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Mike Sigman 07-03-2005 05:18 PM

Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
I have been off-and-on talking to some people off-line about doing a sort of ki and kokyu "sharing" and rather than burdening one of the regular posters with soliciting for potential interest (which he very kindly offered to do, but I'm now thinking it unfair to saddle him with), I wanted to throw out the thought and see if there is any interest and at the same time solicit comments and make a few of my own.

What I have in mind is a one-time, Aikido-oriented workshop that is 2 days (about 6 hours each day) long. I'll do the workshop for free, but I'd ask that the attendees chip in to pay for my travel, lodging, rent of venue (if any), and meals. Assuming there are 20-30 attendees (I don't like to work with more than 30 people because I need to personally interact with people and 30 is enough), for the workshop should certainly be less than $100 (maybe a lot less), depending on where it's held geographically, etc. I can't do this workshop before late this year or (preferably) Jan-Feb of 2006.

I'll work up a syllabus, although I have a few general things in mind:

*How to form relaxed but powerful kokyu strength
*Using this form of strength in movement and shifting all movement to "from the dantien"
*Using this form of strength in selected applications, "ki tests", ukemi, joint locks, and pins, and hitting.
*Starting to develop ki: how to do it, some practices, relevant qigongs and how they actually work, etc.


Of course, it's sort of a pig-in-a-poke for anyone thinking about coming; particularly if they have preconceptions about what ki, kokyu, etc., are, what they already know, what I could know, etc. Not to mention you might get a situation reminiscent of the Mark Tennenhouse discussion. ;) On the plus side, you'll get a chance to post your impressions of the material and my ability to do it... on the downside, I might get a chance to post my impressions. ;)

On the other hand, there's a gamble in it for me, as well. It's fairly difficult and uncommon to find people who can not only grasp what the information is about in toto… it's extremely rare to find people who can not only grasp it but who can also recognize the magnitude of the required change and commit to it effectively. When I got my first inkling of the magnitude of the information, I immediately stopped practicing everything I had been doing and began to rebuild while looking for more and more information… but I was not a "teacher" of any sort, so there were no pride issues or other tangents from being a senior student or other pecking order stuff, etc.

The real problem is that this stuff is not an "additive" that can just be tacked onto what someone has been doing for x-number of years, yet it is a keystone to the arts that use ki in movement, as Aikido, Taiji, Bagua, etc., do. I know that from experience and I know from experience that most people can't really accept the idea of something basic being missing in what they already do, so they tend to reject the importance largely on that criterion. Some can, however, look at the problem and information without getting distracted by personal issues…. and that's the kind of people I'd like to get in the workshop if I'm going to offer my time and knowledge for free. I'd prefer to have ikkyu and up of people who will viably be teaching the next generation of Aikidoists.

Anyway, the idea is to see if there is enough interest to do it, determine an adequate location that is not geographically extreme, thoughts on places to hold it in a given locale, solicit suggestions and thoughts on content of the workshop, feasibility of the concept, miscellaneous thoughts, etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

aikigirl10 07-03-2005 05:36 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
This sounds interesting. Keep us posted w/ location and more information.
I'd love to do it , if it was in my area. Let us know when you know more about it.

Rupert Atkinson 07-03-2005 06:50 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
A little far for me, but what I'd like to see are genuine workshops where various people are put out in the middle and given the opportunity to show and EXPLAIN what they are doing, and let others have the chance to try. There are many ideas out there and they need to be brought together. Also, IMHO, many high rankers who you might like to invite would probably steal the show and offer less than you think. I'd like to see workshops by keen students for keen students.

Mike Sigman 07-03-2005 08:57 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Paige Frazier wrote:
This sounds interesting. Keep us posted w/ location and more information.
I'd love to do it , if it was in my area. Let us know when you know more about it.

Hi Paige:

Well, you'd be more than welcome, as long as you're ikkyu or up, as I wrote. The essence of what we'll do are the things that make smaller people, including a lot of women, as strong or stronger than most men... so I think it would be something physically skilled and dedicated practitioners who are women would get a lot out of.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman 07-03-2005 09:04 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote:
Also, IMHO, many high rankers who you might like to invite would probably steal the show and offer less than you think. I'd like to see workshops by keen students for keen students.

