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Rupert Atkinson 09-28-2013 07:18 PM

The Way of Aiki
 
I think Aikido to be The Way of Aiki. Can we have a discussion about aiki without mentioning ki I wonder? I think aiki is a learnable skill. The minute someone starts talking about ki, harmony, and the meaning of the universe, practical learning is lost.

If you don't think that Aikido is the Way of Aiki, they try to explain why not.

Just what is it we are supposed to be learning? Not the techniques, methinks. The techniques are the means to learn aiki. The various schools of Jujutsu (even Judo) have aiki-like katas or movements taught to seniors. I think Ueshiba took those ideas and created Aikido, and the techniques we have are meant to develop aiki, not become techniques unto themselves (as they seem to have become). I also think that if you understand aiki, you can put it into any technique - Judo, Jujutsu, or of course, your standard Aikido 'waza'.

Anyway, few people out there are looking for aiki, or seeking ways to develop it. Most are just concerned with which way to do this or that 'waza', where to put the feet and how to twist uke this way or that, and what they need for the next grading, and so on. I was like that too for my first 20, yes TWENTY, years of training so I kind of understand 'the problem'. Can you understand this problem? Or do you think I am wrong - or that there is no problem?

Kungfu has pushing hands etc., Systema has many interesting exercises, Aunkai too, and so on. Besides waza, what does Aikido have that helps us develop aiki? Or must people search beyond Aikido?

So ... aiki.
What is it?
Have you felt it?
Can you do something you think might be aiki?
Do you have the means to develop it?
Are you searching, or remain just content to be 'told'?
Have you sussed anything interesting?
Have you discerned any interesting principles that you can apply across a range of waza?
Can you move people that resist?
Can you take people's balance with subtle craft?
Or ... are you just training and hoping one day ... It'll just happen?

Cady Goldfield 09-28-2013 09:23 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330295)
So ... aiki.
What is it?
Have you felt it?
Can you do something you think might be aiki?
Do you have the means to develop it?
Are you searching, or remain just content to be 'told'?
Have you sussed anything interesting?
Have you discerned any interesting principles that you can apply across a range of waza?
Can you move people that resist?
Can you take people's balance with subtle craft?
Or ... are you just training and hoping one day ... It'll just happen?

Oh... great questions, Rupert!
You're right, "aiki" is very much a learnable skill.
It results from a very specific kind of body training. It has nothing to do with martial technique, but it is the powerful engine that will drive technique of any kind.

There are no "aiki-like" katas. Training practices either are designed to promote a process of specific movement and structural manipulation to produce IP and aiki, or they are not. The process involves learning how to use mental intent to manipulate unconventional muscle groups and connective tissues to create a dynamic tension of opposing forces within the body -- the In/Yo (Yin/Yang) that are in a constant state of change from neutral to varying stages of imbalance and re-balancing that constitute the "harmonizing of ki" ... Ai-Ki. That's what makes the dynamic tension, the potential energy which is the source of power that is directed to the desired use by the intent and will of the mind.

Anyone who is training in this very real method, does not have to guess that they have aiki, what it feels like to "do" it, or how it feels when in contact with someone who is expressing aiki. They are training in a curriculum that was designed for aiki development. The training is quite specific. Aiki will never "just happen."

It would be great to see it reintroduced into modern, mainstream aikido. Some people already are doing that, having sought out and found sources for acquiring the skills. I don't believe that it ever will be taken back into all aikido, lock-stock-and barrel, but I do think that there will be a small-scale revival of aikido that at least in part preserves and reflects the skills that Ueshiba continued to cultivate and refine till the day he died. As long as even a small pocket of those practitioners exist, there will be an aikido that is the Way of Aiki.

Alex Megann 09-29-2013 03:10 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
My current understanding (bear in mind that it is changing month by month) is this.

We have always talked about circular, spherical and spiral movements, and it is widely believed that these are somehow the essence of aikido and that they differentiate it from other martial arts. To me, aiki is the generation of these movements inside ourselves so we can transmit them to our attacker, instead of using simple linear force,

No, I am not aware of any training system within mainstream aikido to cultivate this.

But yes, I am practising such exercises myself.

Alex

sakumeikan 09-29-2013 06:33 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Alex Megann wrote: (Post 330298)
My current understanding (bear in mind that it is changing month by month) is this.

We have always talked about circular, spherical and spiral movements, and it is widely believed that these are somehow the essence of aikido and that they differentiate it from other martial arts. To me, aiki is the generation of these movements inside ourselves so we can transmit them to our attacker, instead of using simple linear force,

No, I am not aware of any training system within mainstream aikido to cultivate this.

But yes, I am practising such exercises myself.

Alex

Dear Alex,
If you are not aware of any mainstream aikido group cultivating aiki why do you remain within your own group? It seems to me from your comments you are now a member /admirer of the gent who is no longer posting on this forum . I wouuld have thought that if indeed you are , why not embrace his theories entirely?Are you integrating them into your own practice ?If so does this make you a heretic [only word I can think , no offense meant ] with Mr K et al???Cheers, Joe.

