Thread: Strength vs Ki.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:51 AM   #321
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Strength vs Ki.

Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Jeez, you're making me work and it's past my bedtime. OK, here goes. I'm gonna appear to criticize the people in this video, but I expect they're very senior aikidoka and can withstand a little criticism from an internet nobody like me.

Look at the demos starting at 3:30 or so. Look at the height of nage's head as they execute iriminage. Bounce up to meet the shomenuchi, down with the attack, up again, down for the throw. Lots and lots of external movement. And clearly this is intentional, because Tohei Sensei illustrates it at 6:55. Action/reaction, push on uke and they push back.

And there's nothing wrong with this in itself, maybe, but look at the shihonage at 3:44. Action/reaction, uke goes down and comes back up--on balance. Then she stands there waiting for the throw. Happens several times.

Worse, look at the kotegaishis at 3:59. Now we've got uke doing the bouncy-bouncy thing during the attack. I'm sorry, but this is just meaningless.

Now look at Tohei himself. Most of his demonstrations he's starting with uke in a static position, which means he's not depending on momentum or action/reaction at all. Look at 5:07. Look at 5:26, which is superficially like some of the movements of his students, but look at his head and his center. No bouncy-bouncy at all, just connection. Look at 6:58 again. Ostensibly he's showing what his students did but again, it's not depending on momentum and tho there is action/reaction, Tohei is both causing the action and taking advantage of the reaction with little external movement and no change in the level of head or hara. He does get around to showing the full movement at 7:31, but it's like he has to work to show a tenth of the up and down movement his students show.

I think the point is made, but here are some more examples. Look at his shihonage at 9:34, which is sweet. It's slow, but there's no question he's got uke's balance the whole time, and look how little external movement he needs. Look at all his illustrations of dealing with a resisting uke which follow. No dependance on momentum or action/reaction, just ki and connection. Look at how he handles the shoulder grab at 20:28, which reminds me a lot of the Numata Sensei video I was admiring earlier.

I don't see any of this reflected in his students' movement. And it seems to me that emphasizing the big external movements is going to make it very hard for them to find and duplicate what he's doing. It's so subtle, it's easily masked by all that external movement.

So, just my reactions. This is as much about the training method as the waza itself, in a lot of ways.
Hi Hugh.
I'm pleasantly surprised by your work and your thoughts.Indeed also by your presentation. Now I've got to work to answer as best I can.

First let's take a look at the ukes in the beginning. I agree they have technical outnesses as you describe and no doubt are doing a degree of 'copying' as I call it rather than fully understanding what they are doing. Collusivity, some may call it.

Now I'll attempt to put it into perspective. Remember, all students when compared to the master look very different and much more collusive, it's natural really and should be expected so I am not surprised at all there.

Next I would say that I have seen Tohei do such in a similar manner also when he is exaggerating the motion and movement AND feeling so that observers can see kind of three dimensionally what's going on.

So what is the principle(s) he is talking about to the audience that he wants those ukes to show?

Well first let me point out two things, eventually two very different things though in the beginning called and seen as the same thing. LEADING.

There is leading the mind and there is leading Ki.

O.k. So he is trying to show the effect of leading the mind and some principles involved in that aspect. Which brings me to the down/up effect.

I can see you know the principle of push down the reaction will be up so you translate it as such, action/reaction. All good physically.

So back to the demo. Leading the mind Tohei style is difficult and takes time to understand in itself let alone then use the principles of it. Add to this that there is another factor of weight underside, (which comes from complete relaxation and at the same time 'flexible' yet 'unbendable' arm) involved. (as shown in his ikkyo exercises)

Now here's the corker. Down/up mind wise. If you lead and then drop the persons mind they will pitch foreward. It's a drop straight down. verticle, no nearly verticle, so he is dropping their mind.

Now to phase two, I call it the tennis ball effect. If you have learned to lead the mind you then learn how to bounce the mind. The effect on the opponent is not one even from their perspective that they are reacting against something they just feel taken and bounced.

I hope this gives you an insight as to what's going on. Try it physically and you can get a pitch foreward or even a jerk reaction back but you cannot get that same bounce, it's a totally different skill.

The students were no doubt doing what they practice in training and maybe even in their training they do it all in an exagerated fashion in order to improve their understanding but I must say that in training from moving attacks the other factors come into play so it can't really be compared to static visually so to speak until you are aware of all the other factors.

So also in their demo they are showing using that aspect of leading and bouncing the mind in various techniques. Just one aspect of the whole.

As the video goes on Tohei is no doubt adding and talking about other aspects as well, other principles. For example with the big guy from static where he is leading the mind and yet he has brought the other fella's centre line into the equation

By the time you get to 9-34 he is now showing principles of the circle as well. Beautiful.

On to shoulder grab you'll notice that although he is showing what not to do, ie: stand and push back, in so doing he cant help but let the persons energy go in and return back through his body and bounce the attacker off and thus you see what great koshi he had as well. (what i hear others calling ground force or something like that)

So that was his demo of what not to do and he proceeds to do some motions using a combination of principles.

Hope this gives you a clearer perspective on the video.

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