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  #51  
Old 11-07-2010, 09:42 PM
Lynn Seiser
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Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Breathe in, model
Breath out, mentor
Mindfully

I must admit that I tend to agree with Charles Barkley when he says that he is a basketball player and not a role model. I would hate to think...
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Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!

Last edited by akiy : 11-07-2010 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:54 AM   #50
SeiserL
 
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
In response to your post about standards and ideals, Lynn mentioned that 'how we think of things (intent) were literal commands to our neurology.' I asked for an explanation and gave a concrete example, about driving, but Lynn did not really give an explanation. If I look at something at the side of the road, my car might well drift to that side, but I am not a professional psychologist and I need some explanation of how this is relevant to issuing 'literal commands to our neurology'.
Sensei,

Just because you did not understand or accept my brief explanation to a complicated process does not mean that I did not really give one. It only means that I somehow failed to communicate it.

I find this often in teaching clinical and forensic psychology (as well as Aikido) that my words are very inadequate to convey/communicate the images/talk in my head to the images/talk in your head.

IMHO, the studies of neuroscience and applied kinesiology support that the images and talk within our heads have a neurological and physical response within the body appropriate to the content of the thoughts.

If we think a positive thoughts, our muscles test (applied kinesiology) strong and when we think negative thoughts our muscles test weak.

Likewise if you vividly imagine doing an activity (as in sport psychology's use of mental rehearsal and in hypnosis's use of ideomotor signals), the mind sends signals to the body to respond accordingly. That pathway appears to be neurological.

In Aikido I was taught that where the head goes, the body tends to follow. I find truth through practice that this applies to the mind in our heads, our hearts, and our center/hara. Where they go, I tend to go too. Especially if they are all pointed in the same direction. When I connect with another individual in practice and in life I sense an application of the same principle.

I agree with your friend that its a very subjective world and that what might be an explanation to me, does not necessarily meet your requirements/criteria as an adequate explanation especially if you are looking for a totally objective one (which I did attempt to convey).

Thus it the challenge of interpersonal communication especially in a limited context such as this. But like the Socratic method, the questioning helps refine the argument/explanation. It is yet another opportunity to grow.

BTW, I trained with you at the first Aiki Expo and have always valued the experience.

Thoughts?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:44 AM   #51
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
However, my questions, to you and Lynn, did not really concern these terms. You used the terms 'intending' and 'striving' and Lynn used the word 'literal'.

In response to your post about standards and ideals, Lynn mentioned that 'how we think of things (intent) were literal commands to our neurology.' I asked for an explanation and gave a concrete example, about driving, but Lynn did not really give an explanation. If I look at something at the side of the road, my car might well drift to that side, but I am not a professional psychologist and I need some explanation of how this is relevant to issuing 'literal commands to our neurology'.
Hello Peter,

If you would be so kind as to allow me a stab at this ...

It wasn't until recently (um, 3-5 years) that I heard the Chinese saying of Yi leads Chi. I found it surprising that Yi can be translated as "intent" and that some Chinese Martial Arts (CMA) actually have "Yi" in their title. YiQuan for example. As someone I know has said (paraphrasing), Somewhere in history, founders of some CMA must have thought that Yi (intent) was very important.

Jumping to Aikido, we can see throughout that Ueshiba Morihei placed importance on his "spiritual" frame of mind. In fact, in one very overlooked (Call it a Rosetta Stone moment), Ueshiba actually translated what being part of the Universe meant to him physically (he had someone push on him and because he was one with the Universe he couldn't be pushed over). I don't think it's a far stretch to say that Ueshiba viewed mind/intent as an important part of his aikido.

I've been told that intent is very important. I can see, from the CMAs, intent is important. I can see, from Ueshiba's discourses, that intent is important. And from personal experience, I know that intent training is very hard. The hardest part, though, is understanding in a very physical manner how intent training works on the physical body.

Looking to the side of the road while driving and then drifting that way can actually be a side effect of musculature rather than intent. Not saying that it can't be an effect of intent, but the body is built a specific way ... an interconnected way.

Training the intent is training to rewire how the body functions on a physical level. A small example to experiment with is using a cup of coffee or tea. While sitting, hold the cup parallel (forearm is parallel, too) with a desk/table about 2 inches above. Use your intent to start the process of lifting that cup to your mouth. You must get to the exact point where the cup is just about to physically move but don't let it. Hold that intent of lifting. You really want to bring that cup to your mouth but you keep it held statically, unmoving.

