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Mike Sigman
03-20-2005, 08:20 AM
Does anyone know if any of the original uchi-deshi (pre- and post-war) used any standing postures or "standing meditation" in their practice?

Thanks for any information.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Mackenzie
03-20-2005, 12:17 PM
Hi,

Shioda incorporated standing practice into the kihon dosa, especially for the senshusei and riot police. I've also heard both Saito Sr. and Yamaguchi were happy to have students stand for periods of time with the sword.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-20-2005, 12:22 PM
Fabulous. Thanks! Can you or anyone else add any further information as to types of postures, other people who practiced postures, books that may mention this, etc.?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Mackenzie
03-20-2005, 09:02 PM
I'm on the road for the next few days. Hopefully I can dig up some source material when I get home. In the meantime perhaps some of the yoshinkan people could comment on their practice of the kihon dosa, including posture holding.

Mike

Ellis Amdur
03-21-2005, 01:04 AM
Hey Mike -

One common practice was a method originally derived, I believe, from Tenri-kyo, a neo-Shinto sect. The individual stands with feet shoulder-width apart, and the hands are clasped, right cupped palm over left, and the arms at the natural relaxed extent that this hand grip allows. The hands are shaken almost as if shaking dice, but the body is organized so that the waves of the shaking go through the body all the way through to the feet. The body is relaxed - not limp - and there is no sway or drama, just a subtle vibration. Ueshiba Kisshomaru used to do this for about 3-4 minutes every class he started, as did, I believe other instructors. I've been told that Abe Seiseki would do this practice for very long periods of time and this was the source of his amazing (to my informant) relaxed power. (Note that this last is not something I know or witnessed - just something mentioned to me).

The orginal practice was a psycho-religious one - I have not experimented at any length with this procedure, other than that it feels quite good and the longer one does it, the better one feels. It's quite unlike "post standing," which I find quickly fatiguing. It has a very quiet, but definite energizing effect.

I am working on a set of solo movements for aikido practice, along the lines of simple chi kung - congruent with aikido movement, and have been integrating this practice in the curriculum of a dojo with whom I consult. When our research is complete, I'll be releasing it publicly. I've always felt that some form of solo "internal" cultivation is a) certainly lacking in most aikido practice b) surely was a key factor in Ueshiba M.'s remarkable skills.

Note that when I refer to "internal cultivation," I am only focusing on what I understand - a little - the effficent intergration of the neuro-muscular system. Never having experienced or witnessed - on either side - the kind of "ki", or "kokyuryoku" that is described in more miraculous tales, that kind of cultivation of power is not a focus of my own research.

Best

Ellis

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 08:34 AM
One common practice was a method originally derived, I believe, from Tenri-kyo, a neo-Shinto sect. The individual stands with feet shoulder-width apart, and the hands are clasped, right cupped palm over left, and the arms at the natural relaxed extent that this hand grip allows. The hands are shaken almost as if shaking dice, but the body is organized so that the waves of the shaking go through the body all the way through to the feet. The body is relaxed - not limp - and there is no sway or drama, just a subtle vibration. Ueshiba Kisshomaru used to do this for about 3-4 minutes every class he started, as did, I believe other instructors. I've been told that Abe Seiseki would do this practice for very long periods of time and this was the source of his amazing (to my informant) relaxed power. (Note that this last is not something I know or witnessed - just something mentioned to me).

The orginal practice was a psycho-religious one - I have not experimented at any length with this procedure, other than that it feels quite good and the longer one does it, the better one feels. It's quite unlike "post standing," which I find quickly fatiguing. It has a very quiet, but definite energizing effect. Thanks. That's very helpful to know, Ellis. I'm not sure if you're aware that what you're describing is a fairly well-known Buddhist standing practice? The "shaking" is supposed to develop into an unconscious (not deliberately done) movement which "balances" and strengthens the Ki, FWIW. I am working on a set of solo movements for aikido practice, along the lines of simple chi kung - congruent with aikido movement, and have been integrating this practice in the curriculum of a dojo with whom I consult. When our research is complete, I'll be releasing it publicly. I've always felt that some form of solo "internal" cultivation is a) certainly lacking in most aikido practice b) surely was a key factor in Ueshiba M.'s remarkable skills. I'd like to see what you're doing. As I noted elsewhere, the jo-trick indicates a high-probability of "standing" practices, BTW, but I can't prove it with the information I have .... that's exactly why I started this thread, so I am unveiled. :) Note that when I refer to "internal cultivation," I am only focusing on what I understand - a little - the effficent intergration of the neuro-muscular system. Never having experienced or witnessed - on either side - the kind of "ki", or "kokyuryoku" that is described in more miraculous tales, that kind of cultivation of power is not a focus of my own research. Actually, there's more to it than just neuromuscular, although arguably that's one way to describe a component part of it. The real problem in describing what some of these things are is that some descriptions are probably correct, but since no real research has been done on these things, some descriptions of the mechanics are questionable and subjective. I.e., if I say something is "myofascial" a kinesiologist or physiologist might hold me to task, and correctly so.

For every assertion of the actual mechanics of "ki" and "kokyu" power (i.e., trying to describe something while avoiding the ki-paradigm and shifting to the western-science paradigm), I have to run the descriptions by an imaginary physiologist in my head so that I don't get too carried away with the sound of my own mouth-noises.

I did an in-service for the physical therapy staff at the University of Colorado medical school and they all agreed they'd never seen the physical tricks I led them through (and one pretty good "external qi" qigong).... but since it wasn't their bailiwick or what was in the accepted literature, they weren't all that interested in what it could be. That same mindset is actually in a lot of the martial arts, Aikido included, so don't let the bastards grind you down, Ellis. Go forward with what you're doing. If you get a chance, let's get together and physically compare notes. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 09:07 AM
I'm on the road for the next few days. Hopefully I can dig up some source material when I get home. In the meantime perhaps some of the yoshinkan people could comment on their practice of the kihon dosa, including posture holding. Gozo Shioda's descriptions of how to do things are part of the conflict I was describing to Ellis about what is Ki versus what is body mechanics. Years ago when I bought Shioda's "Dynamic Aikido" I felt that his descriptions were the most practical, although they weren't explicative enough to satisfy me. On the other side of the coin, Koichi Tohei's approach was tantalizing, but it wasn't explicative either. Although they appear to be describing different things, Shioda is painting part of the picture very well; Tohei is painting part of the same picture (the part about the esoteric phenomena), but he doesn't do it very well, IMO.

I have Shioda's "Total Aikido: The Master Course" (translated by David Rubens) and I basically like it a lot (if an Aikidoist doesn't have it, they should get it) but I have to comment that it's another one of those books that is easier to appreciate if you already know how to do things. There seems to be an Asiatic art-form in telling people how to do things in such a way that it's not understandable unless they already know how to do them. :)

There is a subtle danger to Tohei's approach, as many people have spotted... following vagaries can lead you not too far in any particular direction. But there's a danger to Shioda's approach also, in my opinion, in that it can lead you to the mechanistic and limited approach of the "external" or mechanistic side, causing you to miss the gold while giving you the wooden chest it was in.

My current impression is that Shioda knew more than his books indicate and we're seeing mainly his best attempts to get people started correctly (what more can you ask from a simple book?). I'm extrapolating this point of view from reading his books, of course, since I never studied Yoshinkan. My question is sort of "what did Shioda know and when did he know it?" because that will cast some light on the question of "what did Ueshiba Morihei know and when did he know it?". The comments about standing practices in Yoshinkan are interesting indicators, so I appreciate the information.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

batemanb
03-21-2005, 09:45 AM
Hey Mike -

One common practice was a method originally derived, I believe, from Tenri-kyo, a neo-Shinto sect. The individual stands with feet shoulder-width apart, and the hands are clasped, right cupped palm over left, and the arms at the natural relaxed extent that this hand grip allows. The hands are shaken almost as if shaking dice, but the body is organized so that the waves of the shaking go through the body all the way through to the feet. The body is relaxed - not limp - and there is no sway or drama, just a subtle vibration. Ueshiba Kisshomaru used to do this for about 3-4 minutes every class he started, as did, I believe other instructors. I've been told that Abe Seiseki would do this practice for very long periods of time and this was the source of his amazing (to my informant) relaxed power. (Note that this last is not something I know or witnessed - just something mentioned to me).


When I was living in Tokyo, they also used to do this at my dojo before every practice. Our Kaicho studied under both Ueshiba M and Ueshiba K. It was always done in conjunction with torifune, i.e. we would start with torifune in migi kamae then do shimburi with the right hand over, then do torifune with hidari kamae followed by shimburi with left hand over. Unfortunately, I don't recall him explaining it much. My understanding was that it was to do with active/passive breathing practice (torifune being active, shimburi being passive). I'm afraid I never questioned it at the time so I don't have much else to add.

regards

Bryan

Ellis Amdur
03-21-2005, 10:33 AM
Funny thing about Shioda: Other aikido groups have referred to him (and Yoshinkan) as a "hard" style. This is probably for two reasons. First of all, there is the organized set of exercises, including solo movement exercises, which are practiced in counted cadence. Shioda developed this as a means of training large groups, and it has a "rigid" military air to it. Second, I believe, is that Shioda, in public demonstrations, was quite brutal to his uke, and that violence was reacted to as "hard." Shioda led strike-breaker thugs (with the support of GHQ) to stop unions from developing power in post-war Japan. But although this is all "hard-edged," it doesn't make his aikido hard.

I am amazed by how subtle his technique was. Particularly of note was his "irimi" - he occupied the uke's space a microsecond before they arrived, and had the ability to explosively "lock position." In priniciple (though not technique nor method), it resembled xingyi. Shioda used to jam his big toe into the mat at the moment of the throw, tightening all the muscles in the inside of the legs, making a powerful arch like a wishbone (Mike, I gotta take that PT course myself! All I have is images). I've spoken about this with David Rubens, and he corraborated that Shioda emphasized this as a means of generating explosive power.

Finally, there is something between a rumor and an account that Kodo Horikawa, known as one of the most subtle of the Daito-ryu technicians was a "visitor" to the Yoshinkan - that Shioda would clear the dojo on some evenings and study, in private, with Horikawa. I've seen this discussed on several forums, and although there will probably be no substantiation of the depth and nature of his possible studies, this may be a secondary source for Shioda's power, which, like Ueshiba, has not been achieved by most of his descendents. As far as I can tell, the very best of the next generation are Takeno and Chida in Japan, and their (and Shioda's) student, the amazing Robert Mustard in Canada.

Best


Ellis

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 10:38 AM
When I was living in Tokyo, they also used to do this at my dojo before every practice. Our Kaicho studied under both Ueshiba M and Ueshiba K. It was always done in conjunction with torifune, i.e. we would start with torifune in migi kamae then do shimburi with the right hand over, then do torifune with hidari kamae followed by shimburi with left hand over. Unfortunately, I don't recall him explaining it much. My understanding was that it was to do with active/passive breathing practice (torifune being active, shimburi being passive). I'm afraid I never questioned it at the time so I don't have much else to add. Thanks, Bryan. Just as a quick comment, there seems to be a common perception in a lot of the Aikido community that the various breathings, exercises, sittings, etc., used by O-Sensei represented a native-Japanese religious practice like Shinto, etc., with maybe a tad bit of Chinese Buddhism that crept in. However, other than some superficial modifications, etc., the basic physical practices (not to mention the chanting, use of sounds, etc.) I see all seem to be pretty obvious Buddhist-derived items. In essence, I see nothing in Aikido practices that is far-removed from many substantive qigongs that involve "qi"-related movement. The caution is, as usual, that because you copy the movements doesn't mean you know what's going on "inside"; i.e., copying a Taiji form or a martial qigong might look like the choreography, but it's far from what is really going on. The same can be said for traditional Aikido, too, as more and more people are beginning to realize, I think. The caution there is that learning the "8 secret steps" can be a lot like learning a Taiji form... appearances can trip you up. :cool:

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 10:56 AM
Funny thing about Shioda: Other aikido groups have referred to him (and Yoshinkan) as a "hard" style. This is probably for two reasons. First of all, there is the organized set of exercises, including solo movement exercises, which are practiced in counted cadence. Shioda developed this as a means of training large groups, and it has a "rigid" military air to it. Second, I believe, is that Shioda, in public demonstrations, was quite brutal to his uke, and that violence was reacted to as "hard." Shioda led strike-breaker thugs (with the support of GHQ) to stop unions from developing power in post-war Japan. But although this is all "hard-edged," it doesn't make his aikido hard. Shioda's codification of principles is the best I've seen. I re-read some portions of "Total Aikido" last night and once again I was impressed. More on "hard" below. I am amazed by how subtle his technique was. Particularly of note was his "irimi" - he occupied the uke's space a microsecond before they arrived, and had the ability to explosively "lock position." In priniciple (though not technique nor method), it resembled xingyi. Shioda used to jam his big toe into the mat at the moment of the throw, tightening all the muscles in the inside of the legs, making a powerful arch like a wishbone (Mike, I gotta take that PT course myself! All I have is images). I've spoken about this with David Rubens, and he corraborated that Shioda emphasized this as a means of generating explosive power. IF, as I speculate, the source of the "ki" knowledge in Japan came via Gempin or other visiting/immigrating Chinese, the almost certain probability is that it represents one of the general Shaolin approaches (there are a number of them) to qi. Because something is "Shaolin" (often called "external") does not mean it is not as sophisticated or as subtle as something "internal", by any means. They're all simply variations on the same basic themes. Shioda's use of the big toe, leg, etc., would indicate that his "ki" is of the Shaolin variety and your story (rumour, I realize.. but we work with what we've got) of Horikawa would provide a possible factor contributing to the "hardness" of Shioda's body mechanics. Let me emphasize again that I see all these approaches as variations on a few simple themes. Even Tohei's ki pronouncements are probably derived from a Shaolin source... I see nothing that suggests the body mechanics of the "internal" styles. Shaolin qi practices can be very "soft" ... depends on how you want to develop and use them. As far as I can tell, the very best of the next generation are Takeno and Chida in Japan, and their (and Shioda's) student, the amazing Robert Mustard in Canada. I'd like to see Mustard. Maybe after I get back from Frankfurt. ;)

Mike

pezalinski
03-21-2005, 11:01 AM
I was wondering, about the "standing postures" mentioned earlier -- would the breathing exercises demonstrated my Tamura Sensei at last years' Eastern Region 40th Anniversary Summer Camp qualify?

He usually started his sessions with a 1/2 hour of standing breathing exercises, in various postures.

My sensei usually has us start off with subset of these exercises, befoe we start warmups.

Would the traditional "rowing exercise" count, as well?

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 11:26 AM
I was wondering, about the "standing postures" mentioned earlier -- would the breathing exercises demonstrated my Tamura Sensei at last years' Eastern Region 40th Anniversary Summer Camp qualify? Is there a video or still pictures of this? I'd be quite interested in see this, particularly as done by Tamura Sensei, thanks. If you know of a video of Tamura doing these exercises, I'll be glad to buy a copy, etc.
Would the traditional "rowing exercise" count, as well? Well, technically all these things are qigongs, but I'm interested in seeing any Japanese do the "standing" (still) types of posture holding which are maybe related to traditional Japanese practice and cannot be traced within the last 2 generations to the Chinese. Thanks a lot for your help.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Mackenzie
03-21-2005, 12:01 PM
Hi Guys,

A bit of further grist for the rumor mill. I did come across an online article a couple of years ago that suggested Shioda Sensei and Taikiken's (yiquan) Kenichi Sawai may have had some information exchange. I tried to track the article down again a few months ago but no luck. Can anybody substantiate this?

As for all things Shaoliny, Ueshiba was a devotee of Shingon Buddhism long before his foray into Omoto-kyo. Perhaps some of his practices were dervied from this? As for Tohei, the majority of his cultivation methods come from Tempu Nakamura, who was a yoga adept. HE Davey's book "Japanese Yoga" outlines this.

Best,

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 12:14 PM
A bit of further grist for the rumor mill. I did come across an online article a couple of years ago that suggested Shioda Sensei and Taikiken's (yiquan) Kenichi Sawai may have had some information exchange. I tried to track the article down again a few months ago but no luck. Can anybody substantiate this? Heck.... when Ellis said that about the toe and leg, I immediately thought "yiquan", but then I dismissed it because those particular leg, foot, etc., trainings are derived originally from Shaolin. You could be right, but I don't have enough data to place any bets. It's not clear how much information Kenichi Sawai got, anyway, and it's not clear from his books or videos exactly what he could do... so what he could pass on to Shioda would have been up in the air. A definite maybe is the best I would go. :) As for all things Shaoliny, Ueshiba was a devotee of Shingon Buddhism long before his foray into Omoto-kyo. Perhaps some of his practices were dervied from this? Perhaps.... but that's the sort of thing I'm trying to narrow down. At the moment, I'd lay my bets as the most probable source being Takeda Sokaku. As for Tohei, the majority of his cultivation methods come from Tempu Nakamura, who was a yoga adept. HE Davey's book "Japanese Yoga" outlines this. I bought Davey's book, but it's not much of a source of information. In fact, I was pretty certain that no one showed him how to do the ki and kokyu parts from what he wrote. My current best guess on Tohei is that he got his basics from Nakamura and added them to what he could learn and deduce from Ueshiba. For whatever that's worth.

