Thread: Ueshiba's Aiki
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:12 AM   #212
Ken McGrew
Dojo: Aikido at UAB
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Join Date: May 2006
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Re: Jeez, lighten up! But keep weight underside

Dave, I appreciate this sincere effort to communicate.

Dan and others are not merely saying that Aikido practices should add more of the internal training. They are saying that Aikido is all and only about the internal unbalancing. As people forget how outlandish his claims have been I quote several posts from Dan below. If you read them you'll see that he does claim to be teaching Aikido... Or rather they don't really believe in Aikido so are teaching the true aiki of Daito-ryu. He does claim that Aikido is an ineffective art. I have not exaggerated his claims.

We can look at examples of Daito-ryu for comparison with Aikido:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zczk...e_gdata_player

Generally there is a tendency to stop Uke's movement and then do the technique. Dan views attempts to use Uke's energy to power the throw as ineffective and superficial. He has got it backwards. The Using of Uke's energy to such a high level was the breakthrough in Aikido. Breaking internal balance, Atemi, posture, these are all necessary at times but they are secondary to how Aikido works. Stopping Uke and then doing a technique is less likely to work when there is a great strength and size differential and it is slower in general. Moving and blending works better in multiple attack situations. A broader range of people are capable of learning Aikido well compared to Daito-ryu. When you look at the images of Dan's seminar that I found and posted a link to you see evidence of counter punching as well as the unbalancing exercises. I've done similar Tai Chi inspired punching. It's fine. It's even good. It's not Aikido. It gets in the way of Aikido. It's what I do if I screw up my Aikido, not what I do instead of Aikido.

It was said by one of Dan's students earlier that all of O'Sensei's aiki was about breaking internal balance (not some but all he said). Dan and company seem to have a very narrow and mechanical definition of aiki. There is aiki in sword but sword is seldom about breaking balance, for example.

They see in O'Sensei what they want to see. Some of what they see is there at times. At other times it is not there. They ignore or dismiss the things that don't fit their position. Like the spiritual aspects. Like the blending and leading. It was said that people are trying to be as good as O'Sensei so they are doing things he did but which have allegedly been lost. In the process they are loosing the parts that have been kept. Moreover, they are leaving out practices that O'Sensei seldom asked of his students. If you want to be like O'Sensei, from his point of view, you must be a strict vegetarian, take purification baths, meditate, do art, make offerings, study, train, fast, and seek to leave earthly motives. Then maybe you'll be rewarded by a Kami.

Spin off of the latest discussion in the Bill Gleason/ Popkin thread on the continuing Aikido or Non aikido aiki debate and what is or isn't aiki when it is taught...and where is can be placed on aikiweb.

Since more and more top aikido people are going outside of aikido to learn aiki, it's not going to matter in the long run.
I have charted a course for my own involvement in teaching IP/aiki which I always stated it was a three to five year plan, with predictions of behavior. 
The plan and events as I saw them
1. First, discussion of it. "Those outside people don't really understand the aiki of aikido."
2. Aikido students go feel it, recognize they missed it and they are not allowed to train in their home dojos.
3. Aikido teachers are shown it. They can't do a thing to the guys who actually have it. They see they missed it. They create an environment to train it and they start to teach it. They tell everyone "These outside guys are doing the aiki of aikido!!"
4. They start to get it a little bit and their students do as well.
5. As their bodies change and their mind/ body awareness improves, they convince themselves they actually had more of it then they first thought (forgetting the evidence of their obvious initial failures)
6. As they get better because of going outside, they think the people they went outside to get it from aren't as good as they once thought.
7..In time they convince themselves and their students that everything they wanted was there all along and they already knew it, those outside guys just reminded them.

Then, full circle in the near future
8. The new narrative appears. The people who were given aiki from the outside guys now take it back into the art and they say to their students. Those outside people are good but ....
they don't really understand the aiki of aikido."