Alex Megann 09-29-2013 02:15 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 330300)
Dear Alex,
If you are not aware of any mainstream aikido group cultivating aiki why do you remain within your own group? It seems to me from your comments you are now a member /admirer of the gent who is no longer posting on this forum . I wouuld have thought that if indeed you are , why not embrace his theories entirely?Are you integrating them into your own practice ?If so does this make you a heretic [only word I can think , no offense meant ] with Mr K et al???Cheers, Joe.

Good questions, Joe, but they have simple answers (at least for me).

My teacher definitely has this stuff, but does not teach it directly. I went through a phase of intense frustration where I was feeling things from people like Kanetsuka, Ikeda and Yamashima that really impressed me, but I realised that, however much information these people gave you, none of them taught you even how to start to get a body that felt like theirs, nor precisely how to do what they were showing.

You know me well enough by now to know that I am not someone who follows anyone with my eyes closed. You will also appreciate that I have been around the block enough times now that I don't see most things in terms of "either/or". The "gent who is no longer posting on this forum" (anyone reading this particular subforum will not need to be spoonfed his name!) is teaching a set of simple but profound exercise drills that I realised very quickly were what I was looking for, and that I believe build the skills I described in my post above.

If I read you correctly, I think you are being overly provocative. I have no need to change my allegiance at this point as I love aikido. As far as I understand them, TGWINLPOTF's teachings don't contradict anything that my aikido teacher is teaching, and since no "mainstream aikido group" is teaching explicitly how to do this stuff I see no reason to change for the time being,

Alex

sakumeikan 09-30-2013 02:32 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Alex Megann wrote: (Post 330310)
Good questions, Joe, but they have simple answers (at least for me).

My teacher definitely has this stuff, but does not teach it directly. I went through a phase of intense frustration where I was feeling things from people like Kanetsuka, Ikeda and Yamashima that really impressed me, but I realised that, however much information these people gave you, none of them taught you even how to start to get a body that felt like theirs, nor precisely how to do what they were showing.

You know me well enough by now to know that I am not someone who follows anyone with my eyes closed. You will also appreciate that I have been around the block enough times now that I don't see most things in terms of "either/or". The "gent who is no longer posting on this forum" (anyone reading this particular subforum will not need to be spoonfed his name!) is teaching a set of simple but profound exercise drills that I realised very quickly were what I was looking for, and that I believe build the skills I described in my post above.

If I read you correctly, I think you are being overly provocative. I have no need to change my allegiance at this point as I love aikido. As far as I understand them, TGWINLPOTF's teachings don't contradict anything that my aikido teacher is teaching, and since no "mainstream aikido group" is teaching explicitly how to do this stuff I see no reason to change for the time being,

Alex

Dear Alex,
Thanks for your reply. This is where the the system of teaching as I see it breaks down. Namely the instructors who have the aiki skills either cannot or will not pass these methods on to students.This begs the question , if they have the skills why do they not transmit the methods ? Surely if Mr DH is teaching simple[your description] exercises that develop these skills , others can ???? The vast majority of instructors simply teach the forms, the external process.The bit that interests me is the internal part.
Alex, I know you well enough to know you like your aikido. Its just me, the man who often asks awkward questions.Makes for a stimulating discussion. Any way, you gave a good answer.For that I thank you.As ever I send you my regards. Always a pleasure to chat with you here.Take care, Joe.

Rupert Atkinson 09-30-2013 03:06 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Dare I suggest that some Aikido teachers who can do 'interesting stuff' learned it by accident after lots of training and have no clue how to teach it in a systematic way becuase they are not exactly sure of what they can do or why it works? Well, it is either that, or for some reason they just point blank refuse to teach what they know.

Mert Gambito 09-30-2013 04:08 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
FWIW, DH has stated multiple times that the methodology he's imparting is not to be hoarded. For the teachers who attend his workshops, he is expressly teaching them with the mutual understanding that they will a) diligently pursue the material and be able to walk the talk, and b) diligently and accurately impart the material to their students, and not use it as a tool with which to selfishly increase one's ability while leaving the student body guessing.

Sooner rather than later, relative to the timeline of the history of aikido, there will be several aikido teachers who will be able to make good on both criteria.

Alex Megann 09-30-2013 04:34 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Mert Gambito wrote: (Post 330324)
FWIW, DH has stated multiple times that the methodology he's imparting is not to be hoarded. For the teachers who attend his workshops, he is expressly teaching them with the mutual understanding that they will a) diligently pursue the material and be able to walk the talk, and b) diligently and accurately impart the material to their students, and not use it as a tool with which to selfishly increase one's ability while leaving the student body guessing.

Sooner rather than later, relative to the timeline of the history of aikido, there will be several aikido teachers who will be able to make good on both criteria.

There are already several very senior (6th and 7th Dan) Aikikai teachers in the US who more or less openly acknowledge Dan's influence (no need to refer to him as TGWINLPOTF any more, I guess :)) on their personal development.

Alex

Alex Megann 09-30-2013 04:41 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330323)
Dare I suggest that some Aikido teachers who can do 'interesting stuff' learned it by accident after lots of training and have no clue how to teach it in a systematic way becuase they are not exactly sure of what they can do or why it works? Well, it is either that, or for some reason they just point blank refuse to teach what they know.

I think this is very much the way things have turned out. One AikiWeb poster has told to me privately that a couple of the teachers whose aikido I very much admire admitted to him that they didn't really understand how they did what they did.

