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-   -   Dan, Mike, and Aikido (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12107)

George S. Ledyard 03-12-2007 01:19 PM

Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
When the Islamic invasion came to India, Buddhism was virtually eradicated. The Buddhist Canon of hundreds of volumes was lost in its original Sanskrit. Completely gone.

Scholars ever since have taken the Pali, the Chinese and the Tibetan versions and compared them in order to try to reconstruct what was in the original.

I think that much has been lost in the Aikido that has been transmitted around the world by the two Doshu subsequent to the Founder. The current program is to simplify the art. Weapons work has been deemphasized, martial application is not emphasized. techniques have been dropped from the repertoire.

In addition, Aikido expended at an extremely fast pace around the world. Most of the people running dojos out there did not spend fifteen or more years training directly with a Shihan level teacher. So Aikido in its broad sense has largely been spread by people who aren't that high level. This is not to diminish their contribution or efforts, it's just a statement. I've been teaching since I was a Sandan. There simply weren't many folks around senior to that when I started. That's the way Aikido has spread all over the world.

But if one looks at O-Sensei as the model, it is clear that something has been lost. Some of us are interested in preserving Aikido as the Founder presented it. That means doing the same kind of reconstruction I mentioned the Buddhist scholars doing to reconstruct original Indian Buddhism.

No knowledge is bad knowledge in this endeavor, although some would be more relevant than others. Clearly, Daito Ryu is the parent art of Aikido. All of the first generation of Aikido master instructors, Shirata, Inoue, Mochizuki, Shioda, Tomiki, etc had Daito Ryu as their foundation. That isn't disputable. What other elements were in their respective backgrounds varied from one to another. So if you want to start investigating what O-Sensei had that many of his post war deshi didn't, one should start by looking there.

The Chinese influence on the various principles in Aikido is also fairly clear, as Ellis pointed out. I think we can benefit from an understanding of these principles.

I think that the main reason for the general upset in the discussions with Dan and Mike is that they, with varying degrees of diplomacy have been insisting that, if you want to understand what O-Sensei was doing technically, you need to have an understanding of the principles they have been describing. Most people are not shooting that high. Most folks out there would be ecstatic if they could simply be as good as the fellow running their dojo. Those with a lot of ambition would like to find a Shihan level teacher somewhere and be as good as they are.

When guys from outside start pointing out that there are elements missing in our training, folks get uncomfortable. They are already finding their training challenging enough, putting in all of their spare time, working to master what has already been presented to them. They are not looking to redefine the art as being bigger than they thought it was. It already seemed impossibly big. So they don't want to hear it.

I have been trying to say all along that folks do not have to train more or harder than they currently do in order to start doing Aikido with some real depth. They just need to train smarter. Dan and Mike (and others) can throw these ideas out there and a small group of motivated Aikido folks will get together with them and take those concepts into their training. They will then take the concepts "on the road" and teach them in seminars etc.They will be the ones who change Aikido. I foresee a time when a greater focus on internal power development is the norm in Aikido. It will make everything we currently do in our art better. It will not mean losing site of where we have already been taking the art. Understanding of these things does not in any way detract from the spiritual side of the art. It doesn't move the focus away from spreading a vision of Peace in the world.

It simply means that we will be better able to do what we already are doing and that our practice will be healthier for us on any number of levels. And, most importantly, the average person out there in the Aikido hinterlands will be able to do an Aikido that actually has some relation to what the Founder developed and taught his original students.

Ecosamurai 03-13-2007 04:43 AM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 171645)
I think that the main reason for the general upset in the discussions with Dan and Mike is that they, with varying degrees of diplomacy have been insisting that, if you want to understand what O-Sensei was doing technically, you need to have an understanding of the principles they have been describing. Most people are not shooting that high. Most folks out there would be ecstatic if they could simply be as good as the fellow running their dojo. Those with a lot of ambition would like to find a Shihan level teacher somewhere and be as good as they are.

Snipped a chunk of a nice post. I also think that there are people who have been doing a lot of the things talked about by Mike and Dan for a long time within aikido already. My own irritation is that I have not gone to an MMA forum and told them that they're all wrong and need to do more aikido type stuff to make their training complete (the response would both infantile and ill-informed I expect). Nor have I gone to a Chinese martial art forum and done the same thing.

Not much of what they have added here has been new, I remember debates about internal 'stuff' happening plenty of times before, we used to call them 'ki wars', the MMA stuff used to be the 'hard vs soft debate', all of these have been done to death over the years by people within aikido. Ask the old-timers on aikido-l and I'm sure they'd tell you the same. All that they have added that is new is mostly the dimension that we're all doing something wrong if we're doing regular aikido, and like I said, I haven't gone to their forums and said the same thing.

I don't disagree with what has been said, I agree with most of it I have thought these things for years and it is what my teacher does too for the most part. You're welcome to discuss it with him, he's just dug out his aikiweb username and password so maybe he'll appear here from time to time. But I learned long ago that people who do aikido 'without ki' still have valuable things to tell me, people whose aikido is not 'calm and relaxed' (as in Tohei style) still have valuable things to tell me about my own practice.

Regards

Mike

MM 03-13-2007 06:49 AM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

Mike Haft wrote: (Post 171737)
Snipped a chunk of a nice post. I also think that there are people who have been doing a lot of the things talked about by Mike and Dan for a long time within aikido already.

Uh huh. Not in my experience. But hey, here's a list of things to try and you let us know if you can do them (I've modified the list from someone else's posting elsewhere)

Stand relaxed with feet side by side about shoulder width apart and do not use any waza, your hands, or any offensive techniques and remain that way while .....

