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Old 10-17-2013, 05:53 PM   #27
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,025
Re: "IP/IT/IS" vs technique?

No one said that Ueshiba and Takeda (or Sagawa, for that matter) were beyond technique, or that they didn't use technique. What was said is that they were able to spontaneously and instantaneously spew out endless martial combinations. I believe that the internal skills allowed them to be much more adaptable to changes in their opponents' movements, hence the applications could be more rapid-fire than they would have been had they relied on "external" power, as the latter would compromise their balance and structural stability and also require chambering and gross physical movement of the body, which slows things down.

They were doing the equivalent of jazz jamming, Takeda's followers seem to have mistaken those spontaneous combinations to be formal etudes to be memorized and written down, because if you look at the Daito-ryu and Aikido curriculums, they're full of combos. And some of the combos are not terribly practical or realistic.

For some years I was exposed to a Daito-ryu curriculum, presumably descended from tablets graven on the Mount, and while there was some very good stuff there, a lot of the stuff was convoluted "kata," overly involved affairs that I just can't imagine were the product of careful research. My guess is that they are more examples of some of the stuff that Sokaku rattled off because.... "Hey, let's see if I can pull this one off... Hey, I can!" and someone scrabbled to write it down.

Memorizing "one-step and three-step" kata ingrains habit. Habit is something you don't want when you're in a real conflict, IMO. What you want, is the ability to act spontaneously and to be able to rapidly change with any changes in the situation.

Martial conditioning is about learning basic strikes, kicks, how to exploit joints and nerve points, basic throws, chokes, etc. They're the building block techniques, an artless art -- pragmatic movement. What you choose to focus on (strikes and kicks? Throws and locks? Newaza?) becomes the artistic expression that represents style -- the "chassis" of vehicle. The engine that drives it is IP and aiki.

When Ueshiba did ikkyo (nee ikkajo) again and again, it wasn't the visual form of ikkyo that was the core of what was going on, it was the internal spirals and aiki-sage that was making that ikkyo happen. The same spirals and application of aiki can express themselves in an entirely different way should the attacker's atemi or angle of attack change to something else, or you decide to make the point of contact something other than the person's attacking arm. "Doing ikkyo" is just what happens when an attacker meets your aiki when he approaches you in a certain way, and you decide to engage him in a certain way.

Another thing to consider, is the "seder" of Daito-ryu. It is Jujutsu first; Aikijujutsu next; Aiki-no-jutsu last. Jujutsu waza give students something they can take to the bank right away; aiki takes longer and it's not clear how to apply it martially until you've had some martial conditioning. Then you can learn some "spot aiki" to apply to that conditioning.

In my own training, many moons ago I learned some basic DR jujutsu waza, including some of that convoluted, complicated stuff. A few koryu jujutsu waza to round it out. We learned specific applications of aiki to power the jujutsu waza, and we worked on aiki-no-jutsu. Occasionally, when one of us would start to whimper that we didn't know if what we had was martially effective, out came the randori. Simple randori, certainly not anything that I'd proudly place on YouTube (there was no YouTube yet). But it was still free-form and we didn't know what to expect. We did not rattle off step-by-step convoluted waza. What came out were the rock-bottom foundation basics -- throws, take-downs, grabs-into-chokes, etc. -- spontaneously generated, and powered by aiki. It didn't feel like techniques being executed, but more like "stuff happening." And this, with students who had not been training long enough to have "transcended technique." It was just the manifestation of an aiki body.
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