Your body is physically doing *something*. That is just half the exercise. While keeping to that exact point, use intent to have your forearm/hand bring that cup down onto the desk. Get it to the point where it almost physically starts moving downward and hold that. Keep *both* intents going at the same time.

If you are just holding the cup, thinking about this exercise, you won't be doing anything. You actually have to have that strong intent working and not just thinking it. I would argue that "thinking of things" is not the same as "intent". I can think of bringing that cup to my mouth all day long and not actually be doing anything physical. If I really want to move that cup to my mouth, I have to use intent to start the physical process and then follow through by allowing my physical movement to complete it.

To me, "thinking of things" would be mental only. "Intent" involves the mental leading the physical in "literal commands to our neurology". Although I wouldn't limit it to just "neurology", but expand it to other functioning systems of the body.

Mark
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:23 AM   #52
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Looking to the side of the road while driving and then drifting that way can actually be a side effect of musculature rather than intent. Not saying that it can't be an effect of intent, but the body is built a specific way ... an interconnected way.
Hi Mark,

And welcome to the discussion.

Yes, interconnected. Connect the dots.

The mind is connected to the brain. The brain is connected to the nervous system (both sympathetic and parasympathetic). The nervous stem is connected to the musclulature. The musculature is connected to movement.

If I visualize movement from a dissociated spectator position, I am not telling my body to move. If I visualize from a participatory associated position, neuroscience can trace activity in the nervous system and the corresponding muscles. Different commands.

If I auditorially tell myself I will "try" to do something, I am not telling my body to "do" it, only to "try" to do it. Likewise, the neuropathway in the brain and the body activate on the "do" not the "try". Different commands.

I do not have a good kinesthetic or energetic sense, but accept that energy goes where I focus my mind (unbendable arm and extending ki). Because I have yet to develop the necessary tools of discernment, this still sounds subjective to me, but accept for others with these tools this is their objective experience. I look forward to and train in that direction.

I was training with a man one day and he admitted that his biggest obstacle in Aikido was that he didn't believe he could make it work. He laughed and said he knew that mine did.

Mental training and focus will never replace the sweat on the mat, or vice versa. Combined they tend to work pretty good.

Thoughts?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:40 PM   #53
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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IMHO, standards are personal statements we make about ourselves, not from the Aikido world or our dojo.

Its not about what other people should or ought to do. Its about what I want to do.

I have been told I am very opinionated but not very judgmental.

I state what I belief based on my level of practice and understanding to date. With any luck and more progress it will change as my perspective changes.

IMHO, standards are not something I want to project out onto others, but to incorporate and integrate into my own life. If others see they are worthwhile and which to practice too, that's fine. If not, this is the direction I am walking.

Thoughts?
I will not describe this well... Ultimately, I believe that I will be content when I understand myself. Standards and goals are tools that help me plot a path for my life and maintain that path. Along the way, I may not understand what personal standard to set for myself, or a personal goal to direct my efforts. In these cases, there should exist aggregate standards against which to compare my personal standards.

Our culture has reached a point where we believe "standards" to be a critical observation, not an evaluation. Someone who does not get a "A" is stupid and someone who does not win a trophy is a loser. So what do we do? Teachers are pressured to give everyone "A"s and everyone who plays little league gets a trophy. But guess what? There are still poor students and losers in the world, but we have now removed an tool to evaluate and gauge how to perform better next time.

My earlier purpIe pen comment about aikido is directed to this observation - Aikido grants great leniency to its students in executing kata and we seldom provide critical feedback that is necessary to truly improving beyond a rudimentary level. I think that is why some of the new teaching that has a stronger structure entering aikido is well-received - we do not have time to train the wrong move for 5 years until some instructor finally says, 'hey, you know that thing you do with your hand? It's not right, here is the right way."

Listening to Frank Doran Sensei describe to you why your movement is bad is satire; you usually end up agreeing with him and feel like an idiot to boot. It's only better when you are in front of class...

My personal standards should reflect the proficiency and competency I desire to express in my aikido. Those standards will eventually be consumed by junior students who are looking to set their own personal standards. The aggregation of personal standards within the dojo will set forth a dojo standard, and so forth.

