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-   -   Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23707)

aikijean 07-02-2014 02:40 PM

Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
In a another thread somebody talked about demonstrating aiki on a uke. Is it the same thing than demonstrating aikido on a uke ?
And if it is not the same, can somebody explain the difference to me ?

PeterR 07-02-2014 02:56 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Did we train together about 20 years ago - name is familiar.

Some people say you can apply aiki to all aikido techniques to make them more effective but I would say that the majority of techniques we study under the aikido umbrella are just jujutsu techniques. Those that use aiki in their execution are just a sub-set and more to the point one can only see/feel aiki when two forces (tori/uke) come together.

I would have great trouble demonstrating what aiki is.

JP3 07-02-2014 07:29 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I would say that one could demonstrate aiki in almost all aikido techniques... but it usually isn't.

aikijean 07-03-2014 11:29 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
To Peter

Yes, we know each other from the days you were a aikido teacher at Cegep de Limoilou in Québec City.I have practice a couple of times at your dojo and you came at our dojo if I remember correctly to teach a class. Our "styles" were different but we manage to learn from each other.

Your answer at my question is about the same way I think.

hughrbeyer 07-03-2014 11:31 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I disagree with Peter. I think one of the things O-Sensei did in creating Aikido was to eliminate a bunch of techniques and refine others so they all became vehicles for practicing and expressing aiki. Since this skill was passed on to the next generation only very spottily, much of what we see in Aikido has devolved back to jujitsu.

As to what aiki is, that's a big debate. For me, and I think my perspective is similar to that in the post referenced by the OP, aiki is the joining of the two kis of yin and yang at the point of contact to eliminate conflict. As O-Sensei said when asked by his students why they couldn't do what he did, "It's because you do not understand yin and yang."

aikijean 07-03-2014 12:23 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I don't want to put gaz on the fire but according to the "IP guys" the aikido that I do for a long time now is not really aikido because I don't have the aikibody, the body that O'Sensei had when he was doing his thing.Is respecting the basics principles enough that I can call what I do aikido ?Is it just jujutsu with love ?
I will probably never put my hands on a person who is using or teaching the famous body, so there is my questioning about demonstrating aiki or aikido on a uke.

hughrbeyer 07-03-2014 12:34 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Who are you asking? And why?

If you're asking me, and there's no particular reason why you should care what I think, if you're learning Aikido from an Aikido teacher whose lineage goes back to O-Sensei in some fashion, you're doing Aikido. Your challenge is to make your Aikido as good as it can be. To do that, regardless of who your teacher is, there's a lot of value to getting out and practicing with a bunch of different people from different lineages.

Chris Li 07-03-2014 12:50 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jean Hardy wrote: (Post 338001)
I don't want to put gaz on the fire but according to the "IP guys" the aikido that I do for a long time now is not really aikido because I don't have the aikibody, the body that O'Sensei had when he was doing his thing.Is respecting the basics principles enough that I can call what I do aikido ?Is it just jujutsu with love ?
I will probably never put my hands on a person who is using or teaching the famous body, so there is my questioning about demonstrating aiki or aikido on a uke.

My anwser would be similar to Hugh's. "AIkido" means a lot of things these days - there are probably things that you're not doing, and will never do, unless you meet people who can teach them to you. The same would hold true for me, FWIW. What you have to decide is what's important to you and what you want to do.

Best,

Chris

PeterR 07-03-2014 02:47 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jean Hardy wrote: (Post 337996)
To Peter

Yes, we know each other from the days you were a aikido teacher at Cegep de Limoilou in Québec City.I have practice a couple of times at your dojo and you came at our dojo if I remember correctly to teach a class. Our "styles" were different but we manage to learn from each other.

Your answer at my question is about the same way I think.

Yes I remember - Quebec city had some good groups. That was quite awhile ago so forgive me if my memory for names was a little unsure.

jonreading 07-08-2014 11:48 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I may have been that guy...

One of the things causing me grief these days is the inconsistent ability to "do" aikido. I have broken down things to try to better understand where the "doing" part happens. In that respect, I have consolidated around the concept of "expressing/demonstrating aiki" and demonstrating a practical application of aiki, "demonstrating aikido." Essentially, I am just talking about technique done with aiki. But, I believe that aiki is real and been shown, which is not what everyone else thinks. I also believe many of us are not actually using aiki in our technique.

We can demonstrate aiki without framing that demonstration in a practical application (aikido). The most common demonstration I can think of is a push test. Or a pull test. The old guys did these a lot when they shared aikido with other arts. Pushing heads, jos, arms, etc. Mochizuki did these alot with judo players and there is a good clip of Sunadomari doing it in his friendship demo. Tohei, O Sensei, Shioda. They all did demonstrations that had these types of elements. I believe these sihan were showing aiki without the facade of technique to hide what they were doing.

The point that I was getting at was that we (aikido people) should be able to show someone "aiki" in a variety of different ways so spectators could see aikido without risk of injury. My unspoken comment was that maybe we don't understand aiki as well as we think if we only have a limited manner in which we can share what we do. Any jujutsu girl can show you an armbar and hurt you in the process - how do we separate ourselves if we cannot show aikido without hurting someone?

