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Old 09-20-2009, 01:21 PM   #5
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
For example, there's a school called I ch'uan, derived from xingyi. They mostly do internal power training, a lot of whats called "post standing." And they are really powerful guys. And contrary to the claims of their fighting effectiveness (mostly assoc. with the founder, who STARTED with xingyi, which has techniques), the i ch'uan guys, in fights with top-level guys, have mostly lost. I think jujutsu can be considered the wiring and aiki (or chi/kokyu, all the variants) the electricity. And it is possible that one has lousy wiring, so you short-circuit yourself in your training. All that power and nothing to deliver it with.
This sort of gets back to an observation that I've made a number of times that almost all Chinese martial-arts are a combination of I.S. skills on the one hand and techniques/skills/strategies on the other hand. No art is complete without a suitable complement of both. Among the Japanese martial-arts the combination of I.S. and techniques/skills/strategies is there or *was* there at some time in the past, for most of the arts that I can get a feel for. It's possible that there are going to be some outrider koryu, etc., that may not have had some I.S. skills in it, but so far I wouldn't be comfortable in suggesting any Japanese art was totally bereft of those skills.

Bear in mind something very important: there are varying levels of these skills available in various arts and in various people that have some aspects of those skills, so by saying an art (or person) had I.S. skills, I certainly don't mean to imply that they all had/have those skills equally.

In the case of I'chuan (more properly "Yiquan" with today's Pinyin form of spelling), the founder (Wang Xiangzhai) had a Xingyi background and in an attempt to teach a number of fighters (who were soon to have a competition with some foreigners) some things to boost their power-skills, came up with a training regimen that was the basis for what became Yiquan.

In essence, we could suggest that Wang said, "OK, so what you need to *really* improve your fighting is for me to show you how to do the oft-hidden aspects of Internal Strength". Isn't that essentially what Koichi Tohei did (albeit not very clearly) in relation to Aikido? Couldn't we similarly say that what Ikeda Sensei, Ushiro Sensei, Dan, and others do is say something along the lines of "OK, here's how to develop the previously-hidden power to go with your martial arts"? The point is that Yiquan's nicely-packaged training regimen is interesting because of its seeming openess (which is not true) of the I.S. training in relation to the fighting skills; in reality, Yiquan's combination of I.S. and fighting-methodology is nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact that the I.S. training is somewhat obvious. AikiTaiso are obviously meant to be the I.S. training methods of Aikido, but their use is also as fumbled up in application as a lot of Yiquan's methods are.

Think of Ushiro's comment about "No kokyu, no Aikido" or think of Shioda's comment about how the power usage has been lost not only in Aikido but in Judo and other Japanese arts. The central theme is that a lot of the power development is hidden, so it gets lost or, quite often, a person/art only gets and develops some limited aspects of the full power.

The story of Takeda's power (how sophisticated was it? Was it specialized in some areas and void in others?) and Ueshiba's power (same questions) can be seen as (1.) a sliding-scale series of possibilities that no one has all the answers to, mainly because of the veil that is around the training methods for the I.S. skills.... and (2.) also because of the sliding-scale possibilities that would arise from how sophisticated and strong the martial skills were in conjunction with the I.S. skills.


Mike Sigman
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