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ian 10-31-2005 07:51 AM

can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
This is related to previous threads (resulting that it was difficult to determine if Ueshiba was influenced by Chinese martial arts). BUT what wasn't solved is a pertinent question arising from these discussions:

- Can the study of chinese martial arts directly benefit aikido?

I propose that what Ueshiba was doing in aikido was not necessarily what he was teaching externally, and that internal aspects are poorly represented in aikido. Anecdotal evidence supporting this is from two instructors who trained under Ueshiba. One asked Ueshiba why they couldn't do it like him, and he replied 'because you don't understand yin and yang' and another stated that Ueshiba did not really teach what he knew.

I suggest that the internal practices of ki development (which in my experience are NOT included in ki-aikido) were practicsed by ueshiba but not his students, just as tai-chi was originally taught to the ruling class without the underlying internal practise.

IMHO chi-gung practices like 'holding the balloon' are useful for aikido (esp. understanding kokyu-nage, and having relaxed arms whilst they are raised). In aikido you hear instructors saying; use kokyu power, relax your shoulders, use your ki, use your centre yet very rarely are we told how to achieve this practically. Conversely in chinese martial arts (at least in tai-chi and chi-gung) there are specific breathing practices to develop chi/ki, to relax, to blend etc. If ki is such a large part of aikido, why are we not directly training to develop it?

This is not to say aikido is rubbish - I presonally think the 1 year in aikido is practically more useful than 1 year in tai-chi. However, are we missing something?!

grondahl 10-31-2005 08:19 AM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Ian, I guess that you already have read Ellis Amdurs blog "Hidden in plain sight" over at Aikidojournal.com and the following discussions (165 replys last time i checked)?

Kokyo development:
Personally I think this is the primary benifits of morote dori kokyo ho and suburi-training. (Tom Yawata stated on the discussion following the "Hidden..." that morote dori kokyo-ho as done in Iwama-style aikido has striking similarities to Yoshinkans exercises that aim to develop elbow power (Hiriki no yosei?) )

But then again, Im a noob.

Training in chinese arts: It could certainly be beneficial for ones development in aikido, but if I had a choice I would rather seek an opportunity to train in Daito Ryu since it seems that it contains quite a bit of internal training.

roosvelt 10-31-2005 09:55 AM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Quote:

Ian Dodkins wrote:
This is related to previous threads (resulting that it was difficult to determine if Ueshiba was influenced by Chinese martial arts). BUT what wasn't solved is a pertinent question arising from these discussions:

- Can the study of chinese martial arts directly benefit aikido?

Definitely. But the problem is from who you can learn the Chinese martial arts.

If you think Aikido is not very effective in teaching the "internal power", I believe it's worse in Chinese martial art.

I think only a few person who actually accquired the "internal power". And it may not be good to your health. I think O'sensei once said if he hadn't learned how to dodge bullet, he might have lived longer. So they don't really want to teach.

Another posibility is that those who achieved that level don't know how to get there. They can only teach you what they've done, but they don't really know which part of the excercise is essential.

ian 10-31-2005 11:24 AM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Interesting feed-back. I'd certainly say suburi has increased hand-centre coordination and ability to drop the centre. Also, I have heard of problems of people incorrectly using internal practises (a friend had kidney trouble after doing chi-gung one time, and the alternative therapist spotted it immediately); generally you need a very skilled teacher.

As an aside - I have been reading the tai-chi classics, and if there was ever anything that was appropriate to aikido it is these.

Ben Joiner 10-31-2005 11:31 AM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Interesting thread, what are the tai-chi classics?

Kevin Leavitt 10-31-2005 12:05 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
As a student of statistics, i'd say the good ole bell curve and pareto principle would apply to Martial arts as well. out of 100 students, 80% will simply "not get it". The other 20% will grasp the concepts, and maybe one or two can acheive a level considered "mastery". However, it would be very few that could/would acheive the level of enlightment or understanding that some one of O'sensei's.

I'd say even if you had the right art that had all the right exercises, AND had the master himself, then maybe one out of 1000 would even get close to replicating that level of performance or mastery!

Certainly I'd say the Chinese arts have something to offer. If nothing else a different perspective. You can't be clubbed over the head enough with the same concepts and different methodologies! Something just might click for you in a different art!

Chuck.Gordon 10-31-2005 12:20 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Ian asks:
>Can the study of chinese martial arts directly benefit aikido?