My teacher has shown us plenty of exercises over the years that he believes will improve our aikido, but I can't help feeling that much of his ability has come from him digesting and redigesting through trial and error what he got from his own teacher many years ago.

Alex

Cady Goldfield 09-30-2013 09:09 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
A lot of the aikido teachers who do "interesting stuff" but can't explain it, learned by hands-on transmission... by "feel." Many old traditions in Asia were, and still are, taught this way. Very little descriptive terminology or systemic training, and mainly the teacher letting the student feel and eventually imitate, and inculcate, through touch.

So, it's not surprising that individuals with these skills don't know how to explain or describe what they are doing. I have had this experience as well. It takes integration between Eastern and Western teaching methods to arrive at a system that methodically teaches internal skills. A few have done it and are getting very good results from it.

jonreading 09-30-2013 09:10 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Yes, I believe aiki is real and reproduce-able. I think the origins of aikido contained aiki exercises that have been revised and diminished in their fertility to produce aiki. I think here in the States there are several instructors who possess aiki and a willingness to share it. Most of these people are in various stages of sophistication in the dissemination of what they know and I am excited to see what they will be doing in 5 years.

As the foundation of my beliefs above, I see this largely as an argument of dissemination methodology and a comparison of success as it relates to creating a succession of reproduce-able skills.

For Westerners, I think the Eastern neo-traditional style of dissemination is perceived as unsuccessful. I think this perception is largely based upon the duration of the "learning curve", which is many years under good tutelage and can be decades (if ever). That don't fly around here. From that perspective, Eastern-style (steal the technique) dissemination in the West struggles to produce students simply by attrition. Unless you start aikido at <30, you will likely die before you reach a point of self-proclaimed efficiency.

For me, I respond to study and Western education more than the Eastern style of kata and practice. I respect the tradition of dissemination, but I am looking to shorten the learning curve and retain as much of the budo as possible. But I got a (w/l)ife, kids and a job; aikido sits priority 3 or 4 tops right now and I need something less than 30 years of training. In this effort, I am looking to instructors who I respect and asking for help - I have yet to be told no. From that pro-action, I am trying to shut up and listen. This has turned into a bastardized style of inheritance; as I like to say, a buffet-style of picking out what I think is relevant. The danger here is to keep that inheritance for damaging curriculum, which is a real problem.

I think there are aikido people who several years ago reached out to sister arts to recover some of the fertility of aiki training in aikido. These people are now in the process of re-invigorating their instruction and I have yet to me one who has been resistant to sharing their experience. I think there are people in sister arts who have reached out to aikido to share their experience. The only people that have expressed prejudice and close-mindedness throughout my experience are in aikido.

Shameless plugs here, but Aikido South is going to have George Ledyard in December and Dan Harden in January. Come down and grab these guys. They are open, honest, concise and composed. I think understanding what is going (with these guys) on is a great perspective from which to craft constructive criticism.

Cliff Judge 09-30-2013 02:13 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
I think Aiki refers to a state wherein a person moves in accord with the ki of the universe. You do without doing, move without moving, you have no form, and technique spontaneously happens, exactly appropriate to circumstances.

The mind does not conflict with anything, it just touches the universe at the surface, allowing no space in between but not pressing into or clashing. And the body is perfectly in sync with the mind.

Bernd Lehnen 09-30-2013 02:34 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote: (Post 330330)
A lot of the aikido teachers who do "interesting stuff" but can't explain it, learned by hands-on transmission... by "feel." Many old traditions in Asia were, and still are, taught this way. Very little descriptive terminology or systemic training, and mainly the teacher letting the student feel and eventually imitate, and inculcate, through touch.

So, it's not surprising that individuals with these skills don't know how to explain or describe what they are doing. I have had this experience as well. It takes integration between Eastern and Western teaching methods to arrive at a system that methodically teaches internal skills. A few have done it and are getting very good results from it.

That's so true.

I would have liked to meet Dan for the first time on a seminar earlier this summer here in Germany. Due to unforeseen snags arising, the event had to be cancelled. Luckily, I was able to meet one of his (not so longtime) students. We played a little bit around and he repeatedly stressed that all he could show me was only a pale shadow of Dan's abilities. But nevertheless, since I have felt this student I'm quite convinced that Dan has excellent methodology and teaching ability.
So my conclusion, there are (and will be) also people, who can teach and explain this stuff in an all out systematic way.

Best,
Bernd

OwlMatt 09-30-2013 03:09 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Aiki is one of those things I try not to think about too much. It is clear that even in one educational generation, Takeda to Ueshiba, there is a great change in how the term is used and what the term is supposed to encompass. It's also pretty clear that Ueshiba expressed and talked about aiki in different ways throughout his career. What this means is that there are a whole lot of different ideas out there about what aiki is, and I think it would be a pretty presumptuous and largely fruitless endeavor for me to try to decide which one is "right".

I'd much rather spend my time trying to figure out what good aikido is; that's nebulous enough without trying to grab hold of a concept so broad and so varied in interpretation as aiki.

Chris Li 09-30-2013 03:19 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330349)
Aiki is one of those things I try not to think about too much. It is clear that even in one educational generation, Takeda to Ueshiba, there is a great change in how the term is used and what the term is supposed to encompass. It's also pretty clear that Ueshiba expressed and talked about aiki in different ways throughout his career. What this means is that there are a whole lot of different ideas out there about what aiki is, and I think it would be a pretty presumptuous and largely fruitless endeavor for me to try to decide which one is "right".

