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Old 07-12-2006, 10:23 AM   #6
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,618
Re: Hips, 3000 Techniques & 16 Variations

Amir Krause wrote:
While it is my message that has brought this intuition to you, I would have to admit at first reading I hardly understand your message. ...

* Korindo Aikido tai-Sabaki is composed of 8 circular movements, each could be done in any direction and with some variations. We do not refer to these movement as Kata, since they are supposed to be more free practice then rigid pre-designed form.
Since I have not understood your message and topic, I can only hope my message contributes to this thread, rather then being totally OT.
I must attempt to clarify, then. The exact quote that provoked this line of thought is from the newspaper interview that AikidoFAQ republished (Stanley Pranin, tr.) here:
O-Sensei Interview wrote:
B: How many techniques are there in Aikido?
O Sensei: There are about 3,000 basic techniques, and each one of them has 16 variations . . . so there are many thousands. Depending on the situation, you create new ones.
I have been pondering the "16 variations" comment by O-Sensei for a long while. No one has ever answered what it represents to my satisfaction. I am of course open to any information I have never yet heard.

The "3000 techniques" observation is interesting also -- and is worthy of substantial work in its own right (especially given the disparities of terminology among the various branches). I have yet to hear a good, authoritative description of the basis for that number either. My own basis for calcuation is just that -- my own. Ultimately, though, the "3000 techniques" is a mere catalog of "hip here" "arm there" mechanics. Aiki has to breathe life into them, and aiki depends on contingent choices, i.e. -- variations.

The variations applicable to all of those techniques seem to me to be the road of aiki, much as what I sensed was the case of the Korindo exercises (even before your very helpful characterization).
What i have done is some educated speculation from my empirical experience, in the absence of concrete and authoitative description.

I knew that soto v. uchi turns had to play a part ion the variational scheme, as did choices of initial entry (omote/ura) into uke's attack, since the position will change the application substantially. The thing that got me thinking about these in terms of the stated variations though was seeing the two basic tai sabaki (irimi/tenkan) as alternates in each of the two phases of every technique (recieving/sending). The empirical test is to see if there are any techniques for which the variation scheme does not hold.

That interplay allowed me to set up a decision tree or matrix to better understand the relationship of these movement choices, to work through them as an exercise and to see if my intuition has any validity.

For each phase of the technique a choice may be made. One may receive an attack in irimi, moving omote or ura, or one may receive it in tenkan turning soto or uchi. Then -- in sending the energy of attack away -- one may again choose irimi, moving omote or ura, or tenkan, turning soto or uchi. The variation only describes direction of movement. In all of this, body, arm and foot position relative to uke varies according to technique being applied

If I am right -- for any given technique, say -- katatedori kotegaeshi, one should be able to apply it in each of the described variations in the taisabaki. If I am wrong -- then you can't -- or else someone has some authority that says the variations key on other factors, and I am completely stuffed.

Having started to work on this, some of them are making a lot of sense to me -- when I try them. When I try to think of them mentally it is harder to envision -- e.g. -- where "ura" is for the second phase of the technique, or what "soto" or uchi" means from a given position in a technique. Working through these thoughts while training has been very frutiful, on the other hand. That is the essential reason for the table I provided, as means to structure training to test or explore the variations:
Mead's Variation Scheme wrote:
Welcoming || Sending away

Irimi omote || Tenkan soto
Irimi ura || Tenkan soto
Irimi omote || Tenkan uchi
Irimi ura || Tenkan uchi
Irimi omote || Irimi omote
Irimi ura || Irimi ura
Irimi omote || Irimi omote
Irimi ura || Irimi ura

Tenkan soto || Irimi omote
Tenkan uchi || Irimi omote
Tenkan soto || Irimi ura
Tenkan uchi || Irimi ura
Tenkan soto || Tenkan uchi
Tenkan uchi || Tenkan uchi
Tenkan soto || Tenkan soto
Tenkan uchi || Tenkan soto
I hope that makes this more clear.
Mud-like, even ...


Erick Mead
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