View Single Post
Old 06-24-2008, 12:02 PM   #22
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Long road vs short road to ki power (aiki, internal strength...)

Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
I believe the answer is that Osensei was disallowed from showing the solo exercises that he learned in DR. That kind of approach has made it to the States in various forms and has been producing impressive results.
Hi Rob,


O-Sensei used the formalized path of Misogi-no-Gyo. He taught it, demonstrated it, lectured on it, all serving to pass it to the next generation. However, just like in any student/teacher scenario there is the top students in the class and everyone else. The top students may, in very short order, qualify as an assistant to the instructor, an instructor, themselves or even pass over the knowledge and abilities of the instructor. Of course, experience is another thing entirely and that comes with time.

When I encountered these concepts back in 1991 I was astounded, just as many here on Aikiweb who are now sensing something "different" from the IMA group who post here. O-Sensei, himself is quoted as having said something along the lines of, "...focusing on Misogi will enable you to discover in three months what others will spend a lifetime trying to discover..." Of course, discovering, attaining a basic understanding of, and mastering something are all very different things. While one may initially discover the value of a path in a few months, they may get an understanding of in a few years. Mastering these things may take three or four decades. I don't see that as unreasonable. However, given that only a few students stay in the game that long, and fewer, still, will be of proper mind and body to attain any depth of understanding or ability to stand out, it is quite unreasonable to think that there would be more than a few handfuls of people truly qualified to lead others on this path after all this time.

Of course, it is great that more than fifteen years after I had a chance to see these "missing" aikido elements that people are at least starting to pose the right questions to themselves. Those questions are
  1. who are these people?
  2. how do I get the proper introduction to these people?
  3. How do I set up my life in such a way to dedicate enough time and energy to have it make a real impact on my training.

When I returned to my dojo from my first real in-depth inquiry into these things I was lost on two very specific levels.
  1. Where do the techniques I have been learning all these years and the principles I have now been exposed to overlap?
  2. How do I integrate the principles with the techniques?

The second question lead me to two distinct paths, that being practicing and training in such a way where the two things were combined, or doing so separately as to allow for a more organic integration, over time. I tried the former method first. This was not such a good idea I came to find out. Doing so ostracized me from both my fellow students on a technical level, along with leading to me feeling alienated from the Aikido community as a whole. I just couldn't understand why anyone would train in empty techniques for years or even decades. It just wasn't Aikido for me without the ideas of O-Sensei's misogi-no-gyo with a focus on generating kokyu at the center of every single movement and technique. Years later, when my direct teacher embraced a similar path the other students of course followed along. I was already almost ten years ahead in my training. I was happy to have some more friends on the path with whom I could now seek out where the techniques we did, taught in the specific style of our group, met with the underlying principles.

As an anecdote:
One of my kohai began to go to Japan and seek these things out from a very deep perspective. Four trips later and so many years, and his Aikido jumped up leaps and bounds over everyone elses in the dojo short of one or two others. Basically, his foray into Misogi-no-Gyo and kokyu was like rocket fuel in his aikido chariot. This was undeniable to me and everyone else who he came in contact with. So when you say that O-Sensei did not show these things, I would beg to differ. However, I am sure that we both, along with many others who have come in contact with these concepts and training methods would agree that there is a concrete path leading to a concrete understanding and effect.

Now the question are:
  1. what of this contributes to what we call Aikido?
  2. What of it is outside of Aikido?
    and most importantly
  3. What else may be lurking right out there in the open that also needs to be focused on in the same manner - that of "GYO" or direct method of transmission without the interpretive effects of anecdotes, wordy concepts and the like?

It is safe to say that many on this very board will now make forays into IMA. I believe that this will serve them well on many levels. Although I have not met them personally, after years where the "war of words" has finally come to the mat and many Aikidoka who were formerly stuck in their own worlds have had a chance to meet with Dan, Akuzawa, Mike...etc. I have no doubt about their knowledge, level or ability. However, as with anything new (in terms of experience it, not in terms of proving its value) there needs to be a certain level of caution observed. Why? Well, we would all agree that it is pointless to practice empty techniques, (i.e those devoid of Kokyu or other internal elements). It may also be pointless to practice techniques where elements outside of the Aiki-paradigm are integrated into one's process. Just as we must learn to abate the use of muscle power in order to open up the door to a basic level of movement using Aiki, we may later find that we must also learn to remove some IMA elements from our process to maintain integrity with the art of Aikido. Additionally, going back to retrofit our movements by adding some additional elements and removing other elements may be just as ill-conceived and inefficient in terms of one's training process and development as ignoring them from the outset as many in our art are seemingly doing presently.

I have always said, and will continue to say we should seek out and train with the absolute highest level teacher within our art, as early in our training as possible. From there, no matter where we choose to go, our training will flow from that point forward without needing to backtrack or worse, invalidate considerable amounts of our training and effort.

To me it just makes sense to start with what O-Sensei laid out as his training methodology - Misogi-no-Gyo. It also makes sense that Misogi in and of itself is not the be all, end all when it comes to what anyone should choose to study in an effort to move forward martially, spiritually or what have you. Common sense also tells me that those who choose to emulate DRAJ, Anukai, or IMA concepts alone will one day need to explore Misogi-No-Gyo to truly have any level of understanding of the Art of the Founder. Whether their foray into these other things, martially wonderful as they are, results in someone moving forward into Misogi or results in someone having to backtrack to Misogi is another issue altogether.


I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
  Reply With Quote