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Old 06-23-2007, 10:33 PM   #1054
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Dojo: Taikyoku Budo & Kiko - NY, PA, MD
Location: Greater Philadelphia Area
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 998
Re: Baseline skillset

Thank you very much for the detailed response.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Speed as timing/ technique has been discussed and done to death. There are many arts that can get you there in varying degrees; from the Kata based arts with years of repetition of movements on to the more freestyle based forms of grappling.
The reason I started into aikido was that at a wrestling camp, one of my coaches was a former Ukranian wrestling coach, sambo champion (his adult son and daughter-in-law were at the time sambo champs in the US) who would often punctuate especially tough workouts with the phrase "Good Vork!". When I locked up with him, I felt something much different than what I understood to be strength and speed, it was an inevitability of movement based on connection where he received everything I gave and I felt like a toddler trying to fight a grown man.

It was like nothing I'd ever felt and I've been manhandled by Division I wrestlers (coached by Olympic Gold medalist Bruce Baumgartner) who had freakish muscular strength and explosiveness. This was something different. I was a teenager then and seventeen years later, I've been chasing that feeling ever since (someone suggested I go try aikido in the 90s, which I then circled back to in 2003).

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Speed as a result of good bodywork is a different topic. It starts with learning to take slack out of the body. Once this is achieved any action is more immediate. Then you learn the various ways to move with it. Many arts instill a firing mechanism of muscle-chaining, which creates a reserve of tension to use. You can see this in many of the snap/jumping motions of fighters. That isn't what we should be doing and in fact is actually slower to move from.
When you take the slack out, does it also create a reserve of tension? Or is it more a state of readiness to either generate power or release it from your structure as needed? Just trying to see if I'm following what you're saying, because I definitely don't want to make any assumptions or give the impression that I'm trying to sound knowledgeable, rather hoping to see if I'm properly understanding what you're saying via this limited communication channel. If a reserve of tension is created, then I could see how an additional snap/jump motion could reduce the efficiency of movement, which is what I think you explain more of in the following. Another question would be is rather than the snap/jump motion, is a form of body release the more appropriate type of movement (to both receive external force or generate force externally), or is it something else?

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Slack is very interesting to watch in people as they try to move and react. It not only accounts for slowness it also bleeds energy when we move and incrementally diminishes power transfer into a target and or how we receive power. It also accounts for why true aiki rarely happens in connecting with another person. An untrained person "adds" to support himself and has little or no idea of how to control his body so that his movements move others. For the most part "Aiki" in the hands of most of us is a game of timing and displacement and has little to do with the legendary power of the same name.
Anyway, once trained, movement becomes both faster and more importantly harder to read before it happens and power transfer is more efficient. More importantly when one encounters someone with this types of trained body their actions just sort of "run through" the trained persons body. They become "connected" to him and their movements are easier to read and far easier to manipulate and control.
Would this phenomenon of "run through" be the type of ukemi where you're 'receiving' what the other guy is doing via being "connected", rather than 'falling' as a result of it?

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Power and Aiki are connected in ways most folks are unaware of.
Sort of circling back to power and speed (and their relative importance), does (at least the perception of) speed have the same connection to Aiki as power in that the connected body moves most efficiently with relaxed power? Again not trying to sound like I know any of this (probably coming off as obtuse), but I'm just trying to take advantage of the resource of being able to ask questions until I get the chance to go feel this stuff in person.

Thanks again.

Taikyoku Mind & Body
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