Thread: The Way of Aiki
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:29 PM   #27
Stephen Nichol
Dojo: Aikilife, Canberra
Location: Canberra, ACT
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 90
Re: The Way of Aiki

Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I think Aikido to be The Way of Aiki. Can we have a discussion about aiki without mentioning ki I wonder? I think aiki is a learnable skill. The minute someone starts talking about ki, harmony, and the meaning of the universe, practical learning is lost.

If you don't think that Aikido is the Way of Aiki, they try to explain why not.
I think it is one of the ways of learning 'Aiki' and that it is supposed to be 'the way' as understood by M. Ueshiba as he was developing 'his martial art' as derived from what he learned from Takeda. To be clear, I think Ueshiba thought his 'way' would be a good way for others to learn about 'Aiki', perhaps not 'how to do it' but 'hey, this stuff is really powerful and I will show you, but it is up to you to learn/steal etc..' We know Ueshiba did not coin the name Aikido himself however thought it fit once it became used and so adopted it rather happily.

Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Just what is it we are supposed to be learning? Not the techniques, methinks. The techniques are the means to learn aiki. The various schools of Jujutsu (even Judo) have aiki-like katas or movements taught to seniors. I think Ueshiba took those ideas and created Aikido, and the techniques we have are meant to develop aiki, not become techniques unto themselves (as they seem to have become). I also think that if you understand aiki, you can put it into any technique - Judo, Jujutsu, or of course, your standard Aikido 'waza'.
I agree. It is not the techniques within themselves.

Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Anyway, few people out there are looking for aiki, or seeking ways to develop it. Most are just concerned with which way to do this or that 'waza', where to put the feet and how to twist uke this way or that, and what they need for the next grading, and so on. I was like that too for my first 20, yes TWENTY, years of training so I kind of understand 'the problem'. Can you understand this problem? Or do you think I am wrong - or that there is no problem?
I believe that techniques are expressions to demonstrate 'Aiki' when it is being performed correctly.
I would like to believe that as long as one understands the principle above and that they know what they are supposed to be developing within themselves, internally.. then perhaps it is possible to reverse engineer the techniques sort of speak, break them down to their very essence and develop 'Aiki' from that which can the be free of the technique/kata and be expressed any way it is needed, spontaneously and free from form/kata and applied to any style/art as one desires.

So even if you spent 20 years perhaps not quite on the path you now understand to 'exist', you can still draw from your understanding and experience and intelligently begin researching and investigating what you have been doing all this time and find that essence.

Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Kungfu has pushing hands etc., Systema has many interesting exercises, Aunkai too, and so on. Besides waza, what does Aikido have that helps us develop aiki? Or must people search beyond Aikido?
I would say that it really depends on your Aikido teachers. Some of us are fortunate or just plain lucky to have found a teacher that without knowing about CMA and IS/IP from the internet or any other source, can demonstrate some skill in it and teach how to replicate what they do in great detail. I will concede however that most likely the 'Aiki' abilities like those of Dan and his students not what is being demonstrated/taught or learned even if the teacher has some of it, by the general group of 'Aikidoka' out there. Ignorance is bliss sometimes... however I for one really want to get my hands on Dan or at the very very least, one of his higher level students, and find out how close my teachers 'way' is to that of Dan's so that I can rest easier in my training.

Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
So ... aiki.
What is it?
Have you felt it?
Can you do something you think might be aiki?
Do you have the means to develop it?
Are you searching, or remain just content to be 'told'?
Have you sussed anything interesting?
Have you discerned any interesting principles that you can apply across a range of waza?
Can you move people that resist?
Can you take people's balance with subtle craft?
Or ... are you just training and hoping one day ... It'll just happen?
What is it? - I think my beliefs and feelings are pretty clear. It's the ability to absorb and nullify incoming force(s) and redirect them if desired to accomplish whatever outcome you wish.

Have you felt it? - I cannot be certain. There are times when I think I have and then I have to be honest and say by basis for comparison is pretty limited at this stage. Hence why I want to go meet Dan and train with him to find out if the path I am on is hopefully somewhat parallel and not going in the other direction.

Can you do something you think might be aiki? Well, if only at the most basic level, perhaps.

Do you have the means to develop it? If my teachers abilities are anything like Dan demonstrates when with others, then perhaps as she teaches a very details method of body movement that works in some degree to what I read about on here. Not everything to be sure.. but there is enough of it that I am hopeful.

Are you searching, or remain just content to be 'told'? Actively searching. Really wanted to get to Hawaii in July but things just could not line themselves up in a way that would allow it to be conducive to future/current events that need(ed) to happen. Perhaps in 2014 at some point, even if I have to fly all the way the US and spend as much time as I can afford...

Have you sussed anything interesting? - As I said, I have teachers here that can all demonstrate Aikido that is devoid of 'muscle' in the their movement and 'waza' but I have not seen any of them demonstrate the standing relaxed being pushed on at the chest shoulders as an example of not being moveable/throwable etc.

Have you discerned any interesting principles that you can apply across a range of waza? - Honestly I can not say for certain.

[b]Can you move people that resist?[/u] - Yes. From static but with intent or ability to 'move' me if I do not move myself correctly through to moving attacks that are committed but not off balance/over committed and if I move incorrectly I actually create the resistance in them, they do not have to do it themselves... does that make sense to anyone?

Can you take people's balance with subtle craft? - Sometimes yes. I understand to a limited degree what I need/should be doing with myself to do this but I cannot do it consistently and in all 'waza'. Some techniques it comes easier than others for me.

Or ... are you just training and hoping one day ... It'll just happen? - Both actually. I feel my training is giving me results that make it worth continuing. I still really want that comparison of getting my hands on Dan for an understanding of what many respected instructors on here seem to vouch for him on his abilities. Twice I have attend Gleason Sensei's seminars here in Australia and at the end of the second one I mentioned my intention to him about getting to Hawaii in July and he said I should do it and that Dan was the most powerful martial artist he had ever met.

Yes, this 'stuff', whatever you want to call it is the most important thing to me in my training. My Sensei knows about it because I and others in my dojo talk about 'it' and Dan and the testimonials by others of the demonstrations he has done. My own Sensei is encouraging me to go and learn as much as I can from him so I can 'finally rest' my need to know if the paths are parallel and to bring what I can to everyone else in the dojo who is interested in developing it.

I actually hope to learn what I can from Dan at some point and practice it daily and pass it along to my Sensei so it can become just part of what we teach everyone so they come to understand it as just a regular part of their Aikido class.

Also: Why is Dan no longer posting here? When did that happen and how did I miss it? There was so many little nuggets of gold/aiki to be mined from his posts. Hours of reading and then when training with others moments of 'ah hah!' Anyway.. Why no more Dan posts?

Last edited by Stephen Nichol : 09-30-2013 at 11:38 PM.
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