View Single Post
Old 06-24-2008, 09:03 AM   #13
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
Re: Long road vs short road to ki power (aiki, internal strength...)

Hello Ron,
Some astute questions, I think.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
If you could supplement your aikido study with training in some other system and develop your ki power in a fraction of the time that it would take studying aikido alone, would you?
Hmmm ... Just by personal experience, I would say yes. But, that's a very loaded question and a very general answer. I know some of the backgrounds of the key people and those backgrounds include aikido and related martial arts. So, in essence, some of the training is directly, 100% related to aikido. In other words, the supplemental training isn't "some other system" at all. It is aikido training.

And in other aspects, yes, the training is from "some other system", but having hands-on time and training with the instructors, I have a theory that it doesn't really matter in this area. Mostly a theory because I'm a beginner and some of the skills are of a high level. Others aren't and can be deduced that they are aikido skills.

So, you see, while the question seems okay, it really should be reworded to note that some of the skills being talked about really are aikido training and not some other system. Now, if you want to talk about, let's say training in shaolin kung fu as a way to get "ki" skills to bring to aikido ... yeah, okay, your question would be valid. It is "some other system". At that point, I would have to really think about doing that.

But, in the case with your post here, you aren't really discussing that scenario. You mentioned people that post on AikiWeb. I think, then, that this first question is then, moot. The training and skills are aikido training and skills. At least the ones I have seen so far, anyway.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Do you see any value in the long road to ki development?
Let me redefine this a bit so I can give an answer. Let's say your "long road" is the normal training methodology of most aikido schools. As opposed to the "aiki" training methodology that is being discussed on AikiWeb. Notice I didn't say it was a "short road".

Here is some of what I've found.
Relax completely. "Long road" approach = nothing concrete in terms of training to achieve this.
The "aiki" training approach = concrete, physical training to achieve this. Sounds weird, huh? But it works.

Extend ki. "Long road" approach = nothing concrete in terms of training to achieve this. It's a hit and miss training methodology using mental projections only.
The "aiki" training approach = Specific, physical conditioning *along with* specific mental focus/intent driven exercises to achieve this.

So, if I compare the two approaches in this manner, then, no, I really don't see any benefit from the "long road".

Now, if you're trying to get people to think about wisdom, spirituality, etc in a "long road" approach, then I would say that power and wisdom are separate entities. Power, wisdom, and spirituality are separate entities. And there are training environments for all of them. The School of Hard Knocks can train wisdom and sometimes it is the best approach. Or there's the oft spoken phrase that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But, why do we have "sensei" in Budo? It is by their very nature that they have gone first. They are there to steer the way for those that come later. Pick them as wisely as you can and your Budo training will encompass wisdom, power, and spirituality whether on a "long road" or any other road.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Is the short road always the preferred path?
Who knows? But, let's rearrange this question just a bit. Let's say that you have two choices in your life in regards to training. You have 40 years to spend on training.

In the first choice, you know that you will spend 20-30 years in training and your chances at becoming another "Shioda" or "Tomiki" or "Tohei" are slim. In the last 10 or so years, you might have a shot at it, but by then, you're well into old age. (And remember, Shioda, Tomiki, and Tohei were still relatively young when they were powerful.)

In the second choice, you know that in 10-20 years, you're likely to meet the level of Tohei, Tomiki, or Shioda. In another 10-20 years, you have a chance to be at the level of Ueshiba and Sagawa.

Which do *you* choose? Neither is a short or a long road because they both encompass training the same amount of time. The difference is in the training regimen, or just how training is accomplished.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Is there anything to be gained from deliberately slowing down the growth of your ki power?
Dunno. Maybe. But wisdom isn't one of the answers. Neither is spirituality. I had more wisdom at 16 than most of my school peers and that wasn't gained from martial arts. I wasn't doing any at the time. I had more spirituality by then, too.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Have the years you have spent in your exploration of aikido taught you anything about the necessity of tempering ki power with wisdom; the kind of wisdom that only comes with age and experience?
See above. Age and experience aren't necessarily equatable to wisdom. Age and experience can be equatable with being wiser. Budo is what teaches power and how to handle power. Else why do we read things like being skilled means you don't fight, etc. Stuff like that is found throughout all martial arts. If you have a teacher that isn't teaching Budo, you should find someone who does.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Do you feel that it's important for your students to have the time grow into their power in a responsible manner?
This is Budo. The time, training, etc are dependent on both teacher and student. It isn't a one package fits all. This isn't spiderman and great power=great responsibility. That's a comic, this is real life. If anyone wants to spend 40 years training and never reach the skill level of the aikido giants, that's entirely his/her choice. But, it only takes a quick research check to see that people have spent that long and haven't even closely reached that skill level. It's a bit harder research but the next step is to get hands-on time with some of the people noted on AikiWeb to compare the training regimens and find out that there is a very pronounced difference -- even in 5 years.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Do you feel any responsibility to insure that the skills you are passing along will be used appropriately?
That is what a Budo teacher does. No matter the years of training, the length of the road, the amount of knowledge, etc. It is important, yes. But, it is a very different area than the road to ki power.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Is Saotome Sensei's observation in The Principles of Aikido, page 4, that: "Gaining mere literal knowledge and technical skill and is not the goal of Aikido practice. You must work to improve your character and raise your consciousness to a higher level."; no longer relevant in today's world of fast food, teraflops computers and the insistence on instantaneous gratification?
I think maybe you have a misunderstanding when it comes to this training. It isn't a "shorter" road in that view. In fact, if I had to classify it that way, I would say that it is a "better" road for training. The time put in for solo training might actually make it a longer road. Does it create better Budo people in a shorter time frame than what you consider the "long road"? Yes, it has that capacity to do so. It has the capacity to do in 5 years what would take 20 in your "long road". Is that too fast? Too instantaneous? We are who we make ourselves to be. We are a product of ourself and our teacher. It is Budo. That defines it, not how long a road of training.

  Reply With Quote