1. Have someone push your chest with one hand in an attempt to push you over. Really push.
2. Then two hands as hard as he can. We're talking total 100% full force of whole body pushing you.
3. Then have him pile drive into you.
4. Then even casually.. increasing to severely- pull you and push you around while you stand there without moving your feet. Let them have your wrist and let them pull you for all their worth.
5. Place your hand on his chest. Without moving your shoulders or body in any discernable way, send them 3-6' with your hand.

Before we go further, Mike Haft, please try those and post your results. In fact, video would be better. Because if you can't do *all* the above, then you're not doing what Mike and Dan are doing.

Quote:

Mike Haft wrote: (Post 171737)
My own irritation is that I have not gone to an MMA forum and told them that they're all wrong and need to do more aikido type stuff to make their training complete (the response would both infantile and ill-informed I expect). Nor have I gone to a Chinese martial art forum and done the same thing.

You know what really gets to me? This hypocrisy about non-aikido people not knowing anything about aikido. It's simply amazing that all these naysayers jump all over Dan and Mike about them being outside of Aikido and not knowing anything about *their* Aikido because Mike and Dan don't *do* aikido. Yet, they'll turn right around and lap up everything Ellis posts about the history of Aikido and Daito Ryu. To coin a phrase from some teens, OMG!

Quote:

Mike Haft wrote: (Post 171737)
Not much of what they have added here has been new, I remember debates about internal 'stuff' happening plenty of times before, we used to call them 'ki wars', the MMA stuff used to be the 'hard vs soft debate', all of these have been done to death over the years by people within aikido.

Not much new? Yeah, Dan and Mike have been saying these things for years, but this ain't "ki" wars. Did you not read Ron's posts? Have you not read all the back postings about what's really going on here? Or did you just skim it all? Do your research. Go to E-Budo. There were threads of stuff over there.

Quote:

Mike Haft wrote: (Post 171737)
I don't disagree with what has been said, I agree with most of it I have thought these things for years and it is what my teacher does too for the most part. You're welcome to discuss it with him, he's just dug out his aikiweb username and password so maybe he'll appear here from time to time.

It'd be interesting to hear how you and your teacher fared on #1 through #5 above. In all seriousness. I don't think anyone can continue these discussions until they've tried at least those 5 things. If you can't do them all, then you don't know, nor do you understand what's being said here. It's that simple.

Mark

Ecosamurai 03-13-2007 07:18 AM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 171740)
Before we go further, Mike Haft, please try those and post your results. In fact, video would be better. Because if you can't do *all* the above, then you're not doing what Mike and Dan are doing.

With the exception of number 3 cos I don't know what you're on about there I'm willing to say I can do most of that, not prettily but I can do it. No I'm not gonna post video because I really don't care whether you believe me or not and I don't feel that having youtube footage of my crappy aikido floating around the internet is particularly a good idea. Say what you like about me not being up to the task, whatever....

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 171740)
Yet, they'll turn right around and lap up everything Ellis posts about the history of Aikido and Daito Ryu.

I don't agree with everything Ellis says either. But I find his posts to be less grating than others, perhaps he just writes in a nicer style. I don't know.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 171740)
It'd be interesting to hear how you and your teacher fared on #1 through #5 above. In all seriousness. I don't think anyone can continue these discussions until they've tried at least those 5 things. If you can't do them all, then you don't know, nor do you understand what's being said here. It's that simple.

You done trolling now? I have better things to do than respond to this kind of crap to be honest but I thought you might appreciate a response. If you want anything else try a PM, you never know I might reply.

Mike

Upyu 03-13-2007 08:25 AM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

Mike Haft wrote: (Post 171742)
You done trolling now? I have better things to do than respond to this kind of crap to be honest but I thought you might appreciate a response. If you want anything else try a PM, you never know I might reply.

Taking this from a diplomatic perspective (wow, I can't believe I used that word) I think Mark's pov stems from the fact that maybe its not readily availble, and what information is available is scant and not directly taught.
That doesn't mean that there are exceptions. Maybe you got lucky ;)
I was on a thread at MAP (which I consider the lowest of the low as far as forums go :-D) and I was surprised to fish out some valuable info from one of the posters there about how he trained his "cross".
Funny thing is, he even said that the training was "too hard" so he rarely has his students do it, and he runs across a lot of high ranking dan peeps that have NO idea about some of these basic physiological properties. And that's not even getting into all the fun stuff involving power releases etc.

I think its good that the frustration comes out and people argue. The only people that drop out with a huff are people that weren't really driven to find what they don't have, or they already got all the goods and they stand back to have a good laugh at us teenageers bickering amongst ourselves :D
Somehow I find the latter less likely.

Its all in good fun, even if you get the occasional w"#$"ker like... oh wait I'm supposed to keep it clean, so I'll refrain from posting names:cool:

Qatana 03-13-2007 01:03 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
1. Have someone push your chest with one hand in an attempt to push you over. Really push.
2. Then two hands as hard as he can. We're talking total 100% full force of whole body pushing you.
3. Then have him pile drive into you.
4. Then even casually.. increasing to severely- pull you and push you around while you stand there without moving your feet. Let them have your wrist and let them pull you for all their worth.
5. Place your hand on his chest. Without moving your shoulders or body in any discernable way, send them 3-6' with your hand.

How is this aikido, though? it looks and feels much more like tai chi. And while I am the first to admit that tai chi principles do help my aikido, its more the principle of rather than being a brick wall...
I prefer to have these principles taught to me by someone who actually Does practice Aikido; I am fortunate that my sensei Does concentrate on energetic principles of Both arts, and got his training pretty much At The Source, or as close as possible.

Ecosamurai 03-13-2007 01:37 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Jo Adell wrote: (Post 171783)
How is this aikido, though? it looks and feels much more like tai chi.

