View Single Post
Old 09-07-2014, 01:52 PM   #401
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,618
United_States
Offline
Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Scott Burke wrote: View Post
And what better authorities do we have on such matters than say, oh, a University Mathematics Professor? Someone like renowned Aiki master and direct pupil of Daito Ryu Master Sagawa Yukioshi, (and retired Professor of Mathematics at Tsukuba University), Tatsuo Kimura! What luck! Someone who no doubt gets the physics side of the Aiki equation inside and out and who had the chance to train for over two decades with, perhaps, the greatest of Takeda Sokaku's pupils.
Heh. Mathematics and Physics departments hardly speak -- Physics uses certain subsets of math-- to the extent that they are physically applicable and result in useful or testable concepts. Mathematics is a airy beastie that travels realms of pure reasoned imagination grounded only in the formality of its own assumptions and operations. I learned more useful math -- including Diffy-Q --from my physics professor than I ever hoped to learn from anybody that taught out of the math department.

That doesn't mean mathematics is a lesser or not worthwhile discipline -- it's just that they don't really CARE about applications. In fact -- some of the most useful math concepts adapted by physicists -- in field dynamics -- are widely acknowledged as mathematically kludgy hodge-podges of debatable internal consistency and often involving artificially zeroing out infinities with virtual negative infinities to get testable finite quantities -- when the operation (∞ - ∞) is as undefined as dividing by zero. Yet it is remarkable useful, and actually and empirically successful. So, no -- I don't defer to Professor Kimura merely because he teaches maths.

More particularly I don't defer because Sagawa's own statements from that book don't support your reading of what Kimura has to say on the topic. In fairness to you, I'll quote it at some length to make my point -- so apologies in advance for the length ...

Quote:
Fortunately for us Kimura Sensei has written about his discoveries in the world of Aiki. Let's take a look at some select quotes of his from his book Discovering Aiki My 20 years with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei. Maybe he'll talk about torsional shear, let's see!
I have read a translation of Transparent Power, so color me unimpressed with its transmission of much useful about HOW to train or WHAT to train -- beyond intense tanren (here for those interested) and the daily use of furibo -- the latter actually makes A LOT of sense, FWIW, as I see things.

Mostly, Sagawa is recounted as repeated chiding Kimura for NOT getting it -- so it appears that conceptually, at least, there is mostly a very frank acknowledgement about how little he can teach unless the student is just ready to "get" it. Sagawa acknowledges as much:
Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
You can't get good at something simply by repetition….Many people would say back in the day that all you had to do is practice, and more practice! But after I became able to think for myself I found that this wasn't so. The reason practitioners from some styles are weak and no good is because they do not train (Tanren) their bodies. The true execution of Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training to condition the body (Tanren). Only amateurs think that techniques are enough and that training the body is unnecessary. They understand nothing…
It is not easy to attain. I didn't teach this myself until a little while ago. I waited for my students to discover this for themselves
That quote was from an unofficial translation of "Clear Power" I had access to referencing here in 2008 before an official English translation as "Transparent Power" was finally published in 2009.

Apparently, Kimura was eventually one of those who got it, to some significant degree. But what about any others successfully achieving what he did from him ? I see not much better success in transmission there than with Ueshiba -- even Takeda apparently managed only the two of them to that degree, as far as I have heard.
Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
Even if you train everyday all the while innovating yourself, it will take at least 20 years. Ten years or so isn't nearly enough time.
Sagawa has no secret, instant-aiki sauce to offer -- his only prescription is "decades" of tanren -- until you see it for yourself.

Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
I wrestled with the notion of how to make a technique work even if someone resisted me using all their strength since my Teens. The difference between noticing these things for yourself and having someone tell you is enormous.
...
- If you swing a bokuto a lot you will realize many things. That is the important part <of swinging the bokuto.> You will become able to do many other things in your training. However that is only building of the body and no matter how much you do this, it will not allow you to be able to do Aiki by simply pursuing these kinds of exercises. <Aiki> is separate. You must FEEL as much as you can when you take my hand. I learned much by being thrown by Takeda Soukaku and gained understanding about many different things through this process. You must be this sharp! Spirit is extremely important when fighting. And to never tense up.

