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Old 11-14-2011, 09:48 AM   #22
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,220
United Kingdom
Re: why do people outside Aikido for IS?

Hi Mary,

I come from a similar aikido background to you, with ki development exercises occupying nearly half of all my practice time. I am very happy with this training arrangement, but remember in the early days that although I enjoyed them I was alway keen to get onto the waza and the throwing and being thrown. I thought that that was where the real aikido was. I am older and I think a bit wiser now. I realise that the goods I am searching for are in the principles and in the basics of co-ordination of mind and body.

My nearly 20 years in aikido have been happily spent with an exceptional ki-aikido teacher (Sensei Ken Williams). I certainly don't feel like there is anything lacking or needing fixing in what I have learnt so far.
However, coming to Aikiweb 6 or so years ago, sparked my interest in the wider world of aikido and its variety of strands. Back then, Mike and Dan were making some pretty bold claims and provoking quite a bit of heated debate. I remember being a bit put out by them, in that neither of them was a highly graded aikidoka, but they were both claiming to have what is missing from most modern aikido.

So for me, the only way to really know how to take them was to set out to meet both men. Fortunately for me, they both came over this side of the pond, and I got to spend some time with them. Both are good teachers, both explain things in a very clear understandable way. Which is probably their greatest contribution to this debate/issue. It may not always seem that way in print, but hands on, they make it come down to, what you do, what you think, how you think it and what you feel when you think it. Which I found enormously helpful in translating what I do in my own aikido to my own students.

My meeting with both men has given me a greater appreciation of my own teacher and his mastery of aikido,. It has also given me a more open mind as to where I need to go and what I need to do, from here on in.

I just want to clip a quote from Greg's post to you:
Now here is the part that I think will surprise a lot people - Dan's training is NOT all about the hard rock strong physical stuff that it appears to come across as - it is soft and mostly mental. And this is where I think the connection comes in that can relate to your internal training. Most folks think Dan does not believe in ki and does not teach it - WRONG! He just does not talk much about it in open forums because of the obvious potential to get out of hand

IMO, this is where his stuff has a true advantage to those that have a strong belief in ki and a coordinated mind and body - it gives you a head start in leaning more about how to use your control of ki to do more with your body, which will facilitate enhancement of any body movement within or outside of martial arts. Tohei's stuff provides a good foundation to build on but there is much more that can be added to that, and that is where Dan and others like him can come in.
In my experience this is true, the exercises Dan offers are compatible with Tohei's methods, it took me a while to realise this, at first I was mentally kicking against them, as I thought - my way is the right way.

The most valuable thing for me on the seminars that I have attended, is going in with a beginners mind, feeling like a beginner, making mistakes, and being a complete sponge to what is on offer.

It has enhanced my effectiveness as a teacher (my students tell me this), mainly because I now have a greater understanding of where and how the real power in aikido is generated, which is reward enough for me.

Anyway, I look forward to visiting you and Ron in the spring of next year, I know I will enjoy the practice.



Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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