That's what I thought too, I remember doing these things when I did Tai chi. I left tai chi because I felt aikido was better. I also haven't gone and found a tai chi forum to tell them all about how this tai chi stuff is missing essential principles only found in aikido. I'm happy to do my thing and let them do theirs. I have considered for a long time starting a thread to talk about the differences I've noticed between ki-aikido internal stuff and the tai chi type things, but I've never done it because I knew who would post on it and I couldn't be bothered to have those discussions to be honest.

Mike

Jeremy Hulley 03-13-2007 01:45 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Jo Adell wrote: (Post 171783)
. And while I am the first to admit that tai chi principles do help my aikido, its more the principle of rather than being a brick wall...
.

But the ability to shift from brick wall to instant softness and back give the ability to take balance or avoid having balance taken. It all fits if you can see it...

Walker 03-13-2007 01:48 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Hi Folks, I don't usually come around here, but things to have become interesting of late.

First off, I have to say thanks to Rob for a fun day. Specifically I want to thank him for his instruction in shiko 四股. Shiko is part of my dojo's tradition, but we didn't get the level of detail that Rob provided and had let practice lapse. Now it has been revitalized as a part of our kiso kunren. The rest was interesting too especially the stuff out of Yagyu Shingan ryu.

This all brings me George's post. Aikido is being critiqued from the inside, but it is a silent critique of practice. I happen to be in a line that descends from Takeda through Ueshiba to Shirata and to us. When we look at our curriculum we see several essential elements that we had little or no experience of in previous dojo's and organizations. A partial list would include: basic body conditioning and movement skills (kiso kunren), Daito ryu based (I say based because there are slight diferences e.g. hanmi from publicly available DR materials) kata, a high functioning sword practice that interfaces with and compliments the taijutsu (ours is Shochikubai Kenpo of unknown origin), similar jo practice, incorporation of various modalities of resistance training, and some form of mental/sprititual/psychological training (ours seems to be a syncretic mix of Shinto, Buddhism and yamabushi ideas i.e. Japanese Budo Mix). Anyway, it is a huge amount of stuff to work though and I know that quite a bit of the stuff we do and do to each other would not be tolerated in my former dojo.

So call it a silent critique. Our critique from the inside is to do our thing, look at whatever results we get, and evaluate them against our own criteria and whatever we can ascertain about the criteria in other dojos i.e. feeling it.

All I can conclude is that there was, at least at one time, a fairly complete curriculum in aikido. Maybe there are some nuances and nice tidbits that would be nice to know from sources such as Rob (ever know two martial artists to not talk shop when they get together), but it was all there. I believe that emphatically.

I used to think that O Sensei might not have taught everything, either holding back or leaving out what he thought wasn't important anymore. Well I don't think that any more. He must have, at some point at least, taught it or it wouldn't have survived.

As true victory is victory over the self then it follows that the individual is ultimately responsible for their own training and development. It is up to you to constantly evaluate the quality of your training and your performance in an objective manner and to act on the results of your evaluation -- that being the ultimate critique.

MM 03-13-2007 01:52 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Jo Adell wrote: (Post 171783)
How is this aikido, though? it looks and feels much more like tai chi. And while I am the first to admit that tai chi principles do help my aikido, its more the principle of rather than being a brick wall...
I prefer to have these principles taught to me by someone who actually Does practice Aikido; I am fortunate that my sensei Does concentrate on energetic principles of Both arts, and got his training pretty much At The Source, or as close as possible.

Hello Jo,

Well, it's a good question that I think we can look to Ueshiba for the answer. Why did Ueshiba tell Tenryu to go ahead and try to push him? Or, is that not aikido? ;) Or when Ueshiba does the jo trick? Um, again, is that not aikido? Or other instances when Ueshiba has people pushing on him from different directions? It's all there, hidden in plain sight. Do any of those examples sound like tai chi?

Preferences are fine. If you're happy with your practice, that's great. But, don't discount things just because they seemingly aren't coming from some aikido person. If we did that, then Ikeda sensei would never have brought in Ushiro sensei. :)

Not only that, but we'd all have to discount Ellis Amdur's fine posts over on Aikido Journal because, really, he's not an aikido person, so why should we learn from him?

So you see, there are precedents all over the place for what's being shown. People just don't like being told that their aikido may be lacking or inferior, especially by people who are viewed as outside the aikido world.

Personally, I like Ikeda sensei's example. You're never too high ranking to learn from someone outside your realm and sometimes you have to put on a white belt. It's a fine example I think many have missed. Shame, really.

Mark

kironin 03-13-2007 02:04 PM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
WOW !!!

Excellent post George !

I think that is the first time I have ever read a post on here in the years since this forum began where I felt like someone was channeling thoughts from my brain and stating it far better than I ever could.

:D I agree completely!

Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 171645)
When the Islamic invasion came to India, Buddhism was virtually eradicated. The Buddhist Canon of hundreds of volumes was lost in its original Sanskrit. Completely gone.


Ron Tisdale 03-13-2007 03:52 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Doug,

Please post here more often. I've often wished to get together with your group (I think you know why :D). Don't be surprised if a PM comes your way!

Best,
Ron

SeiserL 03-13-2007 04:39 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
I sincerely like the idea of putting the internal concepts back into Aikido, because I agree that they appear to have been there and are not so slowly being lost.

I am training with more of this internal focus in mind and will share/spread it when I know more.

I will also try to do it without insulting anyone or their instructors.

MM 03-13-2007 05:23 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote: (Post 171824)
I sincerely like the idea of putting the internal concepts back into Aikido, because I agree that they appear to have been there and are not so slowly being lost.

I am training with more of this internal focus in mind and will share/spread it when I know more.

I will also try to do it without insulting anyone or their instructors.