It's only a matter of time. This is just the predictable path for the best budo people. Most of whom are self motived and self disciplined people. All input will eventually become self-awareness and self-actualization. They cannot help but to follow a process more or less along the lines of; 
That guys amazing
I can't do that, 
I am learning to do that,
My teachers did that
I forgot I already knew all that 
That guy was a bit of an influence on me 

Precedent
Ueshiba, meets Takeda. When they met, he cried from being totally dominated. 
Twenty three years under Takeda- Ueshiba gets power. This was all based on and witnessed to be from...Takeda.
What do we get
What he says "Takeda opened my eyes to true budo...." 
What he does hands out Daito ryu scrolls with a changed name, and refused to pay the fees he promised...and walked away into a world pointing to his vision..

I am a realist. What these aikido teachers are doing is going to change aikido. It is changing aikido, but in the end it is going to turn back to ownership from within...aikido. So, for me it's best to remain a nobody and just help when I am asked and watch it all unfold with interest. It appears that everyone has a shield or added layer in what they say on the net or say behind closed doors. For some strange reason, what they say and what they can actually do in person is...not always the same. I suspect it's always been that way. 

So is this the aiki in aikido? You just might find that it's not only who you ask, but also when you ask them.  

Standing on the outside and enjoying the view.
Dan

Aikido: Discussions of power
I would like to open with a discussion of O sensei by his son, Kisshomaru in... "A life in Aikido." 
After a recent seminar, I was reading and reflecting on a direction, and and the continued discovery of the ignorance of such basics as the warm up exercises in the art and how and why they were done, what they were for and what they were meant to deliver to the adept.
_________________
"...since O sensei had made his search for the true path of Aiki the center of his life, I don't think these "legendary feats" were all he intended to do. But since Aikido was still at an early stage, I think he used these feats as a means to explain and promote Aikido to the masses, who might not easily acknowledge it without power or the proof of power. In other words, my sense is that O sensei's legendary feats were intended not only to demonstrate or show off what he could do, but to create and opportunity for the introduction of a true martial art.
O sensei could use some rather dramatic methods to show what Takemusu Aiki...was."
_________________

I think this stands in stark contrast to what has become of the art in the hands of those who thought to pursue it's higher goals without the means to deliver as martial artists. It strains credibility to be copying the trappings of a martial art without the means to deliver. And apparently the more one researches and reads, the more one discovers that the arts founder not only shared the same view, but stressed it continually.

Of interest, in the same chapter, We find a discussion of Kito ryu as the study of In yo ho, with direct correlation to Ueshiba's pursuit in Daito ryu's aiki in yo ho, with the advice that one cannot pursue one or the other, but must maintain the union of opposites to be effective. This lines up with the new translations currently taking place and those, fit in well with the Chinese models. Yet we hear these same sayings (which the non-aikido people understand)... were un-intelligible to those students of Aikido who would become the Japanese teachers the Aikido community is currently following.

I think that nothing has changed from the post war taking over of Kisshomaru to today. I believe O sensei's famous entry comment "This is not my Aikido" into the post war dojo, would be used upon his entry into the majority of modern dojo, were he alive today. I keep hearing this assessment stated by Shihan and teachers I am meeting. "I think we missed it." "I do not believe that we would withstand O sensei's scrutiny of our methods today." I think O sensei, would no doubt agree. For most, they cannot enter into an informed discussion on the tenets of in yo ho and how it applies to effective movement, much less how it would be the cornerstone of soft power in a martial art based on Aiki. It appears that once they experience aiki and the ability to generate power, they now agree that were O sensei to re-enter the picture today, his entry would sunder the Aikdo community, as many, if not most, would have to re-wire or leave. In other words, his re-entry would turn modern Aikido on its head.

Against outside pressure, Ueshiba's pursuit of effective power as the core of Aikido would withstand the current demands, would withstand critical review for internal power and aiki and he would in fact, get along with and have more in common with those pursuing that as the foundation of their aikido than the current methods of the majority practicing the art. 
Thoughts?
Dan

He did say what he was searching for so it doesn't really need much speculation unless you didn't understand him.

What makes the softest aiki...is power
What generates control of others force into you that feels ghosty soft...is power.
What makes deadly atemi is power.
Most martial artists, do not understand power, which give those that do...power over them.
It is not about strength for force on force. Continually bringing it up shows how far people are off from understanding their own founders message.
Using small effort to move a large force requires power unseen or felt.
Using 5 and 5 to defeat ten is power unseen.
7 and 3 to defeat ten requires power unseen.
The source of that power is Aiki in yo ho.