Well the general idea is to have a workshop full of cold-eyed craftsmen and who will pass these things on, once they've put in the time to honestly be able to do so. And I've had many "high rankers" at various workshops covering similar (but not Aikido-related) workshops. Rank, size, etc., has little to do with it. The real problem with "high rankers" has been that it's always been pretty obvious they're no better at doing these things than the beginners in far too many cases. I just don't want to fight the egos or other battles... so much so that I'm willing to do this one-time thing for expenses in order that I can call the shots on who's there. And incidentally, I don't have a school, I don't make any portion of my livelihood, etc., in martial arts... I only do workshops if and when I feel like it. :)

Mike

Mark Mueller 07-04-2005 05:32 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Mike,

We have exchanged a few emails in the past...I would be very interested. Hell, I would even visit you in Durango if you were available...I love that place.

Regards,

Mark

Mike Sigman 07-04-2005 06:42 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Mark Mueller wrote:
I would be very interested.

Hi Mark:

I'll put your name on the list; I already have your PM. A few others have pm'ed, so we'll see how it goes. Any public suggestions, thoughts, etc., are welcomed about content, etc.

I've had a few people privately suggest things like "fa jin" and I should clarify that right now, BTW. I want to cover things that are (1.) in the syllabus of Aikido as done by recongnized "big dogs" and (2.) things that can be effectively accomplished within a 2-day workshop. I don't mind discussing power releases briefly, during a break, whatever, but a lot of the "powers" are really the manipulation of conditioned basic skills and it's more important to spend time on the skills, which we can really only do a moderate overview of in 2 days, given the number of interrelated topics. Primarily, though, "fa jin" in the full sense is not something I've ever seen in Aikido, so I don't think it's something we should worry about.

One thing that I might mention is that within the last couple of days I was able to ask someone knowledgeable if he agreed with me that O-Sensei's and Shioda's talk about power coming from the big toe was probably a variant of something I usually hear mentioned with a different terminology (a common problem... different names for the same basic concept) and he told me that some people actually do use the "big toe" reference. That being the case, we can cover that part in the workshop, as well. The idea of O-Sensei doing "standing" exercises is clenched on enough fronts now that it's not really much of a discussion. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale 07-04-2005 10:35 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Hi Mike,

You know I'm up for it. Where ever we need to go...

Best,
Ron

aikigirl10 07-04-2005 04:20 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
do u know where it would be held mike?

Mike Sigman 07-04-2005 09:30 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Paige Frazier wrote:
do u know where it would be held mike?

Not yet, Paige. Not even an if or a when yet, much less a where. ;)

Regards,

Mike

eyrie 07-04-2005 10:15 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Australia sounds good..... oh specifically Brisbane Australia :D
I'm sure I can rustle up some numbers but they won't be all aikidoka....

Mike Sigman 07-05-2005 05:53 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
Australia sounds good..... oh specifically Brisbane Australia :D
I'm sure I can rustle up some numbers but they won't be all aikidoka....

I used to fly in and out of Australia fairly often, Ignatius, but I got to where I couldn't handle the length of time the flight took. I used to hallucinate that I was in Purgatory and when I'd finally atoned for my sins perhaps the flight would end. ;)

Thanks for the thought. This "workshop" is just meant to be a one-time discussion and how-to.... I have no intention of doing regular workshops for Aikido, but I'm happy to just meet, shoot the breeze, compare notes, etc., whenever possible.

Regards,

Mike

eyrie 07-05-2005 07:54 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
I guess we'll just have to wait for the day when virtual reality is virtually a reality. :( Now where's my Mike Sigman holosuite program? ;)

Alfonso 07-07-2005 04:33 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
sounds worthwhile.

Mike Sigman 07-07-2005 05:03 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
I guess we'll just have to wait for the day when virtual reality is virtually a reality.