Hello Lynn,

Yes, I have nothing but the utmost respect for my instructors. It was really nice to see one of them at the AikiWeb seminar. It also reminded me of just how much I missed that part of my life. I'm hoping to see more of him in the future.

Mark

George S. Ledyard 03-13-2007 05:31 PM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 171740)
You know what really gets to me? This hypocrisy about non-aikido people not knowing anything about aikido. It's simply amazing that all these naysayers jump all over Dan and Mike about them being outside of Aikido and not knowing anything about *their* Aikido because Mike and Dan don't *do* aikido. Yet, they'll turn right around and lap up everything Ellis posts about the history of Aikido and Daito Ryu. To coin a phrase from some teens, OMG!

Actually, Ellis is a 4th Dan in Aikido, given to him by Kuroiwa Sensei. He was an original student of Terry Dobson Sensei as well both of which gives him a good solid take on Aikido. The terminology he uses in his discussions is familiar to Aikido practitioners; not technical jargon which Aikido people do not understand. The main thing with Ellis is that he will point you towards certain things, ask some thoughtful questions, and generally tries to get people thinking. But he always posts with great respect for others. He isn't aggressive about what he puts out there, you can take it or leave it. If he thinks you don't know what you are talking about, he just doesn't reply to you.I think his great skill in presenting his ideas is one of the reasons he has such influence. He knows better than to push too hard.

As for what Ellis has to say about about martial arts history and Daito Ryu in particular, like the other folks who did koryu in Japan. he was also a student on the academic side. He was a member of JMAS along with folks like Don Draeger, Phil Relnick, Meik Skoss, etc. He is a walking encyclopedia of info, so of course people pay attention to him. I fail to see how that makes anyone hypocritical.

Qatana 03-13-2007 05:41 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Mark

I can't object to applying tai chi principles to aikido, I ALREADY DO IT.

What I object to is people do not Practice aikido telling how to do aikido.

And if one is going to use these tai chi principles, I really think they should describe their usefulness in how they apply to Aikido technique, not to simply be able to emulate O'Sensei's Performances. If he thought being Unpushable was essential to aikido, he would have taught it to Somebody, doncha think?

MM 03-13-2007 05:57 PM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 171828)
Actually, Ellis is a 4th Dan in Aikido, given to him by Kuroiwa Sensei. He was an original student of Terry Dobson Sensei as well both of which gives him a good solid take on Aikido. The terminology he uses in his discussions is familiar to Aikido practitioners; not technical jargon which Aikido people do not understand. The main thing with Ellis is that he will point you towards certain things, ask some thoughtful questions, and generally tries to get people thinking. But he always posts with great respect for others. He isn't aggressive about what he puts out there, you can take it or leave it. If he thinks you don't know what you are talking about, he just doesn't reply to you.I think his great skill in presenting his ideas is one of the reasons he has such influence. He knows better than to push too hard.

As for what Ellis has to say about about martial arts history and Daito Ryu in particular, like the other folks who did koryu in Japan. he was also a student on the academic side. He was a member of JMAS along with folks like Don Draeger, Phil Relnick, Meik Skoss, etc. He is a walking encyclopedia of info, so of course people pay attention to him. I fail to see how that makes anyone hypocritical.

Well, I certainly agree with all that. :) But, I was under the impression that Ellis isn't doing aikido currently. And that was one complaint -- that certain people weren't in aikido. So, to discount that in some yet not discount it in others seemed hypocritical to me. Course, I could be wrong.

Mark

MM 03-13-2007 06:03 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Jo Adell wrote: (Post 171829)
Mark

I can't object to applying tai chi principles to aikido, I ALREADY DO IT.

What I object to is people do not Practice aikido telling how to do aikido.

And if one is going to use these tai chi principles, I really think they should describe their usefulness in how they apply to Aikido technique, not to simply be able to emulate O'Sensei's Performances. If he thought being Unpushable was essential to aikido, he would have taught it to Somebody, doncha think?

Hi Jo,

Well, that's the point. These aren't taichi principles in aikido. These are internal skills in aikido. And, yes, these internal skills can also be found in some taichi. But, that doesn't mean they are exactly the same. Similar, I think, but not necessarily the same.

You make a point that I was trying to convey to Ledyard sensei. People don't want to listen to outsiders not doing aikido. So let me ask you about Amdur sensei. Would you listen to him about aikido?

And I don't know about Ueshiba. Wasn't there, wasn't around any of his direct students, so I can't answer your question. But I do know that he told Tenryu to try to push him over and that he wouldn't be able to because he(Ueshiba) knew the secret to aiki. Pretty good indication what kind of emphasis he put on internal skills, don't you think?

Mark

Walker 03-13-2007 06:24 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote: (Post 171814)
Please post here more often. I've often wished to get together with your group (I think you know why :D). Don't be surprised if a PM comes your way!

No reason that wouldn't happen some day. Call any time, so to speak.

There is one problem as I see it with "reintroducing." Once the thread has been broken we run the danger of creating something new and beyond the character of the original. Maybe not a problem in aikido which can hardly be said to have anything like a unified "character" these days. I reference Toby's fine article on creativity and change in the budo.

edit - I've even heard some say that Ikeda sensei isn't "doing" aikido anymore, cited just as an example of militant orthodoxy in the midst of general hetrodoxy.

SeiserL 03-13-2007 07:00 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 171832)
So let me ask you about Amdur sensei. Would you listen to him about aikido?

Absolutely. I have trained with him in the past and look forward to the next time.

Tim Mailloux 03-13-2007 07:08 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
[quote=Jo Adell;171829]Mark

What I object to is people do not Practice aikido telling how to do aikido.

QUOTE]

I can see how that could bother someone. But remember that these are people that used to do aikido, and one of them also has quite a bit of experience with Daito Ryu, the root of all aikido.