There is a mindset that correlates outside approval with personal success and becomes dependent upon others to structure personal success. The clinical term is "Opra fan club"; I'm kidding. I think we need to understand that not everyone is an "A" student, not everyone is a "winner"; I think our first step is insulating our self-confidence and self-image from outside influence.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:50 PM   #54
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post

(The only other professional psychologist I know [non-American, I hasten to add] who practices aikido is famously / notoriously bad at giving explanations about virtually anything, since he claims that nothing is ever 'objective', but is a mishmash of subjective aims, intentions, strivings, emotions and motivations. For him aikido is a martial way of undergoing counseling.)
On a certain level I don't have a problem with this idea... it's just that, in my own experience, the majority of the folks who take this approach are so "process" oriented that they completely lose any martial integrity. They get so concerned with how it all "feels" that they simply don't pay enough attention to what is really happening physically. An exception would be someone like Richard Heckler. His Aikido is solid yet he takes a fairly "process" oriented approach. I would suspect that the same would be true of someone like Robert Frager, although I haven't had the good fortune to actually train with him.

Whereas I think I am pretty clearly on record as believing that Aikido is not about fighting, I absolutely believe that it is the martial paradigm of our training which gives us our feedback about the level of understanding we have. Without the checks and balances of the martial paradigm the whole thing can get so "cosmic" that no one knows what is going on. I mean energy balls at 20 feet, etc.

Quote:
So, here is another question. In his training seminar, did Mr Gleason discuss the role of 'intent' in personal training? Of course, I am not talking here about the general standards and ideals that you so eloquently argue are not being met--virtually anywhere. I have in mind something much more basic: the role of intent in personal training exercises: exercises like, for example those that Mr Gleason must have done at the hands of Mr Harden and exercises that O Sensei certainly did alone. (My own training exercises here are from Mr Akuzawa.)
Yes, the seminar was virtually all on that subject. My folks have been getting exposure to Dan Harden's work through both Gleason Sensei and Howard Popkin so they had some foundation already. This seminar Gleason Sensei really did an amazing job of connecting that work to the art of Aikido. It was brilliant. I think everyone on the mat, regardless of level, came away having made a jump in level. That's an achievement for just a weekend seminar and certainly an exception from my experience. I'd love to see what you are doing with Akuzawa's stuff... You have the background to do what Gleason Sensei is doing and taking it back in to Aikido and that's crucial for the art. I think that there's a certain confusion about "aiki" and Aikido being the same, and it isn't. Dan is an "aiki" master (and I don't use that term lightly, in fact hardly ever) but he isn't doing Aikido. Akuzawa has a ridiculous structure but he isn't doing Aikido. I'm not convinced that there aren't substantial differences between our "big three" Dan H, Mike S and Ark. I'll wait until I am better at this stuff before I decide.

There are a number of folks who have started training with these guys but few that I have seen understand very well how to take it back in to their Aikido and still have it be Aikido. Most are still at the stage at which the two have a separate form. Gleason Sensei, with his forty years of Aikido and his weekly exposure to Dan in the last year is changing exponentially. Last year was the first year I had been able to do everything he taught the way he was doing it. But this year it was like starting over on some level. I am far better than I was a year ago. My Aikido is continuing to change all the time. But when I saw Gleason Sensei his pace of growth had so outpaced mine that it was humbling in the extreme. Friday night I had one of those moments like some of the famous English musicians had back in the day when they first saw Hendricks in London. Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits) said he saw Hendricks and his first thought was "I should just quit." So I had my "Aikido's stupid, I quit" mental tantrum. My wife, who finds Aikido quite frustrating at the best of times was completely unsympathetic. She thoroughly enjoyed seeing me so frustrated.

By Saturday am I had my equilibrium back and, not surprisingly things started working again. It was a paradigm changing seminar along the lines of many of the classes at the Aiki Expo. So we did quite a lot of Aikido, but attempting to use internal power to execute the techniques and when he saw people needed to, he'd take us back to the solo and paired internal power exercises to get us making the right connections. I don't know how the other folks fared but I did some things this past weekend that I pretty much would have considered voodoo at some point in the past. I did a couple things where my partner was saying, "what was that?" and my own brain was caught in between telling itself that what I'd done couldn't possibly have worked and saying to itself "Way cool!!!"