When we demonstrate aikido, we pick a collection of techniques in which we excel in expressing aiki and we present those techniques as an example of what aikido can do. But, I think sometimes we use kata to mask the lack of aiki. If I do good jujutsu kata, how is that dissimilar from good aikido kata? Hopefully, not much different. If I know someone will fall down from good jujutsu, who is to say my demonstration is not just good jujutsu? It has to be felt. Back to the practical idea of demonstrating aiki on someone with technique... How can we just pull someone out of the crowd to feel it if we are going to hurt them?

Oddly, I started thinking about this several years ago when our shihan, Saotome sensei, stopped teaching kata. Most of his seminars now are aiki "tricks." the centipede ukes, no touch throws, push throws... I think he felt that "kata" was getting in the way of "aiki". While I don't have the newest ASU handbook, I am pretty sure "centipede nage waza" is not part of the curriculum on which we test. I believe sensei is trying to show us the real motor that drives his techniques.

I think our collection of techniques were created for a common theme - the practical application of aiki. When you have the aikibody, the themes tend to constantly exist throughout movement. Is it different than modern aikido? Yes. But not everyone wants that. I also talked about aikido's tent size - there is a lot of variation in aikido and each one has some value to those who practice it.

Rupert Atkinson 07-08-2014 05:22 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 338087)
I may have been that guy...

One of the things causing me grief these days is the inconsistent ability to "do" aikido. I have broken down things to try to better understand where the "doing" part happens. In that respect, I have consolidated around the concept of "expressing/demonstrating aiki" and demonstrating a practical application of aiki, "demonstrating aikido." Essentially, I am just talking about technique done with aiki. But, I believe that aiki is real and been shown, which is not what everyone else thinks. I also believe many of us are not actually using aiki in our technique.

I agree. But I think kata is still important to learn basic shapes - even for high grades. The shapes we have - the katas if you like - are like a library. We go in there, take a look, pull something out, and practice it. But too much kata takes you further from aiki, not closer. The better you get at kata, the more rigid you become, especially if you beleive it HAS to be done THIS way and ONLY this way. But we still need to maintain connection to kata as who is to say we are right anyway. And, in my opinion, if we teach, we should not immediately start teaching the aiki-ness before they learn the kata, or instead of the kata. But that is what many do. I say - Kata first, then add aiki. You can`t add aiki to bad technique.

We need to constantly review the source - kata - and then put aiki into those kata to - give them life. The takemusu of it, to me, is the escape from kata. Some people seem to think takemusu is randori or jyuu-waza. Not me. Takemusu for me is adding life to dead kata, in a kind of random, yet, predictable way. It is what mainstream Aikikai Aikido is. This is the main difference beween say, Aikido and Daito Ryu (totally fixed kata). Going back to randori or jyu-waza - most that I see just seems to be kata performed in a random way, like in a dfferent order.

Any way: Learn the kata/shapes/waza, do some aiki exercises, then add what you `feel` to one of your waza and experiment.

jonreading 07-09-2014 11:00 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 338088)
I agree. But I think kata is still important to learn basic shapes - even for high grades. The shapes we have - the katas if you like - are like a library. We go in there, take a look, pull something out, and practice it. But too much kata takes you further from aiki, not closer. The better you get at kata, the more rigid you become, especially if you beleive it HAS to be done THIS way and ONLY this way. But we still need to maintain connection to kata as who is to say we are right anyway. And, in my opinion, if we teach, we should not immediately start teaching the aiki-ness before they learn the kata, or instead of the kata. But that is what many do. I say - Kata first, then add aiki. You can`t add aiki to bad technique.

We need to constantly review the source - kata - and then put aiki into those kata to - give them life. The takemusu of it, to me, is the escape from kata. Some people seem to think takemusu is randori or jyuu-waza. Not me. Takemusu for me is adding life to dead kata, in a kind of random, yet, predictable way. It is what mainstream Aikikai Aikido is. This is the main difference beween say, Aikido and Daito Ryu (totally fixed kata). Going back to randori or jyu-waza - most that I see just seems to be kata performed in a random way, like in a dfferent order.

Any way: Learn the kata/shapes/waza, do some aiki exercises, then add what you `feel` to one of your waza and experiment.

Yes, I am definitely in the camp of "you need a vessel in which to pour water." I think this is complicated because I am currently of the mind that some of the aikido curriculum has been distorted over the years as external "fixes" have been applied to the gaps created by not practicing internal training. While not wanting to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I think it fair to be cautious evaluating the kata to make sure it is what we should be doing (in order to prevent un-learning it later).

Janet Rosen 07-09-2014 01:22 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 338088)
And, in my opinion, if we teach, we should not immediately start teaching the aiki-ness before they learn the kata, or instead of the kata. But that is what many do. I say - Kata first, then add aiki. You can`t add aiki to bad technique.
.

