you no longer doing Aikido?

I am writing this as someone who did what is probably fairly low-level Aikido for a time and then did internal martial arts for some time. I don't think I do Aikido any longer. If I do something that looks like irimi nage, is it just Bagua or is it good Aikido now that I know internal ideas, or is it bad Aikido because the form doesn't look quite right?

In our dojo, which Hooker started, we hand down a precious book he left us on the Rules of Aikido. It resides on the kamidana in every class. Turning to page 237 of the Rules of Aikido, I find the following quote:


.

( Like the rest of the book, it is empty. And the book is invisible. We lose it ALL the time.)

There are no rules in Aikido. There is a reality of Aiki. There are principles by which aiki may be understood and or trained and which aikido properly exhibits that should make it recognizable. It has been obscured in many places for some time but this seems to be getting better, according to a number of different approaches to those principles.

But if you are doing that you are doing aikido -- also perhaps Bagua, Xingyi or Taiji.

There isn't a Venn diagram. Certainly not in the Rules of Aikido. ;)

Mark Raugas
02-24-2017, 10:57 PM
I write, not as anyone who claims any knowledge of internal power—though I have a pretty good idea of what it is, but as someone who has studied the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba in his own language and cultural context.

I think this is important, for much of what has been stated about Ueshiba lacks any knowledge or even awareness of this cultural context. His language presents its own difficulties, but I have come to recognize the importance of this cultural context the hard way: not from books, but from years of living here and working in a large government institution, where, to adapt the title Ellis chose for his book, the sight of the hidden cultural context is plainer in some respects than it would be to those who have not done this.

However, the problem here is that what we actually know of Ueshiba and the life he led has come to us through several filters

...

Finally, (1) Kisshomaru left untouched the archive of material still in Iwama. Thanks to a Danish friend I was able to visit Morihei Ueshiba's library and see the books he read etc., when he lived there. They are still kept in his living quarters. A future project is to go through this material.

(2) Kisshomaru wrote his own autobiography, which in my opinion, gives him a major place in aikido outside the shadow of his father. It is unfortunate that this has not been translated, but I plan to give a detailed summary of contents in future TIE columns, assuming that I am still fit enough to continue writing them.



Hi Peter,

Thank you. It is almost as if there is a change in semiotics from pre-war to post-war, from Ueshiba Morihei to Kisshomaru. By that I mean a translation into a different conceptual framework, that encodes ideas in a different manner, and may result in the same signifiers (signs) pointing to different signified, when looking from father to son, whereas in Ueshiba himself, changes in signifiers potentially from Daito-ryu terminology (possibly Shingon-based?) to Omoto-kyo?

Some interesting studies might be:

How do the philosophical concepts taught at the Aikikai in Tokyo align with those taught in Iwama and those taught in separate (pre-war?) Aikido organizations such as the Yoshinkan?

How do the concepts of Omoto-kyo framing Ueshiba's description of his practice correspond to statements made by other teachers of Daito-ryu?

At the same time, I think it is important to recognize that there can sometimes be a distinction between what one's mental framework is for their practice and what they are doing. Many ideas get lost in translation, and Chinese martial arts are an exemplar rather than an exception. One of the challenges I face when I hear the word internal used in reference to Japanese jujutsu or taijutsu is that the spread of so-called internal schools of Chinese martial arts seem to post-date the major influx of martial theory from China to Japan. Taijiquan and Xingyiquan may only date from the late 16th/early 17th century and Baguazhang was developed in the 19th century. They share common characteristics that seem to be compatible, and different from older martial arts that also provide a mechanism for reaching high levels of personal development (what can be contrasted by being called external martial arts, which need not be a pejorative term).

We in contrast have the founding stories of Yoshin-ryu being set in the early Tokugawa era (e.g., via Chen Genpin) and some cross-pollination in Jikishinkage-ryu, where there is in influx of ideas from Ogasawara Genshinsai, who spent 30 years in Beijing after changing political affiliations one too many times. We know that today Jiki looks very different from other lines of Shinkage-ryu. An open question is whether that time period caused the resulting differences. It is well known, of course, for its focus on breathing, posture, and power, and its relative scarcity of explicit tactics compared to other lines of Shinkage-ryu. Sadly, we also know Takeda Sokaku was rather experienced by the time he visited Sakakibara's Jikishinkage-ryu dojo. It is overly simplistic to assume Jikishinkage-ryu was a tremendous influence on the man; however, maybe he found something compatible or inspiring in its approach, based on his training.

