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Old 02-25-2008, 12:40 AM   #2
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: Freeform Bokken Drills to Develop Aiki Flow

I love the orginal topic of this thread. You have an innovative idea, share it, and look for criticism to make it better. I want to do similar types of things but I'm not yet ready. Thank you for sharing that idea.

Now, on to the topic that insipired me to decide to give up the only hours of sleep I may get for a few days and post.

Jim Sorrentino wrote: View Post
Dan,Why don't you post a video showing the way you move? Then Chris can re-post his video, and we can compare the two side-by-side. Of course, if you're shy, perhaps Stan Baker and Cady could demonstrate --- after all, they've been studying with you long enough to get it, haven't they?

I'm conflicted about this. On one hand I want to respond "This is a good point." and on the other hand I want to respond "This has got to stop." So I'm responding with BOTH messages and then some.

A far as "this has got to stop" is concerned, let me make a fairly decent analogy... I truly wish I could have gotten along with Mike Sigman on these boards better. I absolutely love every single thing he ever wrote about internal connections, but our personalities just clashed. I disliked everything he wrote about anything OTHER than internal connections to the point that to me - the juice just wan't worth the squeeze. In a sense, I really feel like I was obligated to speak up when *I percieved* that he was bullying people just enough under the radar - because of that idea about how bad things happen when good people do nothing, etc. But I wasn't mature enough to do that like a gentleman and if I had a time machine, fixing this would probably make the top 50 things I would do.

Mr Sigman if you're reading, I wish I could have handled our online interactions better. I wish I could have attended your seminar. I'm sure it was incredible information that I missed out on.

Jim, in true spirit of friendship and respect, I'm hoping you're seeing where I'm going with this...

Regardless, in general terms, we all fight because something has offended our personal belief system. It is/was upsetting to have people say there is something missing in what aikido people are doing. It's such a broad generalization that it offends us very dedicated aikidoka who feel we found excellent instructors who offer the best aikido instruction available - given our personal preferred learning modalities.

At this point, I would be shocked to find out that any of my aikido teachers have the internal skills Dan is teaching me to the depth that Dan has them developed. But it's been my experience that my aikido teachers have SOME well developed internal skills and lots of success transfering SOME of that knowledge to others. How much more depth than they have is really NEEDED is debatable considering that they are doing some great aikido with the depth of internal skills that they have. Regardless, I have found that I'm just terrible at learning those particular skills from my aikido teachers and Dan's approach in this area speaks much more directly TO ME.

I do want to make an important point (I haven't read anyone else state this). There is a big difference between extremely developed internal aiki skills Dan has shown me so far and some of the other aiki skills (or maybe I should say aikido skills) I have not seen anyone else do other than Gleason and Saotome senseis. I personally want to train all of them in a way that best works for me. For instance:

- Dan teaches in the best way FOR ME how to do internal training.

- Gleason sensei teaches in the best way FOR ME how to protect my agressor, drop my ego, manifest my true self. I just couldn't learn his internal skills from him as well as I can learn internal skills from Dan Harden. However, I will note that Gleason sensei and Dan are BOTH telling me extremely similar things. I just jive with Dan's approach better on the topic of directly training internal skills - and I love how he applies them to MMA.

- I can not relate anything I have learned from Dan Harden to Saotome sensei's ability to move around attackers. I would like that skill too, but I haven't found anyone so far who can and will dumb it down enough for me to latch on to how to approach amazing ability. I don't even know if it is an INTERNAL skill! I just know it is a skill I would like to have for me to do the aikido I want to do. (I should say I believe that Pete Trimmer sensei and Marsha Turner both have done the disappear on me while I attacked them thing to the point that I remain hopeful that I can learn a little bit more of how this is done myself some day.)

On to the "this is a good point" aspect of what I wanted to respond to Jim's quote...

If I learn enough of the jo trick to demonstrate it, I will drive or take the train down towards your dojo and show you. I actually think that while I have no hope of being able to do the jo trick with 3 people pushing on it any time soon, I can probably show you what I can do enough right now to impress you with what I've learned since I met Dan - since you knew me and my power level before I met him.

In one sense I would love to see some big name UFC guy come to Dan's barn and fight him and have a video of it. On the other hand, I'd rather no one blieve that Dan has any ability what-so-ever so I can keep him focused on teaching me. Then some day some UFC champion in his 20s can challenge me and I can be the big hero of internal arts meets MMA for all the world to see on you-tube! But probably, I'll just continue to learn and not worry to much about what anyone else thinks.

Here's my opinion on the whole thing. When my 4 year old attacks me, I am SO much more powerful than he is, that I can stop him from hurting me without hurting him at all. I truly believe that training what Dan (and probably what Mike and Akuzawa) train can make an adult SO much more powerfull than another fairly well trained ADULT that I should be able to stop him from hurting me without hurting him. To me that is what aikido as a martial art should be about and that's where I plan to take it. To do this I started having to do a lot of yoga, and the funny thing is even if I do achieve my goal in aikido, and I'll probably spend a lot more time as I get older just focusing on the yoga! There's something ironic about that but it's about 2:30 am and I can't quite work it out.

Rob Liberti

PS Stan Baker is a truth seeker and he has been putting the work in for as long as I have known him.

Last edited by rob_liberti : 02-25-2008 at 12:45 AM.
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