I actually think that they can and should be taught simultaneously. As we do where I train with the Tohei Sensei ki warmups that mimic the form of the kata movements (and that can also be used as solo training if one figures out how to do that...) why NOT also teach slow, basic exercises to beginners, for ten minutes at the start of class, so people begin to develop sense of what it feels like

Rupert Atkinson 07-09-2014 05:07 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 338099)
I actually think that they can and should be taught simultaneously. As we do where I train with the Tohei Sensei ki warmups that mimic the form of the kata movements (and that can also be used as solo training if one figures out how to do that...) why NOT also teach slow, basic exercises to beginners, for ten minutes at the start of class, so people begin to develop sense of what it feels like

I can`t see much problem with that at all, but be careful not to teach too much that way. Teach the parts - keep them separate - and then join them up later. There is more than one way up the mountain but too much in one direction (unless it is straight up) and you will never get close to the top. Whch begs the questions - which way is straight up - Ha ha. We all think our way to be the best way, but we should keep our minds open and constantly re-evaluate. Two nights ago I was corrected on two things - made perfect sense - and it blew me away. And I have only been at it 34 years ...

Cliff Judge 07-10-2014 11:05 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
My take on this is that there is a difference between demonstrating Aikido and demonstrating aiki on an uke - demonstrating aiki on an uke is one of a number of things you might do when demonstrating Aikido.

This is because of two reasons:

1) there are a whole raft of things you would want to show students that don't have to do with aiki. Or "IP" for that matter. Particularly if you are trying to train some martial skill into your students or yourself. Sometimes you just need to figure out how to properly attack a joint, for example.

2) Secondly, I have lately been thinking that the typical big, flowing Aikido movements come from demonstrations of "externalized" internal movements. Anybody who has trained with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei should know exactly what I am talking about. You could look at some demonstrations of Aikido as being an explanation or picture of aiki, but without actually being aiki themselves.

jonreading 07-10-2014 11:39 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Cliff Judge wrote: (Post 338104)
My take on this is that there is a difference between demonstrating Aikido and demonstrating aiki on an uke - demonstrating aiki on an uke is one of a number of things you might do when demonstrating Aikido.

This is because of two reasons:

1) there are a whole raft of things you would want to show students that don't have to do with aiki. Or "IP" for that matter. Particularly if you are trying to train some martial skill into your students or yourself. Sometimes you just need to figure out how to properly attack a joint, for example.

2) Secondly, I have lately been thinking that the typical big, flowing Aikido movements come from demonstrations of "externalized" internal movements. Anybody who has trained with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei should know exactly what I am talking about. You could look at some demonstrations of Aikido as being an explanation or picture of aiki, but without actually being aiki themselves.

Cliff-

I tend to agree with you. A good example of keeping things separate may be the famous conversion of the sumo player, Tenryu. Although familiar with sumo, most accounts indicate that O Sensei did not play sumo with Tenryu, but rather showed him aiki. Why did O Sensei abstain from showing aiki through sumo? While the converse of your example, I think an interesting example of the advantage being able to separate technique from aiki.

Yes, I think some of our waza distortion comes from deliberate exaggerations of internal movement. I'm not sold on the argument that external movement can demonstrate internal movement; I think at best it simulates a feeling that we try to emulate when training internals. I think this has been part of Sensei's struggle to communicate that instruction.

Erick Mead 07-10-2014 01:36 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 338098)
Quote:

Rupert wrote:
Any way: Learn the kata/shapes/waza, do some aiki exercises, then add what you `feel` to one of your waza and experiment.

Yes, I am definitely in the camp of "you need a vessel in which to pour water." I think this is complicated because I am currently of the mind that some of the aikido curriculum has been distorted over the years as external "fixes" have been applied to the gaps created by not practicing internal training. While not wanting to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I think it fair to be cautious evaluating the kata to make sure it is what we should be doing (in order to prevent un-learning it later).

Here's my take. I've visited Jon, who is working on these things and has hosted them. What is being done as he is adapting it seems to me perfectly valid, though approaching it from a perspective probably alien to the way most aikido praxis has evolved (and in which evolution there is much to criticize, in truth).

I think the "shaping" observation in both comments is common ground. If I were to make a observation these two approaches are on either end of a bell curve -- one where -- ideally the "shape" is confined within the body and its resulting internal stress profiles -- and the other using the dynamic "shape" (of those same shape stress profiles ) but deployed into motion.

From a teaching standpoint, I will say it takes a very long time to get people attuned to their internal structural state. They are simply too unconscious of it -- and have been basically since they learned to walk without thinking. This stuff requires as much consciousness in adapting your structural responses as it did when learning to walk (and I find the two are more related than not, actually.)

Where the evolved praxis in aikido fell down (heh), it seems to me, is that the dynamics took two endpoints and took shortcuts and failed to follow the true "shapes" of the dynamic outside the body -- which is the same "shape" as the internal stress flowing into the body. If the shape outside the body is correc then when that movement resolves into internal stress - and the natural reversals of that stress (inyo ho) then occur inside the body as that happens. Then they flow out as movement again. Aiki Taiso are full of this.

Water assumes the same shape as the bowl -- but without the bowl it is a hopelessly formless mess. Freeze the water -- and it will keep the shape even without the bowl -- but at the price of its fluidity. Swirl the bowl and water develops the typical spiral movement and a torsional stress profile that then overcomes gravity and rises up the bowl's edges, (and also drops in the center).

