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Old 11-15-2006, 05:08 PM   #46
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

George S. Ledyard wrote:
There seems to be some sort of Rousseau-ean idea that if one just returns to some Eden of original movement one has "aiki".
No, it's not that "if one just returns there." It's saying "that's where we came from." It's not easy to go back there once we have left, though Feldenkrais does help us re-discover it.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
Feldenkrais is an incredible system that will re-educate the body / mind in very deep ways. But I can guarantee you that an attack by someone with a committed attack will produce tension that is the result from fear.
I don't think that any training makes any human being impervious to fear--especially when taken by surprise. But I do believe that the arts of aiki took fear responses into account and built some of the technique upon them. I can show how techniques of both aikido and karate can emerge directly from the instinctive response of snatching one's hand away from someone who grips it. Fear can never be completely eliminated from one's responses and it will always emerge if the stimulus is sudden and strong enough. In those cases, the nerve responses that reach the brain first are more primitive than those that can be trained, and the signal from the brain back to the muscles will get their earlier on those primitive pathways so that we may do something entirely unexpectedly and unconsciously before we have any opportunity to enact any trained response. And those repsonses will remain when conditioned reflexes have faded, if conditioning is stopped. And they will still be there below even the most consistently trained reflexes, to emerge predictably if the stimulus is sudden and intense. So the question is what do you do with those fear responses if they enact before the trained response has a chance to be chosen?

George S. Ledyard wrote:
Just because the person is relaxed and moves naturally, doesn't mean he has done anything other than attain the pre-requisite for doing technique with "aiki". The ability to maintain that relaxation under pressure is a specialized skill.
True, but I have never put "relaxed movement" as the most important aspect of aiki movement. True, we seek to be relaxed in any muscle we're not actively using, but even standing up requires a balance of relaxation and tension, so any active movement has to be the same.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
Aiki has to do with how and where you project your attention. It has to do with very subtle movement at the instant of contact which involves a great deal of sensitivity and an understanding of the geometry involved that one simply doesn't have without extensive training.
Well, we can see children doing these things naturally, and they do have the right mental attitude from early on. But, yes, to cultivate it to a high degree of reliability and effectiveness, they at least have to be guided by someone who knows what he's doing. I can agree with that.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
I maintain that the mind and body in no way will react to stress using these principles without a lot of re-programming and study of the specific principles involved.
And I maintain that these principles are all deeply written in our natural nervous systems. But by adulthood, for most people, they have been thickly over-written with a lot of mistaken ideas and data that only hamper their ability to be spontaneously effective.

But even in someone with a good foundation, it takes someone to guide him in refining it.

Best wishes,


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"
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