Takeda knew it
Sagawa trained it and talked about it
"However closely you watch my Aiki from the outside you will not understand. That's because I remove the power from my opponent through internal movements that do not show in the outer form. Now I am able to remove the enemy's power no matter where on my body I am grabbed. The source of this begins from a simple principle,(aiki in yo ho) but nobody understands. You can see whether somebody understands by watching their Aiki-age."

Ueshiba trained it and talked about it
Henry (Kono) asked O-sensei "Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand in yo ho."
"In order to achieve the mysterious workings of ki based upon intent, first realize the appearance of the foundation that is the ki connection (ki musubi) between the left side of the physical body grounded in the martial and the right that receives the universe. If you can achieve this connection between the left and the right then you will be able to move with complete freedom."
"Manifest yo (yang) in the right hand, change the left hand to in (yin) and guide the opponent."
"The way of the mountain echo is intent, standing in the center of the connection between the ki of heaven and the ki of the earth."

Tohei trained it and talked about it 
Shirata trained it and talked about it
How you are meant to use it is the mystery that people do not understand. It is the source of aiki in-yo-ho. The very foundation of the entire art of Aikido....is power.

In his own words
Interestingly enough, Many of Ueshiba's commentaries are borrowed from Daito ryu and the Chinese arts. Some are almost word for word. In essence many of his Doka; Yin and Yang hand, dual opposing spirals, Six directions, Heaven/earth/man, mountain echo, are not his, they are concepts all borrowed from other arts.
And they were given to a student based completely incapable of even translating them correctly, much less defining and doing what he was apparently continually talking about.
When they were asked why they mistranslated, or skipped over translating these phrases on movement that were so dear to your founder that he repeated them over and over and are commonplace to about a million people, they said..
"We had no idea what they meant."
And they....became your teachers.

I agree with Both Sagawa and Ueshiba who is worth quoting again.
"Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand in yo ho."

And Sagawa "All you need do is watch someone do aki age and you know if they understand in yo ho."
If you are not doing aiki in yo ho, you are not doing Aikido (the way of aiki). Ueshiba was right, it really is that simple.

Dan

Chinese: Yin yang 
Japanese- in yo ho (method) yes it is a method.
By definition it is not about power dominating... 
But you would have to understand what in yo ho means.
Which was more or less my point.

As I stated 
Teachers in aikido don't get what their own founder was saying. It's not their fault, apparently it just isn't taught anymore, hence Ikeda going to Karate and Daito ryu to get it, others going elsewhere. I have read just about everything in English and it isn't there. It isn't in the interviews with the arts teachers. I now know the translators didn't know how to translate it correctly. They don't know the meaning of his terms, and they still don't understand his contextual referencing. As it was then, it is now, to the modern teachers...it's pretty much gobbledegook. 

Some of us from...outside, are helping to fix this. Outside of Aikido -as aikido teachers attending seminars with teachers from other arts like the ICMA are finding out- this stuff is known. As one group of ICMA guys said to some aikido teachers: "Your art is a soft art, how come you guys don't know this stuff, what have you been doing?"

So we are trying hard to get the word out to aikido-ka, by reading it to them (their own translations are incorrect), teaching them where it came from, what it means, why their founder kept talking about it over and over and over and show them the same quotes from across the sea. Then we show them how to do it, and why it was important. So far it seems the teachers like it and find it important. Plus they get reading suggestions to awaken them to a world their founder was pointing to that they thought was indecipherable. It's one of the benefits of going out to learn.

