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Old 11-21-2006, 10:30 PM   #201
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Robert John wrote:
Well, if you gave me the original japanese from Mochizuki's quote, I could probably comment better on it. (Since I assume that's where you got the ura statement)
I didn't get that statement from Sensei, but derived it from something else he said. In most aikido I've seen, ura and omote mean simply the front side (in front of, to the front) and the back side (behind, to the rear). But he defined them in terms of kenjutsu, as the intent (omote) of the attacker, expressed in his technique, and the weakness (ura) of that attack. He explained aiki as exploiting the ura of an attacker's kiai technique. So the attacker punches (his omote) and aiki uses the ura of the punch (the weakness behind the punch) as the mode of its own technique. So aiki technique is tailored to the ura of whatever method the attacker uses (his omote).

From what Dan was saying, it sounds like this could relate to somehow accessing the ura of the opponent's strength so that when he pushes you with strength, it is somehow converted to its ura, which is weakness.

That's what I mean by "accessing the ura of the opponent's strength through his own touch."

Robert John wrote:
Sure, getting out of the swords way is paramount, but how to do so unfailingly? The movement has to be completely non-telegraphic, and without setup. So how do you accomplish that? Is the real question I think. How do you move the body first (without it moving externally) and then cause the arms and legs to move first?
Well, the way Mochizuki Sensei taught it was irimi tai sabaki. And it had to be non-telegraphic. For one thing, the attacks were sudden, so that you had no moment to "get ready" and thus display what you were going to do.

So you had to be centered and non-moving from the first. Then, when the attacker came, you had to see him coming, from whatever direction he was coming from, and move instantly from that place to the appropriate place relative to the sword. I never really thought much about the internal aspect of it or how I felt on the inside. There was seldom that much time. You would throw one fellow from a punch or kick, then the next attacker would be coming with a club, bo or sword and you had to move instantly to avoid it. And that meant you had to be in zanshin from the previous throw so you'd be ready for the next attack.

But looking back and considering what you wrote, "turning within yourself" sounds familiar. Just as I think about what I feel inside when I'm grabbed two-hands-on-one and I bring the seized hand down and in, then up in a scooping motion. Why am I not pulled off balance when I do that against a bigger person? I know the feeling, but I've never tried to analyze it in those inner-feeling terms.

Robert John wrote:
...when you move the body, that movement should NOT be felt on the surface. And that's what allows a killer blow.
The "ura" to that, (to borrow yours or mochizuki's terminology, feel free to correct me if im wrong) is that you use this same skill to avoid said blow. The person that has less Bure/sway/etc in the body, has more time to deal with the incoming blow.
That's what I mean by you have to be centered and motionless, in zanshin from the previous movement, not swaying or jerking around, frozen, but completely relaxed and soft.

Robert John wrote:
By the same token, the person striking wants to reduce the same thing in his body if he wants to up the chance of his strike landing. It comes down to, who has the most unshakable core.
Well, which is what makes me unpopular when I visit other aikido schools. I only know how to strike down with sincerity and without a lot of quaver and wriggle, and without cutting way off to the side so that your avoidance is bound to work. I am absolutley not going to hit anyone with a bokken in any class, but when I've visited classes, they seem to think I'm trying to hit them because in their classes they do strike wide and slow and without much real sword technique. Mochizuki Sensei was a master of katori shinto ryu and he really took kenjutsu very seriously. His aikido was always geared to working against the sword.

Robert John wrote:
All other movement, irimi, strikes etc are merely a result.
Ken no ugoki ha setsuna de ugoku to iu koto, would be the japanese round about way of saying this.
Mochizuki Sensei said it with the name of one of his greatest kata: "Ken tai ichi."

Robert John wrote:
As for chris's comments, he's too kind. I still got a long ways to go, and I'm a punk I'll admit it ^^; So take his words with some salt lol.
I'm lucky to have lived through my twenties, the places I went and the things I said...better to eat some salt than a lot of crow.

Robert John wrote:
I do hope you get the chance to get out here at some point though. It'll be throughly educational for both of us I think
My wife and I have been talking about the possibility of moving back to Japan to live someday. I wouldn't have to worry about a sponsor anymore and could run my own juku. But I have a lot to accomplish here before I do that, at least until the study I'm currently working for comes to an end.

Don't know when I'll get another chance to visit.

Best wishes.


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

"Eternity forever!"
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