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Old 09-28-2011, 09:17 AM   #29
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Allen, I'll be the sacrificial lamb and get the ball rolling...

I was taught that aikiken and aikijogi should be seen along the same lines as the aiki taiso. The aiki taiso is intended to be a solo exercise to help one develop "aiki". Of course we hear phrases like "to get our ki flowing" and stuff like that which is not necessarily all that descriptive in any sort of scientific fashion. However, what was impressed upon me was that the aiki taiso are not to be done as warm ups, not as just movements, but as discrete methods of developing both the body to do "aiki" as well as developing better awareness of what is going on in your body. As we are a Ki Society offshoot, these things are assessed via tests to see if we are exhibiting our four principles to unify mind and body. So the taiso are to help us develop our abilities. And I was told that the aiki jogi and aiki kengi were intended for the same purpose -- additional "exercises" if you will to develop the same things. So we test for unification of mind and body thoughout these "kata" of sorts. We strive to keep one-point, etc. as we do the movements. Our stated goal is to better develop our understanding of "aiki" within our own bodies.

So, as with the aiki taiso add a stick with it's associated movements and style and you have new movements, new things to learn. Same with adding in a wooden sword with it's own associated movements and requirements simply gives another means to test ourselves, to develop, to improve.

So FWIW I view them not as kenjutsu or sojutsu or whatever. They are solo exercises to allow us to better develop that elusive feeling of aiki. So we focus on balance, relaxation and control while trying to develop the ability to strike/cut/thrust with power. For me it is being able to deliver a powerful strike with the jo, for example, while maintaining good form. That means the strike is using the as much of the body structure as possible to deliver that strike. Not swinging with the arms, but learning to connect throughout the body and use the ground, your legs, core, and arms with each strike. And then this is done from a variety of directions, angles, and styles that forces you to learn more ways of being powerful while maintaining the principles. Currently I'm still working on loosening up those tight hips. It's like a point of power constipation for me -- everything gets clogged up in the tightness there. But that's getting better slowly...

So, for me it is about learning how to generate powerful movements.

And it is not redundant between ken and jo as each weapon is used differently. Hence different movements. Hence different ways of using the body. Hence different types of "tanren" in each case.

But I'm also the obsessive guy who beats the daylights out of a sawhorse and a large persimmon tree in my backyard daily with both ken and jo. I've busted a number of the weapons over the years.

Speaking only for myself and my understanding.

Okay... Fire away...

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