I'd much rather spend my time trying to figure out what good aikido is; that's nebulous enough without trying to grab hold of a concept so broad and so varied in interpretation as aiki.

Most of the change in how the term is used came from Kisshomaru, rather than Morihei. If you look at what Morihei actually said it's not incompatible or even inconsistent with what comes from Takeda via the Daito-ryu lineages, and it doesn't really change from 1933 to the late 1960's, although it's clear that he gives various methods of explanation.

I'm curious as to how one can figure out what good "Aikido" is without the "Aiki", wouldn't that just leave "do"? :D

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield 09-30-2013 03:57 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 330351)

I'm curious as to how one can figure out what good "Aikido" is without the "Aiki", wouldn't that just leave "do"? :D

D'oh!

:D

Rupert Atkinson 09-30-2013 04:58 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330349)
Aiki is one of those things I try not to think about too much. ... What this means is that there are a whole lot of different ideas out there about what aiki is, and I think it would be a pretty presumptuous and largely fruitless endeavor for me to try to decide which one is "right".

I'd much rather spend my time trying to figure out what good aikido is; that's nebulous enough without trying to grab hold of a concept so broad and so varied in interpretation as aiki.

I would say, you need to think about it. Or rather, find those who have thought about it and go seek them out, because then you might begin to find what you seek. If you do Aikido, it is your main task to seek aiki, in my opinion.

bkedelen 09-30-2013 05:17 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Although this is a very nice echo chamber you guys have going, I'm not sure that the false dichotomy of the original post is something that will catalyze a real discussion on the topic. It is somewhat dishonest to inquire, "have you had the same experiences as me OR are you just training and hoping one day it will happen"?

Do you really want to have a discussion about the different groups out there developing usable skills through Aikido, Daito Ryu, and other esoteric jujutsu, or do you just want to circlejerk for a while longer about how you have already got an exclusive lock on the bona fide goods and everyone else is just grinding their gears?

Cady Goldfield 09-30-2013 07:24 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Maybe there really is a specific definition of aiki, as Takeda taught to Ueshiba, but because of all of the schizms that have rendered aikido and Daito-ryu into myriad split-offs with varying degrees of that aiki, or none of it, other interpretations have arisen to fill the vacuum where it is lacking.

Rupert Atkinson 09-30-2013 07:55 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote: (Post 330362)
Maybe there really is a specific definition of aiki, as Takeda taught to Ueshiba, but because of all of the schizms that have rendered aikido and Daito-ryu into myriad split-offs with varying degrees of that aiki, or none of it, other interpretations have arisen to fill the vacuum where it is lacking.

I like that thinking. Need to be positive, and logical.

mathewjgano 09-30-2013 08:15 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330358)
If you do Aikido, it is your main task to seek aiki, in my opinion.

I disagree...at least, I think that is more true for the "serious" Aikido student. I don't think people have to be looking for aiki above all other things to do Aikido...or at least, that should vary perhaps dojo to dojo.

Is the main task of Chado to make the best possible cup of tea very quickly? Or is it more of an experiential process of being mindful? I think Aikido is, in general, more about the process than the acquisition of aiki.

Chris Li 09-30-2013 08:21 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 330364)
I disagree...at least, I think that is more true for the "serious" Aikido student. I don't think people have to be looking for aiki above all other things to do Aikido.

Sure, there are people who train for health, or social companionship, or whatever - and that's fine, if it fulfills your goals.

OTOH, if you're interested in investigating Aikido itself (as in "figuring out good Aikido") then I would think that it's hard to get around the necessity to investigate Aiki.

Best,

Chris

mathewjgano 09-30-2013 09:29 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 330365)
...I would think that it's hard to get around the necessity to investigate Aiki.

Certainly. My only point is I don't think it has to be the "main task," for "doing Aikido." I hope I didn't come across as suggesting anyone shouldn't investigate aiki. I'd recommend it to the most apathetic hobbyist, let alone anyone wanting to approach some level of mastery.

Gary David 09-30-2013 10:00 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 330366)
Certainly. My only point is I don't think it has to be the "main task," for "doing Aikido." I hope I didn't come across as suggesting anyone shouldn't investigate aiki. I'd recommend it to the most apathetic hobbyist, let alone anyone wanting to approach some level of mastery.

Matt Using an analogy I have held for a long time....Aikido is like a building with lots of floors with lots of rooms...taking the elevator that arises out of curiosity and a need to know, one can get off at any one of many floors.....though I think that some floors are not available without a working knowledge of the floor below them.

I think there is plenty to be learned on first few floors of the Aikido building, with some traces, some touches of Aiki part of the mix. To me real Aiki is in the floors above where access is limited by willingness of the individual to spent the time searching for the doors, willingness to spent a long time training, be willing to step back out of dead ends, figuring out who to trust, and some luck.

Having said all of this......do I know anything.....not likely, but I know it is out there while recognizing I may never get it.

Gary

OwlMatt 10-01-2013 12:23 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 330351)
Most of the change in how the term is used came from Kisshomaru, rather than Morihei. If you look at what Morihei actually said it's not incompatible or even inconsistent with what comes from Takeda via the Daito-ryu lineages, and it doesn't really change from 1933 to the late 1960's, although it's clear that he gives various methods of explanation.

