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?!