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Old 11-14-2006, 07:43 PM   #20
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

George S. Ledyard wrote:
I am definitely with Chris on this one. I actually do not think that most folks doing Aikido really understand much of what constitutes "aiki". Yes, relaxation (lack of tension caused by fear) is crucial to actualizing the principles of "aiki" in ones technhique but it's a pre-requisite and not "aiki" by itself.
I will agree with you that most people in aikido have a very superficial idea of what aiki really is. Mochizuki Sensei defined aiki as "attacking" the ura of the attacker's omote attack. Or as I replied to Chris, it's moving to the point where the attacker is weak and your smaller size and power more than match his larger size and power.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
It's not surprising that [children] will manifest the movements we see in Aikido since these movements are considered fundamental movement patterns in the universe.
Precisely my point. I don't know why anyone finds this surprising or anything to dispute.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
I actually do not think that the body mechanics of Aikido or Aikijutsu are "natural" in the sense that if we can just relax they will come naturally to us.
Well, as I have illustrated and Mikel illustrated in the beginning of this thread, we (almost) all begin life by expressing aiki movement. It should be clear that the experiences of life and education deaden the ability to react in this spontaneously super-appropriate way and that only geniuses will be able to maintain it or regain it without extensive re-education.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
Training in "aiki" is the process of re-programming the body and the mind to believe that tension will not make one safe.
I think that The Feldenkrais Method is even better at achieving that "re-programming" than aikido. But its point is not to "re-program" oneself, but to release all the erroneous reprogramming that has been crammed into us and return to the natural human modes of movement that arise from a natural relationship with our own feelings, desires and impulses. Children do have that relationship with their physical senses as well as their emotional truth of any moment. Which is why the Zen masters say we should have a mind like a baby's.

George S. Ledyard wrote:
Then there are very specific elements that combine in terms of how one joins ones mind and physical movement with that of an opponent. You do not have "aiki" automatically just because you have some kids moving in a relaxed and free fashion.
Well, that very joining of the mind and movement with the opponent is the essence of child aiki and of child Zen. Toddlers are still on the heavenly side of distinguishing between "I and Thou."

One old Zen koan goes, "What is the shape of your original face?" or "What was your face before you saw a mirror?"

To the child, the whole world is his mirror and when he sees you, as far as he knows, that is himself. So he does not need to join your movement. Like Ueshiba, he is already one with it.

Best wishes,


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

"Eternity forever!"
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