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AikiWeb System
03-03-2004, 12:20 PM
Discuss the article, "Practice" by Chuck Clark here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/cclark/2004_03.html

DCP
03-04-2004, 05:41 PM
First of all, I think the addition of columns is a great addition to AikiWeb.

Mr. Clark, I really enjoyed what you had to say in the article, especially the portion dealing with Tsuneo Nishioka sensei's "expandable cup." I once had an instructor give me the "empty your cup" line, and it didn't sit too well with me. The reason it didn't sit well with me is that I thought "emptying my cup" would be disrespectful to my previous sensei.

I think a great deal of wisdom was present in your article. While training I will try to keep in mind the principles of shoshin and nyunanshin, and just "walk the path."

Thank you for sharing this.

Chuck Clark
03-04-2004, 09:32 PM
Thank you Mr. Pierson,

I appreciate your feedback. This is part of our beginners' handbook. It's easy to talk about shoshin, etc. but very difficult to do.

Good luck in your training.

Gambatte!

ikkitosennomusha
03-05-2004, 12:23 AM
Hi Chuck!

If one's cup is full then that person thinks he knows all there is to know and a beginner's mind is no longer possible.

It is my opinion that the cup should be half full/ half empty. Just like in zazen when meditating, thoughts will enter your mind. You have to just let them pass. If you notice these thoughts, then your meditation is interrupted. So allow them to come and go while maintaing mushin.

Brad Medling

Chuck Clark
03-05-2004, 08:54 AM
Hello Mr. Medling,

You're most welcome to your opinion. Any discussion about subjective and metaphorical descriptions of this sort of thing leaves much room for semantic differences. We may be talking about the very same thing...

Charles Hill
03-08-2004, 06:53 AM
Mr.Clark,

I always learn a lot from reading the articles on your web site and am glad to see that they will be posted on Aiki web. I have a question about the article. Could you explain what you mean by the terms "desensitize" and "resensitize?"

Thanks,

Charles Hill

Chuck Clark
03-08-2004, 05:04 PM
Hello Charles,

It's been awhile, eh. I'll try to give you an idea of how I use these terms...

All of us have learned many things in our lives. Enviornmental conditioning leaves us with many values: attitudes about ourselves, fears (about being hit in the face or beaten up for example, or demeaned by authority figures, etc), about conflict (especially ideas about how power or force involved in physical confrontations are necessary, etc). Basic ideas about “winning and losing” that lessen our ability to make creative decisions in times of stress can make it very difficult to see a broad range of possibilities that are available to us in our daily problem solving.

My usage of the terms “desensitizing and then re-sensitizing” has to do with the re-education of these “buttons” that get pushed by others or events and cause us to have a less than optimum ability to make intuitive, creative decisions based on clear information at hand.

For example, in the theraputic treatment of phobia, a period of desensitization is necessary and then re-sensitization so that the same stimuli do not evoke the fear response or negative, distressful effects on our system that they used to

The idea of the dojo as a protected, controlled, environment that is still dilemma rich and gives us the chance to go through this period of changing the way we resolve dangerous situations and conflict through the disciplined training involved in budo seemed to me to be similar to the basic behavior modification that is involved in this type of education.

I see much of the uke – tori relationship as being an agreement to help each other learn to solve problems that are normally problematic for us. We put our hands in each other’s face in what would normally be a very rude and confrontational manner and we grab each other in ways that are stressful to most people. We upset each other’s balance and throw each other down. Over time, this desensitizes and then re-sensitizes our fears and gives us new problem solving skills.

I hope this makes sense, I came back from a seminar trip late last night and am still kind of tired.

Thanks for taking part.

ikkitosennomusha
03-08-2004, 10:12 PM
Hi Mr. Clark and Mr. Hill:

I particularly enjoyed the comment by Chuck regarding "sensitizing" and "desensitizing". I am glad that you payed attention to this Charles.

First let me say that I totally agree with the explanation that Chuck gave you Charles (I skimmed it) and if Chuck has not already mentioned this, let me add to his fine explanation.

When encountering a new endeavor, most of us go through this process. In the martial arts, namely aikido, we go throught the mental and physical process of desensitizing and resensitizing as we let go of our fear while gaining confidence, let go of our ego while gaining humility, let go of selfishness and convey servitude, etc, etc. This is, I feel, some of what Chuck is saying. Lets look at another twist that I have encountered.

Often times when a guest would come in, I learn that they have trained in another art, namely karate. They usually have trouble understanding the concepts and ideology behind the techniques. I tell most of them after dicover that they are of a different background, that have to unlearn what has been learned in their karate experience.

