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AsimHanif
12-29-2003, 04:26 PM
I'm having issues...
I'll just put this out there and see what happens.
Is it possible to reach the highest levels of aikido excellence without embracing the concept of unconditional universal love? No doubt we have many excellent aikido people out there. Heads of organizations, studied under O'Sensei for years, da deda deda...
But the gap in ability between them and O'Sensei to my eyes seems wide.
I don't want to say too much at this point in terms of comparisons but it can it be that O'Sensei's brilliance was achieved by his ability to embrace the concept of universal love in a manner in which no one else quite has done?
I have issues with this concept on several levels but hopefully the good people out there will hit on many of them as they often do so I won't have to be too long winded.

paw
12-29-2003, 05:08 PM
Is it possible to reach the highest levels of aikido excellence without embracing the concept of unconditional universal love?

You may want to clarify what you mean by "highest levels of aikido excellence".

Are you refering to technical skill alone or are there additional criteria (teaching ability, knowledge of history/tradition, etc...)? Also, how would one determine such criteria is met?

Regards,

Paul

Jeanne Shepard
12-29-2003, 08:20 PM
Also, how do you know when you've really embraced the concept of universal unconditional love?

Jeanne

Erik
12-29-2003, 09:16 PM
But the gap in ability between them and O'Sensei to my eyes seems wide.
Not to mine but I'm a heretic. We've talked basketball before and I think there is no question, and it's not even open to debate in my opinion, that today's professionals are light years ahead of where they were 50 years ago. The level of ability, including shooting which is routinely criticized, is far ahead of where it was. So, if the best aikido has to offer today doesn't stand up to where it was 30+ years ago then we've got a huge problem because every other physical activity has moved, for the most part, way, forward.

I suspect it's something else.

Ask the old timers, in regards to basketball, and they all tell you how good everyone was back in the day. How they were all skilled and had good fundamentals. Amazingly they can, for the most part, say it with a straight face and it's probably true in a sense. The clips, real ones and the ones in their heads, never show missed shots and bad passes. Just like we never see Morihei Ueshiba trip on his hakama which I'm sure he did. On the other hand, we can watch a game, or the local shihan, and see plenty of less than perfect moments with less than perfect ukes.

I think you get the point. I recognize this isn't your actual question but it's something I felt like writing. :)

PeterR
12-29-2003, 10:24 PM
Is it possible to reach the highest levels of aikido excellence without embracing the concept of unconditional universal love?
With out a doubt. Aikido excellence comes from training hard and long under a good teacher combined with a certain amount of talent. To be sure you need to make certain mental adjustments to receive what's being offered and the idea that long training will provide us with insights into life the universe and everything is sort of dogma. Then again just living a life is supposed to give you that. If at the end of all that if you feel unconditional universal love and you haven't lost your edge - then more power to you. However budo is self developement and since we are all individuals it is expected that we will all end up in a different place.
No doubt we have many excellent aikido people out there. Heads of organizations, studied under O'Sensei for years, da deda deda...

But the gap in ability between them and O'Sensei to my eyes seems wide.
Well how do you know. What you really need to ask are people that have felt or even seen the two people you are comparing at roughly the same age. I've read critisms of Ueshiba M.'s technique and I've seen and heard opinions of those most likely to know, of Aikido people (direct and second generation) whose ability might have surpassed Kaiso. It's all subjective but I doubt those men adopted the stance of unconditional universal love. At least with the same context of Ueshiba M.

Ted Marr
12-30-2003, 07:58 AM
O Sensei was pretty darn impressive even before he went on his whole universal love kick. This much I know.

After he started moving away from Aikijutsu and towards Aikido, he got "better" in some ways, but it is impossible to separate out whether the cause was his aforementioned "univeral love" philosophy, or whether it was because he was still training really hard, and getting old. Somehow, in my mind, oldness promotes good Aikido. You can't make up for flaws in technique anymore...

Anyways, it is literally impossible to answer this question experimentally, so we'll never know for certain.

Goetz Taubert
12-30-2003, 08:14 AM
Very, very interesting question from Asim Hanif.

I would agree that a certain amount of excellence can‘t be reached without a spiritual developement, respectively spritual developement may be necessary for progressing.

I would also say, that the skills of M. Ueshiba are up to now unreached by following scholars of him, until I have never heard someone claiming to have overcome his abilities. I also have never seen photographs where the ease, preciseness and presence of M. Ueshiba seemed to be reached by others. Maybe Peter Rehse could give some names?)

Some explanations on this:

Concerning his own reports the techniques of aikido were developed after different and fundamental moments of insight while at the same time and later exercising a shinto-type spiritual practise (Oomotokyoo). Further there are mentionings of kami (gods), that indicate a certain non-ego experience of what was happening to him. Third there are citations that show, that the character of aiki-budoo changed into aikido with a explicit spritual dimension.

„À cet moment-la, j’avais oublié toutes les techniques que J‘avais apprises, et je devais faire de nouveau les techniques des ancêtres ; et ces techniques sont pour montrer que le monde entier est comme une famille et qu’il n’y a pas d’ètrangers.“ (Citation from: Aikido. Des paroles et des écrits du fondateur à la practique, p. 169.)

Translation: „In this moment I had forgotten all the techiques I had learned and I had to create the techniques of the ancestors once more ; and these techniques serve to show, that the whole world is like one familiy and that there are no foreigners.“

The citation shows the strong connection of technique and the spritual dimension, also the break with the old technical approach.

So naturally one should be on this way, practising Aikido. But - as Hanif’s question is showing - today this seems not to be necessarily related. This is maybe caused by the differing understanding of excellence in technical dimensions. To my opinion the excellence in Aikido shows up especially by doing nonphysical techniques (Like working with attracking force and guiding from the beginning; holding down without or minimal touching; throwing only by movement of the body with no or minimal contact.). This is because for me the spritual aspect becomes most evident in these „non-physical“ techniques and it may be a differentiating criteria for more or less excellence. Until now, I have not seen many teachers being able to do this (i.e. Yamaguchi, G. Blaize). Are there others? Please tell!

Another problem of spritual dimension is, that its not directly teachable like technical aspects and that it may really be a fundamental challenge to step on this way. So there may be less guidance and help in orientation in spritual aspects.

JasonB
12-30-2003, 09:01 AM
I think that the "universal peace and love" idea might have just been O Sensei's personal take on the Aikido koan.

If I understand correctly, a koan can't be answered but it's value is in it's ability to stimilute a train of thought concerning the fundamental nature of things. To frame Aikido as a koan take the physical techniques and objectives of Aikido; that is, redirecting energy, natural flowing movement and minimizing harm to your opponent. Start by trying to understand how these things inter-relate and why these objectives are in harmony with each other. Ask yourself how these ideas alter your impact on the world around you. It's easy to believe that if you spend a life time meditating on the Aikido koan that you might arrive at the belief that budo is love.

Here's something I've been thinking of. Consider how conflict is resolved using common American philosophy (Hollywood action films.) American philosophy is based on the idea that along with great power comes the responsiblity to be righteous in your actions. Furhter more, the righteous should not INSTIGATE agression. The righteous should instead respond to agression by using their superior power to pound the evil doer into submission. Examples: Steven Seagal uses Aikido to grind punks into the dirt.

But agression is nothing more than a natural reaction to fear. So what happens if you have enough confidence in your martial arts skills that you don't feel fear when confronted by a threat? In many martial arts and in American philosophy, you use your superior skill to put some hurt on the person threatening you because it is righteous to do so. In Aikido philosophy, you use your absence of fear as your basis of power to attempt a means of resolving the conflict without harm. This would, almost certainly, rarely involve violence. In the absence of fear and with the intent to resolve conflict without harm...what's left? Is it love?

These are my half-formed thoughts on the matter. Please feel free to criticize.

AsimHanif
12-30-2003, 09:06 AM
Paul - I am refering to proficiency in the performance of the art. Not teaching ability or "book knowledge". As for determining if such criteria is met, that would be up to the individual and possibly the aikido community in general. That's why I was intentially vague, with the hopes that respondents would elaborate their own insights.

Jeanne - I believe that you would know that by really taking a good look inside. I know I haven't. Not even close. But the question is - if you did - how would that effect your art?

Erick - good example but so much of basketball is physical. You can have the nastiest attitude in sports and still break records and win titles. Jordan transcended his sport because of his mental toughness not necessarily his spiritual ethics. As for todays aikido practitioners - I would say as in sports we have great athletes but I'm not sure about better martial artists. I see a lot of bold, broad, and beautiful techniques but that doesn't always translate to efficiency.

Geotz - you hit exactly what I was getting at. I am strongly leaning towards that line of thinking, which means there is another aspect of aikido rarely taught or understood.

Ted and Peter - I totally understand. After more posts I want to get into that. I am trying to stay away from what I have heard, what I have felt, and from whom. There are a lot of first hand accounts that support my theory. The question is do you believe they have merit?

John Longford
12-30-2003, 09:43 AM
Asim,

I think it depends on what you refer as the highest levels.

As far as physical Aikido goes sometimes I look at certain high level Aikidoka and wonder if they would have progressed as far if they had more regard for their Uke.There is certainly no love involved.

Personally I would never "open up" on a technique if I felt my partner could not safely accept it. Does this inhibit my progress?

Regards,

John

paw
12-30-2003, 10:44 AM
Asim,
Paul - I am refering to proficiency in the performance of the art. Not teaching ability or "book knowledge". As for determining if such criteria is met, that would be up to the individual and possibly the aikido community in general. That's why I was intentially vague, with the hopes that respondents would elaborate their own insights.

And how will you judge performance?

Personally, I see no way to judge martial performance other than an uncooperative opponent. In an instructional situation or a demonstration, one cannot be sure that uke is being kind and tanking. This of course, raises other issues. Primarily, how good is one's opponent? In which case, show me someone who is undefeated, and I'll show you someone who never faced a worthy opponent or someone who retired too soon.

