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Old 12-06-2006, 05:24 PM   #481
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

George S. Ledyard wrote:
The real problem is that there are actually a number of different aspects of "aiki' which we are all talking about. For the greats, like O-sensei, they were not separate, they were completely integrated. [[snipsky]]

Mike and Dan, each in his own way, are talking about the power aspect of the art. This power should be "internal power", not just muscular strength. Mike comes largely from the Chinese martial arts background and his descriptive vocabulary is based on that background.
George, I can appreciate what you're saying, but let me add that

(1.) I agree that it should be all integrated... however, integrated Aikido is sort of like integrating the alphabet, spelling, and novel writing; it's all one thing, not 3 possible things you can add at whim. Is novel writing an art that stands by itself without the alphabet or spelling? No. Neither is Aiki without technique or internal strength really a stand-alone concept.

(2.)I realize that my 7-8 years in Aikido is not the same as 30-40 years doing it, but neither is it the same thing as some guy who went to a few classes and then left for the Chinese martial arts. My descriptive vocabulary is really not all that shabby... heck, I was pretty fluent in Japanese at one time, for a yagi-no-mei.
The issue in these discussions is whether you have to know what they know to be doing Aikido. I suspect that in order to be as good as someone like O-Sensei you do... but there is plenty to work on in Aikido aside from the power aspect. Neither of these guys is a senior Aikido practitioner. I suspect that most of the senior folks in Aikido can do various things that these fellows can't do or can't do any where near as well. (We'll leave aside the question of whether they would even want to do these things).
This is really the heart of the matter. Speaking strictly for myself, I do and have always made it very clear that I consider the "internal strength" aspects to go like this: "Aikido without kokyu strength is no good; Aikido without proper Aikido technique and only kokyu strength is no good either". I've never said otherwise. The worst-case implication of what I have to say is that Aikido is an integrated art and without internal strength, it's not really Aikido. Period. That says nothing about any claims to Aikido knowledge on my part, but it certainly concurs with Ushiro's offhand observation that "no kokyu; no Aikido". Ushiro doesn't claim to be an Aikido expert and neither do I... but we (and a number of others) recognize that there is something drastically missing. And it ain't Systema.
What we need to do is develop opportunities to share this knowledge. The Aiki Expos started that process. But now there won't be any more Expos, so how do we make that process continue for ourselves? I think a process of open exchange by way of Aikido folks inviting some of these folks to share their knowledge is crucial to the growth of the art.
I agree with that totally, George. A lot of the musing I do on the side with Ellis and others is to try and understand how this stuff got dropped so badly. Once I get a feel for what actually happened, I'll probably be on my way... but I would encourage everyone to look very hard. I remember repeating a superficial explanation of some of the ki/kokyu skills to an Asian expert I knew and he laughed and said, "If it was that simple, why would the old people have made such a big deal about it? Do you think they were stupid?". I certainly don't think that Ueshiba was stupid or was doing "parlour tricks" with his ki demonstrations. He was stressing the core of Aikido.

Good post, George.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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