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Old 08-16-2007, 12:05 PM   #12
Allen Beebe
Location: Portland, OR
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 530
Talking Re: Sword work, internal skill, & "Aiki"

Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I think we're working off different definitions of "internal skill", and I think that might be contributing to some confusion. I'm talking about the ki/kokyu skills Mike Sigman and Dan Harden like to discuss. I don't see how one can blend/flow internally the way I tried describing in #4 with a sword. It requires direct, physical contact.
Well, like I said, I haven't felt Mike or Dan. Nonetheless, from my experience, one can do precisely as described in #4 with a sword. This is particularly true when there is, as you say, direct physical contact with the ken (or other weapon for that matter.) When one can do that through an intermediary medium, using direct contact body to body is a breeze! (Kokyu joke! ) I would be really surprised if Mike, Dan, Ark, etc couldn't do this (use an intermediary device as a conduit for information/force), in fact it sounds to me like they could probably do it a lot better than I can.

Now, in an effort to completely have you discount what I have to say , I'll also proffer that it is possible to do something like #4 WITHOUT physical contact. I'm not sure of the exact mechanism for this (therefore I won't venture to guess) which makes it rather difficult to teach without providing direct physical experience, but it does seem to work with some consistency and it is teachable. I suspect it works something rather like your #2 (if I recall correctly) but to which I would add mental stagnancy (along with your "mental inertia."). The difference being (my interpretation) that instead of using an obvious mental inertia, one can intuit a specific area of deficiency and "fill it." Of course being successful with this, or anything else for that matter, is a lot less sure the better the "opponent." [This makes me think of Shioda sensei's story of O'sensei and the Master Marksman.]

With this, BTW, I've completely stepped out on a limb. However, I think if you will look into history (particularly weapons arts) almost all refer to this phenomena as part and parcel of their modus operandi in one form or another. Whether I can really do such a thing (some times, not all the time, and not as well as I would like) is a mute point over a forum and really unimportant. What is important is, are any of these ideas (that seem to contradict your experience) worthy of exploration for you now? If the answer is "Yes" then the easy way is to find somebody that can do whatever it is you want to learn and try to learn what they have to teach or "steal" what they are willing to show. (This isn't a plug for me, BTW. There are a whole lot more talented individuals out there for sure! I hardly ever post, feel like I've already said too much (going from teetering on the brink of debatability to falling head first down the slippery slope of internet M.A. babble) and am looking forward to going back to lurking!) The harder way is to try to discover things for yourself . . . but even with a teacher one ends up here eventually anyway.

Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I also think it's interesting that you don't think flowing/blending with momentum (#1) is viable or used much. Wouldn't something like, say, ukenagashi be considered flowing/blending with momentum?
I agree with Ron's post. Conceptually "Yes." In practice, however, this is a lot harder to pull off, especially with a skilled, non-compliant partner. [Sword is a rarified world. I don't think there are that many truly skilled folks and most of them probably aren't trolling in places unrelated to their art.] BTW, I think Ellis said something about everybody (most schools of Ken) having something akin to Ukenagashi but in his experience not many people can pull it off in reality. If Ellis reads this, perhaps he can comment. (And I can back out. He writes a TON better than I do! )

What Chuck said!!

I especially resonated with your phrasing:

"... it is similar to the picture I have of what I want to do . . ."

That really applies to me I think. I have pictures of 'Archetypal Images' (Exemplary Teachers) and 'Ideals' of how things ought to be done and try to pattern myself within those pictures . . . and usually fail. But there IS incremental improvement and change over time and that is as much as I can hope for it seems.

To quote a wise man: "Don't quit, and don't die.

At the same time I also realize that, "of course it will change..."
(That little piece of wisdom didn't come quickly though. In my 30+ years of M.A. practice I did my share of banner waving, teacher worshiping, and "knowing the truth." I guess the question is, what am I blind to now? )

Allen Beebe

~ Allen Beebe
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