Why? First of all because of the principles. Aikido is passive (can be made agressive) while karate is aggressive. Aikido utilizes the concept of concervation of energy while karate mostly expends energy. These are just to name a couple as most serious practioners know it gets alot deeper than I am willing to go in this article. Body movement is a lot more complex and dynamical in aikido where in karate it is mainly linear.

A karateka has to "convert religions" so to soeak and I find that %99 of my experience has been that the guest will return back to their original art.

Aikido is regarded as the "true" budo. It is very demanding if you wish to gain something out of it and is serious buisness. So the process of desensitizinf resensitizing is a must for everyone whether they realize it or not because no matter what the previous background is (even a couch potatoe), has to emerge into this mysterious and unique way of doing things that requires patience, understanding and etc. Even a knowledge of the culture from which O-sensei begat is important to understand what he was thinking in particular cases.

Great Comments to all!

Brad Medling

PeterR
03-09-2004, 01:45 AM
Aikido is regarded as the "true" budo.
Only by a certain type of Aikidoist. Certain others think the offending quote is a mis-translation.

With the attitude expressed it is no wonder people with previous Budo experience leave. The idea of the expandable cup does not require someone to ignore ones prior training.

In my limited experience - people with a previous Budo background are more likely to stay.

That little rant out of the way I think that the idea of empty cup refers to an approach to a new experience rather than a constant entity. Of course your cup can never be empty but the attitude is important when you go to learn from a teacher. Exploration comes at your own time.

ikkitosennomusha
03-10-2004, 02:19 AM
With the attitude expressed it is no wonder people with previous Budo experience leave.
Peter:

The dojo I trained in was mainly private for all practical purposes. We started with 2 aikidoka and built it to a steady 5. Sure, at times we had more and sometimes less. Even my humble beginnings was in Karate but from a very tender age, I knew this was not sufficent as there were too many flaws with its ideology.

The people that wound up quiting usually were fresh out from the study of karate and found aikido to be troublesome for the following reasons:

1. Its concepts are complicated in nature and cannot be easily mastered unlike the kick, punch, and blocks that most learn in a day or two.

2. Realization sets in regarding the time needed for significant progress.

3. Ranks are not handed out like candy for motivational/fee purposes etc.

4. etc etc.

O-sensei regarded his art as the "true budo" so if this offends you, well, you'll just have to live with it. You may not wish to accept it, by all means that is fine, but you will have to live with it unless you feel you are the one to convince a whole lot of highly motivated individuals that they are wrong. I never said the attitude of aikido being a "true budo" was ever taught at any establishment I have tranined in. This is something that each individual found necessary for them to committ their life to.

Me personally, I have study many arts before karate. I found aikido to be the most effective and least flawless for me. I did have to unlearn what I have previously learned to master certain aspects. It is my thought that one who is committed to a couple of differents arts whether it be simult, mind, or spirit, will never master their chosen art. Akido is a life long process and takes years to master. If half your time is spent executing traning in one art while in another, you will never master either one. If you think so, then perhaps you are not as good as you think and slightly dilusional.

Brad Medling

PeterR
03-10-2004, 02:46 AM
O-sensei regarded his art as the "true budo" so if this offends you, well, you'll just have to live with it. You may not wish to accept it, by all means that is fine, but you will have to live with it unless you feel you are the one to convince a whole lot of highly motivated individuals that they are wrong.
No intention to hijack a thread but I think it was Chris Li (here on Aikiweb) that first pointed out to me that there is no the in Japanese. He also pointed out that there is a real difference between stating that something is

A true Budo

versus

The true Budo

The first does not reject all other forms while the other aims for exclusivity. All things considered I believe that the former was meant by Ueshiba M. rather than the latter. I've discussed this with several other bilingual people, including those holding serious rank in Aikido, and they seem to agree. It seems to me that Ueshiba M. picked his words quite careful when making pronouncements (kousou vs shiai come to mind) and personally I can not see him daring or obnoxious enough to offend his contemporaries.

Your list is not a condemnation of Karate but perhaps your experience of it. I'll say it again. If someone walks through my door with previous Budo experience they are more likely to stay than absolute beginners. I think this is because they know what to expect vis a vis frustration, blood, sweat and tears.