Regards,

Paul

Goetz Taubert
12-30-2003, 05:57 PM
@ Jason Breitzman

Interesting how you are reversing cause and consequence concerning the developement of the "universal love concept". Do you have any proof for reinterpreting the existing biographical data in this way?

It sounds - by your leave - a little too much like a simplifying pop-psychologic interpretation.

Next problematic statement is the "to pound the evil doer into submission".

With aikido at high level an attacker should loose his wish to attack furthermore not because he gets anxious (in your interpretation this would lead to further aggression) but he is somehow "satisfied" by what has happend and can let go his/her aggressive intention.

I wouldn't underestimate M. Ueshibas direct understanding of beeing victim of aggression and of beeing aggressive on the individual level as well as on the perspective of the japanese nation. And his proposal really overcomes with the bad-good-duality.

So I would like to say that aikido is not a koan for M. Ueshiba (he developed it), but Ueshibas Aikido is a koan for us.

PeterR
12-30-2003, 09:44 PM
Maybe Peter Rehse could give some names?
Not likely - mainly because they belong to people who would deny the designation. They may even be right - it is subjective after all.

Ohba Shihan (who is famous for attacking Ueshiba M. for real in Manchuria during a demonstration) critisizes Ueshiba M. for being stiff.

Conversly Tomiki wasn't too impressed with the direction Ueshib M.'s Aikido was heading after the war. Seems he was overdoing the overcoming stiffness.

Shioda Shihan seems to agree with Tomiki (at least roughly about the point where Ueshiba M. was at his best), although Shirata Shihan (in Aikido Master's) disagrees with both.

Point being if people like that, who knew and felt Ueshiba M. in his prime can't agree, who are we. Especially when all we have to judge by is the filter of legend.

JasonB
12-31-2003, 12:56 AM
@ Jason Breitzman

Interesting how you are reversing cause and consequence concerning the developement of the "universal love concept". Do you have any proof for reinterpreting the existing biographical data in this way?
I'm not sure what this question means. I think that your point is that I have assumed more knowledge than I have. I have been informed recently that I am prone to making this error. I will go back and reconsider my statements in a more humble manner.
It sounds - by your leave - a little too much like a simplifying pop-psychologic interpretation.
I am a simple product of my pop-culture and it's obsession with cheap psychology. Perhaps this is my road block on the path to understanding.
Next problematic statement is the "to pound the evil doer into submission".
My statement was in relation to my view of the American philosophy of dealing with agressors, not Aikido philosophy. I think that many people around the world would agree that American's have an obsession with violent resolution of anything they view as unjust agression. I would agree that this is somewhat troubling. It might be preferable to allow an opponent to cease their agression at some point in the conflict. On the other hand, I am American and I enjoy a good action hero smack down. (See, I told you I'm a product of my culture.)

QUOTE="Goetz Taubert"]So I would like to say that aikido is not a koan for M. Ueshiba (he developed it), but Ueshibas Aikido is a koan for us.[/QUOTE]
If Aikido is a koan then Ueshiba was not above pondering it. Even in Western culture there are examples of individuals who follow inspiration and end up developing transcendantly complex analogies for the universe. For the creator, the koan becomes one step in the evolution of thought. A tool for further insight. I believe that Craig Reynolds' Boids is a Western example.

AsimHanif
12-31-2003, 09:46 PM
Paul - I'm not trying to put too many handcuffs on this question. We each have an opinion on what we have seen, heard, and experienced. Based on that - what are your thoughts? I have taken ukemi from Yamada Shihan and Kashiwaya Shihan. Very different experiences. No doubt based on the different methodology employed. I have seen footage of O'Sensei but more than that, I have focused on the reactions of his uke's. I have compared those reactions to the reactions of others who have taken ukemi from some of todays top practitioners. I have also heard directly from those who have taken ukemi from O'Sensei. This is how I attempt to answer this question. You may have another method or not. I didn't expect everyone to follow the same method.

paw
01-01-2004, 06:22 AM
Asim,
Paul - I'm not trying to put too many handcuffs on this question. We each have an opinion on what we have seen, heard, and experienced. Based on that - what are your thoughts? I have taken ukemi from Yamada Shihan and Kashiwaya Shihan.

Taking ukemi from someone isn't a worthwhile gauge of ability, in my opinion. There's still an amount of cooperation in some form or another. I'd only comment on someone's ability if there was a dynamic situation that involved no cooperation --- and I haven't had that with O Sensei, or anyone who trained directly with O Sensei. So I cannot say how "good" they are, and I've no desire to engage in speculation based on what someone may have said.

Regards,

Paul

Tim Griffiths
01-01-2004, 08:16 AM
Asim,



Taking ukemi from someone isn't a worthwhile gauge of ability, in my opinion....
Really? I think its an excellent way to understand someone ability.

As uke we should be sensitive to every little bump along the path of the technique. At the risk of simplifying it, fewer bumps = better aikido. What is a bump? A place where they used force, a place where you regained too much balance, a place where they lost control, an opening for atemi or kaeshi - in short, a place where you weren't exactly where they wanted you to be.

I take issue with the implication in the original question, that the best aikido is the one that looks most like O-sensei's did near the end of his life. Obviously when stated that way is not correct (or at least flawed), but that seems to be the underlying assumption in many of the replies.

So what is good aikido? I would say aikido that works is good aikido. If everything you do in aikido works, then you have good aikido. The rest is a matter of choice. Who do you want most to emulate and surpass? Whose aikido most touches you, that you want to say "Yes - that's exactly how I want to do it...and then do it better". Do you want to be like Tohei, Chiba, Tamura or Nadeau sensei?

Also, there isn't a "perfect" sensei, and there are high ranking sensei who have an awesomely beautiful ikkyo, but who's shihonage, quite franky bites big wind.

Feel free to build your perfect sensei out of spare parts - for example, Donovan Waite's ukemi, Ikeda sensei's suwariwaza and iriminage, Tamura sensei's kokyu movements, Nebi Vural's weapon focus, Gwynn Jones's nikkyo, Bob Nadeau's way of breaking down the movements, ....the list goes on.

O-sensei is nicely on the way to being a mythological figure...in a few generations of aikido he'll have reached Musashi, and in a few more somewhere around Hercules..hmm, maybe Disney would do a film about him?

And, as it happens, I think there are quite a few people who do aikido with the ease, relaxation and precision that we can see O-sensei do in recordings.

Tim

Goetz Taubert
01-01-2004, 08:24 AM
@ Paul

Seems like roman-like gladiator fights had to be reinvented to meet your benchmark for "objectivity". The question is, would you prefer to stand in the arena or to watch this experiment?

Please give e definition of an "uncooperative opponent"? Someone who wants to kill; someone who wants to fight by all means; someone who's running away; someone with a hestitant attack?

Taking ukemi from someone is in my opinion a very usefull method to judge about ability or technical features. In fact my exprience in taking ukemi is the central aspect where I can judge if there is a congruence between what I am told and what the practise is like.

The analysis of videotapes etc. can be compared to scientific methodology in social science. Why should this not be a proper way to gain insight? Especially when there's the possibility to do the comparison with subjektive impressions of ukemi?

Especially when there is not other way left over?

paw
01-01-2004, 06:27 PM
Tim and Goetz,

I don't feel taking ukemi is a good way to determine someone's ability per se, as it may still cooperative to some degree. This isn't difficult to understand. Why are brand new beginners hard to throw? They don't "move right". They haven't been taught how they are supposed to move so they can fall down, ie cooperate.

There's no need to get dramatic about this. By definition, uncooperative --- 1: unwilling to cooperate; 2: intentionally unaccommodating;

This doesn't have to be a fight to the death, it simply means what it says, someone is intentionally unaccommadating, and there are numerous safe, effective ways of doing this. Wrestlers call this "wrestling". Judo refers to this as "randori". BJJ calls this "rolling". Boxers say "boxing" or "sparring". Tomiki folks are quite familiar with this type of dynamic training and to the best of my knowledge also use the term "randori". I suspect you both know very well what I'm refering to and are being deliberately obtuse.

Regards,

Paul

Robert Rumpf
01-02-2004, 08:20 AM
You might want to read Herman Hesse's "Siddartha." Your question reminded me of the issues in that book, and some of the problems inherent in imitation as means of learning in general.

Goetz Taubert
01-02-2004, 01:41 PM
@ Paul,

its a bit problematic in my view to come with this argument where the thread is dealing with advanced ability. So I‘m not stubborn with my questioning.

I can admit freely, thats its not so easy to deal with beginners, but I would deny, that this would be the central challenge for an experienced practitioner or even high ranking aikidoka.

Beginners behaviour evolves out of different reasons/motivations, which do not need to stem from noncooperation only.

Stiffening (mostly open for atemi or not centered, attack stops i most cases)

Evading (loosing attacking spirit and trying to get away)

Self-sacrifice (beeing so smooth that they would allow atemi even to vital points)

Bad motoric skills (bad coordination with danger to injure themselves easily, bad attacking abilities)

Attack-camouflage (changing attack slightly to make a technique impossible; see also evading)

Hestitation (i.e. fear of falling, fear of attacking)

For me this are reasons to be quite carefull with beginners because there are many possibilites for injure. Sometimes this leads to bad technical performance on my side because I become hesitant too. About the self-sacrifice typus I get angry because their „trick“ ist to rely totally von my (assumed) friendly reaction.

Aikido is to overcome with these obstacles of unexperience step by step, so to me it’s quite natural that ability can‘t be tested best against these criteria. Surely there is a sort of standardization necessary to get the needed repetition, surely there are training partners too willingly following the technique but on a higher and equal techniqual niveau this will stop.

Taking your randori-example it’s obvious to me, that most of them have certain regularies which could be interpreted as cooperative (No punches in judo and wrestling, no kicks in boxing).

But I don’t think we will get on common ground on this question.

paw
01-02-2004, 02:05 PM
Goetz,
Taking your randori-example it’s obvious to me, that most of them have certain regularies which could be interpreted as cooperative (No punches in judo and wrestling, no kicks in boxing).

If you disagree just say so. Making statements like this is silly and I'm sure you know that. There's no cooperation the examples you list, there are constraints. Just like there are constraints in aikido training.