Despite the questions regarding timing, either of martial theory or practice from China to Japan, or in Takeda's own martial development, if we look besides general anatomy and pre-modern types of movement (from hunting, agriculture, horsemanship, archery, spear, etc.) it seems like at least at the beginning of the Edo period, there is an opportunity for there to be some common ground in place that could follow similar, albeit culturally specific, developments in parallel. If we assume Chinese internal martial arts developed around the same time. Japanese martial artists in the Edo period did possess the necessary philosophical framework of Taoism needed to discover or develop somewhat analogous internal martial arts ideas.

Rather than being a product of an extremely martial environment (e.g., Aizu-han rustic wabi sabi), could Aiki instead be developed due to a prolonged period of peace, that allowed people extended periods of study, practice, and analysis?

Fast forward to today, in reading Sasamori Junzo in his book on Budo and Christianity, he speaks of using his dantien quite clearly in talking about Ona-ha Itto-ryu kenjutsu and kiri otoshi, which is supposed to drop an opponent where he stands. He references Itto-ryu taijutsu explicitly, which might lend some credence to Ellis' thesis that Daito-ryu aiki is somehow related to Itto-ryu teachings from Takeda's family. The fact that Takeda Soeman is said to have studied Shugendo (Onmyodo) is also interesting to me, regarding Taoism, is mentioned at some points by Daito-ryu practitioners, and I think might be related, or at least worthy of consideration.

What the above does not answer is why all Edo-period Japanese jujutsu did not similarly develop concepts of Aiki. Clearly, the people who encountered Takeda, and later Ueshiba, had access to local machi dojo for jujutsu and gekken/kendo (or kenjutsu). The number of people drawn to those teachers may have been influenced due to political reasons or the spread of Omoto-kyo (was it Deguchi who suggested the term Aiki-jujutsu to Takeda?) but the skill level of the two men is not in question.

Some of the questions in my first post are driven by the fact that maybe a thesis is that while a conservative subset of modern Aikido practice might be quite compatible with internal martial arts ideas, by the fact that the core subset of Daito-ryu practices are as well, a question remains as to whether it is more efficient to attempt to learn those practices directly (if they are accessible -- for a period of time it was not so easy to do so, possibly now things are more open and there are unique figures making versions of these teachings available more widely today) or whether homologues can stand in sufficiently well.

I think the answer may depend on what a person is trying to achieve, which drove me to ask whether it is sufficient to be able to do what Ueshiba or others did, some of what they did, and by the same means. There is also the question of what a decision procedure is, outside of a kata pedagogy and gokui/kuden methodology, for evaluating levels of skill in a practitioner.

In Taijiquan, there is the concept of push hands practice to evaluate levels of relative skill between practitioners (although that itself can devolve and become devoid of meaning in the wrong context) and a set of classics that one can consult to evaluate whether one is still doing Taijiquan. The first is a question of being good or not good (relative level of skill), whereas the latter is a question of doing Taiji or not doing Taiji. Even with those textual resources available, there is extreme variation in the outward form of different Taiji styles, and arguments about correctness and effectiveness across major groups, and differing accounts of Taiji history.

A benefit with Aikido, in comparison, may be the existence of the written sources you describe, albeit yet not fully explored. I look forward to your additional writing on these topics!

Best,
Mark

GovernorSilver
02-24-2017, 10:57 PM
Not exactly. NW Florida,. Or Lower Alabama. We answer to anything. Just don't call us late to dinner.

And I have trained with him, but that was before he was doing anything like what Ikeda has been doing for many many years. Ledyard had much of value even so. Hooker, in my experience was hands on, practical, and invested in delving into traditions to find the riches in them, but he did not express a need, at least in my periodic exposure to him, in relating a more western understanding of the art.

Oh, sorry for the confusion.