Quote:
Finally, I believe that saints are not noted for doing what they believe, so much as living lives of heroic virtue. There is a religious connotation here and I think the cognate concept to 'saint' is holy. The way you described the popular idea of sainthood in Post #39 would also apply to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.
And that's the hook... that's how the truly "great despots" got regular law abiding folks to go along with totally psychotic behavior. In order to get regular people to act really badly you simply have to appeal to their ideals and mix it with getting them fearful and they'll do pretty much anything. My general rule of thumb is "if you have to go find the Saint, you are probably ok, if the Saint is coming to you, run."

Thanks for the response Peter! I hope at some point I can get over there and visit. I'd love to see what you've been doing with all of this. It's very exciting.
- George

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 11-16-2010 at 12:55 PM.

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Old 11-16-2010, 01:21 PM   #55
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
In Aikido I was taught that where the head goes, the body tends to follow. I find truth through practice that this applies to the mind in our heads, our hearts, and our center/hara. Where they go, I tend to go too. Especially if they are all pointed in the same direction. When I connect with another individual in practice and in life I sense an application of the same principle.
Totally agree... One will hear that Aikido is about Mind / Body / Spirit Unification. I think that proper practice is about realizing that this isn't true. Mind / Body / Spirit is already unified. You can't un-unify them. Initially we train to "connect" with the partner... hopefully, through hard training, we get to the point at which we realize that this isn't what it's about at all. We are already connected. We cannot be separate.

So it's really the same as Buddhism. We aren't training to get Enlightened, we are already Enlightened, but we are too stupid to understand that. Suffering is acting as though we are separate because we just don't get it.

So, the whole seminar with Gleason Sensei one could see that, the more one stopped trying to act on the partner and simply focused on integrating oneself, the less the partner could effect you, the less "effort" you put in, the better things worked. The end point of this process is to realize that there is no separation. That's what the Founder said when he stated that there "is no attacker". Training when it is done properly is entirely directed at this realization.

It's not just an idea or concept, it is a reality that you can feel and demonstrate. But only if the training is being done properly. Most of what we see in Aikido is simply reinforcing the idea that the partner / attacker is separate and the goal is to apply strong, integrated, balanced force to his weak lines to prevail. That kind of practice will not lead to the kind of realization I am talking about. It might even work at a sort of rudimentary level for purposes of self defense but it will not reveal the kind of underlying truths that O-Sensei talked about when he lectured about Aikido.

One of the working definitions of "aiki" I have been using is to say that what I am doing is moving the partner's Mind so that his Mind moves his body. But especially after this weekend, I can see that this is still only a beginning level understanding. What we did all weekend was to experience that when I use my Mind to integrate my structure so that it stands alone, complete and independent, the partner / attacker is simply a part of that. When I use my Mind to move me, my partner's Mind is moved automatically. When my Mind moves my Body, his Mind moves his Body.

So I come away with another Aikido Koan to work on... It seems that the more I learn to stand alone, the more "connected" I am. Now that ought to keep me busy for quite a while.
- George

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Old 11-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #56
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
My earlier purpIe pen comment about aikido is directed to this observation - Aikido grants great leniency to its students in executing kata and we seldom provide critical feedback that is necessary to truly improving beyond a rudimentary level. I think that is why some of the new teaching that has a stronger structure entering aikido is well-received - we do not have time to train the wrong move for 5 years until some instructor finally says, 'hey, you know that thing you do with your hand? It's not right, here is the right way."
Yes agreed.

At first I learned slowly by just copying my Sensei. I think they called it "steal the technique", but I was never a great thief and really thought I was doing what I was shown.

I finally asked about the difference between my movement and his movement. He showed and explained the difference. It gave my training direction.

For some people the body may get it first and then the mind, but my body was never that smart. The mind usually had to get a glimpse first to direct the body and then because the feet were so far from the head, it still took a while.

Now I appreciate models and mentors who talk too much. I feel it has allowed this hobbyist some small measure of progress.

I often feel I get that through the discussions here even if I don't always participate verbally. Somebody is always pointing in a direction I never would have considered by by own thinking.