David Yap
03-10-2004, 06:46 AM
If someone walks through my door with previous Budo experience they are more likely to stay than absolute beginners. I think this is because they know what to expect vis a vis frustration, blood, sweat and tears.
Brad,

I agree absolutely with Peter. Take me for example, been doing karate for more than 30 years (hold a 3rd Dan)and practising aikido for the past 10 years. A visiting shodan aikido instructor from another dojo asked me last week why was I there in my shihan's class. I assumed that he wanted to know why a karate instructor like me would want to study aikido. When I told that him that I was there for spiritual reasons, he laughed out loud and said, "Why? You mean there are spirits here". I saw no point to explain further to him.

Karate has taught me to bring a person down with a strike or a punch or a kick or a sweep. Now what would I do, if the rule forbids me to use any of the above tools that I've learned so well. More so, if I enforce this rule on myself with this objective - whatever techniques I need to use to control/subdue an attacker, I must do it with minimal effort and maximum effect (and reality). Hence, unlike some aikidoka who have no prior MA skill and understanding, I train with a different prospective and I believe I can advance in Aiki-Do at a much quicker pace.

Brad, there are both linear and circular movements in karate, the linear movements you are familiar with are only in sports karate (kumite), look at the kata and you will be surprise to see the various aikido techniques there, to the trained eyes karate-jutsu have many circular movements. There is a beautiful and quite accurate written article in Aikido Journal website detailing the differences and similarities of karate and aikido that you should read. Most of the past and present shihan who studied aikido under O'Sensei have/had also done karate.

Regards

David

Josh Bisker
03-10-2004, 09:39 AM
So, back on topic;

Mr. Clark, thank you so much for your insightful article. I'm a two year+ beginner and am a guest in a dojo for this semester that i'm spending away from home, and I'm finding a lot of your points very applicable, and very useful. Training in a new environment here has given me some perspective on how i've been interacting with my training, and not all the things i'm seeing are good ones; your article is very helpful towards guiding me in a good direction with my attitude and thinking, so thanks.

PeterR
03-10-2004, 06:38 PM
Well that does it - I'm starting another thread.

Also back on topic.

Do you see training as essentially teacher or student driven. Both is an easy answer and therefore not allowed.

I've flip flopped on this quite recently. In the begining I definately believed it was teacher driven - here are the techniques you are supposed to learn. Then it was all about self - self direction, self training. The teacher only there to provide the occaisional nudge it the right direction. Now keeping in mind that I am still firmly in the Shu stage of things I find myself reverting to the initial view. Not so much with respect to techniques that must be learnt but with very careful observation of my teachers. There movements define my direction.

Chuck Clark
03-10-2004, 09:18 PM
Hi Peter, How's tricks?

I'm sorry to be a rebel, but in my understanding the answer is "both" and it isn't an easy answer.

There are many complex factors to consider if you want to get into the real reason for "both" being the answer. I'm going to cop out and ask any one that's interested to think about it a bunch and ask their teacher. I suspect that each teacher has a pretty unique answer. I have an answer, but it applies to the relationship between me and my students. It's most likely different for other teachers and I can't speak for them. My answer is really not useful for anyone that's not my student.

Mr. Bisker, you're most welcome. Thanks for taking part.

Respectfully,

PeterR
03-10-2004, 09:32 PM
Hi Peter, How's tricks?
Doing fine - hope the same goes for you.
I'm sorry to be a rebel, but in my understanding the answer is "both" and it isn't an easy answer.
Serves me right for trying to force the question.
There are many complex factors to consider if you want to get into the real reason for "both" being the answer. I'm going to cop out and ask any one that's interested to think about it a bunch and ask their teacher. I suspect that each teacher has a pretty unique answer. I have an answer, but it applies to the relationship between me and my students. It's most likely different for other teachers and I can't speak for them. My answer is really not useful for anyone that's not my student.
Fair enough - I would never argue that there is no dynamic between student and teacher. I was interested in the idea in context of your article. To take your observation a little further I suspect each student has a pretty unique answer also.

Cheers

ikkitosennomusha
03-10-2004, 10:18 PM
Karate has taught me to bring a person down with a strike or a punch or a kick or a sweep. Now what would I do, if the rule forbids me to use any of the above tools that I've learned so well. More so, if I enforce this rule on myself with this objective - whatever techniques I need to use to control/subdue an attacker, I must do it with minimal effort and maximum effect (and reality). Hence, unlike some aikidoka who have no prior MA skill and understanding, I train with a different prospective and I believe I can advance in Aiki-Do at a much quicker pace.
Hi David,

Let me compliment you on a great reply. Let me state the post I made was merely observations from when I was a mudansha under a particular sensei that I wrote about in the "Aikido and Aiki" column. I was fortunate to run into some of these karateka after I had not seen them in a while and the list is what I rember their comments to be, in addition to the fact that the sensei did not win them over (whatever that means). I could see some of their points and others not.