If you ever do meet Ledyard again, could you ask him to do the uke connection thing to you? You know, the thing that I described earlier when he grabbed my wrist - some "thing" coming up my arm into my body without any visible movement in his - he was just standing there when he did it to me. I would be curious to see if what it feels like is indeed the same as what Hooker-sensei has done.

It's really just out of curiosity that I ask this. I don't think anybody at the dojo I train at can do that, but I love to train there anyway, because the Aikido there is a good match for me. Several individuals there have a good command of Up/Ground "jin"/force vector (it's the most accessible one) but I suspect that's just a product of solid Aikido training under the influence of Tohei and his "keep one point", "weight underside", etc. concepts. I suspect Ledyard was using the Up force vector as a component of what he did to me, but I wonder if there were others too. One of the Taikyoku themes involves a strike that utilizes both Up and Down simultaneously.

Mark Raugas
02-24-2017, 11:19 PM
There are no rules in Aikido. There is a reality of Aiki. There are principles by which aiki may be understood and or trained and which aikido properly exhibits that should make it recognizable. It has been obscured in many places for some time but this seems to be getting better, according to a number of different approaches to those principles.

But if you are doing that you are doing aikido -- also perhaps Bagua, Xingyi or Taiji.


I like that perspective.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-25-2017, 05:00 AM
Yes, I absolutely love playing judo. I gave up randori for an entire year in order to "burn in" the internal mindset, but the difference it made was substantial! The funny thing is that in my time off, I lost some muscle mass (I also stopped weight lifting), but somehow turned into a "strong" guy. I'm not invincible of course, but compared to my pre-internals self, I am much more stable standing. The newaza has improved even more than the tachiwaza.

Thanks.

Could you be a bit more specific about the amount of improvement? Something in the line of 'pre-internals I was performing at X kyu/dan level and now I perform at Y kyu/dan level' or 'I was being consistenly outclassed by X kyu/dan level partners and now they are the ones being ipponed by me' would be useful.

Also, what has been the judo people you train with reaction to your improvement, are they incorporating internal training to their regime after having felt your increase of body skill?

Currawong
02-28-2017, 07:22 PM
So, you really have to go outside the two organizations if you want to escape the filters and this is quite difficult.

Finally, (1) Kisshomaru left untouched the archive of material still in Iwama. Thanks to a Danish friend I was able to visit Morihei Ueshiba’s library and see the books he read etc., when he lived there. They are still kept in his living quarters. A future project is to go through this material.

(2) Kisshomaru wrote his own autobiography, which in my opinion, gives him a major place in aikido outside the shadow of his father. It is unfortunate that this has not been translated, but I plan to give a detailed summary of contents in future TIE columns, assuming that I am still fit enough to continue writing them.

Best wishes,

Hi Peter,

I'm curious as to what Doshu makes of all this, including the IP research.

Amos

Mark Raugas
03-01-2017, 12:44 AM
I'm curious as to what Doshu makes of all this, including the IP research.

Maybe he would say it is not his Aikido... Wouldn't that be ironic?

Larry Feldman
03-03-2017, 10:31 AM
I understand the current Doshu gave a class/lecture on IP recently.....

jonreading
03-03-2017, 11:28 AM
One of the first things that struck me in looking into IP was the number of people to talked about IP and the number of people who taught IP. Many people talked about IP, few people taught it. When I critically reviewed how I learned aikido and also how I taught aikido, I realized IP was not part of my culture of aikido. Sure, I "knew" about it, but I did nothing in class to gain the aiki body and I did nothing to teach how to get aiki. 30 minutes of "warm-ups" and then we got to practice aikido. This was almost as wrong as you can train...

So, we flipped things. Now, most of our class is "warm-ups", which we perform as solo or paired exercises. We also teach crticial markers of success. For example, all of our movement must be possessed of heaven-earth-man. Not that it is, but you get the idea. I have referenced two notions of feeling that many (if not all) of the deshi spoke about with regard to O Sensei- they always were instantly off-balance, and O Sesensi had "unusual" power. So, we look for these two elements in any aikido movement - they must always be present. As an interesting side note, these two elements also address almost any whotif we have in aikido that explains why your aikido doesn't work, or if uke is being to stubborn, or if we're rolling, or...