Thoughts?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:03 PM   #57
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
So it's really the same as Buddhism. We aren't training to get Enlightened, we are already Enlightened, but we are too stupid to understand that. Suffering is acting as though we are separate because we just don't get it.
...
When I use my Mind to move me, my partner's Mind is moved automatically. When my Mind moves my Body, his Mind moves his Body.
...
So I come away with another Aikido Koan to work on... It seems that the more I learn to stand alone, the more "connected" I am.
Yes agreed.

There is another story I like.
When seeing a flag waving in the wind, the monks were asked what is waving. One said the flag and another said the wind. The third smiled and said, the mind was waving.

Another answer would be there is no wind, no flag, and no mind.

Ultimately, there is no separation. It is an arbitrary distinction the mind makes out of ignorance.

As I think you once taught me, "its already done".

Someone else once asked "how it could be any other way?' as if it was inevitable.

Thoughts?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:10 PM   #58
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
One of the working definitions of "aiki" I have been using is to say that what I am doing is moving the partner's Mind so that his Mind moves his body. But especially after this weekend, I can see that this is still only a beginning level understanding. What we did all weekend was to experience that when I use my Mind to integrate my structure so that it stands alone, complete and independent, the partner / attacker is simply a part of that. When I use my Mind to move me, my partner's Mind is moved automatically. When my Mind moves my Body, his Mind moves his Body.

So I come away with another Aikido Koan to work on... It seems that the more I learn to stand alone, the more "connected" I am. Now that ought to keep me busy for quite a while.
- George
Has the sayings of Ueshiba Morihei started to make more sense yet? When asked what is aikido, he answers, I am aiki. His intent is upwards into the heavens, his intent is downwards into the earth, so strongly that he is the Universe. When people contact him/Universe, they cannot push him over. As the Universe moves/he moves, such that people move with him. There is not two people at that moment, but all are within the Universe. Izu and Mizu are the contradictory forces which guide the way. Intent before movement such that the Universe/Ueshiba is already inside uke's movement before it starts and then it is one. Ueshiba is the bridge/point where people connect to him/Universe. It is their energy that fuels him/Universe.

And it all is founded upon aiki. No need to follow Ueshiba's specific spirituality because most can be substituted. But, the aiki cannot. That component must be taught, trained, and built. Daito ryu aiki ... a secret nearly lost to us all. Thank Ellis Amdur for single handedly saving many martial arts.
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:48 PM   #59
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Thank Ellis Amdur for single handedly saving many martial arts.
Yes agreed.

Another person I train with every chance I get.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:53 PM   #60
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Hello Peter,

If you would be so kind as to allow me a stab at this ...

It wasn't until recently (um, 3-5 years) that I heard the Chinese saying of Yi leads Chi. I found it surprising that Yi can be translated as "intent" and that some Chinese Martial Arts (CMA) actually have "Yi" in their title. YiQuan for example. As someone I know has said (paraphrasing), Somewhere in history, founders of some CMA must have thought that Yi (intent) was very important.

Jumping to Aikido, we can see throughout that Ueshiba Morihei placed importance on his "spiritual" frame of mind. In fact, in one very overlooked (Call it a Rosetta Stone moment), Ueshiba actually translated what being part of the Universe meant to him physically (he had someone push on him and because he was one with the Universe he couldn't be pushed over). I don't think it's a far stretch to say that Ueshiba viewed mind/intent as an important part of his aikido.

I've been told that intent is very important. I can see, from the CMAs, intent is important. I can see, from Ueshiba's discourses, that intent is important. And from personal experience, I know that intent training is very hard. The hardest part, though, is understanding in a very physical manner how intent training works on the physical body.

Looking to the side of the road while driving and then drifting that way can actually be a side effect of musculature rather than intent. Not saying that it can't be an effect of intent, but the body is built a specific way ... an interconnected way.

Training the intent is training to rewire how the body functions on a physical level. A small example to experiment with is using a cup of coffee or tea. While sitting, hold the cup parallel (forearm is parallel, too) with a desk/table about 2 inches above. Use your intent to start the process of lifting that cup to your mouth. You must get to the exact point where the cup is just about to physically move but don't let it. Hold that intent of lifting. You really want to bring that cup to your mouth but you keep it held statically, unmoving.

Your body is physically doing *something*. That is just half the exercise. While keeping to that exact point, use intent to have your forearm/hand bring that cup down onto the desk. Get it to the point where it almost physically starts moving downward and hold that. Keep *both* intents going at the same time.

