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Mary Eastland 02-25-2012 07:17 PM

goals
 
Nage earnestly leads. Uke sincerely follows. As nage outlines the path, a void is left for uke to fill. The motion and connection created is Aikido.

Uke grabs and holds tightly to nage's arm with both hands, katate tori ryote moche, offering energy for nage to perceive, move with and eventually throw uke. Listening to, really paying attention to, and honoring uke the earnest nage restores order. The throw is the by product. Often the throw is perceived as the goal. Instead the goal is the feeling of connection and harmony. The throw is the result of the connection and uke's loss of balance.

Attention. Acceptance. Gratitude.

dps 02-25-2012 07:36 PM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 303837)
Nage earnestly leads. Uke sincerely follows. As nage outlines the path, a void is left for uke to fill. The motion and connection created is Aikido.

I can't help thinking of the nage/ule relationship as race car drafting, where one driver (uke) gets behind a leading driver's ( nage ) car;s slipstream (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slipstream).

dps

Carsten Möllering 02-26-2012 05:48 AM

Re: goals
 
The aikidō I learn is constructet differently, uses different paradigms.

Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 303837)
Nage earnestly leads. Uke sincerely follows.

Tori connects to uke and moves him. Uke does not have to follow or has the choice to not follow, but uke is moved by tori. Tori affects the body structure of uke and takes over the controll of his movements to a certain degree.

To do this, tori creates or uses what we call 'atari': A connection at a certain point or region of the bodies of tori and uke.
A basic form is that tori uses lao gong to create atari/connection. Or uses, like in katate dori, the lao gong of uke to create atari/connection.

Quote:

As nage outlines the path, a void is left for uke to fill.
When I attended a class of ki-aikido (Yoshigasaki) here in Germany, the techniques indeed were created this way: Tori moved, uke tried to follow after this movement and this movement led into a 'void' / gap / emptiness, where I should have to fall.
The aikidō I know moves in the "reverse direction": Tori is "behind" uke and the movement goes from tori into uke to connect. As if "pushing" uke. And often through uke to throw him. This is like cutting through uke with the ken.

Quote:

The motion and connection created is Aikido.
The motion I experienced when practicing ki-aikido (Yoshigasaki) was completely different from what I call aikidō. And it didn't work on me because it was required that uke gave up his balance, that he didn't stay centered and grounded in his own sphere. If uke (I) did ukemi in the latter sense (staying centered, grounded, giving nothing away even in the attack ...), there was technically no way to move or lead uke (me).

This was not due to the skills of my partners but due to the paradigm of the behaving of tori and uke.
If I didn't play my role as uke in a way that supported toris role, he couldn't throw me.
In the aikidō I know, the support from uke is an educational tool, depending on the skills of tori.
In the ki-aikido I experienced it was part of the paradigm of the uke-behavior.

So the the two ways of understanding the roles of uke and tori just didn't fit together. And aikidō, ki-aikido (Yoshigasaki) in this case could only be created if the acting person wanted it to evolve.
(I tried to do my best that day, because I had asked for teaching me what ki-aikido is in the view of that teacher.)

Quote:

Uke ... offering energy for nage to perceive, move with and eventually throw uke.
I don't know what you understand in detail as to "offer energy". But in my paradigm the action of tori does not depend on uke offering something.
It is one possibility, that the atari is created by uke, when his ki comes to tori.
But far more interesting it is, and much more can be learned, if uke tries to not offer anything so tori himself has to do the work of connecting to uke and controll and move him.

Quote:

... Often the throw is perceived as the goal. ...
Although following a different paradigm, as far as I understand yours, we very practice without actually throwing uke. We work on our own ballance and structure. We work on getting a connection to uke and hold it. We work on guiding uke by this connection. And some other things. And indeed: If everything works fine, the throw itself, kind of evolves, if tori leads his feeling/kimochi down to the ground. Maybe tori can ad momentum if he wants to.

Even if the paradigm of understanding most throws as cutting through uke (which can very clear be seen in irimi nage or tenchi nage) doesn't leave much room for other outcomes.

Quote:

Instead the goal is the feeling of connection and harmony. The throw is the result of the connection and uke's loss of balance.
So this is imortant and true in my world also.
It think the different paradigm is about what connection is, about the roles of uke and tori, about following and guiding.
And I think the different paradigms come from or lead to different goals.

And - to be honest - I have great difficulties to accept the way of performing the techniques, that is shown in the video I linked above, as aikidō.
AT the moment I am not shure whether I have to learn to accept it.
Or whether it is time for me, to learn to be more clear in my distinction.

Thank you for your thoughts about what aikidō means to you!

Gary David 02-26-2012 09:47 AM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Carsten Möllering wrote: (Post 303865)
...............And I think the different paradigms come from or lead to different goals.

And - to be honest - I have great difficulties to accept the way of performing the techniques, that is shown in the video I linked above, as aikidō.
AT the moment I am not shure whether I have to learn to accept it.
Or whether it is time for me, to learn to be more clear in my distinction.

Thank you for your thoughts about what aikidō means to you!

Carsten
You have have hit the nail on the head......there are essentially differing views...any number of them. Acceptance of these differences could possibly only happen if the folks with the differing approaches were friends on other levels. Just talking doesn't get it as your experiences have shown in your discussions with the other group and the talking here on AikiWeb have proven. In part our problem is we have not accepted that these differences are real and that they not likely to every be closed....one Aikido is further from reality than ever, if it even existed.

It is not my responsibility to work this out....... and will leave it at that........

I am with you on approaches to the art.

Just go straight

Gary

hughrbeyer 02-26-2012 03:53 PM

Re: goals
 
Interesting video, Carsten.

A while back, someone--Graham?--posted a video of a demonstration by Tohei, and I said at the time that I could not imagine how Tohei's training methods and the kind of movement he was clearly teaching his students, would ever lead to any real power, or even to the level of ability Tohei himself had. Looking at this video though, I do see how they could lead to a demo like this.

robin_jet_alt 02-26-2012 05:04 PM

Re: goals
 
I definitely fall on Carsten's side of the fence on this one. The two divergent viewpoints are interesting though. You can even find them both in the same dojo, and it leads to an 'interesting' dynamic.

Mary Eastland 02-26-2012 05:26 PM

Re: goals
 
You may agree or disagree...or you could talk about and describe your experience as I did and as Carsten did.

robin_jet_alt 02-26-2012 06:22 PM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 303914)
You may agree or disagree...or you could talk about and describe your experience as I did and as Carsten did.

Hi Mary,

I thought Carsten expressed things far better than I ever could, which is why I just agreed with him.

To me, Aikido is a martial art, which simulates a response to a genuine attack. A genuine attack can take many forms, however I don't think that many of them would include "sincerely following". Now, sincerely following may form a part of training, up to a point, however at higher levels, I don't think it is all that useful.

Taking ryote-dori as an example, the "attack" is an immobilization. As such, it is uke's role to "sincerely immobilize". If uke is then unable to move, uke can offer advice, guide nage into the correct movement, or ease off enough for nage to practice the technique.

To me, effectively dealing with an attack situation is the goal. I can feel connected to, listen to, and pay attention to uke as much as I want, but if I end up getting immobilized or struck, it won't do me much good. In fact, if that is the "goal", why not just take up ballroom dancing. (I have nothing against ballroom dancing, I would just like to point out that IMO the goals are somewhat different to aikido).

So... what do I do in training? Find a way to move, within myself, and in relation to my partner which makes the attack is unsuccessful, maintain connection with my partner (whether they want me to or not), and maintain control of the situation (and hence, of them), usually by moving through their center.

My understanding is far from perfect, and my ability to describe and perform is even less so, but at the moment, I see this as my goal.

Gary David 02-26-2012 08:24 PM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 303914)
You may agree or disagree...or you could talk about and describe your experience as I did and as Carsten did.

Mary
Let me describe the experience I had yesterday visiting John Clodig, a friend in the San Diego area just talking, drinking coffee and working on aspects to relaxation. It is John approach only through total relaxation can the body work as one and truly accomplish the things that we in Aikido claim as our goals. He also said, and this is my experience also, that any unwanted tension in the body as you are moving voids the benefits of being relaxed,,,,,,requiring a muscular forcing of the outcome. While it may not be popular with some on this forum, this is what Dan has been saying also. The other common theme here is the time and work needed to get to the continuous relaxtion while moving and that you have to take the right approach or you will never get there.