3 year ago while i was still a gung ho aikidodoka, I would probably be making the same arguments as everyone eles here that has it out for Dan and Mike. But having left the fold, switched over to judo and now having the pleasure of training with Dan I am a true beliver. These skills do not exist in aikido today, or atleast the wide range of aikido I have been exposed to. When I was doing aikido I trained with a teacher that was just recently promoted to Shihan by Doshu and the aikikai. My teachers teacher, who I trained with frequently was an Uchideshi of O'Sensei and very well known for his powerfull waza. So i would say that I was training with people that knew what they were doing. While I respect these teacher very much and consider them to be some of the best aikidoka in North America. I have never felt in them what I have felt from Dan and his students.

At their best, I would describe my teachers as great technicians with the ability to blend with ukes center and work around ukes strength. Maybe this is what aikidoka think of as Ki. But with Dan and his guys it is much different. They don't blend with ukes center, they don't need to, they totally disrupt it from the instant you make contact with them. Its as if as soon as you touch them they suck in all you energy and then shoot it back at you two fold while at the same time being totally loose and relaxed. At times it can be quite startling.

statisticool 03-13-2007 07:33 PM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 171645)
Most of the people running dojos out there did not spend fifteen or more years training directly with a Shihan level teacher.

If we question aikido as done by those type of people, why would one accept the words on aikido from those who are not Shihans, teachers, have their own dojos, or have spent 15 or more years, in aikido? Especially when they are claiming that their things are the basis for aikido (not to mention a whole ton of other martial arts) ?

Because they can do impressive static drills/tricks?

mathewjgano 03-13-2007 07:34 PM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 171740)
Stand relaxed with feet side by side about shoulder width apart and do not use any waza, your hands, or any offensive techniques and remain that way while .....

1. Have someone push your chest with one hand in an attempt to push you over. Really push.
2. Then two hands as hard as he can. We're talking total 100% full force of whole body pushing you.
3. Then have him pile drive into you.
4. Then even casually.. increasing to severely- pull you and push you around while you stand there without moving your feet. Let them have your wrist and let them pull you for all their worth.
5. Place your hand on his chest. Without moving your shoulders or body in any discernable way, send them 3-6' with your hand.

I'm a little confused:
In my young understanding, "waza" includes any method one consciously employs, hence the saying there are infinite techniques in Aikido...probably just splitting hairs, but "internal techniques" would be internal waza, wouldn't it?
It also seems to me that the ability corresponding toward "doing" the above is relative to who you're trying it on. I have no problem grounding out some people while others seem impossible. I can certainly do elements of the above mentioned, though not in all cases.

Quote:

You know what really gets to me? This hypocrisy about non-aikido people not knowing anything about aikido.
I didn't read anything as saying non-Aikido people know nothing about Aikido. We're all learning how to move the same human form, after all, but maybe I missed it.
We often read and inject our own connotations into the areas not addressed directly. If the interlocutor included every caveat which applied to the things they say, they probably would never finish a post. Initially, I recall Mike bugging the heck out of me. I'd always arrive in the middle of a conversation (dangerous in it's own right) where he was describing some negative thing and after a while he just seemed to have nothing positive to say about Aikido. Over time, I began to realize he wasn't criticizing "Aikido," only what he had specifically witnessed and was addressing. When people make strong assertions, unfortunately, I think we humans tend to look for ways we might be under attack and respond to what WE read into the message more than what is actually said, some of us more than others, I know.
Quote:

If you can't do them all, then you don't know, nor do you understand what's being said here. It's that simple.
Ok but is it a matter of an "on-off" type of ability, or is there a gradient of ability? Aren't the skills used to do any one of those the same or similar skills used to do the others? I don't see how being able to do #1 but not #3 precludeds any understanding of this topic.
It certainly makes a difference whether or not one can feel it or not (talking is pretty useless comparatively). I recall telling one newer student that the feeling they had just experienced for the first time should be repeated to some degree every time they did that technique. I had felt her suddenly ground out my efforts and the look of pleasant surprise dawned on her face as she realized she had just taken control of the situation. I could have told her all day about what it feels like, but she never would have had an idea what I was talking about (and I assume this is what you're really trying to say), but I don't think any of us can say specifically what another of us is lacking in their training without witnessing it directly.

statisticool 03-13-2007 07:42 PM

Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 171740)
Stand relaxed with feet side by side about shoulder width apart and do not use any waza, your hands, or any offensive techniques and remain that way while .....

1. Have someone push your chest with one hand in an attempt to push you over. Really push.
2. Then two hands as hard as he can. We're talking total 100% full force of whole body pushing you.
3. Then have him pile drive into you.
4. Then even casually.. increasing to severely- pull you and push you around while you stand there without moving your feet. Let them have your wrist and let them pull you for all their worth.
5. Place your hand on his chest. Without moving your shoulders or body in any discernable way, send them 3-6' with your hand.

Before we go further, Mike Haft, please try those and post your results. In fact, video would be better. Because if you can't do *all* the above, then you're not doing what Mike and Dan are doing.

But why would one want to? This is a martial art, not 'do a bunch of static drills/tricks'. Stay in the same stance? Don't use any techniques, or hands, or do any offense. This is about as divorced from a martial art as one can get. We might as well be talking about duplicating the feats of the Magnetic Girl in order to talk on this thread; it just doesn't make sense.