The issue isn't what is allowed in training (ie, what are the constraints). The issue is the environment. If by "taking ukemi" all you mean is kata practice, then that isn't an accurate indication of much of anything as far as martial effectiveness is concerned.

If you have one or more people uncooperatively interacting using aikido, that's a much more accurate indication of martial effectiveness --- whatever you call it ("randori", "sparring", "jiyu waza", heck, call it "fred" for all I care ---- the word isn't the thing and the thing is not the description). Read the Judo and Aikido thread, I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Regards,

Paul

AsimHanif
01-04-2004, 09:53 AM
Tim - your points on taking ukemi is what I was getting at. Although in fairness, not everyone is sensitive to that. Also totally agree about "building" your own personal model.

As far as your disagreement with the implication of the original question -that's fair. I shouldn't assume that all might agree with my view that O'Sensei's aikido was the best. So the question can be rephrased as -

"Do you need the whole universal love thang to reach your best aikido?"

Paul - who says brand new beginners are hard to throw? Of course we all have different experiences but the majority of the time I have trouble throwing "beginners" is when I'm forcing something that shouldn't be. An inexperienced person is normally easier to throw but you have to make more of an effort to protect them if they cannot protect themselves. Geotz stated this well.

As Geotz stated we probably won't get common ground on this. I'm fine with this because my whole point was to get a sense of various thoughts. When I first started MA I thought harder was better. Break, smash, crush! I'm now old and decrepid and I like the soft subtle approach :-)

paw
01-04-2004, 02:45 PM
Asim,
Paul - who says brand new beginners are hard to throw? Of course we all have different experiences but the majority of the time I have trouble throwing "beginners" is when I'm forcing something that shouldn't be. An inexperienced person is normally easier to throw but you have to make more of an effort to protect them if they cannot protect themselves. Geotz stated this well.
Try keeping to the issue at hand. The point isn't protect vs not protect or beginner vs experienced. The point is the environment, specifically the degree of cooperation in the role of performance.
When I first started MA I thought harder was better. Break, smash, crush! I'm now old and decrepid and I like the soft subtle approach :-)

Thanks for sharing. I never mentioned anything about hard vs soft or crushing vs not.

I submit, and other have mentioned this before, dynamic methods are more accurate measures of ability than kata practice (you can see this in the aikido and judo thread). As I have not engaged in dynamic training with O Sensei or anyone who engaged in dynamic training with O Sensei, I don't know how "good" he was from personal experience. Anything else would be gossip and I've no desire to engage in that either.

I suspect you knew this many posts ago and now seek only to put words into my mouth to advocate something that you feel is morally or ethically wrong, or you seek validation for your own views not discussion.

Regards,

Paul

shihonage
01-04-2004, 06:31 PM
Why are brand new beginners hard to throw? They don't "move right". They haven't been taught how they are supposed to move so they can fall down, ie cooperate.

There's no need to get dramatic about this. By definition, uncooperative --- 1: unwilling to cooperate; 2: intentionally unaccommodating;
Eh ?

The whole point of Aikido is that it's not uke that's cooperating with nage, but nage cooperating with uke.

Usually when a beginner is "stuck" in one direction, one can "cooperate", that is, throw them in a completely different way.

There is always a way, and that is the entire point.

Another thing is that we practice slowly with beginners. They don't ATTACK per se, and everything is done slowly and it is automatically presumed that in slow-motion training both parties are going to imitate the physical laws that would take place if this was realtime.

I.e. uke would not be able to magically regain his balance or curve his punch, as he may do by "cheating" in slow-motion simulation.

Beginners often ignore these unwritten rules, and hence take a bit more trickery to work with - especially considering the fact that they may get damaged when suddenly thrown in a direction they don't expect.

Paul, do you even study Aikido ?
'cause your profile doesn't specify the dojo you go to.

L. Camejo
01-04-2004, 08:30 PM
Is it possible to reach the highest levels of aikido excellence without embracing the concept of unconditional universal love?
It depends on what one deems "Aikido excellence" - if we mean physical/technical excellence, I would tend to say no, one does not need to embrace the universal love concept to reach an extremely high technical level. If Ueshiba M. was an atheist he may have still been able to perform the sort of physical feats he did from his training. In this case there may not be much change to the technical quality of what he were doing, only in the end result of the tech, which may be destruction instead of preservation on the part of the aggressor. But preservation of Uke is a moral question, not a technical one per se, as the same technique can do both. As seen in another thread here on Aikiweb, there is nothing technically unique in Aikido, which means that a lot of styles that may seem brutal may actually share some technical elements with "The Budo of Love."

If the excellence referred to is more of a mind or spiritual nature, then I may lean toward yes, as the non-contentious / universal harmony philosophy of Aikido demands that one increasingly understand the nature of cosmic love and its applications to life, since this is the particular philosophy of Aikido. If one were doing another MA this may not be the case.

As far as the gap between Ueshiba M.'s skills and that of current highly skilled practitioners, I don't think there is one. Ueshiba M. was an impressive martial artist during his time. Given the tradition of Japanese culture to see some awe inspiring things as "divine techniques" or otherwise deify a person of unusual talent, it becomes difficult to compare legend of the past with practitioner of the present, as one does not have the luxury of comparing Ueshiba M. and a modern adept side by side on an objective basis.

I would tend to agree though that martial excellence in Aikido is difficult to judge, since the majority of technical training is done in a cooperative manner. One of the first reality checks one gets with even minor resistance-based training is how easy it is to delude oneself into feeling secure in knowing a technique from kata based repetition alone. Speaking personally, it can be painfully humbling :), but is healthy for those who need to be true to themselves and what works in their martial training.

Just some thoughts.

L.C.:ai::ki:

paw
01-04-2004, 08:41 PM
Aleksky,
Usually when a beginner is "stuck" in one direction, one can "cooperate", that is, throw them in a completely different way.

For heaven's sake....

Cooperate - To work or act together toward a common end or purpose, To acquiesce willingly; be compliant

Get someone really mad at you then give them a stick and ask them to hit you with it. They will not cooperate --- they will have a different purpose than you do (most likely they want to smash your head in, you most likely want to prevent that). You may blend with their intention or energy and redirect their energy/intention to throw them, which is what aikido, judo, bjj and numerous other arts do. It is not, by definition, cooperation.

And again, this is tangental to the thread, IMO. I submit that a cooperative partner is not as accurate an indication of martial ability as an uncooperative one. I believe I've explained why previously, nor am I alone in this belief. --- See also Larry's post (preceeding) for further reasons why and consult the "Judo and Aikido" thread.
Paul, do you even study Aikido ?
Why do you ask? I don't think I'm using terminology in a manner that would be unique or unfamilar to you, am I? I hold rank in aikido (ASU) -- 5 1/2 years of training thus far. Rank in bjj -- 5 years training thus far. I've also spent time training in judo and muay thai. Competed in powerlifting, bjj, judo and submission wrestling.

Regards,

Paul

Goetz Taubert
01-04-2004, 10:11 PM
@ Paul

I admit that randori - to what extent cooperation-based constraints meet martial effectiveness or sporting demands should be left aside - will still be a demanding challenge of one’s ability. Please note that this doesn‘t automatically disqualify learning and judging in standard practice as inferior because you feel, that cooperation may be involved. How would you attempt to measure the degree of cooperation? Personally I can profit a lot with training partners who are uncooperative with my shortcomings. I also profit by feeling the technique of advanced practitioners on me becasue it can give me a - very subjective - understanding of „what and how much“ is involved in ones technique.

If randori is really the best test of ability for you, you should come back to the theme of the thread and answer the question, whether spiritual aspects may be needed for superior randori skills? Otherwise I think you should specify uncooperative training methods more precisely than you’ve done until now. Give some examples, don‘t hide! I feel that you repeating your point of view on a quite abstract level or be so kind to summarize the important points in the other thread you're mentioning (I'm sure it wouldn't be the broken ellbow). Next question: How would you judge someones randori-performance?

@ Asim Hanif

I found a jugement of Mr. S. Pranin where he draws a quite similar conclusion. Here it is:

„The aikido seen commonly today differs considerably from that developed by the founder during the Iwama years in the following respects. Atemi (strikes to vital points) have been de-emphasized or eliminated. The number of techniques commonly practiced has been reduced. The focus on irimi (entering) and initiation of techniques by tori [person executing the technique] has been lost, and the distinction between omote and ura blurred. Practice of the aiki ken, jo, or other weapons is infrequent or nonexistent. Aikido, although still considered as a budo by some, retains little of its historical martial effectiveness due to the soft, casual nature of practice and as such has been transformed into what could be better called a health or exercise system.“

paw
01-05-2004, 05:51 AM
Goetz,
Please note that this doesn‘t automatically disqualify learning and judging in standard practice as inferior because you feel, that cooperation may be involved.

I never suggested that was the case. You are ascribing to me views that I do not hold.
If randori is really the best test of ability for you, you should come back to the theme of the thread and answer the question, whether spiritual aspects may be needed for superior randori skills?

Again, you are putting words into my mouth. I never said "best" --- I have said randori (sparring, wrestling, boxing, rolling, whatever....) is better than cooperative practice for determining martial ability.
I feel that you repeating your point of view on a quite abstract level or be so kind to summarize the important points in the other thread you're mentioning (I'm sure it wouldn't be the broken ellbow).
Obviously you're an intelligent fellow...so I have a hard time believing you don't know what I'm talking about. Since you have consistently ascribed to me views I do not hold I strongly suspect you're baiting me.

In the unlikely event you're not baiting me .... I can't give you aikido examples, because in my experience aikidoists don't train on a consistent basis against uncooperative partners --- with the exception of Shodokan. So for aikido examples, ask Larry or Peter or search the forum for older posts as I suspect there are some out there.

In bjj, we would instruct everyone on a particular technique (say, escaping from a pin). We would then practice cooperatively with a partner on the pin escape. We would then drill the technique. One person attempts to escape the pin, the other person attempts to hold the pin (this is no longer cooperative as both people have differing purposes). Finally, we integrate this pin escape into all bjj techniques by sparring.