Regards,

Mike

Eric Webber
03-21-2005, 12:30 PM
With regards to the practice of shaking one's hands in front of the center as mentioned by Ellis in post #5, this is also practiced by various ASU instructors as well, usually in conjunction with rowing exercise. I first experienced it at a seminar with Patty Saotome Sensei about 6 or 8 years ago.
Good luck in your quest, Mike. :)

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 12:41 PM
With regards to the practice of shaking one's hands in front of the center as mentioned by Ellis in post #5, this is also practiced by various ASU instructors as well, usually in conjunction with rowing exercise. I first experienced it at a seminar with Patty Saotome Sensei about 6 or 8 years ago. I have to admit that I saw some of this shaking, etc., many years ago, but at the time I wasn't aware of the various qigong approaches in Buddhism, Confucianism, medical, martial, etc. Most people take these practices (like the shaking, Aiki-taiso, etc.) as some part of the esoteric rituals of Aikido and miss the fact that they were actually important parts of the training for the ki and kokyu. I certainly didn't see it at the time, but my momma allus tole me I was slow. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Alfonso
03-21-2005, 01:18 PM
FWIW , a few years ago I was looking for info on exercises which we used to do at the beginning of class.. I recognized some of the exercises we did from the descriptions in this list.


Shinji Chinkonkishin No Ho
Ward Rafferty (wrafferty@SNET.NET)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There seems to be a bit of confusion out there from what I have seen in books and print about how to do this. All I can tell you is that if yo see O'Sensei do it here is what he did.

Here is what Hikitsuchi Sensei gave me in Japanese originally and which three of us worked on translating into English which was then translated back into Japanese and approved.

Copy and use it freely as you will. It was ued for a Kototama Work Shop I gave last year. I will post some Kototama things in both English and Japanese (Romanji) for those who want to practice these but don't read the language. I would ask others to do the same.

SHINJI CHINKONKISHIN NO HO
Translated by Ward Rafferty
Copyright 1997

A method to quiet and center one's Spirit and to return one's Heart to God.

1. Stand facing forward with both feet a shoulders width apart. Look down with hands in a prayer form with the fingers pointing down. While breathing in deeply and looking up, slowly raise the hands above the head so that the fingertips are pointing at Heaven. When looking down, feel that you are breathing in the Ki of the entire Earth, and as the hands begin to point upward, feel that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe. As you breathe in the Ki of the Earth, feel it being drawn in through the nose and the mouth.For the upward breath, you must concentrate and imagine that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe, taking it in through the medulla and passing it down the center of the backbone. Do this slowly twice.


2. SHINKOKYU: At the end of part 1, with the hands still over the head, slide the palm of the right hand down so that the fingertips are level with the the first knuckles of the left, and clap te hands 4 times. Then slowly bring them down to a point just below the navel, with the fingers and palm of the left over the right, with the tips of the thumbs touching (as in zazen). Silently concentrate on the syllables I-KU-MU-SU-BI. Breathing out on I, in on KU, out on MU, in on SU and out on BI, letting the BI change naturally to I and continue the same pattern. When breathing out, imagine that your breath is extending out and becoming One with the Entire Universe. When breathing in, imagine that your breath is being drawn in to you from the Entire Universe. The eyes should be almost closed.

3. AME NO TORIFUNE: After clapping the hands 4 times, as in 2., step forward into a left hanmi and extend both arms, fists clenched as though clasping a pair of oars. With the KI-AI of E, rapidly draw the hands back, only as far as the hipbone. DO NOT LET THE HANDS GO BEHIND THE HIPBONE. Then with the KI-AI of HO, shoot the hands forward again. When drawing in the hands,
imagine that you are grasping and drawing in the entire Earth to your Center, and when extending, you should feel that you are moving the entire Earth forward. The whole movement should be done rapidly as a unit as though it was a yari or bo ski.

4. FURUTAMA NO GYO: Return feet to a position a shoulder width apart. Raise hands in a prayer form over the head, and bring straight down, or bring them down inscribing a circle to the point below the navel, hands clasped left over the right. When you are drawing them down, imagine that you are taking in the KI of the Great Universe and forming it into a ball between the
clasped hands. Begin shaking them rapidly so that the entire body draws in and is filled with the KI of the Universe, which should collect in the abdomen and pour through the body, just as the blood streams through it.
This exercise is done with the eyes closed and during this time, one should attempt to see a white crystal in the center of the forehead. Once fully seen, this crystal should naturally turn to red. Repeat the name of the Sun Goddess AMETERASU-O-MI-KAMI over and over rapidly.

5. Repeat AME NO TORIFUNE, from right hanmi.

6. Repeat FURUTAMA NO GYO, this time repeating the name OHARAIDO-NO-OKAMI (the Kami charged with the Purification of the Earth).

7. Repeat AME NO TORIFUNE, from left hanmi.

8. Repeat FURUTAMA NO GYO, this time repeating the name AME-NO-MINAKA-NUSHI-NO-OKAMI. This is the first Kami whose KOTOTAMA brought the entire universe into being. It means "The Divine August Being Who Stands At the Center of the Universe." This Kami s Pure Consciousness, Pure Act, and Pure Energy and has no form. One of the central aims of Aikido is to unite with this Kami. O Sensei said that it is the SU point of Creation. In personal terms it is your spiritual and physical center located in the area
just below the navel. This is the "golden cauldron where the red blood boils" and where the KOTOTAMA spiral forth. You should always be centered there during the practice of Aikido. (In view of recent discoveries in multfields that we live in muti omnicentric Universes, each of us may indeed be this Kami. Now realize it.)

9. Repeat #1 and clap 4 times as in #2.

10. (Optional) Again standing with both feet at shoulders width apart, put your thumbs in your belt or obi and raising up on the bass of the feet, come down on the heels solidly, calling out loudly from the Hara:

IKUMUSUBI
TARUMUSUBI
TAMA TSUME MUSUBI
IKUTAMA
TARUTAMA
TARUTOMARI TAMA
(your own name) followed by TOKOTACHI NO MIKOTO

This is to create the fact and the consciousness that your form and posture have become One with God, and you now take responsibility for being an active participant in Creation. Aikido is Kami Waza. It is a Divine practice transmitted to O Sensei by the Kami. Its central purpose is for the person to achieve a state of "KANNAGARA NO MICHI" where you unite with the Kami and
act in perfect accord with the Will of the Universe at all times. KANNAGARA NO MICHI is the Divine Blood of the Universe spontaneously welling forth out of the Sacred Heart of the Cosmos. MICHI (which is discussed in the notes) is the Cosmic vitalizing continuum. It is the present biological link between individual man and the Cosmos, including the Kami. The first six
chants are related to The Three Fundamental Principles of Aikido in a repeating 1,2,3 pattern and represent the Triangle, the Circle and the Square. (These will be discussed in future notes.)
In the final chant above, you are elevating yourself to the level of a Kami. It activates the forces that will allow you to reach your goal. It was this final chant which so totally upset the Japanese students at the time that O Sensei was forced to
make it optional. I know of only two Shihon today who still teach it, even though it is central to this whole practice. It should also be remembered that the very word Kami is KOTOTAMA code for the Union of Fire and Water.

11. Again standing with both feet at shoulders width apart,raising up on the balls of the feet, clasp the hands over the head with the fingers interlocked, come down on the heels solidly, and bring the hands down to the point below the navel with a KI-AI using the KOTOTAMA "OOOOOOOOO" (as in boot). This should come out like "OOOOOOUHT!" When the hands reach the point below the navel, the index fingers should point upwards from the clasped hands and the energy of the final portion of the KI-AI should sho=
ot the hands above the head.

12. With the hands still over the head, slide the palm of the right hand down so that the fingertips are level with the first knuckles of the left, and clap the hands 4 times.

13. Bring the hands down with the left clasped over the right to the level of your heart forming a ball of energy, in which you place all of the Ki generated in this practice. Begin to move the hands in a circular motion first in one direction, then in the opposite direction. Gradually send the energy out in the four directions, increasing it to eventually encompass all directions.

SHINJI CHINDONKISHIN NO HO ideally should be practiced at sunrise (outdoors weather permitting).
Ideally it would be performed after morning prayers and a breathing/KOTOTAMA practice of the 75 Aikido KOTOTAMA sounds. Each of the sections from Part 2 through and including Part 8 should be practiced until there is a sense of completion and a natural flow into the next section.

This is then followed by the practice O Sensei describes in the next paragraph. The total practice time for all of the sections would encompass an hour or more. This may be shortened to fifteen minutes or more for use before Aikido Keiko.

Sit quietly in either seiza or zazen. Close your eyes and place your hands in the cosmic mudra. First contemplate the manifest realm for twenty minutes, i.e., how the world looks and feels. As you settle down, immerse yourself in the hidden and return to the Source of things, i.e. the Void, formless Center of Creation, Pure Consciousness etc. Remain at the Center as long as you can, working to increase the duration with each practice.

Michael Mackenzie
03-21-2005, 01:19 PM
In regards to Takeda's knowledge of IMA, it's interesting to note that there are members of the Daito Ryu that do very similiar ki tricks. Even Tokimune Takeda, Sokaku's son, can be seen doing various tricks on some demonstration footage on Mr. Pranin's site. I've also seen footage of Seigo Okamoto doing similiar tricks. He was a student of the aforementioned Kodo Horikawa I believe.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 01:54 PM
FWIW , a few years ago I was looking for info on exercises which we used to do at the beginning of class.. I recognized some of the exercises we did from the descriptions in this list. [snip the translated directions via Ward Rafferty] Nice. Many thanks. It's a basic Buddhist qigong that's been converted and religionized, but which seems careful not to go too far afield (For instance notice the primordial "Su" is the same more or less of the Chinese primordial "Shu"). In all cases, though, telling you *what* to do doesn't explain *how* to do it. The 3 major parts of the qigong are

(1.) How to do the breathing techniques (not explained enough to do you any real good)

(2.) How to move in torifune (and other movements) except at a coarse level

(3.) How to approach letting the subconscious become stronger through meditation training.

It would have taken fairly complex personal instruction to get this one really up and running on all 8 cylinders.

So it's actually a borderline complete "martial qigong". I wonder about its origins. It's obviously Shaolin, but I'm wondering who introduced it to whom and when. Is there any way to get feedback on how old the roots of this qigong may be?

Very helpful. Many thanks.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-21-2005, 01:56 PM
In regards to Takeda's knowledge of IMA, it's interesting to note that there are members of the Daito Ryu that do very similiar ki tricks. Even Tokimune Takeda, Sokaku's son, can be seen doing various tricks on some demonstration footage on Mr. Pranin's site. I've also seen footage of Seigo Okamoto doing similiar tricks. He was a student of the aforementioned Kodo Horikawa I believe. I haven't done my homework... I missed the video clips on the Aikido Journal site. I'd say probability is very strong now that Ueshiba's initial knowledge comes via Takeda Sokaku.... in my opinion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

stuartjvnorton
03-22-2005, 05:22 AM
I'd like to see Mustard. Maybe after I get back from Frankfurt. ;)

Mike

You definitely should if you can.
I went to a gasshuku he held about a week and a half ago and it was pretty amazing.
He was so relaxed but created crazy amounts of power.

He was also a fantastic teacher, and willing to answer any questions we had, be they relevant or not.

maikerus
03-22-2005, 05:36 PM
You definitely should if you can.
I went to a gasshuku he held about a week and a half ago and it was pretty amazing.
He was so relaxed but created crazy amounts of power.

He was also a fantastic teacher, and willing to answer any questions we had, be they relevant or not.

I can't say enough good things about Robert Mustard Sensei. I maintain that he is the best teacher of anything that I have had in my life.

WRT posture, he emphasizes timing, balance and the relaxation of the shoulders and arms (relaxed, not limp) to create power with hip and legs.

At least...that's what I remember him focusing on. I hope that I am at last starting to understand what he was telling me when we were both at hombu. I use many (if not all) of the exercises he showed me/us to work on balance and power in my own classes.

cheers,

--Michael

maikerus
03-22-2005, 05:44 PM
My current impression is that Shioda knew more than his books indicate and we're seeing mainly his best attempts to get people started correctly (what more can you ask from a simple book?). I'm extrapolating this point of view from reading his books, of course, since I never studied Yoshinkan. My question is sort of "what did Shioda know and when did he know it?" because that will cast some light on the question of "what did Ueshiba Morihei know and when did he know it?". The comments about standing practices in Yoshinkan are interesting indicators, so I appreciate the information.


Mike,

My understanding mirrors your comments about what Gozo Shioda Sensei was striving for. He wanted to find a way to teach his Aikido to a large number of people very quickly with a simple set of exercises. These, of course, are the kihon dosa that Inoue Sensei and Kushida Sensei (I believe) jointly developed when they first started to teach large numbers of beginners (ie. self defence force / police). I don't remember what organization they were originally developed for, but I believe it was military of some type.

In Aikido Shugyo a lot of time was spent on the concept of "Riai" which was translated as "fundemental principles" which is what we as students are supposed to gain from kamae, kihon dosa and kihon waza.

Although I never studied directly under Shioda Sensei - he was too ill by the time I made it to Hombu - I am told that when he moved around in class to help people the memories of what he did to improve their technique usually centered around the positioning of the hips and legs. I can't say anything further than that, but this seems to be the underlying theme of people I have spoken to who did experience his technique and his teaching.

And, of course, that method has been passed down to his students (ie. Inoue Sensei, Chida Sensei, Takeno Sensei...and of course Robert Sensei :) ) I should also mention Roland Thompson Sensei since he is the one I have spoken to about this the most in recent years.

Mike Sigman
03-22-2005, 07:16 PM
I am told that when he moved around in class to help people the memories of what he did to improve their technique usually centered around the positioning of the hips and legs. Thanks, Michael. I'm interested in any indications of exactly what standing postures Shioda recommended, but now that the possibility of some contribution by Kenichi Sawai has arisen, I'm not hopeful that I can extrapolate what Ueshiba M. may have known and taught. Sawai would naturally have trained a lot with standing postures via Wang Xiang Zhai since that is the essence of power training in Yichuan.

Ueshiba appears, to my eye, to have used standing postures to get the particular type of strength that he used, but I can't discount that he arrived there through a few other alternatives. You can get massively powerful if you know how (and you have the time to devote) to do proper standing training. It's the time that can be a killer and also the motivation... if you don't really have a need for that kind of power, it's easy to question why you're devoting the time when you have a job, a family, a life, etc. I go through cycles because of the amounts of time it can take.

My suspicion is that since this much Shaolin-based information got through to the Japanese, some indeed know how to do the standing stuff, but they probably keep it fairly close.

One other problem I have in relation to Shioda and Ueshiba is the way I've seen Ueshiba move versus the way I think Shioda moves from the still pictures. There's a rather basic difference. The thing that bothers me is the use of hips that Shioda stresses and the back-up of the legs. O-Sensei appears to use a more hip-dantien combination, but I'm unclear and probably, out of curiosity, should investigate a little further. I have videos of the old Ueshiba film-clips and I'd appreciate a recommendation for the best DVD or video that has old filmclips of Shioda. The difference is curious and if it's really there it raises some new questions.

Any possibilities of you finding out more "inside scoop" on potential contributors like Sawai, or others? It could save me some time if I knew that Sawai or others had been involved *after* Ueshiba.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

maikerus
03-22-2005, 07:36 PM
I have videos of the old Ueshiba film-clips and I'd appreciate a recommendation for the best DVD or video that has old filmclips of Shioda. The difference is curious and if it's really there it raises some new questions.

Any possibilities of you finding out more "inside scoop" on potential contributors like Sawai, or others? It could save me some time if I knew that Sawai or others had been involved *after* Ueshiba.


Mike,

I'll see what titles I can dig up. I don't own any of the videos, since they were just laying around in the kitchen at the dojo and we'd throw one into the VCR at random during lunch.

As for "inside scoop", I'll see if I can work it into any conversations I have in the next little while. For my interest as well as yours :)

cheers,

--Michael

batemanb
03-23-2005, 02:22 AM
I have videos of the old Ueshiba film-clips and I'd appreciate a recommendation for the best DVD or video that has old filmclips of Shioda.


