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Old 11-30-2012, 10:49 AM   #250
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: Is aiki a clash of forces?

Just to blather a little more... I am very sympathetic to trying to figure out a better model of what's going on. However, I read some posts and see descriptions that seem to be capturing what would be at best only a small part of the necessary parts of what I've experienced. What I mean by that is that reading Erick's threads, for instance, eventually make me glass over, and I've got a fairly solid scientific background. The reason isn't just the elaborate complexity of it, but that it seems to me completely missing something I've found within my training in the stuff that is required -- both the intent driven aspect of some of this but also that there appears to be a different form of conditioning (physical and mental) that seems to allow this stuff to manifest itself.

So much of the physics explanation could be to some extent accurate, however, the question is whether you can get the same results as what I've felt solely by doing those things on an "external" level. And in my experience has been a resounding "no".

So to try to better classify my understanding of what's happening, let me propose this. Some of this stuff seems to involve being able to manifest a very subtle degree of intention driven internal control across the entire body, recruiting a vastly larger percentage of the overall structure and strength to control, and, if necessary, generate power. That ability to control across the entire structure in this complex and subtle fashion as well as being able to "wind" and engage long connections in a continuously dynamic fashion allows for a sort of counterbalancing internally that creates a tremendously powerful and stable structure that can both redirect incoming forces and generate new forces virtually instantly. Hence when the person who has these skills is touched there is an instantaneous "melding" with that structure (blending?) and the practitioner can still move with tremendous subtly or power all depending solely on what they choose to do.

The point here is that for me, at least, this requires a great degree of focus and "expanded awareness". Although I find the more I practice and train the more things just seem to happen "automatically".

So if we accept something along these lines (and I'm not claiming I'm right, it's just sort of in a nutshell how I'm thinking today) then the external "physics" explanations aren't really terribly important as they miss the underlying "operating system" of how the body is being used. The external physics explanations also seem to assume that everyone is "the same" in some sense or another and that there is nothing "extra" that needs to come to the table. And no one I know of who is legit in any way in the IS/IP camp would say that. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes in to developing the sensitivity and fine control. Without those skills and that development the rest doesn't really matter. Or to put it another way, it ain't what you're doing, it's how you're doing it. So it would be like describing the trajectory and pivot points of swinging a bat. Yeah, that's all important for hitting a ball a long distance. But you'll never get any distance until you can learn how to use your body in such a way as to swing the bat strongly with good follow through and then do it at exactly the right time to hit a 95 mile per hour fast ball. There's lots of skill and practice that enables the end result. I'm a big guy and I can swing a bat hard and fast. And if I manage to hit the ball cleanly I could hit it a long way given my size and strength. The problem is that I don't have the skill to hit the damned ball in the first place, especially if it's being thrown by a major league pitcher.

There, clear as mud now I'm sure.

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