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-   -   New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!) (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14039)

Guillaume Erard 02-28-2008 04:07 AM

New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Hi everyone,

I just translated into English an interview I did last month with Christian Tissier Shihan for Aikidoka Magazine. I thought an interview of Sensei available in you language was a rare enough thing to be worth mentioning here. You can find it published here in English. I hope you will find it of interest and sorry in advance for any spelling/grammar mistake I did while translating! ;)

All the best

G

CitoMaramba 02-28-2008 05:28 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Fantastic interview! Merci beaucoup!

Mrose 02-28-2008 05:35 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
very interesting article. Thank you for sharing it.

Upyu 02-28-2008 07:10 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Read the interview, and thought it was interesting from the standpoint that I think that its these kind of statements that serve to cloud a lot of the issues surrounding Ki/Kokyu within Aikido. (From a third person perspective, from someone outside)

Especially from a high ranker (7th dan). :-p

Quote:

Interviewer: About natural principles, we often hear about Ki, the energy flow. You don’t speak much about it though…

Tissier: No I don’t. The reason is that it is a very confusing notion. I have seen quite a bit in Aikido, I have met quite a few Senseis and I must say that the ones who speak of it the most are often the ones who have the poorest technique. Of course, this is not true for everybody but Ki is not tangible. Ki is within us. There is Ki everywhere, either we know how to use it or we don’t. The fundamental issue with Ki is its flow. In terms of Aikido vocabulary, we have Ki and Kokyu, which is the vehicle for Ki. The translation of Kokyu is “breathing” but to be more accurate, in reality, Kokyu is the exchange between the two.
The bottom line is that if you practice with your stiff shoulders up to your ears, the Ki won’t flow, any acupuncture practitioner will tell you. As a consequence, until the technique is perfect, there will be no Ki, no natural flow. To me, people who really have Ki don’t feel it because everything happens naturally within them.
We could of course develop exercises such as the ones proposed by Qigong in order to specifically work on breathing. We could also specifically work on flexibility or other things but to what end? I consider Aikido as a whole system that as been well thought. It is therefore useless to concentrate on only one aspect of the art, in particular if it is to the expense of practice time. If we have to specifically work on flexibility, we can go to a specialist, same for breathing but we should not mix everything up.
To get back to the Ki I prefer not to say too much about it as I think the discourses about this topic are often very misleading.

dbotari 02-28-2008 09:08 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Rob,

What are you taking issue with in the section of the interview quoted? Is it Tissier Shihan's contention that there is no need to train Ki/Kokyu skills separately? Or do you have an issue with his basic explanation?

Just curious.

Dan

charyuop 02-28-2008 12:55 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Great! Hope you won't mind, I will place that link in an Italian Aikido forum as well. Tissier is very much hestimed in Italy and sure they will love to read this interview.

Ron Tisdale 02-28-2008 01:59 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Well, he is correct in that the discourses about it are often misleading.

Best,
Ron ('nough said)

Upyu 02-28-2008 03:13 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Quote:

Dan Botari wrote: (Post 200340)
Rob,

What are you taking issue with in the section of the interview quoted? Is it Tissier Shihan's contention that there is no need to train Ki/Kokyu skills separately? Or do you have an issue with his basic explanation?

Just curious.

Dan

Both actually.
Let's to put it this way. If I didn't know who he was, and had no idea of his rank, standing etc, and I heard someone make those comments about ki/kokyu, I'd automatically assume he didn't know what he was talking about, or, in the worst case be able to do these things, as harsh as that may sound.
Since I've never touched hands with the guy, I won't really comment on that aspect.
Anyways, my main point was that those kind of comments don't really serve to de-mysticize the subject.