Mike,

You could try here:

http://budogu.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/page48.html

I have the first DVD in the list there (Kami Waza if I'm not mistaken), it has some very nice footage of Shioda sensei. I don't know about the others there though.

rgds

Bryan

batemanb
03-23-2005, 02:49 AM
I remembered last night that I did a seminar with Tada sensei when I was in Japan. He spent the first half hour or so doing standing breathing techniques. I don't remember much about them to be honest, nor whether they are for meditation purposes per se, although they maybe. I just google for Tada sensei and breathing and came up with two sites both containing a transcript of a Tada sensei lecture, possibly the same lecture. Haven't read them in full yet but they may be of interest?

http://www.aikikai.it/riviste/3401/htm/TadaConfEng.htm

http://info.wsisiz.edu.pl/~sleeva/index.php?option=articles&task=viewarticle&artid=34&Itemid=3

rgds

Bryan

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 09:00 AM
I remembered last night that I did a seminar with Tada sensei when I was in Japan. He spent the first half hour or so doing standing breathing techniques. I don't remember much about them to be honest, nor whether they are for meditation purposes per se, although they maybe. I just google for Tada sensei and breathing Thanks, Bryan. One of them is in Polish and one is a biographical overview of Ueshiba that's nice. I should have made clear that "standing postures" means that specific postures are held as a way to build up the body strength, but certain powers are engaged so that the postures work. You can't just hold the external posture and get the results. One extremely interesting comment *attributed* to Ueshiba (by I think Shioda but I've been looking at so many books lately...) was the comment about postures and six directions. That's interesting indeed, because it indicates that Ueshiba at a minimum knew the terms of correct standing techniques. So we may be onto something pretty interesting. ;)

Thanks for the help.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 10:19 AM
Michael, I just found and ordered a suitable-sounding DVD at the site Bryan recommended, so don't bother checking for me, etc. But thanks for offering.

Mike

kdj
03-23-2005, 11:54 AM
Mike,

back in the 70's, Koichi Tohei-sensei taught a number of "standing" exercises. Most of them were holding postures with bokken, and ranged in duration from minutes to hours :eek:

They were intended to be done with "correct mind/body unification" so I think they do fit in the category you are talking about. I don't know if the addition of a weapon makes a difference.

In older school practice, there were standing exercises, holding postures for periods of time, but I hated them and have edited them out of my memory :crazy: .

More seriously, there were standing exercises in the early days of my practice. One in particular that we called jigatai, which involved standing in a straight backed stance, thighs parallel to the ground with arms extended. There was some teaching on the correct body feel and ground connection to do this right but much of it was just "suffer till you get it right".

Does that help answer your question?

Kevin

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 12:15 PM
back in the 70's, Koichi Tohei-sensei taught a number of "standing" exercises. Most of them were holding postures with bokken, and ranged in duration from minutes to hours :eek:

They were intended to be done with "correct mind/body unification" so I think they do fit in the category you are talking about. I don't know if the addition of a weapon makes a difference.

In older school practice, there were standing exercises, holding postures for periods of time, but I hated them and have edited them out of my memory :crazy: .

More seriously, there were standing exercises in the early days of my practice. One in particular that we called jigatai, which involved standing in a straight backed stance, thighs parallel to the ground with arms extended. There was some teaching on the correct body feel and ground connection to do this right but much of it was just "suffer till you get it right".

Does that help answer your question? Hi Kevin:

Wow. This is even worse than I thought. Looking at John Stevens' translations of some of what a lot of people think of as O-Sensei's "ramblings", it's obvious that his source material were classical directions on qigongs, mixing the "qi of heaven with the qi of earth inside of Man", etc. I.e., the essence of O-Sensei's quasi-religious "philosophy" is actually built around the esoteric practices of how to develop this kind of power and to use it. I underestimated the focus on Ki in Aikido. That means everyone else in the West is FAR underestimating it, probably, in terms of overall comprehension and use. Tohei understood the amount of emphasis, apparently; I thought he was just capitalizing on the coolest part, so I've been a little off in my appreciations.

In regard to the standings you're mentioning, this only makes things worser and worser. Can you get any idea about the source of those standings which Tohei was using? I.e., did they come via O-Sensei or somewhere else?

Personally, I'd say don't do the weapons until the empty-hand standings are correct. You are probably the only person on the list that understands the 6-directions training in postures, so I can safely just add the comment that if someone uses 6-directions training, probably about 20 minutes a day with ONE of those postures would be additive to their powers noticeably in 3-4 months (this assumes that you have limited time and you have regular Aikido to practice).

The quote from O-Sensei discussing the "six directions" really caught my eye (I need to re-find it; it's in one of 4 books here on my desk) ... I'd say the probability that he did standing posture exercises on the side is very high. This is all pretty interesting.

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
03-23-2005, 12:30 PM
You can't just hold the external posture and get the results. One extremely interesting comment *attributed* to Ueshiba (by I think Shioda but I've been looking at so many books lately...) was the comment about postures and six directions.

I'd be very interested in the reference, if you wouldn't mind posting it...

Thanks,
Ron

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 01:19 PM
Hi Ron:

It's on page 30 of "Total Aikido":

"Originally there was no position in aikido that might have been called a "basic stance." The founder, Morihei Ueshiba Sensei, while saying that the basic stance was "to open your feet to the six directions [north, south, east, west, up, down]."

It's a cryptic statement, but the "up" and "down" take it out of the realm of simple directional stuff. The "six directions", "balanced in six directions", etc., is a famous statement in higher-level Chinese martial training which is mainly famous because it refers to the esoteric training of power in stances, yet you can toss it out in front of the layman and he thinks you're talking about being aware or being ready all around you.

FWIW

Mike

kironin
03-23-2005, 01:20 PM
In regard to the standings you're mentioning, this only makes things worser and worser. Can you get any idea about the source of those standings which Tohei was using? I.e., did they come via O-Sensei or somewhere else?

I have only listened to stories from the old days of Tohei Sensei's visits to Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. so I would be interested to. I recall stories of Shinichi Suzuki Sensei stand in postures for hours either trying to match Tohei Sensei's training regimen or because Tohei Sensei told him to. I would be interested to hear about that, I have only done a lot of holding standing postures in Tai Chi chuan practice.

http://starbulletin.com/2003/08/11/news/story5.html

Ron Tisdale
03-23-2005, 01:26 PM
The "six directions", "balanced in six directions", etc., is a famous statement in higher-level Chinese martial training which is mainly famous because it refers to the esoteric training of power in stances, yet you can toss it out in front of the layman and he thinks you're talking about being aware or being ready all around you.

interesting...I'll reread that after keiko tonight. You usually hear about 4 and 8 directions for the 'awareness' aspect. The up and down are certainly unusuall. I probably didn't know enough when I first read that to notice anything strange. Thanks!

Oh, when you say chinese, are you refering to shaolin type stuff, or the more internal arts? (pardon any errors due to my not understanding this stuff too well)
Ron

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 01:28 PM
I recall stories of Shinichi Suzuki Sensei stand in postures for hours either trying to match Tohei Sensei's training regimen or because Tohei Sensei tld him to. Ah. I been had. Because Tohei's books don't mention standing-post training, I assumed he didn't do it. That's one of his main sources of power, then, undoubtedly. I wondered how he developed so much just using the exercises in his books. Probably I allowed myself to be had about Ueshiba in the same way because it's not in the books or anecdotes by the uchideshi, but this possibility will be harder to pin down.

FWIW

Mike

Steven
03-23-2005, 01:39 PM
The whole issue around up/down being a direction is something I have always focused on and preach. In the Yoshinkan, I believe the way in which we shihonage is a classic example of this and how if your posture and balance is incorrect, you will not be able to take uke down without resorting to power and/or unnecesarry alterations to the technique to make it work.

I found that with myself and see it in a lot of the beginners. They loose their balance when taking their partner down in shihonage, or they loose connection with them. When Parker Sensei does this last move, it is straight down with a thump. I still can't figure out how the heck it does this without moving the front foot. He shifts his weight then drops. Same experience I had with Chida Sensei.

As far as the UP motion, usually you see a break in balance when sh'te attempts to stand because their posture and center line is not good. Thus, they are not able to get up quickly and maintain their balance because their posture is not correct. This is where good seiza-ho practice comes in.

That's my nickles worth and at the rate the USD is dropping, it AIN'T worth much if anything at all.

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 01:43 PM
Oh, when you say chinese, are you refering to shaolin type stuff, or the more internal arts? Well, the so-called "internal" arts are usually considered to be Taiji, Xingyi, Baguz, Liu He Ba Fa, and a few others, while Shaolin arts are often called "external". Technically, and more precisely, the better-known "internal" arts are differentiated by the use of the dantien area to store, release, and control the body powers of jin and qi. I.e., they "hit with the dantien". They also believe in developing Qi via the softer breathing methods and qigongs as opposed to the harder breathing methods coupled with mechanical beating, drumming, etc. Aikido does not belong in this group of "internal" because there is not the specific use of the store-release and control by the dantien (the actual dantien area of some of these internal-arts people is extraordinarily developed with a muscular "ball" [they call it 'qi ball'] that can look like the Alien trying to get out of their abdomen).

So you can bet that the Ki and Kokyu practices of Aikido are from Shaolin (and from the writings, I'd bet the house on it). It has to be noted that "Shaolin" practices have a wide spectrum of approaches to Qi and they also have adherents to very soft, relaxed, etc., training, not just the hard stuff (there is no real clear differentiation of "internal" and "external", IMO). In terms of body training, various martial arts have differing approaches to qi-development and they add different body tricks to the arsenal (the use of the dantien is one trick, use of the hips is another, quivering responses is another, etc., etc.). Note that Aikido uses the hips; the internal arts use the dantien actively. Yiquan and Bajiquan use the hips. Aikido training would probably be complemented best with yiquan training, as it stands. "Internal arts" training would too-heavily modify Aikido and a lot of the stances of Aikido are just too wrong to use in internal arts. My opinions, not necessarily facts.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 01:51 PM
The whole issue around up/down being a direction is something I have always focused on and preach. In the Yoshinkan, I believe the way in which we shihonage is a classic example of this and how if your posture and balance is incorrect, you will not be able to take uke down without resorting to power and/or unnecesarry alterations to the technique to make it work.

I found that with myself and see it in a lot of the beginners. They loose their balance when taking their partner down in shihonage, or they loose connection with them. When Parker Sensei does this last move, it is straight down with a thump. I still can't figure out how the heck it does this without moving the front foot. He shifts his weight then drops. Same experience I had with Chida Sensei.

As far as the UP motion, usually you see a break in balance when sh'te attempts to stand because their posture and center line is not good. Thus, they are not able to get up quickly and maintain their balance because their posture is not correct. This is where good seiza-ho practice comes in.

That's my nickles worth and at the rate the USD is dropping, it AIN'T worth much if anything at all. Well, not wanting to commit sacrilige or anything, I suspect Yoshinkan could learn from Tohei's teachings just as most Aikido practitioners could benefit from understanding the stuff Shioda put in his books. ;) I absolutely think every Aikidoka should have a copy of "Total Aikido" by Shioda. The only personal comment is that I think some of the kamae are too tense and strained.

In terms of up and down, there's more to it and it would take a while to teach you how to start the training, so I certainly can't tell you in writing, but consider this: it's a common anecdote, etc., about a really high-level martial artist in China being able to stand on a sidewalk and with barely a quiver, crack the concrete. Or to be sitting on a bench and with a slight quiver shake off his seatmates on either side. Think of applying this sort of power to the end of shihonage. ;)

Mike

Steven
03-23-2005, 01:59 PM
Well, not wanting to commit sacrilige or anything, I suspect Yoshinkan could learn from Tohei's teachings just as most Aikido practitioners could benefit from understanding the stuff Shioda put in his books. ;) I absolutely think every Aikidoka should have a copy of "Total Aikido" by Shioda. The only personal comment is that I think some of the kamae are too tense and strained.

In terms of up and down, there's more to it and it would take a while to teach you how to start the training, so I certainly can't tell you in writing, but consider this: it's a common anecdote, etc., about a really high-level martial artist in China being able to stand on a sidewalk and with barely a quiver, crack the concrete. Or to be sitting on a bench and with a slight quiver shake off his seatmates on either side. Think of applying this sort of power to the end of shihonage. ;)

Mike

I use shihonage as an example because it's what on my brain at the moment. We did a shihonage clinic (in a sense) last night, along with ikkajo osae which can also teach very important things about moving up and down as well.

As for the Chinese and their magic/power, can't say anything about that. I'm still trying to figure aikido out, let alone try to figure out anything else. ;)

As for Tohei Sensei's teaching, well, I've actually practiced in his system and don't recall ever hearing or practicing anything that would help my phsysical movements in all directions. Lots of seiza and breathing practice. Though I'm sure it was just the dojo that I would visit when traveling to their area and not Tohei's teaching itself.

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 02:08 PM
As for Tohei Sensei's teaching, well, I've actually practiced in his system and don't recall ever hearing or practicing anything that would help my phsysical movements in all directions. Lots of seiza and breathing practice. Though I'm sure it was just the dojo that I would visit when traveling to their area and not Tohei's teaching itself. As someone on the outside who can't be affected by Aikido Politics (TM), I would sort of dispassionately opine that whatever Tohei knows he doesn't teach it all. And as it filters downhill, it attrites. At least something is taught that is useful and gradually enough knowledge will accumulate that these skills will become better known.

FWIW

Mike

kironin
03-23-2005, 02:12 PM
Ah. I been had. Because Tohei's books don't mention standing-post training, I assumed he didn't do it.

My understanding from what I have been told is that what is in his books is meant for everybody. A lot is left out. In other words it's the easy stuff, the broad inclusive main path, that won't intimidate anyone no matter what age or state of health. The Japanese housewives at the mall having a ki class or a ki home party somewhat like a tupperware party, etc. people not interested in Aikido but interested in improving their health. For the most part newer books seem to be a continuation of or adaptation of his older books where the practices you refer to are generally never mentioned. I have been told that in recent years even breathing while sitting in seiza longer than 20 minutes is not common at HQ because the younger generation of japanese is just not used to sitting in seiza that long. Standing postures with a bokken is really something done on your own by personal one-on-one instruction and never in a general class that I have seen.

The practices you refer to are regarded as esoteric now and as is often said "not required or mandatory" but generally considered good to do just because Tohei Sensei did them. Like doing shorter versions of the Ichikukai practices. Generally that many students haven't done them or done only a little. Certainly not with the intensity or frequency of practice that Tohei Sensei did them. This is stuff you will never see in general classes. Even misogi bell, a more common practice generally. is not done except in special classes or if asked for at seminars. Impossible to find someone who even makes a decent misogi bell anymore. The guy that did them in Japan is deceased.

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 02:28 PM
My understanding from what I have been told is that what is in his books is meant for everybody.(snip) The practices you refer to are regarded as esoteric now and as is often said "not required or mandatory" but generally considered good to do just because Tohei Sensei did them. Like doing shorter versions of the Ichikukai practices. Generally that many students haven't done them or done only a little. Certainly not with the intensity or frequency of practice that Tohei Sensei did them. Actually, standing practices are considered among the most inclusive because everyone can do them. I did find in Tohei's book in "Kiatsu" the comment that relaxing was not enough that you had to use the mind, but he seldom mentions that and I've never seen where he explains how to use the mind. You can't just imagine things or just "relax the mind"; there's more to it. The same is true of standing-post practices... they're not hard to do and you can gradually work your way to pretty good power and health with them. Some examples of various postures for health can be found in Wang Xuan Jie's book on "Dachengquan".

My thought is that doing standing exercises is probably as beneficial as doing ki exercises, and it's simpler to do, even for the elderly and infirm. If Tohei knows how to do standing exercises, it would have been a boon to reveal that as well, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

kironin
03-23-2005, 02:56 PM
My thought is that doing standing exercises is probably as beneficial as doing ki exercises, and it's simpler to do, even for the elderly and infirm.

my opinion is that properly done ki exercises would accelerate learning to do standing exercises correctly.

As to the elderly or infirm, perhaps if you are just talking about 10-20 minutes. My 81 year old mother seems to get a lot of benefit from doing weight training 3 times a week for her joints and energy level. A little Iyengar yoga and tai chi, but not so dedicated about that. I am not sure how many have the patience standing exercises.

kdj
03-23-2005, 07:04 PM
Can you get any idea about the source of those standings which Tohei was using? I.e., did they come via O-Sensei or somewhere else?


I've seen the same exercises taught by other teachers, with different lineages with the only common point being O-sensei. I have no definitive information on where they came from though. Your guess is at least as good as mine.

Craig mentioned Suzuki-sensei's posture practices. There are some really funny stories about those, like the time he reported doing an exercise *wrong* one hour every day for a year because he'd been shown it late at night after too much drink (one of the best times for extracting secret gems :D ) and the information was "not correctly communicated".

Kevin

Mike Sigman
03-23-2005, 07:12 PM
I've seen the same exercises taught by other teachers, with different lineages with the only common point being O-sensei. [snip] Craig mentioned Suzuki-sensei's posture practices. There are some really funny stories about those, like the time he reported doing an exercise *wrong* one hour every day for a year because he'd been shown it late at night after too much drink (one of the best times for extracting secret gems :D ) and the information was "not correctly communicated". I hate to expose myself as the information-hound that I am (but I try to trade better than I got), but I'm interested in seeing some of these "same exercises", etc., if someone can point to legitimate videos of uchi-deshi (or close) doing them. Any help is appreciated.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

maikerus
03-24-2005, 01:26 AM
When Parker Sensei does this last move, it is straight down with a thump. I still can't figure out how the heck it does this without moving the front foot. He shifts his weight then drops. Same experience I had with Chida Sensei.


I hate to say it since I am starting to sound like a broken record, but it is the "standing posture thread"...

