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Old 06-26-2008, 02:10 PM   #34
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Shaun You raise some interesting points. I think the straight arm / straight leg method is so rudimentary that I wouldn't even consider it.
Hi Dan,

Rudimentary is an interesting word in that it could be taken in a good way to mean basic, or elementary, or it could be taken in a bad way to mean simple or childish. I want to make it clear, I do not speak for anyone but myself. I certainly do not want someone thinking that my anecdotes regarding any particular teacher or my publicly stated thoughts on a particular teacher's methodology amount to an endorsement of me or my thoughts by that particular teacher. I teach Aikido. Period. I do not teach Misogi-no-Gyo. While I am considered a sincere seeker of O-Sensei's Misogi, I do not consider myself qualified to teach it. In my opinion only Abe Sensei is qualified to teach O-Sensei's misogi. That is why I introduce my students directly to Abe Sensei. I certainly share my thoughts on the subject. I certainly have opinions about the subject. I certainly know what I have been told I can and can not share about the subject. However those things are a matter for personal contemplation, not political or egotistical debate. I, like you, simply want people to make up their own minds based upon what they see feel and hear. That is why I have always given my students direct access to all of my current martial influences. What they choose to do with that is their own thing and not a reflection on what I have chosen to do with the same access over the years.

Having said that, with regards to the straight leg/arm model, I would say, what's wrong with starting (most everyone) with a rudimentary concept and allowing them to move forward from there at their own pace? We all have to start somewhere. Unfortunately many will for one reason or another not move forward much at all, so why show everyone something most will never end up absorbing?

Dan Harden wrote: View Post

a) How long would he train people to do that before he moved them forward?
b) How did he move them forward?.
c) What do you do internally when you do your misogi?
d) Is it in line with Abe sensei or different?
a) & b)
Be it far from me to criticize or even think I know enough to judge why Abe Sensei chooses to move anyone forward. For all I know he may have chosen to keep some people back. I can only speak for myself. My feeling is that, by and large, dojo members move forward at their own pace inside of the typical hierarchical system expected to be found at traditional Japanese dojo. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. I honestly believe that all things being equal it is the individual's attitude, aptitude and ability (in that order) that determine whether they find an open door through which to move forward. How far forward, and when depends upon where there is a breakdown in the sequence of those three traits. As for how Abe Sensei moves someone forward, again only speaking for myself, he showed me other things when I was ready for them.

Well, Dan, now you are getting kind of personal... Should I ever come to know you directly I would have no issues telling or showing you most everything that has been shared with me. However, I could more than likely write several books on the subject. The first one might be the "What I am doing when I do X" of misogi. The second might be the "The importance of O-Sensei's misogi. The third, more of a memoir, might be my personal path via misogi. Suffice it to say that it is very similar to much of what you or Mike might be doing, in whole or part, in that it is physical, repeatable, and designed for prolonged growth, health and maintenance of the head/heart/hara (mind/spirit/body). At the physical level the gyo integrate dynamic stimulation, tension and relaxation of various body systems, breathing methods, visualizations, mantras ...etc. It also involves manipulating the blood, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels within the muscles, organs (lungs, kidneys, stomach and brain, and let's not forget the largest one, the skin) so as to create a instantly flexible, expandable, contactable, mesh or framework upon which connectivity, movement and techniques may be built. At the non-physical level the gyo integrate the power of will, intention, fortitude and direction. Where these two paths cross can be said to be where kotodama comes into play. However, kotodama-no-gyo is not something anyone here is talking about and that would be because there isn't anyone so qualified.

I used to think so. Then sometimes I realize that there are subtleties which I have yet to discover. I also believe that some of the ones I have discovered for myself may be ones that Abe Sensei could not broach given our different cultures and personalities. In any case, I am only beginning to deepen my understanding of how to apply these things to my practice. I am sure mike, akuzawa or yourself could all help me move forward quite a bit in that department.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Just how does Abe's misogi or other methods affect his technical expression of aikido? In what manner?
I couldn't possibly know this. However, venturing an educated guess, I would have to say that Abe Sensei is in a unique place in that he is one of the highest ranking living masters of two completely different traditional art forms, Aikido and Shodo. I would say that he is the Micheal Jordan of Shodo and the Yoda of Aikido, combined. My sense is that given the way in which he is known for teaching the two arts at the same time, that Misogi is the place at which they overlap in terms of both the physical and non-physical elements. I know of certain situations where students who were too close to him when he was writing larger calligraphic scrolls had their breath stopped and couldn't move until he completed the brush stroke.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
To another point. I'd probably be careful of sensei comparisons. They remain a hot button of who got what and whether or not the teacher changed and when, and each students own perception of the quality of that expression.
Example: There are those that are abso-freaking-lutely convinced that Kannai was the bomb and had it all. You don't want to know my opinion. And one of his students told me it was because I never saw the "real deal" from him.' I said "er....oookay." and never talked about it again.
I completely agree with you there. As I said in my last post, I know that students go to Abe Sensei's dojo hoping to feel something, learn something or steal something, but come back wondering why they missed it completely. I know of one person on this very board who showed up, didn't get what he thought he should get, and then had only bad things to say about his experience.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I had a bagua teacher try to toss me and instead he bounced himself off of me in front of his student. The student defended himself and his teacher. I have seen that same student singing the praises of that teacher all over the net about how awesome he is. How do you have a successful and meaningful discussion with the student on the internet? You can't. Students are convinced their teacher has it or they wouldn't be there would they?
I had quite a few of those, myself over the years both inside and outside of Aikido. But anyone can beat someone, or be beaten by someone else on any given day, so I am not putting too much stock in this or that instance for me, you or anyone else for that matter.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
So if we want to talk about teachers, why not just skip to technical discussion instead of teacher / student relationships; who got what and when and so forth, and instead lets focus the discussion on:
What 'it" was, and if it was worth the having. Otherwise I'd just as soon skip the teacher thing all together and talk about what WE are doing.
Well, Dan, perhaps this is where we differ, but only time will tell. As for the importance or value in discussing teacher/student relationships, I am surprised that you, or Mike weren't one of the first to say, "Don't wait, go directly to those who know." Let's face it, for most students that isn't the teacher they have now. As for technical discussions with regards to different teachers, I believe we need to level the playing field. Mike likes to talk about Tohei, Shioda, O-Sensei and the like with quite a bit of authority. Interestingly, he never met any of them. But according to the rules of Mike, he didn't really need to. While I would agree with him on some basic level, I disagree with him completely about most of the conclusions he has unfortunately jumped to. Not the baseline ones about similarities. Heck, anyone who knows already understands where these things meet. However, there just seems to be some issue with acknowledging the importance to where styles, teachers and paths differ. As an example, what if you felt the same way about Tohei Sensei as you do about Kanai Sensei? And then up comes Mike spouting his many half-baked conclusions based upon someone that you have a very low opinion of? Or the opposite, what if Mike came up and started telling you all about your teacher and how he really meant this when he said that, and he was really showing that when he did this, but he never actually talked to your teacher, or studied with him or any of his close students? Which might be worse, the disservice Mike might be causing with his continuously tapping keyboard, or the disservice you might be causing if you didn't properly respond with what you know to be true from firsthand experience? I mean we all are trying to bring about a consensus here, I know. However, I am wondering how do we do that when the minds of the most outspoken people in the discussion are obviously closed? Tell me. Please.


Last edited by Misogi-no-Gyo : 06-26-2008 at 02:19 PM.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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