Cady Goldfield 03-13-2007 07:49 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Why do karateka do kata and punch-kick drills, etc., Justin, or kungfu practitioners do their various exercises and drills? Those things are intended to build a particular foundational skill set -- a skill set which later can be applied to fighting (or avoiding fighting, as the case may be).

mathewjgano 03-13-2007 07:50 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

They don't blend with ukes center, they don't need to, they totally disrupt it from the instant you make contact with them. Its as if as soon as you touch them they suck in all you energy and then shoot it back at you two fold while at the same time being totally loose and relaxed. At times it can be quite startling.
Of course it's hard for me to be sure of the distinction you're making without experiencing it, but I thought this description fit what I consider to be the Aikido method. At my dojo I've heard mention of yin and yang qualities. From what I've been able to experience, grabbing a good nage can sometimes feel like you're being crushed through the palm of your hand all the way through your center...it's a whole-body sensation of being smothered, and then all of a sudden the pressure releases and you feel light as air and completely disoriented.
Anyway, I'm babbling like usual, but I've always been under the impression that "de ai" is central to Aikido and that "de ai" essentially means you're disrupting uke at or before the moment of contact, like with your description. So I wonder if the distinction really just boils down to a matter of one's dedication toward training.
So after reflecting on this post i can't help but feel like you'd reply that you weren't saying Aikido doesn't include these things, or that I'm missing a key point. :uch: What do you think? Does my experience sound similar to what you're thinking of?
Take care,
Matt:D

MM 03-13-2007 07:51 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote: (Post 171836)
Absolutely. I have trained with him in the past and look forward to the next time.

Me, too, Lynn. Me, too. :)

Mark

mriehle 03-13-2007 07:51 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote: (Post 171824)
I will also try to do it without insulting anyone or their instructors.

This statement is key. Really.

mathewjgano 03-13-2007 08:02 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Doug Walker wrote: (Post 171790)
As true victory is victory over the self then it follows that the individual is ultimately responsible for their own training and development. It is up to you to constantly evaluate the quality of your training and your performance in an objective manner and to act on the results of your evaluation -- that being the ultimate critique.

I really liked this! To me, this is the essence of any ability and talent. Certainly it helps to work with the highly proficient, but I think it takes a good student far more than it takes a good teacher, to become good at anything.
Take care,
Matt

Walker 03-13-2007 08:25 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 171848)
I really liked this! To me, this is the essence of any ability and talent. Certainly it helps to work with the highly proficient, but I think it takes a good student far more than it takes a good teacher, to become good at anything.
Take care,
Matt

Glad it meant something for you. I see the hardest part is objectivity and for that a teacher is very important. For the most part you can't see you and must rely on another to tell you what is happening. Accepting that builds the habit within the self and you find your perceptions moving closer to reality in my experience.

Upyu 03-13-2007 10:09 PM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Jo Adell wrote: (Post 171783)
And while I am the first to admit that tai chi principles do help my aikido, its more the principle of rather than being a brick wall...

and

Quote:

Justin Smith wrote: (Post 171843)
But why would one want to? This is a martial art, not 'do a bunch of static drills/tricks'. Stay in the same stance? Don't use any techniques, or hands, or do any offense. This is about as divorced from a martial art as one can get. We might as well be talking about duplicating the feats of the Magnetic Girl in order to talk on this thread; it just doesn't make sense.

Sure it would be stupid if those skills were relegated to simply static tricks/drills. That's why you train them in movement.
Stillness in Motion, Motion in Stillness.

I dug up some interesting stuff on MAP the other day from some Aikido dan ranker who learned from Saito and Chiba sensei:

Quote:

koyo wrote:
KAMAE
In the early years of training late 50s earlt 60s we had a number of solo exersises to develop proper kamae. A few of us were chosen to be fukushidoin (translates as pioneers)so we got quite a lot of personal training. A bokken would be slipped down the rear of the collar of our kit and thrust into the belt.Then another belt tied criss cross across the chest to secure the bokken in place. Then we had to perforn happo undo moving from the same spot in eight directions maintaining an erect spine and moving the body as a unit. Any loss of posture or balance and the bokken dug into your spine.happo undo has you sliding one foot forward and drawing up the rear foot while raising the handblades forward and out retaining the natural curve of the arm .
It was stressed never to move one foot at a time (as in plodding) but to move from the hips and maintain about shoulder width between the feet and always move in triangular posture. The arms were "thrust out and up" but never "away from the body as in overextending.It was torture.Breathing exercises were introduce including poweful kiai and short sharp strikes and thrust again done alone from happo undo.

I shall put myself on the spot here. Below is a photo from a demo (so not posed) I cosider this to be proper kamae. Even though I have just entered and executed quite a powerful technique i have maintained my natural kama. This could be considered "rooted" (not stagnant) centered (I hate that word) but capable of movement in "eight directions" (all directions)

and from a later post after watching some clips of Ark in london:

Quote:

koyo wrote:
Managed to download those clips and they had me grinning like a monkey. I remember similar exercises with Saito shihan (the father) and he would have you doing them on him quite successfully then suddenly with no change in posture he became like a rock and moving him was impossible.
When you went to train with others afterwards they felt like butterflies by comparison.The training with someone piggy backing as well and moving across the mat with a belt looped round your waist with a couple of guys restricting your movement forward. ALL GOOD.
The rowing exercise with the shoulders above the koshi I understand as well again I feel it is to do with the arch of the knees and although the whole body must be moved as one we must not allow incorrect use of the knees (locking out) to inhibit out movement.Allowing the shoulders to align above the feet would break my kame. I do not do that .Except when my body is passing over the foot as in stepping.
In regards to aikido and the rather flamboyant movement seen. I was told that we must have maximum mobility but use minimum movement. Something else I see missing in much of modern aikido.

regards koyo

Edit
still smiling like a monkey :)

Seems like training of the middle within a store/release paradigm wasn't taught (though who knows I've never met the guy), but just reading some of his training regimine there's parallels in what he does with what we do, and I've never officially trained Aikido. He understands connection and obviously was doing connection training exercises. We had no problems communicating certain things because we both have an understanding of some basic principles.