- I once thought that being able to render < an opponent helpless,( implying draining them of their power)> no matter where I was touched or held on my body was everything. One day after many years of building my body through solo training, I was suddenly able to do Aiki with my body. I remember thinking at the time that always training and forging the body was extremely important. But this kind of realization is not something that can be taught. All you can do is to watch me <carefully> and absorb what you can.
...
So why can't it be taught, from Sagawa's perspective ? More on that shortly. On the one hand, you have to be after the right thing -- physically and conceptually -- on the other hand and as noted below -- no one can really give it to you.

Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
- Aiki is extremely difficult. Not everyone can do it. However if you <wish to achieve it> you have to train bit by bit in a manner that will allow you to achieve it. If you give up and simply go do your own thing, you will <never achieve aiki> and will cause you to stray even further <from the path>
But it isn't really esoteric either:
Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
... - Aiki is not mysterious. There is a logic to it. I immediately apply Aiki when executing my techniques and Kuzushi <my opponent.> I am allowed to do as I please because I have applied Kuzushi. I studied long and hard on what to do if I was held down strongly and unable to move. It was because of this that I was finally able to do Aiki with my Body (Tai Aiki.) You must research and study this.
I'll respond to the points you bring up, with some further counter-quotes of Sagawa:

Quote:
Scott Burke wrote: View Post
(Kimura speaking] I felt Sensei [Sagawa] had advanced to a higher dimension. His techniques were so wonderful that I shouted out mentally, "These techniques cannot be done by human beings. These are divine techniques!"

As long as Aiki is a technique done by human beings, it is impossible to think that you can do anything even if you understand it. However, once you begin to understand Aiki, you move into a freer world beyond the restrictions of physical bodies. You can progress at an unbelievably rapid pace beyond what would normally be possible....
...
For me now, at least, Aiki is not only one martial art technique, but rather it is something unknown which suggests that the ability of human beings is actually far beyond that which it is normally considered to be.
Quote:
... Stan Pranin:

"When I tested the small, stubborn 50 year old Kimura Sensei, I was completely controlled by him... My power of resistance was neutralized by the use of Sensei's stance and internal energy...Kimura Sensei clearly demonstrated to us the world of energy that exceeds the physical dimension."
From across the Pacific and an intervening continent, I swear I can hear the corpse of Sagawa going to high rev. I think such a pragmatic and tough-minded virtuoso would be aghast at such muddy-headed divinizing hero-worship. The "world of energy that exceeds the physical dimension?" Clarke's law is applicable here:

Quote:
Any sufficiently advance technology is indistinguishable from magic. --Arthur C. Clarke
What is more, Sagawa himself seems to agree with me on taking an independent and critical line founded in your own training and knowledge of the body -- and other concepts also:
Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
... You must take what you learn, and then innovate it based on your own ideas. ... No matter how much you learn something, if it is simply taught to you, you will forget it. However you will never forget something you acquire for yourself. It becomes you. In other words, teaching is simply a matter of giving the right hints. You must acquire that thing for yourself. Especially in the case of Aiki, it is an internal feeling which must be grasped.
It's not simply a matter of questioning everything either. You mustn't simply think that it's enough to be taught. Everyone's body type is different, so there is no guarantee that things will work out exactly the same way.
... I don't teach everything, and I can't teach everything. What I can teach is the foundation of how the skeletal system works. How your muscles and organs work upon that frame is for you to ponder and discover on your own. You can't simply fight using your bones alone.
This is why you can't simply do things as you are told. You must add the "meat" to this frame and widen your view. It's a funny thing, you can learn all there is to learn, but unless you grasp it for yourself you will never be able to actually "do" it.
He is by no means suggesting that thinking is a substitute for training -- but in Sagawa's view training is not any kind of a substitute for the necessary, constant and critical thinking either:

Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
You become stronger through your own training and innovation. If you lose and die in a fight, then it can't be helped. You must take responsibility for your own actions. Do not rely on others. ... Indeed, most important is that you keep on thinking. If you don't you cease to have any <good> thoughts. If you continue to think, then a new thought will pop into your head! And then you must write this thought down immediately so that you may try it out, otherwise you will forget it later. Writing this down is key.