It's the snap into kamae and closing the armpit (also in kamae) of the grasping hand that does it. Or so Takeno Sensei says. His is straight down, too. He also talks about accelerating uke to the floor on the way down...don't just let gravity do it. Help gravity along! [Note: my interpretation after being splatted continuously one class]

I was going through this exact point last Thursday morning.

FWIW,

--Michael

kironin
03-24-2005, 08:14 AM
Craig mentioned Suzuki-sensei's posture practices. There are some really funny stories about those, like the time he reported doing an exercise *wrong* one hour every day for a year because he'd been shown it late at night after too much drink (one of the best times for extracting secret gems :D ) and the information was "not correctly communicated".
Kevin

From what I heard,
That doesn't surprise me at all. :D

sanskara
03-24-2005, 06:01 PM
Ah. I been had. Because Tohei's books don't mention standing-post training, I assumed he didn't do it. That's one of his main sources of power, then, undoubtedly. I wondered how he developed so much just using the exercises in his books. Probably I allowed myself to be had about Ueshiba in the same way because it's not in the books or anecdotes by the uchideshi, but this possibility will be harder to pin down.

FWIW

Mike

I told you via e-mail that Tohei withheld quite a bit in public (that includes his books.) You should have followed up by asking what exactly and saved yourself some time.

Mike Sigman
03-24-2005, 06:07 PM
I told you via e-mail that Tohei withheld quite a bit in public (that includes his books.) You should have followed up by asking what exactly and saved yourself some time. Did you study with Tohei? I didn't get that impression or I might have asked further.

As it was, I felt like you had your own take on ki, kokyu, etc., that is outside both the Japanese and Chinese views... and those are pretty much the same, as they must be, if you think about it. But thanks for what information you gave.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

sanskara
03-24-2005, 06:15 PM
Did you study with Tohei? I didn't get that impression or I might have asked further.

As it was, I felt like you had your own take on ki, kokyu, etc., that is outside both the Japanese and Chinese views... and those are pretty much the same, as they must be, if you think about it. But thanks for what information you gave.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

If you want more information, my phone number's on my website. E-mail doesn't do the topic justice.

Steven
03-24-2005, 06:32 PM
I hate to say it since I am starting to sound like a broken record, but it is the "standing posture thread"...

It's the snap into kamae and closing the armpit (also in kamae) of the grasping hand that does it. Or so Takeno Sensei says. His is straight down, too. He also talks about accelerating uke to the floor on the way down...don't just let gravity do it. Help gravity along! [Note: my interpretation after being splatted continuously one class]

I was going through this exact point last Thursday morning.

FWIW,

--Michael

Cool .. Thanks Michael. Glad hear it's consistent with the top folks in our organization.

maikerus
03-25-2005, 02:45 AM
Cool .. Thanks Michael. Glad hear it's consistent with the top folks in our organization.

Steven...strange thing. When I explore the differences between Chida Sensei and Takeno Sensei one of the main ones I see is the drop down in Shihonage.

I always thought that Chida Sensei's was more out than Takeno Sensei's - in that he would slide forward slighly. Basically Takeno Sensei's circles seem a lot smaller/tighter in all the motions.

However, that being said I guess they both can do whatever they want whenever they want <wry grin>

Any thoughts? How did Parker Sensei's differ from Chida Sensei's - or did it?

--Michael

Mike Sigman
03-25-2005, 09:32 AM
Before we get too far afield (which is impossible to avoid on any forum, so I'm not complaining), let me ask if anyone has any pictures, etc., showing postures that Tohei, Shioda, or others recommended for holding. Thanks. Even any potential sources of information would be helpful.

Mike

Michael Mackenzie
03-25-2005, 11:01 AM
Hi,

As for Shioda, any posture in the kihon dosa can be held. Here is a non-Yoshinkan aikidoka's experience:

"We progressed through basic kamae to the Kihon Dosa -a series of basic postural exercises which forms the foundation of Yoshinkan Aikido.Moving from one position to another with precision and holding each difficult posture for an extended period proved really hard on the legs and a nightmare in terms of balance."

http://www.koshinkan-aikido.co.uk/articles/pyjamas.htm

As for others, the only postures I have seen reccommended are: 1. shizentai i.e. "natural" posture. 2. Standing in kamae with the sword.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-25-2005, 11:53 AM
Thanks, Mike. I guess what I'm feeling for, without completely having asked for it so far, is (1.) were there standing practices in "traditional" Aikido and (2.) were there explanations to go with the standings.

Because of the uncertainty about Shioda's knowledge source on standing-post exercises, I'm sort of at a loss there. The other big factor is knowing how to do the postures and knowing how to do the movements. For instance, think how many people have slowly come to the realization that the basic movements they were doing didn't have the power of the movements in someone else they felt. That means that the descriptions of how to move are usually missing and the choreography and external workings of the techniques is more common.

The same is true for standing exercises. Just standing and "centering" is not what postures are about, although there will naturally accrue *some* benefit and "ki" from just standing. But it's limited. In my opinion a lot of people wind up teaching various martial arts who never got more than choreography (or postures, whatever) and so from the point that such a person begins to teach, pretty much everything down his lineage is external and technique-based. This is a common occurrence and it's why you have some purely external (nowadays) martial arts in China that have names indicating that they were once "internal" arts.... the knowledge got lost because it wasn't openly shown, etc., and down the line the "teachers" who only had the external material dominated the art. Incidentally, this is very true in Okinawan karate, also.... there are a core group at the upper levels who know how the ki and kokyu are used and developed while most of the avid practitioners haven't even got a clue that it's in there.

But, all of this is just interesting discussion, I guess, and I appreciate the information from various people. I've learned a lot that I didn't know about Aikido. :)

Regards,

Mike

Steven
03-25-2005, 12:33 PM
Steven...strange thing. When I explore the differences between Chida Sensei and Takeno Sensei one of the main ones I see is the drop down in Shihonage.

I always thought that Chida Sensei's was more out than Takeno Sensei's - in that he would slide forward slighly. Basically Takeno Sensei's circles seem a lot smaller/tighter in all the motions.

However, that being said I guess they both can do whatever they want whenever they want <wry grin>

Any thoughts? How did Parker Sensei's differ from Chida Sensei's - or did it?

--Michael

Hi Michael,

From the receiving end of things, I didn't feel much difference at all. I'll take a look at the vids and let you know what I see, if any.

--Steven

Michael Mackenzie
03-25-2005, 01:33 PM
I guess what I'm feeling for, without completely having asked for it so far, is (1.) were there standing practices in "traditional" Aikido

Hi Mike,

This is an area of interest for me as well. I am sorry if I have not been as detailed in posting as I could have been. To answer, to my knowledge, 1. It depends what you mean by traditional aikido. Is traditional aikido what was taught to Saito at Iwama? Is it what was taught at hombu dojo post WWII? or is it something taught by the pre-war students?

The easiest answer is to say that aikido is an off-shoot of traditional Daito-Ryu, much as Yang style Taiji is an offshoot of Chen. From there you don't get caught up so much in the various aikido personality cults and can then to go look at what the Daito-ryu people and other ryu of that era are doing. This is what many of those fed up with the aikido world have chosen to do. This includes
most of the top dogs, who regardless of aikido affiliation, have eventually looked for anwers in the koryu.

In fact I would say that Tohei's interest in shin-shin toitsu do, Tetsutaka Sugawara's interest in Taiji, or some of the post-war North American and Japanese student's exposure to Wang Shu Jin's IMA are in fact not the norm. Rather many students have looked back at older Japanese traditions to "fill in the blanks."

This is not to say that there is no Chinese influence in Japanese Koryu, but rather that, for most people, the interest in shin-shin toitsu do, taiji, etc is more akin to our modern penchant for looking to yoga and pilates to improve our respective martial arts, versus focused study on the actual art we are studying, including its historical antecedents.

Because of the uncertainty about Shioda's knowledge source on standing-post exercises, I'm sort of at a loss there.

Honestly Mike, I don't know if that's the case. It was one tiny blurb I saw in a Taikiken article two years ago. I haven't been able to find the article again or independently verify it with anyone. It is pure speculation at this point. To be honest, I'm much more interested in Ellis's comment that Shioda may hove worked with Kodo Horikawa.

think how many people have slowly come to the realization that the basic movements they were doing didn't have the power of the movements in someone else they felt. That means that the descriptions of how to move are usually missing and the choreography and external workings of the techniques is more common.

I agree totally!!! What I've found however is that most of this higher level information, be it for Japanese of Chinese marttial arts, is not available readily in books. I'm sure you can attest to the many years it has taken to develop your skills through dilligent practice, trial and error, and asking senior people the "right" questions.

(2.) were there explanations to go with the standings.

As for your second point and O'Sensei: If there are any oral instructions they are in his doka, or nowhere at all. For example in the Art of Peace:

"Breathe in and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and bring the cosmos back inside. Next, breathe up all fecundity and vibrancy of the earth. Finally, blend the breath of heaven and the breath of earth with your own, becoming the Breath of Life itself."

Most people see this as nice poetic stuff and move on. However, to most traditional Chinese and Japanese martial artists this would be a flashing red light that the author is trying to describe something very concrete, i.e. an actual breathing exercise. Of course someone has to explain it to you...

snip - you have some purely external (nowadays) martial arts in China that have names indicating that they were once "internal" arts.... the knowledge got lost because it wasn't openly shown, etc., and down the line the "teachers" who only had the external material dominated the art... there are a core group at the upper levels who know how the ki and kokyu are used and developed while most of the avid practitioners haven't even got a clue that it's in there.

Again I totally agree. That is why I think it is interesting that someone like Yoshinori Kono in Japan is doing research that is parallel to yours in some respects in that he is interested in how people in the koryu actually moved once upon a time. Several very well respected martial artists, like Tetsuzan Kuroda, have gone to study with him to rediscover the roots of their art. It should also be noted that Yoshinori Kono started as a student of Seigo Yamaguchi, but, you guessed it, went to the koryu to fill in the blanks...

FWIW,

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-25-2005, 01:58 PM
1. It depends what you mean by traditional aikido. Is traditional aikido what was taught to Saito at Iwama? Is it what was taught at hombu dojo post WWII? or is it something taught by the pre-war students?

The easiest answer is to say that aikido is an off-shoot of traditional Daito-Ryu, much as Yang style Taiji is an offshoot of Chen. From there you don't get caught up so much in the various aikido personality cults and can then to go look at what the Daito-ryu people and other ryu of that era are doing. This is what many of those fed up with the aikido world have chosen to do. This includes
most of the top dogs, who regardless of aikido affiliation, have eventually looked for anwers in the koryu. Good points. Just to be on the safe side, I didn't assume that the Ki and Kokyu stuff was necessarily in Daito-Ryu as taught to Ueshiba by Takeda Sokaku. I had to consider the possibility that Ueshiba learned a Daito Ryu with little or no Ki/Kokyu, later learned them and stuck them back in, calling the result "Aikido". I had no clear indication at the time, so I had to be cautious. But now I sort of agree with you.... the problem is that if the *functional* Aikido contains the same throws, Ki, Kokyu, etc., as Daito-Ryu, then I can't see how Ueshiba could justify claiming a new art. This part is tricky, in terms of tradition. In fact I would say that Tohei's interest in shin-shin toitsu do, Tetsutaka Sugawara's interest in Taiji, or some of the post-war North American and Japanese student's exposure to Wang Shu Jin's IMA are in fact not the norm. Rather many students have looked back at older Japanese traditions to "fill in the blanks." What do you think of the possibility that O-Sensei simply witheld things, but Tohei and others knew roughly what they were and deliberately went to someone else to fill in the Ki/Kokyu blank parts?
Honestly Mike, I don't know if that's the case. It was one tiny blurb I saw in a Taikiken article two years ago. I haven't been able to find the article again or independently verify it with anyone. It is pure speculation at this point. To be honest, I'm much more interested in Ellis's comment that Shioda may hove worked with Kodo Horikawa. OK. My focus was on the standing-post exercises. IF Sawai was even a potential contributor, that shoots down any logical inference about Ueshiba and standing practices.
I agree totally!!! What I've found however is that most of this higher level information, be it for Japanese of Chinese marttial arts, is not available readily in books. I'm sure you can attest to the many years it has taken to develop your skills through dilligent practice, trial and error, and asking senior people the "right" questions. Not to mention the number of people in the arts who don't know much about these skills and would prefer I go away. ;) As for your second point and O'Sensei: If there are any oral instructions they are in his doka, or nowhere at all. For example in the Art of Peace:

"Breathe in and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and bring the cosmos back inside. Next, breathe up all fecundity and vibrancy of the earth. Finally, blend the breath of heaven and the breath of earth with your own, becoming the Breath of Life itself." That one is so traditional in China that he should have included a picture of the Chinese flag. One of the things one learns after a while is that something was very practical (it had to work) or the Chinese didn't use it. When describing things, in order to keep people from fully understanding, they'd couch things in metaphoric language. That particular phrase is the heart of all functional qigongs, so when I first saw it as a quote from O-Sensei, I was intrigued. The problem is that despite what anyone says, if they are parrotting classics you can't tell if they really know or if they are just parrotting. If Ueshiba really understood what that phrase meants (my tentative bet now is that he did) then I can see why he was guarding things. The question then becomes, "does Tohei, Abe, etc., really know what this one means". And so on. Interesting research into the "hidden" side of Aikido. Again I totally agree. That is why I think it is interesting that someone like Yoshinori Kono in Japan is doing research that is parallel to yours in some respects in that he is interested in how people in the koryu actually moved once upon a time. Several very well respected martial artists, like Tetsuzan Kuroda, have gone to study with him to rediscover the roots of their art. It should also be noted that Yoshinori Kono started as a student of Seigo Yamaguchi, but, you guessed it, went to the koryu to fill in the blanks... Yeah... there's a side issue here that would be wonderful to establish... was it Gempin that revealed the Ki/Kokyu things to Japan? If he did, he would have been under death sentence in China.

Regards,

Mike

Michael Mackenzie
03-25-2005, 02:33 PM
I had to consider the possibility that Ueshiba learned a Daito Ryu with little or no Ki/Kokyu, later learned them and stuck them back in, calling the result "Aikido". I had no clear indication at the time, so I had to be cautious. But now I sort of agree with you.... the problem is that if the *functional* Aikido contains the same throws, Ki, Kokyu, etc., as Daito-Ryu, then I can't see how Ueshiba could justify claiming a new art. This part is tricky, in terms of tradition.

I've heard the whole Ueshiba picked up what he knew in China. In fact, I was a proponent for awhile. To me now it rings of arguments like, "Mayan culture was developed by space aliens because the native Mayans were too stupid to figure this stuff out themselves." I think the Japanese have been doing these things for a lot longer than just O'Sensei. The reality is these skills are evident in the koryu, daito-ryu and many of it's offshoots.

As for why is it a new art, I would say O'Sensei felt the philospohical underpinnings of his art were so unique that it deserved to be called something different. But who knows? Why are there five different major styles of Taiji? why is there Buddhism, wasn't Hinduism good enough? etc...

What do you think of the possibility that O-Sensei simply witheld things, but Tohei and others knew roughly what they were and deliberately went to someone else to fill in the Ki/Kokyu blank parts?

You bet. I honestly think O'Sensei was part of the "steal my art" crew. Inherently, that meant most people got fed up and looked elsewhere for answers. The interesting question is where did they look?

Yeah... there's a side issue here that would be wonderful to establish... was it Gempin that revealed the Ki/Kokyu things to Japan?

I hear what you are saying Mike. I'm just a little uncomfortable attributing it all to one person/event. Japan for many years was a living museum for all things Chinese, long after the Chinese had moved on. Over time I think the Japanese would have inherited these traditions from a variety of sources.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-25-2005, 03:03 PM
Good thoughts. Any responses I have would just be speculations heaped on top of your speculations. In terms of Gempin, he gave something special or they wouldn't have built a temple to him. My guess is that he showed them probably part of the Shuai Jiao system (the Chinese said he didn't show it all) and some of the Ki/Kokyu things... but I haven't a clue, really. But it would explain why the ju systems have this knowledge, etc.

Mike

Ellis Amdur
03-25-2005, 06:41 PM
This truly is the most interesting (and civil) thread I've read in ages. Hopefully what follows will not be too long-winded. There's been a lot of speculation on Ueshiba having studied some kind of Chinese martial art. His son, upon direct question, stated that his father never made any reference to Chinese martial arts in his presence, nor did he study any. That is one (but not the only) baseline. BTW - one could claim that nationalist Japanese wouldn't want to give the Chinese any credit, but on the other hand, the Ueshiba family was, at that time, actively minimizing the Daito-ryu influence (same meeting, for example), claiming that Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu might have had a larger technical influence on the development of aikido than DR (and extremely dubious proposition). So one could offer, on the other hand, a claim of Chinese influence to further minimize DR. No one in the aikido world ever has, at any rate.

