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Old 08-26-2009, 10:27 AM   #3
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Re: How To Teach Power & Harmony?

I agree that you have to train 'this' way up to a certain extent.

The first time I ask you to punch you will punch whatever way you want to. If you had some training you would probably use that training, say throwing in some hip power, balancing your punching hand with power generated from your other hand, torquing your toes to drive the power up, maintain your center so that the power is transferred correctly and etc etc.
It won't be what I'm looking for. Your punch is probably good and chances are it would hurt someone. But it won't be what my art is all about.

I'll ask you punch a certain way. You don't understand. What's all this? Its all wrong... there's no power there, the stance is too weak, I can block that easy etc etc. And yes probably you're right too at least at first. But train longer and you would start to see the idea behind the punch. Its different. Totally different that what you think a punch should be like, but it is effective especially for what its intended to do.

Similarly people see aikido and make all sorts of judgement. I do too. We all do because we have our own experience, understanding and knowledge. And we like to see it mirrored in the things we do and learn. Sometimes when it doesn't, it sorts of creates a conflict within us and we rebel or admonish.

There are many levels of understanding in any knowledge. You will begin at the form first, the principles, the technique and the method, the application, the power, the spirit and etc.

As you pass a certain level of understanding in each level, you would probably be able to adjust that level to your own style. But not before. Usually you would need to follow the prescribe method in the first level to understand the following level faster but not necessarily. Some people are just blessed with a good mind. Most people are clueless.

The easiest to point out is doing a particular technique. Throw in anything.. shihonage ikkyo whatever. Say ikkyo aihanmi for good measure. Whats there at the kihon level?

Proper hanmi, center, extension. Then make the connection, Kuzushi (and -> uproot). Extend into uke's center and his elbows go up automatically. From here there's a few divergence. Some like to cut into the face and center line. Some like to cut out diagonally through the center line. Whatever the case, the centerline is cut.
Those are the 'adjustments' we make to suit our style and situation and physical differences. There are many more. Doesn't detract from the basic method and principles behind it.

Now another art may have something that looks like ikkyo but when applied the mechanics may look similar but doesn't function the same. Some don't even have the idea of taking center line. They might rely on pain compliance, or torquing the elbow, or shifting the body weight to get kuzushi, or rotating the spine whatever...

It might accomplish the end result of ikkyo pin but it certainly isn't aikido. At least not yet. Later on, ikkyo doesn't even look like that. Its just up down up down and that's it. Or its come come come and out you go. And that's the level when kihon is no longer applied, because they're understood all that and now they're on a different level of understanding. Kihon was a step for us to learn. eg basic maths before going to algebra then we go to calculus and so on and so forth. Pretty soon, we'll be playing with sin, cos, logs and maths doesn't look like maths. Additions don't look like additions. But if we tried to start off students at that level without basic maths, everyone will go screwy. It'll be mumbo jumbo and some people will just go out there spouting memorised formulas and workings and they can't go beyond that. cause there's no understanding.

That is my understanding of it anyway. And that's why I believe you have to learn a 'certain defined way' at first. Until you understand that level, and then you can use what you have learned to suit your temperament.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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