Mike Sigman 02-28-2008 03:51 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
That's going to be an interview that will come back to haunt, Tissier, I'm afraid. A lot of people are beginning to box in what the meaning of "ki" is and understand, for instance, the what's and how's of the "ki tests" by Tohei, some of the demo's by Ueshiba and others, and it all begins to hang in (despite the disparate demonstrations) as a pretty cohesive family of skills. And it becomes more and more obvious as knowledge and practice increase. Can someone do waza very efficiently without understanding what the ki stuff is talking about? Sure, that's obvious, too. But no writing by Ueshiba K., Tohei, etc., toss it off as some intangible and metaphysical phenomenon as Tissier just did. So now everyone knows the earliest possible date that Tissier could *begin* to study the ki in Aikido. Fascinating. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Irv Lachow 02-28-2008 06:26 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Thanks very much. I've seen Tissier Shihan twice at the Aikido Bridge Seminar hosted by Jeff Todeman Sensei in San Diego and his Aikido is amazing up close: it's extremely powerful and flowing. The man is a very good martial artist. He's also extremely nice and humble off the mat.
Cheers,
Irv

Jack M. 02-29-2008 07:27 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
I think it's important to note that after the section of the interview quoted at the beginning of this thread, Tissier Sensei talks about how technique "unlocks the body," and allows ki to occur naturally.

Perhaps something is lost in the translation, but to me, Sensei is taking a naturalistic approach to ki, and not making a big deal out of it.

Guillaume Erard 02-29-2008 07:49 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Quote:

Jack Walter wrote: (Post 200426)
I think it's important to note that after the section of the interview quoted at the beginning of this thread, Tissier Sensei talks about how technique "unlocks the body," and allows ki to occur naturally.

Perhaps something is lost in the translation, but to me, Sensei is taking a naturalistic approach to ki, and not making a big deal out of it.

I think you got it right here Jack, or at least, that is exactly the way it sounded to me when Mr Tissier answered my question. Again, sorry for the possible inaccuracies of my translation guys. :o

Mike Sigman 02-29-2008 08:24 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Here's the quote:
Quote:

Ki is not tangible. Ki is within us. There is Ki everywhere, either we know how to use it or we don't. The fundamental issue with Ki is its flow. In terms of Aikido vocabulary, we have Ki and Kokyu, which is the vehicle for Ki. The translation of Kokyu is "breathing" but to be more accurate, in reality, Kokyu is the exchange between the two.
The bottom line is that if you practice with your stiff shoulders up to your ears, the Ki won't flow, any acupuncture practitioner will tell you. As a consequence, until the technique is perfect, there will be no Ki, no natural flow. To me, people who really have Ki don't feel it because everything happens naturally within them.
We could of course develop exercises such as the ones proposed by Qigong in order to specifically work on breathing. We could also specifically work on flexibility or other things but to what end?
I dunno. I read it several times, charitably, and looking for something I might be missing. Often when I read translations of comments about ki from Kisshormaru Ueshiba, Seiseki Abe, Minoru Inaba, Tohei, etc., the problem is usually the translator, but reading beneath the translation and seeing the way the sentence elements are put together, I don't have much problem seeing someone who really knows and understands ki. Hmmmmm ... maybe we should make a compilation of the important ki thinks that are already available.

But in regard to this Tissier one, I would bet the house mortgage that he simply doesn't really understand the concept. Can someone do strong, powerful, flowing, practiced "Aikido" techniques and not have ki/kokyu skills? Of course. And that is a big problem... the ki/kokyu skills are not something that you spot easily if you don't know about them. Even Tohei was known to make remarks about some of the higher dans because they had nice-looking techniques, but no ki.

And I go back to a comment I've made before. If someone has pretty good ki skills, then they should be able to do all of Tohei's ki-tests quite easily, because those are simple static tests. Moving with ki would be where the rubber meets the road, IMO. ;)

YMMV

Mike Sigman

Shizentota 02-29-2008 08:59 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
"There are of course some education systems that are totally different from mine. Some are very strict and precise but sometimes so stuck within their own codes that they can't free themselves from it. That is a shame…"

I like this, :) .

Thanks for the posting, great interview:D

Mike Sigman 02-29-2008 09:25 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Quote:

Manuel Aldunate wrote: (Post 200440)
"There are of course some education systems that are totally different from mine. Some are very strict and precise but sometimes so stuck within their own codes that they can't free themselves from it. That is a shame…"

I like this, :) .

I think the saying represents a lot of "Aikido" that is out there. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Shizentota 02-29-2008 09:45 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
That´s true Mike,
I liked when I free my self from some codes and something inside me says Aha!!! after that I try to follow the codes that my sensei is giving to me, and then I try to open this codes to experience more "Aha" in my practice.