As I had brought up aiki age John used that as the model. I grabbed his wrists, held them the first time in a tight grip, braced myself to hold him down...and the next moment his hands were at my chest and his body was end to me with his center under mine. I was popped back several feet landing on shift legs. The next few times I changed my grip, settled myself, tried the one body approach, kept my shoulders down, flexed my knees.....all the things we strive to do.........I still could not feel him move, his hands were at my chest and I was moved back. The difference in the results was I didn't go as far and I had a soft landing. Next I tried to used my intent, trying to mover in and around John with it,,,,,, He still moved and moved me back......the only difference from John's perspective was I was doing something that made me more stable, but it didn't change the results. He said that he does not react to resistance, hence he does not generate in tension in himself and just moves without concern for me. Of course with me I had a hell of a time even getting my hands up without him stopping me. Years of practice with the correct approach.....

John also say that mechanically the grip he uses either aids the relaxation or it sets up tension in uke and normally then results in nage adding tension somewhere in their body and forcing a muscular manipulation.........all of what he is doing is not about manipulation. He uses a soft grip that uke does not respond to until the destabilization is to far gone. John slide his hand down my arm softly and then moved it across my body..... I couldn't stop it even when I knew it was coming. If he squeezed even a little I reacted and he couldn't move me. This all slow. Done at speed I would react to the clamp grip, but could not to the soft grip. This is why I am on this path even at this time in my life.

As for the video of the Ki Aikido that Carsten linked....I was in Ki Society back in the '70 and we had instructors who demonstration of Aikido was exactly the same, waving hands and the like. To me it is no more effective today and it was then.......keeping in mind that none of these folks had the training that Tohei Sensei had......

Just go straight

Gary

RonRagusa 02-26-2012 08:56 PM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Gary Welborn wrote: (Post 303925)
It is John approach only through total relaxation can the body work as one and truly accomplish the things that we in Aikido claim as our goals. He also said, and this is my experience also, that any unwanted tension in the body as you are moving voids the benefits of being relaxed,,,,,,requiring a muscular forcing of the outcome. While it may not be popular with some on this forum, this is what Dan has been saying also. The other common theme here is the time and work needed to get to the continuous relaxtion while moving and that you have to take the right approach or you will never get there.

Hi Gary -

You have nicely summed up what is a core element in the Aikido Mary and I practice and teach.

Quote:

Gary Welborn wrote: (Post 303925)
As I had brought up aiki age John used that as the model. I grabbed his wrists, held them the first time in a tight grip, braced myself to hold him down...and the next moment his hands were at my chest and his body was end to me with his center under mine. I was popped back several feet landing on shift legs. The next few times I changed my grip, settled myself, tried the one body approach, kept my shoulders down, flexed my knees.....all the things we strive to do.........I still could not feel him move, his hands were at my chest and I was moved back. The difference in the results was I didn't go as far and I had a soft landing. Next I tried to used my intent, trying to mover in and around John with it,,,,,, He still moved and moved me back......the only difference from John's perspective was I was doing something that made me more stable, but it didn't change the results. He said that he does not react to resistance, hence he does not generate in tension in himself and just moves without concern for me. Of course with me I had a hell of a time even getting my hands up without him stopping me. Years of practice with the correct approach.....

Based on other posts of yours that I have read, and what you have posted above, I think you would find that what Mary and I practice on the mat is very similar to your experiences (especially the exercise you describe above). When Mary writes about uke sincerely following nage it's in reference to uke continuing the attack throughout the encounter, trying to keep his balance and continuing to pour energy into his attack; not blindly following along like a puppy on a leash.

Best,

Ron

robin_jet_alt 02-26-2012 09:20 PM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Ron Ragusa wrote: (Post 303929)
When Mary writes about uke sincerely following nage it's in reference to uke continuing the attack throughout the encounter, trying to keep his balance and continuing to pour energy into his attack; not blindly following along like a puppy on a leash.

Best,

Ron

Now that is a different kettle of fish. I'm not sure I would call that "following" though.

RonRagusa 02-26-2012 09:33 PM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Robin Boyd wrote: (Post 303930)
Now that is a different kettle of fish. I'm not sure I would call that "following" though.

Hi Robin -

You can think of it as following through with the attack if that helps.

Best,

Ron

Carsten Möllering 02-27-2012 03:30 AM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Ron Ragusa wrote: (Post 303929)
...continuing to pour energy into his attack ...

Thank you! According to my experience this names a crucial point.

I don't know what you understand as to continually pour energy into the attack. But it is a formula well known to me. I was taught this also years ago and I know a number of teachers who use this formula to describe good uke behaviour.

But in my context now and in the way I understand it, it describes a way of uke behavior I try to avoid. Because continually pouring energy into the attack leads to an aritificial behaviour of an attacker, that can only be found in aikidō as far as I see. Practicing with jūdōka or karateka immediatly shows the difference.

