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Old 07-04-2008, 10:03 AM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 138
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Rob, thanks for the reply.
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Well, first I have a 4 year old who might swing wild sometimes and I've picked him up and calmed him down without hurting him.
I know, I know. But 'calming him down' when you're his dad is different than if he was really freaking out and trying to get you. That's part of what I was saying. I really hope neither you nor I ever experiences 'real physical aggression' from our children, whatever age.

I can say that I've had my body completely taken over by what Dan was doing - so that starts to make the impression.
I am entirely curious about this 'completely taken over'. I am not being disingenuous. For example, while you are in this state of being completely taken over, could Dan make you pick up an object on the table next to you without using verbal commands? Like I said, I can understand a certain (high) level of 'unexpected control' over another person. 'Completely taken over' is something else. It smacks of exaggeration, but I just don't know. That's why I'm asking and giving you and/or Dan a chance to clarify -- rather than assume these statements are exaggerated. I can see how you might feel completely taken over if you had never before felt whatever Dan does, but if you think you *were* completely taken over, it *might* say more about you than about Dan.

But I was skeptical myself about how well that would work on a well trained martial artists beyond myself.
Doesn't that imply that before you met Dan you were well-trained, though? If it's true that what he taught you was the foundation required to make your art work; and if that foundation was utterly foreign to you; were you really well-trained at that time?

So, I brought the strongest and best one I knew with me one of the visits - who I saw completely dominated. (all in good fun - but the power differential was plainly obvious to all). That friend continues to come back like I do to learn.
I don't doubt it, and I don't doubt that Dan is a very powerful, well-rounded martial artist. That has been obvious to me for a long time from reading what he and others write. I wanted to be clear about that.

I've been martial arts long enough to know who is good and who sucks. It literally occured to me on my own that someone who developed such skills would - in general - command a power differential over most people that would be similar to what I have over my own child where I can stop him from hurting me and not hurt him in the process.
I do understand that principle. I am actually trying to look closely at this 'without harm' clause. That is, in my opinion, an incredibly high bar. It's a great goal for some situations, and probably impossible in others. So my ears perked up the same way they would if someone told me they had a perpetual motion machine. It might be a supremely efficient generator, but 'perpetual motion' puts it in another class. What I was trying to understand is whether Dan is encouraging people on with the language of 'without harm'. Now, I understand very well why he would say this, and in the general conversation it doesn't bother me. But remember, he said this to me directly -- implying that what he does accomplishes this goal enough better than whatever I might have in mind that he was willing to bet on it. I'm not a big better, but I'll take a sucker bet if someone walks into it. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what it was Dan said he was 'willing to bet' about. If it was just a figure of speech fine, but that's what I am asking about. I don't usually offer to make bets exactly because I don't like to bet.

To put it even more plainly, Dan has drawn a distinction between AIkido(™) and (I think I got all that right.) It seems like Dan's claim is one that belongs more to the Aikido(™) category -- even if facilitates the general skill. I would think would take a broader view -- one that allowed the possibility of giving someone a 'broken everything'. That's why I highlighted Dan's post originally. I *appreciated* that he was including it in his rant about For him to turn around and offer to school me in 'without harm' -- for appreciating the other side of the coin -- just seemed incongruous. I think they *are* two sides of the same coin, and I would probably be willing to bet that coin if I could figure out *what the proposed bet might be*.

Of course I am not Dan. And I have not been authorized to speak for him.
That's not entirely given. I do remember you saying that you might take on a rôle as his secretary for dealing with others. I am not to know whether that has happened or not. As I said, I would have bet against it though.

However the premise of the thread is for people who have trained with him to provide their feedback and give their impressions.
I thought it was for people who had trained in Aikido and then had also trained with Dan, Mike, Rob, Akuzawa, or others who teach the fundamental ki/kokyu (to use Aikido terms) body skills that have occupied hundreds of pages of discussion on Aikiweb in the last few years. I did not realize it was only for those who had trained with Dan specifically. I would not have commented in that case -- since I would be unqualified to do anything other than ask you questions.