If class is two hours --- 15 minutes are warm up --- 30 minutes are instruction --- 30 minutes are drills and 30 minutes are sparring and 15 minutes are water breaks, questions, announcements and general community building. That would be a "normal" class, more or less, everywhere I've trained bjj.
Next question: How would you judge someones randori-performance?
By the results. To get an idea of general progress, monitor the results over time.

Finally,
the theme of the thread and answer the question, whether spiritual aspects may be needed for superior randori skills?
As I've suggested previously that's the wrong tool to measure spiritual skill. You can't use a speedometer to figure out the temperature. An uncooperative opponent measures martial ability. Spiritual skill might be best measured by something else....maybe community service, donations to charity organizations, general reputation in the community, time in meditation or prayers...depending on what is meant by spiritual aspects.

Regards,

Paul

indomaresa
01-05-2004, 06:55 AM
paul

aikido practice is cooperative when trained so. Not every dojo trains that way. Look around more, and if you're lucky you'll find a dojo that cares about practicality as you do.

But the goal of learning aikido isn't about practical techniques. It's just an unfortunate side effect that can happen to any dojo. :)

Aikido mainstream organization are usually allergic and frowns upon terms like "combat aikido", "street aikido" or "practical aikido". This is probably what causes Aikido today to lose a lot of it's original prowess.

and...

I don't agree that taking ukemi isn't a good way to measure ability. If you found someone good enough, taking ukemi from him/her can either be a life and death pursuit, or like being teleported to the ground. I say this from experience.

I personally like taking ukemi. It's fun.

Next chance you find a shihan, you can try to test your theories by attacking him without any 'cooperation'. For real.

Preferably Steven Seagal Shihan. :)

I'm sure it'll be a enlightening experience.

paw
01-05-2004, 08:02 AM
Maresa,
aikido practice is cooperative when trained so. Not every dojo trains that way.

I said, I personally have not experienced regular dynamic training in aikido, but I was aware that Shodokan people train that way. From other posts you have made, I suspect you understood quite well what I originally wrote.
I don't agree that taking ukemi isn't a good way to measure ability. If you found someone good enough, taking ukemi from him/her can either be a life and death pursuit, or like being teleported to the ground. I say this from experience.
For Pete's sake.... Once again, I didn't say "taking ukemi" isn't a good way to measure ability...I said uncooperative training is "better" than cooperative training for measuring martial ability.

Have you ever seen a baseball game? A machine is used to throw a baseball for the player to hit. Is this an indication of batting ability? Of course. If the player can hit the ball we know they possess some skill. (This, you will note, is cooperative practice)

But a living, breathing pitcher is a better test. Unlike the machine a person can vary the speed of the ball, the direction of the ball, the timing between throws, the location of the ball and the manner in which the ball is thrown (the "windup" --- which varies from person to person). This is a better test of batting ability, and you will note, is also uncooperative practice.
Next chance you find a shihan, you can try to test your theories by attacking him without any 'cooperation'. For real.
Try not making assumptions about what I've done and not done and try staying on topic.

I have trained with shihan, including Steven Seagal. I've "taken ukemi" from Shihan. I said, that I've not trained with O Sensei or with anyone who trained directly with O Sensei in a dynamic (uncooperative) manner and therefore cannot say from personal experience if O Sensei was "good". (Please read that again, it keeps getting missed)

If you're going to be cute and try in get in a good verbal barb, it helps to choose someone who: a) I haven't trained with and b) actually trained with O Sensei --- since this discussion is about how good O Sensei was, how good people are now and if "universal love" plays a part in any differences.

Regards,

Paul

Goetz Taubert
01-05-2004, 09:20 AM
@ Paul

„Personally, I see no way to judge martial performance other than an uncooperative opponent.“ (12.30.03, 04:44PM)

„Taking ukemi from someone isn't a worthwhile gauge of ability, in my opinion. There's still an amount of cooperation in some form or another.“ (01.01.04; 12:22).

„I don't feel taking ukemi is a good way to determine someone's ability per se, as it may still cooperative to some degree.“ (01.02.04; 12:27)

„If by "taking ukemi" all you mean is kata practice, then that isn't an accurate indication of much of anything as far as martial effectiveness is concerned“(01.02.04 08:05 PM)

Maybe your statements have gotten a bit tamer in the running of the thread, but I really try not to ascribe things to you without a certain „database“. May others judge, whether I‘ve leaned out the window too far with my statement.

I appreciate to see, that you‘re getting more precisely concerning the thread theme. Thank you.

indomaresa
01-05-2004, 10:52 AM
oookay, paul

got it. But your posts are pretty contradictive you know. Had to read them over & over again to get the gist of it.

According to your statements, I gather that Aikido practice is NOT necessarily cooperative, but the attacker behaviour is still not dynamic / unpredictable enough?

Like what Goetz has stated earlier, I think you need to describe your version of dynamic (uncooperative) training. Because judging from your explanations and hints, I'm getting visions of roman gladiators / UFC as well. I'm sure some people who read your posts can get that impressions as well.

I had some ideas, but I'll hear yours first.

----

I did incorrectly assume that you haven't taken ukemi from shihans, judging only from the way your posts are worded.

In addition, I also assumed that you haven't taken ukemi from really powerful shihans. And since I couldn't think of any shihan I know that has been to my country AND wherever you are, I chose the scariest shihan I could think of.

Sorry. No verbal barb intended.

But how is your impression of Steven Seagal shihan's throws? Are you being cooperative at the time?

And, to maintain the spirit of this thread, do you think he practiced 'universal love'?

L. Camejo
01-05-2004, 11:23 AM
This thread has become interestingly hilarious I'd have to admit.:)

I get the gist of Paul's comments and I don't think it has anything to do with the extremes of Roman Gladiators or even UFC.

I regularly do an experiment in our dojo, mostly with novices, but sometimes with more experienced folk as well, who have practiced a technique and get cocky, thinking that they have "mastered" it. Happened with one or two Yudansha who practiced other Aiki styles as well.

I get their Uke to attack them with the same practiced attack but with the full intent to hit/control (i.e. proper targeting, following, use of force etc.), but without resisting the technique once engaged by Tori. If Tori is able to get the technique off I take it up a notch and let Uke repeat the attack, this time resisting by keeping balance, muscle tension, sinking of weight when completing the attack etc. Uke is not allowed to strike or push Tori, just make life difficult for the tech to work.

In almost all cases, unless the Tori gets reasonable timing and kuzushi at the right time, the rest of the tech falls apart. Then Tori falls apart as he starts to use more and more upper body strength or try something like a leg sweep etc. to put Uke down. By this time I tell them, "more practice needed."

Regardless of total beginner or seasoned Shihan, anyone can pull off a technique with basic technical knowledge and a compliant Uke. Get that same Uke to release his mind and use free will to apply some medium resistance and then we may begin to see the embryo of effective technique. But if one's techniques fail at this point, they can't hope to work at higher levels of resistance, which is where one must go next to learn a bit more about him/herself and pressure.

I'm not sure how much "embracing universal love" like Ueshiba M. has to do with martially sound technique, but I will agree wholeheartedly that the technical insights gained from internalising much of aikido philosophy is very effective in reaching the place where martial effectiveness nears or even surpasses that of Ueshiba M.

In other words, the Aikido theory/philosophy of Ueshiba M. is very sound in my book, but simply "embracing universal love" alone will not enable one to achieve his level of martial skill or surpass it. Much more to it than that imho. If anything, it was after he had achieved this level of mastery that the concept of universal love began to make more sense and enter his training.

Gambatte

L.C.:ai::ki:

paw
01-05-2004, 11:35 AM
Maresa,
According to your statements, I gather that Aikido practice is NOT necessarily cooperative, but the attacker behaviour is still not dynamic / unpredictable enough?

It depends. The longer I train the more convinced I am that no one can nail down what aikido "is". Everytime someone says, "aikido isn't such and such" someone else posts that they include that in their aikido training with Shihan X.

Be that as it may, what I've personally experienced is that aikido does not have enough uncooperative practice and too much cooperative practice, IMO.

If you re-read the bjj example I gave to Goetz, you'll see that 1/2 of the class time is uncooperative....and a number of people consistently feel that isn't enough time for uncooperative practice.
Like what Goetz has stated earlier, I think you need to describe your version of dynamic (uncooperative) training.

Re-read the bjj example I gave to Goetz along with the baseball example. If you still don't understand, I can try again. However, like I mentioned to Goetz, I cannot give you an aikido example, because I've not personally experienced enough of it. I would urge you to ask Peter R. or Larry C. for examples of their training in Shodokan Aikido.
But how is your impression of Steven Seagal shihan's throws? Are you being cooperative at the time? And, to maintain the spirit of this thread, do you think he practiced 'universal love'?

I will not gossip about shihan's in an public forum. If you really want to know my thoughts about Seagal, post an email address and I'll email you with the understanding that it will be a private conversation.

Regards,

Paul

AsimHanif
01-05-2004, 12:22 PM
Well this has gotten more interesting that I thought it would.

To put it plain and simple -

I have taken ukemi from some pretty good people. Some who have embraced the "universal love" concept, some who admittedly have not, and some who are probably somewhere in between.

From my experience, those who seemed to embrace that concept, had a technique that I would definitely aspire to.

Their technique was soft and subtle yet there was no give. I was caught up in the technique even from a static position. Trust me - I am not the most cooperative uke around.

While others had a very powerful technique it was on a very physical level. I was able to feel gaps although they may have been very small.

To each his/her own but this is what I get when I watch footage of O'Sensei's later years and from the various accounts out there.

deepsoup
01-05-2004, 12:30 PM
Re-read the bjj example I gave to Goetz along with the baseball example. If you still don't understand, I can try again. However, like I mentioned to Goetz, I cannot give you an aikido example, because I've not personally experienced enough of it. I would urge you to ask Peter R. or Larry C. for examples of their training in Shodokan Aikido.
I train in a fairly randori-oriented Shodokan dojo, and even there the training is a lot more 'cooperative' than the BJJ example you gave. Most of the training is in 'kata' form, just as it is in other styles of aikido.

