Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden
The application issue and when to use speed always vexes everyone. I have seen it so many times. I saw a bunch of Taiji guys copying their teachers "shaking power" and a bagua guy copy his teachers explosive movement. All three students had nothing...zero power. A few people had asked me at dinner how I personally developed this; the time line, methods pitfalls etc.
I learned this from the flat of my back-from failure!
I followed a similar path of what Rob just highlighted "getting ahead of myself" "letting ego get in the way," "not wanting to lose," etc. My list of never ending stupidity went on and on. I would do well in class and when I went to do judo or grapple I would either revert back to what I normally did (when my competitive instincts took over) or I would fail! Why fail? Because my body wasn't conditioned enough yet to use aiki in freestyle. In short, I was the poster boy for getting ahead of myself.
As I progressed-and thankfully got a little wiser I knew I had to ramp it up by doing slow motion throwing drills-and retaining central equilibrium through mental focus and always maintaining in yo ho under load and stress-otherwise all was lost-I went right back to using muscle, being one side weighted, receiving everything into me, either sending or receving and not both, etc..
Sadly, I have had guys who trained here, got some power and a boalt load of "principle based" jujutsu and split. In their eyes they called it a success, to boot! They though they "got it" when nothing could be further from the truth.
You got the points of working on intent; paired and solo. Initial opposing force; up/down/ in /out. Central axis pivoting, and winding, then felt its use in spiraling and support.
What is seldom discussed-because no one wants to be the wet blanket on the best discussions to happen to Aikido since the founding of Aikido- is that the work sooner or later, is just "plain ol' work." People either get bored or they "settle" for much less than their own potential. It's just the way of it.
You cannot state definitively how long it will take person (a) or person (b), because there are too many variations; talent, intelligence, fullness of methods trained etc.
I've been chasing this type of training for decades and I am horribly disappointed in myself. Plus, I keep finding, and discovering other things I need to work on. It's just comforting to know that my best years are ahead of me that I can't wait to be 65 and feel me then.
What the purists will discover is that every few years you will make a jump. And you won't tell you, other people will tell you. You may or may not sense that you feel loser (say your central axis pivot is freer and faster and well seated) but not really sensing anything definitive. The,. out of no where, people go flying when they try to throw you. The good news is that contrary to that same ol nonsense of just "having a good night at the dojo" this training lets you know exactly WHY your having a good night at the dojo.
Okay that said, the reason you will hear it from others, is the same reason you all heard at the seminar. Its classic “But I didn’t do anything!” That’s how I feel when I people try to throw me or I hit them. I’m just moving. I didn’t feel much of anything to “throttle back on” in the first place.
The sensitivity you garner from internal training to make aiki- creates (as Greg aptly noted a few posts back) a heightened sensitivity to feel, and sense weight and force from anyone who contacts us. This isn’t a skill you go after, “a thing” you develop, it is a by product of the training. Remember the directed force-in? That is being burned into you for you to feel certain paths-which I won’t discuss here. But you all felt it happening. So, ask yourself, “if that guys can force me to feel certain paths by his choosing, what can he do with those paths since they are under his control? In other words it’s a great learing tool for both sides isn’t it? If (a) can direct force through you and sense your response and then does it for hours and hours and hours in the dojo with different bodies…when do YOU think that will turn into one monster of a useful skill in aikido? Yet person (b) is training to feel forces coming in and neutralizing and playing and giving single and multiple paths of receiving, sending entering for the same amount of hours what is that going to on his side of the equation? The sensitivity and control is built on both sides.
How great is it to control their own feet, to sense their every weight shift, to know (as you felt or watched me say “You are trying to lift your left leg -because you just shifted your weight to the right”) at the instant they “think it and are trying to move. It is key to the old budo admonition of arriving first. Many people comment on how fast we feel. We’re not fast, we’re quick. We sense, we read, we arrive first.
Now consider, that all of the above is just reading someone. Now consider you controlling and setting them up and dominating through their intent.
When some of you played with or Andy you felt spiral energy at work. There is nothing “to have,” every contact point is treated with a negative and positive aspect of the spiraling arcs. Thus they rise-and-sink, receive-and-feed, send-and-enter, all at the same time, on two different helix’s moving around a dynamic central column. It’s like sticking your finger into Quisinart blender. The blender is balanced within itself turning from within without transferring weight out to you. Your finger? It doesn’t look so good!
The longer you train the more you retain that sense of balance. The more tissue that gets involved (breath training) the looser and more connected you get, the more connected you get-the more powerful you get.
Everyone felt or saw people putting their hands on my chest wall and being moved around? The aiki connection from that is the result of tissue involvement in a path from the feet to the hands with no slack in the body. As you train -you get ever more elusive for an opponent to find. The trick is that when he tries to find you? “He” is revealed
But all of that work is from dead slow, hours long, non-fighting, practice. Most just don't have the stomach for it.
On the up side it makes aiki (and anti-aiki) faster and greater than any kata method I have ever seen.
Last edited by DH : 08-07-2009 at 08:43 AM.