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Old 03-17-2013, 12:00 PM   #44
Mert Gambito
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 202
Re: A Consideration of Aikido Practice within the Context of Internal Training

Keith Larman wrote:
I keep training in the IS/IP stuff. And I keep training in Aikido hopefully faithful to what I was taught there. I see lots of what I think is good in the intersection, but I'm not worried about convincing anyone else anymore.
Indeed. It's important to keep in mind that the majority of folks on either side of the fence in these discussions, or sitting there getting impaled on the fence, have arrived at their respective takes in good faith regarding being faithful to what and how they've been taught aikido -- even if the majority of the skeptics have, unlike Bob Galeone and the "IP/IS crowd" here, investigated the difference in earnest first hand via training.

That said . . .

Keith Larman wrote:
For those arguing details of the IP/IS stuff, well, it seems about as fruitful of a discussion. You are convinced or you're not. So you train or you don't. It was what Ueshiba was doing or it wasn't. So then the question becomes whether I want to do whatever it is. And it comes down to whether I want to devote my time to it because it strikes me that I am in no position to argue some of those points.
Even if the following were not true --
  • Many of Morihei Ueshiba's statements link to Taoist theories and models that also underpin the internal Chinese martial (and healing) arts;
  • The aiki-taiso of Ueshiba and other prominent aikidoka (e.g. Tohei) share commonalities with forms/exercises in ICMAs (there is much that can be associated by rifling through YouTube and other sources; and based on personal experience with ICMA teachers, I've seen what's akin to, for example, Torifune); and
  • A growing number of long-time aikidoka worldwide have concluded, through first-hand training, that IP/IS, e.g. as it's taught by Dan Harden, the Aunkai and in ICMAs (notably I Liq Chuan), is akin to what they've experienced from well-regarded first-generation students of Ueshiba, and/or from Ueshiba himself
-- is "strength training" anathema to the study of aikido?
  • A number of aikidoka undertake western-style weight training and other resistance training (e.g. targeting individual or groups of muscles), for general fitness and to aid their martial skills. From the information to which I've been exposed, this was not part of Ueshiba's training paradigm. So, if IP/IS training has anecdotally produced superior martial artists through the centuries, and such training unequivocably produces such martial artists today, then how can it not be valuable "aiki-taiso", in the general sense?
  • Some folks point to Ueshiba's time farming as one source of his whole-body strength. Is someone who studies aikido in the Midwestern U.S. unfaithful to "the way" because he/she was surrounded by corn on the family farm, vs. crops native to Japan: i.e. why does solo training for developing aiki have to be limited to Ueshiba's preferred exercises?
Anyway, whether or not someone views the study of IP/IS as being under the current umbrella of aikido, there's no doubt that IP/IS is a sensible operating system for aikido. Martial arts either gradually morph to keep up with the times, and find current relevance, or they atrophy and possibly die out. Sometimes that morphing involves a natural divergence. Look no further than taiji as an example of where aikido may be going: a martial art that is thriving today, ironically because most practitioners seek out its non-martial benefits, but that retains a martial golden thread within the golden thread it represents in the greater scheme of internal Asian martial arts.

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