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Old 08-14-2006, 01:48 AM   #11
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

George S. Ledyard wrote:
O-Sensei stated on a number of occasions that it wasn't about "timing". Timing is essentially a relative term. It refers to the actions of one person and reaction by another.
This discussion arose in the context of training regimens and the proposal, made by others, and here paraphrased that beyond basic instruction, "real training" required sparring at "full speed" and "full" contact.

I took exception, because of O-Sensei's statement about timing and my own thoughts in this area. As speed changes, rhythm changes, and not just by speeding up the beat. At faster speeds of interaction more than one beat exists, and at a certain point the rhythm goes entirely chaotic. This is simply a physical fact.

O-Sensei seemed to have no difficulty in this regime. If Aikido is to be effective at full speed -- where all rhythms are possible or all rhythms are lost -- timing cannot be applicable. If we truly want to train for "real" situations at "full speed" it seems to me that we must address ourselves more directly to musubi, because timing is an ill-fitting substitute for it in training for what the sparring proponents want in "full speed" interaction. I'll repeat what I said before: I am looking at techniques, acknowledging that while timing occurs, it ought not be operative; musubi should be operative. As a somewhat dimensionless quantity, it is not bound by the ordering or relative quantities in time, once it has arisen.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
O-Sensei's take on this came from his spiritual training in which he experienced the essential oneness of all things. He talked about the idea that the attacker and defender were one. This is how he saw it. He was so fundamentally connected with the attacker that it was impossible for the attacker to move separately from him. As the attacker prepared to initiate his attack, O-Sensei had already, in his mind, executed the technqiue. Hence statements like the one he made about being surrounded by spears but feeling like he was already behind them.

If you can achieve that kind of connection with the attacker, relative timing doesn't apply any more. Katsu Hayabi, or victory in this instant, implies that there is no progression of steps in the interaction, which is what "timing" is really about. For O-Sensei, before the attacker ever moved he had already won.
While there is without doubt a psychological component to this, I have always been impressed by the very concrete nature of the man's thinking (even in his spiritual flights). Musubi is not merely psychological, but objectively real in my experience, and given your own teaching, I suspect you agree. When, depending on very subtle cues -- including relative differences in timing -- an attack may flow into any of several dozens of techniques and their many varaitonal taisabaki, it is the musubi that dictates (too strong a word) the technique variation and its timing, not the other way around.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
I think Aikido people should understand about the various principles of timing that are part of Japanese martial arts training. None of us are O-Sensei, yet, so we need these relative concepts to help us understand what we are doing. But it is also important that we try to understand how O-Sensei experienced these concpets because it is only by trying to understand and master these concepts that one has any prospect of taking his training to the that level.
The question is how to address training speed, timing and rhythm concepts to musubi as a primary matter, and not a derivative one.


Erick Mead
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