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Old 11-21-2011, 10:36 AM   #43
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Relaxation as a model is a mistake anyway. Functionally, it is virtually meaningless as teaching tool.
If you totally relax, you will fall down. I never relax and the result is it makes me very soft to the touch when I want to be-to include while am invading space and taking center.
I equate the value of saying "relax" to move your insides as having worth. Move what? The next time a Japanese teacher tells me to "move my insides" I am going to tell him I took a dump before I got here, thank you very much. As teaching explains nothing.

We have so many examples of men escorting Ueshiba on to the mat in his old age where he went from sagging old man muscles to inflating and feeling like iron.

"Standing in the midst of Heaven and earth the mountain echo is revealed"...Ueshiba

That didn't happen from "relaxing"..nor was it from flexing.
And everytime someone says to just relax...they're wrong. The real comedy is that everyone is convincing themselves that they "get him," that they are doing Ueshiba's aikido....yet have no clue how to do that very basic first step, much less all the other things he did and talked about. It's much easier to just say you know what he was doing than to have to demonstrate it.

There are detailed specific things to be doing and training. Watching people flex their way through and use things in isolation is of course wrong. Watching them go through the next phase and try to uniformly "whole body flex" is still wrong. But the inverse, watching people swirl about, afraid to use their arms and evading because the only other option for them is muscle is a mistake as well, and you see it over and over. Watching someone move connectedly is a rare treat. Feeling someone very good at it rarer still. Feeling someone who can go from super soft to bone breaking power in a split second and back again in rapid seamless succession even more so. And not one bit of it has to do with relaxation. It is whole body unity and connectedness, not noodle arms and empty evasion. It is interesting to hear people go on and on abut how much they know...then you watch their bodies fall apart while demonstrating their "expertise"; one side weighted, weight shifting across the throw-line, shoulders flexing, fat man aikido...moving from the hips...sometimes all in the same guy.

Knowing anatomy trains will never fix any of that. Oddly enough, knowing good training metaphores -the classic way to teach it- will.

Therein lies the rub. Not everyone who is connected is doing the same thing and moving the same way. They may share internal connections that manifest totally different, hence the reason that some internal coaches are not really going to help much or get you the same results for aikido and traditional weapons. In fact some methods are in direct conflict with each other.
This is why I keep telling people to go train with multiple sources. I think things reveal themselves to smart people. Others will never get it and will screw up their own bodies in the attempt. But in both cases they need to make their own choices.
Dan. You don't know how much I agree with some things you say. Especially when some teacher says relax or keep one point etc. But putting me in that category would be a mistake. On the other hand those old ways can be beneficial in certain ways so they are useful when needed.

You seem to pride yourself in your delivery, that's good by me. It is probably needed. However, it's all a matter of degrees, how much to give, in what order, and when. You have your constructs. I have mine.

Your view on relaxing is the view I come across often thus the conclusions you come to. Once again a classic misunderstanding. I might see you do as you say and notice how much relaxation is there yet you may say you don't.

I know what relaxing completely means and can teach it in such a way that others get it. They then in turn know what it means and laugh at what they thought it means.

Don't worry I'll teach you one day and guess what? You will probably say ahhh, so that's what it is, I've been doing that all along.

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