Best
Manu

dps 02-29-2008 10:18 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Christian Tissier

".... I think the discourses about this topic are often very misleading."

Quote:

Robert John wrote: (Post 200332)
....I think that its these kind of statements that serve to cloud a lot of the issues surrounding Ki/Kokyu within Aikido.

Huh?

David

dps 02-29-2008 10:57 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote: (Post 200365)
Well, he is correct in that the discourses about it are often misleading.

Best,
Ron ('nough said)

Don't go clouding the issue now.

David

Upyu 02-29-2008 11:15 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Quote:

Jack Walter wrote: (Post 200426)
I think it's important to note that after the section of the interview quoted at the beginning of this thread, Tissier Sensei talks about how technique "unlocks the body," and allows ki to occur naturally.

Perhaps something is lost in the translation, but to me, Sensei is taking a naturalistic approach to ki, and not making a big deal out of it.

Ok, let's put it this way. It doesn't simply occur "naturally." Not unless you're shown specifically what to develop, how to develop it etc.
If you could do these skills there's no way you would make a statement like that ;)

I remember a friend quoting Abe-sensei in Kyoto who would hint at how to develop it but when pressed on the details would say
"Oh yes there are ways to train it, but they are indeed secret. And its not something I'll tell anyone how to do" yatta yatta yatta
Which is more forthcoming than most Japanese of his age. Most times they won't even tell you that you're missing something :D

dps 02-29-2008 11:40 AM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
From the thread, New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)

Quote:

Robert John wrote: (Post 200471)
Erm...the gist of that interview was that Tissier doesn't know or have Ki/Kokyu skills, which is even more troubling if you ask me.

Does anyone else think that is the gist of the interview?

David

Guillaume Erard 02-29-2008 12:16 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
One thing that I appreciated while talking to Mr Tissier was his modesty and openness towards other styles and ways. It does not seem to be the case for all of us here...

Ron Tisdale 02-29-2008 12:22 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
I appreciate his styles and ways. I just think that his answer begs the question. And some that are said to be very good at "aiki" have specifically said that those who talk about "allowing the ki to flow" don't really understand "aiki".

Look, maybe he knows more than he's saying. I'm sure (from watching his vids) that he could tie me in more knots in more ways than I can count. But we are talking about a very specific thing, which is often not talked about, or talked about in esoteric, hard to understand terms, or dismissed, or talked about in generalities that don't help you to develop it.

All I am saying is that his statement falls directly into one of those categories.

Best,
Ron (no disrespect intended, and I wish you could hear that without disrespecting me...)

Mike Sigman 02-29-2008 12:31 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Quote:

Guillaume Erard wrote: (Post 200492)
One thing that I appreciated while talking to Mr Tissier was his modesty and openness towards other styles and ways. It does not seem to be the case for all of us here...

I'm modest (heck, I even close my eyes when I change my underwear) and I'm open. But if any disagreement I have with another view causes my personal character to be questioned.....

Regards,

Mike Sigman

jss 02-29-2008 12:34 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
Quote:

David Skaggs wrote: (Post 200479)
Does anyone else think that is the gist of the interview?David

Yes and no. For those interested in ki/kokyu it is the gist, for others not. And Ron made a good comment of giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

Anyhow, Tissier's answer is a clear sign for all people interested in developing ki/kokyu that there is no reason to go study his aikido (to develop these skills). Even if (huge if) Tissier has developed these skills through his naturalistic approach, a quicker and safer route would be finding a teacher of whatever style that does teach ki/kokyu skills explicitly and then reverse engineer aikido.

Joep

dps 02-29-2008 12:35 PM

Re: New interview with Christian Tissier Shihan (in English!)
 
He is very explicit on how to develope ki.

Christian Tissier,

"We could of course develop exercises such as the ones proposed by Qigong in order to specifically work on breathing. We could also specifically work on flexibility or other things but to what end? I consider Aikido as a whole system that as been well thought. It is therefore useless to concentrate on only one aspect of the art, in particular if it is to the expense of practice time."

David


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