Hi Ignatius:

Wouldn't work, as I suggested in the 3D virtual reality thread. As an example, pretend that you're standing in a "tree-hugging" posture, but feel that your arms are honestly wrapped around a tree with the bark up firmly against your chest. If you are holding the imaginary tree firmly you can sort of, almost without any discernible movement, "get under" the weight of the tree and apply a lifting force to it. Or you can apply almost your whole weight downward on your "tree". Or you can pull the tree toward you by sort of pulling (with the middle of your body) the whole tree toward you. Or you can apply a pushing force by moving your whole body forward. You can do all these things pretty much without moving. To an outside observer it appears that you don't move... yet you are managing pretty large forces with your middle. A 3D virtual reality program won't show this manipulation of forces, but will just show a person standing still in a "tree-hugging" posture. For that same reason, if someone is doing real Aikido, real Taiji, real Xingyi, etc., a virtual reality program will only show the external technique and will miss what *should* be going on with the kokyu manipulations. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman 07-07-2005 09:04 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
I had a little covey of emails from the local "death threat" godan asking me if I'll wear a gi, etc., at this workshop, and a number of other foaming-at-the-mouth remarks. But it's a good question. First of all, it's *IF* this workshop takes place (i.e., if we have enough people, can find a location, etc.). Secondly, no, I have no plans to pack my gi, hakama, etc. This workshop, as I envision it, will take a lot of 2-man exercises that will start very simply and gradually progress in complexity to develop some understanding and a modicum of skill in how ki and kokyu and related things work. The need to do ukemi will pretty much be non-existent... we could do this on a wooden or carpeted floor, no problem. So a bunch of us standing around in keiko-gi's is not necessary, even though some people cannot imagine an Aikido-related workshop where the usual uniform and rituals aren't present. ;^)

I remember when I first went to learn Chinese martial arts in a parking lot with an older Chinese gentleman, after my maybe 24 years in Japanese martial arts, wearing a gi, etc. It was sort of a mental shock, doing a martial art without any paraphernalia or bowing rituals, etc. Then again, it helps you concentrate on the subject.

There's a memory I have of a certain Aikidoist I used to know who was with me at a workshop by Yoshimitsu Yamada. We were doing some bokken work and this guy was picked as Uke during one turn by Yamada. He (the guy I'm talking about) kept doing all the hyper bowing and cooing you see some people do when handing over a bokken, placing it on the ground, etc. Finally, Yamada just stopped and looked at him and said, "It's just a stick. Quit bowing so much."

If it happens, it will be a "it's just a stick" workshop. No gi's. No bowing. Just talk and work.

FWIW

Mike

Don_Modesto 07-07-2005 09:42 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
I'll do the workshop for
free

Mike,

Thanks for the offer. Your posts are quite erudite, but could you take a moment to describe what you've trained in, with whom, for how long, and your teaching experience?

Thanks.

Mike Sigman 07-07-2005 10:12 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Don J. Modesto wrote:
Thanks for the offer. Your posts are quite erudite, but could you take a moment to describe what you've trained in, with whom, for how long, and your teaching experience?

Sure, I could do that and I think there are different bio's of me floating around the net, but let me point out the main reason why I don't flout my CV publicly very much (be glad to answer privately, though).

If I do a sort of gadfly approach, which I admit that I do, and I provoke some people, which I admit that I do although I claim justification, I don't feel like I can prod people into discussion while associating other peoples' names freely. If you see my point. If you, for example, had been a teacher of mine, wouldn't you appreciate it if I somehow separated my sometimes-provocative conversations from the use of your name? :) That's the reason I don't go out of my way to lean on other peoples' names.... that and the fact that usually no matter what someone's bio is, you never know what they can do until you meet them.

If you're interested in my teaching experience, publications, etc., type my name into Google. However, let me point out, as I have before, that I don't have a school, I don't make my living from anything martially related, and I only do workshops if I feel like it. My workshops, etc., all center around how to use the body for developing ki/qi-related skills... not a particular martial art. The martial arts I've studied for extended lengths of time are judo, karate, Aikido, Taiji, Xingyi, Bagua.

Regards,

Mike

PeterR 07-07-2005 10:48 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
So keep it simple and add a disclaimer.

Even the interview a google search threw out does not say very much.

A list of recent seminars wouldn't hurt.

Cagey responses, even if your reasons have merit, are too easily associated with a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately.