Everything I see in a brief investigation of Daito is that aiki in the Daito context is a physical and martial principle. I think it's pretty clear that Ueshiba wanted to stretch aiki beyond those boundaries.
Quote:

I'm curious as to how one can figure out what good "Aikido" is without the "Aiki", wouldn't that just leave "do"? :D

Best,

Chris
To hear Ueshiba tell it, the word aikido is just an arbitrary name that someone from the Ministry of Education came up with for Ueshiba's martial art. Ueshiba did not create the word as a guide for us to follow; he accepted the word because his art needed a name. We need to define the word according to our practice of the art, not try to make our practice of the art fit the word. I think it's putting the cart before the horse to look into the word aikido and break it down into its etymological parts, and then try to make our art fit those parts, as you seem to be suggesting.
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 330365)
Sure, there are people who train for health, or social companionship, or whatever - and that's fine, if it fulfills your goals.

OTOH, if you're interested in investigating Aikido itself (as in "figuring out good Aikido") then I would think that it's hard to get around the necessity to investigate Aiki.

Best,

Chris

What is this "Aiki" and how do I "investigate" it? Is there more to this investigation than aikido training?

Stephen Nichol 10-01-2013 12:29 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330295)
I think Aikido to be The Way of Aiki. Can we have a discussion about aiki without mentioning ki I wonder? I think aiki is a learnable skill. The minute someone starts talking about ki, harmony, and the meaning of the universe, practical learning is lost.

If you don't think that Aikido is the Way of Aiki, they try to explain why not.

I think it is one of the ways of learning 'Aiki' and that it is supposed to be 'the way' as understood by M. Ueshiba as he was developing 'his martial art' as derived from what he learned from Takeda. To be clear, I think Ueshiba thought his 'way' would be a good way for others to learn about 'Aiki', perhaps not 'how to do it' but 'hey, this stuff is really powerful and I will show you, but it is up to you to learn/steal etc..' We know Ueshiba did not coin the name Aikido himself however thought it fit once it became used and so adopted it rather happily.

Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330295)
Just what is it we are supposed to be learning? Not the techniques, methinks. The techniques are the means to learn aiki. The various schools of Jujutsu (even Judo) have aiki-like katas or movements taught to seniors. I think Ueshiba took those ideas and created Aikido, and the techniques we have are meant to develop aiki, not become techniques unto themselves (as they seem to have become). I also think that if you understand aiki, you can put it into any technique - Judo, Jujutsu, or of course, your standard Aikido 'waza'.

I agree. It is not the techniques within themselves.

Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330295)
Anyway, few people out there are looking for aiki, or seeking ways to develop it. Most are just concerned with which way to do this or that 'waza', where to put the feet and how to twist uke this way or that, and what they need for the next grading, and so on. I was like that too for my first 20, yes TWENTY, years of training so I kind of understand 'the problem'. Can you understand this problem? Or do you think I am wrong - or that there is no problem?

I believe that techniques are expressions to demonstrate 'Aiki' when it is being performed correctly.
I would like to believe that as long as one understands the principle above and that they know what they are supposed to be developing within themselves, internally.. then perhaps it is possible to reverse engineer the techniques sort of speak, break them down to their very essence and develop 'Aiki' from that which can the be free of the technique/kata and be expressed any way it is needed, spontaneously and free from form/kata and applied to any style/art as one desires.

So even if you spent 20 years perhaps not quite on the path you now understand to 'exist', you can still draw from your understanding and experience and intelligently begin researching and investigating what you have been doing all this time and find that essence.

Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330295)
Kungfu has pushing hands etc., Systema has many interesting exercises, Aunkai too, and so on. Besides waza, what does Aikido have that helps us develop aiki? Or must people search beyond Aikido?

I would say that it really depends on your Aikido teachers. Some of us are fortunate or just plain lucky to have found a teacher that without knowing about CMA and IS/IP from the internet or any other source, can demonstrate some skill in it and teach how to replicate what they do in great detail. I will concede however that most likely the 'Aiki' abilities like those of Dan and his students not what is being demonstrated/taught or learned even if the teacher has some of it, by the general group of 'Aikidoka' out there. Ignorance is bliss sometimes... however I for one really want to get my hands on Dan or at the very very least, one of his higher level students, and find out how close my teachers 'way' is to that of Dan's so that I can rest easier in my training.

Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 330295)
So ... aiki.
What is it?
Have you felt it?
Can you do something you think might be aiki?
Do you have the means to develop it?
Are you searching, or remain just content to be 'told'?
Have you sussed anything interesting?
Have you discerned any interesting principles that you can apply across a range of waza?
Can you move people that resist?
Can you take people's balance with subtle craft?
Or ... are you just training and hoping one day ... It'll just happen?

What is it? - I think my beliefs and feelings are pretty clear. It's the ability to absorb and nullify incoming force(s) and redirect them if desired to accomplish whatever outcome you wish.

Have you felt it? - I cannot be certain. There are times when I think I have and then I have to be honest and say by basis for comparison is pretty limited at this stage. Hence why I want to go meet Dan and train with him to find out if the path I am on is hopefully somewhat parallel and not going in the other direction.

Can you do something you think might be aiki? Well, if only at the most basic level, perhaps.

Do you have the means to develop it? If my teachers abilities are anything like Dan demonstrates when with others, then perhaps as she teaches a very details method of body movement that works in some degree to what I read about on here. Not everything to be sure.. but there is enough of it that I am hopeful.

Are you searching, or remain just content to be 'told'? Actively searching. Really wanted to get to Hawaii in July but things just could not line themselves up in a way that would allow it to be conducive to future/current events that need(ed) to happen. Perhaps in 2014 at some point, even if I have to fly all the way the US and spend as much time as I can afford...

Have you sussed anything interesting? - As I said, I have teachers here that can all demonstrate Aikido that is devoid of 'muscle' in the their movement and 'waza' but I have not seen any of them demonstrate the standing relaxed being pushed on at the chest shoulders as an example of not being moveable/throwable etc.

Have you discerned any interesting principles that you can apply across a range of waza? - Honestly I can not say for certain.

[b]Can you move people that resist?[/u] - Yes. From static but with intent or ability to 'move' me if I do not move myself correctly through to moving attacks that are committed but not off balance/over committed and if I move incorrectly I actually create the resistance in them, they do not have to do it themselves... does that make sense to anyone?

Can you take people's balance with subtle craft? - Sometimes yes. I understand to a limited degree what I need/should be doing with myself to do this but I cannot do it consistently and in all 'waza'. Some techniques it comes easier than others for me.

Or ... are you just training and hoping one day ... It'll just happen? - Both actually. I feel my training is giving me results that make it worth continuing. I still really want that comparison of getting my hands on Dan for an understanding of what many respected instructors on here seem to vouch for him on his abilities. Twice I have attend Gleason Sensei's seminars here in Australia and at the end of the second one I mentioned my intention to him about getting to Hawaii in July and he said I should do it and that Dan was the most powerful martial artist he had ever met.

Yes, this 'stuff', whatever you want to call it is the most important thing to me in my training. My Sensei knows about it because I and others in my dojo talk about 'it' and Dan and the testimonials by others of the demonstrations he has done. My own Sensei is encouraging me to go and learn as much as I can from him so I can 'finally rest' my need to know if the paths are parallel and to bring what I can to everyone else in the dojo who is interested in developing it.

I actually hope to learn what I can from Dan at some point and practice it daily and pass it along to my Sensei so it can become just part of what we teach everyone so they come to understand it as just a regular part of their Aikido class.

Also: Why is Dan no longer posting here? When did that happen and how did I miss it? There was so many little nuggets of gold/aiki to be mined from his posts. Hours of reading and then when training with others moments of 'ah hah!' Anyway.. Why no more Dan posts?

Chris Li 10-01-2013 01:51 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330375)
Everything I see in a brief investigation of Daito is that aiki in the Daito context is a physical and martial principle. I think it's pretty clear that Ueshiba wanted to stretch aiki beyond those boundaries.

Certainly, but that doesn't mean that his streched definition was incompatible with the technical definitions of Daito-ryu. For Ueshiba they were not two distinct things, but one seamless whole. In fact, I would argue that it is impossible to sever one from the other without the result becoming something different from Ueshiba's Aiki, and that he said as much himself. But that's a longer discussion that I'll put together at some point, perhaps.

Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330375)
To hear Ueshiba tell it, the word aikido is just an arbitrary name that someone from the Ministry of Education came up with for Ueshiba's martial art. Ueshiba did not create the word as a guide for us to follow; he accepted the word because his art needed a name. We need to define the word according to our practice of the art, not try to make our practice of the art fit the word. I think it's putting the cart before the horse to look into the word aikido and break it down into its etymological parts, and then try to make our art fit those parts, as you seem to be suggesting.

The Ministry of Education story is, unfortunately, not true, even though it was one that came straight out of Ueshiba's own mouth. In any case, a quick read through "Take Musu Aiki" leaves little doubt as to his opinion on the importance of the word "Aiki".

Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330375)
What is this "Aiki" and how do I "investigate" it? Is there more to this investigation than aikido training?

There could be, or not, YMMV. :D I suspect that most people already know my opinions on how to investigate it...

Best,

Chris

mathewjgano 10-01-2013 01:57 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Gary Welborn wrote: (Post 330367)
Matt Using an analogy I have held for a long time....Aikido is like a building with lots of floors with lots of rooms...taking the elevator that arises out of curiosity and a need to know, one can get off at any one of many floors.....though I think that some floors are not available without a working knowledge of the floor below them.

I think there is plenty to be learned on first few floors of the Aikido building, with some traces, some touches of Aiki part of the mix. To me real Aiki is in the floors above where access is limited by willingness of the individual to spent the time searching for the doors, willingness to spent a long time training, be willing to step back out of dead ends, figuring out who to trust, and some luck.

Having said all of this......do I know anything.....not likely, but I know it is out there while recognizing I may never get it.

Gary

I like that a lot! Thank you, Gary! ...I imagine, too, the higher floor buttons in that elevator wouldn't be so obvious to the eye.