You [speaking to Kimura] are always thinking about math, so you should be able to do even better work <as you go on>. The secret is in always thinking about it. The reason no one progresses or gets any better, stronger is because no one thinks. They forget about what they do in between practices. It has to become a part of your life.
(Kimura: "Even Gauss, and other mathematicians said the same thing.")
See! This is why you are no good. You don't do something simply because so and so said so. If you simply go through life by simply thinking you can copy people you'll never get anywhere. The only person that can do this is you. You must create your own understanding for yourself.
Take Aiki for example. There is no way to really teach this. Even if I could point at something that is Aiki I can't put it into words. You simply think you can learn everything from me, so you don't develop the habit to think for yourself. That is what divides people that are smart from whose who are not. Even with mathematics, its not as if you suddenly wake up one day able to do these things, am I right? This is the same with Bujutsu. It is about long periods of work, innovation, that you slowly over time become able to do these things.
... In the end its about accumulating your thoughts and having them act as the foundation for other thoughts. ...<If you decide because> others tell you so, or influence you, then it's no good. You must hold your own counsel. Decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. ...
This is the crux of why Sagawa straightforwardly confessed he was unable to teach Aiki until the student had already grasped the rudiments: "Even if I could point at something that is Aiki I can't put it into words. " He had kinesthetic grasp -- but no articulable concepts to describe his feeling and action. Credit to him for his honesty -- but this inability to articulate it is hardly surprising, given the partly reflexive pre-conscious nature of what I name as the thing in question. Without an objective grasp of the mechanics and physiology -- it will seem always just at the edge of perception -- even for the virtuoso performer like Sagawa.

THIS is the EXACT deficit I been working to remedy. And I believe I have -- to be able to point at it and say WHAT this thing is. And I don't much care what anyone else has to say about it -- because I can SEE it. All my experience has prepared me to see it. All credentials of objectors to the contrary notwithstanding, I will not refuse to name the evidence of my "lying" eyes as to plain operations can I see.

A few other choices quotes of Sagawa about the primacy of seeing the principle over blindly following some training regimen handed to you that you really don't understand-- (from that earlier translation):

Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
However, if you train too much before you grasp the concept of Aiki, then this is no good.
This sounds like a conceptual guide or recognition-- even if completely kinesthetic and nonverbal -- is necessary to train effectively. IOW, you must know what you are training for -- if you are ever to develop it -- which is quite the paradox: to learn you must know, and you cannot know without learning .

Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
No matter how accomplished a person is, he is never perfect. Never hold what he says to be gospel. If you do, then it will obstruct your own determination to innovate and find things out for yourself. You must take what you learn, and then innovate it based on your own ideas.
...
No matter how much you learn something, if it is simply taught to you, you will forget it. However you will never forget something you acquire for yourself. It becomes you.

There are many things in this world that people still do not understand, so you must not have any pre-conceptions about things. This applies to Aiki as well. This is why I can continue to innovate and change my Aiki.
...
You can't get good at something simply by repetition….Many people would say back in the day that all you had to do is practice, and more practice! But after I became able to think for myself I found that this wasn't so.
I think you need to read Professor Kimura more closely and reflectively than you are doing:

Quote:
Scott Burke wrote:
I'm not going to argue with an Aiki master/mathematics professor.
I don't know that I am arguing with him -- but I am not at all above doing so. As a genuine scholar, he would welcome me doing so-- and Sagawa himself, as seen above, would not value meek acceptance of whatever you are told...

Quote:
Sagawa in "Clear Power" wrote:
You must possess instant intuition. Do not become obsessed with frames or shapes. ... You must always be ready to defeat any opponent in front of you. You build upon this spirit. In the end it is about spirit clashing against spirit. This applies to everything. A person with weak will could never move hand nor foot against his opponent. A real match is about who will be cut down. If you are weak willed, you will be cut down instantly.
SAGAWA demands that you think and arrive at valid concepts yourself. Iron sharpens iron as much in the contest of mind on mind as body on body. So why object to constructive dispute about concepts and making us have to THINK about what we are doing -- what it REALLY is, objectively -- and WHY it differs from things that aren't that? Is that not what ALL training is about?

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-07-2014 at 02:07 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote