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Old 10-27-2006, 10:31 AM   #40
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
Re: Meeting with Dan Harden in Boston

Robert Rumpf wrote:
This is the problem that I have with this idea of training (or at least, with pursuing this idea exclusively), and to some extent with training in Aikido, martial arts, or any form of contention in general. Its very hard to take bad technique seriously, but that is what is required for a certain type of training that I find a lot of wide applicability for, both on and off the mat.

There is this admonition to "be the water, not the rock" but this type of body work and the capability to redirect and resist forces (and for that matter the capability of an advanced Aikidoka to resist a novice Aikidoka, the strong to resist the weak, or the logical to refute the illogical) trains you to be the rock. The idea of the blending I'm talking about, and that I am currently really interested in, is to spout another idea whose origin I can't recall is that "the horse moves before it feels the whip."

I'm not talking about rigidity here (although that is one example) - I'm talking about a lack of blending, a lack of acceptance, and moving only when you're being polite and feel like it as opposed to following cues or anticipating. Being fixated on internal strength instead of examining our partners and what they want and need. There is a weakness in this attitude in the long term, from what I have observed. It leads to complacency, stagnation, and lots of self-satisfied smirking and dismissal of other ideas. What can follow from this is an ambush, circumvention, or asymmetrical warfare either metaphorically or literally.

There are reasons to learn and train yourself to blend with a force, ANY force, no matter how inexpert and ineffectual. It helps in terms of training the mind and body to be able to blend with anything. It teaches you how to accept others and understand them, instead of being so strong and confident in yourself. I realize that this flies in the face of much of what people try to learn in martial arts, but... <shrug>

Hello. Um, I read your post three times. I think I have an idea of what you're conveying, but if not, please correct me.

What I'm understanding as your view of "internal strength" isn't the same as what I'm talking about with "internal stuff". The "internal stuff" that I'm talking about is one of the true ideals of aiki. (I say one because there may be others.) At its core, there is a process of blending with a force.

When Dan showed/explained what he was doing and then the resulting feel and/or off balance that I felt; there *had* to have been blending and/or aiki at its core. I don't think it is the same thing as being a rock or the "capability of an advanced Aikidoka to resist a novice Aikidoka".

If I've misunderstood your post, please let me know.

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