The dynamic vortex has internal stresses that hold it in a stable and coherent structural form like the waterspout -- and it resolves its external movements and energies in a reverse flow (many people are not aware of this bit of physics (see e.g. -- vortex tube) -- The waterspout has a rising external spiral and a descending internal spiral (90 degrees out of phase -- i.e. - 十字 juji ) which balances and gives it both its coherent structure and its inherent power to disrupt anything that comes within its influence. (It is the same structural stress path as a torsional shear in the body, FWIW). The water merely swirling in the bowl lacks this fully circulating balanced and opposed stress/flow but shows its basic dynamic (rising outside, falling in the center).

The awareness of this "shape" and its reversals occurring ("intent" -- or nen 念 (attention, feeling, sense)) is common to BOTH schools of thought, FWIW. I think it perhaps more than providential that a cognate to this 念 nen -- is 捻 (nen = twist, torque) (used in 捻転 (nenten = twisting, torsion). I shrink from concluding this is necessarily some sort of okuden wordplay - but the point suggests itself.

True aiki -- it seems to me -- is that "shape" -- whether the static stress form as the in-yo poles shift places within the body -- or the dynamic movement form as they flow out of it (and then again reverse within the body of the unprepared adversary). Train that true "shape" externally, and one can become aware of that "shape" as its stresses resolve and reverse in the body. This is what started me down this road in my training.

A fair bit of what is being sought in the approach beginning internally is disclosed in this way through CORRECT shape in movement. Too much in what is trained now more generally is not correct in these terms of "shape." I have not enough exposure to the internal modes of training (past what Jon has kindly shown) to say how much more the internal approach can cover and that the other may not. One weakness I will fully admit is that what I've done requires close observation of developing stress and resulting movement simultaneously -- and lots of people have problems with those just taken one at a time.

I think both perspectives are necessary. Kokyu tanden ho remains in the evolved curriculum to refocus on the isolated stress perspective. Much that is being pursued in the internal approach appears to add immense value and expansion to this aspect -- and may be employed even without departing traditional forms -- and may actually bring the forms back to what they should be.

Anjisan 07-11-2014 02:33 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 338087)
I may have been that guy...

One of the things causing me grief these days is the inconsistent ability to "do" aikido. I have broken down things to try to better understand where the "doing" part happens. In that respect, I have consolidated around the concept of "expressing/demonstrating aiki" and demonstrating a practical application of aiki, "demonstrating aikido." Essentially, I am just talking about technique done with aiki. But, I believe that aiki is real and been shown, which is not what everyone else thinks. I also believe many of us are not actually using aiki in our technique.

We can demonstrate aiki without framing that demonstration in a practical application (aikido). The most common demonstration I can think of is a push test. Or a pull test. The old guys did these a lot when they shared aikido with other arts. Pushing heads, jos, arms, etc. Mochizuki did these alot with judo players and there is a good clip of Sunadomari doing it in his friendship demo. Tohei, O Sensei, Shioda. They all did demonstrations that had these types of elements. I believe these sihan were showing aiki without the facade of technique to hide what they were doing.

The point that I was getting at was that we (aikido people) should be able to show someone "aiki" in a variety of different ways so spectators could see aikido without risk of injury. My unspoken comment was that maybe we don't understand aiki as well as we think if we only have a limited manner in which we can share what we do. Any jujutsu girl can show you an armbar and hurt you in the process - how do we separate ourselves if we cannot show aikido without hurting someone?

When we demonstrate aikido, we pick a collection of techniques in which we excel in expressing aiki and we present those techniques as an example of what aikido can do. But, I think sometimes we use kata to mask the lack of aiki. If I do good jujutsu kata, how is that dissimilar from good aikido kata? Hopefully, not much different. If I know someone will fall down from good jujutsu, who is to say my demonstration is not just good jujutsu? It has to be felt. Back to the practical idea of demonstrating aiki on someone with technique... How can we just pull someone out of the crowd to feel it if we are going to hurt them?

Oddly, I started thinking about this several years ago when our shihan, Saotome sensei, stopped teaching kata. Most of his seminars now are aiki "tricks." the centipede ukes, no touch throws, push throws... I think he felt that "kata" was getting in the way of "aiki". While I don't have the newest ASU handbook, I am pretty sure "centipede nage waza" is not part of the curriculum on which we test. I believe sensei is trying to show us the real motor that drives his techniques.

I think our collection of techniques were created for a common theme - the practical application of aiki. When you have the aikibody, the themes tend to constantly exist throughout movement. Is it different than modern aikido? Yes. But not everyone wants that. I also talked about aikido's tent size - there is a lot of variation in aikido and each one has some value to those who practice it.

I am also a student under Saotome sensei in ASU and based on my experiences with sensei and others whom I know and train with, your description of his teaching does not reflect at least what I have seen and heard from him at seminars as well as private teaching at the shrine. I have not noticed any substantial changes in his teachings over the past few years. I have seen him teaching waza with committed attacks from Uke and drawing upon techniques that depend utilizing the momentum from Uke's attack. While it is certainly accurate from my experience with him that he teaches other things that resemble exercises or slow motion technique.