That said, we do occasionally have randori classes - aimed towards success in shiai - that are a lot closer. Makes sense I guess, since that BJJ example looks like pretty much the ideal formula for getting techniques into a person's competition repetoire.

Sean

x

L. Camejo
01-05-2004, 12:48 PM
From my experience, those who seemed to embrace that concept, had a technique that I would definitely aspire to.

Their technique was soft and subtle yet there was no give. I was caught up in the technique even from a static position. Trust me - I am not the most cooperative uke around.

While others had a very powerful technique it was on a very physical level. I was able to feel gaps although they may have been very small.
Very well said Asim, I can relate to what you are talking about.

But the question is - does the technical difference you felt have anything to do with their view of universal love, or more to do with their particular approach to training, part of which may be influenced by their approach toward universal love?

Something that shocked me in the early days was how very high ranking Judoka could execute throws that have the mesmerising grace, look, feel and subtle use of energy that were characteristic of "Aikido" throws.

After a while I realised that the ability to generate this sort of subtle power had something to do with internal mind/body training and how one chooses to exert force. But that did not necessarily mean that these individuals held the view of cosmic love. It was simply the place they arrived at after training consciously for a certain amount of time and understanding certain principles of suppleness. It is possible that if you look around some more you may find someone from both ends of the "universal love" scale who may execute techniques that feel almost identical in the application of subtle energy.

I now understand the reason for your initial question and it is an interesting one indeed. This is why resistance training can be very difficult, by attempting to maintain the subtle extension of energy you speak about, even while Uke is trying his hardest to stop that flow of energy.

Great thread Asim.

L.C.:ai::ki:

indomaresa
01-05-2004, 01:00 PM
oh, THAT bjj example? I didn't notice it at first. It passed right by me in my eagerness to respond.

Well that clears the entire discussion then. Everything is clear to me now.

I'm getting the feeling that everyone are standing by their PCs to pounce on any posts that comes. Like me.

No need to answer the seagal question though, since you consider it gossiping, I might as well refrain from it entirely. On and off the forum.

thank you for answering my off-subject posts

Larry,

your experiment is interesting, I think I've participated in similar tests off the mats, but we rarely do it because it can lead to some bad feelings. (very much possible)

But even though the uke resisted and deliberately intent on avoiding the technique, wouldn't locks like tembinage, ude gatame and pressure points do the trick?

Or is your experiment restricted to specific throws?

AsimHanif
01-05-2004, 01:02 PM
Ahh yes Larry. That's why I didn't want to get into names. And yes it is still a matter of individual tastes. When I first saw a tape of Tohei, I said to myself That guy (Tohei) looks like he is close to doing what that other guy (O'Sensei) is doing. This was before I even entered an aikido dojo. And of course, this is only my view for example purposes.

Now Tohei didn't embrace the Omoto religion but he did embrace the teachings of the Tempukai. Some aikidoists I took ukemi for, I later found out that they either studied with Tohei (on the down low) or did some other form of internal development (yoga, tai chi, chi gung, etc). This also seemed to give them a certain view on humanity (to varying degrees).

But the question is - does the technical difference you felt have anything to do with their view of universal love, or more to do with their particular approach to training, part of which may be influenced by their approach toward universal love?

My answer based on my experiences would be yes.

So yes this is the question.

AsimHanif
01-05-2004, 01:04 PM
Yes Maresa - ready to pounce!

L. Camejo
01-05-2004, 01:34 PM
Cool Asim :)

I have had very very similar experiences myself. Loved the way you put the question across though. Got folks thinking :).

In my pesonal training I have found that my practice of qigong, applying concepts from Taijiquan, Chin na and studying the philosophical Aikido views of Ueshiba M., Tomiki K. and others have had an interesting effect on my techniques when applied in resistance based randori and in kata. In fact, it's where I often go to find where I'm failing when it seems that I've covered all of the physical areas but still doing something wrong.

See, this is the beauty of Aikido being mind/body training. The answers tend not to lie in either place by itself.

Like I said - great thread :).

Maresa-san, the range of techniques to be applied is limitless. Remember, this experiment tends to come in the wake of students already having practiced a particular tech in class and getting an ego boost from dumping their uke around repeatedly, giving a false sense of feeling they've got the particular technique "licked."

As far as the pressure points go, again they tend to require some sort of correct positioning to apply properly, which Uke will attempt to block by body evasion tactics.

The idea of the exercise for Tori is not a matter of switching to different techniques in the face of Uke's resistance, but to make the one technique being practiced work regardless of resistance, and not by resorting to extreme upper body strength or other shortcuts. It is designed to help one understand the depths of the technique's intricacies to a level where resistance by uke becomes futile - not because you are switching to utilise Uke's resistance to help you (which is another exercise we do :)). The idea is to act decisively in the instant of the attack, utilising Sen and kuzushi to control the attack (mentally) before it even materialises.

Interesting how you say that these tests sometimes lead to bad feelings - when this happens it says a lot about the one who is getting the negative feeling. It says to me that this is where we need to focus in our practice as our threshold for maintaining harmony (centre) under pressure has been reached, causing negativity to enter, as you want to win or at the least don't appreciate being resisted.

This is why we have competition and resistance, to help us bring out and then defeat the inner demon who "always wants to be on top and to win" or who can be harmonious because the other "doesn't really mean it." Like I said earlier, resistance training helps us understand ourself better. In fact, this is where we may learn whether we can maintain the same level of universal love for our partner, even if he is honestly trying to defeat us.

We never know ourselves until our backs are against the wall.:)

Apologies for the digression from topic.

L.C.:ai::ki:

AsimHanif
01-05-2004, 03:44 PM
Look at tenkan. Yes you can almost surely do katate tori tenken "whatever technique" from a technical standpoint, using blade hand or some other very appropriate physical manuever to get uke going. You can do this really without regard for uke. But if you really, honestly, with all belief put yourself in the place of uke and really extend ki (or whatever you want to call it), and remain relaxed, you can execute this with no confrontation at all. Uke can not even feel the lead.

If I have any confrontational thought no matter how small or vague, a good uke will be able to feel it and there will be some conflict. In other words if I don't truly believe that I love this person, he/she will sense it and not want to join with me.

Also regarding the resistence training - I'm sure we have all had "that person" in the dojo who we try to avoid working with at all costs. Not a good uke, talks too much, too much resistence, too much philosophy, etc. You know that guy/gal right?

Well try to work with him/her with the intent of making the relationship work. I don't mean dominating the relationship or being patronizing. This seems to be the same as the training Larry spoke of. Find out what is really stopping YOU. Then you will be able to make it work.

I didn't mean to be misleading in this thread only vague as not to taint the responses.

Goetz Taubert
01-05-2004, 04:50 PM
Finally we get back on topic. :)

Resistance is needed in training. I resist when I'm given the opportunity to to so. It's just a help to advance. Maybe every fifth or fourth technique(on average)sometimes more

will give the possibiliy of resistance. So one can figure out, what major mistakes are made.

Asim Hanifs idea of the confrontional thought or wish to control as gereral obstacle for technical performance is interesting. Had I similar experience in training today (also many times before). Wehn I watch my teacher - even only from the corner of my eye - the technique will fail. She's able to give me a good strike cause I invite her to follow me with agressive intention. Fortunately only my right eye is the "bad eye".

AsimHanif
01-05-2004, 09:02 PM
OK Geotz - but if you are given a chance to resist, what does that say about the technique? And more to our point - why? Geotz - when you peek at your technique is that an indication that ki is not properly extended? This is a question not a comment. I would really like to know what you think.

Also I think too believe that resistance is good after tori gets "left foot/right foot" out of the way. Basically when tori has good idea about the physical movement of the technique then it's time to test at a higher level. But the resistance should only increase as tori progresses. I believe that any tori that gets upset about an honest attempt by uke to aid in the growth process doesn't want to study and is stuck in the lower ego.

Goetz Taubert
01-06-2004, 09:18 AM
@ Asim Hanif

I try to answer your question. Because of my restricted understanding of english language there are two aspects I will answer to.

First: I‘m not familiar with Ki-Aikido terms, but the feeling of beeing „extended“ in my action surely is an important aspect. Missing it means I get difficulties especially with more experienced practitioners. Also my technique is missing natural moving and gets normally too strong, when I loose the notion of extension. In my experience it takes quite a long time evolve into that more natural and (physical) force lacking motion picture. Correcting my posture beeing extendet but without physical force is what makes me sweat the most and sometimes it feels like strangulating my breath. (Now I interpreted „peek at your technique“ as critically valuation of my own performance.)

Second: In my posting I really meant „looking at the partner while doing /beginning the technique“. I don’t know whether there is a total or partial overlap with the concept of extended ki. We do this because of a technical feature described in „Takemusu Aiki“. „Il ne faut pas regarder les yeux du partenaire parce qu’ils prendront notre esprit. Il ne faut pas regarder le sabre du partnaire parce qu’il prendra notre ki. Il ne faut pas regarder votre partenaire parce qu’il faut aspirer le ki de votre partenaire.“ (Citation from aikido. Des paroles et des ecrits du fondateur a la practice. p. 30. Takemusu Aiki (french translation) p. 190) Translation: „One shouldn’t look at the eyes of the partner because they are goint take our spirit. One shouldn’t look at the sword of the partner because he is going to take our ki. One shouldn’t look at your partner, because one should draw in (suck) the ki of your partner.“ So besides being extended there is also the feature of drawing in the partners ki. So „not looking“ may be an aid to forget the partner, respectively concentrate fully on other aspects. The citation descibes looking at the partner as an invitation do dominate my spirit. Maybe there is an overlap with your concepts/experience, I don’t know.

indomaresa
01-06-2004, 09:52 AM
Larry,

It seems that your experiment is focused to causing the tori / nage's mental breakdown then :)

I can only imagine the difficulty of executing a particular tehnique where the uke is specially set against it. I think It's a good exercise to force people to re-learn their basic principles.