Don_Modesto 07-07-2005 10:58 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote:
So keep it simple and add a disclaimer.

Even the interview a google search threw out does not say very much.

A list of recent seminars wouldn't hurt.

Cagey responses, even if your reasons have merit, are too easily associated with a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately.

Couldn't have said it better. Thanks, Peter.

Mike Sigman 07-07-2005 11:26 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote:
So keep it simple and add a disclaimer.

Is that a command or a suggestion?
Quote:

Even the interview a google search threw out does not say very much.

A list of recent seminars wouldn't hurt.

Cagey responses, even if your reasons have merit, are too easily associated with a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately.
I couldn't care less about "a few members of a certain type" and the perception that I need to be called "cagey" by anyone. Don asked a polite question; I gave some information and said I would answer other things privately, for reasons I gave.

There are some people on this forum who have met me; if you're curious, ask around. That puts me well outside of the implied "a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately", I think. If you're in Japan, I sort of doubt that you're coming to the workshop, though.

There are the names of people who have been at workshops on a number of those hits... email them or call them. Try the Palo Alto workshop I gave earlier this year... it's on the first page of hits. If I was soliciting for workshops that I was charging for, etc., I'd feel duty-bound to lay out a good CV, but at the moment, all I've done is offer to give up my time and some pretty valuable information if some people will simply pay my expenses.... i.e., my time and the information are worth a lot more than anyone would come close to paying.

What you're thinking of as "cagey" really is more the way I handle questions about teaching people ki and kokyu type skills when I can't point my finger at someone and say "I studied how to do ki and kokyu things from this man". I didn't. I've had to accumulate my knowledge and demonstrable skills over many years, piecemeal, from various teachers and every source I could lay my hands on. So the logical part of me resists the idea that I should imply that "so-and-so directly and deliberately taught me how to do these things". It doesn't compute.

And BTW, this is the first time I've ever offered to do this... other than that I've only done workshops at the invitation of others and if I am interested in doing them. Even offering to do it, I'm fairly ambivalent... if you think about it, other than having disseminated some fairly sophisticated skills into a small portion of the Aikido community, I get nothing personal out of the workshop except the loss of a weekend of my life.

Mike

PeterR 07-07-2005 11:52 PM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Well it was a friendly suggestion.

Mike Sigman 07-08-2005 06:56 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote:
Well it was a friendly suggestion.

OK, fair enough. Your wording was a little blunt.

My "credentials" are pretty good, but I've got too many years of listening to and reading overblown "credentials" from people who can't do much to think much of most credentials conversations. As I said on another thread, the real problem in most martial arts is not the guys claiming rank, etc., that they don't have; the real problem is guys who distort slight experiences, a workshop or two, a trip to Japan, etc., into grandiose accomplishments... yet technically all they can be accused of is hyperbole. A good part of my reluctance to engage with many "teachers" is because of the rampant baloney in the credentials and resume of so many martial artists... I'm not sure I want to be friendly with someone and have it turn out that they're mainly a BS artist, so I take my time in getting to know people.


So there's a valid need and point in asking for someone's credentials if they're claiming to teach a martial art, but if I'm really curious about someone I start asking through the grapevine what they can really do. It's a good discussion and I don't fault anyone for bringing it up, even though it's not guaranteed to shed a lot of light in the case of ki and kokyu.

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale 07-08-2005 07:36 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
For what its worth, I'm familiar with some of the people who have met Mike and trained to some extent with him. I've heard that he can indeed deliver on what he speaks of. Some of those people post to this board. From what I've heard, I'll do my best to attend the workshop if possible. Don't know if that means much to many people.

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt 07-08-2005 07:42 AM

Re: Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop
 
Lots of aikido folks in CO. Seems like a few of them would be willing to get with you and do a "mini seminar" or something where there is not a lot of risk in expenses, investment etc.

Certainly a few of them might be pro and a few might be con, because we all know what a dicey subject KI can be! It is largely experiencial (sp?) as you point out so what works for some might now work of all!

That said, some reputable individuals that are honest should be willing to get with you and then come back and say..."wow, good stuff!" This guy is the shizzle!

Just some food for thought!


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