Of course he's just one guy... but I found it interesting that they got the ub3r training, and not many others get subjected to it anymore.:D

DH 03-14-2007 01:36 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
[quote=Tim Mailloux;171837]
Quote:

Jo Adell wrote: (Post 171829)
Mark

What I object to is people do not Practice aikido telling how to do aikido.

QUOTE]

I can see how that could bother someone. But remember that these are people that used to do aikido, and one of them also has quite a bit of experience with Daito Ryu, the root of all aikido.

3 year ago while i was still a gung ho aikidodoka, I would probably be making the same arguments as everyone eles here that has it out for Dan and Mike. But having left the fold, switched over to judo and now having the pleasure of training with Dan I am a true beliver. These skills do not exist in aikido today, or atleast the wide range of aikido I have been exposed to. When I was doing aikido I trained with a teacher that was just recently promoted to Shihan by Doshu and the aikikai. My teachers teacher, who I trained with frequently was an Uchideshi of O'Sensei and very well known for his powerfull waza. So i would say that I was training with people that knew what they were doing. While I respect these teacher very much and consider them to be some of the best aikidoka in North America. I have never felt in them what I have felt from Dan and his students.

At their best, I would describe my teachers as great technicians with the ability to blend with ukes center and work around ukes strength. Maybe this is what aikidoka think of as Ki. But with Dan and his guys it is much different. They don't blend with ukes center, they don't need to, they totally disrupt it from the instant you make contact with them. Its as if as soon as you touch them they suck in all you energy and then shoot it back at you two fold while at the same time being totally loose and relaxed. At times it can be quite startling.

Hi Tim
I think I'm finally getting a handle on why just about every single post from you guys about what you've experienced gets ignored. They can't respond, to you, their peers, their fellow members with any integrity. Now that so many members of their community have felt these skills and totally disagree with the Aikiweb naysaers and have adamantly stated so, they are left with few options. Collectively call you liars, stupid, or lacking in an ability to judge, or to accept the overwhelming evidence. It is easier to do what they have chosen to do-ignore your words.
1.They question martial veracity VS static pushing --you answer it is martially viable, that you felt it
2. They question fluidity and movement --you answer it is highly mobile
3. They mention weapons-you answer with clear examples
4. They question its relevance to Aikido you state in no uncertain terms it is extremely relevant to aikido
5. They question your ability to state same-you answer years of experience feeling the top shihans in the art.

It is clear- startlingly clear- that they have no basis to counter their own members, from diverse backgrounds, most of whom do not know each other and didn't know us, all returning with the same or similar peer reviews.
They are now left with, as a group either accepting what you say-which is unacceptable, or ignoring you all together. There is simply nothing left for them to say to you. So instead they turn back to Mike and I and never having felt what we do --they attack or endlessly debate from afar.
I am convinced the majorty never were interested in an honest exchange. Just as the two high level teachers warned me-It is agenda and protectionism. As one said pointedly
Ikeda's words -you like to cite-were ignored, what makes you think anyone is interested in what you can do or say. They are going to go back to what they know, and nothing will change

So if the peer reviews are ignored, and Ikedas words are ignored, and George miquotes us and thinks only Aikidoka can change it.
We should just leave them alone.

Dan

SeiserL 03-14-2007 07:36 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
IMHO, as well discussed and illustrated, both strength and change comes from within.

Enter, blend, and incorporate. Steal the techniques and principles.

Budd 03-14-2007 08:42 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Mike Haft wrote: (Post 171890)
I've been doing a lot of what you and Mike have been talking about for years

That's excellent! Could you describe some of the exercises you do to train and isolate these skills, either solo or with a partner (or do you do it through your practice of waza), as others have shared? I'll admit that I don't know much about this stuff and am trying to learn all I can.

Quote:

Mike Haft wrote: (Post 171890)
If aikido is so great and so in need of having these principles put back into it (which I think it is, so I agree with you)

Can you share some of your experiences that led you to the conclusion that aikido needs these principles put back into it? Or am I misunderstanding and you're saying that aikido is just fine the way it is?

Hope I'm not coming across as being too 'wolfish', but I'm genuinely interested in your responses . . .

Marc Abrams 03-14-2007 08:45 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
George raises a powerful point (as usual!). This thread is not about Dan and Mike. This thread is about helping Aikido remain as a viable and powerful martial art (some would say- and I would agree to a limited point- that it needs to return to this state).

People need to put their petty egos aside and be honest with themselves as to the state of THEIR Aikido. The relevancy of THEIR Aikido does not rest in the art itself, but in the unique application of Aikido by that person. Dan, Mike and other people raise good arguments. It is not their obligation to open an Aikido school and teach what they say that they know. It is the obligation of the Aikidoka to work on realizing the potential of Aikido within one's self.

Next year will be my 20th year directly studying with a direct student of O'Sensei (Imaizumi Sensei). It has been, and is an honor to continue to directly study under him. I have watched him continue to evolve his Aikido. At 69 years of age, I still observe the rare person who chooses to attack him (as uke) in an unexpected, and/or severe manner. The person typically runs into a wall, shaped as a fist, and is then sent to the ground in a ground-shaking manner. I have no question about the efficiency and efficacy of Aikido, as taught by my teacher. HOWEVER, his teaching methodology is limited. He has, and still encourages me to work on MY Aikido in what ever manner possible (that includes training with other people). It has been through my training experiences with Koroda Sensei, Systema, Ushiro Sensei, Williams Sensei, and yes, Ledyard Sensei, that have enabled me to better understand and learn the principles that Imaizumi Sensei is teaching in class. I am in the process of re-evaluating how I personally train, and how I am teaching at my own school.