No.

j0nharris 10-31-2005 01:55 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
I've been studying Aikido for a little over 10 years, & fell in with an excellent Tai Chi instructor about 4 1/2 years ago - very meticulous in body movement for the forms.
I would have to say that tai chi has definitely helped me in my Aikido, and the other way around, too. It also helps that we do some Tai Chi technique, as well, & not just the forms.
Tai Chi movement is from the center, as is Aikido, & doing it slowly without resistance helps focus on relaxation while moving, similar to doing weapons suburi or kihon paired practice to get the body/footwork correct before moving into the awase foms for kumi tachi.
It took a couple of years for me to see the benefit to my movement on the mat, but it's definitely there.
Having learned to relax & sit into my qua makes a big difference in how well I can blend on the mat, too, without getting out of my center too often.

justinc 10-31-2005 02:49 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
I feel it helps greatly, particularly in the area of developing better centering and balance. The exercises are typically quite different, but if you keep in mind the principles they are teaching and how they relate to the same principles in Aikido, you'll gain a great benefit from them. They are also really handy for when you travel a lot like me, and can't get down to the local dojo to train. The single person exercises and the forms help continue to train your basic principles without needing a partner.

Dirk Hanss 10-31-2005 04:59 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Saotome said recently that his aikido definitely benefits from sewing. That fine needlework improves his sensitivity he needs for takemusu aiki. Playing guitar or other instruments could help as well.

So probably any similar art could support aikido, even Chinese paintings or Chinese pottery.

Maybe that is not what you were looking for.

In beginner classes we did a lot of tai chi to improve our balance and the feeling for where you are and where you are moving to.

So if you ask if your personal aikido would benefit from other (martial) arts, it is just like the cross-traing questions and Chinese arts are not better by themselves as other martial art.

And if you ask if the aikido techniques should be improved applying principles or techniques of (Chinese) MA, I would say, not necessarily, but you can develop your own aikido. If you are good enough and your aikido is convincing, that might change aikido in total, or just create yet another organisation ;)

Kind regards Dirk

Janet Rosen 10-31-2005 05:30 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
There are aikido instructors who do emphasize the internal.

Devon Natario 10-31-2005 06:16 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
I can only hope that some of you see this and understand it.

Aikido is the study or practice of harmonizing energy.

If you can feel your opponents energy than manipulation is simple.

This means that is you practice with a partner over and over and over again, you are going to learn to feel their energy. Now continue this in other arts. Feel their energy. Not everyone on the street is going to come at you Aikido style. So now that times have long passed, it is time to apply Aiki in other ways.

Learn how to relax and empty yourself and trust in the techniques even in Karate, Kung-Fu, etc etc. It doesnt matter what you take, it will improve your Aikido. Why? Because you are responding to an attack.

How many kicks do you respond to in Aikido? Should you practice that more? How many times have you had to respond to a single or double leg takedown? How many times have you had to try to blend to a Muay Thai style kick? How many times have you tried your Aikido on a boxer? How many times have you used your Aikido outside of Aikido?

My personal belief is that you train your Aikido in every way possible. Staying in parameters only leaves you in a confined space of learning.

Why did Ueshiba travel to learn? To get outside of the box. You should take his example and run with it. It worked for him, and it will continue to work for everyone that is in search for knowledge.

It is the students that think they have found everything they are looking for that will not go any further than they are now.

Many Aikidoist look to Ueshiba's example in Aikido, but they leave out his example in the overall martial arts world. Be like him, learn everything you can.

George S. Ledyard 10-31-2005 06:21 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Ones Aikido practice can benefit from almost any training one does... Chinese arts, Aiki-jutsu, Systema, Iaido, Kenjutsu, etc. It just depends on what your prioities are? Do you train in another art simply to make your Aikido better or are you training to master the other form?

I think that at some point one makes ones choices and then tries to take his art out to the limit. Just because one "masters" one style, that does not mean one has mastered all. Many of the senior Americans in Japanese martial arts started in Aikido but chose to do other styles eventually. This gives them a unique insight into Aikido from their special perspectives but it doesn't mean they operate at the highest levels of Aikido. A kobudo man is a kobudo man not an Aikido man.

As Ellis Amdur Sensei once said, you tend to "become" the style you train in, although he certainly meant having given that style a whole hearted commitment. Do enough T'ai Chi and you are a T'ai Chi practitioner, even though you might have started in Aikido. Do both equally and I am not sure that you get to the depths of either... just my own supposition.