I think this is part of my criticism. If taken into any other academic pursuit, the argument we make to "learn" IP is ridiculous. What if I taught math by saying, "Do enough addition and eventually you will learn multiplication."? What if I taught science my saying, "dissect enough frogs and you'll learn biology."? An yet, "train long enough and you'll learn aiki," is an acceptable answer. Or, remember those two times sensei talked about some doka? That was IP 101.

Mary Eastland
03-03-2017, 12:02 PM
So what is your goal...how does aiki enhance your practice?

jonreading
03-03-2017, 02:33 PM
... its puts aiki into my aikido... I know that sounds silly, but I think one of the things the IP community is saying is for being an art with aiki in the name, there is not a lot of training using aiki in aikido. For me, I think there are people who are: 1. performing moves that do not have aiki in them or 2. defining "aiki" to meet an ability to perform. In my case, I was in #1 and I made it my goal to figure out why I didn't have aiki in my movement and find out how I could change that.

I think the friction in what I am saying is that nobody wants to admit #1 or #2. So we'll say things like, "we do that in our aikido," or, "my sensei used to say XYZ, so I know about IP," or, "there is no such thing; O Sensei was only speaking metaphorically about this stuff," fill in the blank. I get it - It's also the Internet, so no one can puts hands on people and figure things out. But, I can point to specific training now to help me understand the body movement I am training, and how I know it's right (or wrong). And no, "aiki is in everything you do" is not a valid answer for pointing to how you train your body to use aiki.

Jeremy Hulley
03-03-2017, 02:54 PM
So what is your goal...how does aiki enhance your practice?

I'm not sure how to respond.

I'm more stable, I generate more power with less effort, I feel better physically even though I'm not in as good a shape as I was a few years ago.

I want to be better at what I do, better at what I teach. I want stuff to work.

It's another layer to journey for me.

I now have a framework for being supported and relaxing at the same time.

I understand softness differently.

Mary Eastland
03-03-2017, 03:23 PM
I get that.

Why is it so hard for you to believe that everyone's aikido is not lacking aiki?

I have felt people who just do technique and do not have a feeling of connection or grounded-ness. Their technique feels irrelevant to me. And I don't mean that in a bad way...just that it seems like it is fake and won't work in self protection. It feels like it is for show instead of for feeling.

Jeremy Hulley
03-03-2017, 07:47 PM
I get that.

Why is it so hard for you to believe that everyone's aikido is not lacking aiki?

Hey Mary,
That was not an attack.

Just doing my best to answer your previous question.

And I will own it. It is hard for me to believe.

Cady Goldfield
03-03-2017, 10:34 PM
And I will own it. It is hard for me to believe.

Yes, there is a big difference in what practitioners of contemporary Aikido believe to be aiki, and what practitioners of Aikido's predecessor, Aikijujutsu -- and also of aikidoka who have sought out the aiki from Aikijujutsu and worked it back into their Aikido -- believe it to be.

ChrisMoses
03-03-2017, 10:35 PM
I remember going to the second AikiExpo in Vegas back in 2002? No one I touched who did Aikido had any aiki there. None, zero. The only people who had aiki that I got hands on were from other arts (daito ryu, yanagi ryu, shindo yoshin ryu...). So that's where I went looking.

Larry Feldman
03-10-2017, 10:43 AM
Years ago I learned to skydive at a small drop zone (dojo) in Florida. After I graduated college I moved to Texas and a similar small drop zone. On a return trip to Florida, a jumper I knew and looked up to John Robbins, (National caliber competitor in 4 man relative work) asked me where I was jumping. I told him of the small place and he asked why I wasn't jumping at the larger (nationally known) drop zone. - He had faith in my ability and skills and couldn't understand why I wasn't 'following the big plane'.

At the small drop zone I heard all the rumors and innuendo about what was wrong at the big place. Jealousy, sour grapes, investment in the status quo of the smaller drop zone, lack of safety precautions, fear of the unknown etc. Well John asked me, "why don't you go see for yourself". Ironically I got a ride back from Florida with some of the guys from the big drop zone in an R.V., and I did go see for myself. It changed my skydiving 'career' and my life, as it was, and I never looked back.