Now, I did mention that I trained 3 different styles of karate as well as some other budo. I highly reccomend that children start out in karate to learn basic kicks, blocks, and stance. Why? It is better when a person already knows the proper way to attack etc. when they come in. However, most karateka I have worked with are top heavy meaning they are used to training light on their feelo due to the kicks and other movements. An aikidoka is planted like a tree stump, immovable if you will. It was always easy to take their balance. Thats ok though, this is true with most everyones beginning.

Having said all this, studying other budo at a young age did help me understand some concepts and prepared me for study in aikido. I do stand by what I said about having to unlearn some of what I learned. Karate is very flawed in my opinion and aikido is much more a mature art.

A high ranking karateka as yourself walked in and afer class I asked a question out of curiosity. I asked how he would defend a shomenuchi knife attack, he displayed the typical high block in karate. I said, dude, had this been a real knife, your forearm would have gotten sliced to pieaces. He said, thats ok, my sensei said at least we will probably live!!!! In my opinioni, facing a shomenuchi knife attact square on with a high block is insane, don't you agree? Things like this is why I foiund the aiki-principles to work much better for me but, if karate works better for someone else, do whatever works for you....I appreciate your reply and I in large, agree.

regards

Brad Medling

ikkitosennomusha
03-10-2004, 10:29 PM
Hi Peter, How's tricks?

I'm sorry to be a rebel, but in my understanding the answer is "both" and it isn't an easy answer.
If anyone has ever trained in Japan, you will notice a distinct difference in methodology of that between American and Nihongo sensei.

In Japan, the sensei will demonstrate a technique fairly quickly a time or two and then you will have to do it. There isn't much broken down explanation of the technique so you have to learn to be very articulate in your analysis of what the sensei is doing. Not much persoanl attention. I find a little more instruction here in the states.

Now, whether you are in Japan or the states, a students goal is to emulate your sensei and your sempai. The relation between student and sensei is one of synergy. Without either, training would not be possible. Some sensei will not take much ukemi from their students but to have students, a sensei must take ukemi for them. This is the respectable thing to do. So notask of them what you will not do yourself. So, the idea is that everyone should cultivate a begginer's mind. If you are in this state, everyone is equal in the sense of humility and servitude.

regards,

Brad Medling

Jamie Stokes
03-11-2004, 12:18 AM
Mr Clark and others on this thread,

Mr Clark, I wish I had a smiley face that I could plant here to bow. I liked the article, as it puts in words that I am still struggling with. In a word, preconceptions.

As for filling the cup, just when you thought it was full, and you knew what was in there, Karma, fate, happen chance (call it what you will) tosses something in and makes you realise that there is a whole lot more cup than what you have poured into it.

I have already thrown my 10 yen worth on Rehse-sans new thread effort. Hope it generateds a lively discussion.

warmest regards,

Jamie

Chuck Clark
03-11-2004, 03:41 AM
[QUOTE="Brad Medling" If anyone has ever trained in Japan, you will notice a distinct difference in methodology of that between American and Nihongo sensei.

In Japan, the sensei will demonstrate a technique fairly quickly a time or two and then you will have to do it. There isn't much broken down explanation of the technique so you have to learn to be very articulate in your analysis of what the sensei is doing. Not much persoanl attention. I find a little more instruction here in the states.[/QUOTE]

Mr. Medling,

You deliver your posts with some authority and broad statements at times. In my experience, I have found many teachers in Japan to be as you describe, however, there are also many that come from different traditions and teaching styles that differ from the teaching model you describe.

Would you help us get to know you better by expanding on your history and experience in the practice of budo? You wrote in one post that you are a nikyu in your current practice. Is your knowledge experiential or gathered from others' writings in books? Nothing wrong with book knowledge if you quote your sources.

Respectfully,

ikkitosennomusha
03-11-2004, 12:27 PM
="C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark

Would you help us get to know you better by expanding on your history and experience in the practice of budo?Hi Mr. Clark!

Thank you for asking! I usually don't like to discuss myself although I did post a personal experience on another column, but lets delve into it a bit.

