Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises
Mike do you have a schedule for Chen Xiao Wang? it is not listed on his website. I am interested.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Proper body mechanics to me are the alignment of body, mind, and energy responding with the appropriate response to that of your opponent. I have no concept/distinction of external strength or internal. There is only an easy way to move someone, and a hard way using muscular strength. Yes, maybe it is semantics.
However, I don't think there is anything "secret" or "mystical" or hidden about it. Hidden to the person that cannot see it, but it is there and some people intuitively figure things out, to others it requires conscious thought to get there.
you confirm this for me when you say that "this stuff isn't enough alone." (to fight). So what I have learned from my aikido instructors and BJJ instructors would fit the bill as they work to connect all these things in an efficient matter.
I can understand the concept of alignment of energy. I understand chakras etc...and have and do experience this "stuff" all the time, but not a real big deal as everyone makes it out to be. I simply need to practice more, and seek out those that have a better understanding of it and can correct my mistakes/practice.
Western yoga is devoid of it??? Not in my experiences either. My wife practices ansusara yoga under John Friend, he gets it. Tara Brach, Krishna Das (the Singer), John Schumacher....you telling me these quality individuals from the west "don't get it?"
Yea maybe the local health club...sure, they may only be concerned with core strength and flexibility, however even then...they have to adhere to some of the core principles at some point.
My wife and I do talk about the differences in martial arts and yoga. I think there is a distinction since we can assume that while yogis can understand the same energy, mind, and spiritualty that MA practice can offer....we can't imagine that alone would make them a good/efficient fighter.
No, why? simply because that in itself is not enough to fight. So, while you certainly may improve personally through the practice of MA and Yoga....it is not related enough to fighting to really have any huge impact on the MA and how well you do or are as a Martial Artist.
What is important, is the how you experience, empathize, and learn to respond to others and their "whole". Martial artist that have more experiences and more focused and proper training, will percentage wise respond more positively appropriate to the situation.
There are many, many factors that come into play in what makes some one respond in a particular way. paradigms, hang ups, perceptions, physical limitations, genetics, emotions, habits...all that "stuff" that makes us a human being. It is not a huge secret.
What makes it a secret is that there are so many factors, so many things happening at all levels from the microscopic level/sub atomic, to the macroscopic level that we cannot completely wrap our little brains around everything that is happening. However, many of us "teach" or "conditional" ourselves through experiences/practice to react or respond a certain way.
So you see, it is real easy for me, you, or anyone to theorize, conjecture, or conceptualize a few things that are going on. We then lump everything else into the category of "stuff". We can learn a few "tricks" like the JO trick. Set up the conditions in which we can perform this "trick" to demonstrate how well we "understand" these mysterious things....then we cop out because we really don't know what we are talking about, then say well, you have to spend years understanding the internal "stuff".
We set up a brass ring for people that they can never acheive. They desperately want it. We become snake oil salesman essentially peddling our "tricks", fancy words, jargon, and attitude. We set the stage in kung fu outfits, hakama complete with the all the trappings. Slap on the black belt, lights camera, action...then when they ask the hard questions about what is going on...we simply explain it away as "eastern" , KI, Internal Stuff... and THAT becomes the brass ring.
They fall prey to the irrational thought and perception (cognitive dissonance) and become lemmings chasing this "objectified" concept...that they can never acheive in the way that they think it will come to them.
In the end...all it really boils down to...is happiness is what they are looking for! With the expectations that training with a particular master, or a particular person, or meditating five hours a day, deep breathing, 1000 bokken cuts...blind practice, filling out the attendance card after every class will bring them to this mystical end state.
Okay...I am rambling so I will now stop. Just got on a thought process. Not accusing you of being anything but true and honest...I know you will probably concur somewhat with the observations I make from past threads and conversation.
I do follow eastern philsophy and believe in many of the things you label "internal" however, I suppose I am simply offering caution not to fixate (objectifiy) on the concept as it is dangerous to your personal development because it means absolutely nothing! That is the whole paradox of the issue!
I suppose what I am really saying is just because someone can't do "unbendable arm" or the "jo trick" doesn't mean anything other than they can't do those things. If they can do it, well it means that they simply can do it. It is not a measure of how well they understand the "internal" aspects of martial arts or KI...simply that they understand or have learned the conditions in which you can perform those stunts. Again, I offer, I will be impressed if anyone can do it once I change the input or parameters to the equation.
However, Mike, you freely offer that it will fail probably if a 300 lb dude is pushing on you. If it was an absolute, quantifiable, objectifiable "thing" AND you could align it, channel it, or what not separate from all the other criteria...logic has it that other inputs such as 300lbs pushing on you could be controlled or managed.
Thanks for the disussion..and sorry for the long rambling post.