Thread: Ueshiba's Aiki
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:47 AM   #19
Dojo: Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 659
Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Robert John wrote: View Post
Ok, if you observe and research enough videos of reputable guys doing demos, you'll notice a curious correlation and find that they generally do a a) static "can't" move me demos - Ueshiba's head push b) demos where they emit a significant amount of force with little windup - Ueshiba's knee twitch and c) off balancing demos (which can get silly) where the Uke is controlled to varying degrees.

It's common in both the Chinese and Japanese styles.
If you have a good eye, you'll see similar mechanics being used by both (Ueshiba included), the most obvious being "bounce" type movements (which is why I pointed out the knee trick), and mechanics involving the back almost like a spring or bow, mind you I'm really generalizing.

Its here that you can generally see the components for "Aiki" at work and has little to do with the actual techniques involved.
So yes, you can see them on video.
Just to follow on from this exchange - "reputable guys" is a broad church - there are some interesting people out there all with following so its not necessarily so easy to pick one out....and when one does its not easy without an untrained eye to see what is going on.

Certainly in your vid of the 94 year old master...he's doing something but its hard to really decide what...unless you've been trained to look for it. So bear with us Aikido guys...some of us are playing catch up whether we want to admit it or not.

Anyway - thats not really what triggered my post. Carsten mentions that the vid of O'sensei is stuff that is practiced in most dojos...which is no surprise really since we are pretty much all trying to emulate the guy and do what he did...aren't we?

however to steal Ellis Amdurs much seems to be 'hidden in plain sight'.

What we think we are trying to do now may not be what is actually demonstrated.

For instance...O'sensei does ikkyo....Student 2011 does ikkyo. Same thing? or not?

Theres no right or wrong answer - the student may be aiming at Aiki power - i'll call it kokyu-ryoku ...or he may be using ikkyo to develop kamae, maai, and shisei...or something else.

So it may look like same thing ...yet may not be.

In my thinking - The ikkyo is just an external form to be used by the teacher to teach whatever he want.

Most people who have been around a while know this - In dojos where the focus is more than an array of techniques, there are generally a small number of techniques deployed but these are used to teach different things at many levels, this enables 4th dans and beginner for instance to train together and gain something relevant to themselve - which may be totally different things.

Eventually practice has to drill through all of these things/layers and reach its inner level. For me this final level is kokyu-ryoku or generation of Aiki power. This is what I love about Aikido...there are multiple layers of training and ultimately the promise of great power...but it does take a long time to drill down to the essence and until this happens then ones Aikido is always exposed to questions.

Now this is where the likes of Aunkia & Rob , Mike Sigman and Dan come in. To me they offer explanations that are clear, structured and achievable of work to be done to really target this deepest layer of Aikido and speed up and expand its integration into the body.

I think this suggestion grates with many ...because the old ways are not without merit . O'sensei selected the techiques of Aikido because they were 'fit for purpose' and I do feel that through long hard training using them then there is benefit and some 'aiki' skills can be gained.

I think most of us here know and have experience that feeling of grabbing some normal looking person ...and feeling that abnormal power.

So there are people that have something sourced in 'traditional' training.

Couple this with the fact that some of the originals were amazing, From my own experience -Tamura Sensei for instance was incredible in the way he could allow seemingly anyone to try to put a technique on him then reverse it effortlessly and its hard to see any suggestion that such inspirational leaders could have lacked in some way.

But there were language barriers, they were not trained to teach with lesson plans, schemes of works etc...they taught by watch and copy. Maybe this is not the most effective way and there is something in the rethink of practice offered by IP training...another thread perhaps for those that love debate.

I think the crux is that the IP argument & training is seen as being in opposition to, or as criticism of traditional training in some quarters whereas to me its just another level with an opportunity to really focus on power generation.

Its not new - Pierre Chassange was telling people 20 years ago about 'changing the software' the time I had a view of this which was at best incomplete...but now I believe it was more about training the subconscious mind to use hara and the postural muscled instinctively rather than the obvious big muscles. I don't see any conflict with this and the IP stuff...My understanding might be pre-school level but I do feel its heading in the right direction.

Similarly Stephane Bennedeti suggested over a decade ago that the the techniques of Aikido were specifically selected as a form of conditioning. Again at the time I had a view that I no longer have....but can see how this correlates with the internal winding/spiralling that Dan H proposes rather than being a physical toughening that I originally though.

I'm sure there are many other examples of such synergy and I do not think the picture is a black and white as others suggest. Certainly the term 'modern Aikido' was not one that could be applied to Pierre Chassange and there are many that carry his influence in their practice.

With regard to IP training and traditional practice - In essense - many dojos its the same stuff ...although there are clearly examples where its totally not , but in my experience the IP training may well be better structured towards the kokyu-ryoku layer of Aikido....It fits with the lessons I've received from some highly respected Aikido instructors and the more I see of it the more it becomes visible elsewhere in the teachings and movement of 'the top guys' who are using their bodies in a way that is not obvious to the untrained eye...yet eye training opportunities are becoming more and more available.