Ueshiba's first trip to China was in the 1920's. The infamous Omotokyo trip to set up paradise in Mongolia. Ueshiba was the "bodyguard." Deguchi was very proud of having Ueshiba in his entourage, BTW, and liked to tell stories about his adventures and strength. The trip was arduous, they moved from place to place, they were on the run, on the move, and were arrested in, I believe, four months. They certainly were not in place long enough for Ueshiba to have settled in to formally study an art. It is conceivable that among the "support staff" of Chinese nationals in their group was a Chinese martial artist, and that they might have exchanged techniques - BUT, not only does Ueshiba make no reference to it, but neither does Deguchi (and this was the kind of story he would, based on all of his other accounts) love to tell - that his pet warrior met other warriors and they exchanged fighting methods - this is an almost archetypal Japanese story, and not a few ryu claim such antecedents, either with another Japanese or with a Chinese fighter (Chin Gempin being only the most prominent.

Given the similarities that some people perceive with bagua, this is the art most frequently fanticized for such an exchange. As a somewhat new practitioner of bagua (only a few years), I find this dubious. The body mechanics, once one gets into details, are quite different. None the less, one could imagine that a superficial observation of bagua might have led Ueshiba to "curve the acute angles" of DR, but there is absolutely no evidence or account of such an encounter.

Ueshiba next was in China in the 1930's. One thing that should be noted right away is that filmic evidence - the Asahi Shinbun film of 1936 shows that Ueshiba's aikido was clearly developed by this time - most remarkably, he looks, at times like a stocky Shioda, at other times like Saito, and other times like Tohei. So any further contact with Chinese martial arts would not have influenced the technique, which was already created. It would have had to influence the internal power aspect of aikido.

Anyway, in what is probably the greatest missed opportunity to answer the questions in this thread is this. A Japanese man named Takeda (no relation to the DR man) lived in Beijing in the 1930's, and became the lineal successor to a line of Tombei-ch'uan, a really interesting boxing form, very very "soft," that superficially resembles xingyi, but generates power with flailing movements generated with the back muscles (it literally means "thru the back" boxing, and is in imitation of a very long armed white-faced monkey). Takeda published a book, still in existence, although few realize it was written by a Japanese, on Tombei-ch'uan. Takeda, very elderly then in an interview in the late 1980's said that his house became a gathering point of martial artists in Beijing, and that visiting Japanese also used to drop by, "including Ueshiba of aikido." He did NOT say that Ueshiba studied with him or anybody else - most likely, Ueshiba was a visiting dignitary as part of a group - BUT implicit was the idea that they sat around comparing notes and techniques. Standing methods were also really flourishing in Beijing at this time - Kenichi Sawai was studying I'ch'uan then, for example, which was proving itself to be among the very strongest - and certainly most pugnacious - groups of boxers (they were sort of like Gracie jujutsu in relation to the orthodox boxing schools). So it is quite conceivable that Ueshiba discussed, heard about, observed, quietly put in his tool box, what have you - postural standing methods as a means of generating power. And this may be why the old man definitely did, in some aspects, continue to get stronger. The testimony of the deshi may be dubious, but many of the very strongest practitioners of other styles gave him props.

One final note. Everybody did NOT know where Ueshiba was and what he was doing. I met a veteran judo player, very tough man, who described practicing at the Kodokan in the late fifties and Kotani, the great 9th dan, who entered the LA Olympics as a heavyweight, though only 160 pounds, and placed 4th in wrestling without ever really training in the sport, pointed out a 60+ year old bearded fellow practicing some sort of throws with young judoka, and Kotani said, "I bet that old guy can throw you in less than 10 seconds." The judoka said he was game, Kotani (who studied with Ueshiba) called him over, and the judoka, upon coming to grips, was immediately dropped in a nikkyo that he didn't see or feel applied (his own account). I've never heard Ueshiba even appeared at the Kodokan, so who knows where else he hung out.

Best

Ellis Amdur

Mike Sigman
03-25-2005, 08:02 PM
This truly is the most interesting (and civil) thread I've read in ages. Mostly martial artists talking to martial artists? Hopefully what follows will not be too long-winded. There's been a lot of speculation on Ueshiba having studied some kind of Chinese martial art. His son, upon direct question, stated that his father never made any reference to Chinese martial arts in his presence, nor did he study any. In my mind, the question is more "did he study any really legitimate qigongs?", but that's just an observation. Given the similarities that some people perceive with bagua, this is the art most frequently fanticized for such an exchange. As a somewhat new practitioner of bagua (only a few years), I find this dubious. The body mechanics, once one gets into details, are quite different. None the less, one could imagine that a superficial observation of bagua might have led Ueshiba to "curve the acute angles" of DR, but there is absolutely no evidence or account of such an encounter. Irimi nage, shihonage, tenchinage, etc., etc., are classical takedowns in Chinese martial arts. They are found in Shuai Jiao, Bagua, and other arts. I'm also aware of Bagua practitioners from China demonstrating in Beijing in the early 1900's... so while the probablility is that the throws originated in China, there is no necessity for Ueshiba to have learned them on special trips, I'd surmise. Ueshiba next was in China in the 1930's. One thing that should be noted right away is that filmic evidence - the Asahi Shinbun film of 1936 shows that Ueshiba's aikido was clearly developed by this time - most remarkably, he looks, at times like a stocky Shioda, at other times like Saito, and other times like Tohei. So any further contact with Chinese martial arts would not have influenced the technique, which was already created. It would have had to influence the internal power aspect of aikido. I agree. But I don't know if any of this is provable. The fact that other jiu styles, Shinto, etc., etc., apparently had access to some aspects of this training makes me think that it was not necessary for him to go to China to get the information. Again, it's all speculative on my part. I'm betting there's tons of things I don't know that would affect my guesses.

Anyway, in what is probably the greatest missed opportunity to answer the questions in this thread is this. A Japanese man named Takeda (no relation to the DR man) lived in Beijing in the 1930's, and became the lineal successor to a line of Tombei-ch'uan, a really interesting boxing form, very very "soft," that superficially resembles xingyi, but generates power with flailing movements generated with the back muscles (it literally means "thru the back" boxing, and is in imitation of a very long armed white-faced monkey). Takeda published a book, still in existence, although few realize it was written by a Japanese, on Tombei-ch'uan. Takeda, very elderly then in an interview in the late 1980's said that his house became a gathering point of martial artists in Beijing, and that visiting Japanese also used to drop by, "including Ueshiba of aikido." He did NOT say that Ueshiba studied with him or anybody else - most likely, Ueshiba was a visiting dignitary as part of a group - BUT implicit was the idea that they sat around comparing notes and techniques. It's a thought, but Tongbeiquan isn't much at all like Bagua and it's training methods are pretty distinctive. I have some good tapes on Tongbei if you're ever interested. Standing methods were also really flourishing in Beijing at this time - Kenichi Sawai was studying I'ch'uan then, for example, which was proving itself to be among the very strongest - and certainly most pugnacious - groups of boxers (they were sort of like Gracie jujutsu in relation to the orthodox boxing schools). Somebody has been feeding you a line about how bad yiquan is, Ellis. :) Good thoughts. The problem is that not all of anyone's life is documented daily and it only takes some minor things to change an approach. My basic feeling is that somewhere, somehow, Ueshiba learned something that he felt changed what he'd learned of Daitoryu and so therefore he felt justified in forming his own martial style without being beholden to Takeda Sokaku. I just can't imagine that he took the techniques and the ki/kokyu training and felt that a little philosophy entitled him to start his own style, if you see my reasoning.

Good post. Thanks.

Mike

Michael Mackenzie
03-25-2005, 08:41 PM
Firstly, wow to Ellis's post. Just when you think you've heard all the stories...

My basic feeling is that somewhere, somehow, Ueshiba learned something that he felt changed what he'd learned of Daitoryu and so therefore he felt justified in forming his own martial style without being beholden to Takeda Sokaku. I just can't imagine that he took the techniques and the ki/kokyu training and felt that a little philosophy entitled him to start his own style, if you see my reasoning.

Mike I don't know what to say to this. In a lot of respects I agree with you. Rationally, it doesn't make sense that someone would inherit a tradition and then change the name.

I'd like to suggest another option. There has been a lot of debate in the aikido / daito-ryu community whether there was a tradition to inherit prior to Sokaku Takeda. By that I mean did Sokaku Takeda inherit something called Daito-ryu, or was he the creator of Daito-ryu?

Many people (see Pranin's book on Daito-ryu) have suggested that he was the creator. In fact, the name Daito-ryu aikijujutsu did not come about until 1922. Even after that, his own son began to use the name aiki budo, as did Ueshiba for a time. Also Ueshiba himself purportedly did not coin the term aikido but his student, Minoru Hirai, who also formed his own art, Korindo. Another contemporary of Ueshiba was Noriaki Inoue, nephew of Ueshiba, who also trained with Sokaku Takeda. He eventually parted ways with Ueshiba, changing the name of his art from aiki budo to shinwa taido.

What I'm trying to say is that the name daito-ryu aikijujutsu is something ascribed to Sokaku Takeda's teachings versus a lineage per se. The name was changing even as Ueshiba was training with Sokaku so perhaps there wasn't much need to adhere to it. Many other people who trained with him chose to call their arts by other names.

As for the philosophy, what can I say? O'Sensei has now been immortalized as much a philosopher/religious figure as he has been a martial artist. Most of what he wrote is very much couched in this philosophical language. He also liked philosophers, such as Onisbaro Deguchi (To be honest, when I read Deguchi I get a little freaked out).

O'Sensei, under the influence of Deguchi had some pretty grand designs for aikido: reconcilitation with the universe etc... O'Sensei even went so far as to have himself enshrined as a kami, read demi-god, at Iwama. By all accounts, Takeda did not share these views. How can you save the universe if you teacher thinks you're a bit of a flake? I think a parting of the ways was inevitable, though it's sad Ueshiba did not give props to his teacher.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-25-2005, 08:50 PM
In a lot of respects I agree with you. Rationally, it doesn't make sense that someone would inherit a tradition and then change the name. No, but then again I didn't know all the facts that you just laid out, either, about the name Daito-Ryu, etc. It's quite probable also that since the general techniques are almost certainly widespread in jiu-jitsu ryu that Ueshiba didn't consider these things were solely from Takeda. Who knows? O'Sensei, under the influence of Deguchi had some pretty grand designs for aikido: reconcilitation with the universe etc... O'Sensei even went so far as to have himself enshrined as a kami, read demi-god, at Iwama. By all accounts, Takeda did not share these views. How can you save the universe if you teacher thinks you're a bit of a flake? I think a parting of the ways was inevitable, though it's sad Ueshiba did not give props to his teacher. Assuming the scenario is generally true, which I suspect it may well be, I'd agree with your view.

Regards,

Mike

Ellis Amdur
03-25-2005, 10:37 PM
Mike -

I wasn't suggesting that aikido technique was derived from bagua. I was, in fact, trying to head off that claim that pops up, over and over again, in this type of discussion.:) All those techniques are right in the syllabus of Daito-ryu, as well as in a variety of other jujutsu. Nuance might be different, but the basic technique is the same. I'm just giving the devil his due in conceding that, given that Ueshiba was remarkable at absorbing what he observed and integrating either an element or interpretation into his own art, I am merely conceding that the rounding out of his (manifest) technique could have been inspired by an observation of bagua - equally, it could have been inspired watching someone fly-fishing.

I also agree that it wasn't necessary for Ueshiba to go to China to get the goodies. I've tried here to establish that in 1924, he could have merely gotten hints. He already had the techniques of aikido down well before his next trip in the mid-thirties. There is a tremendous amount of untranslated material on Taoist yin-yang dynamism in traditional ryu, and all kinds of training methods that were common knowledge to Edo and Meiji Japanese, but are inaccessible to Westerners (not because they are secret, but because we can't read them). I think you are on the right track that the knowledge was available at home, notwithstanding it very possibly originated in China.

Sorry I wasn't clear in my writing. I wasn't suggesting that Ueshiba got anything from Tonbei - simply that this practitioner's house was a gathering place for all sorts of practitioners, and that if he did acquire practices of internal development in China, this was the one time we know that he was in the company of Chinese martial artists. Later trips to Manchuria he was, as far as anybody knows, teaching.

I studied a little Tongbei - about six months - but liked xingyi much better and returned to it. Someday, though, I WOULD love to get together and peruse tapes, and more important, exchange some knowledge.

As for I-ch'uan, yeah, I know . .. like a lot of things, I think the founder's art is the expression of a lifetime of a plethora of training - the disciples often get the outcome without the building blocks . . . wait a minute. Doesn't that sound like aikido????

best

Ellis

Mike Sigman
03-26-2005, 09:55 AM
I wasn't suggesting that aikido technique was derived from bagua. [snipsky]
I also agree that it wasn't necessary for Ueshiba to go to China to get the goodies. I've tried here to establish that in 1924, he could have merely gotten hints. He already had the techniques of aikido down well before his next trip in the mid-thirties. [snip] I think you are on the right track that the knowledge was available at home, notwithstanding it very possibly originated in China. I think we agree, Ellis. From everything I can see, both the techniques of Aikido and the knowledge of Shaolin qigongs was already in Japan, so there was no need to dream up the China-Bagua scenario. The only comment I'd add is that there is one type of Bagua with linear applications that uses pretty much the same basic syllabus of throws that Aikido does... I always hate coincidences in a cause-and-effect world. ;) Sorry I wasn't clear in my writing. I wasn't suggesting that Ueshiba got anything from Tonbei - simply that this practitioner's house was a gathering place for all sorts of practitioners, and that if he did acquire practices of internal development in China, this was the one time we know that he was in the company of Chinese martial artists. Later trips to Manchuria he was, as far as anybody knows, teaching.

I studied a little Tongbei - about six months - but liked xingyi much better and returned to it. Someday, though, I WOULD love to get together and peruse tapes, and more important, exchange some knowledge. I knew you weren't really suggesting it. However, I'd leave it open still... to the extent that if a Tongbei expert used Shaolin qigongs, you wouldn't necessarily be able to spot the style it came from. (Tongbei is considered one of the "external" arts, technically, but I've seen different schools appear to be in either camp. Chen-style Taiji is considered to have *maybe* had additive elements from HongDong Tongbeiquan inserted via Jiang Fa).

Love to get together. I keep thinking of coming to Seattle but the last time I was there the traffic dismayed me to the point of seppuku almost. ;) You need to come to Colorado to see what God would have done to Washington if he'd had enough money left. As for I-ch'uan, yeah, I know . .. like a lot of things, I think the founder's art is the expression of a lifetime of a plethora of training - the disciples often get the outcome without the building blocks . . . wait a minute. Doesn't that sound like aikido???? I think it's a danger in most arts, frankly. All it takes is one guy/girl to start their own school when they don't understand the basics and you're off to the races, creating a large group of people that think they're knowledgeable. It happens in China, Japan, and everywhere else, too.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-26-2005, 10:51 AM
Given the similarities that some people perceive with bagua, this is the art most frequently fanticized for such an exchange. As a somewhat new practitioner of bagua (only a few years), I find this dubious. The body mechanics, once one gets into details, are quite different. None the less, one could imagine that a superficial observation of bagua might have led Ueshiba to "curve the acute angles" of DR, but there is absolutely no evidence or account of such an encounter. To me this comparison to body mechanics is an important point. One of the first things I notice from the old film clips of Ueshiba, Tohei, and others is that their stance and balance is somewhat different from what you often see in western dojo's. Yoshinkan kamae tend to look, to my eye, like Shioda may have been going more heavily toward sword postures than even Ueshiba. Ueshiba looks very balanced to me; so does Tohei. Some of the various other members of Aikido appear to my eye to be too far forward and to depend on the rear leg as a "brace" from which to draw power. The point I'm trying to work my way toward is that this "brace" is a certain stop to the growth of internal power. Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji, etc., don't rightfully use this brace (granted you will see some self-styled "experts" that use the brace, but no real expert ever does that). I made a mention in an earlier post that most Aikidoka hinder their progress by using the brace, by stiffening the lower back in the "haughty hakama" posture, and by using the shoulders. I'm mentioning it again as a well-intentioned contribution that I think is helpful... in person I could show the why's and wherefore's of these problems. :)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Mackenzie
03-26-2005, 11:40 AM
Yoshinkan kamae tend to look, to my eye, like Shioda may have been going more heavily toward sword postures than even Ueshiba.

Hi Mike, I think the kamae Shioda exhibit are more reminiscent of Daito-ryu and Shioda's pre-war training. If you examine pictures of Ueshiba in his 50's, for example in Budo, you will see similiar postures.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-26-2005, 02:02 PM
Hi Mike, I think the kamae Shioda exhibit are more reminiscent of Daito-ryu and Shioda's pre-war training. If you examine pictures of Ueshiba in his 50's, for example in Budo, you will see similiar postures. My mistake. I went back and looked at the book instead of letting my memory mislead me again. What I was remembering was not Shioda, because his postures are OK.... it's the people demonstrating kamae, etc., that are too much back-leg-braced. If your back leg becomes a brace, you have no ability to tap into "the qi of the earth". If the back is to rigid it will stop the power from coming through. If you use the shoulders, your power went to high; it should go from your middle to your hands.

