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Old 05-21-2010, 10:15 AM   #22
Budd's Avatar
Dojo: Taikyoku Budo & Kiko - NY, PA, MD
Location: Greater Philadelphia Area
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 997
Re: Control in the martial arts.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Hi Bud
I think that contrary to all the talk, there is no one, NO ONE who knows how "these things are commonly understood across the spectrum of Martial arts."
There may be amateurs who will more or less "tell you" they get it all, across the spectrum of martial arts, because they have some power and understanding, but none of them have ever presented a convincing argument to me that they know the full spectrum of martial understanding. I know some real experts who would run from being associated with that claim.
Hi Dan,

No, agreed, most everyone that I talk with acknowledges their amateur status with regards to "this stuff". I think the really big dogs are probably amused by the gains and spins that have been made in training by the amateurs, but I'm also curious if it won't get to a point where they clam up more when they see people chasing after them up the mountain. Would actually be a great problem to have in some ways.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
What we know, is that there are ways that IP/ aiki is trained, what it feels like and is used. Critical to that is that IP/aiki can be used quite differently by different people. IP/aiki is discernable as weird and different; some guys are more ghosty than others, others are more focused on power and cast aways, others more evading, while others are more controling and invading/while evading, etc. What is not so popular is that once known, we can see or feel and test some rather accomplished men who are obviously only using only part, or feel or see others using some good stuff-if only partially well trained, and still others who are far more developed.
That all makes sense - I can feel quite a bit in some and am getting better at noticing where people are holding tensions with local muscle. At the level at which I've been working of late, I'm looking more at "purity" as opposed to worrying about application, too much. But to your last point, as I transition more back into that space, I'm hoping to be able to bring the clinical perspective to spend more time "listening" to what's happening in me under pressure and how different types of responses affect the other guy. Also, playing with levels of being strong, powerful, ghostly, etc. . . which to me is all about control in the martial arts responding to changing environmental factors - as opposed to control being the "setup" of all the pieces in my favor (also a good skill, but probably already the chief "combative" training in places that don't really spar).

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
There are certain things you are going to look for in IP/aiki that have to be there, but the ways to train it or develop it are not all the same. Of course there are different methods and different accents in movement and use in different arts the key though is that a lot of it is based on some common and necessary elements, but some isn't. Mores the point, they have different accents in critical movement and use. What has not been discussed is how where and why various internal aspects drive, and join with certain external movements or "rules" that prevent a host of structural flaws, and/ or build some rather profound physical changes that are excellent for fighting with weapons or without.
In other words "connecting the body" -while potent- is not a panacea for all the movement issues that ail the typical MA person.
It's why I continually state this stuff is not "all the same."
I don't think there can be such a thing as a "panacea", there's far too much individual obsession, effort and work to be done. If it were as easy as being given a silver bullet to fire, I think there would be a lot more people with high level IS skills. I am going to be curious to see how your efforts in training people results in folks with repeatable higher level IS skills - beyond the people that regularly come to your barn (renovated, huh? Nice!) - but the folks you give work to do and can see a couple/few times a year .. how much can you drive them versus demonstrate how they have to own and obsess over it? And yeah, no disagreements that this stuff isn't all the same . . But even the stuff that's traditionally been withheld I don't think will be a panacea to those that don't do the work.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
On what basis would you say #1 and #2 are different?
And where and how do you see them as the same?
I see them being divided in that you have the basic conditioning of the body/mind (how you strengthen the legs/middle/back, etc. for example and coordinate with intent to direct forces along those power clusters) . . then you have the application of this into a martial art, free fighting, basic every day tasks, whatever .. I think at some level when you aren't thinking about technique, the lines will blur as the body will carry itself appropriately regardless of the external input (within limits, etc.) . . this is where I see them as becoming exactly the same - at some point your body/mind moves the way they do according to the "rules" you've built and trained over time. To your point, I can definitely see how some methods may be more appropriate for certain "containers", depending on the goals, etc.

The biggest risk - and the reason at my foot-in-door level I keep them separated - is that too soon into the "application" threshold without having developed the body foundationally to carry itself a certain way, is that the exercises geared more towards mimicing the form (or in sparring, which is more telling, abandoning the form once you've reached a certain level - but until then, flailing around somewhat trying to impose a grasp of order in increasingly chaotic situations) I found myself reverting to older habits and finding conflicts where I wasn't progressing in the foundational "stuff. So, it's just my cleaner break right now. Perhaps in a year or two I'll feel differently.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The clinical discussion
I don't think there really ever was any. I think many of the "so called" clinical discussions have been "around" the topic with very little actual information. Some information has been borrowed from some "surprising" sources and later used for some "surprising" people's training. Okay, fine. What is NOT okay is when the source was later denied, misquoted and mischaracterized and then that information suddenly became what certain people knew and were doing all along. Oh well, just Budo…..right?
I haven't met the guy here (or in person) worth calling an expert in all the martial arts yet. He may know his shtick right well, but there are some seriously good alternates and spins on things out there. I keep hoping that as more and more senior Budo teachers and men who can really fight get involved with IP/aiki, there might be a better level of honesty, integrity and character involved in these discussions. ]
That's the desired state, for sure. I think because of the reletave "immaturity" of mainstream practice of "this stuff" it still is something of a niche topic. So, there's the serious seekers, the joiners, the tourists, a whole range and mix. As you've said, in person, demonstrating what you can do - resolves quite a few of the "ifs and maybes" discussions . . but then I also hold out hope that the maturity of these discussions in more mainstream (relatively speaking, Aikiweb only represents a fraction of Aiki practitioners) areas will gain some traction as well - if for no other reason than to shine a beacon for those that may be serious inquirers into the topic. Interesting times right now and I expect them to only get more so.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Almost forgot the topic.
IMO, control begins with controlling yourself, it is really the only way to control others, and you will never do it as well as someone who has an understanding of IP/aiki. The more that "energy use" is balanced within us, the less likely we are to get "caught." I have found that for many in the aiki arts-including most of the teachers I have met- they are clearly still in need of working on that.

As you have noted, Budd, this training sure can be good, clean fun if you have the right attitude. I like Meik Skoss's admonition, "Where all just bums on the budo bus," hopefully sharing experiences and insights. I look at all of this more like a collaborative and grand experiment and exchange.
Good luck in your training.
Yeah, I keep looking at it as an ongoing filtering process . . who is genuinely seeking, who is available for information, who is willing to communicate, etc.? There's so many tangential aspects of who you ask, how you conduct yourself, how you train it, how it incorporates into what you're already doing - what you have to radically change. I think two inhibitors out of the box are 1) Assuming you're already doing sorta "this stuff" and that what you learn is just an add-on 2) Not figuring out how to ferociously critique every single thing you are doing (the antithesis of "yeah, I sorta get it and will get better with repetition and practice").

Anyways, good discussion, thanks.
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