If the attack is over, it is over. Maybe a next one may follow. But a strike is simply a strike. A punch is simply a punch. And a grip is not made to pour out energy, but ot controll and fix uke. (Maybe by using energy but that's something different.)
We clearly learn, that yokomen uchi does not cut through like kesa giri, but ends at the head (level). Same with shomen uchi. Both attacks have a clear endpoint. We practice suburi (tai jutsu) very often.
If tori succeeds to connect to uke and take over everything is fine. But then uke doesn't have to worry what to do: He "is done" by tori. He does not need to care about pouring energy.

I don't know whether what you mean by "continuing to pour energy into his attack" is identicall with what is understood and practiced here by teachers who say so. I believe it is the same, because it makes great sense if aikidō is understood in a certain way. One part of this is understanding aiki mainly as blending with the outward movements of a partner. So to be able to do aiki you simply have to have such movement or at least the intention (>pouring out energy) of the partner.

So if I am right your formula again describes a clear difference between my pardigm of understanding the essence of the technical work of aikidō and yours/Marys.

In my context I know from experience that this is not only about words and phrases but leads to different ways of practice. When I began to see things different - and stopped to continually pour energy into my attack - my aikidō changed. I had to learn a lot of things completely new.

Ernesto Lemke 02-27-2012 02:30 PM

Re: goals
 
Hello Carsten,

I think you nicely and adequatly described two almost polar opposite approaches' that both (plus everything in between) co-exist under the umbrella that is aikido.
Whether it is due to factionalism; the variety with which Ueshiba's teachings was interpreted; Ueshiba's inability/indifference/choice (take your pick) to transmit what he did the way he did, the fact is there are different sometimes contrasting views as to what aikido IS and this evidently also crosses over to the expectations for what constitutes ukemi.

I'm really hoping we can go over some of this when (if?) we meet in April. We seem to be much on the same page. As for the opposite view, it's a major reason I stopped attending aikido seminars...it's really a waste of my time. To each his own I suppose...

hughrbeyer 02-27-2012 03:09 PM

Re: goals
 
So, Carsten, when did things change? Did you switch schools or what?

The only thing I take issue with in your last post is the reference to sword practice. My understanding is that with a sword also if the attack misses or is parried, it's over. You don't swing through, you don't continue the attack--you either get out of there, or change the attack to whatever makes sense given the new situation (which may, of course, include parrying the counter-strike). In other words, just about exactly what you said about empty-hand practice.

LinTal 02-27-2012 11:30 PM

Re: goals
 
This is something which I am only just starting to see and explore, so thank you very much everyone for sharing!

I have one question; what (if anything) in the dynamic is affected if to the people training have differing perspectives?

robin_jet_alt 02-28-2012 12:01 AM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Selin Talay wrote: (Post 304103)
This is something which I am only just starting to see and explore, so thank you very much everyone for sharing!

I have one question; what (if anything) in the dynamic is affected if to the people training have differing perspectives?

Well, there have been a few responses that I have found:

1. "why won't my technique work?"
2. "you are spoiling my technique. Don't do that. You are doing ukemi wrong!"
3. "ouch. you threw me. Don't do that again!"
4. "what was that? I want to learn that!"

Now I'm not saying that I have inspired all of those responses. I am not good enough to inspire number 4 very often. But, these are the sorts of responses I find from people from one perspective who train with experienced people from the other. Obviously, only number 4 leads to effective training.

Mary and Ron will probably give you the other side of the coin.

LinTal 02-28-2012 12:15 AM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Robin Boyd wrote: (Post 304108)
Well, there have been a few responses that I have found:

1. "why won't my technique work?"
2. "you are spoiling my technique. Don't do that. You are doing ukemi wrong!"
3. "ouch. you threw me. Don't do that again!"
4. "what was that? I want to learn that!"
.

I have a great fondness for #1. :D

robin_jet_alt 02-28-2012 03:43 AM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Selin Talay wrote: (Post 304113)
I have a great fondness for #1. :D

I admit that I often find myself saying number 1 too :)

Carsten Möllering 02-28-2012 05:16 AM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Hugh Beyer wrote: (Post 304044)
So, Carsten, when did things change? Did you switch schools or what?

I think most of it had been there all the time, but I (... my then teacher ...) didn't realize what it really was.
Some years ago I left my first teacher for different reasons. The new teacher I chose, had practiced with Yamaguchi sensei and was a student of Sugino Yoshio (and is student of his son now). Things began to change. And what had been there, but had been hidden and was not really understood by my first teacher, could unfold now.

But the major change happened when I began to try to follow Endo sensei (like also my teacher does). My thinking, that aikidō has to become something internal, met his working on atari, musubi, body structure. And his speaking in Daoist terms suddenly oppenend up a new understanding of things.

But until now I can fine talk about it. But really performing it is very very poor.

@ Ernesto:
I think you migth understand why I'm looking forward to April so eager that I even delayed my "family duties".

Quote:

Hugh Beyer wrote:
The only thing I take issue with in your last post is the reference to sword practice.

I'm not aware I wrote about sword practice?

Quote:

My understanding is that with a sword also if the attack misses or is parried, it's over. ... just about exactly what you said about empty-hand practice.
This is my understanding too.

RonRagusa 02-28-2012 08:02 AM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Robin Boyd wrote: (Post 304108)
1. "why won't my technique work?"
2. "you are spoiling my technique. Don't do that. You are doing ukemi wrong!"
3. "ouch. you threw me. Don't do that again!"
4. "what was that? I want to learn that!"

Mary and Ron will probably give you the other side of the coin.

The other side of that coin:

"?krow euqinhcet ym t'now yhw .1
"!gnorw imeku gniod era uoY .that od t'noD . euqinhcet ym gniliops era ouy" .2
"!niaga taht od t'noD .em wreht uoy .hcuo" .3
"!taht nrael ot tnaw I ?taht saw tahw" .4

:)

Ron

robin_jet_alt 02-28-2012 01:39 PM

Re: goals
 
Quote:

Ron Ragusa wrote: (Post 304156)
The other side of that coin:

"?krow euqinhcet ym t'now yhw .1
"!gnorw imeku gniod era uoY .that od t'noD . euqinhcet ym gniliops era ouy" .2
"!niaga taht od t'noD .em wreht uoy .hcuo" .3
"!taht nrael ot tnaw I ?taht saw tahw" .4

:)

Ron

Wow. Writing that out takes dedication. I take my hat off to you. :)

hughrbeyer 02-28-2012 02:14 PM

Re: goals
 
Hah. It all goes back to Yamaguchi. He was Endo's teacher too, wasn't he?

You didn't mention sword explicitly, but you did mention kesa giri and that was enough for me. :)

DH 02-28-2012 03:11 PM

Re: goals
 
People say all sorts of things about their practice. What is clear-abundantly clear- rom watching thousands of video and training with thousands of people is that for many, what they say and what they think they are doing is not the same with what they actually do. And in my experience...they don't even know how or why.
It's that bad out there. Its like talking physics to people learning math.

If someone can find me enough video-say only 10% of the available videos out there where uke
DOES NOT CHANGE HIS BODY AFTER ATTACKING...TO A COMPLIANT, RECEIVING, BODY I will discuss changing my overall assessment. Until then all I have to say is what most people describe as nage/ uke movement is not even close to uke "continuing their attack." It's not even an attack much less continuing. Therefore as several continue to point out just here in the above posts, and in other threads...what they are doing is not a martial art. It's something different.
a. I am not picking out any one person or method
b. I am not even thinking just aikido-this voluntary collapsing and receiving is infecting dojo's everywhere and some one has convinced ya'll it's a good thing to do.
c. It is not Martial and it is not Budo, it's something different. That's okay, but we can't just claim to know martial arts or budo without the cost. And there are plenty of real budo people who can demonstrate that lesson...and that right quick!
In the 21st century, we need to do better or the TMA won't last.
Dan

DH 02-28-2012 03:42 PM

Re: goals
 
I remember this debate taking place in the editorial/feedback pages of Aikido Today magazine when they were publishing and hosting these "movement seminars" and the readership rebelled to the point that Susan said she would no longer publish these letters to the Editor complaining that aikido was a martial art and that stuff was nonsensical as a budo.
Then the magazine died.
Luckily Stan over at Aikido Journal was open to all voices.
Again though, this stuff (I think it comes from Western Suburbanites) is starting to infiltrate budo everywhere. How many people in budo today know how or ever consistently train to handle a skilled and sustained attack by a trained person....wait...outside of their dojo?
If your goal is martial arts, then Uke/nage training requires serious thought to make it useful and real in a martial context... and it can be trainefd that way!
Dan


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