I didn't foresee that people can react negatively to the result of such training though. I chose my training partners more carefully now.

and speaking of universal love..

my sensei recently ( 6 months ago ) changed his focus / emphasis on aikido teaching from practical application to.... universal love

I feel that this sudden change shows itself in the way he teaches and executes techniques. If he used to be obsessed with daito-ryu human origami and extremely painful locks, its 'love your opponent' techniques now.

Which is very beneficial to all his regular ukes now. Phew :)
...But if you really, honestly, with all belief put yourself in the place of uke and really extend ki (or whatever you want to call it), and remain relaxed, you can execute this with no confrontation at all. Uke can not even feel the lead.

If I have any confrontational thought no matter how small or vague, a good uke will be able to feel it and there will be some conflict. In other words if I don't truly believe that I love this person, he/she will sense it and not want to join with me.
man, asim. I wish you could've met my sensei. This is exactly what he's been teaching for the last several months.

AsimHanif
01-06-2004, 10:01 AM
I believe I understand you Goetz. Thanks.

As for "Ki being extended" it is more like yogis may say "being in the moment". Fully being aware of my partner and my surroundings and allowing my "vibe" (hippy slang!) to get out there.

You make an interesting point about the eyes. In boxing, we usually are taught to look at the shoulders for clues. But I learned in Washin ryu karate to look into the eyes. "The eyes are the mirror to the soul".

I found that it allows me to intercept my opponents intentions and rely more on timing than speed. It also has a tendency to intimidate. Opponents sometimes have a hard time keeping eye contact and look away which means 1) they are unfocused and 2)philosophically they are trying to "hide".

I've noticed that most Ki aikido people initially engage uke with eyes then as the technique develops, draw the eyes to where the technique should end up. Thus the "sucking in" concept.

So I believe the eyes are very important. And on our "universal love" question, they probably have the ability to convey that or any other emotion.

AsimHanif
01-06-2004, 10:07 AM
Maresa, what has he actually done to change his focus? Is it physical techniques or re-interpretation of the same ones?

indomaresa
01-06-2004, 11:09 AM
I don't really know. I dare say it's probably the influences from people he meets and train with. I'll ask him about it though.

One day he is teaching us what he's been teaching for years, and then he left for two week training in japan. When he's back, BOOM! Ki Aikido. Or at least that's what I think he's teaching us now.

I do know that he studied under a resident ki no kenkyu kai sensei here for a length of time. Someone tipped me off of that possibility.

I've discussed this (IMO baffling) changes some time ago on the thread

'Aikido, the aiki part. Is it martial art?'

----

about the eye subject, didn't O'sensei said something like;

don't look at your opponent's sword or eye? because it will draw you in?

I forgot the exact wording. But my sensei also said something to the similar content, and adding that we're supposed to look at nothing.

Which I reason would mean to look at the opponent as a whole. Instead of at a particular part.

what do you think?

AsimHanif
01-06-2004, 03:17 PM
LOL! Yes that could be baffling. I'm a typical NYker. Show me and I MIGHT believe it. So going from Aikikai to Ki Society was a bit baffling to me also.

I never heard that quote but that is interesting. But when I look at the eyes I am actually looking into the soul. Don't mean to sound to cosmic. Hidy Ochiai would explain how the mind operates like sine waves - up and down. Some people quicker than others. So you strike when you see their mind go asleep or down. It takes some practice but I have gotten pretty good at it. Most people say I'm pretty fast but I laugh on the inside because I just keep distance until I'm ready and attack when they fall asleep. Then when I see that they are thinking about how they got hit, I attack again. I'm actually pretty slow.

But it would seem to me (IMO) that if your opponents sword or eye drew you in that would mean you gave them the power. Why couldn't you draw them in instead?

Goetz Taubert
01-06-2004, 10:53 PM
@ Asim Hanif

You (as nage) can draw them in, that means by drawing in you are determining the beginning (maybe at an advanced level also the specific form) of uke's attack. But this won't work, when you look at uke. The process of drawing in will stay incomplete.

To train in this form it's important and sufficient that uke maintains a strong intention to attack. By the drawing in of nage uke's intention evolves into motion and the attack is forced to beginn so sudden that it can't be stopped willingly by uke. The drawing in takes place before moving the body. Foot posture like aihanmi/yakuhanmi on nages side is the result of having drawn in ki and moved the body from a neutral standing position.

PeterR
01-07-2004, 12:40 AM
Goetz;

Just curious - no big deal - but could you let us know a bit of your Aikido background.

L. Camejo
01-07-2004, 04:16 AM
Larry,

It seems that your experiment is focused to causing the tori / nage's mental breakdown then :)

I can only imagine the difficulty of executing a particular tehnique where the uke is specially set against it. I think It's a good exercise to force people to re-learn their basic principles.
Hi Maresa,

Actualy the idea of the exercise is not so much to cause Tori's "breakdown" per se (though it does happen quite often, which is a good thing I think) but to help Tori bring his/her technique to a level where the same "extension" and "drawing in" of Uke enables Tori to execute the technique in almost the same way that he/she would during cooperative kata training. The idea is to maintain the "universal love" and all the other Aiki principles under a little bit of pressure, which to me is where the true test of one's understanding shows.

And yes it has been a good exercise to help folks return to the basics, in fact, if the basics applied against resistance are sound, then there is no "forcing" at all:).

Asim: You probably already know this, but I've found that a good indicator of the sine wave movements of the mind lies in the opponent's breathing. It also refers to something I learnt while studying Shiatsu, by harmonising your own breathing with that of the other person, you are able to move your mind in harmony with them and operate almost as if "inside their head", where your movements are not perceived by Uke as something "invasive" or foreign, but almost as if a part of Uke's natural movement itself.

In other words, they can't resist your technique because Uke is not able to perceive the exact point where their technique (attack) ends and yours begins. Hence their is no resistance.

Just a few more thoughts.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Goetz Taubert
01-07-2004, 04:44 AM
@ Peter

This is aikido in the tradition of Hikitsuchi M. Sensei (10. Dan). In Europe it's G. Blaize (7. Dan) with different teachers in a number of european countries. After having trained 10 years with more aikijutsu-like style and shinki-rengo style, I changed to Hikitsuchi style (2,5 years now). From all I have seen until now (have mainly seen the stiles mentioned) this stile comes nearest to what I would call the essence of aikido. Don't want to offend anybody, it's just my higly subjective evaluation.

happysod
01-07-2004, 06:47 AM
Larry,
In other words, they can't resist your technique because Uke is not able to perceive the exact point where their technique (attack) ends and yours begins.

As a matter of interest, how do you find atemi fitting into this area. (John, honest I'm not back at atemi bashing, just curious)

AsimHanif
01-07-2004, 10:15 AM
Wow - this has gotten rather techinical:-)

Geotz 'ole buddy, I may have to disagree with you on this one. Actually just last night I focused on this. And everytime I did not initially (that's the key) engage with the eyes I had trouble. When I did most times than not the technique went pretty smooth.

No offense taken here Geotz - Hikitsuchi Sensei is very well respected.

Larry - yes I have heard of this although I know there are some who can disquise their breathing. It is easier for me to do this once I have made contact with uke but I would like to attain a level where I could do this from a bit of a distance. Actually the way we do kokyudosa in the Ki Society is very similar to this.

Ian - regarding atemi. My Goju ryu teacher used the technique described somewhat by Larry but instead of the breath he used the position of the pupils. He (Michael Robinson Sensei) described this in his original manuscript of the Bubishi. I have actually seen him use atemi on someone and slow their pulse. Without going into detail it has to do with knowing what time of day, season, etc to strike someone based on their indications.

L. Camejo
01-07-2004, 11:09 AM
Larry - yes I have heard of this although I know there are some who can disquise their breathing.
This is true, hence the reason why there are a few ways of doing this harmonisation, both from touch and at a distance. Admittedly, the distance version calls for a bit more sensitivity to Uke's "extension" or "intent".
I have actually seen him use atemi on someone and slow their pulse. Without going into detail it has to do with knowing what time of day, season, etc to strike someone based on their indications.
From my knowledge, this is taught as part of the Dim Mak (Duan Mai) element of the Chin na of Taijiquan and some of the other Chinese styles. The time of day, season etc. has to do with the direction of Chi flow through the body and determines in what way one attacks meridian points that are used in both Shiatsu and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a very deep and complex study I understand.

Ian - Atemi and Atemi waza fit perfectly into this as well. The idea here is to enter deeply into the attack (using Sen timing) while keeping metsuke (eye contact). At the very last instant when Tori is about to initiate the attack, atemi or atemi waza can be applied. If done correctly, what you see is Uke starting to attack and then falling in one continuous motion as the atemi/atemi waza is placed at the point where Uke's attacking posture is weakest. Correct maai, timing and metsuke are imperative for this to work in this manner though. Applied properly, resistance is futile :).

The reason I differentiate between atemi and atemi waza is because to me, atemi refers to the percussive striking of vital points, when atemi waza refers to the throws or other techniques that result from attacking these same points in a non-percussive manner, effecting kuzushi or other results instead of impact damage alone.

Just my 2 cents.

L.C.:ai::ki:

AsimHanif
01-07-2004, 01:59 PM
Larry - is this the same as applying say yonkyo directly at the point of attack?

Correct me if I'm wrong but what you described above seems to be what O'Sensei is doing to Saotome Sensei in that old demo footage where he strikes him somewhere around the knee. I have never seen any other aikidoist do that although I have seen it done by a taigi stylist with similar effect.

L. Camejo
01-07-2004, 02:25 PM
Hi Asim,

Not exactly sure of the footage you are referring to, but there is a nice vital point near the lower part of the inner knee that one can exploit with similar effect.

Applying yonkyo at the point of attack is another expression of the example I gave, yes. That one takes a bit more coordination and practice than the atemi ones for me to get off though.:)

This whole talk of atemi brings to question the universal love theory a bit though. There is an atemi we use in Aikido where the blade edge of the hand is used to strike the side of the neck, which can at worst cause a vaso-vagal reaction leading to fainting or even a heart attack if the attacker has a history of heart disease.

So the question is, does one use full force atemi (outside the dojo I mean) if one prescribes to the notion of universal love? Often I hear on this site that to defend oneself from a real life attack, ample use of atemi may be necessary. But most atemi can do severe damage, so how does this and the universal love position equate?

Just wondering.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
01-07-2004, 03:42 PM
So the question is, does one use full force atemi (outside the dojo I mean) if one prescribes to the notion of universal love?
If I'm truly under attack outside of the dojo (or maybe even in it) I don't think I'm going to worry about 'universal love'. At least in the closest situation that I've seen recently, my mind was focused on the aggressors, and my great aunt. If the attack had been realized, love for my aunt may have directed my response, but I'm pretty sure my attackers wouldn't have been thinking 'oh, he really loves us.'

Don't want to get hurt? no problem. Just don't attack someone. Other than that, you place your bet, and take your chances. maybe when I finally reach the highest level, that will change. I'm not too hopefull of getting there though.

RT

PeterR
01-07-2004, 06:53 PM
Thanks I was just curious - it puts some of your statements in context.

Cheers
@ Peter

This is aikido in the tradition of Hikitsuchi M. Sensei (10. Dan). In Europe it's G. Blaize (7. Dan) with different teachers in a number of european countries. After having trained 10 years with more aikijutsu-like style and shinki-rengo style, I changed to Hikitsuchi style (2,5 years now). From all I have seen until now (have mainly seen the stiles mentioned) this stile comes nearest to what I would call the essence of aikido. Don't want to offend anybody, it's just my higly subjective evaluation.

AsimHanif
01-07-2004, 10:23 PM
Yes Ron I too have a universal love to get home in one piece:)

I have always wondered was this a chicken/egg question - meaning it's easy to perform with universal love in your heart when you are soooooo much better than everyone else (so to speak). I know that this was expressed by O'Sensei more or less in the later years but when did Tohei Sensei start to emphasize it in this way. From what I have heard (take with grain of salt) Tohei Sensei was the "enforcer" of the dojo back in the day. Was he always emphasizing "universal love" with the Ki concept? I would think this to be a big Tempukai concept???

malc anderson
01-08-2004, 07:19 AM
Asim, what a great thread! I have recently read “Invincible warrior” by J.Stevens and was saddened to read Osensei’s feelings about what he had taught and how it had been received i.e.:” I’ve given my life to opening the path of Aikido but when I look back no one is following me “ and when a student said “ I really want to learn your Aikido “ he said, “ How unusual! Everyone else wants to do their own Aikido.” Osensei had another string to his bow, an insight into the mystical inner world call it what you like, but through that inner experience he had an understanding of something completely out of this world. In the times that I have experienced this world in meditation it has changed me for days as the intellect is completely blown away and in this state things are very different. . As to all embracing universal love when you enter into the inner world it will BECOME all you can feel and not just some intellectual exercise i.e. oh I must try to love this person or group, when you feel love you feel love! And when you see that Light inside you will have found the source of all LOVE just as Osensei did. So perhaps we might see what Osensei actually said, and ask ourselves do we really understand the higher realms?

1, Foster and polish the warrior spirit, While in the world; Illuminate the path according to your light

What light? Have you seen the inner light?

2, If you have not linked yourself to true emptiness, you will never understand The Art Of Peace.

Do you link yourself to true emptiness?

3, If you perceive the true form of heaven and earth, you will be enlightened to your own true form.

Do you perceive your true form?

After asking ourselves these questions what have we now got to say for ourselves in answer to Asim’s question? Happy New Year to you all. MASAKATSU AGATSU (and what does that really mean?) malc.

P,S, it is not my intension to upset anyone, but to just expand on this great thread, as because of a serious industrial accident I cannot do Aikido anymore. I do tai chi as my physical outlet and so I have concentrated more on the inner world through Raj Yoga and this gives me another angle on Osensei’s teachings. Practice hard my brothers you are so lucky to participate in such a beautiful and graceful art.

happysod
01-08-2004, 08:19 AM
Malcom, sorry, but don't quite see how this fit into the thread, it made me re-check previous posts to see I hadn't strayed into an "enlightenment through aikido" one... :freaky:

Larry,
At the very last instant when Tori is about to initiate the attack, atemi or atemi waza can be applied. If done correctly, what you see is Uke starting to attack and then falling in one continuous motion as the atemi/atemi waza is placed at the point where Uke's attacking posture is weakest

So when you were referring to the non-perception of your aikido you were referring to timing? If so, thanks for clearing that up as I was getting confused in how uke wouldn't actually perceive being hit which why I was questioning atemi.

Asim, my vote would be yes, you would have to become able and comfortable with violence before you could choose to eschew it.

Bronson
01-08-2004, 11:51 AM
Asim, my vote would be yes, you would have to become able and comfortable with violence before you could choose to eschew it.
I would agree...hence the signature :D

Bronson

Goetz Taubert
01-08-2004, 04:03 PM
@ Ian

Hope you are not allergic to "enlightenment"-issues. I can't see why the post shouldn't fit. But maybe your feeling is just a reflection on the restricted understanding of aikido in these days, just the issue Malcom mentioned in the beginning of his post. The transcendental aspects of "do" are disturbing, not easyly understandable, not teachable, nearly not communicable, but they surely touch the "universal love" aspect. Reading Malcoms post - in my opinion - makes this quite obvious.

I can tell you only about my personal experience: Only the few moments in training where things just happend - beyond reflection, intention or planning - are the ones that keep me going on. Actually I have short glances in non-physical aspects of aikido, which also keep me going on. To me this "transcendental stuff" is the main aspect to continue, the other things (grading, technical skills) are just nice additions.

AsimHanif
01-08-2004, 11:00 PM
Bronson - I would agree that your signature sums up my thought.

I also agree that Malcolms post was right on point. I think I may have mentioned this before how I believe that the body (something physical) forges the mind or spirit. So again just train (properly) and the natural order of things will occur. Natural according to you. So maybe it is not natural for some of us to feel universal love or does the specific training in aikido foster that???

I know recently this is what I have been focusing on. Techniques themselves are not as important to me as the manner in which I approach my training. I have definitely seen a change in the outcome of my techniques. This is where the ego is so strong and the training is so humbling as Goetz alluded to.

malc anderson
01-09-2004, 03:39 AM
HI again everyone, sorry Ian but I thought this was a spiritual forum, i'm not sure what you think spiritual means.perhaps you might look at the articles in this forum by Jop Den Das.I would still point back to the 3 questions in my post as Osensei wrote these things down for our education. I could quote you some more if you like, I love to talk about the inner world but realise I must be careful not to over stay my welcome. So I will leave you with just one more. "Cast off limiting thoughts and return to true emptyness. Stand in the midst of the Great Void. This is the SECRET of the way of the warrior". Yes the secret, what is this SECRET? malc

The penetrating brilliance of swords wielded by followers of the way strikes at the evil enemy lurking deep WITHIN their OWN souls and bodies.

happysod
01-09-2004, 06:38 AM
I felt the enlighted sarcasm expressed does deserve some reply. :straightf

My problem with Malcom's post was that the topic had become interesting in that many of the posters were making a direct comparison between how their philosophical take on aikido had a direct impact on how they trained and approached their aikido.

The more generic nature of Malcom's post was less interesting to me and did not seem to fit with the thrust the thread had developed or even with the original question posed.

L. Camejo
01-09-2004, 10:37 AM
I can see Ian's point.

Personally, I think the reason why no one wanted to (or could) learn Ueshiba M.'s Aikido is because non of them were Ueshiba M. As said multiple times already, one's approach to training and even more so one's approach to spirituality and its place in that training is a totally individual and private matter. I don't think any of Ueshiba M.'s students approached Aikido in exactly the same way he did, and even if they did, it does not guarantee that they would attain the same spiritual insights that he did. Of course, being an "enlightened" individual I'd guess that Ueshiba M. already knew this. The best his disciples could do was forge what he had taught in their own spirits and understanding and give that a new expression -"Stand on his shoulders" as they like to say.:)

My answer to all of the 3 questions posed by Malcolm above would be - "Who is the judge?". Light, Truth, Emptiness, Fullness, Limitations, Form - all come down to one person - the individual, and what he/she perceives these things to be, with perception itself being something that evolves and becomes clearer as the total human self evolves. What I perceive about something today I may not perceive tomorrow.

To quote Goetz "The transcendental aspects of "do" are disturbing, not easyly understandable, not teachable, nearly not communicable," - so how does one determine an objective measure from which to judge or ask such a question? From my experience, we can't and that is a good thing because in defining and categorising something in order to teach it we necessarily limit it at some level.

Applying the "do" and the philosophy to one's technical approach can have some truly brilliant effects and bring great results in the evolution of the person. But how that is done by each person is their own business in my book, and cannot be compared to another as there may be no common ground from which to do that.

Hence my favourite quote in the Art of Peace being simply - "Just head for the Light and Heat.":)

L.C.:ai::ki:

PeterR
01-09-2004, 11:17 AM
Fair enough but why do I get the feeling that you are assuming that you understand Ueshiba's true intent. To be blunt it seems that only the California born truely understand.
Asim, what a great thread! I have recently read “Invincible warriorEby J.Stevens and was saddened to read Osensei’s feelings about what he had taught and how it had been received i.e.:EI’ve given my life to opening the path of Aikido but when I look back no one is following me Eand when a student said EI really want to learn your Aikido Ehe said, EHow unusual! Everyone else wants to do their own Aikido.E Osensei had another string to his bow, an insight into the mystical inner world call it what you like, but through that inner experience he had an understanding of something completely out of this world. In the times that I have experienced this world in meditation it has changed me for days as the intellect is completely blown away and in this state things are very different. . As to all embracing universal love when you enter into the inner world it will BECOME all you can feel and not just some intellectual exercise i.e. oh I must try to love this person or group, when you feel love you feel love! And when you see that Light inside you will have found the source of all LOVE just as Osensei did. So perhaps we might see what Osensei actually said, and ask ourselves do we really understand the higher realms?