Actually, I have yet to own an Aikido book! I could not tell you what is on the market. I remember being in a Barnes and nobles book store to pick up a frappucino and noticed a martial arts section. I noticed a couple of aikido books (don't remember the name). One was on various exercises to practice maai, break falling, etc. and one the other was by some guy I never hear of. Thumbing through, the excercise one was kinda cool and the other with a little kihon-waza was bland and rather difficult to follow and conceptualize by the way it was presented. I bought neither because I did not have the money and was not worth the inflated price.

so, if I seem to speak with authority, it comes from a particular experience of mine; my character exudes confidence because what I speak of, is a true experience. Now lets delve into my history. From a young age of around about 10, I studied some ninjitsu but to no real measure, from there I studied Shotokan Karate which is full contact. I then studied American Karate, and then a little of some other karate, a little judo, and finally I arrived at aikido.

I have made all the mistakes at one time or another in a certain regard so I learned the hard way regarding how to detect those "self proclaimed" sensei vs. a certified sensei! The first two instructors of aikido that I moved around to turned out to be self-proclaimed idiots rather than a sensei. I was young and did not no better at the time and alot of regrettable mistakes were made. The next sensei I ran across was certified and actually new what he was doing but I questioned the way he ran things from time to time. So, I stuck with him the longest based on the notion that no one will do things to suit me %100. I stayed their for 4 yrs until we had a falling out that I mentioned in the aikido and aiki column. I left that dojo 1.4 years ago.

Now, I travel to train with various sensei as I have not yet settled nad there is no other dojo even remotely close to where I live. People from my previous dojo and from the area where I live feel it necessary that I open a dojo. I have only considered this just so I would be able to train more regularly like I used to. I have the skill and methodology to organize and effectivly convey the techniques but, I don't want to do that until I reach my goals at a certain level. So, it may seem selfish but I need to work on myself so that later I can put more into the students. I could probably carry a student to shodan but I don't want to be limited to this.

Ahhh rank, I think you asked about rank. Good 'ol rank. Well, another misfortune in the place I trained for 4 yrs. was all about rank. The sensei was a control-freak and rank was a constant issue in the way hr trteated mudansha. Parting from there was a good thing. Before I came to that dojo, I had earned black belt from the the 2nd self proclaimed sensei in just over a year (which is not possible in a real dojo). I did not know any better. Some time had ellapsed and I heard about the dojo that was certified. When he asked if I had ever trained aikido, I said yes, but I don't know how it wouold measure up. After training there for a month, I realized that I had not recieved decent instruction previously. He offered to see what level I could come in at and I said no, I will sart at the bottom (7 th kyu) and work my way back up because I wanted to learn everything right. I also did not want to out rank their top student which wasn't saying much.

The awkward thing was that my skill level was constantly above the sempai! He would always ask me how to do something and so forth. It never bothered me until the end of the 4 years. I had finally advanced up to one rank behind him, in the beginning I was 3 ranks behind him. One should only be concerned with the self but it does get frustrating when you have to compensate for a sempai regarding to having to show him how a techniqque goes, terminology. etc. etc.

At that dojo, the sensei took me all the way to nikyu which I never really got. I took the pretest and was great, the problem is that the falling out happened one week before I was supposed to test nikyu.

Since then I have traveled to study with various sensei. Among them, Yasuo Kobayashi-shihan, I visited Keith Moore-Meido (Toyoda-shihan's successor), others who have helped me include; Derek Nakagawa-sensei and so on. Before that of course, I trained with Toyoda-shihan on ocassion efore his passing.

So my rank? With the AAA it is negligible. I no longer have a rank there as I am out of it. However, my skill and knowledge expands past the 2nd kyu from which I was ready to accept. I am a very articulate and analytical person so it comes fast and natural for me most of the time. Moore-Meido offered me to start a study group under his guidance and at my instruction. I could not do this because I amy be moving soon career wise and feel it is not the time. So, it was nice he placed that confidence in me. Perhaps I will do this soon.

I hope this helps clear up my foundation in budo. I guess you could say that I am a Ronin with no master other than myself. I hope to rectify the situation soon and seek permanent placement under proper guidance.

regards,

Brad Medling

Chuck Clark
03-11-2004, 03:08 PM
...so, if I seem to speak with authority, it comes from a particular experience of mine; my character exudes confidence because what I speak of, is a true experience. Now lets delve into my history. From a young age of around about 10, I studied some ninjitsu but to no real measure, from there I studied Shotokan Karate which is full contact. I then studied American Karate, and then a little of some other karate, a little judo, and finally I arrived at aikido.
Mr. Medling,

Thanks for the info. When, in the earlier post you said, " If anyone has ever trained in Japan, you will notice a distinct difference in methodology of that between American and Nihongo sensei... In Japan the sensei will demonstrate a technique fairly quickly a time or two and then you will have to do it... I find a little more instruction here in the states.", it sounded like you had enough first hand experience practicing in Japan to make the comparison. Was this in your "ninjitsu" experience at age ten or the Shotokan full contact experience?

