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kokyu 11-10-2005 06:30 AM

The Sixth Sense
 
Because people know that I practice Aikido, I get "tested" on my awareness from time time... For example, a Karateka who was a classmate of mine would suddenly appear in front of my face and launch a mock punch to my stomach. One of my office colleagues would suddenly throw a ball in my direction to check my reflexes... Needless to say, I didn't see them coming... :rolleyes:

I was wondering whether one's awareness improves the longer one practices Aikido. In other words, can we develop a type of sixth sense? A former Sensei used to say that he could "see" us when were bowing to the shomen even though his back was facing us. In other words, he could sense our movements clearly even though he couldn't see us directly.

One way of developing my awareness is perhaps through meditation - e.g. closing the eyes and focusing on the sounds around me. Another is trying to practice with my eyes closed - although I'm quite likely to get hit!

Really appreciate everyone's comments on this.

Dirk Hanss 11-10-2005 06:53 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Hi Kokyu,
if awareness is expecting friend turn to mean at any time, this would be a sorrowful world.
So if a friend or colleague tries to test your reflexes, the best reply is not to move at all. They can choose the moment and the distance and few people would be able to react in time properly. Not even react at all at least would show a firm and confident character. Nevertheless your reflexes should improve.

The second part is more sensitivity. If you are able to feel things happen without really seeing them, it is great. if for example you feel that your karateka friend tries to do something, you might take distance or enter too close to allow him a real punch.

It seems to be all infantile habit, but it is the same, when you feel an accident happen. Or if you "see" a stranger change his attitute to aggressive, you can react before something happens and potentially avoid the conflict.

First you just should practice normal aikido. If you are alrready excellent, you will find many ways to extend. When you want to practice with closed eyes, it is fine if your partner is aware. Otherwise a fully committed attack could hurt.

Kind regards Dirk

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer 11-10-2005 07:08 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Awareness is something you train all the time, constantly, whenever you train sincerely and seriously. Anticipating and blending with your partner's moves and intententions, avoiding bumping into others on a crowded mat, taking care of a newcomer and making sure he is comfortable, cleaning the mats before class, taking care of the dojo, all this trains your awareness. The other important thing, I think, is having a clear and open mind, the empty mind of mushin, where you can look at a tree and see every single leaf because you do not focus on one single leaf. Meditation certainly helps in achieving this, but sincere training is very much like meditation in this respect. Many sensei said that training is like cleansing the mind, polishing the mind like wiping dirt from a mirror and making it shine and reflect the world. So I don't believe that it is necessary to do something special if you want to increase your awareness. Just train and be sincere about it.

Steve Mullen 11-10-2005 07:35 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
There is a child's game i use to play whereby a person is sat in the middle of the room (this only works on wooden floors) with a set of keys on front of them. they are blindfolded and the other children sit in a large circle around them, one by one the children have to approach the blindfolded child and try to take the keys without being heard. if the child does hear them they must point at where the person is.

You could ask your sensei to try a similar thing in the class. one person could stand in the center with their eyes closed and the rest of the students circle them. in this case the aim would be to approach the student without being heard/sensed. if they get to you they can try a gentle attack.

This will give you practice at handling an unexpected attack and will (in time) increase your awareness. And above all it's a great laugh watching the blingfolded person spin on the spot constantly in fear ; )

ian 11-10-2005 07:51 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
When you are bowing to kamiza it is very easy to glance under your arm at the students!

I think reactions ability does increase, but to some extent you have to be primed. For example, if a friend from work leaps out at you it is more difficult to react quickly than when you are walking down a dark street and someone leaps out at you. i.e. in the 2nd scenario you are aware there may be some danger.

I think you can also read people's movements better due to getting used to it in training. Also, the focus tends to be broader with more training, with less attentiveness to little details and you can have a more relaxed state of mind, allowing you to cope with unusual situations better.

I definately think the reactions in threat situations are immensely improved with aikido (I think this is a major aspect of the training method). I also think you can read a real upcoming attack more easily (from the body language). However I don't know of any instances for myself or others where they have predicted what is going to happen like Ueshiba (e.g. golden bullets before a gun is fired etc).

kokyu 11-10-2005 08:02 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Quote:

Ian Dodkins wrote:
I think reactions ability does increase, but to some extent you have to be primed. For example, if a friend from work leaps out at you it is more difficult to react quickly than when you are walking down a dark street and someone leaps out at you. i.e. in the 2nd scenario you are aware there may be some danger.

I fully agree about the need to be primed. When doing randori, we tend to be more aware of people just outside of our field of vision. In a potentially dangerous situation (walking down a dark street), we tend to be more sensitive to our surroundings.

But, I'm just wondering. When we are in familiar surroundings, we tend to get lulled into a sense of security - which is why we can't anticipate sudden attacks. On the other hand, when we are more relaxed, shouldn't we be better able to feel the space around us?

SeiserL 11-10-2005 08:11 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Quote:

Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
I was wondering whether one's awareness improves the longer one practices Aikido. In other words, can we develop a type of sixth sense?

IMHO, there is not necessarily a sixth sense unless you count intuitive sense, sense of balance, and most importantly as sense of humility and humor.

Think of ESP as extra-sensitive-perception.

Spend time relaxed and paying externally aware and attentive.

Change your internal cognitive mental map to include the idea that you can be attacked at anytime. This is not always useful and makes you a bit paranoid, but aware.

Awareness improves with discipline and training.

Relax, breath, and enjoy the training.

John Matsushima 11-10-2005 10:02 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
How much awareness does a sleeping lion, the mightiest of beasts, have against one man?