Next time I'll look before I attribute something to Shioda himself. :)

Mike

kironin
03-26-2005, 08:54 PM
interesting.

the lesson for the past year coming from KNK Hombu (i.e. Tohei Sensei) is to remind students and teachers "Don't Brace!" in waza.

spent some significant time at instructor seminars emphasizing that point in exercises and practice.

Steven
03-26-2005, 09:03 PM
If you take a look at "Aikido, The Way of Harmony" by John Stevens, you will see Rinjiro Shirta, the featured instructor, demonstrates kamae and many other things that look very close to what Shioda Sensei was doing. I don't find this unusual when you consider they were both students of O'Sensei, with Shirata starting in 1931 and Shioda in 1932.

So I content, that the things attributed to Shioda isn't something that he invented. It was something he was taught and refined over the years. I recall seeing pictures of the late Akira Tohei and some of his students that had the same kamae as the Yoshinkan as well.

Just a random thought for whatever it's worth.

Mike Sigman
03-27-2005, 11:19 AM
the lesson for the past year coming from KNK Hombu (i.e. Tohei Sensei) is to remind students and teachers "Don't Brace!" in waza.

spent some significant time at instructor seminars emphasizing that point in exercises and practice. If you look at most of Tohei's "ki tests", you'll see that his weight is usually on the back leg or inbetween the feet but favoring the back leg. Most of that is because we do most of our techniques to the front, so there are exceptions to what I'm saying, but generally the static tests will favor weighting the back leg. If someone is taking pushes on the back, as another example, you'll find the weight will favor the front leg. Generally speaking, if someone pushes Tohei from the front, he is relaxing the upper body and allowing the lower body to absorb the push and it will naturally go into the back leg. If Tohei is pushing someone, the force comes from the back leg (it can change if he is moving, of course) to the middle to the point on which he is pushing. It's a matter of natural paths.

The important and constraining point is that you must have the *potential* for paths in all directions at all times. In other words if someone is pushing me hard from the front it goes into my back leg, but if he suddenly and dramatically pulls me to the front, the path should instantaneously be in the front leg so he can't move me in that direction either (these are demo's of how it works; not the "no resistance" of actual martial arts). If I am depending upon a "brace", I will never develop these automatic mental-path skills and I will never be in an equilibrium that responds to all directions.

Shioda, Ueshiba, and a number of others maintain a nice equilibrium... but it's almost visually grating when you see someone leaned forward with a too-straight (or inward-curved) back, etc., because it's obvious they're only doing a parody of Aikido or any other good martial art. They cannot be using correct power, but can only be using normal strength or occasional tidbits of kokyu.

Bagua, Taiji, Xingyi, and most classical Chinese martial arts do martial standing practices with most of the weight going into the back leg because of the more common forward-facing use of power. It's not a "Chinese tradition", it's simply the way the real world works if you're going to use this kind of power with Ki and Kokyu. Common sense and physics is such that there is a constraining order and logic to how these things work and there is no difference in the basics. Occasionally, you'll see some variations at the fringes (e.g., how to hold the fingers: spread or more together) of the logic, but it's never a big thing.

FWIW

Mike

tedehara
03-27-2005, 12:12 PM
interesting.

the lesson for the past year coming from KNK Hombu (i.e. Tohei Sensei) is to remind students and teachers "Don't Brace!" in waza.

spent some significant time at instructor seminars emphasizing that point in exercises and practice.It has to be noted that Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, Ki Society Aikido aka ki-aikido, is a dynamic style. That means changes are instigated from Ki No Kenkyukai (KNK) Ki Society Headquarters. This is not a style that attempts to capture the aikido of an individual and is static i.e. doesn't change.

While changes may come in techniques or practice, the emphasis can change from year to year. Even small changes done to a technique can change it radically if done continually over a long period of time.

Mary Eastland
03-27-2005, 12:14 PM
hmm....what I learned about ki testing was that you find your center....and trust your center. If you lose it, you just get it back. We were taught about correct feeling. When you feel you know what it is. Also no weight on your feet.
Mary

Mike Sigman
03-27-2005, 02:35 PM
hmm....what I learned about ki testing was that you find your center....and trust your center. If you lose it, you just get it back. We were taught about correct feeling. When you feel you know what it is. Also no weight on your feet.
Mary So, out of curiosity.... where do you put your weight if it isn't on your feet?

Mike

Mary Eastland
03-27-2005, 03:00 PM
So, out of curiosity.... where do you put your weight if it isn't on your feet?

Mike

You don't put it anywhere ...........you focus on your center
Mary

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-27-2005, 05:19 PM
If you look at most of Tohei's "ki tests", you'll see that his weight is usually on the back leg or in between the feet but favoring the back leg. Most of that is because we do most of our techniques to the front, so there are exceptions to what I'm saying, but generally the static tests will favor weighting the back leg. If someone is taking pushes on the back, as another example, you'll find the weight will favor the front leg. Generally speaking, if someone pushes Tohei from the front, he is relaxing the upper body and allowing the lower body to absorb the push and it will naturally go into the back leg. If Tohei is pushing someone, the force comes from the back leg (it can change if he is moving, of course) to the middle to the point on which he is pushing. It's a matter of natural paths.

The important and constraining point is that you must have the *potential* for paths in all directions at all times. In other words if someone is pushing me hard from the front it goes into my back leg, but if he suddenly and dramatically pulls me to the front, the path should instantaneously be in the front leg so he can't move me in that direction either (these are demo's of how it works; not the "no resistance" of actual martial arts). If I am depending upon a "brace", I will never develop these automatic mental-path skills and I will never be in an equilibrium that responds to all directions.


What Mr. Sigman has written here seems correct. In the past I have seen a demonstration of kokyu where one individual is being pulled by two other individuals who are holding on with both hands to the demonstrator's forearms. Of course, this is nothing special, and we have all seen this done many times using various methods to throw the two ukes. Taking this a demonstration a bit further, the two ukes push upwards on the demonstrator's arms toward the shoulder, such that the demonstrator is now lifted completely in the air. This time the instant that he touches back to the ground the ukes are launched in opposite directions, sometimes upward, sometimes downward, sometimes backward, and sometimes spiraled as if thrown with kotegaeshi. This I have seen a few times, and although it is far from me as to how this is executed so quickly, I had made up my mind that it was based somewhat upon the principles that were illustrated above.

However, recently I saw the next level very of this demonstration where the ukes are thrown in the various directions I mentioned, but while the demonstrator is still several feet in the air? Given the principles mentioned with regards to direction of push, absorption, grounding, and earth kokyu, I would be curious what principles anyone might care to attribute to this last demonstration I mentioned with regards the previous comments in this thread?



.

Mike Sigman
03-27-2005, 05:47 PM
Taking this a demonstration a bit further, the two ukes push upwards on the demonstrator's arms toward the shoulder, such that the demonstrator is now lifted completely in the air. This time the instant that he touches back to the ground the ukes are launched in opposite directions, sometimes upward, sometimes downward, sometimes backward, and sometimes spiraled as if thrown with kotegaeshi. This I have seen a few times, and although it is far from me as to how this is executed so quickly, I had made up my mind that it was based somewhat upon the principles that were illustrated above.

However, recently I saw the next level very of this demonstration where the ukes are thrown in the various directions I mentioned, but while the demonstrator is still several feet in the air? Given the principles mentioned with regards to direction of push, absorption, grounding, and earth kokyu, I would be curious what principles anyone might care to attribute to this last demonstration I mentioned with regards the previous comments in this thread?. There are ways to generate power in different directions, but unless I see something actually done, I wouldn't want to comment. The obvious also needs to be noted once again: the main principle you see in demonstrations like this is "The Principle of the Cooperative Students".

In a number of instances where I have seen almost miraculous demonstrations by a teacher, it turns out that he can't do them to someone who is uncooperative. I wouldn't worry about "the next level" based on demonstrations like that. Remember Ellis' story via Terry Dobson about the jo trick... sometimes these demonstrations indeed show something interesting, but a too-dramatic demonstration takes from it all.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

kironin
03-27-2005, 06:04 PM
It has to be noted that Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, Ki Society Aikido aka ki-aikido, is a dynamic style. That means changes are instigated from Ki No Kenkyukai (KNK) Ki Society Headquarters. This is not a style that attempts to capture the aikido of an individual and is static i.e. doesn't change.

I agree and don't agree. :)

This style is based on principles and those don't change, but our understanding of those principles is not static if we are truly honest explorers.

Even if this style was simply trying to capture Tohei's conception of aikido, the very fact that his aikido itself has been evolving over the past 30 years means that it could not be static. I was not meaning to imply that Ki-Aikido was simply chasing Tohei's shadow though you have to wonder about the goals of some. I don't believe however the principles have changed in the past few decades and sometimes something simply gets articulated for everyone that is not new but hadn't been spelled out for some (but maybe others who travel more than I do for all I know.). Certainly, I knew intuitively not to brace from the some of my previous training but then to hear spelled out explicitly is just a change in emphasis of communication that confirms what you already knew and allows you to feel free to explore what it means further.

kironin
03-27-2005, 06:19 PM
The important and constraining point is that you must have the *potential* for paths in all directions at all times. In other words if someone is pushing me hard from the front it goes into my back leg, but if he suddenly and dramatically pulls me to the front, the path should instantaneously be in the front leg so he can't move me in that direction either (these are demo's of how it works; not the "no resistance" of actual martial arts). If I am depending upon a "brace", I will never develop these automatic mental-path skills and I will never be in an equilibrium that responds to all directions.


ditto - I understand the "potential" for paths in all directions at all times. Pulling as well as pushing in ki exercises is something my teacher liked to do all the time for various postures. Learning not to be moved when forces come from changing directions or two directions at once (like front and side) will definitely teach one not to depend on bracing. Subtle continous oscillation forward and back can be really good training too. I do this with my students because I found the practice helpful for myself.

Mike Sigman
03-27-2005, 06:32 PM
This style is based on principles and those don't change, but our understanding of those principles is not static if we are truly honest explorers. Absolutely true, in my view. Even if this style was simply trying to capture Tohei's conception of aikido, the very fact that his aikido itself has been evolving over the past 30 years means that it could not be static. I was not meaning to imply that Ki-Aikido was simply chasing Tohei's shadow though you have to wonder about the goals of some. I don't believe however the principles have changed in the past few decades and sometimes something simply gets articulated for everyone that is not new but hadn't been spelled out for some (but maybe others who travel more than I do for all I know.). I don't think the principles have changed in at least 2,000 years. Manipulation of those principles has resulted in some cute offshoots (including some of the power generation methods), but the basic principles are cast in stone. It's what I meant by saying the logic is constrained. If I go to any expert of what we are calling "ki" and "kokyu power", there will be a basic agreement of the principles... although there will always be *demonstrable* levels of understanding. I have seen some weird situations where someone who knows a tremendous amount about these trainings in certain directions will be surprisingly ignorant of basics in other directions. But the core elements are always the same and the conversation between people who understand the core elements shouldn't vary across styles, etc.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-27-2005, 06:36 PM
ditto - I understand the "potential" for paths in all directions at all times. :) Well, it means the same thing as "extend Ki", more or less. Pulling as well as pushing in ki exercises is something my teacher liked to do all the time for various postures. Learning not to be moved when forces come from changing directions or two directions at once (like front and side) will definitely teach one not to depend on bracing. Subtle continous oscillation forward and back can be really good training too. I do this with my students because I found the practice helpful for myself. As long as it's done very slowly with beginning students and the force isn't too much, I agree with you.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

kironin
03-27-2005, 06:49 PM
:) As long as it's done very slowly with beginning students and the force isn't too much, I agree with you.


Yes, of course. I start out very slowly and only that force needed to be instructive to the mind.

Mike Sigman
03-27-2005, 06:58 PM
Yes, of course. I start out very slowly and only that force needed to be instructive to the mind. I agree, again. Too much force makes a student react in normal ways and the idea is to let the mind set up the paths and recruit what it needs without the conscious mind recruiting the primary musculature. "Heart (the desire to do something) lead mind; mind leads Ki, Ki leads Kokyu".

Mike

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-27-2005, 10:52 PM
There are ways to generate power in different directions, but unless I see something actually done, I wouldn't want to comment. The obvious also needs to be noted once again: the main principle you see in demonstrations like this is "The Principle of the Cooperative Students".

In a number of instances where I have seen almost miraculous demonstrations by a teacher, it turns out that he can't do them to someone who is uncooperative. I wouldn't worry about "the next level" based on demonstrations like that. Remember Ellis' story via Terry Dobson about the jo trick... sometimes these demonstrations indeed show something interesting, but a too-dramatic demonstration takes from it all.

FWIW

Mike Sigman


Mr. Sigman,

You point is well taken. However in this case, I happen to know both those individuals, and they are less cooperative, as uke, than even I. Oh yes, the jo trick... well I have had the privilege of being on the end of the jo from someone who can actually generate the particular kokyu that you have inquired about. I tried all I could to do just about anything, but I, and another from my dojo were pretty much out of any options. I understand your unwillingness to comment on things you haven't been able to experience for yourself. Wish you could have been there in both cases.

However, for argument's sake, had you been there and been one of the ones holding up the person demonstrating in my earlier example, having been thrown in such a manner, what would you attribute it to given your earlier explanations? Until that moment, I believed that there was some limitation arising from the individual not being in touch with the ground. But alas, I found out that all these years, he had only been showing me only a small portion of his capabilities. Perhaps I am incorrect in presuming that you, too may hold that contact with the ground is one of the basic elements needed to produce, or perhaps project kokyu. Your thoughts?

In any case, since I believe that you have had a chance to observe quite a bit outside of the Japanese sphere to which I, myself, have been exposed, I was hoping that you might be willing to share your thoughts on the mere possibility of such kokyu, ki, or what have you...



.

Mike Sigman
03-28-2005, 08:27 AM
You point is well taken. However in this case, I happen to know both those individuals, and they are less cooperative, as uke, than even I. Oh yes, the jo trick... well I have had the privilege of being on the end of the jo from someone who can actually generate the particular kokyu that you have inquired about. I tried all I could to do just about anything, but I, and another from my dojo were pretty much out of any options. I understand your unwillingness to comment on things you haven't been able to experience for yourself. Wish you could have been there in both cases. No offense, but since I don't know you or the uke's I still can't comment. After too many years of experience where I've found things just weren't how I envisioned them from the descriptions, I've just learned shrug and wait until I can see them. However, for argument's sake, had you been there and been one of the ones holding up the person demonstrating in my earlier example, having been thrown in such a manner, what would you attribute it to given your earlier explanations? Until that moment, I believed that there was some limitation arising from the individual not being in touch with the ground. But alas, I found out that all these years, he had only been showing me only a small portion of his capabilities. Perhaps I am incorrect in presuming that you, too may hold that contact with the ground is one of the basic elements needed to produce, or perhaps project kokyu. Your thoughts? If you go back and look at few of my posts, I mentioned the second thing you use (or at least an appreciable part of it) if you are generating power but in a downward direction and/or you don't have contact with the ground. However, there's a couple of ways to use that power suddenly, so without seeing it done, I'd rather not just guess the exact mechanics. I use a certain kind of mechanics that involves the dantien, but I can't believe someone doing Aikido would use that same mechanics... I'd bet they are more hip-oriented, if I had to bet.

Assuming that it is someone like Abe Sensei you're talking about, then he's probably getting it from suburi (remember, a suburito moves in 2 directions, so it is powered 2 different ways) and breath training. I use a long waxwood pole. Either way, the smart thing to do is to get the other basics correct and ingrained before worrying about power releases. I see people all the time who chase the power releases but who never get very far because they don't understand that the basis for power-releasing is the simple things they glossed over. Is it better to spend a year on basics or spend 5 years unsuccessfully chasing power releases and then having to come back and do the basics anyway?

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-28-2005, 09:50 AM
Incidentally, I'm assuming that Shaun's descriptions of some form of power releases in Aikido indicates an anomaly. Does anyone else have first-hand experience with a "traditional" and recognized teacher in Aikido using power releases? Frankly, I've never seen any recognized expert in Aikido use what I would consider proper power release techniques, but it could be that I've missed something. Certainly my immediate reaction is that such things are extraneous to normal Aikido practice. Any thoughts?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-29-2005, 06:18 PM
I got my copy of the DVD "Gozo Shioda: Shingi Denju" today and watched it. I was really surprised at how much of the video is devoted to Shioda doing Ki tricks. On the one hand it's a lot easier to estimate what someone has trained to do in the ki area if they do a number of ki tricks for you to watch (assuming you have a background in these things). On the other hand, I was a little irritated that the ever-practical Shioda had so many students who were doing the standard dives for some of the tricks. Don't get me wrong... I'm so used to seeing this sort of behaviour in Asian martial arts that I don't consider it a negative so much as I consider it a standard distraction that you just try to look around.

I could see what ki abilities Shioda thought was important to demonstrate so I could extrapolate generally what he trained and probably how he trained. At this point in time I'd say that Ueshiba, Shioda, as well as the already-confirmed Tohei did standing postures. I've mulled it over back and forth and to be honest I can't get a real feel for whether Shioda got his standing and other training from Ueshiba or whether he got is somewhere else. Already I have to admit that Ki knowledge is/was further along in Japan than I'd supposed, so I can't assume these things came from just a few sources anymore. The level of ki tricks that I'm seeing is not all that high, but it's pretty good, IMO, for whatever that's worth to the general conversation.