I ask because I have some small direct experience with M. Nakayama Sensei and H. Kanazawa Sensei at the Shotokan JKA headquarters in 1966 and 67 at the old Kodokan building on Suidobashi. I thought we may have acquaintances in common. I remember strong waza with kime short of contact. I especially enjoyed playing table tennis in the basement opposite the weight lifters gym and meeting Yukio Mishima there after training upstairs.

It's too bad you came under the influence of "self proclaimed" sensei and that you earned rank you feel is bogus. Since you are contemplating opening your own dojo, though, you must have picked up some legitimate transmission from ongoing training with someone for long enough that has the real goods. What are you going to teach at your dojo? Having "made all the mistakes at one time or another" it sounds as though you have something to offer. I certainly have made a bunch of mistakes but still seem to find more in the most unexpected places.

Congratulations and best of luck.

Charles Hill
03-11-2004, 07:36 PM
Mr. Clark,

You met Yukio Mishima?! What was he like? With you being an experienced practioner/teacher of budo, I`m very interested in hearing what you think of his ideas on budo, bushido, etc. My impression is that he romanticized the culture, a common failing when people fail to commit to an actual practice over a period of time. But then again, I never met him.

Charles Hill

ikkitosennomusha
03-11-2004, 08:00 PM
Hi Mr. Clark!

Thanks for your info as well. My involment with Japanese instruction was in the art of Aikido. As far as the aikido I was learning at the place I spent 4 yrs., it was technical and legitimate. The falling out was due to personal differences that I was being continuously scrutinized for. To name names, I was in the AAA for 4 yrs. It was generally pleasant with a few unmentionables. Nonetheless, when Toyoda-shihan passed on, I expereienced the AAA disseminating as an organization. Most senior students split to do their own thing for reasons I will not post here.

After my departure, I became a Ronin. In the day of the samurai, when the japanese government no longer required their services, they became wonderers of the land without a purpose. The were masterless. So this is much of what I have become. No longer under the direct scrutiny of a master, I became a Ronin going to different places to train, seminars, weekend events, etc. I hope to be involved with an organization soon. It will most likely be with the USAF western region when I get settled. I was also considering the ASU for location purposes.

If I were to open a dojo, I would follow the methodology of Toyoda-shihan since this is what is pressed upon me. I was also trascend some teachings of Kobayashi-shihan who is nothing short of an Aikido genius!

I am a detailed person so naturally I would be interested in my students not only learning what I transcend, but I want them to pick up on those fine nuances that separates the good from the great. This takes time, perhaps years.

I would also like for a student to be able to think. A technique should never be forced. It is like fluid movement, flowing between the obstruction that unbalances the universe. It should come naturally. When I start to see this "fluidity" in a student, I will know that great things are happening; that person is indeed becoming one with the universe. When you shave wood along the grain, it is much smoother than shaving against so, it is easier. A technique should flow!

No matter what the art, an instructor should always provide a controlled environment, not tolerate horse play, organize instruction to utilize time efficiently, and most of all HAVE FUN!!

regards,

Brad Medling

PeterR
03-11-2004, 08:19 PM
Brad;

Chuck is if anything a gentleman. I think what he was getting at was your authoritative and sweeping generalization as to what training in Japan is like - one could not help but understand from your post that the experience was direct. As he points out the truth as that in Japan (as in the West) there is an incredible variation in teaching style between organizations and even within.

For example technique explanation, especially kihon, in my style of Aikido tends to be incredibly detailed. My personal style (I teach in Japan to Japanese) tends to be less verbal than Honbu (probably due to my limited Japanese) and in fact when I want the detailed explanation I ask my assistant to do the job. As an ex-team captain of a University club he has the cadence for Kihon waza memorized.

As you said in another post you are relatively new to the forums. There's a wealth of information and entertainment available. My advice is state what you know (fact), state what you think (opinion) and try not to mix the two.

Erik
03-11-2004, 08:23 PM
My usage of the terms “desensitizing and then re-sensitizing” has to do with the re-education of these “buttons” that get pushed by others or events and cause us to have a less than optimum ability to make intuitive, creative decisions based on clear information at hand.
I'd meant to ask what you meant by those terms the first time I saw them, which is probably a couple of years ago, but for whatever reason I never did. Thanks for sharing that.