Dan repeatedly wrote things like "ask them". Since he obviously reads this thread, I would assume he will certainly chime in if I overstate something so I'm not feeling like I'm taking some big risk here.
I guess that's for Dan to decide. On the other hand, it puts Dan in an awkward position if people make extraordinary claims for him -- and these claims are presumed to represent him unless he explicitly disclaims them. What if Dan wanted to quietly avoid my pointed questions? Now he has to address them or seemingly give his implicit agreement with your observations.

My experience(s) with Dan left me with the impression that one who is engaging with Dan will get fairly dominated fairly quickly - and the power differential would be similar to that between an adult and a child. And I posted that myself in a different thread, so I felt it appropriate to respond to your question about that exact idea.
Fair enough.

I'm 100% certain that there are SOME people out there well trained in external martial arts that could have a much closer fight with Dan say like 70% to Dan and 30% to them. (The friend I brought maybe being more in that category.) Fine, no one is claiming indestructable and undefeatable.
No, the claim is *much* more ambitious. In order to subdue 'violent actions without causing harm', you would need to be far more than just undefeatable. Man with rifle really is undefeatable against an unarmed man at 100 yards. But there is no way he can do his thing without causing harm. It's really that distinction that I'm looking at. And then what happens when the other guy has a rifle too. Dan may be the greatest martial artist in the world, but his claim would *still* require that he be much better than everyone else to really make sense.

Dan often writes that he is still just beginning to learn this stuff himself.
I have noticed Dan's humility too, which is why I credit him with exaggerating rather than really meaning what he said.

Regarding "fairly unique". Well I dish out citations from the sematic police myself, but I'm sticking to my guns on this one.
Rob, I was going to let you off with a warning. Why'd you have to go and argue the point?
Dan teaches anti-aiki. As far as I know, that is his term, and his study. Which is unique. However, it would be plausable that this kind of aspect is done to some degree by some of the rare others who also work these skills.
When I asked Chen Xiao Wang if I could try to joint-lock him, he happily let me do my best. It wasn't nearly good enough, and he was able to have his way with me. Now, I can do the same to my two-year-old (and a much lesser approximation to adults with less training). I can also sometimes (I'm not claiming great skill) joint-lock someone who knows how to block the lock in this way (if crudely) -- so that's a first-degree approximation of the skillset, even if I suck at it. So CXW's ability to shut me down cold suggests that he also trains in this way. Just the other day I heard privately of a different Taiji teacher for whom this field of study is part of the normal pedagogy. So it may not be *that* rare, even if it's unusual. If you had said his training approach is unique that would be fine, as long as you allowed that others also use this unique approach. You said *Dan* is fairly unique. I dinged you because you're implying that his approach is unique and that you think few if any others use it. You're mixing up Dan with his approach and using the ambiguity that might exist from diluting the meaning of 'unique' to cover that up. That conflation actually pre-commits you to ad hominem attacks on Dan's approach -- which would then be very hard to refute since you've bought into their premise. I think Dan's approach is probably pretty good, so I would rather decouple them from Dan, the man, however exemplary his demonstration of its result.

In any case, your 'semantic violation' is an entirely forgivable mistake of speech -- basically a typo; but it still demonstrates exactly the mistake in question. That wouldn't matter if the *actual meaning of unique* was not largely what is at stake in this discussion.

So I qualified unique. There are levels of infinity in math, it doesn't seem like such a stretch to say "fairly unique". Call it poetic license.
So would you say that something is 'fairly infinite'? No, of course not. You would say it is infinite, or you would qualify that infinity in a mathematically precise way. Most charitably, you just used 'fairly unique' to mean 'unusual or quite rare'. You're the one dragging the letter of the statute into the discussion here. By the way, as far as I am concerned, you *can* qualify unique -- but not through degrees of uniqueness (unless you want to try to go the precise route and actually explain the type of uniqueness alleged -- say, 'genetically unique'). For example, you could have said that Dan is 'probably unique' indicating that you do not know whether others train as he does (which is true) but that you *believe* him to be so. That's what I might have said in your position -- but I'm not sure it's what *you* actually meant.

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