The general thrust of my comments is that standing-post training is and has been a probability, not a possibility. My opinion.

Mike

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-30-2005, 12:12 AM
I could see what ki abilities Shioda thought was important to demonstrate so I could extrapolate generally what he trained and probably how he trained. At this point in time I'd say that Ueshiba, Shioda, as well as the already-confirmed Tohei did standing postures.

*crrrruunch* (the sound of fortune cookie being opened)
*read in your best Chinese accent* "...It always good to remember that there is more than one way to skin a cat. "MMMmmm, cat... indeed!"

I've mulled it over back and forth and to be honest I can't get a real feel for whether Shioda got his standing and other training from Ueshiba or whether he got is somewhere else.

*crrrruunch* (the sound of another fortune cookie being opened)
*read in your best Chinese accent* "...sometime man on path not following man in front of him on same path." "Mmmm, tasty cookie!"

Already I have to admit that Ki knowledge is/was further along in Japan than I'd supposed, so I can't assume these things came from just a few sources anymore.

*crrrruunch* (the sound of yet another fortune cookie being opened)
*read in your best Chinese accent* "...sometime man go outside and look everywhere for thing he end up finding in own closet." "Hmmmmmm, I wonder if this is one year egg or hundred year egg? Both smell very bad, indeed!"

The level of ki tricks that I'm seeing is not all that high, but it's pretty good, IMO, for whatever that's worth to the general conversation.

*crrrruunch* (the sound of still another fortune cookie being opened)
*read in your best Chinese accent* "...what one see not often what one get. This due to not knowing which part of glass to look at, the half full part or half empty part " "Hmmmmmm, I don't think egg go with fortune cookie..."

The general thrust of my comments is that standing-post training is and has been a probability, not a possibility. My opinion.

*crrrruunch* (the sound of last fortune cookie being opened)
*read in your best Chinese accent* "...man who eat too many fortune cookie for sure get older and maybe even wiser, but most often get fatter and slower and run out of cookie sooner rather than later."

In any case, Mr. universal truth man says "...Opinion like fortune cookie, go in one end, come out other."



tongue firmly in cheek.

Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 06:42 AM
That was cute, Shaun, but I have yet to see you say anything useful in your posts... other than your belief that kokyu was just about breathing. So if you can contribute some substance about the topic, I'd be pleased and even amazed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-30-2005, 08:40 AM
That was cute, Shaun, but I have yet to see you say anything useful in your posts... other than your belief that kokyu was just about breathing. So if you can contribute some substance about the topic, I'd be pleased and even amazed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mr Sigman,

Yes, it is obvious that you have yet to see anything useful in my posts, or anyone else's here. That is the point upon which should you choose to focus, you might actually get the thing you came here needing most. My last post was "tongue in cheek" as noted, but alas it seems that you missed that, too.

As for what you said I said about Kokyu, please see my above observation.

I mean, (rhetorical question alert) what is a supposed Chinese Internalist doing in an Aikido forum anyway? You have already stated (so many times now) that the Japanese (I think you meant to add "Arts") are nowhere near as advanced, and that Aikido in an of itself (at least today) is at best an incomplete exercise in futility due to the supposed missing standing postures that the Founder, *GASP* as you have already deemed the truth must have been doing to have developed his own (just "pretty good" as you like to say) abilities.

I am sincerely interested in the Chinese path about which you speak, and seemingly know so much. I am sure anyone here finding themselves in a forum about Chinese Internal Arts would be greatly benefited by your decades of experience and clear explanations of the more difficult to cultivate aspects of the wonderful arts in which you have obviously spent a long time training. I, for one still look forward to reading your contributions, regardless of the amount of time needed to filter out your overwhelming personal biases.

However, you came here and this is an Aikido Forum, not a Chinese Internal Arts forum. Each of us comes to the forum for our own reasons. In my case, I don't come here to teach, I come here to share. There is a difference. One doesn't need to be an expert in Aikido, or even practice it to read along or post here. Having said that, I am sure you would agree that putting one's head down, closing the eyes and running full steam ahead into the wall is not the best way to move forward into the next room. You would be wonderfully surprised at what (and whom) you might find there, by the way.

Therefore, when someone with clearly another agenda tends to put out information that is more often than not:

A. An incorrect assumption
B. A statement based upon insufficient information
C. Deliberately Verbose in an unconscious attempt at avoiding discovery

rather than

D. Inquisitive in nature or thought provoking in both tone and content...

some people who might not have enough information to know any better just might find it useful for someone else to take the time to clearly mark it, highlight it, cordon it off, or what have you so that no one accidentally trips over it and falls and hurts themselves. Of course you don't have to like it when it is done to you, especially when you can only see it is as fortune cookie advice delivered to your door by a guy using his best Chinese accent to make you feel right at home.

Once again, I invite you to attend the upcoming Aiki Expo in California this Memorial Day Weekend. I believe that taking the time to experience the aikido of today - the one that is actually out here, rather than continually referencing some Aikido that you unfortunately had contact with some time in the past, will go a long way towards bridging the gap that seemingly separates us (that would be you and those of us actually training in Aikido) by such a great distance. In any case, it will certainly help to take the edge off …or not, depending on if you open up to it.

You could always come to NY if you like, as both a whole slew of Chinese and I would be happy to take you out for dim sum. Knowing your preference for standing around, we'll ask to eat at a table that has no chairs, again - to make you feel at home. NY, CA… etc., it is your choice, as always.



another message brought to you by none other than the one who is officially recognized by Mr. Mike Sigman as "overwhelmingly unamazing".

Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 09:03 AM
Yes, it is obvious that you have yet to see anything useful in my posts, or anyone else's here. That is the point upon which should you choose to focus, you might actually get the thing you came here needing most.[snip] And then, once again Shaun goes off into another post totally off the issue and attacking me personally. As for what you said I said about Kokyu, please see my above observation. [/QUOTE/ What you said about kokyu is on the thread for everyone to see. You obviously had it wrong and you're going to have to tap dance pretty hard to convince anyone but a rank beginner that you didn't know what you were talking about. But notice that I didn't attack you personally and that I skirted the subject of your misstatements without hanging you out to dry as some obvious "I Know the Secrets" guy, which you appear to be.

The mistake you're making is in thinking that somehow you and I are in a competition, Shaun. Get that out of your mind and discuss the issues, please. [QUOTE]I mean, (rhetorical question alert) what is a supposed Chinese Internalist doing in an Aikido forum anyway? You have already stated (so many times now) that the Japanese (I think you meant to add "Arts") are nowhere near as advanced, and that Aikido in an of itself (at least today) is at best an incomplete exercise in futility due to the supposed missing standing postures that the Founder, *GASP* as you have already deemed the truth must have been doing to have developed his own (just "pretty good" as you like to say) abilities. Show me that statement and where I've made it, Shaun. And if you don't think I belong on this forum, can you give us the reasons why? However, you came here and this is an Aikido Forum, not a Chinese Internal Arts forum. Each of us comes to the forum for our own reasons. In my case, I don't come here to teach, I come here to share. Then I misunderstood you, Shaun. I thought you were here trolling for people to "call you privately" so you could "set up lessons". In fact, I was a little startled that you were presenting what information you've garnered from Abe Sensei as being what Ueshiba did.... when Abe Sensei openly says he learned it from other sources. Again though, I didn't attack you personally, even when you did this. In fact, I've sat quietly through several of your attacks up until now. Do you think it will be easier to get back to the subject now? Once again, I invite you to attend the upcoming Aiki Expo in California this Memorial Day Weekend. I believe that taking the time to experience the aikido of today - the one that is actually out here, rather than continually referencing some Aikido that you unfortunately had contact with some time in the past, will go a long way towards bridging the gap that seemingly separates us (that would be you and those of us actually training in Aikido) by such a great distance. In any case, it will certainly help to take the edge off …or not, depending on if you open up to it.

You could always come to NY if you like, as both a whole slew of Chinese and I would be happy to take you out for dim sum. Knowing your preference for standing around, we'll ask to eat at a table that has no chairs, again - to make you feel at home. NY, CA… etc., it is your choice, as always. The basic sputtering you've been doing lately is along the lines of "there's other ways to skin a cat" and "there are other approaches" with the implication that you know those things, Shaun. But you never tell anyone anything on this forum about how to do those things. Instead of lecturing me and trying to get others to grovel toward you to learn privately, why not simply engage in open debate about where I'm wrong, missing the point, etc.? So far all you've done is try to smear me personally and I'm calling you on it.... let's see you debate facts, Shaun. Tell us "other approaches" and how they work. I can support what I say with demonstration, credentials in things ki and kokyu, and people on this forum and others who have seen me do things. So far I haven't heard anyone support the idea that you're the holder of deep secrets that you purport to be. So let's just have a good discussion of the issues, shall we? Want to start with the questions I asked you to answer the other evening or do you want to start somewhere else?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Mackenzie
03-30-2005, 01:10 PM
I got my copy of the DVD "Gozo Shioda: Shingi Denju" today and watched it. I was really surprised at how much of the video is devoted to Shioda doing Ki tricks.

[snip]

The level of ki tricks that I'm seeing is not all that high, but it's pretty good, IMO, for whatever that's worth to the general conversation.

Hi Mike,

Could you share with the list materials (i.e., books, videos, or names of practitioners - Chinese, Japanese or otherwise) that, in your opinion, provide adequate demonstration of high-level ki/qi tricks?

Thanks,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
03-30-2005, 01:42 PM
But you never tell anyone anything on this forum about how to do those things.

I don't mean to be contrary, but the above just didn't seem completely accurate...so I thought I'd provide the link below as a point of reference.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1872&highlight=misogi

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 01:51 PM
Could you share with the list materials (i.e., books, videos, or names of practitioners - Chinese, Japanese or otherwise) that, in your opinion, provide adequate demonstration of high-level ki/qi tricks? Hi Mike:
Hmmmmm. At the moment, in terms of videos, my mind can only conjure up things I've seen that I wouldn't particularly recommend because again there is too much "student power" (we also call a lot of these things "psychological power") going on. Again, let me note that in many cases a demonstrator has some pretty good powers, but he discredits himself by doing one of the "over-reacting-students" demonstrations. Chu King Hong likes to do a lot of the demo's like that using his students and there was one a year or so ago on a German website.

I've watched plenty of these demonstrations over the years, but I've never videotaped them. The cold-eyed big dogs usually won't do them unless it's half jest. The closest thing I can think of that might be readily available would be some of the yiquan tapes. There are some really good yiquan practitioners, but they also have a lot of over-acting students in their midst, too.

Qi/Ki tricks fall into a few categories, "hard" and "soft" and "external". What Shioda, Tohei, etc, do is more in the line of "soft" tricks (don't get distraught about the use of the word "trick"... it's common and not meant to be offensive). All of the Ki/Qi things are sort of intertwined, but they can be broken down into 3 major areas for discussion purposes:

"Hard" tricks involve showing the strength and impenetrability-of-skin aspects of developed qi. Breaking stones, bending steel rods, laying on sharp objects, getting run over by a truck, etc., are all aspects of this side of qi development. The body "health" and immune system are most tied to this one, IMO.

"External qi" is doing things around the "magnetic feeling" that most people can produce pretty quickly; it also has a tie-in to psychology and suggestibility, but I'm only a novice in that area so I don't pretend to understand how it all works. I can usually lead most people through a simple qigong in about 10 minutes and have them into this area.... so it's something everyone can do, not magic.

The "soft qi" and "power" things are all related and are, in my opinion, the most useful for martial arts applications. All of the push, pull, angle changes of force and power are part of the "soft" and mind-led abilities. They use "intent" (which can be a complex subject, but it basically involves learning how to control things a person doesn't normally control in his body). The control of power in 4 directions is how these powers are normally systematized: up, down, away from the body, toward the body. Combining these "soft" powers with breathing exercises similar to ones used in "hard qigongs" can result in pretty good power. Dantien and/or hips can be thought of an additive part of the chain of power for these things, BTW.

Shioda was demonstrating on the one video I have mainly that last kind of power. Ueshiba's demo's and Tohei's "ki tests" fall into that category, for the most part.

Shaun Ravens vaguely described something that *might* be extended power usage of the last sort, but I couldn't tell how sophisticated it was from his description. I'd heard from a direct student of Abe Sensei's about Abe doing something that smacked of power developed from breathing exercises and maybe even some dantien or hip added to it.

Speaking of power development, yiquan is sort of interesting in that they focus a lot on power development. Some of the power being developed by the yiquan people is in a direct line with what I'm seeing/hearing in relation to Aikido. Just as in Aikido and a lot of other arts, the secrets to doing all the trainings are kept obscured, but if you have some idea of the basics, one of them put out a set of DVD's that is really, really good (bear in mind that he *shows* how to train some things, but he doesn't show everything and he's sparse on the how-to's... you have to have some basic knowledge of these things). The DVD's I'm talking about (and I recommend them) are at: http://www.plumpub.com/sales/dvd/dvdcoll_yiquqan.htm


Anyway, hope that helps some.

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 01:57 PM
I don't mean to be contrary, but the above just didn't seem completely accurate...so I thought I'd provide the link below as a point of reference.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1872&highlight=misogi
:) You and I have a completely different idea of what telling someone how to do things is, Ron. Look at what I just post on ki and qi things.... you don't know how to do anything based on what I posted, but you have some information about the general subject. HOW to do these things is the essence... not the what. The lists of steps from Shaun and via Ward Raferty are nice, but I assure you that they don't tell you how to do anything; they describe the *steps*.

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
03-30-2005, 02:16 PM
Exactly...so his contributions and yours are on the same level then...right?

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 02:23 PM
Exactly...so his contributions and yours are on the same level then...right? No, because I gave some pretty precise directions on how to do some things in a couple of threads. Alas... you didn't notice. I wasted my time. ;)

Mike

Ron Tisdale
03-30-2005, 02:31 PM
Hey, you never know when the seed dropped on a patch of soil will germinate...luckily, these discussions are archived here for me to return to. :)

Ron

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-30-2005, 03:37 PM
And then, once again Shaun goes off into another post totally off the issue and attacking me personally.

Mr. Sigman,
You are only getting back what you are putting out. If you don't like how you look, don't blame the mirror.


You obviously had it wrong and you're going to have to tap dance pretty hard to convince anyone but a rank beginner that you didn't know what you were talking about.

I find it very interesting that you, one who really has no real interactions with anyone close to O-Sensei can say what is wrong and or right. Pathetic actually, but let's get past that. It is my sincere hope that you eventually open up to the fact that you think you know what you are talking about with relation to what O-Sensei said privately, specifically with regards to the subject matter at hand.

But notice that I didn't attack you personally and that I skirted the subject of your misstatements without hanging you out to dry as some obvious "I Know the Secrets" guy, which you appear to be.

I never said (to you) that I know anything at all. What I did, was ask you what you thought, someone who portends to know it all, having never studied along this path, about something that I have personally experienced that seems to be outside of what you describe. Not only did you not answer it, you basically attributed it to "student power" and dismissed it on more than one occasion. If this is what you call open discussion of the topic, then I see why you feel the need to attack someone that called you out, namely me, and I am not alone in this.

The mistake you're making is in thinking that somehow you and I are in a competition, Shaun. Get that out of your mind and discuss the issues, please.

I am not in competition with you Mr. Sigman. I see you for who you are, as do many others here. The difference between you and I is that I truly believe that you have something to share, something of value in which I am sincerely interested. It is a shame that you come here and repeatedly state that no one hear is your contemporary in such regard.


Show me that statement and where I've made it, Shaun.


Actually Mike, I spent days preparing a four page document detailing several dozen statements you made just prior to and just after you and I corresponded privately. I broke your statements down into just under a dozen categories (three of which I mentioned in my last post) all based upon where or why they missed their mark. However, I chose not to send it to you because you quickly made it obvious that it would be pointless in that you really are not interested in what other's have to say if it does not fit into your already fixed idea of how things were, are and will be.


And if you don't think I belong on this forum, can you give us the reasons why?

A reasonable question, based upon another incorrect assumption. However, I think this is the perfect place for you, but not for the reasons you might consider.

Then I misunderstood you, Shaun. I thought you were here trolling for people to "call you privately" so you could "set up lessons".

Typical. I thought it pretty clear to all that this was your intention in this forum. Truth is Mike, you don't know me at all, and your claim in that last statement clearly shows that. You see, if you knew anything about me you would know that I never charge anything to anyone who comes to see me privately based upon and invitation I put forth. I don't invite just anyone out here to train with me, and I don't hold open seminars, except for my teachers, and this is never to turn a profit. In case you missed it, NY Aikido Center is non-profit. My dojo is private and I do not encourage anyone to step off the street and give me money. In fact, I turn just about everyone away. However, I have invited a few individuals to come and meet me, based upon what I believe to be a sincere heart, not for the reasons you incorrectly postulate, but rather to see for myself who they are and what their motivations may, in fact be. When I find someone that seems to resonate along with what I have to say, I give them direct access to my teachers, including Abe Sensei. Those that don't show up, well I guess we'll never know…


In fact, I was a little startled that you were presenting what information you've garnered from Abe Sensei as being what Ueshiba did.... when Abe Sensei openly says he learned it from other sources.

You do not know Abe Sensei at all. You do not know how he trained himself, or how he trained with O-Sensei. Your comments about what Abe Sensei did, or who he learned from come from articles that I helped transpose and even went as far as taking back to him in Japan the poor English translations others have put out to verify the changes I made before they reposted them on their own websites.

I want to be very clear here, Mike. What Abe Sensei said to me is that he learned many things along his path prior to him initially training with O-Sensei, whom he had met years before, unaware at the time of who he actually was. He also made it very clear that he showed them to O-Sensei, and O-Sensei said that he wanted to show Abe Sensei "another" way of doing these things. Abe Sensei said, "When O-Sensei said "another" way, he meant a "better" way." He went on to express to me that based upon his adopting these methods he was able to achieve a break through where he had previously been stuck, which was proof that O-Sensei's way was better. Do you then think, Mr. Sigman, that Abe Sensei would go back to, or teach his previous methods to his own uhci-deshi? Well, according to Abe Sensei, and he has shown me both methods, and detailed why one is far superior to the other, what he took the time to share comes directly from O-Sensei. Would you like to dispute this with me, publicly or privately? If you like, I will ask him directly, tape record his answer and play it for you in person. I have already invited you out here and to California hoping to have a chance to see some authentic Chinese Internal Arts, but you have yet to RSVP… Oh, and I must have misplaced the invitation you sent my way. Would you mind resending it…?

Again though, I didn't attack you personally, even when you did this. In fact, I've sat quietly through several of your attacks up until now. Do you think it will be easier to get back to the subject now?

Well, maybe you can't see it, but you did on several occasions. In any case, I could really care less about your personal attacks on me. The only reason I even deal with you on this forum is to help dispel the misinformation that you are putting out with regards to and the attacks of my teacher, O-Sensei and Aikido, in case you hadn't realized that is what you have been doing.


The basic sputtering you've been doing lately is along the lines of "there's other ways to skin a cat" and "there are other approaches" with the implication that you know those things, Shaun. But you never tell anyone anything on this forum about how to do those things.

Well, thanks to Ron Tisdale, you will see at least one post of mine which indicates that, yet again, you have your mouth aligned with your myths.


Instead of lecturing me and trying to get others to grovel toward you to learn privately, why not simply engage in open debate about where I'm wrong, missing the point, etc.? So far all you've done is try to smear me personally and I'm calling you on it.... let's see you debate facts, Shaun.

I love it, open debate as to the facts as Mike Sigman sees them. You are calling me on it…? Are you this funny in person?

Tell us "other approaches" and how they work. I can support what I say with demonstration, credentials in things ki and kokyu, and people on this forum and others who have seen me do things.

Credentials? I asked you about with whom you studied and you chose not to respond. Of course, your "credentials" are available for anyone to find. However, really Mike, are you going to hold them up here in an attempt to signify that you know what O-Sensei did, or what he shared with Abe Sensei, Tohei Sensei, Shioda Sensei?

So far I haven't heard anyone support the idea that you're the holder of deep secrets that you purport to be.

Mr. Sigman, I don't need anyone to defend me here, or otherwise. In cased you hadn't noticed, it is you who are on the defensive. This is because you think that people are personally attacking you when in fact they are telling you over and over and over that you have nothing upon which to base the misbegotten conclusions you have arrived at and to which you seem so attached.


So let's just have a good discussion of the issues, shall we?

Sure… whenever you are ready.

Want to start with the questions I asked you to answer the other evening or do you want to start somewhere else?

Okay, since you invited me to choose, I choose the latter. Lets start with this quote...

Shaun Ravens vaguely described something that *might* be extended power usage of the last sort, but I couldn't tell how sophisticated it was from his description. I'd heard from a direct student of Abe Sensei's about Abe doing something that smacked of power developed from breathing exercises and maybe even some dantien or hip added to it.

Where I would like to start is that scenario I put forth. I would like you to postulate a way in which the throw could be achieved. If you would like you can contrast this with the subject of the thread, Standing Postures and give your views on how one moves from using the body to generate power from the ground up to generating power when there is no ground. Truth is, I am very interested in your answer because I have no idea. I took the time to ask because I thought you might put forward something that might have me begin some type of internal inquiry that I could use to develop some external process - maybe even one involving standing postures of all things.


PS - You mentioned something about what you had heard from one of Abe Sensei's direct students. I know most, if not all of Abe Sensei's senior students that regardless of age or rank were still practicing anytime over the last 15 years. Let me share what one of them said to me when I first met him. He said, " I have been training with Abe Sensei for decades and what he chose to share with you (referring to me and others) in these two weeks are things that he never shared with any of us." Of course he was only speaking of what he had seen Abe Sensei share in public when he happened to be present, and therefore was not in regards to what took place When Abe Sensei and I met in private. Those things, as requested by Abe Sensei, I never talk about with anyone who was not in the room. Let me add, his tears were genuine. As for why he shared it with me, and not others I have no answers I would post here. As for how much I know, I would only add that should one day my teacher, Matsuoka Sensei reveal to me what Abe Sensei shared with him, I would not be surprised to find myself in that senior student's shoes, tears and all.



.

Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 04:18 PM
[snip extraneous] Where I would like to start is that scenario I put forth. I would like you to postulate a way in which the throw could be achieved. If you would like you can contrast this with the subject of the thread, Standing Postures and give your views on how one moves from using the body to generate power from the ground up to generating power when there is no ground. Truth is, I am very interested in your answer because I have no idea. I took the time to ask because I thought you might put forward something that might have me begin some type of internal inquiry that I could use to develop some external process - maybe even one involving standing postures of all things. As I said in several posts on several threads, power either comes from the ground or from the weight and body closing. It has to do with paths and focusing them. A number of the techniques I watched Shioda do on video yesterday had to do with him controlling paths downward. So he did "tricks" using the ground in up, out, toward-the-body, and down, even though "down" is not able to access the ground. The Asian view though is that all four directions of power originate in the middle so the down-power is considered also "from the dantien". In the air, I can generate power downward with a trained impulse; there are several ways to do that impulse, but without seeing the demo you mentioned, I'm not going guess what was used. And I'm not "postulating" anything, Shaun... I can do it. In terms of trying to tell you how that power is stored and released, I'm not even going to try to do it with the printed word. You have enough information to work on; what you need is someone to show you how.

What you miss from my perspective, Shaun, is that these things I'm telling you have an obvious logic to them. I've said that before on other threads. I said something like "If A = B" and "If B = C", then A must equal C. It's that obvious. It's like also if I know that someone knows "A" and that the only way he can know "C" involves him understanding "B" , then claims to know "C" while showing total ignorance of "B" tell me that he cannot know "C". I.e, I can gauge what people know by what they show they know and what they show they don't know. Many of the things I've said have been throw-outs to start discussions, but along the way I could spot things that people could NOT know, as well. That's why I've suggested that you simply engage in descriptive dialogue and quit intimating useable knowledge. Knowing the *steps* in Misogi is like knowing the steps in any qigong... it won't do you any good without understanding those basic principles that link all qigongs, including Misogi practices.

It is always interesting to compare notes, but we all have to feel out what the common level is before we can establish a common dialogue. I'd suggest that you and any other Aikido "experts" who have useable knowledge make an effort to share any real information you have on forums like this one. You're not going to get many fluke outsiders like me that will tolerate the flummery, so you need to start the habit of open, useful sharing that gets beyond the petty bickering and egos. ;) PS - You mentioned something about what you had heard from one of Abe Sensei's direct students. I know most, if not all of Abe Sensei's senior students that regardless of age or rank were still practicing anytime over the last 15 years. Let me share what one of them said to me when I first met him. He said, " I have been training with Abe Sensei for decades and what he chose to share with you (referring to me and others) in these two weeks are things that he never shared with any of us." Of course he was only speaking of what he had seen Abe Sensei share in public when he happened to be present, and therefore was not in regards to what took place When Abe Sensei and I met in private. Those things, as requested by Abe Sensei, I never talk about with anyone who was not in the room. Let me add, his tears were genuine. As for why he shared it with me, and not others I have no answers I would post here. As for how much I know, I would only add that should one day my teacher, Matsuoka Sensei reveal to me what Abe Sensei shared with him, I would not be surprised to find myself in that senior student's shoes, tears and all. Shaun, this is the sort of horn-blowing I can't stand. Please don't do it anymore. I've got far too many years of experience to not have seen those kinds of comments from people about who they are, what they know, etc. It just takes away from the important things to discuss. We're ALL amateurs, despite any silk suits or cotton gi's.... you, me, and everyone on this list. The sooner that's accepted, the better, IMO.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-30-2005, 04:54 PM
The Asian view though is that all four directions of power originate in the middle so the down-power is considered also "from the dantien". In the air, I can generate power downward with a trained impulse; there are several ways to do that impulse, but without seeing the demo you mentioned, I'm not going guess what was used.

Thank you for the overview.


And I'm not "postulating" anything, Shaun... I can do it. In terms of trying to tell you how that power is stored and released, I'm not even going to try to do it with the printed word. You have enough information to work on; what you need is someone to show you how.

Again, when I say postulate, I mean it only in terms of communicating your point of view on the subject. I have no doubt that you can do this, that is why I asked.

What you miss from my perspective, Shaun, is that these things I'm telling you have an obvious logic to them. I've said that before on other threads. I said something like "If A = B" and "If B = C", then A must equal C. It's that obvious. It's like also if I know that someone knows "A" and that the only way he can know "C" involves him understanding "B" , then claims to know "C" while showing total ignorance of "B" tell me that he cannot know "C". I.e, I can gauge what people know by what they show they know and what they show they don't know.

Yes, while your logic is sound here, your conclusions are not. Just because someone shows ignorance of a subject, doesn't mean he does not know it. However, I agree with you on the basics of how to approach it.


Many of the things I've said have been throw-outs to start discussions, but along the way I could spot things that people could NOT know, as well. That's why I've suggested that you simply engage in descriptive dialogue and quit intimating useable knowledge.

Well, to be honest I don't believe that any level of descriptive dialogue will do anything outside of confuse people at best, alienate people next, or even worse... For example the article about misogi that Ward Rafferty put out is interesting to me on several levels. If you compare his and mine (the one Ron Tisdale pointed out) you will see that at one level they are the same, albeit there are some minor differences in the physicality of how things are done. However, he then adds much more descriptive things, such as. "…you must concentrate and imagine that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe..." which seems like additional knowledge, but in fact is anything but that. I hear this stuff all the time, quoted in, and worse from multiple sources, and passed along as though it is helpful, or really what O-Sensei was doing, imagining or otherwise. I have discussed this with Abe Sensei at length and his view is well known to those close to him.


Knowing the *steps* in Misogi is like knowing the steps in any qigong... it won't do you any good without understanding those basic principles that link all qigongs, including Misogi practices.

Agreed, and that is why it is a pointless endeavor to attempt to extend the conversation beyond the basics here.

It is always interesting to compare notes, but we all have to feel out what the common level is before we can establish a common dialogue. I'd suggest that you and any other Aikido "experts" who have useable knowledge make an effort to share any real information you have on forums like this one.

Well, I am no aikido expert, and never claim to be, on the internet or in person. I may know a few, and I may have access to them at some level, but I think that you will still find there is a strong protocol in approaching them. One has to go through the steps, regardless of how long that may take, or how hard it may seem.

You're not going to get many fluke outsiders like me that will tolerate the flummery, so you need to start the habit of open, useful sharing that gets beyond the petty bickering and egos. ;)

Who is looking for outsiders to tolerate anything? Come inside and stop being an outsider. There is no one here trying to judge you, but we are finding it dificult to know what your agenda is when in one moment you say this…
Shaun, this is the sort of horn-blowing I can't stand. Please don't do it anymore.

and in the very next moment you say this:

I've got far too many years of experience to not have seen those kinds of comments from people about who they are, what they know, etc.

As for me, well I started playing the trumpet in the fourth grade, so alas, I am a horn blower after all.

We're ALL amateurs, despite any silk suits or cotton gi's.... you, me, and everyone on this list. The sooner that's accepted, the better, IMO.

True. However,

*Crrrruuuunch* (fortune cookie being opened) "..it is always good to take long look in mirror before giving long speech you not even interested in."


In any case, I appreciate you taking a step to raising the level of the discourse, regardless of the fact that you and I may disagree on how best to do that.



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Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 05:35 PM
Well, to be honest I don't believe that any level of descriptive dialogue will do anything outside of confuse people at best, alienate people next, or even worse I don't agree. There are some very helpful basic things that can be pointed out to people who are looking for a toehold. However, the general rule in martial arts seems to be to get a little knowledge and act like it's a lot... doling out peanuts while thinking it's gold by both the giver and the givee. :) ... For example the article about misogi that Ward Rafferty put out is interesting to me on several levels. If you compare his and mine (the one Ron Tisdale pointed out) you will see that at one level they are the same, albeit there are some minor differences in the physicality of how things are done. However, he then adds much more descriptive things, such as. "…you must concentrate and imagine that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe..." which seems like additional knowledge, but in fact is anything but that. I hear this stuff all the time, quoted in, and worse from multiple sources, and passed along as though it is helpful, or really what O-Sensei was doing, imagining or otherwise. I have discussed this with Abe Sensei at length and his view is well known to those close to him. Actually, that description is just as clear as all the rest of the descriptions in the list. No one can do anything on any list, yours or Wards, if they don't know how to do them. The "…you must concentrate and imagine that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe..." is extremely important because it tells me that O-Sensei was doing a Buddhist-derived qigong of the type derived from the Yi Jin Jing. But you have to know how to do the breathing or it's just an imagination drill. I seriously would wonder, if I were you, if you're being shown everything. No offense, but I've learned over many years that the assumption is that one is NOT being shown everything. There is often the imagined scenario that someone is saying about the occasional foreign student, "At Last he is here! Now I can reveal it all because I have waited my whole life for this yagi-no-mei to arrive... he is like my son!". It doesn't happen like that, no matter how friendly someone is. :)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-30-2005, 07:06 PM
I don't agree. There are some very helpful basic things that can be pointed out to people who are looking for a toehold. However, the general rule in martial arts seems to be to get a little knowledge and act like it's a lot... doling out peanuts while thinking it's gold by both the giver and the givee. :)

I am sure you would agree that one can only base his thinking upon that to which he has been exposed. You seemingly have revealed quite a bit about how you found things in the martial arts circles within which you find yourself. However, I have had the complete opposite experience.


Actually, that description is just as clear as all the rest of the descriptions in the list. No one can do anything on any list, yours or Wards, if they don't know how to do them. The "…you must concentrate and imagine that you are breathing in the Ki of the Great Universe..." is extremely important because it tells me that O-Sensei was doing a Buddhist-derived qigong of the type derived from the Yi Jin Jing.

That may be what it tells you, but in and of itself it really doesn't give any clear instruction. Of course, you can't possibly realize what it was that O-Sensei thought of such a breathing exercise, even had he been using it in the first place. O-Sensei did leave clear instructions within the doka. However, like you say, one would have to have the background in, and clearly understand the practices of other things to reap the benefits of what is contained within.

But you have to know how to do the breathing or it's just an imagination drill. I seriously would wonder, if I were you, if you're being shown everything. No offense, but I've learned over many years that the assumption is that one is NOT being shown everything.

Agreed. and like I have said in other places, it is all breathing. However, don't take that statement at face value. It only means that until one understands the breathing, not much else is really possible. Eventually, one gets beyond breathing - completely.

There is often the imagined scenario that someone is saying about the occasional foreign student, "At Last he is here! Now I can reveal it all because I have waited my whole life for this yagi-no-mei to arrive... he is like my son!".

Well, I never claimed to be that in the least. I am very clear that there is no one out there waiting for me. I have no natural talent, I am lazy, and I am mean and nasty and difficult to be around. However another teacher of mine, one who predates my aikido training gave me a wonderful piece of advice which I have followed since that day. He said, "Shaun, since you will never change, why not turn your nagative qualities around and make them work for you." I guess that is what had me happen to be in the right places at the right time. In any case, Abe Sensei doesn't seem to mind - too much!

Abe Sensei, in particular has a very clear feeling about foreigners, Americans in particular. He advised O-Sensei not to come to America (Hawaii). This makes his choice to teach Americans an interesting one, and knowing why has one truly understand how great of a teacher he really is.


It doesn't happen like that, no matter how friendly someone is. :)

Well, I think at the very least we can extrapolate from your statement that it has not happened to you. Or has it?



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Mike Sigman
03-30-2005, 07:41 PM
Actually, I've had pretty good experiences. But I have noticed over the years that too many westerners mistake great friendliness for the idea that someone is being totally open with them. I'm good friends with a number of teachers, but I know it's traditional that they show very little over a long period of time. Why would they do otherwise? :)

Mike