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Old 06-23-2008, 09:06 PM   #75
Dojo: Aunkai
Location: Fairfax, VA
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 429
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Hi Mark,

I assume you attended the Seattle seminar? There were so many people there, so I can't recall if we met for sure or not.

Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
I have fairly modest martial skills and a limited background. I couldn't tell a major difference in feel of the participants, Ark, Rob from the folks I think understand this stuff at my regular dojo. The people I expected to be good felt solid to varying degrees, just like at my home dojo. Please note, I'm not saying something different isn't there, I just don't know what to look for. One thing that commonly is brought up is to go to see someone and get enlightened as to IMA's. I don't think it's that easy.
For clarification, did you feel any difference between Ark/Rob and the participants? What sensations did you feel when you had the opportunity to touch any of the attendees or Ark/Rob? What exactly do you mean by solid?

I got to see Ark do some cool tricks. I got some hands on with him. We did Aki age(sp?) and I went flying. But, I'm a trained aikido uke. I felt two hard knife edges coming up under my sternum. I move in that situation. I'll grant Ark is strong, but please, the man has some serious technique as well. The tricks look much more like technique then some mysterious power generation to me.
Ark isn't exactly a huge guy. He weighs about 140lbs soaking wet!
Sure, technique is involved to a small extent, no one said zero technique happens, but it's more a result of a a trained skill in the body. So clearly when he does some of the demos with people who are coming up on double his weight, for example shiko (think sumo squat/stomps) with someone double his weight on his back something other than musculature or leverage must be going on.

A couple years back he invited me to try and break his pinky finger. I tried my best to really break his finger, at one point I was hanging off his pinky finger with just his finger holding me up. He later tossed me halfway across the room just by flicking the finger, not the whole arm. I stood there in amazement trying to figure out how he tossed someone who outweighs him by 40lbs who is in a position of superior leverage. At that point, I knew that something else other than superior technique or musculature had to be going on.

The effect on me of doing the exercises and the seminar was noticed by a lot of people. After a couple months people were saying I had gotten much softer. Technique started working on people that I'd never been able to do anything with before. What I had done, I think, was actually figure out how to not lean on people. I suspect I filtered what was taught into familiar categories and may have missed the whole point. But my mental imagery sure has more crosses and connections into the ground. I keep trying.
Superficially at least, many of the exercises and the vocabulary should sound very familiar to most martial artists. Indeed one needs to only look on the Aunkai web page and many of the pictures at first glance look identical to many exercises many of us have done. Assuming one can feel how Akuzawa, Mike, and Dan feel different, the vocabulary should start to make sense as to why Ueshiba and others have used the phrases they did.

Keep up with the exercises and more an more things should start to make sense. If others are starting to notice that you have changed, or feel different then you are on the right track.
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