Mike Fugate 10-31-2005 11:02 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
I think that just because you "know" the techniques in Aikido doesnt mean you "understand" what they truly are or where they come from. Many people who practice Kata, could never explain what they are doing, and the few who could tell only a few of those would be able to explain the orgins and applications. In Chinese Kung Fu, it is very addaptible to situations, it flows, much like the philosophy of Aikido. I study O-Mei Kung Fu, along with Shorei Goju-ryu Karate and Aikido. It isnt a separate practice and study but it is all together. Being a Kung Fu artist, I have been able to pick up Aikido without as much difficulty as I have doing the Kung Fu techniques. Styles like Eagle Claw, and Dragon are remarkably close to Aikido, for they offer joint manipulation, energy redirection, and internal power. Do I think Aikido can bennift from Chinese Arts? No, I think Aikido is a beautiful art and is fine the way it is, but I think the practitioner can bennifit.
You must not worry about what style you are going to use, that is where I used to mess up all the time, it is until I just "flow" as Bruce Lee stated, that I begin to realize techniques arising that I didnt even mean to do....it just happens. Many of times strikes do fly, blocks are executed only to be turned right into what many would consider an AIkido move,,,,to me it is doing what must be done. I would have to say the fluidity of Kung Fu, and the walking techniques is what has abled me to pick up Aikido techniques the way I have. The internal practices are Extremely important too, to me the Shaolin practices of this has been the most helpfull to me, and the most complete. :ki:

ian 11-01-2005 03:08 AM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
I don't agree that cross-training per se compliments aikido. I've done some karate, tang-soo-do and judo and I believe none of them helped to improve blending or my aikido (except for being able to see what other people may do). I think this is for the same reason Ueshiba forbade competition - many martial arts encourage a struggle, and the use of force over skill development. Indeed, if the connection is not seen, you are effectively just training in seperate martial arts. For example, I don't think I'd ever be able to get to the skill level where I was using my centre for sewing in such a way that it improved my sensetivity in aikido. However, I'd agree, that we have to 'look out the box'.

Thanks for all the replies - I shall carry on training and reflecting! (and practising my chi-gung!)

Ian

ian 11-01-2005 05:57 AM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
My apologies - almost forgot. One of you wanted info on the tai-chi classics.

Its nice to buy a book:
(many out there, I've only read this, which is pretty good:)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...477834-8743635


and there are copies on the internet:

http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/classics.htm

http://scheele.org/lee/classics.html#expositions

http://www.karott.com/taichi/resources/classics.asp

Upyu 11-01-2005 04:10 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
The guy I study under here in Tokyo doesn't teach a specific style persay, although what he does smacks of chinese internal arts and Japanese Koryu training.

That said, it's been two years since I started training under him, and in that time I've been able to progress to the point where I can use what Tom Yawata (from the Aikidojournal blog) terms hiriki, or Kokyu paths (sans the breath work).

Anyways I was able to step on the mat at the Tokyo branch of the Tomiki Aikido place here and execute their moves with no prior instruction in Aikido. If you understand that principal of "Kokyu" path, and the "ire-kae" footwork that's prevalent in JMA and CMA (especially hsing-i) then most of the moves are fairly self-explanatory. (Most of them thought I had several years Daitoryu or Aikido training...lol)

On a more personal note, I was kind of dissapointed to see that the Tomiki Aikido peeps here in Tokyo had more or less no knowledge of Kokyu-power and were trying to execute the moves using timing/simple leverage/ w/ applied brute force.

When one of their black belts couldn't throw me, he asked me to stop "resisting" and to "uke" properly...which was kind of ironic cuz I was "uke"ing him, he just wasn't doing "kuzushi" properly :-p

More telling was the fact that when I asked the head instructor some point blank biomechanical related questions about Kokyu-paths he basically gave me a deer in the headlights look..

Before anyone gets offended, I just want to say that I didn't give this example to say that Tomiki Aikido blows or Aikido blows, you should study CMA etc...

Really this could have gone either way. It depends on how well the instructor has a grasp on these basic concepts and whether he can teach them. If he does, then there's no real need to cross train in CMA. (i.e. if I had a rockin Aikido teacher who understood the concepts, and how to teach them, I could have just as well done the opposite and schooled a bunch of CMA people at push hands after studying aikido)

The Tomiki class students I encountered, most likely, will never really get any of this stuff, if only because of the way that they train(And I must say their curriculum sucked...or rather the way they carried it out) But that's a direct result of incompetance on the instructor's level, no more no less.

Btw, I'll be the first to say that CMA instructors that can perform this stuff are rare in Japan and the States(and for that matter China ^^; ). Even rarer are instructors that can teach it to their students. I've been lucky in that I've been able to meet several teachers that're both (For those willing to try new things, Sam Chin in NY is the bomb.. can both use and teach these key concepts).

Just my two cents

aikigirl10 11-01-2005 04:35 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Quote:

Ian Dodkins wrote:
- Can the study of chinese martial arts directly benefit aikido?