1, Foster and polish the warrior spirit, While in the world; Illuminate the path according to your light

What light? Have you seen the inner light?

2, If you have not linked yourself to true emptiness, you will never understand The Art Of Peace.

Do you link yourself to true emptiness?

3, If you perceive the true form of heaven and earth, you will be enlightened to your own true form.

Do you perceive your true form?

After asking ourselves these questions what have we now got to say for ourselves in answer to Asim’s question? Happy New Year to you all. MASAKATSU AGATSU (and what does that really mean?) malc.

P,S, it is not my intension to upset anyone, but to just expand on this great thread, as because of a serious industrial accident I cannot do Aikido anymore. I do tai chi as my physical outlet and so I have concentrated more on the inner world through Raj Yoga and this gives me another angle on Osensei’s teachings. Practice hard my brothers you are so lucky to participate in such a beautiful and graceful art.

indomaresa
01-09-2004, 11:43 AM
O'sensei is born in California?

0_o

L. Camejo
01-09-2004, 12:09 PM
O'sensei...
Apparently he's an Irish Californian too :p

L.C.:ai::ki:

L. Camejo
01-09-2004, 01:03 PM
Anyway, to get back on target before we go off on a tangent - I was really intrigued by Ron's post earlier.
If I'm truly under attack outside of the dojo (or maybe even in it) I don't think I'm going to worry about 'universal love'. At least in the closest situation that I've seen recently, my mind was focused on the aggressors, and my great aunt. If the attack had been realized, love for my aunt may have directed my response, but I'm pretty sure my attackers wouldn't have been thinking 'oh, he really loves us.'
I remember being robbed at gunpoint at a client of mine once and there was a similar thought pattern that went through my mind - take em out first, then we can practice some harmony :). Loving, protective Aikido technique was very far from my mind at that point.

This was my first instinct to being attacked, however, this gave way to a feeling of being sorry for my attackers as the seconds passed, and by the time the episode had ended I was actually trying to keep the bandits (2 guys, late teens, early 20's) calm so that they would not do anything stupid, like shoot someone (as some people were frantic and crying), as they were already a bit nervous and on edge.

However, unlike Ron, I did not have a loved one other than myself at stake, and that can change one's take on the event drastically.

However, I did find myself trying to "extend energy" of calm and harmony to the guys, possibly because I also did not want to find out what may have happened to either (or both) of us, had things not gone the way they did.

So the universal love thing is extremely hard to apply in certain situations, which brings me to the conclusion that the only way it can be truly applied at these levels is by having a total feeling of emptiness and not be controlled (possessed) by the things around you, even loved ones who may be in danger. This may enable one to see clearly the "right technique" to apply in the situation. Which brings back my point about martial ability to back up the moral position. If one is a Lion among Sheep, then it is very easy to maintain harmony and universal love in the challenges that life may offer. So is this what Ueshiba M. was alluding to? Seek into Universal love, but become technically proficient as well and exude that aura, so that peace may be maintained? After all, it's common sense to attack a perceived weak enemy if one plans to succeed.

Then again, these days being a Lion among sheep may mean becoming a nuclear superpower :)

What do you think?

L.C.:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
01-12-2004, 02:53 PM
Hi Larry,

Interestingly enough, I did not have to physically harm the individuals. I don't know if it was how I was constantly taking an angle on their leader, the fact that I was calming my Aunt at the same time I was controling them with body positioning, the fact that they didn't know what was in the pouch I was wearing, or whatever...they changed their minds midstream. Walked all the way across the street for something...then changed their minds and left.

I guess some would think it was the great Aiki...in my mind it was probably

1 part luck

1 part attitude

1 part the possibility of backing it up with physical technique; and making it clear I was willing to do that.

The reality is: I'll never know. Don't much care to find out, either. :)

Ron

Richard Elliott
01-12-2004, 04:31 PM
[I guess some would think it was the great Aiki...in my mind it was probably

1 part luck

1 part attitude

1 part the possibility of backing it up with physical technique; and making it clear I was willing to do that.

The reality is: I'll never know. Don't much care to find out, either. :)

Ron[/QUOTE]
Dear Sir:

A better definition and application of humility I haven't heard all week.:) :D

L. Camejo
01-13-2004, 10:00 AM
Well done Ron, very very well done. As far as I'm concerned, what you did is a major part of what "the higher levels" of Aikido are all about.

It's what I was hoping for in my situation, but I settled for no one being seriosly hurt or dead, even though I lost a few trinkets and some cash.:)

I think you are perfectly correct in how you view it as well, though I think that the "1 part attitude" plus the "1 part ability and resolution to back it up with action" helped to increase the effect of the "1 part luck" imho.

May I ask a question though, did you find that your Aikido training helped you to stay centred, focussed and relaxed throughout the whole affair, or do you see it as a result of something else?

Hmm, maybe we have discovered the Aikido version of the Jedi mind trick:p.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
01-13-2004, 10:49 AM
May I ask a question though, did you find that your Aikido training helped you to stay centred, focussed and relaxed throughout the whole affair, or do you see it as a result of something else?
I believe that the training produced just what you stated. Some years ago, my response to threat was to loose my temper, channel the adrenalin dump as best I could, and basically go ape on the threat. The problem with such a response is that if the advisary timed their actions for the shakiness and weakness that comes after such a dump, I was easy to defeat. Not to mention that a truly experienced fighter didn't even have to wait...they would take advantage of the obvious flaws I presented in that state.

I was pretty amazed to *not* ever feel the results of said adrenalin dump, during or after the event. I believe that was the closest to 'mushin' I've ever felt. It even surpassed the feeling I've had on the odd aikido test. I guess there really is something to spending several years 3 to 5 times a week having someone throw punches, kicks and grabs at you without you losing your temper that acclimates you to some stressfull situations.

I found it quite remarkable, really. I'm glad the cost of experiencing it was so low.

Richard,

Thanks, and Osu! I will strive to live up to your compliment.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
01-13-2004, 10:56 AM
It's what I was hoping for in my situation, but I settled for no one being seriosly hurt or dead, even though I lost a few trinkets and some cash.
Wait a minute...there were guns involved, and all that resulted was you lost some 'trinkets and some cash'? Hey, it doesn't get any better than that. Talk about 'high level aikido'...

RT :)

L. Camejo
01-14-2004, 05:50 AM
Wait a minute...there were guns involved, and all that resulted was you lost some 'trinkets and some cash'? Hey, it doesn't get any better than that. Talk about 'high level aikido'...

RT :)
What can I say, I'm a compulsive perfectionist :).

The reason I asked the question earlier is because a similar thing happened after my encounter. When the cops came to take reports and stuff I was a bit taken aback to realise that they did not go to the Security guard (who was in tears and saying that she will not ever come back to work there), but the detective came directly to me and started asking questions. Maybe it was because I appeared calm or something - the whole episode had a sort of ethereal feel to it for me - like you said earlier, some sort of mushin, or maybe just detachment from the energetics of the conflict.

Reminds me of something in The Book of Five Rings - it is important for a warrior to see close things as if they are far away, and far off things as if they are close.

Any other thoughts?

L.C.:ai::ki:

Reuben Lee
01-14-2004, 07:13 AM
This post are my comments towards the first page of posts for this particular thread.

Uke is a performance standard for AIkido. AIkido is AIkido. If I specify the benefits of being an uke, the page will go on and on.

Perhaps ukemi is not a performance standard for other martial arts, (no wrong done there), but it is for Aikido.

Because learning ukemi brings various benefits, I say it is not mere "show".

One of the benefits is that it trains reaction. I will not go into details. But if we pause and think, it is true.

Sensitivity to the nage is built by being a uke. Sensitivity towards your opponent in real combat is built by being a uke . Observe the parallel statements.

And Assim, personally, yes . I think that we need a degree of "love" . Why? Well , the founder wanted Aikido to be a martial art that expresses his spiritual principles. His Art, his call.

Wether following the 'way' brings more power in technique will be a topic of hot debate online . I decline to give my opinon on this one.

Good question.

AsimHanif
01-14-2004, 12:04 PM
I'm not disagreeing with you Reuben but when you say you believe there should be a degree of love because the Founder said so - isn't there anymore to it than that?

If you look at the the different Zen schools, there are contrasts in the study of the "way", but all have the same goal. Some use the "whipping stick" more, some use sitting meditation more, some koans more, etc. Aikido is the same. When I was with the Aikikai it was common to hear "use your hips more". In the Ki Society it is common to hear "extend ki". Ki could be interpreted as love, energy, or focus but the emphasis on hips appears to be more of a physical tool.

Reuben Lee
01-18-2004, 03:40 AM
QUOTE="Asim Hanif (AsimHanif)"]I'm not disagreeing with you Reuben but when you say you believe there should be a degree of love because the Founder said so - isn't there anymore to it than that?

If you look at the the different Zen schools, there are contrasts in the study of the "way", but all have the same goal. Some use the "whipping stick" more, some use sitting meditation more, some koans more, etc. Aikido is the same. When I was with the Aikikai it was common to hear "use your hips more". In the Ki Society it is common to hear "extend ki". Ki could be interpreted as love, energy, or focus but the emphasis on hips appears to be more of a physical tool.[/QUOTE]
Asim, yes of course , I agree with you totally.

What I meant was that love is one of the ingredients to acheive the highest levels of Aikido.

About what the other ingredients are to reach the highest levels, I don't see myself as competent enough to discuss ,let alone comment.

And that is another very good question : what are the other components that take us to acheive the highest levels of Aikido ?

indomaresa
01-18-2004, 09:13 AM
there's probably never been a 'highest' level of aikido nor will there be. O'sensei also said so on his last day that 'I have just started aikido'

or something similar to that effect.

Unless there's a way to brain transplant a shihan's brain into a newbie with great physical condition, I don't think we'll ever see the highest level of aikido anytime soon.

As for what other components will enable us to achieve the highest level, I think it's 'time'.