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Old 11-14-2006, 07:23 PM   #19
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Christian Moses wrote:
The question becomes, do you believe that the root of 'aiki' is simply efficient body mechanics or do you believe it is a system of strategies and intents that can be manifest into a recognizable system?

Why make it a dichotomy? It's efficient body mechanics applied in strategic intent. Babies have the efficient movement because, as George Ledyard says, " move in a manner that is natural because they haven't yet had the experiences that build up layers of tension in thier minds and bodies." And they're not doing anything other than the simplest movements that support their intent.

As I've said before, aiki is expressed when you try to divert a child from something he is interested in doing. And there is where the strategic intent comes in. He intends to do what he is doing and when obstructed by a much-larger person with much-greater strength, he instinctively moves to the position where his small size and power effectively evade and neutralize the larger size and power.

Christian Moses wrote:
If you believe the root of aikido is simply efficient movement, then what separates it from any other martial art? I believe you can only trace the 'root' of aikido back to a point where it still somehow contains *distinguishing features that separate the art from other forms of combat or martial movement*.
Mochizuki Sensei traced back many different arts and found a commonality at the root of all of them in a mode of movement that enabled him to flow very freely from aikido to judo to karate to jujutsu and back without hesitation or distortion of his movement. I traced that commonality back a bit further and recognized that all those things are based on reflexes that are exhibited by most children as soon as they can stand and walk.'

As to what separates aikido from the other arts, it's as I said above--moving to the position and in the structure that makes the most of one's smaller size and power to neutralize and overcome a larger size and greater power. It does not conflict with the greater power, but flows into the "ura" of whatever "omote" the attacker uses to express his power.

Christian Moses wrote:
The movements of your toddler do not qualify for that in my book.
What about the child Mikel describes in the first post of this thread? In fact, all toddlers express aiki from time to time. Usually, they stop doing this when their parents are able to overcome that after the first move or two. But if we cultivate that ability, it will grow into a reliable strategic response.

Christian Moses wrote:
You as 'uke' (and quite frankly, I think that referring to what you're doing there as uke is absurd) offer the clarity that lets us identify the root movements as aikido.
I don't think the "ukemi" is what identifies the move as aiki. It's all in the first four seconds of the video. Stop it there and what do you have? A child is grabbed and without having been taught to do so, he enters into position for sankyo. Could you expect a better response from a beginner in a class you were teaching? That's basic aikido.

Second, as I've said before, I've been to aikido dojos where the sempai were barking "fall down faster!" because that's the way they do it. You once asked, "Why go to such a place?" Now I recall that it was a seminar run by a highly respected aikikai shihan--S. Sensei. That's the way they teach it. Why shouldn't a baby get as much cooperation as a grown man?

Christian Moses wrote:
The act of ukemi does not in any way indicate the art in question. I don't know how anyone can watch these videos and take them seriously.
The ukemi is irrelevant. Those who take those videos seriously are paying attention to the first four seconds of each. That's where you see an untaught toddler expressing what Morihei Ueshiba meant when he said that aikido is "natural movement".

Thanks for your response, however.


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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