YES

PeterR 11-01-2005 06:15 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
So John who was the Tomiki instructor. Frankly speaking kuzushi is the bread and butter of Tomiki Aikido and resistance is a present to some of these guys. Unless of course you were doing kata training where the level and type of resistance is very specific - stepping outside of that your first time in is well ...

Secondly - Tomiki people do their kokyu training through drills such as kiriki no yosie and shote-awase. We use quite specific terms and descriptions. If you come in using jargon foreign to the practice they know - well my response would be less polite than the deer in the headlights but that's just me.

I have my own ideas what constitutes good Aikido - could your instructor throw me with his pinky if I approached him with the same attititude you seem to have displayed.

PeterR 11-01-2005 06:18 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
With respect to the question at hand. I think cross training between arts tends to focus your training within your own art. New or different ways of looking at the same thing often help clarify what is already there.

So yes exposure to Chinese arts could probably help my own Aikido. Not so sure about improving Aikido in general.

xuzen 11-01-2005 07:39 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Can aikido benefit from Chinese art?
My take is no. My own understanding is that Chinese art are too complicated and flowery in contrast to aikido. I see aikido movement as very much derived from Kenjutsu; its movement is precise, minimalist and economical. Ever see how a Chinese jian or dao performer do their routine? It is so different from a kenjutsu practitioner isn't it. So my take is that.... NO, they are too different in philosophy, style, skill set and mentality to be of mutually beneficial. I would view them separately as two distinct art.

However, as Ian point out wrt to kokyu, ki and internal power, I think such things exist in both arts; aikido and Chinese kung fu. As a matter of fact, internal power also exist in Indian martial art, Russian sambo, Greek Pankratian, BJJ, GrecoRoman Wrestling, Synchronized swimming, Figure Skating....etc etc. It is how it is been taught or emphasizes that differs between the various art.

Boon.

Upyu 11-01-2005 08:20 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Quote:

Xu Wenfung wrote:
Can aikido benefit from Chinese art?
My take is no. My own understanding is that Chinese art are too complicated and flowery in contrast to aikido. I see aikido movement as very much derived from Kenjutsu; its movement is precise, minimalist and economical. Ever see how a Chinese jian or dao performer do their routine? It is so different from a kenjutsu practitioner isn't it. So my take is that.... NO, they are too different in philosophy, style, skill set and mentality to be of mutually beneficial. I would view them separately as two distinct art.

They are but they aren't ;)

Ever seen Hsing-i/Xin-i or other related fist styles performed?
I think you'll find most good CMA is minamalist in training :D
Anything else is simply an expression of the "core concepts" to make things more interesting for the outsider, or just confuse them(Plenty of that in the JMA & CMA world).

"they are too different in philosophy, style, skill set and mentality to be of mutually beneficial"

Dunno about that. For those interested I suggest reading the blog by Ellis on aikidojournal.com
Ueshiba's "flip" in thinking which he alludes to in his esoteric babblings is pretttty similar in essence to what the old school chinese teachers talk about.
Come to think of it, both sides of the fence get overtly verbose and "flowery" when describing the same stuff ;)

Another thing to think about, we only have two arms and two legs, a head and maybe sometimes a brain.
There's only a limited number of ways you can use the body effeciently, and the philosophies that accompany this "use" of the body are only so many. ( I think)

David Yap 11-01-2005 09:03 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Quote:

Xu Wenfung wrote:
...snip...
However, as Ian point out wrt to kokyu, ki and internal power, I think such things exist in both arts; aikido and Chinese kung fu. As a matter of fact, internal power also exist in Indian martial art, Russian sambo, Greek Pankratian, BJJ, GrecoRoman Wrestling, Synchronized swimming, Figure Skating....etc etc. It is how it is been taught or emphasizes that differs between the various art.

Boon.

Hi Boon,

First you said NO and then you qualified with a "yes"... :D

Happy holidays

David Y

PeterR 11-01-2005 09:12 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Hi David;

Did he really? The way I read his convulutions is that you can't bring something to an art that is already there AND the arts (I think he was overgeneralizing) are so different that one way of teaching or emphasis can't help the other.

I tend to disagree with the latter in that we often get stuck trying to learn something one way and exposure to a different approach might give that ah ha moment that we needed.

xuzen 11-01-2005 09:19 PM

Re: can aikido benefit from chinese arts?
 
Quote:

David Yap wrote:
Hi Boon,

First you said NO and then you qualified with a "yes"... :D

Happy holidays

David Y

Ah yes, Happy Holidays to you too. For those uninformed, it is long public holiday in Malaysia (1 week). Coincidently, Deepawali (a Hindu festival) and Aidilfirti (a Muslim festival) are just only a day apart, creating a long and well look-forward public holiday.

Boon.


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