Chuck Clark
03-11-2004, 11:24 PM
Mr. Clark,

You met Yukio Mishima?! What was he like?
Hi Charles,

I met him outside the weight training area. Someone had told him that I was a Marine and he seemed very interested in the fact that I had grown up doing budo and was shodan in judo, jujutsu, and Shoreikan Goju ryu karatedo. He invited me to lunch. I really didn't know who he was at that time. I was only nineteen years old and a bit dense. Later he asked me to go to a meeting of some sort and dinner a couple of days later. One of the guys I knew from the Kodokan that also trained Shotokan told me about some of his attitudes and I never went to the second dinner. He seemed very intense and eager to form connections.

I didn't really know that much about him other than he trained upstairs and was into body building. When I saw his picture in the news after his suicide I recognized him. I read a couple of his stories later on and that's the end of the story.

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2004, 09:01 AM
...and that's the end of the story.
Maybe, but its still a pretty neat story!

RT

ikkitosennomusha
03-12-2004, 03:38 PM
Peter:

I was hoping not to address you publicly. What does Chuck being a gentleman have to do with anything? At least Chuck knows how to be polite and when ambiguity occurs it is best to ask and never assume. You could learn this from Chuck!

When I formulate an opinion, it is from direct experience. If you read my posts, you will find some of my direct conctacts to Japanese taught aikido and culture. Don't feel so insecure about what others might say that you have to try to fill in the lines and act like some great aikido rehtoric. I find your attitude to be less than desireable. It is lonsome propaganda to speak of what you do not know. I also find your tongue to be insubordinate and I don't want to remind you again please. If you cannot conduct your attitude in a professional manner without having to slander another, I will not reply to your posts becuase they are not worth the attention.

Brad Medling

Chuck Clark
03-12-2004, 09:07 PM
Mr. Medling,

I don't understand how Peter can be "insubordinate" when he is not subordinate to anyone on this list, especially you.

"Not submissive to authority" is the first definition from Merriam-Webster.

I understood Peter to be giving some (unsolicited to be sure...but free) advice from someone that lives and trains in Japan to someone that, in your unwillingness to come right out and say, "Yes, I have trained there...", or "No, I have never trained in Japan but I observed So and So Sensei and heard others say ..." The way you worded your statements you lead people to believe that you speak with authority from first hand experience of training in Japan under teachers there. We are a picky bunch with ambiguous statements by people that are not open with their history who want their statements to be taken with the weight that they imply.

I did ask about ambiguities and you answered with more of the same. Such as: "When I formulate an opinion, it is from direct experience. If you read my posts, you will find some of my direct contacts to Japanese taught aikido and culture."

And then, "I find your attitude to be less than desirable. It is lonsome propaganda to speak of what you do not know. I also find your tongue to be insubordinate and I don't want to remind you again please."

To me, this sounds as though you're lecturing a subordinate or a child. This doesn't seem appropriate to me.

If you do not see any value in this gift of my take on how you came across since you came on this discussion forum, then simply ignore it. It is not meant to be hurtful.

ikkitosennomusha
03-12-2004, 10:16 PM
Hi Clark.

Well, the apperars to be a lesson from this. I do appreciate Peter's advice. However, personal attacks seem a little cocky. If I am wrong, I'll be the first to admit it. There is no ego here.

What I was paying particular attention to was how Peter would find a way to scrutinize an assertion made by be after many of my posts. Is this necessary? I don't mind at all as long as they are tasteful.

It doesn't matter a flip of beans who is where, japan or america. The concern is aikido. It has not been established who is ranked what and under whom the rank was awarded so, subordination is not a factor in the aikido world relative to us. However, as a human being, it is my friend. Some people get caught up in the glory of what little autrocious authority they have in a dojo. Aikido is ultimately about being a better person so, this is why I have not emphasized on rank, affiliations, where I have traveled, etc.

If one is being slightly vein to another, it is subordination to that person, to one's character, to aikido which the person represents, etc. It all depends on how you look at it. Perhaps I take these matters seriously. Maybe I am in a place where I have cultivated respect for others even if I disagree.

Every time I post, Peter has made is known "I live in Japan, I am a shodokan hero, I know whats best" kinda attitude. I felt it was time to address this. To be quite frank, I don't know why it is important if I trained in Japan or not. How about this, I will post a new thread just for you guys will shed some light. I don't like being public with my thoughts and sentimenst because there are obviously those who take it wrong.

Brad Medling

Chuck Clark
03-12-2004, 11:22 PM
Mr. Medling,

Thanks for your reply. I also read your post elsewhere on this site concerning your history. It is your choice if you choose not to share your lineage with us. If you had said that in the first place I would respect that. I will not ask any questions of you about your history in the future.

