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Old 08-19-2008, 08:37 AM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it. My feeling is that with intensity of purpose one should be able to simply look inward to discover "it." I'm not saying teachers aren't a necessity. In fact they're crucial to time management, but I get the sense that these skills are being presented as if they're not innate to us and that seems silly to me.
I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have which might clarify this issue for me.
Take care,
From personal experience, I have found that it is very, very hard to learn it without someone to teach it to you. Looking inward with intensity of purpose will not get you these skills. They are not "innate" in that you have to train in specific exercises to gain a specific martial body.

Look at it this way, if you wanted to be a pro cyclist, would having a 280 pound, 40% fat - body type help or hinder? Or do you need a lean, no fat body type to compete as a pro cyclist? And there are exercises for that. Okay, so you want to be a front guard (sorry, not a football person) for a football team. Will a 110 pound, 0% fat body type work? Or would a 300 pound sumo be better? Bulking up helps. And there are training environments for that. Can you do either with just looking inward with intensity of purpose? Why do you think the kata and all the training are there for in the first place? They are supposed to be exercises for building a martial body, not something you learn to do out in the real world.

Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
If I follow this thought back to the very first person to discover these "counter-intuitive" aiki principles and I ask myself how they figured it out without a teacher, I find myself very much in doubt about the notion that aiki must be taught. Is there some reason, apart from time and motivation, that would prevent me or you from making the same aiki discoveries without a teacher? I don't think so. Granted, having a teacher show me aiki would be much faster than divining the aiki way for myself, but actually figuring out aiki principles by oneself I believe can be done by anyone who has interest and time enough to do so.
So, how do you know it was only one person? Since these skills date back to at least early China and possibly before then, how do we know it was one person. It's nice to sit and think that someone just invented this stuff, but realistically, I'd have to say it was more of a group effort over long periods of time. And it didn't have to be the same group.

Let me ask you this ... through time and motivation, have you discovered how to stand feet side by side, shoulder width apart, arms relaxed to your side and take a full force push from someone bigger than you to your chest and you just stand there without involving your arms and without readjusting your feet and without being bowled over? It is a very disconcerting feeling to be on the pusher's end of that.

This isn't the "aiki" of moving around an attacker and trying to "blend" with the person. This is the "aiki" that allowed Ueshiba, a small man, to resist Tenryu's, a very large man, attacks. This is the "aiki" that allowed Shioda to toss large men around. This is the "aiki" that allowed Tomiki to let Judo men grab his wrist and watch them fail miserably as they tried everything on him.

It isn't intuitive and it isn't easy. It takes direct teaching to get it. But, the good thing is that it doesn't take full time direct teaching. Just look at Takeda and Ueshiba. They didn't have a full time teacher-student relationship. Takeda taught Ueshiba and then traveled around. He came back and taught Ueshiba some more -- I'm guessing because Ueshiba actually worked on what Takeda told him. Repeat as necessary with some longer teaching intervals.

Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
It is not my understanding that the IMA guys think you have to learn internal skills directly from them, they are just saying that you have to have felt the application of the skillset so that you even know what you are pursuing. Basically it is like walking a tight rope. If you had never seen a person walk a rope and were asked if you thought it was possible, you would say probably not. Once you see that it can be done, nothing stands in your path other than practice (falling off a rope 1,000 times). You do not need to learn to walk a tight rope from a guy who can do it, you just need to know that it is possible.
IMO, you have to study with someone who has the skills. Period. It is far too easy to not get things right. However, once you have a start, you can work on things by yourself. And that's where the time and effort come in. You have to do the work - solo and paired. It really isn't like walking a rope where you actually have a chance to do it without guidance.

Think about it ... if it was like that, then why isn't it prevalent? Ueshiba taught hundreds. Shioda taught hundreds. Tomiki, Tohei, etc, etc, etc. How many have had their hands on these teachers and felt what can be done? How many know and/or knew what could be done? Now, how many can actually do?
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