My limited understandings have led me to re-focus my training and my teaching to become principle based. I truly believe that when the students (including myself) can develop stronger "basics" that are the underpinnings of Aikido, the techniques that evolve are efficient, highly effective, and practical.

I truly appreciate the input from Dan, Mike, and others who ask us to question what we do and how we do it. If we can separate our egos from the art, maybe we, as an art, can more honestly represent the art of Aikido.

George, as always- thank you for helping the art through your teaching and writing. I look forward to learning more from you at the summer camp.

Marc Abrams

DH 03-14-2007 08:55 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Hey Mike
"Why don't you just leave and go do this..."
Ahh isn't that exaclty what we have been doing?
If you really wanted to change things why not teach it
Last night I spent another 5 hours teaching three AIkidoka
I lost track of how many have come....I give my time for free. I understand your thinking little of my efforts though. Thanks for the positive advice.;)
Your opinion that I am not teaching Aikido is your own. It is apprently not shared by those who have felt me.
You are now free to try to convince them.
I'll be happy to meet you and do Aikido with you. I did it off and on for years and I am quite converscent Mike.Your syllabus just isn't that hard and once you have these skills they really aren't need much anymore. But if you show up I'll teach you many more ways to do just about any lock you know and teach you quite a few more throws. All with aiki all with aikido principles.
These guys who've come? They know it's Aikido. You will too.
The only way you'll have left to deny it...is flat out denial.
You will laugh and have fun and find yourself agreeing with them.
Or you'll be left just standing there scratching your head.

Tim
If you notice, once again "they" don't address you or the dozen other folks who wrote lengthy personal reviews directly. They come after us. It must be something they teach in Aikido.
The question overshadowing all others should be is this relevant to Aikido. Those in Aikido -who have experienced them- many of whom are teachers themselves- have determined that they are, and they too now write back they are at the core.
They are ignored.
The good news is that those that feel it, get it, are training it and going back to aikido. They will be the news masters of Aikido. It is the very heart of all that is Aiki-do.

See ya on the mats Tim.
Dan

statisticool 03-14-2007 09:17 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 171904)
Your opinion that I am not teaching Aikido is your own. It is apprently not shared by those who have felt me.

aikido + MMA = aikido

Got it.

Ecosamurai 03-14-2007 09:23 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Budd Yuhasz wrote: (Post 171900)
That's excellent! Could you describe some of the exercises you do to train and isolate these skills, either solo or with a partner (or do you do it through your practice of waza), as others have shared? I'll admit that I don't know much about this stuff and am trying to learn all I can.

SNIP

Hope I'm not coming across as being too 'wolfish', but I'm genuinely interested in your responses . . .

Many of the standard training exercise used by Koichi Tohei are aimed at developing the same things as CMA internal practices such as Tai Chi. Much of what Mark Murray listed in his rather trollish post is done in ki society circles although with different emphasis.

As an example I recall Ellis Amdur writing something around here about Tomiki having a bunch of young judoka trying to move his arm and not being able to. He made note that it was not the Tohei style 'unbendable arm' exercise and described unbendable arm (but inaccurately). It was in fact exactly what you should be doing if you do unbendable arm. only beginners let their elbow remain unmoved while their arm wobbles all over the place. If you are using weight underside these things do not happen. If you compare it to such CMA terms such us 6 directional pushing (I forget the exact terminology) then it is the same exercise entirely. at the higher levels of the test for unbendable arm the arm is moved at different angles and the only way to pass these tests is to create some of those internal pathways much discussed by Mike et al.

Koichi Tohei often said "No unbendable arm, no aikido". There's a reason he is ranked 10th Dan, some of that is politics and some of it is ability. There are many many other exercises like this. Part of the problems I have with all this is that I figured out long ago that telling people they needed to do things like this to do aikido properly was just trolling. I'd rather politely listen to them and learn from them even if they don't wish to do things the way I do. After all who am I to be teaching the world, I'm no great master.

As an example of the way we practice, my senior student spent last year studying in Germany, there she practiced aikido nearly every day of the week. They often called her stubborn, awkward and other such things, the instructor told her that she was awkward but she was worth it because she practiced so hard. For awkward read: uncooperative. Meaning 'No, I'll not move until you take my center, I'm not giving it up freely to massage your ego'. When I visited her there (she's my girlfriend too) I was cooperative and polite and tried hard to fit in to the way they did things. I didn't go to their dojo and behave like a pain in the ass, I was there to learn after all not to teach, I perhaps should have made it more obvious to my girlfriend that they would find her awkward. But I didn't. My bad...

As you asked, here's something for you to practice and think about.

Fight or flight responses. All predatory animals respond to fight stimulai by clenching the rectum and digging their claws in. If you're brave enough try an experiment at home with the cat. Sit it on your lap and lift its tail up. Get your friend to open the door and let a dog in, watch the cat's backside as it digs it's claws into your lap. Next time your practicing some of the internal stuff discussed here (if you do so) ask yourself if you're clenching your backside, if you are you aren't relaxed properly and you'll have difficulties acheiving some of what has been discussed. It's kinda crude to describe it like that but it's a really simple thing you can ask yourself during training in order to assess whether you are tense or not (sometimes it's hard to tell). The other really hard thing to learn is to use weight underside, but I've got work to do now and have wasted my time on the internet for too long this lunch break already. Maybe some other time I'll talk about it.

Mike Haft

Tim Mailloux 03-14-2007 09:28 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 171904)

Last night I spent another 5 hours teaching three AIkidoka
I lost track of how many have come....Dan

Dan,

Did Stan, Eric and Tom train with you last night? Shoot me an email, I would like to hear how it went.

DH 03-14-2007 09:46 AM

Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido
 
Thank for walking into that open door.
So you can discuss me and mine and why what I do IS aiki...just how?

Dan


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