If you are just holding the cup, thinking about this exercise, you won't be doing anything. You actually have to have that strong intent working and not just thinking it. I would argue that "thinking of things" is not the same as "intent". I can think of bringing that cup to my mouth all day long and not actually be doing anything physical. If I really want to move that cup to my mouth, I have to use intent to start the physical process and then follow through by allowing my physical movement to complete it.

To me, "thinking of things" would be mental only. "Intent" involves the mental leading the physical in "literal commands to our neurology". Although I wouldn't limit it to just "neurology", but expand it to other functioning systems of the body.

Mark
Hello Mark,

It is the vocabulary in which you couch the whole exercise that I have a problem with and I have similar problems with much of Lynn's discussion. I have much difficulty understanding is being described verbally here, for I think language is being used rather too loosely. You say that Yi can be translated as 'intent', which is an abstract noun. Is Yi an abstract noun in Chinese and did the Chinese mean it as such? You then move on to 'using intent' and ‘intent' training and take it for granted that this is what Ueshiba was actually doing. I read him in Japanese and an unconvinced that he can be translated into post-Cartesian concepts so easily.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:52 AM   #61
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I read him in Japanese and an unconvinced that he can be translated into post-Cartesian concepts so easily.
Sensei,

I am always impressed with your depth of resources and knowledge.

Agreed. Translations (vocabulary) often change meaning and is never easy but is always important.

Specifically what was he saying and how can we apply it to our training?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:05 AM   #62
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Sensei,

I am always impressed with your depth of resources and knowledge.

Agreed. Translations (vocabulary) often change meaning and is never easy but is always important.

Specifically what was he saying and how can we apply it to our training?
Hello Lynn,

I assume you have read and pondered on all the English translations of M Ueshiba that have been produced so far. To make a training manual specifically based on his discourses (translated as accurately as possible and also annotated) is an attractive project, though it would probably not be publishable, at least commercially. I have long thought that a critical edition of Ueshiba's discourses is necessary, one which also takes account of insights like those given by Mark, which are clearly the product of his own training.

The best that has been achieved so far, in terms of careful translation, is the bilingual edition of Budo Renshu, translated by the Bieris.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 11-17-2010, 08:17 AM   #63
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Hello Peter,

I have difficulties finding the right words to convey my meaning. So, yes, I agree with you. Words and language is very difficult and online gives varied personal definitions. Wish I could just step on over to your side of the world and have these conversations in person.

And yes, I do take some things for granted. A slight failing in me. But, when I'm wrong, it gives me a better feedback mechanism to adjust my ideas. I have no doubts, though, that understanding Ueshiba's spiritual discourses is a rather hard task. While I think some things seem to make sense, I am still open to the idea that I could be wrong.

I think the idea of a training manual/critical edition based on Ueshiba's discourses is a good idea, too. Unfortunately, something beyond my current knowledge. Maybe in 5 years I'll be in a better place to start something like that.

As an aside, this article (I found it on the RSF forum) conveys similar meanings about intent and exercises. You'll notice that it also talks about opposite forces.

http://wulinmingshi.wordpress.com/20...-hidden-power/
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:21 AM   #64
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I have long thought that a critical edition of Ueshiba's discourses is necessary, one which also takes account of insights like those given by Mark, which are clearly the product of his own training.
Yes agreed.

When I was a child we used to play a game where we would sit in a circle. The first child would whisper something to the second child who would whisper it to the third child and around the circle it would go. By time we got to the end it had been transformed into something totally unrelated.

Its what I often feel here. How very much I project in with my own understanding, experience, and language. I often stay away from the topics of what O'Sensei really meant because I am sure I have no clue.

But through dialogue and discussion perhaps we can get a glimpse of it.

Yes, I have quite a bookshelf full of Aikido books. I will track down a copy of the one you recommended.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:15 AM   #65
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Yes, I have quite a bookshelf full of Aikido books. I will track down a copy of the one you recommended.
Scarce and expensive... I'll help you find one, or you know you're welcome to borrow one of mine. (If memory serves, I may have gifted you one some time ago... It's hand-bound, reads back to front, and comes in a tan cardboard slipcover with a reddish-pink ribbon...)