PaulF 10-01-2013 03:39 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Walk around long enough in the mist you'll get wet

Fall in the river you'll get really wet really quick, but maybe a bit muddy as well and it helps to be able to swim

;)

Bernd Lehnen 10-01-2013 05:29 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Gary Welborn wrote: (Post 330367)
Aikido is like a building with lots of floors with lots of rooms...taking the elevator that arises out of curiosity and a need to know, one can get off at any one of many floors.....though I think that some floors are not available without a working knowledge of the floor below them.

I think there is plenty to be learned on first few floors of the Aikido building, with some traces, some touches of Aiki part of the mix. To me real Aiki is in the floors above where access is limited by willingness of the individual to spent the time searching for the doors, willingness to spent a long time training, be willing to step back out of dead ends, figuring out who to trust, and some luck.

Having said all of this......do I know anything.....not likely, but I know it is out there while recognizing I may never get it.

Gary

Hi Gary,
the problem may be that you (like so many of us) prefer the higher floors instead of going down into the basement, looking for the basics. :)

Best,
Bernd

OwlMatt 10-01-2013 08:28 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 330377)
There could be, or not, YMMV. :D I suspect that most people already know my opinions on how to investigate it...

Best,

Chris

I confess that I do not.

My feeling has always been that if a martial art purports to be built on principles, then those principles should be readily accessible in the actual physical practice of the art.

Back when I did taekwondo, my taekwondo instructor would end every class by having us recite the "tenets of taekwondo": courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. I always thought it was silly -- not that the tenets are silly things, but that it's silly to believe they are more connected to the practice of taekwondo than they are to anything else. Punching and kicking does not make us more courteous and courtesy does not make us any better at punching and kicking. The "tenets of taekwondo" are little more than an arbitrary and artificial attachment to an activity that has little to do with them.

By contrast, one of the things that appeals to me about aikido is how the principles on which it was founded are evident in the actual training. When Ueshiba talks about "the principle of non-resistance", he doesn't just mean something abstract to be meditated on; the principle of non-resistance is right there in our waza. Non-resistance is how aikido physically works.

If aiki is essential to our aikido, then (a) we should be able to explain what it is, and (b) we should be able to find it on the mat without any extracurricular investigating. I think that if we have to look outside aikido to find it, then it was never a part of aikido in the first place.

Cady Goldfield 10-01-2013 08:46 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330385)

If aiki is essential to our aikido, then (a) we should be able to explain what it is, and (b) we should be able to find it on the mat without any extracurricular investigating. I think that if we have to look outside aikido to find it, then it was never a part of aikido in the first place.

It would be nice if that were so, but just like any other discipline, not every school and not every teacher is equal. And, aiki has been explained (here on AikiWeb). It's not a mysterious thing, only something that has been either kept a "secret" by some, incompletely learned and/or transmitted by others, or intentionally removed from a system in order to make it more easily taught and disseminated en masse.

If you lived in a country where baseball was introduced, but without the bat (let's say that the guy who brought it back from America decided the bat would be too difficult to manufacture), I suppose you would think that a bat was never part of baseball in the first place. And you probably would invent padded gloves for your hitting hand to protect it from 90 mph baseball impact, to make up for the absence of the bat (which was never a part of baseball...)

Gary David 10-01-2013 09:26 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Bernd Lehnen wrote: (Post 330381)
Hi Gary,
the problem may be that you (like so many of us) prefer the higher floors instead of going down into the basement, looking for the basics. :)

Best,
Bernd

Bernd
You may be right.....though I would say about myself I think I have a fair amount of foundation and have spent a reasonable amount of time with the basics having trained in Aikido since 1974. Much of what I pursue now is how to help my 71 year old body function in a world full of younger bodies where for me basics without Aiki no longer stand up. Everyone has to seek their own path.....mine is upward, not back into the basement.

Gary

phitruong 10-01-2013 09:53 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Gary Welborn wrote: (Post 330367)
Matt Using an analogy I have held for a long time....Aikido is like a building with lots of floors with lots of rooms...taking the elevator that arises out of curiosity and a need to know, one can get off at any one of many floors.....though I think that some floors are not available without a working knowledge of the floor below them.
Gary

you know some elevators in the U.S. have no 13th floor. i think that's where all the aiki went. now that i mentioned it, i need to stock up on candies. i am thinking of going as superman this year. wonder if the keg around the gut would still make me look good in tights. :)

Chris Li 10-01-2013 10:25 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330385)
I confess that I do not.

My feeling has always been that if a martial art purports to be built on principles, then those principles should be readily accessible in the actual physical practice of the art.

Yes - and they are, but nothing this difficult is easily accessible. People's abilities vary - and more importantly, their ability to transmit their own skills vary. There have been a number of discussions about why this is especially true for Aikido, but I'm not going to go into them now.

Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330385)
By contrast, one of the things that appeals to me about aikido is how the principles on which it was founded are evident in the actual training. When Ueshiba talks about "the principle of non-resistance", he doesn't just mean something abstract to be meditated on; the principle of non-resistance is right there in our waza. Non-resistance is how aikido physically works.

It is, but I have a hunch that my explanation for that would be different than yours.

Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 330385)
If aiki is essential to our aikido, then (a) we should be able to explain what it is, and (b) we should be able to find it on the mat without any extracurricular investigating. I think that if we have to look outside aikido to find it, then it was never a part of aikido in the first place.

