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Old 08-06-2008, 05:36 AM   #356
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

I have been trianing with Dan a bit now, and I would not say that aikido is NOT a complete art. I simply just want to progress much further in aikido and his training method is clearly working well towards that end.

I remember when I started being able to copy _most_ of the shihan I encountered and when I found that I could shut down _most_ of the teachers I encountered while they couldn't shut me down. I'm not saying I am all that great - but it happened and it happened before I met Dan. I just trained harder and in what I suspect was a more efficient way than most of those people.

Having trained with Dan a while now, I was faced with a way to train that I found to be much more efficient towards my end goal (which is to manifest the principles of aikido physically so well that I can relate them to the spiritual principles of the kotodama - like I assume Osensei did and have fun growing in martial arts in general along the way) that the choice was clear. I looked for how to encorporate this kind of training into my daily life, how to get correction and guidance as much as possible, and how to figure out how to apply it to what I am doing in aikido class directly.

Much like what I am hearing from my new friends in the Nishio camp, my (our) opinion is that aikido can encorporate anythng else that helps you progress. So my aikido students do some standing exercises with me before and after normal class. I don't tell anyone they have to - they just all felt my power go WAY up, and figured it would be smart to copy me. If they ask me what I'm doing, I do my best to explain.

During normal class, when I do ushiro waza, I teach a wristy-twisty version to help the beginners do the classic aikido type thing where you move in such a way to avoid giving uke a superior angle/leverage. When I go around and help people, I tend to practice myself a bit. I show the people the simple way if they need, and if not, I just practice totally giving uke a 90 degree angle on my arms and doing the technique anyway against their progressive resistance. The progressive resistance approach of aikido rocks becuase if I am sucking at manifesting the internal skill then they instantly feel it and lighten up and let me train where I am at power wise. If I "got it" then they push with all their might and I look for where else I can put my mental intention to make power additives.

But I'm not doing naything absurdly different in my classes. It's not like I'm standing on my head now. I think you'd have to really look for the internal skills I'm encorporating to know I'm doing them in my aikido class. We talked about where you put your mind during say kotegaeshi way before I met Dan. Gleason sensei used to correct my posture all the time too. The difference now, is that I have much better proprioception after training with Dan to the point that I don't get corrected in how I stand all that much anymore - and further I can give people much MUCH more detailed explainations in how they can improve their structure to pull off kotegaeshi in Gleason sensei's way where the uke just seems to magically drop (like his iriminage).

Gleason sensei's experience was something like getting to train in Yamaguchi sensei's private dojo for 10 years where all he would ever get to work out with was people 4th-7th dan every day for hours. And then also going to Takeda sensei's dojo and Honbu dojo as well. We just don't have that kind of kinestetic feedback available to us for relatively long periods of time. My opinion is that that is the only other way you can make such progress efficiently. "Where we are at" is that this kind of thing isn't available to most of us right now! (I still suspect that Dan's approach is even more efficient. At least for the way I seem to learn.)

Where I am at is that the main change in what I do now with aiki-do in my aikido is that a lot of the "magic" is gone replaced with understanding that I proprobably wouldn't have figured out myself for a much longer time if at all - and now I have a lot more time dedicated to working on improving my skills as opposed to spending so much time guessing what they most efficient way to approach my goals might be.

Also, my students are a lot more fun to train with now that they can pretty instantly connect to peoples centers in katatetori techniques. They are going through the frustration period of re-learning how to walk and all - but so am I.

I can write volumes about "where we are at" but I need to get to work!


Last edited by rob_liberti : 08-06-2008 at 05:49 AM.
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