Last edited by crbateman : 11-17-2010 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:19 AM   #66
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Scarce and expensive... I'll help you find one, or you know you're welcome to borrow one of mine.
Do you know how much a copy is going for? I have yet to see one for sale anywhere.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:21 AM   #67
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Hi Mark,
if you're quick off the mark you might get it here: http://tinyurl.com/32n5cjt
(Though it might be in Turkish)
Patrick
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:04 AM   #68
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Hi Mark,
if you're quick off the mark you might get it here: http://tinyurl.com/32n5cjt
(Though it might be in Turkish)
Patrick
I have a copy of a "normal edition" Budo Renshu. The book Peter and Clark are talking about is the 1973 (I believe) bilingual edition. If you look at publication dates, you'll find that this Budo book has several editions (including the one your link goes to). They have a "forward" by Bieri but are not bilingual. The bilingual edition is rare. I have yet to see it for sale anywhere. That's why I was asking about it.

Mark
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:48 AM   #69
Keith Larman
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Just to toss something into the mix...

"Intent" is a difficult topic to discuss and there is no shortage of philosophical discussion on it. "Intent" is one of those words that tends to vex our understanding due to any number of reasons. That said we tend have a "common" usage in English but the closer you try to nail it down the more you realize that deconstruction of the term exposes a tremendous amount of difficulties.

Mark, if you remember I was at the Dan Harden seminar (had a blast, thanks again). You made a comment about how in your experience people coming from Ki Society lineages (we split 30 years ago, but yeah, that's my lineage too) tended to understand what you meant when you guys used the term "intent" in terms of the physical manifestation you were looking for.

That combined with a private discussion I had later with Dr. Goldsbury left me with a great deal to think about. Dr. Goldsbury is quite right in pointing out "loose" usage of words. It left me wondering how I had come to understanding what we had talked about at the seminar without any sort of flags going up in my brain. Especially after having spent a couple seemingly neverending terms in college trying to understand German/French Existentialist thought and the role "intentionality" played. So one comment by Peter and I spend the next few days pondering. Rusty brain...

My thoughts lately... We use the term "intent" quite freely and I do wonder if maybe it is a byproduct of our lineage. Maybe that first generation of Tohei's students here in California and Hawaii started using the terminology to communicate something they felt. Certainly we have various "exercises" with "walking with ki" which is also often couched in terms of "walking with intent". Then we start adding things like "extend ki" in your arm and will often say "it is like you have to intend to keep your arm straight without using muscle to do it. Kind of like touching them first without actually moving." Those sorts of comments.

But we need to keep in mind that the word intent is being used in different ways in different contexts. And that's where problems always sneak in. We can talk about intent as meaning a choice to attempt to attain some outcome. This is a purely mental thing. We can also say things like "acting with intent" and by that mean we do something physical which is an expression or manifestation of the mental intent. But in a way that is somewhat trivial -- most thing you choose to do you do with intent, otherwise you wouldn't do it. In one sense you cannot start walking forward without intent. So saying "you need to walk forward with intent" sounds quite self-evident.

Anyway, after thinking about this stuff for a while I wonder if intent isn't a good word to use, even if we decide to agree to use a more common, less strict definition. So many concepts seem to get conflated and I wonder if we're not just replacing one bit of "loose talk" (extend your ki) with another (put it out with intent). So we've changed from something that most westerners (and most Japanese) I daresay think is somewhat obscure (ki) and move to something else that may "feel" more familiar, but is in the end just a different "placeholder" (intent).

What this raises is that I think there are really valuable areas of study. What some of the internal guys are doing is I think critical. I have little doubt that much of Aikido has lost touch with "whatever" that stuff was that these early guys were doing. However, we now seem to be experiencing a world where people are quibbling over different models and words used all while not necessarily drilling down better into a physical understanding of what is really happening. At some point we end up more confused by assumed meanings of the words chosen to represent things that in the end folk are having a really hard time explaining.

Sorry, the post was a bit of a ramble but I'm still trying to gather my thoughts on the topic. And I didn't want to dive into a long discussion of intentionality because I don't think that's really the way we should be going.

