Thread: Strength vs Ki.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:58 PM   #320
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
Re: Strength vs Ki.

Jeez, you're making me work and it's past my bedtime. OK, here goes. I'm gonna appear to criticize the people in this video, but I expect they're very senior aikidoka and can withstand a little criticism from an internet nobody like me.

Look at the demos starting at 3:30 or so. Look at the height of nage's head as they execute iriminage. Bounce up to meet the shomenuchi, down with the attack, up again, down for the throw. Lots and lots of external movement. And clearly this is intentional, because Tohei Sensei illustrates it at 6:55. Action/reaction, push on uke and they push back.

And there's nothing wrong with this in itself, maybe, but look at the shihonage at 3:44. Action/reaction, uke goes down and comes back up--on balance. Then she stands there waiting for the throw. Happens several times.

Worse, look at the kotegaishis at 3:59. Now we've got uke doing the bouncy-bouncy thing during the attack. I'm sorry, but this is just meaningless.

Now look at Tohei himself. Most of his demonstrations he's starting with uke in a static position, which means he's not depending on momentum or action/reaction at all. Look at 5:07. Look at 5:26, which is superficially like some of the movements of his students, but look at his head and his center. No bouncy-bouncy at all, just connection. Look at 6:58 again. Ostensibly he's showing what his students did but again, it's not depending on momentum and tho there is action/reaction, Tohei is both causing the action and taking advantage of the reaction with little external movement and no change in the level of head or hara. He does get around to showing the full movement at 7:31, but it's like he has to work to show a tenth of the up and down movement his students show.

I think the point is made, but here are some more examples. Look at his shihonage at 9:34, which is sweet. It's slow, but there's no question he's got uke's balance the whole time, and look how little external movement he needs. Look at all his illustrations of dealing with a resisting uke which follow. No dependance on momentum or action/reaction, just ki and connection. Look at how he handles the shoulder grab at 20:28, which reminds me a lot of the Numata Sensei video I was admiring earlier.

I don't see any of this reflected in his students' movement. And it seems to me that emphasizing the big external movements is going to make it very hard for them to find and duplicate what he's doing. It's so subtle, it's easily masked by all that external movement.

So, just my reactions. This is as much about the training method as the waza itself, in a lot of ways.
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