However, when he does so I do not believe he is teaching what you refer to as "aiki" (the definition of aiki being internal strength). It is certainly possible for one to read into these exercises and see something else though. However, over the years Sensei has explained what most of them are for so there would be no need to guess what they mean. Typically, they address blending, being flexible and being willing to change. An example would be a static ikkyo that connects to the shoulder or the blending with very small amount of energy. Also, you mention the push tests from Ki Society as an example of people doing what you are defining as "aiki" training for the aiki body, but it is my understanding that Ki Society under Tohei believe their grounding ability results from the projection of Ki not IS. Not true?

Finally, sensei may do a few things that are about connecting in a way that you are defining as "aiki" but those are by far a minority of what he demonstrates in my experience and certainly IMO doesn't constitute a paradigm shift in his teaching. The majority of what Saotome sensei is describing in my experience is blending with Uke's energy to get kuzushi, to discombobulate.

"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

Again, its just my observation and the experience of those whom I train or interact with who train with Sensei too.

Train Hard,
Jason

Cliff Judge 07-11-2014 03:22 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
i agree with Jon. Saotome Sensei has stripped his teaching down to just aiki in recent years. I haven't seen him teach his self-defense applications or pull twenty new kata out of the air in a pretty long time.

kewms 07-12-2014 10:11 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jason Rudolph wrote: (Post 338120)
However, when he does so I do not believe he is teaching what you refer to as "aiki" (the definition of aiki being internal strength). It is certainly possible for one to read into these exercises and see something else though.

Just want to clarify here... Have you checked with Saotome Sensei on this? Because I'm pretty confident that he sees aiki as the core of his art. (Which is, after all, called AIKIdo.)

Speaking for myself, I'm also not sure that I would agree that "aiki" and "internal strength" are the same thing. Certainly internal strength is an *aspect* of aiki, but (re)discovering internal strength wasn't Ueshiba Sensei's great insight.

Katherine

kewms 07-12-2014 10:26 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jason Rudolph wrote: (Post 338120)
"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

Aikido and the Harmony of Nature was published in 1993. I think it's safe to assume that any martial artist of Saotome Sensei's caliber will have learned a great deal in 20 years.

Katherine

Chris Li 07-12-2014 12:02 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Katherine Derbyshire wrote: (Post 338138)
Just want to clarify here... Have you checked with Saotome Sensei on this? Because I'm pretty confident that he sees aiki as the core of his art. (Which is, after all, called AIKIdo.)

Speaking for myself, I'm also not sure that I would agree that "aiki" and "internal strength" are the same thing. Certainly internal strength is an *aspect* of aiki, but (re)discovering internal strength wasn't Ueshiba Sensei's great insight.

Katherine

I'm sure you're aware of the distinction that we make, but in the context of what we are doing there is absolutly a distinction between Internal Power and Aiki - but Aiki is dependent upon Internal Power, so...no Internal Power, no Aiki.

Best,

Chris

Anjisan 07-12-2014 12:04 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I certainly agree that anyone committed to his or her art or craft would learn after 20 years. I know I have! However, what I am saying is that I (and may others) have still seen him demonstrating techniques in a way that is consistent with the quote from Aikido and the Harmony of Nature. In other words, the majority of what he demonstrated from what I have seen is consistent with that. As I said, sure, he has shown other things that could be described as "tricks" but they are the minority in my experience and could hardly represent a paradigm shift brought about by some new insight into IS. He has explained the exercises were for pretty consistently. It just basically comes down to how one defines "Aiki" and what I am saying is the vast majority of what he is demonstrating from what I and others have seen and experienced is consistent with the quote. I would certainly not say that what he is doing had not evolved just that it is consistent with the Aiki as he had defined it which is the blending of energy. At least that has been my experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjk_cLB8yHw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F97kmNs8IiE

Train Hard,
Jason

Chris Li 07-12-2014 02:28 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jason Rudolph wrote: (Post 338120)

"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

I have the first edition, and the page numbers appear to be different so I couldn't find the quote. Nonetheless, if you were here I could show you in a couple of minutes why that doesn't really work very well. I'm not saying that what Saotome is doing is wrong - just that this single phrase most likely doesn't represent a full representation of what he's doing.

Best,

Chris

kewms 07-12-2014 06:10 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 338140)
I'm sure you're aware of the distinction that we make, but in the context of what we are doing there is absolutly a distinction between Internal Power and Aiki - but Aiki is dependent upon Internal Power, so...no Internal Power, no Aiki.

I'm aware of that; the person to whom I was responding didn't seem to be.

Katherine

kewms 07-12-2014 06:14 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jason Rudolph wrote: (Post 338141)
I certainly agree that anyone committed to his or her art or craft would learn after 20 years. I know I have! However, what I am saying is that I (and may others) have still seen him demonstrating techniques in a way that is consistent with the quote from Aikido and the Harmony of Nature. In other words, the majority of what he demonstrated from what I have seen is consistent with that. As I said, sure, he has shown other things that could be described as "tricks" but they are the minority in my experience and could hardly represent a paradigm shift brought about by some new insight into IS. He has explained the exercises were for pretty consistently. It just basically comes down to how one defines "Aiki" and what I am saying is the vast majority of what he is demonstrating from what I and others have seen and experienced is consistent with the quote. I would certainly not say that what he is doing had not evolved just that it is consistent with the Aiki as he had defined it which is the blending of energy. At least that has been my experience.

Look closer.

Katherine

Chris Li 07-12-2014 06:30 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Katherine Derbyshire wrote: (Post 338147)
I'm aware of that; the person to whom I was responding didn't seem to be.

Katherine

Sure, that's really who the comment was aimed at.

Best,

Chris

jonreading 07-14-2014 07:33 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jason Rudolph wrote: (Post 338120)
I am also a student under Saotome sensei in ASU and based on my experiences with sensei and others whom I know and train with, your description of his teaching does not reflect at least what I have seen and heard from him at seminars as well as private teaching at the shrine. I have not noticed any substantial changes in his teachings over the past few years. I have seen him teaching waza with committed attacks from Uke and drawing upon techniques that depend utilizing the momentum from Uke's attack. While it is certainly accurate from my experience with him that he teaches other things that resemble exercises or slow motion technique.

However, when he does so I do not believe he is teaching what you refer to as "aiki" (the definition of aiki being internal strength). It is certainly possible for one to read into these exercises and see something else though. However, over the years Sensei has explained what most of them are for so there would be no need to guess what they mean. Typically, they address blending, being flexible and being willing to change. An example would be a static ikkyo that connects to the shoulder or the blending with very small amount of energy. Also, you mention the push tests from Ki Society as an example of people doing what you are defining as "aiki" training for the aiki body, but it is my understanding that Ki Society under Tohei believe their grounding ability results from the projection of Ki not IS. Not true?

Finally, sensei may do a few things that are about connecting in a way that you are defining as "aiki" but those are by far a minority of what he demonstrates in my experience and certainly IMO doesn't constitute a paradigm shift in his teaching. The majority of what Saotome sensei is describing in my experience is blending with Uke's energy to get kuzushi, to discombobulate.

"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

Again, its just my observation and the experience of those whom I train or interact with who train with Sensei too.

Train Hard,
Jason

I think some other posts have provided some clarification already, but I'll and in my comments.

First, I think Saotome Sensei is a genius. I am not saying he only teaches one type of seminar, or that he limits what he shows during his seminars. I am describing the experiences I have seen and your mileage may vary.

Second, I also contend that sensei believes everything he does is aiki. I think he has changed his teaching to try different avenues of sharing what he knows. I would be more concerned if sensei showed the same technique he taught 30 years ago. I think this is the difference between walking on a path and resting at a point on the path. In my case, I want to be on Sensei's heels - not the point he was at 30 years ago.

Third, I do not want to confuse anyone. I did not refer to stylized aikido as an example of push test demonstration, I referred to individuals. I am not of the mind that any style of aikido has replicated a solid curriculum of training internals. While already mentioned, I would also clarify that internal power is not aiki, simple a pre-requisite to aiki.

I used sensei because I believe he is a great example of a shihan embracing not just a curriculum, but the transmission of aiki. I think he is trying to pound into our heads aiki is not twisting a wrist or running at your partner so they can throw you.

Cliff Judge 07-14-2014 01:01 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 338180)
I think some other posts have provided some clarification already, but I'll and in my comments.

First, I think Saotome Sensei is a genius. I am not saying he only teaches one type of seminar, or that he limits what he shows during his seminars. I am describing the experiences I have seen and your mileage may vary.

Second, I also contend that sensei believes everything he does is aiki. I think he has changed his teaching to try different avenues of sharing what he knows. I would be more concerned if sensei showed the same technique he taught 30 years ago. I think this is the difference between walking on a path and resting at a point on the path. In my case, I want to be on Sensei's heels - not the point he was at 30 years ago.

Third, I do not want to confuse anyone. I did not refer to stylized aikido as an example of push test demonstration, I referred to individuals. I am not of the mind that any style of aikido has replicated a solid curriculum of training internals. While already mentioned, I would also clarify that internal power is not aiki, simple a pre-requisite to aiki.

I used sensei because I believe he is a great example of a shihan embracing not just a curriculum, but the transmission of aiki. I think he is trying to pound into our heads aiki is not twisting a wrist or running at your partner so they can throw you.

I disagree that internal power is a "prerequisite" of aiki. They are just two different things. I suppose if you are an internal power type you are going to see things in Saotome Sensei's material that makes sense in that light, but he really doesn't teach anything about internal power, and internals are not a requirement to make most of what he does work.

Rupert Atkinson 07-14-2014 01:17 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Cliff Judge wrote: (Post 338198)
I disagree that internal power is a "prerequisite" of aiki. They are just two different things. I suppose if you are an internal power type you are going to see things in Saotome Sensei's material that makes sense in that light, but he really doesn't teach anything about internal power, and internals are not a requirement to make most of what he does work.

I find this idea quite thought provoking. Interesting even. I am of the mind that power is very important. I remember that Kanetsuka Sensei (UK) produced very soft Aikido but his structure was solid as a rock. He didn't teach anything about power though - but he was very powerful. In fact, his Aikido was kind of like Chiba's in that it was - obviously very powerful - and then he got cancer and he became soft, then he overcame the cancer, and he remained soft - but power lurked behind it, hidden. And so, all his students followed. But they were following his journey, and his route had included power. If I remember correctly (I could be wrong - I was a nobody back then), some senior students quit at that time and joined a different organisation - perhaps because of this - so it is important to consider.

Anyway, I believe power to be very important. Even, I would say, the more you have the better (both internal and external), but we choose not to use the external, instead finding a more efficient way to do it (internal). But even then, the thing is, we must still work on developing our power (internal and external) and maintaining it. We should be a strong as we can be for our own body on both the inside and the outside. I am not advocating weight training here, rather, just that one should be extra fit (compared to the average guy). And unless you train regularly, Aikido is not enough to get you fit, which is another problem entirely.

Cliff Judge 07-14-2014 02:19 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote: (Post 338201)
I find this idea quite thought provoking. Interesting even. I am of the mind that power is very important. I remember that Kanetsuka Sensei (UK) produced very soft Aikido but his structure was solid as a rock. He didn't teach anything about power though - but he was very powerful. In fact, his Aikido was kind of like Chiba's in that it was - obviously very powerful - and then he got cancer and he became soft, then he overcame the cancer, and he remained soft - but power lurked behind it, hidden. And so, all his students followed. But they were following his journey, and his route had included power. If I remember correctly (I could be wrong - I was a nobody back then), some senior students quit at that time and joined a different organisation - perhaps because of this - so it is important to consider.

Anyway, I believe power to be very important. Even, I would say, the more you have the better (both internal and external), but we choose not to use the external, instead finding a more efficient way to do it (internal). But even then, the thing is, we must still work on developing our power (internal and external) and maintaining it. We should be a strong as we can be for our own body on both the inside and the outside. I am not advocating weight training here, rather, just that one should be extra fit (compared to the average guy). And unless you train regularly, Aikido is not enough to get you fit, which is another problem entirely.

I don't think there is any power there at all, particularly when I get my hands on one of my high-level teachers. I think power is a poor conceptual fit to aiki in general (as well as the core principals of koryu arts i have studied).

When I have hands on a high-level person, what strikes me is that I don't feel anything. it is not that it is "strange" or "unconventional" power - it is that it is not power.

Another thing the concept of "power" is a poor conceptual fit with, in my very humble opinion, is the Chinese classics.

(Well, the idea that it is a worthwhile thing to have or develop, anyway)

jonreading 07-14-2014 02:20 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Cliff Judge wrote: (Post 338198)
I disagree that internal power is a "prerequisite" of aiki. They are just two different things. I suppose if you are an internal power type you are going to see things in Saotome Sensei's material that makes sense in that light, but he really doesn't teach anything about internal power, and internals are not a requirement to make most of what he does work.

Denier. :)

This is currently above my pay grade, but I am working on it. If internal power is integral to "ki", then "aiki" would necessarily have "ki" (and internal power). I am still waiting to hear how internal power squares up to "ki", but my guess is they are related, if not synonymous.

I am convinced Sensei is doing internals and doesn't even distinguish it - it's just what he does and who he is. Same with Ikeda sensei. While possibly a topic for another thread, I don't think there is anything wrong with doing good jujutsu and I don't think you need internals for doing them. But without aiki, you're doing a different art - even if it looks the same. I think the question is actually at what point do we consider technique without aiki to cease being "aikido". There has to be some level, because when we begin, clearly no one is doing aiki - we are trying our best to not trip over our feet. We still call it aikido, but at some point the expectation shifts beyond jujutsu.

Or... can aikido function without an internal component?

Somewhat bending back around to my distinction that we have a problem if the only instance in which we can demonstrate "aiki" is by doing jujutsu waza... Maybe the only thing we are demonstrating is jujutsu.

David Orange 07-15-2014 01:13 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I think the recently discovered 1968 film of O Sensei at hombu dojo can provide much perspective here. Just as I was thinking that it proved that O Sensei was moving relative to uke as a main element of aiki, he started doing things without moving. Tossing big guys around with little or no shifting or turning. He directly absorbed the force and directly returned it, almost without movement, producing huge lift in the uke, sending him flying.

So I would say that aiki first involves complete control of one's own body and position in space. I recently reviewed several hours of incredible video footage of Seigo Okamoto sensei, showing his roppokai method close up, in slow motion, from various angles. The techniques range from small (very small) to relatively large and they're generally all very simple. But they produce instant, large response in the attacker. One thing I noticed about Okamoto sensei is that his body is incredibly stable through every movement. The weight of uke never impinges on him and even when he throws the uke and holds his arm, dragging him back across the floor, Okamoto may step, but that's all. His body never bends or wobbles and he doesn't stumble because he only makes small steps for the most part. But his techniques express aiki in very small, smooth, subtle movements.

So the second element of aiki, after complete ownership of self and place, is that it creates instant lift in anyone who lays hands or exerts force on this self-possessed body. And by "lift," I mean loss of relation to the earth's gravity. By exerting force on the aiki body, trying to find its moveable center, they orient themselves primarily to the firmness and solidity of that body. Small, subtle movements of the aiki body draw that attachment by suggesting solidity where it can be removed, or inviting entry to a place where he finds himself with no strength. Technically, this is aiki age, lifting the attacker on contact, but it can also express as aiki sage, which drops him. And I guess that's what O Sensei and Shioda sensei show when the attacker is rather frozen in place.

To me, that's the "blending" of aiki--first having firm possession of self and place, then causing the attacker to orient his physical balance to his perception of the aiki body's strong or weak points (which are falsely presented) to result in his suddenly rising, falling or being suspended in place (basically, double-weighted).

As to kata, it's finally unnecessary to aiki or aiki expression, though it's really hard to learn aiki without some form. Before I benefited by the reasoning of both Dan Harden, Mike Sigman and Rob John, but after I lived with Mochizuki sensei, I understood that aikido was generally being taught "backward," through fairly complicated sequences of movement. Through Mochizuki sensei's method of instruction (applying Kano's rationality and physics awareness to Ueshiba's aikido), I learned that judo, aikido, karate and sword can all be performed with the same small handful of basics beginning with standing upright and walking. And I perceived this "lifting" in the attacker's body and was searching for ways to cause it to overact, but I didn't yet realize the principles of aiki age and aiki sage, so I had to get help from Dan, Mike, Ark and Rob and also study and feel other people's strength to begin to get the idea.

Anyway, as we can see in the 1968 films of O Sensei, he does some things with "technique" we can recognize, "blending" by moving off-line and turning, but at other times, he directly accepts uke's strength straight-on, yet doesn't let it settle on him. "Re-directing," in these examples, is often straight back where it came from, which is not what we normally think of as "blending."

So kata and form are useful but without the basic engine of aiki, those forms can very easily lead people into a mush of pretentious off-showing that would lead to disaster against a serious attacker. This will not happen if uke remains honest and gives sincere attacks, and doesn't fall unless nage's movement (or non-movement) breaks his balance involuntarily and forces him to recover. Teaching uke to fall, regardless of the technique, is a sign of no aiki in the technique or in the teaching.

As mentioned above, start with some push testing and see what that tells. Aiki can scarcely be observed by the eye but it can be felt at once in the body.

Gavin Slater 07-18-2014 07:28 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I don't think it is a good idea to want to become powerful or get some unusual power, or to even think there is some magical UP POWER!.

Mert Gambito 07-20-2014 01:13 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
"勁" and "power". Yeah very different connotations. In Asian culture, you're trying to become physically strong for the purposes of health and martial ability. You can also use variants of it to help heal others. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Gavin Slater 07-21-2014 07:34 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Are you still talking about aiki?

Mert Gambito 07-21-2014 09:33 PM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Quote:

Gavin Slater wrote: (Post 338442)
Are you still talking about aiki?

"Power", as in what's normally translated from Chinese into English as "internal power", within the gamut of which aiki falls.

Carsten Möllering 07-22-2014 01:10 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
@ Gavin:

How do you translate or understand "ryoku" like in kokyu ryoku?
What does it feel like for you being tori, when you put "more energy/ki" into your throws?
Do you experience the feeling to be "more powerfull" when you are relaxed, ki is flowing, your posture and connection to uke ist good?

Which word do you use, when you, being uke, are stamped into the ground. Not by muscular force but by softness, technical good waza, experience, use of center ... and all that? Soft but ...? (I would say powerful.) If it is not power for you, wich word does express this capability of tori in your language use?

Gavin Slater 07-22-2014 06:14 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
Hi Carsten,

My main point was that I dont think it is a good idea to want to become powerful, like it is the most important thing. I think it is more important to understand what it is, to do that I think you need also accept it is also not about power. If you are only concerned about becoming powerful then when do you stop? How powerful do you need to get? How do you know you are powerful? What's the point?

In regards to kyoku ryoku. If I had to use english I would say it is like influencing someone to do something, or making someone do something.

Feelings are subjective but I will try and answer your questions;
What does it feel like being tori? I would say it feels free, im not sure what you mean by putting more ki into my throws. I dont think you throw people away.
Yes the more relaxed you are, the more freedom you have.
It depends what you mean by your connection to uke is good? You could say there is no connection to uke.

Gavin

Cliff Judge 07-22-2014 06:58 AM

Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?
 
I am with Gavin here; the orientation around the concept of "power" in this sub-comminity seems a bit corny to me, slightly childish. It may just be a choice of words, but when working with internal training methods involving imagery and intent, words can color the whole practice. Every time I pick up the Tao Te Ching it seems like I can just pick a page at random and I find a passage warning about how you can never really cultivate ki if you are looking for power.

I may have mentioned this already in this thread but when I take ukemi for one of my high level teachers it feels like absolutely nothing is throwing me. I hope to cultivate less and less power as I train and more and more nothing.


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