That assumes that everybody who's teaching Aikido knows what they're doing (they don't - but that's true in any art), that everybody who's teaching Aikido was able to understand fully what Ueshiba was doing (they didn't - by their own admission), and that everybody who learned something of what Ueshiba was doing is able to explain and transmit what they were doing - and I think that there are a large number of people who feel that they weren't.

Morihei Ueshiba encouraged his students to go and experiment with other arts - as he himself did. It boggles my mind to see people today encouraging the exact opposite.

Best,

Chris

Alex Megann 10-01-2013 10:37 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote: (Post 330386)
If you lived in a country where baseball was introduced, but without the bat (let's say that the guy who brought it back from America decided the bat would be too difficult to manufacture), I suppose you would think that a bat was never part of baseball in the first place. And you probably would invent padded gloves for your hitting hand to protect it from 90 mph baseball impact, to make up for the absence of the bat (which was never a part of baseball...)

Completely off-topic, but this is starting to sound like the game of Fives, played in some British private schools:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_HhARbcw7g

Alex

OwlMatt 10-01-2013 11:48 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 330394)
Yes - and they are, but nothing this difficult is easily accessible. People's abilities vary - and more importantly, their ability to transmit their own skills vary. There have been a number of discussions about why this is especially true for Aikido, but I'm not going to go into them now.

Of course, we must allow for the obvious truth that not all aikido is good aikido, and not all aikido transmits what it is intended to transmit.

Quote:

It is, but I have a hunch that my explanation for that would be different than yours.
Probably, but we seem to agree here, so let's not push it.

Quote:

That assumes that everybody who's teaching Aikido knows what they're doing (they don't - but that's true in any art), that everybody who's teaching Aikido was able to understand fully what Ueshiba was doing (they didn't - by their own admission), and that everybody who learned something of what Ueshiba was doing is able to explain and transmit what they were doing - and I think that there are a large number of people who feel that they weren't.
I think this is more of what we were talking about above.

Quote:

Morihei Ueshiba encouraged his students to go and experiment with other arts - as he himself did. It boggles my mind to see people today encouraging the exact opposite.

Best,

Chris
I have no problem with cross-training.

jonreading 10-01-2013 11:55 AM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Benjamin Edelen wrote: (Post 330359)
Although this is a very nice echo chamber you guys have going, I'm not sure that the false dichotomy of the original post is something that will catalyze a real discussion on the topic. It is somewhat dishonest to inquire, "have you had the same experiences as me OR are you just training and hoping one day it will happen"?

Do you really want to have a discussion about the different groups out there developing usable skills through Aikido, Daito Ryu, and other esoteric jujutsu, or do you just want to circlejerk for a while longer about how you have already got an exclusive lock on the bona fide goods and everyone else is just grinding their gears?

Ummm..The internal people do a lot of weird exercises - I am not sure if that is one of them...

I still have yet to hear a serious instructor working with IP/AIKI exclude anyone from their training. I think there are fair criticisms about internal training, I think the argument of exclusion is not one of them. You can choose not to participate, but that is different from being excluded.

Some of this stuff boils down to preference. In another thread, I had a dialogue with Cliff about the preference of translations. I think aiki is a large topic and some aikido people have a smaller perspective with which they are content to accept as the entirety of their perspective. That does not mean their perspective is wrong, but it implies their preference is not the limit of the topic.

I enjoy math. I am quite content to limit my exposure to math in my daily. I am sure quadranomials are nice - but I have no desire to make them part of my life. My preference is neither a criticism of my enjoyment for math, nor my opinion of quadranomials. It is simply a limit of my experience.

Matthew touched on this... Not everyone training shares the same preferences or expectations of success. I think we can respect those differences as long as we honestly assess the scope of those differences. I have no doubt there are many people practicing aikido who honestly could care less about aiki. I think there are many people who could care less about kata. I think their are many people who could care less about ranking. I think the thread is more about sharing our preference and exploring the scope that preference establishes.

I think you have a VoE expressing his preference in training and soliciting others to express theirs. I think he would be quite open to listening to your training experience and reasoning behind your preferences.

I have been shot in the ass lucky. ASU is a great organization to explore internal training. We have support from our shihan and leading instructors, several of whom are exploring this stuff with great success. We happen to be close to Sensei in Florida, we have some great instructors down here that are willing to share/beat up us. We have great relationships with others who are working on this stuff. All of these factors shaped my preference to explore IP/Aiki. None of that is a criticism against aikido here in Atlanta, predominantly USAF. It is simply an expression of mine/our dojo's preference to give this stuff a shot. I reserve the right to judge after a period of evaluation.

phitruong 10-01-2013 12:48 PM

Re: The Way of Aiki
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 330399)
I still have yet to hear a serious instructor working with IP/AIKI exclude anyone from their training. I think there are fair criticisms about internal training, I think the argument of exclusion is not one of them. You can choose not to participate, but that is different from being excluded.

hey, i excluded people! of course i am not a serious instructor or serious of any kind so that should be ok, right? i excluded people who has no sense of humor, taking themselves too seriously, jerks, aliens (especially the ones from Uranus), and some guy goes by the name of jon reading. :D

Quote:

I have been shot in the ass lucky. ASU is a great organization to explore internal training. We have support from our shihan and leading instructors, several of whom are exploring this stuff with great success.
i thought the same thing. i couldn't be in an organization that won't explore. that would just drive me nuts.


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