Thread: 6 Directions
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:35 AM   #39
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: 6 Directions

Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I don't want to harp on it, but this post should be directed as much to the proponents of "IP/IT/IS" as it should be to its supposed detractors.
Michael, yes, I think as a general comment Aiki/IP tends to touch upon belief and curriculum, both topics being intimate areas that naturally create a sensitivity to criticism. The "you're not doing Aiki" comments can be off-putting when presented with apathy.

My comments were a little more specific to my perception of these threads and an expression of how I feel when debating whether I should post comments about my Aiki/IP training. When Dan teaches this stuff, you are on an emotional roller coaster. You experience what you are doing is in-effective, what he is doing is effective, you can see what he is doing, but you cannot do it yourself, then you accidentally do it right, he gives you some exercises and leaves. Seriously, you need like 12 steps to get over him. In our first seminar with Dan, he teased me because I went through these emotions visibly. This stuff is intimate and changes how you see aiki - one of the things I most appreciated about Dan was his ability to navigate all this s$%t with a smile, the criticism you needed to hear, and positive encouragement that makes you want to do it. To be clear, positive encouragement from Dan is something like, "you sucked a little less that time." Or, "That was less sh%^&ty." I respect that because all of my mentors share the same sensitivity to shattering your perception of what you thought you were doing.

In some respects, I believe the internal training is more intimate than external training. I can correct kata. Palm up? sure. More forward stance? Not a problem. Think about touching the wall, but don't move. What? Drop your pelvis. W\hat the f$%k is my pelvis and how does it drop? Don't babies cause that? You need the knowledge to understand how your body works, courage to try something that you have no idea how to do, and confidence your exposure is beneficial to your training. Standing for 10 minutes while believing you are training is tough.

To Ron's point, it seems to me thus far that there is a path to internalizing via external training. i.e. Practice kata for 10 years and your body will naturally start to make some movements differently. I think with good instruction and solid commitment this is a viable method of training. To be clear, it is not internal training, it is external training. Your internal development is a by-product of your external training. We have heard this bill of sale before with the polishing the mirror, victory over yourself, martial skill byproduct, etc. I have nothing against this teaching methodology. My observations are that it requires a competent instructor and significant commitment to training - I think both are in shorter supply today which means you have a smaller chance of actually getting it within a reasonable time period of training.

I think internal training is a more direct dissemination of curriculum. My observations thus far are that it requires a competent instructor and significant commitment to training. The difference I have seem is mostly in your ability to actually move with stability and power within a faster time frame.

In my exposure, the stuff is in aikido, it has just been striped from most of our exercises. I think within a period of time aikido instructors will be able to re-integrate aiki training into aikido and return the curriculum to its [more] original state. My opinion thus far on this stuff is a combination approach (surprise there). I think we need some external training to built a frame of reference and knowledge about our body. From that foundation I think the internal stuff has more meaning, sooner. In other words, if you can't make the shape of ikkyo, it is more difficult for me to help you do it better...

6 directions is one of those topics we looked at a few years back and starting spending some time researching. It was a key component in opening the door to start our transition from thinking externally to thinking internally. We started it from torifune. Ron wanted a video, I recorded this fall last year before I started doing any of the IP stuff - we were still ground pathing more that anything in this video. This was the progeny of a summer with some aikido people who were getting gooey. Its possibly difficult to tell, but all of the waza was instigated with a torifune movement, recession of the shoulders, expansion in the joints (active muscles, but not flexed), extended spine and the feeling of "sitting back onto a stool". Yes, we were putting some serious pressure into each other. We changed things significantly since getting into the Aiki/IP research, but this is a good example of what we were doing during our "groundpathing external structure conversion" period.

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