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Old 06-11-2010, 08:09 AM   #50
Dojo: Aiki Kurabu
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,110
Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Larry Novick wrote: View Post
My take on part of this issue is that what Tohei has shown quite well, is that the basic level(s) of what I call Internal Aiki, and the power that is one result of it (or, one level of it's application), can be learned and accessed through internal awareness and feeling/kinesthetic training, using relatively simple and straight-forward methodologies.

The thing is, there is a lot more that needs to be learned beyond that in order to externalize it properly, and actually apply it in Aikido. But without even the basic knowledge and training to make these internal connections, Aikido becomes, as has been said, "simply a form of Jujitsu" (not a bad thing, but in actuality very different.) This is mostly what I have seen in the Aikido world over the last three decades. If one wants to "bring back Aiki to Aikido", Tohei's "Ki training and mind/body coordination/unification" is a very reasonable place to start.

To me, though, it has it's limitations. Unfortunately, (forgive me my Ki Society friends) even though Ki Society training in this fundamental area is good, in my opinion it isn't always applied, or applied properly, interactively to actual Aikido practice and execution, and that's where things start to fall apart, so to speak. (I have known some very good older/upper level practitioners though.) Also, I think Ki Society has become over-identified with their teachings and training methodologies around Ki and leading the mind, such that some other things tend to be neglected. (Similarly, to me, many Aikido styles tend to be over-identified with external technique and neglect, are mistaken about, or are devoid of, the internal training, thus also being out of balance and "incomplete.") Coupled with the fact that, for various reasons, Ki Society training tends to be fairly isolated from other organizational training, I think this is why people would see Tohei's "attempt" at bringing this fundamental aspect to Aikido, and the expected results, as unsuccessful. In a real sense, it's true.

To me, what it ultimately means to both learn and then apply "Aiki", at different internal and external levels, to Aikido practice and actual execution, is the tricky and interesting thing. There are other methodologies than Tohei's available, though not many. To learn it, and learn to access it, it is best to be inducted into the experience by someone who is well-versed in it. It's difficult to find on one's own without being able to feel it. But to me, this stuff comprises the core elements and very heart of Aikido.
I am with Larry on all the above. My initial training was in the early days of the Ki Society and I have not trained with any of them since the late 70s so I cannot comment on what is going on today. However, in the early days, Ki training was the primary focus and I believe Tohie's methods will get you that foot in the door. His four principles of Mind and Body coordination are a good place to start to establish your internal skills foundation - but it is not the end, only the beginning. From my early training, I have picked up some internal skills, but every time I get with Dan Harden, I am quickly shown how much more I need to learn.

For those looking to get started, there is still plenty of material out there available on Tohie's stuff - but once you get an idea of what you need to do, you absolutely must get with someone with these skills to get the proper feedback for making adjustments in your training - it just cannot be done any other way.

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