As for in yo ho, as has been pointed out (but only to certain teachers) in watching Ueshiba videos....(and as Sagawa said) "You can see it instantly."
Hell, at certain points it was like Ueshiba was daring you. "Hey...look at me!" it was so obvious.
Dan

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote:  
Dan
I have tried to find more on Aiki in yo ho, but nothing much came up. But from waht I have found:
Do I understand correctly it is about being able to become the link that neutralizes yin yang between your attacker and the universe ? Balance out yin yang? (do not know how to describe it better)
The power would be more about ability than actual strength...
You won't find anything.
Aiki is a method, resolving in yo within and without you.
It is more complex than the typical nonsense of doing things; like timing and power displays between you and an attacker.
Aiki begins in you, is perfected within you, otherwise everything you try to do with an opponent that creates kuzushi on contact will fail.
The type of strength produced is not what most people understand and or know how to develop, and for that matter know how to cope with. The dilapidated state of Sagawa-where he couldn't open a jar-is not a requirement. Most people I meet still have this weird notion that "soft" means evading or running away. 
a) that is not soft, and it is unsupported
b) it does not exhibit yin yang
They just don't know how to produce power without flexing muscle, so they opt for that evading stuff and call that "Soft."
Interestingly, and in keeping with the tenor of the thread, the world outside of aikido, has tracked that type of understanding for hundreds of years and have discredited it as ...not being part of the "soft" arts. They also recognized that it was low level, that many can do it- as it requires no serious training or changing of the body. The changing of the body is the cornerstone of the soft arts and here we go again why O sensei said no one can do what I do, because you do not understand In yo ho. 

Cheers
Dan

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote:  
Dan
I have tried to find more on Aiki in yo ho, but nothing much came up. But from waht I have found:
Do I understand correctly it is about being able to become the link that neutralizes yin yang between your attacker and the universe ? Balance out yin yang? (do not know how to describe it better)
The power would be more about ability than actual strength...
You won't find anything.
Aiki is a method, resolving in yo within and without you.
It is more complex than the typical nonsense of doing things; like timing and power displays between you and an attacker.
Aiki begins in you, is perfected within you, otherwise everything you try to do with an opponent that creates kuzushi on contact will fail.
The type of strength produced is not what most people understand and or know how to develop, and for that matter know how to cope with. The dilapidated state of Sagawa-where he couldn't open a jar-is not a requirement. Most people I meet still have this weird notion that "soft" means evading or running away. 
a) that is not soft, and it is unsupported
b) it does not exhibit yin yang
They just don't know how to produce power without flexing muscle, so they opt for that evading stuff and call that "Soft."
Interestingly, and in keeping with the tenor of the thread, the world outside of aikido, has tracked that type of understanding for hundreds of years and have discredited it as ...not being part of the "soft" arts. They also recognized that it was low level, that many can do it- as it requires no serious training or changing of the body. The changing of the body is the cornerstone of the soft arts and here we go again why O sensei said no one can do what I do, because you do not understand In yo ho. 

Cheers
Dan
The attempts to redefine aikido as ai..ki..do was a recent corruption.
Aiki..do is congruent with
Ken...do
Ju...do
Iai...do.
Nothing more.

Quote:
Dave de Vos wrote: View Post
Dan and other "internal" teachers are not teaching aikido. It is about enhancing your body. They teach how to rewire your body and mind by specific solo and paired exercises. When done right, it takes time and a lot of work before for these exercises have noticable effect. And it takes more time and more work before these exercises have a profound effect. It is not about becoming muscular, hard and tough. It is about becoming extremely centered, solid, soft, flexible and sensitive (in my understanding).

These exercises are not waza, they are more like calisthenics (but very different from the normal calisthenics. I'd say it's a bit like yoga in motion). In that light it might not be a surprise that the exercises are cooperative. Your partner offers just enough resistance that you can notice your mistakes, fix them and learn).

Sometimes the teacher might demonstrate how we could apply these internal skills in a martial context. But it is not a martial art by itself. It does not replace aikido, karate or BJJ training. It is something you do on your own, besides the art that you train.

Why would an aikidoka want to add internal qualities to his body? Points that Dan and others are trying to make, is that aikido (like many martial arts) was supposed to have these internal qualities from the beginning. That aikido is not unique in this. That O Sensei spent a lot of time doing solo exercises like these. That O Sensei tried to teach it. That somehow, it didn't get transmitted all too well. All the references to the history of aikido and non-aikido martial traditions like taiji is meant to back this up.

Again, I'm no expert in history. It is just my understanding of the intention of Dan and others who promote internal training for aikido.

I am not interested in history that much, but they have convinced me that aikido is supposed to be an internal art. That's enough for me to keep doing these exercises on my own.