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Old 06-24-2008, 07:45 AM   #12
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Re: Long road vs short road to ki power (aiki, internal strength...)

I probably shouldn't reply to this, but I will anyway. You may have noticed that I've backed off a bit in responding to this topic, since

a) I've gotten a little tired of the back and forth

b) I've got bigger fish to fry at work

c) In my opinion, people who are interested have enough info to get out and feel what has been discussed. If you need to be convinced still, you probably aren't really interested. So move along, nothing to see here...

One more try...

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
It seems that the short road to the acquisition of ki power is a viable alternative to long years of study and sweaty practice on the mat. People with the ability to teach these things in a fraction of the time I have spent learning my skills post regularly here on AikiWeb. Their abilities have been regularly verified by aikidoka who have gone and trained with them. The debate of whether or not it is possible to develop very strong ki in a relatively short amount of time based on their training methods is pretty much settled in favor of the affirmative. In light of this a few questions for your consideration:
Whoa...I can't speak to time frames yet...and while it's good to know that you see your peer's feedback from these exposures as a positive thing, I'm not sure your summary is accurate. I don't think it is as simple as

a) long road to China
b) short road.

In some cases, I have to say it may be

a) no road at all
b) a lot of sweaty work, but at least you are working on some core skills that will have a benefit.

For you personally it may be long vs short. Maybe for me too, I don't know...but in trying to learn about this thing we do, I've kind of learned to seek as much as I can. I'm slow enough as it is.

If you could supplement your aikido study with training in some other system and develop your ki power in a fraction of the time that it would take studying aikido alone, would you?
Depends. I think what I've been shown dovetails nicely with the best of what I've seen in aikido. **I** won't ever be the best. But I should try to be the best **I** can be. One thing that really makes a difference is that what I've been shown has not been from the perspective of faster, but rather, more direct. And the effort involved is daunting. I can now see why Dan Hardin told me once that "most people simply won't do the work".

Do you see any value in the long road to ki development? there really a "short" road? Or a "long" one? I see value in hard work. No matter how long it takes. I also don't think there is one end state.

Utada Sensei once told me that each person has possibilities and limitations. Think of it as circles of possibility.

There are the possibilities and limitations that you are born with. These are probably things you can't change.

There are the possibilities and limitations that chance brings you. Can't do much with that either.

There are the possibilities and limitations within reach for you to determine, for you to choose, that you can change with hard work.

What you achieve toward being your best is the sum of all these things. So, if I gave you the ability to be better, something in that area of things you could work on, wouldn't you choose it? Even if it means hard work on your part? This is the greatest area of opportunity for me to's not easy, but I hope for a high payoff. We'll see...

Is the short road always the preferred path?
see above.

Is there anything to be gained from deliberately slowing down the growth of your ki power?
Yes. I think some of these exercises I am learning can have adverse health issues; higher blood pressure, muscle and tendon strain, higher incidence of stroke, etc. If you push for too much too fast, there will be physical consequences. So as Mike cautioned us at his seminar, it's best to train some of these things softly...a little each day, and build up over time.

Have the years you have spent in your exploration of aikido taught you anything about the necessity of tempering ki power with wisdom; the kind of wisdom that only comes with age and experience?
I've known 3rd Dans and higher who had the ethical development and moral character of a pea. So yes, temperance is a good thing. And?

Do you feel that it's important for your students to have the time grow into their power in a responsible manner?
Don't have any students (thank God!).

Do you feel any responsibility to insure that the skills you are passing along will be used appropriately?
I think Mike and Dan at least both feel a great responsiblity. I think they balance the responsibility to share what they have learned against how people might misuse it admirably. It's one of the reasons they don't give too much away on the net, it's one of the reasons Mike is so hard on some people, and it's one of the reasons Dan is so carefull about who get's in his door.

Akuzawa Sensei probably knows that whoever walks through the door, only the ones with a certain amount of determination and character will put up with doing minimum two years of hard work before they even learn a technique!

Is Saotome Sensei's observation in The Principles of Aikido, page 4, that: "Gaining mere literal knowledge and technical skill and is not the goal of Aikido practice. You must work to improve your character and raise your consciousness to a higher level."; no longer relevant in today's world of fast food, teraflops computers and the insistence on instantaneous gratification?
I think it's a nice sentiment. Not that different from what Utada Sensei and some of my sempai tell me. But if I find a better way to train one of the facets of aikido, perhaps one of the most important physical facets, I'm going to take a shot at it.

I can't always be in a dojo because of family, work, and other issues. But the exercises that I've been shown I can do in many many more times and places. And if they make my aikido development significantly better (not necessarilly shorter), I'm going to do my best to incorporate them.


Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-24-2008 at 07:48 AM.

Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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