I do think Dr. Seiser has a very good underlying point about how we learn, how we "do" things, the role of visualization, and the incredible complexity of physical movement. Psychobiology is a wonderfully rich field now and growing fast. But it is going to be critical that we be increasingly careful about our choice of words and start to examine what we *really* mean about some of these concepts. So a big thank you to Dr. Goldsbury for the reminder about intent. It spurred a long internal discussion. Then I come along and see this thread. Good stuff.

What I hope for the future goes two directions (since this forward looking aspect seems to be an underlying theme in this thread). We need to look back to try to understand what Ueshiba Morihei was doing. We need a better understanding of his training even if we can't hope to do it ourselves. We need to see what he was doing that allowed him to do the things he could do.

On the other side we need to look forward and try to develop better physical models of what this "aiki" thing is and how it is expressed in the body. What that means in hard, physical terms. Is it fascia? Muscle and fascia? Is it how all are used together? Does it include building "different" structures in then learning to use those structures in a particular way? Then how does the mental fit in (or is it simply we need to talk about things like intent solely to learn how to do it but then finding intent irrelevant once we can do it "automatically". i.e., it is a heuristic device to train the body.). We need better models and a better understanding of what's really happening because it seems like many of the contentious debates are about whether the expression of person using model A fits the model used by people doing model B. In the end you're left with wondering if the critique is of the skills or of the fit to a model that is itself poorly defined. In other words we spend way too much time talking about symbols rather than what the symbols are there to represent. We need models that map better so we can have these conversations and be more productive.

I do see and feel similarities across a lot of people. And I see similar things when I go back and look at videos of Ueshiba. Same with Tohei. Same with some sensei. Same with some guys today doing amazing things. Kuroda moving like a cat. Dan delivering a powerful punch in an incredibly small space. Mike generating a powerful push. Threadgill being able to "play" with your center with such apparent ease. So...

Sorry, rambled on and went in a 1000 directions, but that's where my brain is currently going.

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Old 11-17-2010, 01:22 PM   #70
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Sorry, rambled on and went in a 1000 directions, but that's where my brain is currently going.
Greetings and welcome to the discussion Keith.

Rambling is always welcomed. That's I I tend to ponder thing.

The benefit here is that a bunch of use get the ramble together and help each other define better what we mean. So many things make sense inside my head until I try to explain it to somebody.

If we accept each other's positive intent, we will all continue to learn and train together.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:25 PM   #71
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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(If memory serves, I may have gifted you one some time ago...)
You have always been too kind and too generous. That specific title does not sit on the shelf next to your other gifts. I will look it over the next time I am down there.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:19 PM   #72
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
When I was a child we used to play a game where we would sit in a circle. The first child would whisper something to the second child who would whisper it to the third child and around the circle it would go. By time we got to the end it had been transformed into something totally unrelated.
Hello Lynn,

You should try doing this in Japanese. The game is a regular feature of any group activity that involves a lengthy trip by bus.

PAG

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:28 PM   #73
Keith Larman
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
When I was a child we used to play a game where we would sit in a circle. The first child would whisper something to the second child who would whisper it to the third child and around the circle it would go. By time we got to the end it had been transformed into something totally unrelated.
It is a feature of all behind the scenes communications...

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:59 PM   #74
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

I come from a philosophical background and this includes a study of two big names. I wrote a masters thesis on Aristotle's problem of how one can intend to do some action, yet not do it--and be held morally liable, or how you can do some action intentionally, but be accused of doing some other action at the same time, equally intentionally, which you did not in fact do. There are two issues here: the moral or ethical issues involved in intentional action; and the issue of actually describing what you are in fact doing, or intending to do.

For the second issue, the discussions of J L Austin, G E M Anscombe and D Davidson are all highly relevant, as is the later philosophy of Wittgenstein. At Hirodai I taught a graduate course on Wittgenstein's later studies of intending and acting. The students on this course were very bright Americans and Japanese--and the course was taught bilingually, with a Japanese translation of Wittgenstein, as well as the English / German original.

So you can use words loosely: sometimes there is no other option and English is occasionally vague. But sometimes you need a high degree of precision and you also need to be aware of how precise / imprecise you are at any one point. In an earlier post I mentioned Cartesian ideas. Descartes is probably the dividing point between the existentialists / phenomenologists whom Keith Larman mentioned, and those I have mentioned above, all following in Wittgentsein's footsteps, who ground their thinking in as precise an analysis of language as they care capable of.

Best wishes to all,

PAG

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