In the past, especially on the internet, I have experienced many people who are obviously very intelligent and speak with authority that has no substance other than intellectual theory who like to debate, create drama, and develop a cyber-persona that will not hold up in real life. Talk is cheap. I especially like to know who I'm talking to as I only have so many breaths left and do not want to spend them in cyber space dialogs and cerebral chat.

None of the above is directed at you since I know nothing about you. Again, thanks for making your position clear.

ikkitosennomusha
03-13-2004, 12:48 AM
Mr. Medling,

Thanks for your reply. I also read your post elsewhere on this site concerning your history. It is your choice if you choose not to share your lineage with us. If you had said that in the first place I would respect that. I will not ask any questions of you about your history in the future.

In the past, especially on the internet, I have experienced many people who are obviously very intelligent and speak with authority that has no substance other than intellectual theory who like to debate, create drama, and develop a cyber-persona that will not hold up in real life. Talk is cheap. I especially like to know who I'm talking to as I only have so many breaths left and do not want to spend them in cyber space dialogs and cerebral chat.

None of the above is directed at you since I know nothing about you. Again, thanks for making your position clear.
Hi Mr.Clark!

I see now. Your comments are helping me to see the necessity for members becoming quasi-acquainted. I suspect that their are some who pretend to be something there are not, especially in the cyber world. So, I am changing my view thanks to your persistence!

I have found joy in discussing aikido in this community. I realize that there are people in need of direction and it is important to weed out the ones who are pretenders so in this regard, I guess you and Peter are just doing what you can to figure things out. I appologize to Peter for I did not know the circumstances of behind his interpritation of my posts. Perhaps I reacted prematurely as well.

Appologies out of the way, I am the real deal and I take offense to this sort of cyber-crud as well. Hopefully we can encourage members to be honest for honesty is where the most can be gained. It does not matter the rank or involement of a individual, if anyone has a question hopefully our experienced members as yourself and Peter can answer.

As experienced as I, I would not doubt that a begginner might offer a refreshing view on a topic. As long as I feel the advice is lagitimate, as most of us advanced people can detect, then all beginners should speak up if they have something to offer or a question needed answering.

If we promote the true spirit of "beginner's mind" then advanced students will hopefully follow and beginners will feel more comfortable acknowledging their true experience and will thus be able to better contribute to the posts.

regards,

Brad Medling

Charles Hill
03-13-2004, 08:30 AM
Mr. Clark,

Since you continue to keep active on this thread, I`m going to take advantage of your kindness with more questions.

In your article, you write that traditionally, instructors would not accept students without "nyunanshin." Since that is difficult in these times, do you think that it is possible for an instructor to bring "nyunanshin" out of a student? If yes, how can that be done?

Also, in terms of desensitizing and sensitizing a student as well as providing a "dilemma rich environment," how active are you as a teacher in creating such development?

Sincerely,

Charles Hill

Chuck Clark
03-13-2004, 09:13 AM
Charles,

The quality of kokoro known as nyunanshin or sometimes also junanshin meaning "a flexible spirit" is exhibited by some people that apply for acceptance in the Jiyushinkan. Many others are not open and receptive to what they have seen in their visits to observe. They're somewhat argumentative and expecting us to fit them instead of the other way around.

I and the other seniors at the dojo have had some success in bringing out a quality of openess in those we have accepted as members that display less than optimum attitudes. I tend to let the training have a go at them and the example of the students that have been training for some time before I talk to them much about this. As is usual in the way of things, some "get it" and some don't. One thing that I try to change quickly is the attitude of the relationship being one of "customer and merchant". I have nothing for sale.

This ability needs to be learned in most cases from a teacher that has the touch. I'm not sure I'm cabable of putting the process into words and if I was...I wouldn't.

As far as fostering a deliberate state of conflict or dilemma in the dojo goes, the practice pushes buttons and being human adds to the soup mix. Some students that have talent, energy, etc. in abundance sometimes seem to learn things easily. I have on occasion "created" problems they have to solve. The paradox of always being "uncomfortable" in the dojo until you develop comfort in being uncomfortable is the key. Budo practice must always have the element of "life and death" immediacy whether going slow, soft, hard, fast, etc. Strong intent to create problems for each other to learn to solve is what the practice is about in my opinion. At the same time the feeling of trust and family should exist in the dojo. It is the teacher's responsibility to set the tone.

Well, I have to get to the dojo, so I'll stop.

Thanks for your interest.