James Davis 11-10-2005 10:13 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Awareness increases the more you practice looking and listening. As for your friends testing you all the time, just make it clear that paybacks are a bitch... evileyes

:p

bogglefreak20 11-10-2005 12:05 PM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Our sensei sometimes during ki breathing practice suggests we extend our ki all around us. And also during the "warming-up" excercises (sorry, don't know the name for that). Somewhere I remember reading that while riding on the bus or walking or meditating and simultaneously picturing images of the scenery behind your back in as much detail as possible is good awareness practice.

I wouldn't really suggest seeing every situation as potentially dangerous and anticipating an attack from every person that walks by. That would probably make you paranoid, plus your mind would constantly be under pressure, fixed on an idea of someone attacking you. To me, that isn't a relaxed mind.

Thoughts are energy and they also travel well through space. To me it's not uncommon to, say, get a phonecall from a person I'm just thinking about. Not to mention feeling my partner's emotional state sometimes without words or eye-contact ever being made. And I am absolutely convinced that this is only a starting point from which further expansion of awareness (or intuition or 6th sense or whatever) is possible.

By "tuning-in" to people it's easier to feel what they're up to. You can feel their intention. By my experience, the closer a person is to you (both physically and/or emotionally, e.g. your partner, brother, friend...) the easier it is to "feel" them. So they're also the starting ground for my training in awareness.

Aditionally, I believe that opening yourself to other people (by being nice, non-egotistical, etc.) thus making them closer to you also makes it easier for you to sense the nature of their intention (as I have mentioned above). Perhaps that is another reason why we should somehow start to percieve ourselves as a tiny part of the Universe, just like every other person, plant or animal we meet.

MaryKaye 11-10-2005 03:35 PM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
The first time it was me up in front leading, I realized that the reflective glass over the Ki symbol in the tokonoma explained part of sensei's uncanny ability to know what was going on behind her!

But there really is a learnable skill here. Having children, or just teaching children, teaches this--after many bad experiences you get a strong intuition for where they are and what they are up to all the time. ("Why is it so quiet? Uh-oh....") I think that of all the training my dojo offers, being assistant instructor for the younger kids' class is the most powerful for working on overall awareness and sensitivity.

Working blindfold is very, very cool; I haven't been able to do it often enough to get any proficiency, but it should really help. Grabs are enough, you don't have to risk strikes.

If you are worried about developing paranoia, ask your friends to challenge you at specific "permitted"
times and places, not all the time and everywhere. It's safer for them, too....

Mary Kaye

crbateman 11-10-2005 06:38 PM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
If the punch stops short, explain that you knew in advance that it would, so no reaction on your part was necessary. If the punch lands, you can explain that only the non-confrontational nature of Aikido, coupled with your years of intense self-control training, kept you from ikkyo-ing his ass into the carpet and getting you both fired, expelled, arrested, etc. ;)

Rupert Atkinson 11-10-2005 07:05 PM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
I used to work in a steel factory and once people discovered I did marital arts ... I got all sorts of hassles, not to mention the nickname, Cane. People jumping out at me etc. It must be some kind of daft human trait. After awhile you get used to it, I guess. Nothing to do with a sixth sense though. You can just tell that something is up - so you wonder, "Hmmm. Where's Chris gone?" and as you open the door you expect a cup of water to fall, or when walking around the corner you half expect him to jump on you. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. But when he does, and you're half ready, ... so he gets the shock of his life and all you did was tenkan. And to catch that cup of water as it falls - wow (but you half knew it, so it's not sixth sense). I guess we had our share of laughs. Anyway, sixth-sense for me is just tuning and using the five you have well.

aikigirl10 11-10-2005 08:30 PM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Quote:

Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
Because people know that I practice Aikido, I get "tested" on my awareness from time time... For example, a Karateka who was a classmate of mine would suddenly appear in front of my face and launch a mock punch to my stomach. One of my office colleagues would suddenly throw a ball in my direction to check my reflexes... Needless to say, I didn't see them coming... :rolleyes:

I was wondering whether one's awareness improves the longer one practices Aikido. In other words, can we develop a type of sixth sense? A former Sensei used to say that he could "see" us when were bowing to the shomen even though his back was facing us. In other words, he could sense our movements clearly even though he couldn't see us directly.

One way of developing my awareness is perhaps through meditation - e.g. closing the eyes and focusing on the sounds around me. Another is trying to practice with my eyes closed - although I'm quite likely to get hit!

Really appreciate everyone's comments on this.

I dont think there is a 6th sense involved at all. I think its a matter of fine tuning your other senses that creates that "6th sense" feeling.

my thoughts

kokyu 11-11-2005 07:09 AM

Re: The Sixth Sense
 
Quote:

Ian Dodkins wrote:
When you are bowing to kamiza it is very easy to glance under your arm at the students!

Quote:

MaryKaye wrote:
The first time it was me up in front leading, I realized that the reflective glass over the Ki symbol in the tokonoma explained part of sensei's uncanny ability to know what was going on behind her!

Oh dear... I'm starting to have doubts :)

Quote:

Rupert Atkinson wrote:
"Hmmm. Where's Chris gone?" and as you open the door you expect a cup of water to fall, or when walking around the corner you half expect him to jump on you. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. But when he does, and you're half ready, ... so he gets the shock of his life and all you did was tenkan. And to catch that cup of water as it falls - wow

In Furuya Sensi's excellent book [KODO], there is mention of someone who did almost exactly what you described. I'm not sure if people have a natural ability for that sort of thing or if it's a trainable skill.


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